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December 9, 2016

Rumor Roundup

Rockies Dig the Long Ball

by Ashley Varela


Rockies determined to find a place for Trumbo

Even if it means shifting newly-acquired infielder/outfielder Ian Desmond to an outfield-only role, apparently. After striking a five-year, $70 million deal with Desmond on Wednesday, the Rockies still appear to be gunning for veteran slugger Mark Trumbo, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. That could lead to a potential logjam at first base, where Desmond is reportedly expected to hold court after making the switch from shortstop to left field/center field in 2016.

Should the Rockies "win" the Trumbo sweepstakes, however, they could station the 31-year-old at first base and return Desmond to the outfield, which would free them up to thin out some of their outfield reserves and target an extra pitcher. On Wednesday, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reported that the club was looking for a front-of-the-rotation pitcher and speculated that they could be willing to drop Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, or Ryan McMahon if a deal was struck for Trumbo.

There’s no doubt that Trumbo’s power potential would play well at Coors Field, and after coming off a career-best season at the plate with 47 home runs and a .533 SLG, he won’t come cheap. His services have already been courted by the Indians, Mariners, Orioles, and Rangers this offseason, though only the Orioles appear to have made any headway so far. The slugger is rumored to be seeking a four-year deal in the $75-80 million range with a full no-trade clause, though reported offers from his former club fell short of that mark by a wide margin. If his high price tag is giving the Rockies any pause, they have yet to show it.

Nationals expand closer search to Colome and Robertson

The Nationals may have lost the bidding for former closer Mark Melancon, but plenty of viable relievers remain on the market. Top-of-the-line hurler Kenley Jansen is still unsigned, though not for lack of impressive offers, including a five-year, $80 million-plus combo from the Marlins. While the Nationals haven’t withdrawn their hat from the ring just yet, MASN Sports’ Mark Zuckerman believes they would be unlikely to pony up that much cash after stalling over the $62 million sum due Melancon, and talks during the winter meetings reportedly involved much more affordable alternatives in the Rays’ Alex Colome and the White Sox’s David Robertson.

Robertson, 31, figures to be the cheapest of the three relievers after pitching to 1.6 WARP and a 2.78 DRA in 2016. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the White Sox rejected the Nationals’ request to include Robertson in their trade for Adam Eaton on Wednesday, and Nightengale noted that the parties could try to arrange a separate deal for the closer at a later date. The right-hander has two years and $25 million left on the books, which looks like peanuts in comparison to the mammoth contracts awarded Melancon and Aroldis Chapman. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the White Sox might play it cool with Robertson until Jansen is off the market and his trade value rises. The same could be true for Colome, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that the Rays are likely to start fielding serious offers when that happens.

Padres looking for defense-first shortstop

The Padres are shopping for shortstops this week, and according to MLB.com’s A.J. Cassavell, have set their sights on the Tigers’ Jose Iglesias and the Rangers’ Hanser Alberto. Both infielders profile as plus defenders, though Iglesias appears to have the edge with an extra three seasons of major-league seasoning and a staggering 13.9 FRAA during the 2016 season.

The Padres aren’t the first club to take a flyer on Iglesias, as Tigers GM Al Avila told the press on Wednesday that there was “some interest” circulating around the infielder, though he wasn’t able to gauge the seriousness of the inquiries made just yet. If Iglesias is dealt, Avila said, some combination of Dixon Machado, Ian Kinsler, and Andrew Romine could plug the hole at short in 2017, though Kinsler is seemingly too old to attempt that switch and may be traded himself.

Any talk about moving Iglesias appears to be purely speculative at this point, though not entirely out of the question. The Padres could find a more willing trade partner in the Rangers, who expressed interest in dealing for outfielder Travis Jankowski earlier this week, per MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. Alberto is the less flashy of the two infielders, batting a woeful .096 TAv in his sophomore season despite demonstrating above-average chops at shortstop and second base. His familiarity with San Diego GM A.J. Preller should work in his favor, however, as well as the obvious defensive upgrade he would provide the club over current starter Luis Sardinas.

Ashley Varela is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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<< Previous Article
Internet Baseball Awar... (12/09)
<< Previous Column
Rumor Roundup: Another... (12/07)
Next Column >>
Rumor Roundup: Hasta L... (12/12)
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Premium Article Two-Strike Approach: M... (12/09)

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