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Padres need to be “blown away” by trade offers for Myers

Wil Myers is to the Padres what Anthony Rizzo is to the Cubs, or so says FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. In other words, the Padres view the 25-year-old first baseman as a cornerstone of their 2017 roster and only intend to entertain offers that approach the value they’ve placed on him. For teams lacking a prospect-rich farm system, that may be a difficult task.

None of this is unexpected given that the Padres have already been entrenched in extension talks with Myers this month. Rosenthal points out that the infielder will remain under club control for the next three years, so if the two sides can’t reach an agreement and no other team extends an appealing trade offer, the Padres should benefit from retaining Myers through his age-28 season.

It was a banner year for Myers, who put up career-best numbers with 28 home runs, a .290 TAv, and 3.5 WARP in 157 games for San Diego. Some of his success was borne out of a few timely hot streaks, but the unlikely bonus of an improved contact rate and power stroke could signal an upward trajectory for the slugger over the next few seasons.

Blue Jays could still pursue Bautista despite Morales signing

After inking designated hitter Kendrys Morales to a three-year, $33 million contract on Friday, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said the club has not yet nixed the idea of pursuing fellow free agent Jose Bautista, per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. Bautista rejected the Jays’ qualifying offer last week and is expected to command a high-end salary in 2017 despite seeing a sizable dip in his production during the 2016 season.

Bautista’s ninth season with the Blue Jays was also his worst since he made the jump from Pittsburgh to Toronto in 2008. He slashed .234/.366/.452 with a .270 TAv and 22 home runs, a far cry from the 40 homers and 4.5 WARP he posted in 2015. A slew of injuries sabotaged any attempts to reclaim his season after the 35-year-old injured his toe on an outfield catch and missed most of August with a sprained knee.

There’s little to suggest that these issues will linger into the 2017 season, however, and if Bautista maintains his “no hometown discount” policy through the offseason, the Blue Jays shouldn’t expect to get him cheap. According to Nicholson-Smith, Atkins appears to be serious about re-signing the veteran outfielder, while his attitude toward free agent designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion was considerably cooler.

It’s a strange reversal of sentiment toward the pair, as prior reports in the offseason suggested that the Blue Jays were prepared to focus more of their attention on re-signing Encarnacion. With Morales on board, though, a platoon at first base and DH might not appeal to Encarnacion, who batted .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and 2.7 WARP for the Jays in 2016.

Napoli is drawing interest from Astros, Mariners, and Indians

There’s much to like about free agent slugger Mike Napoli: his leadership in the clubhouse, his fan appeal, his 34-homer, 101-RBI season. The Indians signed him to a one-year, $7 million deal prior to the 2016 season, so it was hardly surprising when they declined to extend him the standard $17.2 million qualifying offer after their latest postseason run. That doesn’t mean they’re not invested in re-signing him, though a one- or two-year deal seems more likely as GM Mike Chernoff focuses on locking down bigger names like Francisco Lindor and Danny Salazar before 2017.

The Indians aren’t the only ones interested in Napoli’s resurgence at the plate, however, and ESPN’s Jim Bowden and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that both the Mariners and Astros have made inquiries about the 35-year-old, among other unnamed teams. It’s an interesting choice for the Mariners, who have repeatedly vocalized their desire for extra right-handed bats, but already have a crowded infield with Danny Valencia and Dan Vogelbach sharing time at first base and Nelson Cruz in the DH spot. Bringing another righty on board to split at-bats might not make much sense unless they commit to some serious restructuring in their infield.

Napoli profiles as a solid first base/DH option for the Astros, whose infield depth leaves a lot to be desired at first base behind potential starter Yulieski Gurriel. The downside? Napoli’s right-handed bat doesn’t solve any issues in the team’s lineup, overloaded as it already is with right-handed batters, and his defensive chops are nothing to write home about. Still, his ability to slot in at DH and fairly reasonable asking price shouldn’t give the Astros too much pause.