Martinez drawing interest from multiple teams
Teams are beginning “sniff around” Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez, per a report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. At age 37, Martinez doesn’t look anything like the 4.7 WARP slugger that peaked with the club in 2014, but his .275 TAv and 27 home runs in 2016 made his sizable contract look a little less ridiculous. He still has $36 million on the books for 2017 and 2018, and despite a somewhat-viable bat, offers nothing in the way of defense despite Cafardo’s belief that he could handle a few games behind the plate or at first base in a pinch.
Cafardo didn’t name any names, but earlier this month Joel Sherman of the New York Post mentioned the Red Sox and Blue Jays as possible fits for Martinez’s veteran bat and leadership skills. The Red Sox are thought to be shopping around for a combined DH/first baseman, which would make Martinez a less-than-perfect fit, while the Blue Jays appear to have filled that role after picking up 33-year-old Kendrys Morales. Martinez also has the benefit of full 10-and-5 rights, so he’ll be able to veto any trade proposals that he doesn’t feel comfortable with, which could complicate matters for the Tigers as they look to clear payroll.
Nationals could make a play for Chapman … again
In other tidbits from Cafardo’s column, the Nationals have reportedly tossed their hat in the ring for prized closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman has had no shortage of suitors during the offseason, from familiar flames like the Yankees and Cubs to fellow National League contenders like the Giants and Dodgers. The left-hander is said to be seeking a five-year, $100 million deal, though Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News references sources who believe that asking price to be above what most teams are willing to shell out.
Chapman was linked to the Nationals prior to the trade deadline, but Washington GM Mike Rizzo passed after the Yankees requested top pitching prospect Eric Fedde and second-tier prospects Joe Ross and Koda Glover in return. The Cubs, on the other hand, had no such reservations, and shipped no. 1 prospect Gleyber Torres, among others, to the Yankees in exchange for two months of Chapman’s 2.04 DRA.
The Nationals snagged an elite closer of their own when they traded for right-hander Mark Melancon at the deadline. Melancon is also a free agent and, while he likely won’t compete with the salaries due Chapman or fellow closer Kenley Jansen, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports estimates his asking price to be in the ballpark of four years, $56 million. Should the Nationals balk at the nine-figure contract Chapman hopes to earn, it might be worth giving Melancon and his 1.82 ERA a second look.
Sale’s price tag may be even higher now
The White Sox think very highly of Chris Sale, as they should. He’s consistently turned in Cy Young-worthy performances over the last five years and, when he isn’t ripping throwback uniforms to literal shreds, has carved up the opposition with a career 2.49 DRA. Around the trade deadline, rumors of a possible trade with the Red Sox surfaced, as did whispers of interest from the Rangers and Dodgers, but nothing came to fruition when the White Sox reportedly asked for four or five major league-ready players in exchange for their ace.
Now, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the White Sox could be asking for an even greater return for the left-hander, though any specifics have yet to be outlined. Heyman adds that a deal could be struck during the winter meetings next week, with potential landing spots including the Indians and Phillies. Considering the White Sox’s reluctance to move Sale earlier this year, however, it seems more likely that the 27-year-old will remain in Chicago for the time being, barring any monumental offers. In 2016, Sale delivered his second-most-valuable performance to date, producing 6.9 WARP and a 2.69 DRA in 226.2 innings and placing fifth among Cy Young award nominees after leading the league with six complete games.