Robertson heating up as a trade option
Last week, the fact that Danny Espinosa skipped the Nationals’ winter fanfest foreshadowed his trade to the Angels hours later. Now comes another fanfest-fueled rumor scrap: White Sox closer David Robertson is not on the list of players slated to attend the upcoming SoxFest. Robertson has been the subject of vague trade speculation all winter, linked most recently to the Nationals. And with the biggest bullpen names now off the free agent market, it’s more likely that he’ll be in the spotlight for teams seeking relief help.
Robertson’s performance last year lagged compared to seasons past, with his lowest strikeout rate since 2013 and his highest walk rate since 2011. But a nagging knee injury was supposedly partially to blame, and offseason surgery should help fix that. (He’s expected to have fully recovered by the time spring training begins.) The White Sox, of course, have no qualms about selling at the moment—as Chris Sale and Adam Eaton can attest—and so offloading the two years and $25 million remaining on Robertson's contract would likely be a welcome development.
As far as possible fits, the rumored Nationals are a logical one. After losing Mark Melancon to free agency and coming up short in their bid for Kenley Jansen, they’re a contending team still in need of a bullpen anchor. Less logical but perhaps just as likely are the Marlins, who tried bidding high for both Jansen and Aroldis Chapman and lost—though their interest in acquiring elite relief pitching seems a bit strange for a team whose rotation remains a problem area.
Dozier, Utley both possibilities for Dodgers
Even after paying up to keep Jansen and Justin Turner, the Dodgers may not be done shopping. The team is still looking for a second baseman, and one possibility is a trade for Brian Dozier of the Twins, per Doug Padilla of ESPN. After Dozier’s second-half burst of power, the asking price will be high—such as a package that includes Jose De Leon, according to Padilla’s reporting. The team’s top pitching prospect, De Leon made his debut as a September call-up last year, and L.A. would likely be loath to part with him.
But Dozier isn’t their only option at the keystone. The team is also considering re-signing Chase Utley, who played 2016 on a one-year contract. He’ll celebrate his 38th birthday later this week, but while his decline has been marked, his play is still serviceable. He would also be a lefty in a lineup that’s loaded with them, so that might end up another point in favor of the right-handed Dozier.
Wilson garnering attention
Tigers reliever Justin Wilson has been getting some attention this week, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. Both the Astros and Cubs have expressed interest. A trade from the Yankees to the Tigers last winter gave him a chance to grab a bigger bullpen role and he mostly answered the call, posting career-best strikeout and walk rates last with more ground balls than ever. Wilson would mark the third winter bullpen addition for the Cubs, joining Wade Davis and Koji Uehara. Conversely, he’d mark the most significant offseason pitching move of any type for the Astros, who have added several position players this winter (Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Josh Reddick) but have been quiet on the pitching front.
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