MLB commerce market: 4 questions together with Bryan Reynolds’ availability and Crimson Sox’s plans for Rafael Devers

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Main League Baseball’s offseason has been ongoing for shut to 2 months now, however the commerce market did not warmth up till Monday afternoon. That is when the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, and Oakland Athletics agreed to a three-team, nine-player blockbuster involving catchers Sean Murphy and William Contreras. (You may learn CBS Sports activities’ full evaluation of that commerce right here.) 

Given what number of groups had been concerned within the Murphy talks, it stands to purpose {that a} decision on that entrance may create motion elsewhere available on the market. Add in how the primary half of the offseason has performed out with respect to free company, and we felt this was pretty much as good of a time as any to place forth some questions we’ll be asking in regards to the commerce market over the approaching weeks.

With that established, listed here are 4 questions we’re pondering.

1. Will the Pirates honor Reynolds’ request?

Earlier this month, outfielder Bryan Reynolds made a uncommon commerce request. The Pirates are beneath no obligation to offer in and commerce Reynolds, who will stay beneath workforce management by way of the 2025 season, however they’re sure to proceed fielding calls to gauge his availability and Pittsburgh’s asking worth.

You may perceive why different groups would have curiosity in Reynolds. He is a 27-year-old switch-hitter who has posted a 127 OPS+ in practically 500 profession big-league video games whereas primarily enjoying middle discipline. (He is more likely to slide to a nook for his subsequent employer.) Total, Reynolds has amassed near 14 Wins Above Alternative in elements of 4 seasons, or greater than three per season (and that is with out adjusting for the pandemic-shortened 2020 marketing campaign).

So, will the Pirates transfer Reynolds this winter? Proper now, the reply appears to be no. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal quoted one govt just lately who mentioned the Pirates are searching for a “Soto-type bundle” in return for Reynolds. The Nationals, for these with quick recollections, fetched 5 younger gamers (plus Luke Voit) in trade for Juan Soto (and Josh Bell) on the commerce deadline. The Pirates are unlikely to get the same return for a variety of causes — amongst them: Soto is a superior participant, for one, and there isn’t any Bell hooked up.

If and when the Pirates decrease their ask, be it this offseason or subsequent, count on Reynolds to renew his standing as a strolling commerce rumor.

2. Can the Blue Jays capitalize on the catching market?

It is at all times onerous to discover a good catcher, and we’re on the level within the winter the place it is inching nearer to not possible. Willson Contreras is a Cardinal; Murphy is a Courageous; and Christian Vázquez is a Twin. That leaves few worthwhile backstops on the market, be it on the free-agent or commerce market.

Enter the Toronto Blue Jays, who’re in an enviable place as a workforce with an abundance of catchers. They presently make use of Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk, and Gabriel Moreno, every of whom may slot in as a starter for a number of different groups. Predictably, the Blue Jays have signaled a willingness to deal from their place of power if they will discover a commerce that makes their roster higher.

Jansen would appear like the obvious candidate to go. He is the oldest of the group at 27 years previous, and he is two seasons from free company. He simply had the best effort of his profession, too, as he hit for a 141 OPS+ in 72 video games. Groups may query if Jansen can sustain his numbers if he is requested to shoulder a 120-plus-game workload, however let’s face it: even when he cannot, he is extra more likely to produce not directly than Austin Hedges and different lower-tier free brokers.

The Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays, and Boston Crimson Sox are amongst those that could possibly be available in the market for a brand new backstop. Whether or not any of them can or will make the Blue Jays a compelling supply is to be seen. A technique or one other, the Blue Jays appear sure to commerce a catcher earlier than the deadline.

3. Will the Crimson Sox keep away from one other Bogaerts-like mistake?

The Crimson Sox entered final spring realizing that longtime shortstop Xander Bogaerts would possible choose out of his contract at season’s finish. They did not commerce him once they had an opportunity, both previous to or in the course of the season, when it was clear that they weren’t going to realistically compete for a playoff spot. As an alternative, they made him an unserious supply within the spring after which one other within the winter, solely to observe him signal a long-term take care of the San Diego Padres.

The Crimson Sox at the moment are staring down the identical state of affairs with third baseman Rafael Devers, who will qualify totally free company at 12 months’s finish. Will Chaim Bloom and firm have the ability to forestall historical past from repeating itself? Perhaps not. 

Staff president Sam Kennedy was requested in regards to the Devers state of affairs on Tuesday. “We’ll hold doing what I mentioned we’ll do,” he instructed reporters, including Chris Cotillo, “which is making the suitable choices.”

What, exactly, the “proper choice” entails right here is anybody’s guess. Usually, you’d assume that might imply reaching an extension with an essential piece of the franchise, however Bogaerts (and Mookie Betts earlier than him) proved the Crimson Sox will not bend simply to fulfill their fan base. To wit, the Crimson Sox have been reported as being “very far off” from assembly Devers’ worth again in April. It is unclear if something has modified in that respect, however clearly no deal has been reached.

As such, it might most likely behoove the Crimson Sox to take heed to what the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cubs, San Francisco Giants, and others can be prepared to half with so as to web a full season of Devers. That does not imply they are going to, in fact — they’ve indicated they intend to compete for a postseason spot subsequent 12 months — however it might be good to see them take a realistic strategy in a team-building space exterior of contract negotiations with their finest gamers.

4. Ought to a workforce make the most of the pitching market?

We’ll finish with a extra philosophical query about whether or not a workforce will make a high beginning pitcher out there to supply an alternative choice to the free-agent market.  

Up to now this winter has been bereft of enticing commerce choices. The Cleveland Guardians do not look like transferring Shane Bieber (although a few of their different starters might be had), nor do the Milwaukee Brewers appear fascinated with parting with Corbin Burnes or Brandon Woodruff. The Miami Marlins have been anticipated to maneuver Pablo López, however nothing has occurred on that entrance, both.

That would appear to set the stage for some workforce to step up and take benefit by touchdown a slew of prospects from a workforce who needs to improve their rotation with out handing out a large contract to a free-agent starter. Maybe it is not that stunning, then, that’s Jim Callis suggested on Tuesday that he’s heard the Atlanta Braves are gauging curiosity in left-hander Max Fried. (Others have since rebuked Callis’ report.) Even when the Braves aren’t buying Fried, he makes for a helpful instance of the purpose we’re making an attempt to make right here, which is that it may possibly repay to be cognizant of any and all arbitrage potentialities.

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