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Seven Marquee Free Agents Still Available As Spring Training Nears

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If we’re being honest, the 2017-18 Major League Baseball offseason has been drier than the Sahara. There’s been a major lack of the high profile transactions that baseball fans eagerly await as a way to bridge the gap between seasons. It’s resulted in a slow and boring winter for fans and more than a month without a post from yours truly, sorry about that.

It’s not as if there are no stars available either. Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 13, just 23 days from now. Despite this, some of the biggest free agents of this winter are still unsigned.

The most high profile free agent of the offseason is arguably RF JD Martinez, who is reportedly seeking a seven-year, $200 million deal. His only known suitor has been the Boston Red Sox, but the slugger remains unsigned. The Boston Herald reported yesterday that the team has offered Martinez five years for $125 million. Martinez has obviously not accepted (yet, at least).

“We are in active negotiations with J.D. Martinez,” Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner said to the Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato yesterday. “We’re hopeful to make a deal. But as I’ve said it takes two people to make that deal.”

Based on that statement, it seems as if Martinez is the one prolonging negotiations, but it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. With the amount of moves made by arch-rival New York this offseason, the Red Sox cannot at all afford to be outclassed. They need to up their power game in a big way, as evidenced by the team finishing last in the league in homers last season. Martinez is their best available option to do so, but one side is going to have to budge before that happens.

What’s also baffling is that the Kansas City three also remain unsigned.

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CF Lorenzo Cain, 1B Eric Hosmer and 3B Mike Moustakas all decided to move on from Kansas City (TSN).

Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer all rejected qualifying offers from their longtime team the Royals and became free agents after last season ended. Hosmer was thought of as a major target for the Red Sox, but the team’s resigning of Mitch Moreland ended that. I haven’t been paying a whole lot of attention to the MLB Hot Stove but I honestly haven’t heard of any teams being interested in Moustakas or Cain, which is baffling seeing as Cain is one of the game’s best outfielders and Moustakas hit 38 home runs last season.

Another slugging third baseman, Todd Frazier, has not found a home either. Formerly of the Yankees, it still appears that Frazier could be resigned, but there’s been speculation that the other New York team could be interested as well. The power hitter came to the Bronx from Chicago midway through last season and helped propel the Bombers to the ALCS. The Yankees would certainly be wise to resign him but it would take a lot, and the team’s payroll is certainly strained after the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton.

On the pitching side of things, 2015 NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and multiple-time All-Star Yu Darvish are still out there.

Like Martinez, Arrieta is searching for the $200 million range. His performances have declined since his phenomenal Cy Young campaign, but the 31-year-old is still guaranteed to have to have a big impact on whatever team that picks him up. Surprisingly, the Phillies are reportedly trying to land the right hander. Philadelphia OF Nick Williams has been training with his friend Arrieta in Texas this offseason, and states that Arrieta is interested in helping the rebuilding franchise get to the next level.

“I don’t even need to recruit him,” Williams said to Philly.com. “He loves this place. He said, ‘I like working with young guys.’

31-year-old Yu Darvish hasn’t spoken on the amount he’s looking for, but he could still command a good price. 2017 was a solid comeback season for the Osaka native and it saw him get sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers from his longtime Texas Rangers. He faltered in Game 7 of the Fall Classic against Houston, though it can be argued that he shouldn’t have been put in that situation to begin with. The Minnesota Twins have been in on Darvish all winter and owner Jim Pohlad recently confirmed his interest, per CBS Sports.

“I’m totally on board with that,” Pohlad said at the team’s annual TwinsFest event. “There are some interesting names and some interesting opportunities there. I’m as intrigued by it as anybody and attracted to it as anybody.”

Darvish could serve as a big time lift for a Twins team that turned a lot of heads in 2017 despite very little assets on paper.

As Cactus and Grapefruit League play draws closer and closer, all of these players are still up for grabs. Will they get signed, or will they still be out there as the 2018 season begins? We can only wait and see. Check back with Home Run Daily for further developments!

 

American League

Indians Activate Francisco Lindor, DFA Hanley Ramirez

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The Cleveland Indians have activated star shortstop Francisco Lindor from the injured list on Saturday.

In a corresponding move, the Indians have designated veteran Hanley Ramirez for assignment to create the necessary roster spot for the return of Lindor.

Ramirez, 35, appeared in 16 games this season for Cleveland, posting a slash line of .184/.298/.327 with two home runs.

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American League

Red Sox Place Nathan Eovaldi On 10-Day IL

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The Boston Red Sox have placed starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi on the 10-day injured list due to a loose body in his elbow, according to MassLive.com’s Crhsi Cotillo.

In a corresponding move, left hander Bobby Poyner will take Eovaldi’s spot on the roster and the move is retroactive to April 18th.

The struggling Red Sox will have to move forward without Eovaldi, who missed around 2 months last season following arthroscopic surgery to remove a loose body, for the time being.

Eovaldi has started 4 games for Boston this season, going 0-0 and posting a 6.00 ERA in that span.

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American League

Red Sox Call Up Top Prospect Chavis

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Top Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis was recalled for the first time on Friday.

With two infielders being placed on the DL and desperate for any kind of spark they can get, the Boston Red Sox called up their top prospect Michael Chavis (MLB no. 75) from Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday.

Dustin Pedroia and Eduardo Nunez were both placed on the disabled list this week with knee and back injuries, respectively. And with super utility man Brock Holt out as well with an eye injury, Boston’s infield has become quite depleted in a hurry. Infielder Tzu-Wei Lin was recalled as well as the stumbling Red Sox open up a three game set in Tampa with a Good Friday matchup.

Boston hasn’t yet announced if Chavis will be in the lineup tonight, but the team is evidently hoping that the presence of the 23-year-old can provide some kind of a spark. Boston has struggled considerably so far in the young season and is coming off consecutive embarrassing losses to arch-rival New York. At 6-13, the defending World Series champs are dead last in the AL East.

Chavis, on the other hand, has risen through Boston’s minor league system quickly despite a setback last season. A PED suspension cost him half of 2018 after he was busted for Turinabol, an anabolic-androgenic steroid. He denied knowingly taking any banned substance but played well enough after his return to be promoted from Double-A to Triple-A.

Can Chavis provide a boost for the struggling Sox and help them shake off their World Series hangover?

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