Lowdown: Hammel DownMonday, January 02, 2017
Coming into the offseason, Jason Hammel arguably headlined an inarguably unremarkable free agent starting pitching class.
As the calendar turns to 2017, we're getting a clearer picture of just how pedestrian that group is.
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Hammel, it was reported by John Perrotto of FanRag Sports on Friday, has met resistance from teams in his quest for a multi-year contract this winter. Perrotto said "many teams" have been unwilling to offer Hammel anything more than a one-year deal.
“He’s going to have to lower his sights,” a scout from an American League team said. “There are just too many questions marks surrounding him. I’m not saying he couldn’t help someone, it’s just that he’s not a sure thing and it’s tough to commit a lot of money to that kind of player.”
It was a year of extreme highs and lows for the 34-year-old. Hammel was one of the biggest surprises in April, going 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in four starts, and he finished the first half with a 3.46 ERA in 17 starts.
But injuries and a few meltdowns -- that sometimes put him at odds with Cubs manager Joe Maddon -- marred his second half, and the scout that talked to Perrotto expressed concern with both. Hammel ended the season with tightness in his right elbow, and Perrotto said scouts believe Hammel's "stuff is declining."
With plenty of teams still in need of pitching help, it will be interesting to see whether a club ponies up for multiple years or whether Hammel will be forced to settle for a one-year pact.
Twins Want Final Offers For Dozier
The Brian Dozier sweepstakes soon may be coming to an end, even if the end looks a lot like the beginning.
The Twins asked interested clubs to "step up with their best offer" for Dozier, Star Tribune reporter La Velle E. Neal III wrote on Friday. Neal said the team was hoping to have some clarity on the situation in the coming days.
It's not a foregone conclusion that the Twins will move the 29-year-old; in fact, early last month Twins general manager Thad Levine said the team would have to be "really inspired" to consider a deal. If they don't get a suitable offer in the next few days, the team will move forward with preparations for Dozier to be the starting second baseman in 2017, Neal wrote.
If they do move him, the Dodgers remain the most likely destination. They have a top pitching prospect, Jose De Leon, to headline a deal, and the other teams connected to Dozier -- Cardinals, Giants, Braves -- either don't have the chips to deal or don't want to match with a headliner the caliber of De Leon, per reports.
Dozier is attractive to teams not only for his offensive production -- he hit .268/340/.546 with 42 homers, 99 RBI and 104 runs scored this past season -- but also for his price tag. Dozier is in the middle of a team-friendly, four-year deal and will get paid $6 million in 2017 before making $9 million in the final year of his deal in 2018.
D'backs On The Catcher Prowl
With Welington Castillo gone, the Diamondbacks continue to search for catching help.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports the team has explored all avenues to add to a position that currently consists of only Jeff Mathis, Chris Herrmann and Juan Graterol, including looking at free agent All-Star catcher Matt Wieters and calling the Red Sox about youngsters Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. Whatever it is, general manager Mike Hazen said the team "probably (has) some more work to do in that area."
“Anyone still left on the market makes sense in some circumstances,” Hazen said about Wieters. “Matt’s a really good player and a good leader. We’ve kept up on everybody on the catching market.”
A deal with the Red Sox is perhaps the least likely route, as the Sox aren't inclined to move either young catcher. However they do it, it seems as though the D'backs will find someone else to add to the fray before spring.
Quick Hits: Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star reports the Blue Jays are not in active talks with Jose Bautista. That's in direct contrast to Jon Morosi's report last week that the two sides were "engaged in active contract discussions." Griffin says the Jays haven't made a formal offer since Bautista rejected the one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer earlier this offseason. Drama ... Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe believes a reunion between the Rangers and free agent Mike Napoli "could happen sooner rather than later." The smoke has been building for days, and the fire seems imminent ... Cafardo said the Mets, as well as the Diamondbacks, can't be counted out for Wieters. That's interesting given the presence of Travis d'Arnaud, but the Mets have designs of winning in 2017 and Wieters has shown a lot more offensively than d'Arnaud has in his career to date ... Diamondbacks GM Hazen said that Peter O'Brien has drawn trade interest and is likely to be dealt. O'Brien has big power but struggles to make contact, and his defensive limitations likely make him more interesting to American League clubs than those in the National League.