Reds manager Bryan Price said Saturday that he would be comfortable using Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani and Michael Lorenzen in the closer role.
Iglesias was the Reds' main closer down the stretch last season and fared well, and he's also the most talented pitcher of the aforementioned trio. But, while Iglesias is probably first in line for saves, Price seems to be leaning toward using all three pitchers in the role and often having them pitch multiple innings at a time. "I'd say right now that we have a series of guys that I'm comfortable with in the ninth inning and that would include (Raisel) Iglesias, (Tony) Cingrani and (Michael Lorenzen)," Price said. "Should we stay with this format – which I intend to do – all three of those guys and maybe more could have opportunities in save situations. At this point in time, there's no defined closer. There are multiple options and I'd like to stick with the philosophy that we're going to have our multi-inning guys, so we're going to need multi-closers."
Zach Eflin (knees) began a throwing program on Wednesday.
Eflin had a patellar tendinopathy on both knees in August after dealing with pain in his knees he says since Little League. "All of a sudden to go out there and do what I love with no pain, It’s an unbelievable feeling," Eflin said. "I never thought that this day would come that I would be pain-free throwing. I thought that I would always go through it, that it was always something I could deal with it. I’m really, really excited to see what my body can handle when it’s healthy." Eflin will compete in spring training for a spot in the Phillies' rotation.
Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune hears that the Brewers were close to trading for Matt Szczur at the deadline before talks dissolved.
The late-season emergence of Keon Broxton and impending arrival of Lewis Brinson could remove the Brewers from the equation when it comes to Szczur. However, the Cubs have a surplus of outfielders and could revisit trading the 27-year-old. Szczur is a career .245/.297/.376 hitter over 346 plate appearances and is under team control through 2021.
Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune writes that "the expectation is Jorge Soler will be dealt at some point for young starting pitching."
Soler saw sporadic playing time in 2016 and with the return of Kyle Schwarber in 2017 and signing of Jon Jay, a lack of consistent playing time next year would again appear to be in the cards. The Cubs have flirted with dealing Soler in the past but might finally pull the trigger on a trade this winter. He's hit a disappointing .258/.328/.434 so far in the majors, but Soler will turn just 25 in February and is under contract cheaply through 2020.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that the Dodgers are the "most aggressive" team in trade talks with the Twins involving Brian Dozier.
Twins general manager Thad Levine indicated recently that team wasn't going to trade Dozier unless they were "really inspired" by an offer, but of course that could just be GM-speak. Dozier has a very team-friendly contract that will pay him $15 million over the next two seasons, but the Twins might want to capitalize while his value is at its highest following a 42-homer season.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the trade market for Yasmany Tomas "has been slow to develop."
The Diamondbacks appear intent on improving their defense, so it makes sense to shop around Tomas, who hit 31 homers in 2016 but continued to be one of the worst defensive corner outfielders in the game. The problem is that Tomas still has $48.5 million remaining on his contract and there are plenty of alternatives to him on the market.
According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks have "reached out" to free agent Brad Ziegler.
They've also touched base with Daniel Hudson. Those two were teammates on the Diamondbacks until Ziegler joined Boston at this year's trade deadline. Ziegler is also familiar with new D'backs' GM Mike Hazen, who held the same position in Boston this past season. The 37-year-old has reportedly drawn interest from a dozen teams and would be a nice consolation prize for clubs that miss out on top-tier closers like Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal confirms Mark Melancon has received multiple four-year offers for at least $60 million.
Rosenthal said those offers came from the Giants, Nationals and "perhaps one other" club. The Giants' offer is reportedly the strongest. Things seem to be moving quickly on Melancon and it wouldn't be a surprise if he signed during the Winter Meetings, which start tomorrow in Maryland.