Rosenthal’s Latest: Kimbrel, Keuchel, Eloy, Pillar, Joyce

There isn’t much indication that Craig Kimbrel or Dallas Keuchel are closing in on new contracts, though that hasn’t stopped teams from keeping in touch with the two free agents.  Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin of The Athletic (subscription required) list the Mets and Brewers as two of the clubs checking in on both pitchers, though Milwaukee is more focused on Kimbrel as a potential add.  The Rays are also still maintaining contact with Kimbrel, after reports during Spring Training suggested Tampa Bay was at least considering signing the closer.  Rosenthal and Lin described the Mets’ interest in Keuchel and Kimbrel “as a matter of due diligence,” with MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo and Newsday’s Tim Healey (both Twitter links) adding that it doesn’t seem likely that either pitcher will end up in a Mets uniform.

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Here’s more from Rosenthal, via his most recent Full Count video for FOX Sports…

  • Eloy Jimenez’s career-opening extension with the White Sox included “an understanding” that Jimenez and his camp wouldn’t pursue a service-time grievance with the league and players’ union.  Jimenez’s agents expressed public displeasure last summer when their client wasn’t given a late-season promotion, and the young slugger had been ticketed to begin this season in Triple-A before he inked his extension, which opened the door for Jimenez to join Chicago’s Opening Day roster.  The evidence seems to pretty clearly suggest that the White Sox were aiming to extend their control over Jimenez for an extra year, though the Sox are far from the only team that deploys this strategy with top prospects.
  • The Giants are the only team known to be involved in the Kevin Pillar trade market, though Rosenthal notes that the Blue Jays have also talked with multiple other teams about the center fielder.  Pillar offers two years of team control and a center field glove that was elite from 2015-17, as per the UZR/150 and Defensive Runs Saved metrics.  Last season, however, Pillar’s glovework was rated closer to average overall, and he has yet to post even league-average run production over his six MLB seasons.  If a trade did take place, Pillar would join Kendrys Morales, Russell Martin, and Troy Tulowitzki as Jays veterans sent out of town as Toronto makes room for its younger players.
  • The Braves acquired Matt Joyce from the Giants last weekend, just three days after Joyce joined San Francisco on a minor league contract.  Rosenthal provides some details on the transaction, stating that while the Giants were prepared to part ways with Joyce regardless, Atlanta chose to send some cash to the Giants in a trade rather than simply sign Joyce when he became available.  Since league offices were closed last Saturday on the day of the trade, Joyce’s arrival in the Braves’ spring camp could have been further delayed had the two sides been required to wait for the contract to be officially approved.  With a trade, however, Joyce was able to get some time in Atlanta’s camp, which led to his placement on the club’s Opening Day roster (Joyce marked his first PA with his new team by swatting a pinch-hit homer).

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