Major League Baseball's owner-imposed lockout may have caused the offseason to freeze, but that hasn't stopped the occasional rumor from slipping through concerning what teams intend to do if and when the league and the MLB Players Association ratify a new collective bargaining agreement. Below, you can find all of Saturday's rumors, news, and notes from the wide world of baseball.
Mariners to seek more offense
The Mariners made a few notable additions before the lockout was imposed, signing Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray and trading for All-Star utility player Adam Frazier. Once the offseason is allowed to resume, Seattle is expected to pursue two player types in particular, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Per Nightengale's report, the Mariners desire a "right-handed power bat" (ideally a third baseman) and a "left-handed hitting multi-dimensional outfielder." It's unclear who exactly those players will wind up being, but there are a few candidates remaining on the free-agent market who would fit the description, including Kris Bryant and Michael Conforto.
Coincidentally, one of Bryant's close friends, Mariners reliever Paul Sewald, recently acknowledged he had been recruiting him to the Pacific Northwest.
"I convinced him to go to the University of San Diego with me and play with me there," Sewald said, according to NBC Sports Chicago. "I am doing the best that I possibly can to get him to be a Seattle Mariner for the next few years."
We'll see if the Mariners front office has the same kind of enthusiasm for Bryant.
Pham open to first base, Rays reunion?
Tommy Pham has only played the outfield during his big-league career, but he's open to trying his hand at first base if it makes him more appealing to teams, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Pham hit .229/.340/.383 (103 OPS+) last season with the Padres, a relative disappointment when compared to his career line (.265/.364/.447). Nevertheless, CBS Sports expressed some optimism about him rebounding when we ranked him as the 46th best free agent available heading into the offseason. Here was the explanation:
It would be reasonable to scoff at Pham's inclusion. Not only is he a couple of years removed from his last big showing at the plate, he's now nearing his age-34 season. Concluding that he's just a league-average hitter nowadays would be sensible. The counterargument is that Pham still commands the strike zone, and that he proved last season he can still hit the ball hard and on a line. Indeed, 32 percent of his batted balls had a launch angle between 10 and 30 degrees; additionally, 48 percent of his batted balls had an exit velocity of at least 95 mph. Here are some players who had similar breakdowns, along with their seasonal OPS+: Freddie Freeman (133), Max Muncy (138), Ketel Marte (143), Corey Seager (145), Brandon Belt (160); you get the point. Pham probably won't deliver a season as good as any of those hitters did, but there's enough underpinning there to justify counting on him as an above-average hitter.
Pham also expressed to Topkin his interest in returning for a second stint with the Rays. It's unclear if the Rays have him on their list of potential additions. Earlier this winter, it was reported that the Padres do have interest in bringing back Pham.