Let’s check in on three of the majors’ franchises…
- A report over the weekend all but placed free-agent outfielder Yasiel Puig in a Giants uniform. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco doesn’t seem nearly as confident a deal will come together, though, and Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic via text, “We are not having any conversations (internal or external) about player transactions at this point.” However, as Baggarly notes, that doesn’t mean a Puig signing isn’t under consideration. There’s a freeze on transactions because of the coronavirus, so even if the Giants do intend to pick up Puig, they’ll have to continue to wait to make the move. For what it’s worth, it wasn’t long ago that the Giants reportedly showed interest in Puig, who has a couple important connections in San Francisco. Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler were both members of the Dodgers organization during at least part of Puig’s run with the Giants’ archrivals from 2013-18.
- Optimism about a 2020 season getting underway seems to be growing. One idea that came to the forefront last week includes a three-state plan in which Arizona, Florida and Texas would divvy up the games. Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels spoke about that with Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, saying: “For a variety of factors, it makes a lot of sense. We’ve had some involvement from a due diligence standpoint, but I would not want to overstate that piece of it. I think [Dodgers president] Stan Kasten said about one percent of all ideas have become public; there have been a lot of ideas. That’s just one.” If a season does occur, the Rangers – after a fairly aggressive winter – will look to bounce back from three straight sub-.500 campaigns. Their roster doesn’t seem likely to undergo any more significant changes before a potential season happens. Asked how much time the Rangers have recently spent talking to other teams about upgrading their club, Daniels told Grant, “Very little; close to none.”
- Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star details how Royals outfielder Bubba Starling is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. As you’d expect, Starling is hoping to return to the field as soon as possible. The out-of-options 27-year-old had been competing to earn a roster spot before spring training shut down. Starling’s a former No. 5 overall draft pick in 2011 who had a run as an outstanding MLB prospect, but his career hasn’t gone according to plan thus far. He debuted in the majors last year and batted just .215/.255/.317 over 197 plate appearances. Starling also hasn’t been very productive in Triple-A ball, where he has hit .255/.305/.376 in 805 attempts, but he could still make a rebuilding KC team that’s in position to give chances to unproven players.