Saturday afternoon MLB made its latest proposal to the MLBPA and the union reportedly came away unimpressed. Thus, the owned-initiated lockout continues unabated. It's unclear when spring training will begin, and at this point, the start of the regular season is in jeopardy too.
Despite the work stoppage, a few hot stove news and nuggets have trickled in. Here's the latest.
Rays open to trading Meadows
Austin Meadows, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Fellow outfielder Manuel Margot could be on the block as well. Kiermaier is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract, though he has a club option for 2023. Margot will be a free agent after 2022, Meadows after 2024., the Rays are also open to trading outfielder
Tampa trading Meadows, one of the team's top hitters, would be nothing new, as the club aggressively moves players when they begin to get expensive through arbitration to keep the minor-league system stocked. Realistically, the Rays could trade Kiermaier and Margot and Meadows, and still run out a strong outfield unit featuring Randy Arozarena, Brett Phillips, and prospects Vidal Bruján and Joshua Lowe. The Phillies, Red Sox, and Rockies immediately jump to mind as clubs that need outfield help.
Mariners not yet interested in Haniger extension
The Mariners have not yet shown an interest in signing outfielder Mitch Haniger to a contract extension, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Haniger confirmed the club has never approached him about a long-term deal at the end of last season. The 31-year-old will become a free agent after the 2022 season. Injuries have limited him to 473 of 708 possible games since 2017.
On paper, Seattle has more outfielders than outfield spots. Haniger joins Jake Fraley, Jarred Kelenic, Taylor Trammell, and eventually top prospect Julio Rodríguez in the outfield mix. That said, none of those players except Haniger has played a full MLB season, and last year Kelenic showed that even the most touted prospects can have a steep learning curve. With free agency a year away, Haniger might now be more willing to play out 2022 and test the market rather than sign an extension.
Athletics sign Thames
The A's have signed Bay Area native Eric Thames to a minor-league contract, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 35-year-old signed with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan last year, though he missed most of the season with an Achilles injury. Thames hit .203/.300/.317 with three homers in 140 plate appearances with the Nationals in 2020.
At the moment Oakland has Seth Brown penciled into the DH spot. Of course, , and they could move players like Matt Olson and Chris Bassitt after the lockout. Thames has experience at first base and would be a cheap Olson replacement should the A's move him. The minor-league contract carries little risk and gives Oakland a chance to evaluate Thames in spring training, whenever that happens.