AL East Notes: Beltran, Rays, Yankees, Orioles

Just-retired slugger Carlos Beltran turned down a front office role with the Yankees earlier this offseason, reports The Athletic’s Marc Carig (subscription link). Beltran says that only a managerial position would’ve dissuaded him from his plan to take at least a year of from the game after retiring as a player, but he would consider other roles in the future. Carig chronicles Beltran’s indoctrination to the business side of baseball, which began back in a 2003 arbitration hearing with the Royals. Now, Beltran draws praise from executives like Cashman and field staff like Astros manager A.J. Hinch, who both effused praise for Beltran’s baseball acumen and future in the game in interviews with Carig.

Elsewhere in the AL East…

  • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times examines some of the many open questions facing the Rays as camp opens. He says the organization is still “working hard through the spring thaw” to work out trades that will draw down payroll. Interestingly, that could come through some kind of swap that includes not only a pitcher but also a more expensive position player, says Topkin, who suggests that Corey Dickerson or Denard Span could be moved along with righty Jake Odorizzi. That concept seemingly increases the variety of potential outcomes that one might imagine, though it doesn’t help provide much clarity to an overall market situation that remains largely unresolved as camps open.
  • The Orioles have discussed the possibility of a non-roster invitation to Spring Training for Pedro Alvarez, Michael Bourn, Colby Rasmus and Michael Saunders within the past week, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. It’s a bargain-hunter’s collection of names, considering the fact that higher-profile left-handed bats such as Logan Morrison, Carlos Gonzalez, Jon Jay and Jarrod Dyson remain available in free agency. (Morrison, of course, isn’t an outfielder at this point in his career, though the same is true of Alvarez.) The O’s have been interested in Rasmus and Saunders in prior offseasons, Encina notes, though it’s not clear what Rasmus’ plans are at present. The veteran outfielder stepped away from the game for personal reasons last July, and there hasn’t been much mention of him this winter.
  • While he still expects the Orioles to acquire at least one starter via trade or free agency, Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com also indicates that he expects right-hander Mike Wright to get another opportunity to prove himself in the rotation in April. The 28-year-old Wright is out of minor league options, Connolly notes, adding that the Orioles do not want to give up on Wright despite a lack of results in the Majors. Wright has a paltry 5.86 ERA, 5.46 FIP and 5.16 xFIP in 144 2/3 big league innings, but he’s been considerably better in Triple-A, where he owns a lifetime 3.53 ERA in 389 2/3 frames — including a flat 3.00 ERA in 240 1/3 innings across the past three seasons.
  • Beyond all the other uncertainties permeating the game this spring, there are still a fair number of unresolved arbitration cases, as our 2018 MLB Arbitration Tracker shows. As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca notes on TwitterBlue Jays righty Marcus Stroman had his hearing yesterday, though results aren’t yet known. Meanwhile, Orioles starter Kevin Gausman is still hoping to work something out rather than heading for a hearing tomorrow, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets.

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