Here’s the latest from around the NL West…
- The Padres and Brad Hand’s representatives began extension talks about a week ago, the reliever told Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune and other reporters. Those discussions resulted in the three-year, $ 19.75MM agreement between the club and the southpaw that Hand described as “a life-changing thing.” From the Padres’ perspective, general manager AJ Preller said that his team is “trying to build a foundation of guys going forward that fit for us and we feel like are winning pieces.” It would seem like the extension more or less closes the door on the trade speculation that has circled Hand for the last couple of years, though Preller noted that “you always listen on any player at any time. You’ve got to be open to all different possibilities.”
- Preller also said that the Padres are looking for a veteran middle infielder that can provide depth for shortstop Freddy Galvis. San Diego was checked in on Alcides Escobar earlier this winter, and in my view he would appear to still be an option given the lack of known interest in Escobar’s services.
- Evan Longoria shared some interesting details about his trade to the Giants in an appearance on the MLB Network on Friday (as detailed by MLB.com’s Daniel Kramer). Though Longoria didn’t have any leverage in the form of no-trade protection or 10-and-5 rights, he said he “kind of gave them [the Rays] a short list of teams that I thought would be a good fit for me,” specifically teams that “were going to be committed to winning, year-in and year-out.” It isn’t known how much, if at all, Longoria’s list factored into Tampa’s decision-making, though the Giants were one of the teams included. The Cardinals, another club linked to Longoria in trade rumors, were also on the third baseman’s list. Longoria said he felt a trade was coming after a talk with Rays GM Erik Neander two weeks before the Giants deal was completed.
- There hasn’t been as much talk about an eventual extension for Paul Goldschmidt as in past offseasons amongst Diamondbacks executives, which makes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic wonder if the team is “subtly preparing for the possibility of life without Goldschmidt. Not that they’re expecting to move on; just that they might have to.” Goldschmidt is slated to earn $ 11MM in 2018 and the D’Backs hold a $ 14.5MM club option for 2019 that seems like a lock to be exercised. While the first baseman has posted superstar numbers over his career, Piecoro notes that the D’Backs will have to weigh the value of committing a huge salary to Goldschmidt in his age-32 season and beyond, especially when Zack Greinke is already taking up such a big chunk of Arizona’s payroll.