There wasn’t much going on in baseball on Tuesday in terms of actual news, but there were a few rumors worth noting that we will run through quickly, starting with one of the best starting pitchers on the market. Justin Verlander, who underwent Tommy John surgery after throwing just a handful of innings in 2020, is a free agent this winter and threw for scouts on Monday. According to reports, there were 15-20 teams in attendance, including the Red Sox. Verlander has a qualifying offer he still may accept, so it’s not worth going too deep on his candidacy to sign with the Red Sox, but I will say I wouldn’t read too much into Boston being present. It would’ve been malfeasance to not be there.
Meanwhile, we got rumors about a couple of teams out west. The Angels are always one of the strangest teams as they just can never get over the hump of mediocrity despite as much top-level talent as anyone in baseball. Pitching has been their biggest weakness for years, and they are expected to be scouring the pitching market. This isn’t much of a surprise, but is notable for us here as Red Sox fans because a separate report specifically mentioned Eduardo Rodriguez as someone with whom they’ve already had conversations. Like Verlander, Rodriguez still has to decide whether or not he will accept the qualifying offer. That teams are already calling him could mean he’ll be more likely to hit the open market.
And finally, the Rangers have been one of the worst teams in baseball for the last few years, but they appear ready to add payroll this winter. In fact, one report says they may add $100 million in payroll. Now, they need help pretty much everywhere, so in terms of being competition for specific players it’s hard to say. But as a Red Sox fan, more teams being willing to go for top-tier players is not a bad thing. This would also potentially take some trade targets off the board for Texas if they’re willing to carry more payroll, though there isn’t a ton on that roster that looked ripe for offseason trade talks anyway.
Arizona Fall League Update
It was a low-scoring affair in Arizona on Tuesday for Scottsdale, which normally means there wasn’t that much excitement for a team that didn’t have any pitchers take the mound. But the Red Sox still got some excitement at the plate. Kole Cottam was one of Boston’s starters, serving as the Scorpions’ DH in this game. He had a pair of hits, one of which was a two-run homer in the ninth to walk it off and give his team a 2-1 win. He also struck out in the game. His OPS in Arizona is up to ..928. In addition to Cottom, the Red Sox also got starts from Jeter Downs and Triston Casas. The former, starting at second base, had a rough one, going 0-3 with a pair of strikeouts. Casas started at first and went 1-3 with a single, a walk, and a strikeout.