Quick Hits: Kiermaier, Dodgers, Red Sox, Marlins, Bellinger, Bell, Rays, Diaz, Reds

Kevin Kiermaier is off the market after agreeing to a deal with the Blue Jays earlier today, and the former Gold Glover was drawing interest elsewhere on the market.  The Dodgerswere in the running down to the end” on Kiermaier, according to Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), as Kiermaier was presumably being eyed as the left-handed hitting, center field replacement for Cody Bellinger.  Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is no stranger to Kiermaier, as Friedman was the Rays’ general manager when Kiermaier began his career in Tampa Bay.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom is also a former member of Tampa’s front office, but Kiermaier and the Sox had only “periphery discussions” about a possible contract, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  Adding Kiermaier would’ve helped the Sox address their needs in the outfield, but the newly-signed Masataka Yoshida is Boston’s biggest swing in the outfield market to date.  For now, the first-choice Red Sox starting outfield looks like Yoshida in left field, Enrique Hernandez in center, and Alex Verdugo in right.

More from around baseball…

  • Speaking of past pursuits, Bellinger and Josh Bell were among the players “targeted” by the Marlins, according to Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald.  Both free agents are now off the market, after Bellinger signed with the Cubs and Bell joined the Guardians.  Bellinger would’ve been a natural fit for the Marlins’ longstanding need in center field, and would’ve at least provided strong defense, even if it remains to be seen if his bat can return to anything close to his past MVP levels of production.  Bell has provided solid (if not always consistent) offense over the last two seasons, and the Marlins naturally have a lot of familiarity with Bell from his days with the Nationals.  Miami already parted ways with Lewin Diaz and Garrett Cooper has been a trade candidate in the past, so it would seem like first base could be a target position for the Marlins as they look to add some much-needed pop to their lineup.
  • Though the Rays are also looking to add offense and particularly a left-handed hitting first base option, Bell “wasn’t high on their list,” Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes.  It’s a moot point anyway with Bell now in Cleveland, and the Rays can continue their search for a bat at just about any position.  “Outside of maybe a shortstop, there probably aren’t too many other areas where we’d say, ’No, we don’t have any interest in that’….We’re fortunate, because we have enough moving pieces and versatility with our players that there’s a lot of different players we could bring in and make it work,” Rays GM Peter Bendix told Topkin and other reporters.
  • “Teams have checked” in with the Reds about Alexis Diaz, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes.  No trade seems close or particularly likely, given how the rookie right-hander looks more like a building block than a trade chip.  In his first MLB season, Diaz finished fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting after posting a 1.84 ERA over 63 2/3 innings out of the Reds’ bullpen.  Apart from a very high 12.9% walk rate, Diaz’s Statcast metrics were otherwise excellent, and he could be on his way to joining older brother Edwin as a star closer.  Interestingly, the Mets explored a trade for the younger Diaz before the trade deadline, but while Cincinnati is in a rebuild phase, Nightengale figures it “would take an absolute haul to even pique the Reds’ interest” in a Diaz swap.

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