I saw a report yesterday that the Royals had signed first baseman Chad Tracy to a minor league deal and immediately did a double take.
Had I blacked out for a few days and missed something?
Nope. Turns out former Rockies manager Jim Tracy has a son. That son happens to play first base. That son also happens to have the name Chad.
The Nationals' Chad Tracy still is a first baseman ... on the Nationals.
This is the point we're at in the offseason - where other teams' minor league signings are making it into my daily blog.
How many days until spring training?
Things have been pretty darn quiet around the baseball world the last couple of weeks despite the fact that there are a handful of big names still out there on the open market.
If you still weren't convinced that the draft pick compensation attached to players who declined a qualifying offer is affecting free agency, check out this interesting bit of news:
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that free agent Kyle Lohse, who went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 211 innings last season, has yet to receive a single offer. Not a one.
Meanwhile, Edwin Jackson and Anibal Sanchez, who each had an inferior year to Lohse, have been able to capitalize on not being given a qualifying offer. Those two right-handers were both able to score a big deal via free agency. Jackson got four years and $52 million from the Cubs while Sanchez received a five-year, $80 million deal from the Tigers.
This is an issue Major League Baseball will have to look at when negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement come around. It's unfortunate that teams are afraid to make offers to guys like Lohse, Adam LaRoche, Michael Bourn and Rafael Soriano largely because of the draft pick compensation attached to them.
It seems pretty unfair to these free agents, and I bet those in the Major League Baseball Players Association offices are left wondering how they can improve the compensation system down the road.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney ranked his top 10 teams in baseball at this point in the offseason, and he has the Nationals slotted as his No. 2 team, behind the defending World Series champion Giants.
Olney's piece has this comment on the Nats from a National League evaluator: "A really good rotation, but there are some questions about bullpen and their left-handed power."
Those are obviously the two areas the Nationals are still looking to address leading up to opening day.
They could significantly bolster their left-handed power by re-signing LaRoche, something that again comes back to the qualifying offer. There still don't appear to be many teams willing to bite on LaRoche, leaving the Nats as the favorite, by default, to land the power-hitting first baseman.