The Royals’ off-season quest to add some pop to their lineup finds them moving closer to a deal with the Florida Marlins for first baseman Mike Jacobs.
Multiple sources say discussions are ongoing between the two clubs with the Marlins seeking a ready-now, low-cost reliever in exchange for Jacobs, whose salary is poised for a major increase as he enters his first off-season of arbitration eligibility.
“I can’t comment on specific players who may or may not be available to us,” general manager Dayton Moore said.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make our team better and improve our offense. That’s all I can say about that. I can’t go into any detail.”
Sources stressed no deal is yet in place.
Jacobs, 28, hit a career-high 32 homers last season in 141 games, but he batted just .247 with a .299 on-base percentage. His salary could approach $2 million or more after making $395,000 in 2008.
The Marlins are thought to have rejected an earlier offer of minor-league pitcher Carlos Rosa because of medical concerns. Rosa didn’t pitch after Aug. 13 because of a sore right forearm.
“We feel really good about his long-term health based on what I’m being told by our medical people,” Moore said.
“We did shut him down. His MRI (exam) is clean. There is no signal in there. He just had a forearm strain.”
Renewed discussions appear to center on current members of the Royals’ bullpen. If so, that likely points to either Leo Nuñez or Ramon Ramirez.
Neither Nuñez nor Ramirez is yet eligible for arbitration. Nuñez made $405,000 last year, while Ramirez made $397,000. Nuñez, 25, was 4-1 with a 2.98 ERA last season in 45 games. Ramirez, 27, was 3-2 and 2.64 in 71 games.