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On The Move: Trades & Transactions

MLB Buzz: Mets consider reunion with Colon

MLB.com

The Hot Stove is open for business. As the top free agents begin to ink new deals and clubs begin to make the moves they think will vault them into contention or put them over the top, MLB.com will have you covered with all the latest buzz right here.

Hot Stove Tracker

The Hot Stove is open for business. As the top free agents begin to ink new deals and clubs begin to make the moves they think will vault them into contention or put them over the top, MLB.com will have you covered with all the latest buzz right here.

Hot Stove Tracker

Mets interested in reunion with Colon
At 44 years young, Bartolo Colon is still angling for one more year in the Majors, and the right-hander may already have one suitor. The Mets are interested in a potential reunion with Colon, according to former Twins teammate Ervin Santana, who discussed Colon in an interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Colon was a fan favorite with the Mets from 2014-16, a span in which the veteran went 44-34 with a 3.90 ERA and 3.79 FIP. The reunion could make sense for both sides, as the pitcher figures to carry a low price tag and has a specific goal to reach before retirement.

Colon has reportedly been striving to play another season in an effort to pass Dennis Martinez as the Majors' all-time winningest Latin American pitcher. With 240 wins, Colon is just five victories behind Martinez's record. Colon already holds the record for Dominican-born pitchers, having passed Pedro Martinez in 2016.

Working against Colon's goal is the fact that he posted a career-worst 6.48 ERA last season with the Braves and Twins. Colon did manage to add seven more wins -- along with 14 losses -- to his career total last season, but he will likely have to improve on last year's performance if he wants an opportunity to reach his goal.

Koji eyeing one-year deal
Koji Uehara may still have one more season in him. The 43-year-old free-agent reliever said that he wants to play one more year before retiring -- assuming he gets a Major League contract offer.

Uehara talked about his future at a baseball clinic in Fukushima, Japan, as first reported by Kyodo News.

One key stipulation for Uehara is that he would not be interested in signing a Minor League contract with a team. The veteran right-hander said that he's been talking with teams but hasn't received an offer, so retirement remains an option.

Despite his age, Uehara was very serviceable last year with the Cubs. He held a 3.98 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 12 walks over 43 innings. Uehara also held a 1.16 WHIP, which, while still impressive, broke a streak of seven straight seasons with a sub-1.00 mark.

If Uehara plays in 2018, it will be his 10th Major League season after spending 10 years with the Yomiuri Giants in Nippon Professional Baseball. However, Uehara hasn't completely shut the door on playing beyond then.

"If I get a major league contract, and I do put up good numbers, then I'll think about another year," Uehara said, "but right now I'm focused on just this one year."

Orioles may be a fit for Dyson
The Orioles are looking for a left-handed hitter to play right field and back up center fielder Adam Jones, and Jarrod Dyson remains a possibility, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports.

The speedy Dyson, who has stolen 204 bases in 661 career games, could be ideal for Baltimore, which has placed last in the Majors in stolen bases each of the last four seasons. Dyson was limited to 111 games with the Mariners in 2017, spending time on the disabled list in August with a right groin strain before undergoing season-ending hernia surgery in September. If his health checks out and he's ready by Spring Training, the O's may be interested in platooning Dyson for his defense and speed.

Dyson, 33, hasn't played more than 120 games in a season throughout his eight-year career. Dyson slashed .251/.324/.350 with 13 doubles, three triples, 30 RBIs, five home runs and 28 stolen bases in 35 attempts last season.

Red Sox's offer to Martinez reportedly $125 million
The Red Sox's much-discussed interest in free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez reached a new level on Friday with a report from the Boston Herald that the club has made Martinez an offer of five years and approximately $125 million. The club hasn't confirmed the report.

It had been reported recently that the Red Sox had extended an offer to Martinez of five years and about $100 million.

Martinez's agent, Scott Boras, told MLB Network insider Jon Heyman that the reports of the first offer, which was said to be less than what Martinez was seeking, were "not accurate." Heyman reported last week that Martinez is looking for a six-year deal valued at $30 million per year. Boston has been seen as the favorite to land Martinez.

Heyman reported last week that Martinez is willing to hold out until Spring Training for a contract that he believes meets his market value, which indicates other clubs are also involved in negotiations. Martinez was a catalyst for the D-backs last year in helping them reach the postseason for the first time since 2011, and Arizona is reportedly still interested in bringing him back, per Heyman.

Martinez hit 29 homers with 65 RBIs in just 62 games for the D-backs after being acquired on July 18, trailing only National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton in each category during that span. Martinez hit 45 homers during the 2017 season, despite playing in just 119 games. He became the first player in MLB history with that many home runs in so few games.

If the Red Sox do indeed sign Martinez, that would create a dilemma in the outfield. Martinez would reportedly prefer to play outfield, but Boston already has Gold Glove Award winner Mookie Betts, along with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi. That means Martinez would likely be the club's designated hitter, which in turn may give Arizona an edge, in addition to the fact that the club recently hired Martinez's personal hitting coach.

Twins have interest in Miley
The Twins have been connected to several starting pitchers on the free-agent market this offseason, and left-hander Wade Miley is also on that list, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis.

According to Wolfson's report, the Twins "are maintaining regular dialogue" with Miley's agent, in addition to agents for Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb and Chris Tillman, among others.

Video: BAL@TB: Miley fans Longoria to end the 1st

Miley, 31, posted a 5.61 ERA with 5.3 walks per nine innings in 32 starts for the Orioles last season. He hasn't posted an ERA below 4.34 since 2013 with the D-backs. He was an All-Star and runner-up in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2012, finishing with a 3.33 ERA in 32 appearances (29 starts) for Arizona.

The Twins have been pursuing frontline starters to add to a rotation that features Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios, but the interest in Miley is in keeping with chief baseball officer Derek Falvey's comments that the club is also looking for "value adds."

Miley could fit the bill if he continues being as durable as he's been in his career, and proves that the career-high walk rate, which doubled from the prior season, was an outlier.

Yankees, Rangers, Marlins favorites for Cuban prospect Martinez
Twenty-one-year-old Cuban outfield prospect Julio Pablo Martinez is still waiting to be cleared by Major League Baseball to sign, but three teams have emerged as favorites to sign him if and when he becomes eligible.

The Marlins, Rangers and Yankees have separated themselves as favorites to sign Martinez, who is among the top young players from Cuba, sources tell MLB.com and as was first reported by Baseball America. Because of his age, Martinez will be subject to international bonus pool rules.

Martinez's talent is on par with a first-round Draft pick and that he would likely be ready for a Class A Advanced or Double-A assignment. At 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, the left-handed hitter has a promising combination of speed, power and athleticism that should allow him to stick in center field.

Martinez slashed .333/.469/.498 with six home runs and 24 stolen bases last season in the Cuban Serie Nacional while walking 52 times compared to 30 strikeouts. He also competed in the Canadian-American Association in 2017 and posted a .297/.345/.449 line with seven home runs and 20 stolen bases.

Martinez is likely to be cleared by Major League Baseball before the current signing period ends on June 15, but depending on which team he chooses, he could opt to sign in either the 2017-18 or 2018-19 period.

Because the Marlins and Yankees -- both of whom have held private workouts for him this week in Florida -- have limited bonus pool space left, Martinez would likely wait until July 2 to sign with either team. The Rangers, however, have significant international money left after failing to sign Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani and would likely choose to sign him in the current period.

Nunez works out for Red Sox
Free-agent utility infielder Eduardo Nunez recently worked out for the Red Sox in the Dominican Republic, according to the Boston Herald. Nunez spent part of last season with Boston, slashing .321/.353/.539 with eight home runs in 38 games following a trade from the Giants.

Nunez injured his right knee on Sept. 9, and though he tried twice to return -- once in the American League Division Series against the Astros -- he ended up aggravating the injury. According to the Herald report, doctors have declared the knee fully healthy, and Nunez's market is gaining steam, as he has been in contact with at least eight clubs.

If the Red Sox were to sign Nunez, they'd likely play him at second base to start the season, with veteran Dustin Pedroia recovering from knee surgery.

Per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the Mets are also showing serious interest in signing Nunez, particularly with their own need at second base.

Reynolds wants to return to Rockies on Major League deal
Free-agent first baseman Mark Reynolds would like to return to the Rockies, but not on a Minor League deal like he signed prior to the 2017 season, according to the Denver Post.

The 34-year-old Reynolds slashed .267/.352/.487 with 30 home runs in 148 games for Colorado in 2017, providing a lift when Ian Desmond, whom the club signed to a five-year, $70 million contract to play first base, was injured to open the season.

Despite slumping in the second half (.762 OPS with 11 homers), Reynolds produced a 105 OPS+ overall, his best since 2012. He did have stark home-road splits, however, slashing .294/.393/.584 at Coors Field, and .242/.311/.392 away from Denver.

When the Rockies signed Reynolds to a Minor League deal last February, he was coming off an injury-shortened season in which he posted an .806 OPS with 14 homers in 118 games for Colorado.

"I think I proved last year that I can produce and help a team," Reynolds told the Post. "I am looking to sign a Major League deal. ... Things are different this year."

The Rockies could use a first baseman, with Ryan McMahon waiting in the wings. Signing Reynolds could open the possibility of a platoon between him and McMahon, especially given that the 148 games Reynolds played in last season were his most since 2011.

Video: LAD@COL: Reynolds reaches 30 homers with two-run shot

Marlins want Acuna in a Yelich deal with Braves
Christian Yelich's name has been in the trade rumor mill for much of the offseason, and the buzz has picked up again after the center fielder's agent said Tuesday that Yelich hopes to be traded before Spring Training starts. According to MLB Network insider Peter Gammons, any deal would have to bring a "huge return" for Miami.

Citing conversations with teams that have called the Marlins about Yelich, Gammons said Wednesday on MLB Tonight that the Marlins won't move the 26-year-old unless they get back "star-level talent." As one example, Gammons said Miami has told the Braves that uber-prospect Ronald Acuna would have to be included in any trade for Yelich.

"The Marlins told the Braves, 'Look, we'll do a three- or four- or five-for-one, but Ronald Acuna has to be in it or we don't go even to the second player,'" Gammons said on MLB Network.

Acuna is one of baseball's very top prospects. He currently ranks as MLB's No. 6 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and could move up even further on that list in the upcoming 2018 rankings. The 20-year-old outfielder seems likely to be promoted to the big league club early next season.

Gammons said Acuna is a player the Braves won't trade, and the fact that the Marlins would tell the Braves that he would have to be the minimum headliner of any Yelich deal indicates that they're "shooting very high."

Following Miami's trades of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon to the Yankees, Cardinals and Mariners, respectively, Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto have been floated as the next players the team could potentially move as part of its rebuilding effort.

Gammons also mentioned Realmuto in the segment, saying that other teams' general managers think the Marlins might wait to trade Realmuto closer to the 2018 Trade Deadline.

Video: Gammons on Marlins asking for Acuna in Yelich deal

Castellanos on the trade block?
While the Tigers were ultimately able to avoid an arbitration hearing with Nicholas Castellanos, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Detroit remains open to trading the rising slugger, citing multiple clubs that have engaged in discussions with the Tigers this offseason.

Video: Castrovince, Justice on Tigers, Castellanos' options

Castellanos, 25, agreed to a one-year, $6.05 million contract with the Tigers on Friday. Detroit's first-round Draft choice from 2010 is about to embark on his first full season in right field, but Fenech reports that the Tigers' uncertainty about his defensive ability could still lead to a trade before Opening Day. Castellanos has primarily manned third base during his first four full seasons in the Motor City, but he has rated below average in terms of Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in each of those campaigns. He played 21 games in right last season.

Castellanos' prowess at the plate is much less in doubt. He broke out for a career-high 26 home runs and 101 RBIs for the Tigers in 2017 while recording a league-adjusted 110 OPS+ (where 100 is average) and pacing the American League with 10 triples. He was even more productive in some respects in '16, finishing with a 120 OPS+ over 110 games. While Castellanos will be eligible for arbitration again next winter, he will not test the free-agent market until 2020. That means Castellanos, for the moment, represents a controllable, relatively cheap hitter coming into his own -- regardless of his defensive ability.

Tigers general manager Al Avila revealed at the Winter Meetings that the team approached Castellanos about a contract extension toward the end of last season, but that no progress has been made.

If Pirates aren't contending, J-Hay wants to be dealt
A day after Andrew McCutchen was traded to San Francisco, Josh Harrison effectively asked to be traded "if indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next" in a statement released Tuesday to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. Harrison, 30, is under contract for $10.25 million this year, with club options for 2019 ($10.5 million) and '20 ($11.5 million). More >

Giants still looking for OF upgrades
Fresh off acquiring Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates on Monday, the Giants are trying to add even more talent to their outfield, with the former National League Most Valuable Player being told that he'll play a corner spot with the team this season, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

San Francisco's main desire is to upgrade defensively in center field, and sources tell ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that the Giants rank Jarrod Dyson as their most coveted option behind Lorenzo Cain. The club is also interested in Jon Jay and Cameron Maybin, according to Crasnick, but values Dyson's "speed, defensive metrics and stolen-base ability."

The Giants, after bringing in McCutchen via a trade with the Pirates, do not have the space under the luxury-tax threshold to sign Cain at his projected salary, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi. Morosi reported that the club is looking to add a "defense-first player" in center field "who will be less expensive than Cain."

Dyson, Jay and Maybin will certainly all be less expensive than the former Royals center fielder, and Dyson led that group with seven Outs Above Average last season, according to Statcast™. Maybin was at plus-2 two while Jay was minus-3.

Dyson, 33, has stolen at least 25 bases in each of the past six seasons and would be a big boost to a Giants club that ranked 20th in the Majors with 76 steals last year. Jay has 51 steals in eight Major League seasons, but his .738 career on-base-plus-slugging percentage bests Dyson's .677 total.

Maybin owns a career .693 OPS and stole 33 bases during his time split between the Astros and Angels last season.

Brewers remain interested in Arrieta, Moustakas
The Brewers "continue to be in" on free-agent right-hander Jake Arrieta and third baseman Mike Moustakas, according to Jim Bowden of SiriusXM.

The Brewers have been known to be seeking starting pitching in free agency, and Arrieta would certainly be a boost to Milwaukee's rotation, especially with Jimmy Nelson's 2018 status unclear. Nelson, who underwent surgery on his right shoulder in September, went 12-6 with a team-best 3.49 ERA and 199 strikeouts in 175 1/3 innings last season.

It was reported earlier in January that the Cubs and Cardinals were the two clubs most interested in Arrieta's services, but the Brewers' desire to sign the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner could create a potential bidding war between the NL Central rivals.

Arrieta, 31, went 64-29 with a 2.67 ERA in 119 starts for the Cubs over the past four seasons.

According to Bowden, the Brewers' interest in Moustakas comes with the idea that the club "could trade Travis Shaw" to the Yankees, Braves or Mets.

Milwaukee does not necessarily have a need at third base with the incumbent Shaw being younger and cheaper than Moustakas. The 27-year-old Shaw, under team control through 2022, also excelled for the Brewers last season, batting .273/.349/.513 with 31 home runs and 101 RBIs in 144 games.

 

Cardinals land 2 arms from Jays for Grichuk

St. Louis acquires Leone, who enjoyed breakout '17, and RHP prospect Greene
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Days after publicly expressing his disappointment in the prospect of entering Spring Training as the Cardinals' fourth outfielder, Randal Grichuk is on the move.

St. Louis dealt Grichuk to the Blue Jays on Friday in exchange for right-handed pitchers Dominic Leone and Conner Greene. Leone, 26, gives the Cardinals another reliever for their retooled bullpen. Greene, who rose to Double-A last season, ranked 11th on the Blue Jays' Top 30 Prospects list, according to MLB Pipeline.

ST. LOUIS -- Days after publicly expressing his disappointment in the prospect of entering Spring Training as the Cardinals' fourth outfielder, Randal Grichuk is on the move.

St. Louis dealt Grichuk to the Blue Jays on Friday in exchange for right-handed pitchers Dominic Leone and Conner Greene. Leone, 26, gives the Cardinals another reliever for their retooled bullpen. Greene, who rose to Double-A last season, ranked 11th on the Blue Jays' Top 30 Prospects list, according to MLB Pipeline.

The trade furthers the Cardinals' efforts to eliminate the outfield logjam that became more complicated with the addition of right fielder Marcell Ozuna last month. The Cardinals have now dealt three outfielders -- Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty and Magneuris Sierra -- from their 40-man roster since the season ended.

Had they not gotten their desired return, the Cardinals were prepared to keep Grichuk as depth behind starting outfielders Tommy Pham, Dexter Fowler and Ozuna. But with Jose Martinez likely to make the Opening Day roster, and prospects Harrison Bader, Tyler O'Neill and Oscar Mercado capable of playing all three outfield positions, Grichuk's presence wasn't a necessity.

What was pressing, however, was to further reinforce a bullpen that lost four key members -- Trevor Rosenthal, Seung Hwan Oh, Zach Duke and Juan Nicasio -- this offseason. Before Friday, the Cardinals' only addition to the 'pen had been Luke Gregerson, who is currently in line to open the season as the club's closer.

Video: BAL@TOR: Leone fans Trumbo for his first MLB save

If Leone can build upon his breakout season from 2017, he could slot into a late-inning role with the Cardinals. Leone ranked 12th among qualifying American League relievers with a 2.56 ERA last season and struck out 81 in 70 1/3 innings.

Leone had success against both right-handed (.211 average) and left-handed (.183) batters while posting a 1.05 WHIP and registering 11 holds. Leone stranded 78 percent of inherited runners, the 13th-highest percentage among AL relievers.

Leone made his Major League debut with the Mariners in 2014 and also spent time with the D-backs. The Cardinals will have him under team control for another four seasons.

Video: TB@TOR: Leone gets out of a bases-loaded jam

Greene, 22, had been methodically climbing through Toronto's system since signing as a seventh-round pick out of high school in 2013. The right-hander reached Double-A last year and finished 5-10 with a 5.29 ERA in 26 games (25 starts). He struck out 92 and walked 83 over 132 2/3 innings.

According to MLB Pipeline's scouting report, Greene features a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s, as well as an above-average changeup. He is also developing a slider and curveball, both of which scouts believe will improve once he finds a more consistent release point.

Video: Top Prospects: Conner Greene, RHP, Cardinals

As for Grichuk, he departs St. Louis four years after the Cardinals acquired him in a four-player swap with the Angels. He debuted in 2014 and opened the next two years as a starting outfielder and cleanup hitter. But the potential that had long intrigued the Cardinals never developed into consistent production.

Grichuk was shuttled to the Minors each of the last two seasons when his confidence waned and his swing got out of whack. Along the way, he lost his starting job with the big league club. During his time with the Cards, Grichuk hit .249/.297/.488 with a .785 OPS. His 63 home runs since 2015 rank second-most on the team (Matt Carpenter, 72).

With the additions of Leone and Greene, the Cardinals' 40-man roster is once again full. This marks the second trade the Cardinals have made with the Blue Jays this winter. In December, the Cardinals dealt away shortstop Aledmys Diaz for Minor League outfielder J.B. Woodman.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

St. Louis Cardinals, Conner Greene, Randal Grichuk, Dominic Leone

Mariners pluck righty Bradford from waivers

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Chasen Bradford, a 28-year-old reliever with the Mets, was claimed off waivers by the Mariners on Friday.

Bradford was designated for assignment by the Mets on Thursday to make room for the signing of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. The right-hander went 2-0 with a 3.74 ERA in 33 2/3 innings over 28 appearances last season after making his Major League debut in late June.

SEATTLE -- Chasen Bradford, a 28-year-old reliever with the Mets, was claimed off waivers by the Mariners on Friday.

Bradford was designated for assignment by the Mets on Thursday to make room for the signing of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. The right-hander went 2-0 with a 3.74 ERA in 33 2/3 innings over 28 appearances last season after making his Major League debut in late June.

Bradford spent half of 2017 with Triple-A Las Vegas, where he was 1-1 with a 4.04 ERA in 33 relief outings. Over seven Minor League seasons, he's gone 28-20 with 47 saves and a 3.48 ERA with 333 strikeouts in 391 innings after being drafted in the 35th round out of the University of Central Florida.

Bradford isn't a power arm, with a fastball in the 90-91 mph range, but he's posted strong ground-ball rates and low walk totals in his Minor League career.

Bradford's addition puts Seattle's 40-man roster at 40. The Mariners are less than a month from the start of Spring Training, with pitchers and catchers reporting to Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 14.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

 

Seattle Mariners, Chasen Bradford

Frieri gets Minors pact from Brewers

Reliever receives invitation to Spring Training to compete for 'pen spot
MLB.com

The Brewers signed former Angels closer Ernesto Frieri to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training camp on Friday.

Frieri, 32, saved 23 games for the Angels in 2012 and followed that with 37 saves in '13.

The Brewers signed former Angels closer Ernesto Frieri to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training camp on Friday.

Frieri, 32, saved 23 games for the Angels in 2012 and followed that with 37 saves in '13.

He began last year with the Yankees but was released in June, then signed with the Rangers and appeared in six games from mid June to early July, giving up four runs on six hits over seven innings. On Aug. 8, he was sold by the Rangers to the Mariners for $1 and assigned to Triple-A Tacoma. He appeared in seven games with Tacoma and gave up seven earned runs over 12 innings.

Frieri did not pitch in the Major Leagues in 2016.

Carrie Muskat is reporter for MLB.com.

 

Milwaukee Brewers, Ernesto Frieri

Blue Jays land Grichuk from Cards for 2 arms

Right-hander Leone, pitching prospect Greene headed to St. Louis for outfielder
MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' potential Opening Day lineup received a little bit more clarity on Friday afternoon when Toronto acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk in a three-player trade with the Cardinals.

Right-hander Dominic Leone and prospect Conner Greene were sent to St. Louis as part of the deal. It marks the second move between these organizations this offseason, coming on the heels of a December trade that saw infielder Aledmys Diaz join Toronto.

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' potential Opening Day lineup received a little bit more clarity on Friday afternoon when Toronto acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk in a three-player trade with the Cardinals.

Right-hander Dominic Leone and prospect Conner Greene were sent to St. Louis as part of the deal. It marks the second move between these organizations this offseason, coming on the heels of a December trade that saw infielder Aledmys Diaz join Toronto.

Grichuk immediately becomes the heavy favorite to replace free agent Jose Bautista as the Blue Jays' starting right fielder. The 26-year-old is coming off a season in which he hit 22 home runs over 412 at-bats for the Cards. While nothing is guaranteed, Toronto envisions using him as an everyday player.

"I think he'll have the best chance of our group to take that position over for us in right field," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said. "But the fact is, we have options and we'll have some balance. In today's game, asking someone to get 700 plate appearances is a lot. There are very few players who are doing it day in and day out. So where that number ends up, we'll see, but I think he has the best chance at the outset to be the regular for us."

Video: STL@BOS: Statcast™ measures Grichuk's five-star catch

Toronto's outfield appears somewhat set following the trade and the recent signing of Curtis Granderson. Grichuk is expected to start in right field with Kevin Pillar in center and a platoon of Granderson and Steve Pearce in left. That scenario would leave Ezequiel Carrera without a job and the prospect duo of Anthony Alford and Teoscar Hernandez beginning the year at Triple-A Buffalo.

Carrera recently avoided arbitration by signing a one-year deal worth $1.9 million. He has spent the majority of the past two seasons as Toronto's fourth outfielder, but there's no longer a clear path to playing time now. He could be shopped to fill a hole elsewhere or it's possible Carrera will stick as additional insurance during Spring Training.

"We have to stay open about all of the players on our roster," Atkins said when asked about a possible move. "If there's any way to make our team better, more fluid, provide more versatility, we'll look to do that."

If Grichuk becomes the final piece of significance the Blue Jays add this offseason, the question will become whether Toronto did enough to improve its offense. The Blue Jays ranked last in the American League with 693 runs scored, and while the team undeniably has more depth following the additions of Grichuk, Diaz and Yangervis Solarte, most of the starters remain.

Video: PIT@STL: Statcast™ measures Grichuk's 478-foot homer

Instead of adding a big name this offseason, the Blue Jays are banking on a return to health as the primary way to improve. Full seasons from Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis would certainly help, but if the injuries become a problem once again, at least Toronto is in a better position to handle them.

The Blue Jays still have some flexibility to make additional moves, but the focus now shifts to the pitching staff. Toronto remains in the market for a fifth starter, and following the departure of Leone, another piece in the bullpen could be needed as well.

"I think at this point [it's] pitching," Atkins said. "If there's a way to improve our position player roster, we'll look to do that. At this point that would mean subtraction, or other players being optioned. We have a little bit of uncertainty around playing time for some of our players so we have to build as much depth as possible."

Video: Zinkie on fantasy impact of Grichuk to Blue Jays

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Now set to hold a regular role on a team with a hitter-friendly home park, Grichuk has the power (lifetime 39.7 percent hard-hit rate, .239 ISO) to tally 30 long balls and 75 RBIs in spite of his poor plate discipline (career 0.2 BB/K ratio). While the 26-year-old gains late-round status in mixed leagues, the deal will have the opposite effect for Hernandez. Likely to open 2018 in Triple-A, Hernandez can go undrafted in all mixed formats. Meanwhile, Jose Martinez (career .903 OPS) becomes a sleeper in deep mixed leagues on the expectation that he will serve as a fourth outfielder and backup first baseman for the Cardinals.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

 

Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, Randal Grichuk

Source: Blue Jays sign reliever Alburquerque

Veteran righty reportedly agrees to Minors deal with Spring Training invite
MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays reportedly added more depth to their bullpen on Thursday by signing veteran right-hander Al Alburquerque to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

Toronto has yet to officially announce the non-guaranteed deal, which was first reported by Sportsnet. Alburquerque gives the Blue Jays another option in middle relief and he is expected to compete for a job when camp gets under way next month in Dunedin, Fla.

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays reportedly added more depth to their bullpen on Thursday by signing veteran right-hander Al Alburquerque to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

Toronto has yet to officially announce the non-guaranteed deal, which was first reported by Sportsnet. Alburquerque gives the Blue Jays another option in middle relief and he is expected to compete for a job when camp gets under way next month in Dunedin, Fla.

The 31-year-old spent last season with the White Sox and Royals. He posted a combined 2.50 ERA over 18 innings and he boasts a 3.16 ERA in 245 career big league innings. Alburquerque primarily uses a slider, which he threw 54 percent of the time in 2017, according to Statcast™.

Alburquerque likely intrigues the Blue Jays because of his ability to generate swings and misses. He has struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings over the course of his career, a skill that will be crucial in a division that features feared right-handed hitters such as Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.

The signing is a low-risk proposition, and there's no guarantee that Alburquerque will break camp with the Blue Jays. Toronto currently has Roberto Osuna, Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes, Dominic Leone and possibly Aaron Loup for the bullpen. Another spot will be reserved for a long reliever, which likely leaves one other position up for grabs during Spring Training.

Alburquerque will receive competition from rookie Carlos Ramirez and possibly lefty Tim Mayza this spring. Toronto also is expected to continue adding depth in the coming weeks, which should complicate this situation even more. Ultimately, if Alburquerque performs well enough, he could force the Blue Jays to option one of their young controllable arms to the Minors.

With less than a month remaining until the start of Spring Training, the Blue Jays remain in the market for a starting pither, another outfielder and likely more depth options for the bullpen on Minor League deals.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

 

Toronto Blue Jays, Al Alburquerque

Mets sign A-Gon to one-year deal

Veteran first baseman (back injury) played in just 71 games in '17
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The Mets may still consider Dominic Smith their first baseman of the future, but he is no longer their first baseman of the present.

The team finalized a deal Thursday to assume the last year of Adrian Gonzalez's contract, with plans to give him significant playing time. Though Gonzalez is due to make $22.4 million next season, the Mets will be responsible for just the league minimum. His previous employers, the Braves and Dodgers, will pick up the balance.

NEW YORK -- The Mets may still consider Dominic Smith their first baseman of the future, but he is no longer their first baseman of the present.

The team finalized a deal Thursday to assume the last year of Adrian Gonzalez's contract, with plans to give him significant playing time. Though Gonzalez is due to make $22.4 million next season, the Mets will be responsible for just the league minimum. His previous employers, the Braves and Dodgers, will pick up the balance.

Video: Gonzalez discusses signing with Mets, mentoring Smith

"For me, all my memories of the National League, going to Citi Field and even Shea Stadium before that, the Mets fans have always been incredible," Gonzalez said. "They've always been a part of the franchise and very passionate, and I just love the atmosphere that they bring each and every day. I'm so happy to be able to play behind them."

A five-time All-Star, Gonzalez has finished in the top 10 in MVP voting three times, leading the American League with 213 hits in 2011 with the Red Sox. As recently as 2016, Gonzalez hit .285 with 18 homers, playing in at least 156 games for the 11th straight season. But he struggled through a back injury last year, batting just .242 with three home runs and a .642 OPS in 71 games. Entering his age-36 season, it is reasonable to wonder how much production Gonzalez can give the Mets.

Tweet from @Adrian_ElTitan: I am extremely excited and ready for the 2018 season. Looking forward to a great ride with my new teammates and coaches with the @Mets Can���t wait for #SpringTraining to start. I am ready! Are you? pic.twitter.com/biW0hTTR1e

To that end, Gonzalez said he has spent this winter focused on his back, eschewing heavy lifting in favor of stretching exercises, Pilates and water aerobics.

"I feel really good right now," Gonzalez said. "Workouts have gone really well. … It's responding really well. And I think for 2018, I will continue to do that."

Questions also loom regarding Gonzalez's leadership abilities after he did not attend all of the Dodgers' World Series games in October -- an action that Gonzalez colored as a joint decision amongst himself, the Dodgers' front office and Major League Baseball. The Mets hope Gonzalez, who also received significant media criticism during his years in Boston, can nonetheless be a positive presence in the clubhouse -- particularly during Spring Training, when they expect him to be a mentor for Smith.

Video: Gonzalez homers in first, final at-bats with Dodgers

It is an imperfect situation; with Gonzalez in the fold, Smith could be ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas to start the season, though it's also still possible he can win the first-base job outright with a strong spring. Both are left-handed hitters, limiting the opportunities for them to split playing time.

As a rookie, Smith hit .198 with nine home runs in 49 games, earning a dash of criticism from general manager Sandy Alderson. The GM later backed off those comments, but Smith nonetheless took them and others to heart; as of mid-December, he had dropped 12 pounds with an offseason focus on exercise and nutrition.

Video: Dominic Smith reflects on 2017, what he learned

"One of my big, key points especially going into Spring Training is to work with Dominic on defense," said Gonzalez, a four-time Gold Glove Award winner. "I'll tell him about my experiences and everything I've done. So I'm looking forward to that adventure with Dominic as well, so I can help him become the best Major Leaguer he can be."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.

 

New York Mets, Adrian Gonzalez

Nats, Kendrick agree to 2-year deal

MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals reached an agreement on Thursday to bring back Howie Kendrick, the veteran utility man who became a valuable player off the bench after he was acquired midseason.

According to a source, the deal is reportedly worth two years and $7 million.

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals reached an agreement on Thursday to bring back Howie Kendrick, the veteran utility man who became a valuable player off the bench after he was acquired midseason.

According to a source, the deal is reportedly worth two years and $7 million.

Kendrick, 34, impressed the Nats after he was acquired in July. He slashed .293/.343/.494 with eight homers in 52 games for Washington while playing second base and the outfield, and serving as the team's best right-handed hitter off the bench. Kendrick was seen as a rental then, but the Nats will bring him back to join their other midseason acquisitions: Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson (who were already under contract), and Brandon Kintzler (whom the team re-signed last month).

Hot Stove Tracker

Filling out the bench was a key priority for the Nationals entering this offseason, and Kendrick adds to the club's strong set of reserves. Kendrick will complement left-handed hitter Matt Adams, who replaces Adam Lind, to form the club's primary pinch-hitting options. Infielder Wilmer Difo, outfielder Brian Goodwin and catcher Pedro Severino are likely to round out the bench, which should be a strength for Washington again.

Video: MLB Now: Howie Kendrick's two-year deal with Nats

Kendrick also provides versatility for the Nats, and new manager Dave Martinez could find a way to keep him in the lineup if Kendrick continues to perform. He would also provide insurance at the start of the season while second baseman Daniel Murphy is recovering from offseason knee surgery. The Nationals continue to be optimistic that Murphy will be ready for Opening Day, but Kendrick could give them another reason not to rush Murphy's progress.

"Love Howie Kendrick, love what he brought us in the clubhouse with the young players," general manager Mike Rizzo said at the Winter Meetings. "He's got a good skill set. He's a guy that did nothing but great things for us between the lines and in the clubhouse."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

 

Washington Nationals, Howie Kendrick

Bucs, Rivero complete 4-year contract

Deal locks up closer through 2021, includes two years of club options
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole are gone, but Felipe Rivero hopes that he'll be sticking around a while.

The Pirates and Rivero completed a four-year deal with club options for 2022-23, the club announced on Thursday. News of the agreement was first reported on Monday.

PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole are gone, but Felipe Rivero hopes that he'll be sticking around a while.

The Pirates and Rivero completed a four-year deal with club options for 2022-23, the club announced on Thursday. News of the agreement was first reported on Monday.

Hot Stove Tracker

"Felipe has quickly established himself as one of the best young relievers and best young closers in the game," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We are honored and humbled that he is willing to make the commitment to us as we've been willing to make a sizable commitment to him."

Video: Rivero, Huntington discuss new deal with Pirates

The contract is worth a guaranteed $22 million, according to an industry source, and he can earn up to $41 million over six years. Rivero was a Super Two player, so the deal covers all four of his arbitration years and the options would extend into his first two free-agent years.

"I want to be relaxed the next few years," Rivero said. "I just want to focus on the season and try to help the team as much as I can right now."

Rivero, 26, will receive a $2 million signing bonus, $2.5 million in 2018, $4 million in '19, $5.25 million in '20 and $7.25 million in '21. The club options are worth $10 million each, with a $1 million buyout for '22 and a $500,000 buyout for '23.

Rivero might have earned more money if he went year-to-year through the arbitration process, particularly since that system rewards players who rack up saves. But Rivero said this deal was about comfort for him and his family, not financial gain.

"It's not about the money. It's not about getting more," Rivero said. "It's the way, if you feel comfortable with the team, that's what made me accept this deal."

Video: Felipe Rivero talks contract extension

It could prove to be a bargain for the Bucs if Rivero continues what he started during his first full season with Pittsburgh. The left-hander posted a 1.67 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings, emerging as one of the game's most dominant late-inning arms and taking over as the closer in June.

"This gives us the opportunity to build a bullpen around him, to build a club around him and put our best foot forward to compete and do everything we can to win ballgames in '18, '19 and beyond," Huntington said. "It's nice for a manager to know he's got a guy with the ability of Felipe Rivero out there to close out wins."

Many have speculated that Rivero's reasonable contract, along with the recent prospect hauls for late-inning relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, might prompt the Pirates to trade him in an effort to accelerate their current "retooling" process.

But the Pirates believe they will be competitive sooner than expected, and they want Rivero closing games for their next contending team.

Video: NYM@PIT: Rivero tosses clean 9th inning

"There's a lot of misinformation and a lot of false narrative out there about when we are looking to compete again. We're looking to compete again this year," Huntington said. "We believe that this club is a lot closer to the '11 and '12 Pirates and '13 Pirates than the '07, '08, '09 Pirates.

"Felipe, as one of the best young closers in the game, gives us some certainty at the back end of the bullpen and will continue to be an important pitcher for us as we go forward."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates, Felipe Rivero

Dombrowski: Despite slow market, goal same

Red Sox president of baseball operations maintaining pursuit of power bat
MLB.com

BOSTON -- Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who has been running front offices for nearly 30 years, said Tuesday in an interview with MLB Network Radio that he has "never seen a market go this slow, really."

But that plodding pace in the industry hasn't deterred Dombrowski's focus: He is still looking for a middle-of-the-order bat, and that likely won't change, even if it takes all offseason.

BOSTON -- Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who has been running front offices for nearly 30 years, said Tuesday in an interview with MLB Network Radio that he has "never seen a market go this slow, really."

But that plodding pace in the industry hasn't deterred Dombrowski's focus: He is still looking for a middle-of-the-order bat, and that likely won't change, even if it takes all offseason.

Hot Stove Tracker

J.D. Martinez remains the free agent who makes the most sense for Dombrowski. The right-handed-hitting slugger clubbed 45 homers in 432 at-bats last season and represents the true power hitter the Red Sox lack in the middle of their lineup.

The Red Sox and D-backs have both been linked to Martinez. Other than those two, it's unclear which teams are pursuing him.

Video: Red Sox reportedly make offer to J.D. Martinez

As has always been his custom, Dombrowski doesn't discuss specific players he is trying to acquire. But from the start, he's been open about his need this winter.

"We had pretty much a focus of trying to get a middle-of-the-order bat, which remains our focus," Dombrowski told hosts Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin. "It can come through trade or through free agency, and we have conversations going on with both."

It only stands to reason that at some point a conversation might turn into an acquisition. But nobody expected it would take this long.

"I'm surprised in the sense that there haven't been more things done because of the lateness [in the offseason]," Dombrowski said. "At some point, it's going to have to change and I'm assuming that guys are going to start signing with clubs. We've seen a couple of moves trade-wise and free-agent signings over the last few days. I would assume that this kind of picks up the tempo and we start moving from there."

Without question, Dombrowski is ready to move. For the Red Sox, this offseason has been completely different than the last two. Two years ago, Dombrowski acquired Craig Kimbrel in November and David Price before the Winter Meetings. Last year, he essentially completed his entire offseason in one day at the Winter Meetings, acquiring Chris Sale and Tyler Thornburg via trades and Mitch Moreland as a free agent.

Then, there is this Hot Stove season, in which the only move the Red Sox have made so far is re-signing Moreland.

Video: MLB Tonight on Moreland re-signing with Red Sox

"It's just been a situation [in the past] where you get to this time period and your club is pretty well set. You get back from the holidays and you're talking about Spring Training and you're talking about doing the PR, the caravan aspect of your organization," Dombrowski said.

"But in this case, ourselves as well as the majority of organizations have moves that they're still discussing, trade-wise, free-agency-wise, so it's such a late-moving year. I'm not really sure why that is. I know there's all kinds of speculation. Every year is somewhat different and this is unique in that regard."

The re-signing of Moreland means that the Red Sox have their entire starting nine back from last season, though Dustin Pedroia could start the season on the disabled list as he recovers from left knee surgery.

Would Dombrowski be comfortable going into 2018 without another addition to the offense?

"We would be content. Would we rather [add a bat]? Yes," said Dombrowski. "But again, you have to be flexible in your thought processes. You never know what's going to take place."

Martinez is one of several remaining free agents who are represented by Scott Boras.

During his time with the Tigers, Dombrowski had multiple occasions in which he reached late-winter agreements with a Boras client. The Tigers signed Pudge Rodriguez in February 2004, and Magglio Ordonez in February a year later. Prince Fielder signed in mid-January of 2012, after Victor Martinez had sustained a major injury during an offseason workout.

"In Scott's case, he hasn't hesitated to take players this late in free agency," Dombrowski said. "He's done it in the past. I don't know if he's ever had this number of players that are out there at this point. The number of unsigned players, good players out there, is probably again, remarkable compared to other years."

"It's a situation where those things happen. Sometimes they don't though, too. That's why it's always a gamble from both perspectives. Scott has had success in signing guys late."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

 

Boston Red Sox

Duensing reportedly re-signs with Cubs

MLB.com

The Cubs and left-handed reliever Brian Duensing are reuniting after the two sides agreed to a two-year deal on Wednesday, sources told MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

The club has not confirmed the deal, which is worth $7 million according to multiple reports. Heyman reported that Duensing "had deals for significantly more money elsewhere but liked the Cubs experience so much he wanted to return."

The Cubs and left-handed reliever Brian Duensing are reuniting after the two sides agreed to a two-year deal on Wednesday, sources told MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

The club has not confirmed the deal, which is worth $7 million according to multiple reports. Heyman reported that Duensing "had deals for significantly more money elsewhere but liked the Cubs experience so much he wanted to return."

Duensing, 34, signed a one-year contract with the Cubs last offseason and went 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings in 2017. He pitched 5 1/3 innings during the postseason, allowing one earned run while striking out three and walking three.

A nine-year Major League veteran, Duensing is 43-38 with a 4.01 ERA in 725 career innings. He was once a part-time starter, but has pitched strictly out of the bullpen over the past five seasons.

He is likely to fill a middle relief role for Chicago in 2018.

 

Chicago Cubs, Brian Duensing

Source: Grandy, Toronto agree to 1-year pact

Club yet to announce deal; vet will compete for OF job
MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays shifted their attention to the outfield Monday night by reaching an agreement with veteran Curtis Granderson on a one-year deal worth $5 million.

Toronto has yet to officially announce the signing, but it was first reported by MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal and has since been confirmed by MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The deal is pending a physical and also includes incentives based on playing time.

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays shifted their attention to the outfield Monday night by reaching an agreement with veteran Curtis Granderson on a one-year deal worth $5 million.

Toronto has yet to officially announce the signing, but it was first reported by MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal and has since been confirmed by MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The deal is pending a physical and also includes incentives based on playing time.

Granderson is coming off a season in which he hit .212 with 26 home runs and 70 RBIs over 147 games with the Mets and Dodgers. The 36-year-old made a handful of appearances for Los Angeles during the postseason, but was left off the roster for the World Series.

Video: Justice discusses Blue Jays' deal with Granderson

The Blue Jays remain in the market for additional help in the outfield, but this signing makes it harder to envision the club adding a high-profile name to the mix. President Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins appear to have a clear strategy this offseason of spreading their available money around to multiple players instead of spending most of it on one player.

Toronto took that approach with the infield by acquiring Yangervis Solarte, Aledmys Diaz and Gift Ngoepe. It appears to be the strategy for the outfield as well with the focus on depth and complementary pieces. Granderson falls into that category, as he's expected to form a platoon with Steve Pearce in one of the corner outfield spots. Kevin Pillar remains the starter in center field, which leaves one job up for grabs.

Rookie Teoscar Hernandez is one internal candidate, and the Blue Jays also control Ezequiel Carrera, who recently avoided arbitration with a one-year deal worth $1.9 million. Toronto could use another big bat -- and someone like free agent Lorenzo Cain appears to be a perfect fit -- but the club also is starting to run out of funds.

Video: MLB Tonight on Granderson agreeing to join Blue Jays

Toronto has a projected payroll of $151 million after factoring in arbitration and pre-arbitration players on the roster. Per club policy, the Blue Jays do not publicly disclose payroll parameters, but the range for 2018 is expected to be the same as it was for '17, which was approximately $165 million.

That left the Blue Jays with a range of $10 million to $15 million to spend this offseason. In addition to another outfielder, the club is in the market for a fifth starter and possibly an additional lefty reliever. With multiple needs, that money will have to be divided up, so a big signing through free agency may prove difficult.

Granderson is entering the latter stages of his career, but he still possesses quite a bit of power. The 15-year veteran has at least 20 home runs in four consecutive seasons and can play either corner outfield spot. He also struck out 123 times in 449 at-bats last season, and six stolen bases showed Granderson is no longer a speed threat.

 

Toronto Blue Jays, Curtis Granderson

Pros and cons of 6 potential acquisitions

MLB.com

We've had an offseason in which huge, sweeping trades have been discussed. In that way, the Hot Stove has never been hotter. As for action, that's another story.

Despite all the talk, just three big names have been dealt since the Winter Meetings -- third baseman Evan Longoria from the Rays to the Giants in December, right-hander Gerrit Cole from the Pirates to the Astros on Saturday and outfielder Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates to the Giants on Monday.

We've had an offseason in which huge, sweeping trades have been discussed. In that way, the Hot Stove has never been hotter. As for action, that's another story.

Despite all the talk, just three big names have been dealt since the Winter Meetings -- third baseman Evan Longoria from the Rays to the Giants in December, right-hander Gerrit Cole from the Pirates to the Astros on Saturday and outfielder Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates to the Giants on Monday.

Those three trades could eventually trigger others. And all those other deals, the ones involving Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson and Christian Yelich, seem as far away as ever. Stay tuned.

There's still time, though, and as free agency plays out and teams consider their options, things could happen. With that in mind, let's look at seven possibilities.

D-backs

The acquisition: Orioles 3B Manny Machado (trade).

Pros: Machado would replace J.D. Martinez in the middle of the order to create something similar to the lineup that averaged five runs per game after the trade for Martinez in 2017. Machado's arrival would send a message to every D-backs player and fan that the club believes it is good enough to win in '18 and that the front office is doing its part. For the Orioles, it would begin the tough, necessary job of accumulating young talent.

Cons: The Orioles want two MLB-ready pitchers, even with Machado a year from free agency. That's a steep price at a time when young pitching is among the game's most coveted assets. On the other hand, Arizona is one of the few clubs that has that kind of pitching depth, with left-hander Anthony Banda and right-hander Jon Duplantier on the cusp of the big leagues.

Video: TOR@BOS: Donaldson crushes his 32nd homer of the year

Cardinals

The acquisition: Blue Jays 3B Josh Donaldson (trade).

Pros: The Cardinals would be nicely positioned to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Never mind that Donaldson will be a free agent after '18. The Cards see that as a discussion for another time. Donaldson's production and passion would make him an instant fan favorite. After finishing behind the Cubs in back-to-back seasons, the Cardinals aren't looking at anything else. For the Blue Jays, who have a strong farm system, the trade would bring at least a couple of elite young players.

Cons: There aren't many. The Blue Jays would want to pick through the St. Louis farm system, despite Donaldson being a possible one-year rental. For the Cardinals, that's a reasonable price to pay for a return to October. The Blue Jays believe they're good enough to get back to the playoffs. That probably changes without Donaldson.

Red Sox

The acquisition: OF J.D. Martinez (free agent).

Pros: Martinez hit 45 home runs in 2017 and would be a solid addition to a team that finished last in the American League in homers. Since turning his career around in '14, Martinez's .574 slugging percentage is the second highest in baseball, trailing only Mike Trout's .579.

Cons: Basically none. Martinez is 30 years old and probably worth a three- to five-year deal at $25 million or more per season. Agent Scott Boras apparently wants more than that, or the deal would have been done by now.

Video: Heyman on Martinez, Red Sox playing 'waiting game'

Mariners

The acquisition: RHP Jake Arrieta (free agent).

Pros: He might just be the final piece of the puzzle for Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto, who has relentlessly reshaped his team the past three offseasons. His 2.67 ERA over the past four seasons is the second best in baseball, trailing only Clayton Kershaw's 1.99. Arrieta will be 32 on Opening Day, but he is still under 1,200 career innings.

Cons: Signing workhorse pitchers to long-term contracts can be risky business. On the other hand, there is no such thing as a perfect acquisition. Arrieta seems worth the risk.

Video: Nats showing interest in trading for Realmuto

Nationals

The acquisition: Marlins C J.T. Realmuto (trade).

Pros: He's 26 years old and already one of the five or six best catchers in the game. He could share the position with veteran Matt Wieters for a year and would shore up the closest thing the Nationals have to a weak link in their lineup.

Cons: The Nats have been built on power pitching, and this deal almost certainly will not happen without GM Mike Rizzo giving up at least a couple of his best arms. Washington probably wins the NL East again with or without a change at catcher.

Brewers

The acquisition: Rays RHP Chris Archer (trade).

Pros: Archer is 29 years old and signed to a team-friendly contract ($34 million) for the next four years. He would give Milwaukee a true ace for the front of the rotation and close the gap on the Cubs in the NL Central. Once Jimmy Nelson returns from September shoulder surgery, Milwaukee's rotation would be playoff-worthy.

Cons: Archer would cost the Brewers some of the Minor League depth they've worked so hard to accumulate. If the deal costs them outfield prospect Lewis Brinson, who's ranked No. 13 in the baseball, GM David Stearns will have a tough time giving the OK. Considering Archer's age and contract, he's worth it.