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Source: Angels, Bourjos reunite on Minors deal

MLB.com

The Angels are bringing back outfielder Peter Bourjos on a Minor League deal, MLB.com's Maria Guardado confirmed. The deal was first reported by the Orange County Register. Boujos will be in the mix to fill a bench role as the club's fourth outfielder next season.

The 31-year-old veteran, who was selected by the Angels in the 10th round of the 2005 Draft, last played for the club in 2013. He debuted in 2010 and hit .251 with 24 homers, 89 RBIs and 41 stolen bases in 354 games across four seasons with Los Angeles.

The Angels are bringing back outfielder Peter Bourjos on a Minor League deal, MLB.com's Maria Guardado confirmed. The deal was first reported by the Orange County Register. Boujos will be in the mix to fill a bench role as the club's fourth outfielder next season.

The 31-year-old veteran, who was selected by the Angels in the 10th round of the 2005 Draft, last played for the club in 2013. He debuted in 2010 and hit .251 with 24 homers, 89 RBIs and 41 stolen bases in 354 games across four seasons with Los Angeles.

The Angels dealt Bourjos and Randal Grichuk to the Cardinals after the 2013 season in exchange for David Freese and Fernando Salas, and Bourjos has since passed through six organizations -- the Phillies, White Sox, Rays, Cubs, Braves and Giants.

In limited action with the Braves last season, Bourjos hit .205/.239/.364 in 36 games. He was designated for assignment by Atlanta in June and signed a Minor League deal with San Francisco in July, but finished the season with Triple-A Sacramento.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Angels, Peter Bourjos

2018-19 free agents, position by position

MLB.com

By now, you probably know this year's big-name free agents.

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the headliners. There's also Patrick CorbinDallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. But what about the rest?

By now, you probably know this year's big-name free agents.

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the headliners. There's also Patrick CorbinDallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. But what about the rest?

Below is a list of notable free agents and players who can opt out of their contracts, grouped by position -- using a player's most-played position in 2018 -- and ranked by '18 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Each player's 2019 seasonal age and '18 regular-season WAR total are included in parentheses next to his name. (WAR totals are from FanGraphs.)

Catchers
Yasmani Grandal (30 years old, 3.6 WAR)
Wilson Ramos (31, 2.4)
Kurt Suzuki (35, 2.0)
Robinson Chirinos (35, 1.6)
Martin Maldonado (32, 0.9)
Nick Hundley (35, 0.9)
Matt Wieters (33, 0.9)
A.J. Ellis (38, 0.8)
Devin Mesoraco (31, 0.7)
Jonathan Lucroy (33, 0.6)
Brian McCann (35, 0.5) -- Astros declined $15 million option (Oct. 31, 2018).
Rene Rivera (35, 0.3)
Chris Gimenez (36, 0.0)
Chris Stewart (37, -0.1)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (34, -0.2)
Jose Lobaton (34, -0.3)
Drew Butera (35, -0.3)
Jeff Mathis (36, -0.5)
Bobby Wilson (36, -0.5)
Stephen Vogt (34, N/A) -- Didn't appear in the Majors in 2018.

First basemen
Steve Pearce (36 years old, 1.6 WAR) -- Re-signed with Red Sox for one year, $6.25 million (Nov. 16, 2018).
Matt Adams (30, 0.8)
Mark Reynolds (35, 0.1)
Lucas Duda (32, 0.0)
Adam Rosales (36, -0.1)
Hanley Ramirez (35, -0.2)
Logan Morrison (31, -0.7) -- Twins declined $8 million option (Oct. 30, 2018).

Second basemen
Jed Lowrie (35 years old, 4.9 WAR)
Asdrubal Cabrera (33, 2.7)
Ian Kinsler (37, 2.3)
DJ LeMahieu (30, 2.0)
Daniel Descalso (32, 1.6)
Brian Dozier (32, 0.8)
Daniel Murphy (34, 0.8)
Josh Harrison (31, 0.3) -- Pirates declined $10.5 million option (Oct. 31, 2018).
Andrew Romine (33, 0.1)
Neil Walker (33, 0.1)
Sean Rodriguez (34, 0.0)
Gordon Beckham (32, -0.1)
Logan Forsythe (32, -0.2)
Brandon Phillips (38, -0.3)

Third basemen
Eduardo Escobar (30 years old, 3.5 WAR) -- Agreed to three-year, $21 million contract with D-backs (Oct. 22, 2018).
Mike Moustakas (30, 2.4) -- Declined $15 million mutual option (Oct. 30, 2018).
Josh Donaldson (33, 1.3)
Adrian Beltre (40, 1.2)
Jung Ho Kang (32, 0.0) -- Re-signed with Pirates for one year (Nov. 8, 2018).
Chase Headley (35, -0.4)
Ryan Flaherty (32, -0.4)
Danny Valencia (34, -0.4)
Jose Reyes (36, -0.9)
Luis Valbuena (33, -0.9)
Yangervis Solarte (31, -1.3) -- Blue Jays declined $5.5 million option (Oct. 31, 2018).

Shortstops
Manny Machado (26 years old, 6.2 WAR)
Jose Iglesias (29, 2.5)
Freddy Galvis (29, 1.2)
Jordy Mercer (32, 1.0)
Adeiny Hechavarria (30, 0.4)
Alcides Escobar (32, -0.3)
Eric Sogard (33, -0.8)

Left fielders
Michael Brantley (32 years old, 3.5 WAR)
Marwin Gonzalez (30, 1.6)
Denard Span (35, 1.5) -- Mariners declined $12 million option (Oct. 30, 2018).
Curtis Granderson (38, 0.9)
Craig Gentry (35, 0.6)
Cameron Maybin (32, 0.5)
Matt Joyce (34, 0.2)
Matt Holliday (39, 0.1)
Gerardo Parra (32, 0.0) -- Rockies declined $12 million option (Oct. 30, 2018).
Gregor Blanco (35, -0.7)
Hunter Pence (36, -0.9)

Center fielders
A.J. Pollock (31 years old, 2.5 WAR)
Adam Jones (33, 0.5)
Eric Young Jr. (34, -0.3)
Rajai Davis (38, -0.2)
Austin Jackson (32, -1.0)

Right fielders
Bryce Harper (26 years old, 3.5 WAR)
Andrew McCutchen (32, 2.6)
Nick Markakis (35, 2.6)
Carlos Gonzalez (33, 1.7)
Jose Bautista (38, 1.0)
Jon Jay (33, 0.8)
Lonnie Chisenhall (30, 0.8)
Melky Cabrera (34, 0.4)
Brandon Guyer (33, 0.1) -- Indians declined $3 million option (Oct. 30, 2018).
Carlos Gomez (33, -0.5)
Chris Young (35, -0.5)

Designated hitters
Nelson Cruz (38 years old, 2.5 WAR)
Evan Gattis (32, 0.0)
Pedro Alvarez (32, -0.2)

Starting pitchers
Patrick Corbin (29 years old, 6.3 WAR)
Dallas Keuchel (31, 3.6)
J.A. Happ (36, 3.2)
Charlie Morton (35, 3.1)
Lance Lynn (32, 2.9)
CC Sabathia (38, 2.5) -- Re-signed with Yankees for one year, $8 million (Nov. 7, 2018).
Anibal Sanchez (35, 2.4)
Nathan Eovaldi (29, 2.2)
Gio Gonzalez (33, 2.0)
Hyun-Jin Ryu (32, 2.0) -- Accepted one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer from Dodgers (Nov. 12, 2018).
Trevor Cahill (31, 2.0)
Derek Holland (32, 2.0)
Clay Buchholz (34, 1.9)
Wade Miley (32, 1.5)
Matt Harvey (30, 1.4)
Jeremy Hellickson (32, 1.2)
Garrett Richards (32, 1.0)
Tyson Ross (32, 1.0)
Brett Anderson (31, 0.9)
James Shields (37, 0.8) -- White Sox declined $16 million option (Oct. 29, 2018).
Jason Hammel (36, 0.8) -- Royals declined $12 million mutual option (Oct. 30, 2018).
Edwin Jackson (35, 0.7)
Adam Wainwright (37, 0.5) -- Reached agreement on one-year contract with Cardinals (Oct. 11, 2018).
Marco Estrada (35, 0.5)
Francisco Liriano (35, 0.3)
Doug Fister (35, 0.3)
Bartolo Colon (46, 0.2)
Yovani Gallardo (33, 0.1)
Jaime Garcia (32, 0.0)
Matt Moore (30, 0.0)
Martin Perez (28, -0.2)
Drew Pomeranz (30, -0.3)
Miguel Gonzalez (35, -0.3)
Chris Tillman (31, -0.4)
Ervin Santana (36, -0.5) -- Twins declined $14 million option (Oct. 30, 2018).
Nate Karns (31, N/A) -- Didn't appear in the Majors in 2018.

Relief pitchers
Adam Ottavino (33 years old, 2.0 WAR)
Jeurys Familia (29, 1.8)
Joakim Soria (35, 1.8) -- Declined $10 million mutual option (Oct. 30, 2018).
David Robertson (34, 1.5)
Craig Kimbrel (31, 1.5)
Jesse Chavez (35, 1.2)
Oliver Perez (37, 1.1)
Tony Sipp (35, 0.9)
Zach Duke (36, 0.9)
Brad Brach (33, 0.7)
Joe Kelly (31, 0.7)
Jordan Lyles (28, 0.6)
Sergio Romo (36, 0.5)
Jake Diekman (32, 0.5)
Justin Wilson (31, 0.5)
Tyler Clippard (34, 0.5)
Shawn Kelley (35, 0.5)
Andrew Miller (34, 0.4)
Kelvin Herrera (29,0.4)
Greg Holland (33, 0.3)
Tony Barnette (35, 0.3)
Aaron Loup (31, 0.3)
Adam Warren (31, 0.3)
John Axford (36, 0.2)
Bud Norris (34, 0.2)
Ryan Madson (38, 0.2)
Jeanmar Gomez (31, 0.2)
Zach Britton (31, 0.1)
Santiago Casilla (38, 0.1)
Carson Smith (29, 0.1)
Cody Allen (30, 0.0)
Jorge De La Rosa (38, 0.0)
Fernando Salas (34, 0.0)
Zach McAllister (31, 0.0)
Blake Wood (33, 0.0)
Daniel Hudson (32, -0.1)
Jerry Blevins (35, -0.1)
Matt Belisle (39, -0.2)
AJ Ramos (32, -0.2)
Hector Santiago (31, -0.2)
Jim Johnson (36, -0.3)
Randall Delgado (29, -0.3)
Boone Logan (34, -0.3)
Peter Moylan (40, -0.4)
Tim Collins (29, -0.4)
Junichi Tazawa (33, -0.5)
Brandon Maurer (28, -0.8)
Blaine Boyer (37, -0.9)
Josh Tomlin (34, -1.3)
David Phelps (32, N/A) -- Didn't appear in the Majors in 2018.
Joaquin Benoit (41, N/A) -- Didn't appear in the Majors in 2018.
Jandel Gustave (26, N/A) -- Didn't appear in the Majors in 2018.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

Key 2018-19 free agents for all 30 MLB teams

MLB.com

An impressive collection of talent has hit the open market, and players are now eligible to sign with any team. Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the key free agents for all 30 Major League clubs.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

An impressive collection of talent has hit the open market, and players are now eligible to sign with any team. Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the key free agents for all 30 Major League clubs.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Atlanta Braves
Key free agents: RHP Brad Brach, 1B Lucas Duda, 3B Ryan Flaherty, OF Nick Markakis, C Rene Rivera, RHP Anibal Sanchez, C Kurt Suzuki, RHP Peter Moylan

Markakis was a valuable member of a youthful Braves club in 2018, providing veteran leadership and making the All-Star team for the first time in his career. Atlanta has a stellar farm system that is loaded with pitching prospects, which is one of the reasons why Sanchez is unlikely to be back after his impressive rebound campaign. But without an obvious replacement for Markakis in right field, the door remains open for the soon-to-be 35-year-old to return. Suzuki has formed a productive catching tandem with Tyler Flowers over the past two seasons, but the 35-year-old may be too expensive to bring back for a part-time role.

Miami Marlins
Key free agents: None

The Marlins' roster is replete with players who are at the early stages of their big league careers, putting them years away from free agency. After trading multiple big-name players last offseason, Miami will likely now look to deal veterans Starlin Castro and Martin Prado, as they are owed nearly $27 million combined in 2019.

New York Mets
Key free agents: LHP Jerry Blevins, OF Austin Jackson, C Devin Mesoraco, RHP AJ Ramos, INF Jose Reyes, C Jose Lobaton

There's a chance the Mets won't bring back any of these players after they combined for -1.7 Wins Above Replacement in 2018, per FanGraphs. With Travis d'Arnaud, T.J. Rivera and Juan Lagares returning from injuries, the Mets have obvious replacements for Mesoraco, Reyes and Jackson next year. Blevins is more likely to be back than Ramos, whose recovery from right shoulder surgery is expected to extend into next June and possibly longer.

Philadelphia Phillies
Key free agents: 3B/OF Jose Bautista, INF Asdrubal Cabrera, LHP Aaron Loup, C Wilson Ramos

All four players on Philadelphia's list were acquired late in the 2018 campaign as the Phillies made a playoff push that ultimately fell short. Instead of bringing back Ramos, who is sure to fetch a sizable multi-year deal, the Phils may give 25-year-old Jorge Alfaro another chance to show he can handle starting duties behind the plate. Cabrera could be a fallback option if the Phillies are unable to land Manny Machado in free agency.

Washington Nationals
Key free agents: OF Bryce Harper, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP Kelvin Herrera, RHP Greg Holland, 1B Mark Reynolds, C Matt Wieters, LHP Tim Collins, RHP Joaquin Benoit

Harper is one of the top free agents on the market, and the Nats will likely make a major push to keep him in Washington. The club might also be interested in bringing back Holland and Hellickson, but the two righties are sure to draw interest from other clubs after boosting their value with the Nats. Washington is expected to try to upgrade at the catcher spot, which could leave Wieters looking for a new home. Left-hander Sean Doolittle will be back, as the Nats exercised his option for 2019.

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs
Key free agents: RHP Jesse Chavez, LHP Jorge De La Rosa, 2B Daniel Murphy, LHP Justin Wilson, LHP Jaime Garcia, C Bobby Wilson

The Cubs have many decisions to make this offseason, even after exercising their $20 million club option for Hamels, who was acquired from the Rangers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline and recorded a terrific 2.36 ERA over 12 starts. They also have a bevy of bullpen arms who are set to depart or have team options, though Brandon Kintzler exercised his $5 million player option after the Cubs declined his $10 million club option. The Cubs could try to retain Chavez, and Murphy also could be back (particularly given Addison Russell's suspension), as president of baseball operations Theo Epstein spoke highly of the second baseman's contributions after his acquisition from the Nationals.

Cincinnati Reds
Key free agents: RHP Matt Harvey

Cincinnati elected to keep Harvey at the non-waiver Trade Deadline instead of flipping him to a contender, and now face a decision about the right-hander, given that he has expressed openness to returning and the Reds will be seeking starting pitching depth this offseason. Outside of Harvey, the Reds don't have any key departures or options to worry about this winter, though Scooter Gennett and Billy Hamilton are due for free agency following the 2019 season.

Milwaukee Brewers
Key free agents: LHP Gio Gonzalez, OF Curtis Granderson, RHP Jordan Lyles, LHP Wade Miley, 3B Mike Moustakas, RHP Joakim Soria

The Brewers have most of their pitching depth locked up beyond this season, with Gonzalez, an in-season acquisition, and Miley, who was initially signed to a Minor League contract before the season, the only two starters set for free agency this offseason. Moustakas and Soria became free agents when they turned down mutual options for $15 million and $10 million, respectively. The club picked up Jeremy Jeffress' $3.175 million team option, but turned down Lyles' option for $3.5 million.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Key free agents: IF/OF Josh Harrison, SS Jordy Mercer

After making a splash by trading for Chris Archer in 2018, the Pirates appear to be mostly set with their pitching staff but will be looking for a bat in the offseason, likely at shortstop. Even if they don't make a Manny Machado-sized splash at that position, the market is deep this offseason, with Jose Iglesias, Freddy Galvis and Adeiny Hechavarria among the names in play. The Pirates opened up some payroll flexibility and a roster spot by declining Harrison's $10.5 million option.

St. Louis Cardinals
Key free agents:
1B Matt Adams, RHP Bud Norris, RHP Tyson Ross

Adam Wainwright agreed to a one-year deal Monday to return for his 15th season with the Cardinals. Improving the bullpen to build around Jordan Hicks will be a priority for St. Louis, especially with the departure of Norris, who provided stability at closer for much of the season. Though Adams likely won't be on the Cardinals' radar again, St. Louis is thought to be looking for an impact left-handed hitter, with needs at outfield and third base.

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks
Key free agents: RHP Clay Buchholz, LHP Patrick Corbin, RHP Randall Delgado, 2B Daniel Descalso, LHP Jake Diekman, OF Jon Jay, C Jeff Mathis, OF A.J. Pollock, C Chris Stewart

The D-backs could lose two key contributors this winter, with Corbin and Pollock likely to exceed Arizona's price range, but Buchholz, Descalso and Mathis are strong candidates to return. The D-backs unsurprisingly picked up Paul Goldschmidt's $14.5 million club option for '19, while making one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offers to Corbin and Pollock, which they both rejected.

Colorado Rockies
Key free agents: C Drew Butera, OF Carlos Gonzalez, OF Matt Holliday, 2B DJ LeMahieu, RHP Adam Ottavino, OF Gerardo Parra

The Rockies will have to decide whether they want to compete for LeMahieu this winter or if they're ready to turn the reins at second base over to one of their middle-infield prospects, Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers. They also face decisions in the outfield and in the bullpen, with a number of key players entering free agency. That includes Parra, whose $12 million option was declined.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Key free agents: RHP John Axford, 2B Brian Dozier, C Yasmani Grandal, RHP Daniel Hudson, SS Manny Machado, RHP Ryan Madson

Machado is among the headliners in this year's star-studded free agent class, and it's unclear if the Dodgers will try to retain the star infielder, whom they acquired from the Orioles at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Clayton Kershaw, who had an opt-out clause that would have voided the final two years of his deal, signed a three-year, $93 million contract to stay in L.A. Meanwhile, Los Angeles made qualifying offers to Grandal and the oft-injured Ryu, and the latter accepted.

San Diego Padres
Key free agents: C A.J. Ellis, SS Freddy Galvis

The Padres' 2018 roster will remain mostly intact with only Galvis and Ellis entering free agency, and both are candidates to return. Ellis is less likely to be re-signed, however, with young catchers Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia in the mix. San Diego may also let Galvis walk if he wants a multi-year deal, with Fernando Tatis Jr. (San Diego's No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) nearing big league readiness and Luis Urias (San Diego's No. 4 prospect) likely to take over as the club's starting second baseman in 2019.

San Francisco Giants
Key free agents: OF Gregor Blanco, LHP Derek Holland, C Nick Hundley, OF Hunter Pence

San Francisco exercised its options on Madison Bumgarner and Pablo Sandoval, bringing them back for 2019. The Giants may try bring back Holland, who enjoyed a bounceback campaign and anchored an injury-riddled Giants rotation in 2018, and Hundley, who capably backed up Buster Posey, but they will likely part ways with veterans Pence and Blanco.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Baltimore Orioles
Key free agents: OF Adam Jones

The O's list has just one man on it, as they traded nearly every player on an expiring contract, including Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Brad Brach, during their 2018 roster purge. Baltimore would have dealt Jones as well, but he was unwilling to waive his 10-and-5 rights. Jones may be interested in returning, but he would likely need to accept a significantly reduced role as the Orioles look to the future.

Boston Red Sox
Key free agents: RHP Nathan Eovaldi, RHP Joe Kelly, RHP Craig Kimbrel, 2B Ian Kinsler, 2B Brandon Phillips, LHP Drew Pomeranz

Even with David Price confirming he won't be opting out of the four years and $127 million remaining on his contract, the Red Sox still have a number of important players hitting free agency. Kimbrel is the biggest name among them, and he unsurprisingly rejected the qualifying offer he received from Boston. Having brought back Steve Pearce on a one-year deal, the Red Sox probably will look to re-sign Eovaldi, who excelled after joining the club in a July trade and was outstanding in the postseason. Chris Sale  will be back after Boston unsurprisingly picked up his $15 million club option for 2019, and Eduardo Nunez is also returning to the defending World Series champions by exercising his $5 million player option. 

New York Yankees
Key free agents: LHP Zach Britton, LHP J.A. Happ, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, RHP Lance Lynn, OF Andrew McCutchen, RHP David Robertson, 2B/OF Neil Walker

The Yankees have a busy offseason ahead of them, especially on the pitching side of the ledger. Even if prospect Justus Sheffield is ready to claim a rotation spot behind Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and the re-signed CC Sabathia that still leaves at least one open starting job. Meanwhile, the Yankees' vaunted bullpen could lose two key pieces in Robertson and Britton. The club declined a $12.5 million club option for 35-year-old outfielder Brett Gardner, New York's longest-tenured player, but the Yankees re-signed him to a one-year deal reportedly worth $7.5 million after the veteran posted a .690 OPS this past season.

Tampa Bay Rays
Key free agents: OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Sergio Romo

Romo was an integral member of the Rays' pitching staff for much of the 2018 season, racking up 25 saves and making five appearances as an "opener." However, he recorded a 10.00 ERA in September and will be 36 years old on Opening Day in '19. The cost-conscious Rays may opt to move on and give an opportunity to a younger alternative. As for Gomez, the veteran outfielder is unlikely to be back after posting a .634 OPS over 118 games in 2018.

Toronto Blue Jays
Key free agents: RHP Tyler Clippard, RHP Marco Estrada

Much like Baltimore, Toronto dealt many impending free agents during the 2018 season, including Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, Steve Pearce, Curtis Granderson and John Axford. The Jays picked up Justin Smoak's reasonable $8 million club option, but they could look to trade the veteran this offseason, with Rowdy Tellez seemingly ready for an expanded role at first base. Estrada is likely gone after recording a 5.27 ERA with a 4.97 FIP in 61 starts over the past two years, as the Blue Jays can likely get similar production from a younger and cheaper pitcher. Toronto declined Yangervis Solarte's club option, but he will remain on the Blue Jays' 40-man roster as an arbitration-eligible player.

AL CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox
Key free agents: RHP Jeanmar Gomez, RHP Miguel Gonzalez, LHP Hector Santiago, RHP James Shields 

The White Sox are close to emerging from their rebuild, and the club could look for more pitching help this offseason, since Michael Kopech is now sidelined for 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Chicago picked up Nate Jones' $4.65 million option, but declined Shields' option for $16 million, opting instead for a $2 million buyout.

Cleveland Indians
Key free agents: RHP Cody Allen, OF Michael Brantley, OF Melky Cabrera, OF Lonnie Chisenhall, OF Rajai Davis, 3B Josh Donaldson, OF Brandon Guyer, LHP Andrew Miller, LHP Oliver Perez, IF Adam Rosales, RHP Josh Tomlin

Miller headlines a productive crop of prospective free agents departing Cleveland this season, with outfield and the bullpen being the two areas that stand to be hit hardest by the departures. The Indians do have some security in the bullpen with midseason acquisitions Brad Hand and Adam Cimber both controllable for several more seasons, but bolstering the relief corps will be an offseason priority for the Tribe, who got subpar seasons from both Allen and Miller in 2018. Outfield is also an area of need, especially if Brantley departs, with no clear-cut starter at any of the three spots entering the offseason. The Tribe picked up Carlos Carrasco's $9.75 million club option for '19 but opted to buy out Guyer for $250,000 instead of exercising his $3 million option.

Detroit Tigers
Key free agents: SS Jose Iglesias, LHP Francisco Liriano, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Iglesias, Liriano and the retiring Victor Martinez are the key departures for the rebuilding Tigers, who also dealt impending free agent Mike Fiers to the A's in August. The Tigers will likely be in the market for a shortstop, as they don't have an immediate heir lined up in the event of Iglesias' departure, and will likely look to add to the rotation.

Kansas City Royals
Key free agents: SS Alcides Escobar, RHP Jason Hammel

After trading Jon Jay, Lucas Duda, Kelvin Herrera and Mike Moustakas this season, the Royals figure to let Escobar walk, as Adalberto Mondesi is now their starting shortstop. The Royals will pay a $2 million buyout to get Hammel off the books instead of exercising his $12 million mutual option for 2019, but they'll bring back Wily Peralta, who emerged as their closer last season, on arestructured contract.

Minnesota Twins
Key free agents: RHP Matt Belisle, 2B Logan Forsythe, C Chris Gimenez, 1B/DH Joe Mauer, 1B/DH Logan Morrison, RHP Ervin Santana

The most pressing offseason question for the Twins will be at first base, with the possible departure of Mauer to either free agency or retirement and Morrison's disappointing performance in 2018, after which the Twins declined to pick up his $8 million option for '19. The departures of Forsythe, Brian Dozier (traded to Dodgers) and Eduardo Escobar (traded to D-backs) also leave openings in the middle infield for the Twins. The Twins need lots of help in the bullpen and could always use more starting depth, with Santana's $14 million option also being declined.

AL WEST
Los Angeles Angels
Key free agents: RHP Jim Johnson, RHP Garrett Richards, RHP Junichi Tazawa, OF Chris Young, OF Eric Young Jr., RHP Blake Wood

The Angels will retain much of their core. Johnson will likely draw interest on the open market for clubs in need of dependable bullpen arms. Richards pitched well in 16 starts this season, but will be out of action until 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Young also suffered a season-ending injury (labral tears in both hips) but is expected to be ready for Spring Training.

Houston Astros
Key free agents: DH Evan Gattis, UTIL Marwin Gonzalez, LHP Dallas Keuchel, C Martin Maldonado, C Brian McCann, RHP Charlie Morton, LHP Tony Sipp

Keuchel figures to be one of the most sought-after starting pitchers on the market this winter. The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner has spent his entire career with the Astros, but could anchor another team's staff in 2019. Morton also figures to draw considerable interest coming off his first All-Star season at age 34. Maldonado and McCann will be part of a deep class of veteran backstops.

Oakland A's
Key free agents: LHP Brett Anderson, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Jeurys Familia, RHP Edwin Jackson, OF Matt Joyce, 2B Jed Lowrie, C Jonathan Lucroy, Shawn Kelley

The A's looming free agents are headlined by a pair of veterans in Lucroy and Lowrie. Lucroy is more likely to return with Franklin Barreto ready to take over as Oakland's everyday second baseman. Joyce is likely the odd man out in a crowded A's outfield. It's unclear if the A's will try to retain any of their veteran starting pitchers.

Seattle Mariners
Key free agents: 2B Gordon Beckham, DH Nelson Cruz, LHP Zach Duke, OF Cameron Maybin, RHP David Phelps, UTL Andrew Romine, OF Denard Span, RHP Adam Warren

Cruz represents the biggest free agent choice for the Mariners this winter. Both sides have expressed interest in a reunion, but Seattle must decide whether it wants to commit to a multi-year deal with the 38-year-old slugger or utilize that money elsewhere, with needs on the pitching staff and in center field. Span's $12 million mutual option was declined by Seattle, making the outfielder a free agent. 

Texas Rangers
Key free agents: 3B Adrian Beltre, C Robinson Chirinos, RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Doug Fister, RHP Yovani Gallardo, LHP Matt Moore, LHP Martin Perez, Tony Barnette

The Rangers are awaiting Beltre's decision on his baseball future, and if the third baseman opts to continue playing, they could re-sign him. Texas declined its options on Chirinos, Fister, Moore and Perez, making them free agents. Colon and Gallardo aren't expected to return.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

The latest Machado free-agent rumors

MLB.com

Manny Machado has been one of the game's best players since debuting in 2012, and he is set to cash in as a first-time free agent this offseason.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the infielder.

Manny Machado has been one of the game's best players since debuting in 2012, and he is set to cash in as a first-time free agent this offseason.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the infielder.

Phils ready to spend for Machado, other big free agents
Nov. 16: If the Phillies are going to seriously pursue Machado, Bryce Harper and other top free agents, they'll have to be willing to seriously open their wallets. And they're prepared to do just that.

"We're going into this expecting to spend money. And maybe even be a little bit stupid about it," owner John Middleton told USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale at the MLB Owners Meetings.

"It's exciting to contemplate what we may be able to do this offseason. We know the free-agent class this year is really, really good."

Both Machado and Harper could command contracts in the 10-plus year and $300-plus million range. But the Phillies currently have less than $70 million on their payroll for 2019, and only about $50 million committed for 2020 and $15 million for 2021.

They can afford to make a major play in the free-agent market, and it looks like they plan to do it, as they look to make the leap to a playoff contender after fading down the stretch in 2018. In addition to being linked to Machado and Harper, Philadelphia could make a play for a top starter like Patrick Corbin or a reliever like Craig Kimbrel.

Middleton wouldn't refer to Machado or Harper by name, "But," he told Nightengale, "we will be spending."

Playing the blind resume game with Machado and Brantley
Nov. 16: Manny Machado and Michael Brantley are both free agents this offseason. The latter is going to get a fraction of the contract that the former does, for a number of reasons related to age, durability, potential, position value, etc. That is understandable.

What might be surprising, however, is just how close these two have been from a statistical standpoint in recent years. In fact, there's a legitimate argument that Brantley has been (gasp!) a better offensive player than Machado, at least by certain metrics. Hmmm.

MLB Network's Hot Stove Live show made this comparison across the past five seasons in a game of blind resumes:

Machado: .283 AVG, .343 OBP, .502 SLG, 127 OPS+

Brantley: .311 AVG, .371 OBP, .475 SLG, 127 OPS+

Again, none of this is to say that Machado isn't the better free-agent option this winter -- he's five years younger than Brantley, has proved to be more durable and plays a much more valuable defensive position -- but it does go to show how underappreciated Brantley has been.

Video: Blind resumes of MLB's high-profile free agents

Belle weighs in on Harper and Machado
Nov. 15: The White Sox signed Albert Belle to what was, at the time, the largest contract in baseball history, at five years and $55 million in 1996. Belle joined NBC Sports Chicago's White Sox Talk podcast on Thursday to talk about the club, and one of the topics of discussion was whether Chicago would try to sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, given they are expected to land contracts in the range of $300 million-$400 million.

"I guess [fans] should be skeptical until it actually happens," said the five-time All-Star. "If they're willing to spend the big money on Harper or Machado ... that means they're willing to go for it again, and win a pennant. ... If I were an owner, I wouldn't give anyone more than a five-year deal. I'm just trying to figure out all the guys who signed big deals that are hurt now. Look at Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols ... Robinson Cano isn't gonna pan out on his [deal]."

Are Yankees gearing up for serious pursuit of Machado? Will A-Rod play a part?
Nov. 15: Count MLB Network insider Jon Heyman among those who expect the Yankees to make a serious run at free-agent infielder Manny Machado, despite team owner Hal Steinbrenner saying that he found Machado's comments on his lack of hustle "troubling."

"I think [ownership loves] the guys that want to play for the Yankees," Heyman said Thursday on WFAN. "And Machado, they know that he wants to be a Yankee, or have heard that."

Heyman pointed to Alex Rodriguez's relationship with Machado as a potential factor that could sway the Yankees toward the 26-year-old. Rodriguez, who maintains an advisor role in the organization, has known Machado since the latter was a teenager, with both players having a connection through the Miami baseball scene.

Steinbrenner expressed some reservations about Machado on Wednesday, stemming from the shortstop's controversial interview with Ken Rosenthal during the postseason about not being a "Johnny Hustle" type of player.

"If it's a $300 million guy or a $10 million guy, clearly those comments are troubling," Steinbrenner said. "That's really [general manager Brian Cashman's] job, if we're interested in any player, to sit down with them face-to-face and ask them, 'Where did this come from? What was the context around the entire interview? Was there a point? How do you justify it?'

"Because that ain't going to sell where we play baseball."

But Heyman thinks Steinbrenner's comments were merely a case of the owner "saying the right thing."

"If you say that you don't mind that he didn't hustle, then you're not really doing the right thing," Heyman said. "Publicly, you've gotta take a big stand on pro hustling, it's not a difficult concept. So I think [Steinbrenner] just said the right thing."

Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay shared similar thoughts on his radio show Wednesday about the club's interest in Machado.

"The feeling I get, is that the Yankees are in, in a serious way, on Manny Machado," Kay said. "Now, Brian Cashman has said ... 'he's on the radar.' I think he's more than on the radar."

Tweet from @YESNetwork: .@RealMichaelKay: "The Yankees are IN, in a serious way, on Manny Machado." pic.twitter.com/yn5J9bYDx6

Why Braves should consider signing Machado
Nov. 15: Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos is on record saying he doesn't foresee the club handing out any 10-year deals this offseason, but The Athletic's Jim Bowden thinks he should reconsider for Manny Machado.

In his story (subscription required) looking at one move each 2018 postseason team needs to make to get back to October, Bowden points out that Machado will likely want opt-out clauses in his contract, so a 10-year deal might end up being a short-term commitment that considerably increases the Braves' chances of winning a World Series in the next three years.

And even if Machado did stay with the Braves for a decade, he would be 36 by the end of the contract and may still be contributing at a high level.

Adding Machado to Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies would give Atlanta an outstanding nucleus, with more talent on the way via the farm system.

Betances wants Yankees to sign Machado
Nov. 14: As the Yankees consider whether to make a run at free-agent infielder Manny Machado, one New York player gave the potential move his full endorsement Tuesday.

"I think he'll put us over the top," Yankees reliever Dellin Betances said. "We were short last year. Things could have gone our way, but they didn't. Adding a guy like that would help any team. Our lineup is already impactful, so adding a guy like that would be pretty crazy."

Betances and Machado were teammates for the Dominican Republic in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and they have plenty of experience as opponents from Machado's years with the Orioles.

"I played with him in the Classic and got a chance to develop a good relationship with him over the years, playing against him," Betances said. "I'm hoping that we get him. I'm keeping close tabs on it. It's not my decision, but that would be a big piece for the team. We have a good team, but adding a guy like that, that can play at a high level and has played at a high level for quite some time, we would be great."

What would a Yankees spending spree look like?
Nov. 13: Picture Manny MachadoPatrick Corbin and Corey Kluber in pinstripes. MLB Network insider Joel Sherman does just that in a column for the New York Post.

To be clear, Sherman is doing little more than speculating on such a scenario by harkening back to the days when the mercurial George Steinbrenner was the owner of the Yankees, not his more patient son, Hal. Still, it's fun at least to wonder whether there's any way this could play out, especially after New York just watched its bitter rival, the Red Sox, win their fourth title since 2000 -- compared to two for the Yankees.

"The Yankees are, at minimum, intrigued by Machado," Sherman writes, "and his signing would give them latitude to use Miguel Andujar as the central trade piece to obtain Kluber - taking a logical leap that the Indians like the AL Rookie of the Year runner-up enough to deal their ace. Imagine 10 years at $330 million for Machado, six years at $126 million for Corbin (the Yu Darvish pact from last offseason) and the assumption of Kluber's Indians contract, which, if his 2020-21 options are picked up, has three years at $52.5 million left, but costs just $11.3 million toward the luxury tax in 2019."

That would, in theory, address the Yankees' biggest need by bringing in not one, but two front-of-the-rotation arms, while also putting another foundation piece at the hot corner in Machado. It's still a little murky how strong the Yankees' pursuit of Machado will actually be. But they're definitely doing their due diligence, as The Athletic's Jayson Stark reports that the club is doing "particularly extensive" (subscription required) background work on Machado, even beyond the typical amount teams routinely seek for potential free-agent or trade targets.

Would Yanks trade Andujar to make way for Machado?
Nov. 13: While it's unclear exactly where Manny Machado falls on the Yankees' offseason wish list, a big splash by New York can't be ruled out. The Yanks certainly have the money to afford the 26-year-old, and the club is doing "extensive" background work on him, according to a report from The Athletic (subscription required).

Of course, improving the starting rotation remains the Yankees' top priority. General manager Brian Cashman has made it known he's looking to add two starting pitchers, and signing Machado may lower New York's chances of inking one of the top hurlers on the free-agent market, such as Patrick Corbin.

Still, there is a way for Cashman to possibly acquire Machado and multiple high-end starters, as Joe Rivera of the Sporting News points out. The Yankees could do so by dangling third baseman Miguel Andujar in a trade for an ace, and then sign a mid-market free agent such as J.A. Happ.

Andujar finished second to Shohei Ohtani in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting after hitting .297 with 27 homers and 92 RBIs in 2018, but he struggled defensively to the point where there are questions about his long-term viability at the hot corner.

If New York trades Andujar, Machado could slot in as the club's starting third baseman, with Gleyber Torres shifting to shortstop until Didi Gregorius is ready to return from Tommy John surgery.

Granted, the Yanks wouldn't have to trade the 23-year-old Andujar to make room for Machado. They could play Machado at shortstop while Gregorius is out, leaving Andujar at third base and Torres at second, or move Andujar across the diamond to first. But dealing Andujar may be the best way for the Yankees to get Machado and still acquire the ace starting pitcher they covet.

A big gap between Harper and Machado?
Nov. 12: In a piece for The Athletic, Cliff Corcoran ranks the best under-28 free agents of all-time. It's interesting to see where the top two free agents on this year's market land. Manny Machado is ranked third, behind only Alex Rodriguez (2000) and Barry Bonds (1992). Bryce Harper is all the way down at 11th out of 13 players, ahead of Carlos Beltran (2004) and Goose Gossage (1977).

"The math projects [Machado] to be worth 5.2 bWAR in his age-26 season, but he has been a six-win player in four of the last six seasons (I'm counting his 5.7 bWAR this year given his uncharacteristic struggles in the field), so he could very well exceed that projection," writes Corcoran.

With respect to Harper, Corcoran cites his inconsistency at the plate and injury history, pointing out his 1.5 WAR (Baseball Reference) in 2016, and 1.3 WAR last season.

"What was supposed to be the monster free agency to end all free agencies is instead a confusing mixed bag of impressive accomplishment and confounding underperformance," Corcoran writes.

Should Cubs choose Machado over Bryant? Brisbee thinks so.
Nov. 11: SB Nation senior baseball writer Grant Brisbee decided to chime in on the Machado debate with a lengthy column in which he debates the advantages and disadvantages of several teams' pursuits of the 26-year-old shortstop, including the Yankees, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and Padres.

In his search for an ideal fit for Machado, Brisbee considers four factors: extra money to spend, a fan base that needs a jolt, a robust farm system that can allow them to subsidize a superstar for the coming years, and a young team.

"We need the Padres. Machado needs the Padres. The Padres need Machado," Brisbee writes.

Brisbee points to the Eric Hosmer contract as an example of the Padres making an expensive, long-term investment in a player that could play a key role on a future team in contention, but concedes that Machado playing his home games in Petco Park remains a long shot. He ultimately concludes that he expects Machado to sign a 10-year, $330 million contract to play for the Cubs.

He doesn't feel that it's a coincidence that Kris Bryant trade rumors are gaining steam now, when Machado is also on the market. He writes that for the Cubs, it could be a matter of committing $300 million to a 29-year-old Bryant after the 2021 season versus making a similar commitment to a 26-year-old Machado right now -- and also reaping the benefits of whatever top prospects they would gain in a trade involving Bryant.

Would Harper or Machado be enough for Phillies to contend?
Nov. 10: In hopes of contending next year, the Phillies are expected to make a run at big-name free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado this offseason. But Jonah Keri of CBS Sports argues that adding one of those players might not be enough to spark a postseason run in 2019.

As Keri points out, the last three World Series winners -- the Cubs, the Astros and the Red Sox -- all had a strong core in place before adding to it in free agency. The Phils, though, have a ton of question marks after Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins.

Philadelphia's roster isn't barren, but Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez are coming off poor second halves, Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez and Zach Eflin haven't proven to be consistent rotation options, and neither J.P. Crawford nor Scott Kingery have lived up to expectations as former top prospects.

Keri writes that signing Harper or Machado -- potentially for $400 million -- should be part of a larger free-agency plan that involves adding relief help as well as a starting pitcher. Keri names J.A. Happ and Charlie Morton, who has expressed his desire to be close to his wife's family's Delaware home, as potential options.

Meanwhile, Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that this offseason could get tricky for the Phillies, with the markets for Harper and Machado potentially playing out slowly as their agents -- Scott Boras and Dan Lozano, respectively -- try to land the longest and most lucrative deal possible. As Lauber writes, neither agent is going to want his client to be the first of the two to sign, instead preferring to let the other player set the market. Moreover, the longer each player's free agency endures, the more likely it is that other teams will join the bidding.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has indicated that he won't wait around for Harper or Machado if he has a chance to improve the team.

"We're not going to forgo opportunities early in the offseason because we're waiting on something else," Klentak said this past week during the General Managers Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. "If there are good opportunities for us to improve our club now or in the coming weeks or months that make sense for us, we will do it."

Will Yankees make competitive bid for Machado?
Nov. 10: While the Yankees continue to be connected to both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News does not think the club is a likely suitor for either player.

Madden wrote Saturday that New York "will monitor the Manny Machado sweepstakes, if only because he has previously expressed a desire to play for the Yankees and his market may be more limited than you might think."

But teams such as the Phillies are expected to offer more than $300 million for Machado, and Maddon doesn't expect New York will want to saddle itself with another potential albatross after being burned by the Alex Rodriguez and Jacoby Ellsbury deals.

Said one former big league executive: "All you have to know with Machado is he says he's no 'Charlie hustle' or whatever before he even gets the money. What's he going to do AFTER he gets the money, when he's got the security and nobody can talk to him? For me, he'd be toxic. To give that guy 10 years? That's one bad contract waiting to happen."

Meanwhile, Madden considers the Harper-to-the-Yankees dream to be "dead," noting that New York has no interest in spending another $250 million or more on an outfielder.

Madden writes that the Yanks' priority instead is "to add at least two more proven quality frontline pitchers," and he predicts that after staying under the luxury-tax threshold in 2018, New York "will not be out-bid for Patrick Corbin" or J.A. Happ, if they choose to pursue them.

Murti: No matter what Yanks say, don't count them out on Machado or Harper
Nov. 9: The Yankees say that they're focused on starting pitching this offseason. The Yankees say that they're not interested in Bryce Harper. The Yankees say that Machado is a back-burner item. WFAN Yankees beat reporter Sweeny Murti says to ignore all that.

"They tell everybody right now that they have no level of interest in these guys, but that doesn't mean anything at this point in time," Murti said in a Friday interview on MLB Now.

Murti goes on to explain that he feels that the Yankees are distancing themselves because they're not willing to pursue 12-year or 14-year deals with Machado or Harper, but if they remain on the market and New York feels that they can fill holes on the roster, he "guarantees" that the Yankees are still part of the equation.

"I will never believe a guy like Harper or Machado is not a Yankee until I see him holding up another jersey and wearing another cap at the podium," Murti said.

Murti pointed to the Yankees' past signings of Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira as examples of pursuits in which New York distanced itself at the start before ultimately choosing to pull the trigger on both. And Murti also feels the Yankees have more of a need than they would indicate at shortstop with the uncertainty around Didi Gregorius, pointing to the time in 2013 when Derek Jeter's injury necessitated them scrambling to find Luis Cruz to fill the gap.

With that said, this time could be different, with the Yankees finally having dropped below the luxury tax threshold after 15 straight years of being penalized, and owner Hal Steinbrenner reportedly reluctant to make another significant commitment.

Will last year's acquisition of Stanton cost Yankees Harper or Machado?
Nov. 9: The Yankees made a blockbuster move to acquire slugger Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins last offseason, also taking on $265 million remaining on his contract after Miami agreed to pick up $30 million in the trade. Did that acquisition make it unlikely New York could land one of this year's prized superstars, Bryce Harper or Manny Machado?

It did, according to SNY's John Harper (no relation), who argues that Stanton's no-trade clause, coupled with Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner's aversion to putting another giant contract on the franchise's payroll, makes the chances of Harper or Machado landing in the Bronx slim to none. The Yankees have also made it very apparent their first priority this offseason is starting pitching.

Who is the better investment: Harper or Machado?
Nov. 9: With both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado expected to command a long-term contract valued at more than $300 million this offseason, the question arises: which young superstar is the better investment?

ESPN's Bradford Doolittle takes a shot at answering that question, and he comes to the conclusion that Harper is the better bet. In a nutshell, Harper has more value offensively, and Machado has more value defensively, but Doolittle sees the offensive advantage Harper brings to the table outweighing Machado's superior defensive ability.

Obviously, these types of decisions are subject to many other factors, including positional need, for the different clubs that may pursue the two sluggers. But in a vacuum, Doolittle sees a Harper mega-deal paying off more than one for Machado.

What does the future hold for Harper and Machado?
Nov. 9: Since being drafted first and third overall, respectively, in the 2010 MLB Draft, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have become two of the biggest stars in baseball. And regardless of where the two players land in free agency this offseason, the signing clubs will surely be hoping they'll be as good or better over the next decade.

History paints a positive picture about what teams might be able to expect, with some exceptions.

According to FanGraphs, Harper and Machado have each generated roughly 30 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in their careers. To determine potential future outcomes for the duo, MLB.com's Andrew Simon took a look at 43 players who each also recorded between 20-40 WAR through their age-25 seasons and have seen at least 10 years pass since then.

Breaking down WAR totals from their age 26-35 seasons, Simon found Willie Mays (92.2 WAR), Barry Bonds (79.1) and Hank Aaron (75.7) to be the cream of the crop, and seven players -- Rickey Henderson (62.1 WAR), Carl Yastrzemski (58.2), Frank Robinson (57.9), Eddie Mathews (56.7), George Brett (53.7), Albert Pujols (51.8) and Cal Ripken Jr. (50.9) -- qualified as all-time greats. Simon put an additional 16 players in the superstars group.

Fifteen players were productive for a while, but injuries and/or age typically caught up to them, with David Wright serving as a representative example. On the lower end of the spectrum, Simon lists Jim Ray Hart (4.0 WAR) and Grady Sizemore (1.4) as the worst-case scenarios. Sizemore posted 27.2 WAR over his first four full seasons, ranking fourth in the Majors, behind only Pujols, Chase Utley and Alex Rodriguez. But due to injuries, the outfielder barely collected 1,000 at-bats between 2010-15, and he played his final season in '15 at age 32.

Manny Machado

The latest Harper free-agent rumors

MLB.com

After a seven-season tenure with the Nationals that included a National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, an NL MVP Award in 2015 and six All-Star nods, Bryce Harper is now a free agent for the first time.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the outfielder.

After a seven-season tenure with the Nationals that included a National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, an NL MVP Award in 2015 and six All-Star nods, Bryce Harper is now a free agent for the first time.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the outfielder.

Is Harper's food preference the key to his free agency?
Nov. 16: Amid peak Hot Stove season, some rumors are more firm, others more frivolous. This one might fall under the latter label, but that doesn't make it any less fun.

As the baseball world awaits Bryce Harper's decision, we're gobbling up just about every tasty morsel of information we can when it comes to the free-agent superstar. TMZ Sports tracked down Harper at LAX and got, well, this delicious scoop, straight from Harper: "Favorite food? Probably Chicago. They got great food. ... Deep dish, of course. Anywhere in New York, of course, you know you can always go out there and eat good food."

Translation: Harper definitely is putting the Cubs, White Sox, Yankees and Mets at the top of his list, right?

In reality, the 26-year-old pointed out that he's still a long way from making any decision with regard to signing what is expected to be a massive, potentially record-breaking contract. But, hey, consider this a little food for thought.

Harper to the Yankees inevitable?
Nov. 16: While the Yankees have said their main focus this offseason is starting pitching, WEEI's John Tomase suggests one of this offseason's biggest prizes could still end up in pinstripes.

"For now, the Yankees aren't considered favorites to land [Bryce] Harper," Tomase writes. " ... But forgive me for thinking that somehow, someway, the Yankees end up playing a role in this before it's over. It would be a New York kind of move, especially in the wake of a fourth World Series title for the Red Sox since 2004. It could be justified by Harper's age, and man would it make Red Sox-Yankees even more compelling."

Harper has said that he wears the No. 34 because the two digits add up to 7, Mickey Mantle's number. And as a young, exciting and sometimes polarizing superstar, he fits the mold of past Yankee free-agent signings over the years. As for room in New York's outfield, the Yankees re-signed Brett Gardner earlier this offseason, making it a full house. But Tomase argues that the 35-year-old Gardner may not be the answer given his age, and Aaron Hicks is tradable. 

One way or the other, the Yankees being in play for Harper would be very intriguing, to say the least.

Phils ready to spend for Harper, other big free agents
Nov. 16: If the Phillies are going to seriously pursue Harper, Manny Machado and other top free agents, they'll have to be willing to seriously open their wallets. And they're prepared to do just that.

"We're going into this expecting to spend money. And maybe even be a little bit stupid about it," owner John Middleton told USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale at the MLB Owners Meetings.

"It's exciting to contemplate what we may be able to do this offseason. We know the free-agent class this year is really, really good."

Both Harper and Machado could command contracts in the 10-plus year and $300-plus million range. But the Phillies currently have less than $70 million on their payroll for 2019, and only about $50 million committed for 2020 and $15 million for 2021.

They can afford to make a major play in the free-agent market, and it looks like they plan to do it, as they look to make the leap to a playoff contender after fading down the stretch in 2018. In addition to being linked to Harper and Machado, Philadelphia could make a play for a top starter like Patrick Corbin or a reliever like Craig Kimbrel.

Middleton wouldn't refer to Harper or Machado by name, "But," he told Nightengale, "we will be spending."

Belle weighs in on Harper and Machado
Nov. 15: The White Sox signed Albert Belle to what was, at the time, the largest contract in baseball history, at five years and $55 million in 1996. Belle joined NBC Sports Chicago's White Sox Talk podcast on Thursday to talk about the club, and one of the topics of discussion was whether Chicago would try to sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, given they are expected to land contracts in the range of $300 million-$400 million.

"I guess [fans] should be skeptical until it actually happens," said the five-time All-Star. "If they're willing to spend the big money on Harper or Machado ... that means they're willing to go for it again, and win a pennant. ... If I were an owner, I wouldn't give anyone more than a five-year deal. I'm just trying to figure out all the guys who signed big deals that are hurt now. Look at Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols ... Robinson Cano isn't gonna pan out on his [deal]."

Lack of counter offer suggests Harper might not return to Washington
Nov. 15: The timing of the report that Harper rejected a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Nats during the final week of the regular season -- during the General Managers Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif., last week -- presented plenty of intrigue. On one hand, Harper's representatives might have had incentive to set the floor for any negotiations, but the club might have also had incentive to show that it made a strong effort to retain Harper.

Either way, the fact that no news has surfaced that Harper's camp made a counter offer to Washington suggests that the longstanding face of the franchise likely won't be back, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

"I think he's gone from Washington," Nightengale said on the ESPN Baseball Tonight podcast with Buster Olney recently. "The fact that he never even bothered to make a counter offer or even talk about it, I think he wants at least, he's looking at least for $400 million, probably 12 or 13 years at about $35 [million] per year."

Video: Collier on Nationals' huge offer to Harper, pursuit

That figure will likely be out of the Nats' price range. The club is in the market for starting pitching and catching, and have been linked to some prominent players to fill those voids, such as Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel -- the top two free-agent pitchers -- as well as Yasmani Grandal, the market's top backstop, and the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto, who Washington pursued in the past before the asking price became too high.

Nats GM Mike Rizzo has said that the club will continue to pursue Harper in free agency, but that the club's offer from the final week of the season is no longer on the table, per Nightengale. It wasn't immediately clear if Scott Boras, Harper's agent, made a counteroffer. Boras is known notoriously for pushing his clients to free agency and an opening bidding field. 

Nightengale speculated that the Phillies are the favorites to land Harper, but he also didn't discount the White Sox, who hope to climb back to contention after a massively disappointing 2018. 

Video: Bryce Harper's likelihood of joining the Phillies

"I think the Phillies are a very desperate team," Nightengale said. "They've got a ton of money. They made it clear: 'We want to spend money. We want to win right now.' So I think they'll do everything possible to sign Harper, no matter what the price is ... I'd be stunned if he doesn't end up with the Phillies."

Boras is known to be close with Phillies principal owner John Middleton, and it's been no secret that the club is perhaps the favorite to land Harper.

Should signing Harper be the Dodgers' priority?
Nov. 15: After re-signing Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers may be preparing for a relatively quiet offseason. But The Athletic's Jim Bowden thinks the club should look to make a massive splash by signing one of the biggest names on the free-agent market: Bryce Harper.

In his story (subscription required) looking at one move each 2018 postseason team needs to make to get back to October, Bowden writes that Harper to the Dodgers "makes too much sense," even if the club is saying it isn't planning on significantly increasing payroll.

The Dodgers reportedly tried to acquire Harper via waivers in August, and after losing in the World Series for the second straight season, it wouldn't be a major surprise if they bid on the slugger in an effort to get over the hump.

As Bowden points out, Harper would give the Dodgers' lineup a strong left-right balance, and his star power would be a major marketing point in Los Angeles.

Is a return to D.C. possible for Harper?
Nov. 14: Baseball fans, writers, executives -- just about everyone involved in and around the sport, really -- have been anticipating Bryce Harper's free agency for, well, quite some time. What amount of money could he sign for? How many years would he get? What team will land him?

Wouldn't it be funny, then -- or maybe even a little anticlimactic -- if he stayed put?

In a close count, the on-air talent for MLB Network Radio predicted that Harper will re-sign with the Nationals.

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: 🚨🚨 FREE AGENT PREDICTIONS 🚨🚨The @MLBNetworkRadio team says:Brantley ������ #BravesCorbin ������ #YankeesEovaldi ������ #RedSoxGrandal ������ #AstrosHapp ������ #YankeesHarper ������ #NationalsKeuchel ������ #NationalsKimbrel ������ #BravesMachado ������ #PhilliesPollock ������ #Mets pic.twitter.com/zXhhCHEFXi

While a number of other teams have been linked to the Harper market -- from favorites like the Phillies and Yankees, to other big-market possibilities like the Dodgers to dark-horse candidates like the White Sox -- it wouldn't necessarily be surprising to see the 26-year-old return to the Nationals.

After all, it's the only franchise Harper has known as a professional. The Nats drafted Harper and helped him develop into a big-name star as well as an MVP. Let's not forget: The club still hasn't won a postseason series -- something that, no doubt, Harper wouldn't mind trying to change.

Plus, general manager Mike Rizzo has made it known that he would welcome Harper as a part of the team's future, recently stating -- amid reports that the Nationals offered a 10-year, $300 million contract at the end of the regular season -- "We certainly have made attempts to sign him. He's our guy. We're looking forward to seeing what can transpire." 

Projecting Harper's next contract
Nov. 14: While superstar slugger Bryce Harper is primed to cash in this offseason, he may have several options to consider when it comes to the length of his next contract, which Sports Illustrated's Emma Baccellieri covered in an article for si.com on Tuesday.

The most likely option would seem to be what Baccellieri terms "The Lifetime Deal," a 10-year contract in the neighborhood of $350 million.

These types of deals are risky for the signing team, as the Angels and the Mariners have found out after inking Albert Pujols and Robinson Cano, respectively. But as Baccellieri points out, Pujols was 31 years old and Cano 30 when they signed. Harper is only 26, giving him a better chance to make a long-term contract pay off.

Harper could also consider a shorter-term deal with a higher average annual value (AAV). Baccellieri proposes a four-year, $170 million contract that would blow away the record for AAV, which is held by Zack Greinke at $34.4 million.

Taking that one step further, Harper could sign a one-year deal for $45 million, betting on his ability return to MVP form in 2019 before entering free agency again next offseason. This would obviously be risky for the outfielder, as he could have a down year or suffer an injury, but he might consider it if the offers he receives aren't much better than the one he reportedly rejected from the Nationals (10 years, $300 million) on the final day of the regular season.

Are Giants better off signing multiple players instead of Harper?
Nov. 13: The Giants could have between $30 million to $40 million to spend this offseason, and they have been connected to free agent Bryce Harper. However, as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports points out, Farhan Zaidi, San Francisco's new president of baseball operations, may prefer to spread out the club's resources to fill multiple needs.

When Zaidi was the Dodgers' general manager under president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, the team never gave out any contract totaling more than $80 million, opting instead to focus on building a deep roster.

Pavlovic notes that the Giants need a starting pitcher, an outfielder and a utility man, and he suggests signing J.A. Happ, Nick Markakis and Marwin Gonzalez for what MLB Trade Rumors projects will be a combined $33 million in 2019. None of the three is expected to require a long-term commitment, whereas Harper is believed to be seeking a 10-year deal.

As Pavlovic writes, Harper would certainly make the Giants flashier, but signing multiple players to less expensive deals could be the better route to take.

Phillies may need Harper's personality as much as his bat
Nov. 13: With money to spend and a desire to contend as soon as next season, the Phillies are considered the favorites to sign Bryce Harper. And while the Phils would certainly benefit from adding Harper's bat to their lineup, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports writes that the slugger's personality could be just as important.

Although Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins are strong building blocks, Salisbury argues that Harper would provide Philadelphia with a much needed face of the franchise to energize the fan base and help fill Citizens Bank Park.

While the Phillies made a leap this past season, winning 14 more games than the previous year, they ranked just 17th in average attendance at 27,318. In 2008, when Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Cole Hamels were in their primes and the club won the World Series, the Phils averaged 42,254 fans per game, ranking fifth overall.

Salisbury also writes that Harper's "competitive sneer" will rub off on the rest of Philadelphia's roster, giving the club a much-needed edge as it tries to keep pace with the up-and-coming Braves in the National League East.

Are White Sox trying to clear space for free-agent stars by shopping Garcia?
Nov. 13: The White Sox are actively shopping right fielder Avisail Garcia, according to a report from MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, which may be part of an effort to clear space for Bryce Harper.

Tweet from @Feinsand: According to a source, the White Sox are actively trying to trade Avisail Garcia. There���s a sense within the industry that Chicago will non-tender Garcia if they���re unable to deal him.

With Jose Abreu at first base, Daniel Palka and Matt Davidson likely to split at-bats at the designated-hitter spot, and top prospect Eloy Jimenez potentially taking over in left field soon, the White Sox will have nowhere for Garcia to play if they sign Harper.

Garcia has battled persistent injury problems during his career, and he's proven to be an unremarkable offensive performer (lifetime 101 wRC+) as well as a subpar defender (lifetime -26 Defensive Runs Saved as an outfielder). And although he was worth 4.2 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in 2017, per FanGraphs, his production was boosted by great batted-ball fortune (.392 BABIP). Over the rest of his career, he has tallied exactly zero WAR.

MLB Trade Rumors projects Garcia will earn $8 million in 2019, his final season of arbitration eligibility. However, Feinsand reports that there is a "sense within the industry that Chicago will non-tender" him if it can't work out a trade.

Trading or non-tendering Garcia would also give the White Sox the additional option of shifting Tim Anderson to the outfield to make room for Manny Machado at shortstop, though Chicago also has an opening at third base if Machado is willing to move back to that position.

Harper rejects the Nationals' qualifying offer
Nov. 12: Bryce Harper has rejected the Nationals' one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer, as was expected. The 26-year-old superstar is expected to receive a long-term contract somewhere in the $300 million-$400 million range.

Since he was made a qualifying offer, Washington would get a selection after the fourth round of next year's MLB Draft, and the club that signs Harper would be subject to losing a pick (or picks) and international bonus pool money.

Are the Phillies shopping Santana to make room for Harper?
Nov. 12: According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required), a rival executive said the Phillies are "shopping the hell" out of first baseman Carlos Santana, who signed a three-year, $60 million contract with Philadelphia last offseason.

Per Rosenthal, the Phillies want to move Rhys Hoskins back to first base. While that makes strategic sense from a defensive standpoint -- Hoskins recorded -19 Outs Above Average, per Statcast™, and -24 Defensive Runs Saved in left field this past season -- Philadelphia may also be trying to clear space on the payroll and in the outfield for free agent Bryce Harper.

Santana's deal included a $10 million signing bonus, leaving him with a base salary of roughly $35 million over 2019-20, and he has a $500,000 buyout on his $17.5 million club option for '21. The Phillies will likely need to send some cash to move the 32-year-old, who hit .229/.352/.414 with 24 homers and 86 RBIs over 161 games in the first year of his contract.

Philadelphia has been consistently connected to Harper this offseason and could conceivably afford to sign him without moving Santana, but doing so would likely mean putting promising right fielder Nick Williams on the bench or giving Santana more playing time at third at the expense of Maikel Franco.

A big gap between Harper and Machado?
Nov. 12: In a piece for The Athletic, Cliff Corcoran ranks the best under-28 free agents of all-time. It's interesting to see where the top two free agents on this year's market land. Manny Machado is ranked third, behind only Alex Rodriguez (2000) and Barry Bonds (1992). Bryce Harper is all the way down at 11th out of 13 players, ahead of Carlos Beltran (2004) and Goose Gossage (1977).

"The math projects [Machado] to be worth 5.2 bWAR in his age-26 season, but he has been a six-win player in four of the last six seasons (I'm counting his 5.7 bWAR this year given his uncharacteristic struggles in the field), so he could very well exceed that projection," writes Corcoran.

With respect to Harper, Corcoran cites his inconsistency at the plate and injury history, pointing out his 1.5 WAR (Baseball Reference) in 2016, and 1.3 WAR last season.

"What was supposed to be the monster free agency to end all free agencies is instead a confusing mixed bag of impressive accomplishment and confounding underperformance," Corcoran writes.

How will Rizzo address the Nats' needs this offseason?
Nov. 12: Although the Nationals want to bring back Bryce Harper, the club has other holes to plug, and earmarking a substantial portion of their payroll for a potential Harper reunion could have dire consequences if the team waits too long and the 26-year-old signs elsewhere.

According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required), one agent offered a theory about Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo's offseason approach, predicting that Rizzo will aggressively try to address the team's needs, then leave it up to ownership to make the final decision on Harper if the outfielder is still available.

As Rosenthal points out, Rizzo must proceed as if Harper is not returning after the slugger reportedly rejected a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Nats on the final day of the regular season.

Rosenthal also notes that any upgrades the Nats make could make the team more appealing to Harper and persuade him to re-sign, which would be a win-win scenario for Rizzo.

Ortiz named Rangers hitting coach

Former infielder served alongside new manager Woodward as Dodgers' assistant hitting coach in '18
MLB.com

New Rangers manager Chris Woodward continued to round out his Major League coaching staff on Wednesday, most notably with the hiring of Luis Ortiz as hitting coach. Ortiz joins Woodward from the Dodgers' coaching staff in 2018.

The Rangers also announced that Don Wakamatsu will return as bench coach, Tony Beasley will return as third-base coach and Hector Ortiz, who was the club's bullpen coach last season, will be back as its first-base coach. Additionally, Jayce Tingler has been named the Major League player development field coordinator and former first-base coach Steve Buechele has been appointed to become a special assistant in the baseball operations department.

New Rangers manager Chris Woodward continued to round out his Major League coaching staff on Wednesday, most notably with the hiring of Luis Ortiz as hitting coach. Ortiz joins Woodward from the Dodgers' coaching staff in 2018.

The Rangers also announced that Don Wakamatsu will return as bench coach, Tony Beasley will return as third-base coach and Hector Ortiz, who was the club's bullpen coach last season, will be back as its first-base coach. Additionally, Jayce Tingler has been named the Major League player development field coordinator and former first-base coach Steve Buechele has been appointed to become a special assistant in the baseball operations department.

Pitching coach Doug Brocail, who was in his role from 2016-18, and assistant pitching coach Dan Warthen, who was brought on last year, did not have their contracts renewed.

Ortiz, 48, comes over as the Dodgers' most recent assistant hitting coach, and he'd previously been in the Rangers organization from 2008-12 in various hitting instruction roles. Ortiz was also the Padres' field and hitting coordinator from 2015-17 and was the cultural development coordinator in the Indians' system from 2013-14. His 14-year Major League career also included a stint with Texas from 1995-96.

Wakamatsu, who is in his second stint with the Texas staff and is a carryover from former manager Jeff Banister, will enter his second straight season as bench coach. He also served in the position from 2003-06, then was the Rangers' third-base coach in '07.

Tingler is transitioning from a two-year stint as an assistant to general manager Jon Daniels, where he helped oversee the club's player development system. Tingler was on the Major League staff from 2015-16 as an outfield and baserunning coach, and carries eight years of Minor League experience as a manager and coach in the Rangers' system. He joined the club in '07.

Beasley and Hector Ortiz are the longest-tenured returnees, having been on the Major League staff the last four seasons. Beasley has been third-base coach for his entire stint with Texas, which began in 2015. Ortiz returns to a first-base coaching role he held from 2015-17 after serving as bullpen coach in '18.

Buechele carries extensive experience in the Rangers' organization, dating back to his Major League playing days. He also spent four seasons on the big league staff as bench coach and first-base coach after a six-year stint as a manager in Texas' farm system.

The Rangers said in a release that the remainder of their 2019 coaching staff will be announced in the near future.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Texas Rangers

Pirates acquire three players in trade with Tribe

INF Gonzalez, pitching prospects Thomas, Mendoza headed to Bucs
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- This offseason, the Pirates must recreate their middle infield and find a short-term solution in right field. By completing a five-player trade with the Indians on Wednesday, they took a step toward addressing their infield openings but further clouded their outfield picture.

Pittsburgh sent outfielder Jordan Luplow and infielder Max Moroff to Cleveland in exchange for utility infielder Erik Gonzalez and Minor League pitchers Tahnaj Thomas and Dante Mendoza, both 19-year-old right-handers. The 27-year-old Gonzalez could be part of the Pirates' Opening Day roster, given their uncertainty at shortstop and second base.

PITTSBURGH -- This offseason, the Pirates must recreate their middle infield and find a short-term solution in right field. By completing a five-player trade with the Indians on Wednesday, they took a step toward addressing their infield openings but further clouded their outfield picture.

Pittsburgh sent outfielder Jordan Luplow and infielder Max Moroff to Cleveland in exchange for utility infielder Erik Gonzalez and Minor League pitchers Tahnaj Thomas and Dante Mendoza, both 19-year-old right-handers. The 27-year-old Gonzalez could be part of the Pirates' Opening Day roster, given their uncertainty at shortstop and second base.

Bucs to continue exploring options at SS, RF

The Pirates will likely enter next season without shortstop Jordy Mercer and second baseman Josh Harrison, both free agents. That leaves them with unproven rookie Kevin Newman at short and Adam Frazier at second, though Frazier could play right field while Gregory Polanco recovers from September shoulder surgery early next season.

To fill one of those keystone spots, the Bucs could plug in Gonzalez. A gifted defender blocked in Cleveland by All-Star infielders Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor, Gonzalez has Major League experience at shortstop, second base and third.

"Erik Gonzalez is an athletic middle infielder who plays solid defense and has the potential to be a productive hitter at the Major League level," general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. "He gives us another option to play shortstop or in the middle of our infield this year and into the future."

Video: CLE@TOR: Gonzalez makes a backhanded stop in the 8th

Gonzalez has struggled offensively in the big leagues since making his debut in 2016, putting together a .263/.292/.389 slash line with five homers and 27 RBIs in 275 plate appearances. The Indians used him as a utility infielder, giving him 30 appearances at second base, 20 at third and 16 at shortstop last season. He also has worked nine games at first base and played both outfield corners.

Gonzalez, born in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, had spent his entire career with the Indians after signing with them on Aug. 26, 2008. He made his big league debut in '16, the same year he was named a Triple-A All-Star with Columbus.

"As our roster has taken shape over the course of the past few seasons, we have not had an opportunity for him to play regularly," Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. "So we feel this will give Erik an opportunity to play more with Pittsburgh and continue his career and potentially blossom into the everyday player we think he can be."

Thomas, who was the Indians' No. 30 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, signed out of the Bahamas in December 2016. He made his professional debut in '17 before posting a 4.58 ERA and 1.17 WHIP with 27 strikeouts over 19 2/3 innings in the Rookie-level Arizona League this year.

"Tahnaj Thomas is a recently converted infielder who possesses a quality frame, athleticism, a clean delivery and arm strength to create a high-ceilinged prospect," Huntington said in a statement.

Tweet from @Pirates: Pirates GM Neal Huntington on Erik Gonzalez: pic.twitter.com/aCW8CplHWR

The Indians picked Mendoza out of Torrance (Calif.) High School in the 12th round of the 2017 Draft. Mendoza also put together a 4.58 ERA in the Rookie-level Arizona League this year while recording a 1.42 WHIP and 37 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings over 10 appearanes (three starts).

"Dante Mendoza is a pitching prospect who brings many of the traits we like in young pitchers, while adding to the depth of pitching prospects with upside in our system," Huntington said.

The deal cost the Pirates a pair of young big leaguers they drafted and developed, although Luplow and Moroff both struggled in limited playing time. The writing may have been on the wall for Moroff, who is out of Minor League options, when Pittsburgh did not call him up this past September even though he was already on the 40-man roster. Moroff should have a chance to claim a utility infield job in Cleveland.

It was more surprising that the Pirates parted with Luplow, who hit well in Triple-A and seemed to be in line for more playing time in right field early next season as Polanco completes his rehabilitation work. The Pirates could shift Frazier or super-utility man Pablo Reyes to right field, plugging in Gonzalez or Kramer at second base, or look for another temporary outfield solution through free agency or trade.

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

Pittsburgh Pirates, Erik Gonzalez