It's Hot Stove season, and MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.
• Free agents, by position
• Free agents, by team
Harper and the Rockies?
Nov. 20: Bryce Harper has been connected with several teams during this Hot Stove season, but a club that would create shock waves if it were to land the superstar slugger is the Rockies.
USA TODAY Sports' Gabe Lacques suggests the idea isn't as far-fetched as you might think. In fact, he argues Harper and Colorado would be a fit.
"The Rockies should recognize that their window to win may never be better, given their offensive core and that rarest of sights in Denver -- young, capable starting pitching," writes Lacques. "With the status of one franchise player in doubt, locking down another in the near term would ensure them enduring relevance -- along with a powerful shot to win it all now."
Harper playing 81 games a season at hitter-friendly Coors Field is quite a thought. In 90 career plate appearances there, he has a .387/.489/.627 slash line. And even if it's just for one year, can you imagine Harper and Nolan Arenado in the same lineup?
On the other hand, the spacious outfield of Coors Field can be a nightmare for mediocre defensive outfielders. MLB.com's Mike Petriello took a deep dive to investigate the causes behind Harper's poor defense in 2018.
"Defensive Runs Saved scored him a -26, worst of any outfielder who doesn't call massive Coors Field home," Petriello notes. "Ultimate Zone Rating scored him a -14.4, at the bottom of the list. Statcast™ Outs Above Average, which for the moment includes only range and not arm value, puts him at -12, fifth-worst."
That's not to say all is lost, of course. Petriello also writes that "he's still just 26 and enormously talented. Teams aren't just going to assume he can't play defense anymore."
A Syndergaard trade could lead to Mets pursuing a front-line starter
Nov. 20: With rumors that Noah Syndergaard could be available for trade, the haul in the return for the right-hander would have to be large. But that wouldn't necessarily be the only result of such a blockbuster move. According to SNY's Andy Martino, New York is considering free-agent options to replace him should he be dealt.
"Trading Syndergaard -- which is no sure thing to happen, even though the Mets are exploring it -- would only be one piece in a larger strategy," writes Martino, who cites Major League sources. "The Mets could obtain a package of prospects and Major Leaguers for Syndergaard, then replace him with a free agent such as Patrick Corbin, J.A. Happ, Dallas Keuchel, or Nathan Eovaldi."
Martino adds that the Mets are pushing back against the idea that a trade of Syndergaard would portend a "step back for 2019," writing that the front office "view is that dealing from a position of depth, and then finding a replacement at that position, could be a win-win."
Cashman weighs in on Harper as a potential first baseman
Nov. 20: When agent Scott Boras touted Bryce Harper's ability to play first base two weeks ago, some viewed it as a sales pitch to the Yankees, who don't have an obvious need in the outfield.
In an appearance Tuesday on MLB Network Radio, Yanks general manager Brian Cashman weighed in on Harper as a potential fit and quashed the idea of New York considering him for a position switch.
"People have talked about Bryce Harper being able to play first base, I don't know if he can or can't," Cashman said. "I know he's very athletic, but that's not necessarily a bet I would recommend placing with the amount of money he's expected to get."
Cashman again pinpointed the starting rotation as an area of focus, along with addressing the bullpen and covering the absence of shortstop Didi Gregorius, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery and likely won't be ready until the summer. Cashman, though, didn't close the door on signing Harper.
"I'm not ruling anything out," the GM said. "We like to think of ourselves as very progressive and open-minded to any idea, if it's a good idea. My main laser focus currently is on those areas of need, but that doesn't preclude me from, with ownership obviously directing things from above, being open to any idea that makes us the best that we can possibly be."
Dodgers, Astros have interest in Realmuto
Nov. 20: The Dodgers have catching prospect Keibert Ruiz on the farm, so they don't necessarily have to seek a long-term replacement for free agent Yasmani Grandal. But MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi thinks that Los Angeles "appears destined to acquire a frontline catcher" this offseason.
Per Morosi, the Dodgers have interest in trade candidate J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins. Despite its blockbuster deal for Manny Machado in July, Los Angeles still has a solid farm system with four top-100 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, so it can make Miami a competitive offer for Realmuto.
Morosi notes that the Astros are also eyeing Realmuto. Like the Dodgers, Houston has four top-100 prospects, including two -- outfielder Kyle Tucker and right-hander Forrest Whitley -- in the top 10.
The Braves, who have a whopping 10 top-100 prospects, are known to have interest in Realmuto as well, but the Marlins reportedly prefer to trade the backstop outside of the National League East.
The Nationals have been connected to Realmuto in the past, but their acquisition of Kurt Suzuki on Monday likely takes them out of the running for the Marlins catcher, as well as Grandal and fellow free agent Wilson Ramos.
Phillies are considering other big names besides Harper and Machado
Nov. 20: The Phillies have long been connected to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but those aren't the only two big-name players they are targeting, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
Morosi reports that Philadelphia is showing interest in Patrick Corbin and Craig Kimbrel, who are considered by many to be the top available starter and closer, respectively.
The Phillies are known to be seeking a left-handed starter to balance the rotation after giving just three starts to a southpaw over the past two years combined, and Corbin fits that bill.
Philadelphia had some success using a closer committee in 2018, but adding Kimbrel to the bullpen would undoubtedly make manager Gabe Kapler's job easier.
If they don't land Corbin or Kimbrel, the Phillies could look to the trade market for a starter and a closer, with Morosi mentioning the D-backs' Zack Greinke and the Mariners' Edwin Diaz as potential options.
A source told Morosi the D-backs are confident they won't need to include cash to move Greinke, who is owed more than $90 million over the next three years. The Phils have the payroll space to take on the entire contract.
After dealing left-hander James Paxton to the Yankees on Monday, the Mariners haven't ruled out trading Diaz, according to Morosi. The right-hander, who is under control for four more seasons, saved 57 games in 2018.
Video: Zolecki discusses Phillies' offseason spending plans
A-Rod touts Machado as "a great player" and "a fine young man"
Nov. 20: Alex Rodriguez has acted as a mentor to Manny Machado since Machado was a teenager in Miami -- where both Rodriguez and Machado grew up -- and he still holds a role as an advisor for the Yankees organization, leading some to wonder whether A-Rod could help bring Machado to New York.
Rodriguez, who was in London on Monday as part of MLB's promotional tour for next year's series between the Yankees and the Red Sox at London Stadium, said he hasn't been approached by the Yanks or Machado. But Rodriguez did endorse Machado's talent and character, according to the New York Post.
"I haven't had a chance to talk to [owner] Hal [Steinbrenner] or [GM Brian] Cashman, but I know ownership is as hungry as ever to put a great product and winner on the field," Rodriguez said. "And he's a great player.
"No one has asked me for advice. I do wish Manny well. He's a fine young man. It's a fun part of his career. I would just tell him to eliminate the white noise and focus on the game."
Machado drew criticism in October for admitting in an interview with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required) that he wasn't a "Johnny Hustle" type of player, and he was also called a "dirty player" by Christian Yelich of the Brewers after spiking first baseman Jesus Aguilar during the NLCS. The debate about Machado has continued this month, with the infielder expected to command more than $300 million on the free-agent market.
The Athletic's Jayson Stark reported last week that the Yankees were doing "extensive" background work on Machado to determine if he's the right fit for the left side of their infield.
"Any time you're going after a player, due diligence is a part of it," Rodriguez said. "He's a great player and he's young and has played well in the AL East. But Hal and Cashman would be right to do a deep dive on any player, whether it's someone making the minimum [salary] or if it's a big free agent like Manny."
Cron adds another first-base option to the market. Which teams might be suitors?
Nov. 20: When the Rays designated C.J. Cron for assignment prior to Tuesday's deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft, it added another first baseman to the free-agent market. So which teams might pounce?
MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger suggests the Twins could be a player, as Minnesota had the fifth-worst OPS from the first base position last season, and have been linked to other first basemen, like Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt.
Cron had the best season of his career at the plate in 2018, slashing .253/.323/.493 with 30 home runs in 140 games for Tampa Bay. Other clubs that may show interest include the Cardinals, Astros and Rockies. St. Louis may be looking to move the versatile Matt Carpenter off first base, the Astros may look to add a first baseman with super-utility player Marwin Gonzalez on the free-agent market, and the Rockies may look for more production at first base, to move Ian Desmond to the outfield.
Kimbrel not an option for Cubs?
Nov. 20: The Cubs' bullpen faltered down the stretch last season, contributing to a second-place finish in the NL Central and a loss to the Rockies in the NL Wild Card Game. NBC Sports Chicago's Tony Andracki writes that the club will be focused on adding bullpen depth so that its relievers aren't overused, which the front office sees as a big reason for the late-season struggles.
While Craig Kimbrel is the premier closer on the free-agent market, Andracki suggests that given president of baseball operations Theo Epstein's track record in free agency, it is unlikely Chicago will spend big on a closer. Andracki sees the club going after other late-inning relievers instead, which potentially includes Zach Britton and Andrew Miller.
"It's more likely we'll see the Cubs make some smaller moves in free agency (maybe bringing back Jesse Chavez?) and potentially acquire an impact reliever via trade (a la Wade Davis for Jorge Soler two years back)," Andracki writes.
With 'suspect' infield defense, will Yankees prefer Eovaldi?
Nov. 20: The Yankees are seeking to bolster their rotation this offseason, and according to MLB Network insider Joel Sherman in an article for the New York Post, that leads to the question of whether they'll prefer strikeout pitchers, given what he calls a "suspect" infield defense.
"Their best gloveman, Didi Gregorius, will miss at least two months after Tommy John surgery," Sherman writes. "Miguel Andujar was, by metrics, the Majors' worst defender at third. Gleyber Torres has the quick-hand/strong-arm attributes to be a top defender, but was not consistent last year. Luke Voit is a below-average defender and Greg Bird, perhaps, average at first."
That leads Sherman to wonder if hard-throwing right-hander Nathan Eovaldi may be the preferred starter for the Yankees, as his strikeout rate increased significantly last season.
"The most interesting case is Nathan Eovaldi, whose strikeout average rose last year over eight per nine innings for the first time -- more befitting his power stuff -- while he remained groundball proficient," Sherman continues. "Will teams such as the Yankees see Eovaldi trending more toward missing bats and, thus, even more attractive?"
Of course, there is no shortage of strikeout pitchers on this year's market, both via free agency and trade, including Patrick Corbin, Charlie Morton, J.A. Happ, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber.
Indians and Dodgers are having "lots of different discussions"
Nov. 20: File this rumor under "vague but juicy." MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Dodgers are "engaged in lots of different discussions," then suggests that there could be a match given Cleveland's need for outfield help -- even after getting good news about Leonys Martin -- and L.A.'s search for a catcher.
That's right: Rosenthal just casually dropped names like Indians backstop Yan Gomes and (clears throat) Dodgers outfielders Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo and ... Yasiel Puig. Not to mention, there's a reference to what would appear to be none other than Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco.
Imagine the possibilities: Puig, Pederson, Verdugo and one of L.A.'s high-end catching prospects (Keibert Ruiz or Will Smith) to Cleveland for one of Kluber or Carrasco and Gomes? There's no way that actually would come to fruition (right?), but it's Hot Stove season, so hey, fan the flames.
Why the Brewers could consider Lowrie and Murphy
Nov. 20: At the end of 2018, second base became something of a revolving door in Milwaukee. Not that the Brewers didn't have talented options to handle the position, but they never settled on any one player. That leaves the spot in a bit of flux this winter.
Sure, the club could continue playing Travis Shaw there, but he's better suited for third base, which is once again open with midseason acquisition Mike Moustakas on the open market. Hernan Perez is another candidate, but he's been extremely useful in a utility player role the past few seasons. And then there's Jonathan Schoop, who simply did not work out after joining the Crew from the Orioles in July.
In fact, given that Schoop hit .202/.246/.331 in 46 games with Milwaukee and is projected to get north of $10 million as his 2019 salary via arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors, there's at least a chance he could be non-tendered by the Nov. 30 deadline. If not, then Schoop could become a trade chip, with the hope that other teams focus more on his monster 2017 (.841 OPS, 32 homers) and age (still only 27) than on his disastrous '18.
If the Brewers are to consider a second-base solution in free agency, Jonah Keri of CBS Sports suggests that Jed Lowrie or Daniel Murphy could be good fits. Both veterans have continued to be productive, contact-making hitters with good pop well into their mid-30s, and they are likely to land reasonable two- or three-year deals because of their age. Solidifying a potential problem spot could help push a Brewers team that reached the National League Championship Series to the next level.
Which teams are making a push for Goldschmidt?
Nov. 20: It doesn't appear the D-backs are close to trading star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, but the Cardinals, Astros and Twins are three potential suitors if they choose to go down that road.
MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported Monday that St. Louis and Houston have had the "most meaningful" discussions with the D-backs about Goldschmidt, but a deal isn't imminent with either club.
According to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, the Twins "have had preliminary talks about a Paul Goldschmidt trade, source confirms, though the dialogue has not advanced in recent days." Morosi also noted that Minnesota had the fifth-lowest OPS from the first base position of any team last season.
The D-backs picked up Goldschmidt's $14.5 million club option last month, and he's slated to become a free agent for the first time in his career after next season. Arizona is poised to lose starting pitcher Patrick Corbin and outfielder A.J. Pollock in free agency, and could look to the future and deal its franchise player. It's unlikely the D-backs will act aggressively in shopping Goldschmidt, but for the first time since he broke into the big leagues, they've declined to say they wouldn't entertain trade offers for the six-time All-Star.
It's also possible Arizona offers Goldschmidt a contact extension or at least waits to see how the team performs next season before making a decision prior to the Trade Deadline.
Video: Langosch on Cards' chances of trading for Goldschmidt
What's next for the Nationals?
Nov. 20: The Nationals addressed their hole at catcher by signing Kurt Suzuki away from the National League East division-rival Braves at the relatively low cost of $10 million for two years.
Between that move and the earlier additions of right-handers Kyle Barraclough and Trevor Rosenthal to the bullpen, general manager Mike Rizzo already has solidified a couple of different areas without spending big. It appears the Nats now will hone in on their rotation, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, who highlights lefties Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel as well as right-handers Nathan Eovaldi and Charlie Morton as the likeliest free-agent targets.
Washington's rotation is fronted by two of the best in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, but it drops off after that with durable veteran Tanner Roark as the only other sure thing in place. With all three of those being righties, it's possible Rizzo would prefer a southpaw like Corbin or Keuchel to provide some variety.
Those two, however, are expected to command multi-year contracts approaching (if not exceeding) $80 million to $100 million. It's worth wondering whether the Nationals would meet that price point, especially if it costs them a chance to re-sign their longtime star Bryce Harper.
Thin third-base market could benefit Donaldson, Moose
Nov. 20: Adrian Beltre announced his retirement Tuesday morning after a Hall of Fame-worthy career, leaving one fewer third baseman on the free-agent market.
However, this may not affect the market all that much, as Beltre was expected by many to re-sign with the Rangers if he didn't retire. Texas can plug in Jurickson Profar at the hot corner, so the club probably won't immediately jump into the mix for a free-agent replacement.
That said, having one less viable alternative out there certainly isn't a negative for Josh Donaldson and Mike Moustakas, the top two free-agent third basemen not named Manny Machado.
With Beltre retiring and Eduardo Escobar and Jung Ho Kang re-signing with their respective teams, the best free-agent third baseman behind Machado, Donaldson and Moustakas is Chase Headley, at least in terms of 2018 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Headley, 34, wasn't signed after being released by the Padres in May, and he finished 2018 with -0.4 WAR, per FanGraphs.
Machado is also being courted as a shortstop, and only a select number of teams can afford his contract demands, so many of the clubs that need a third baseman may have only two realistic options: Donaldson or Moustakas.
Although he played just 52 games during an injury-plagued season and is nearly three years older than Moustakas, Donaldson is clearly the higher-ceiling option of the two. Donaldson won an American League MVP Award in 2015 and has recorded 36.5 WAR over 883 career games. Moustakas, meanwhile, has posted 13.2 WAR in 988 games.
Cardinals could trade Martinez, sign Corbin or Keuchel
Nov. 20: After missing the postseason in each of the past three seasons, the Cardinals are expected to explore a number of avenues to upgrade their roster this offseason. According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, their plans could include both adding to and subtracting from the starting rotation.
Per Goold, St. Louis has explored the trade interest in Carlos Martinez and will continue to do so, having seen other pitchers with similar contracts bring back significant talent in past deals.
Martinez, 27, is owed roughly $35 million over the next three seasons, and he has team options for 2022 ($17 million) and 2023 ($18 million). Each option comes with a $500,000 buyout.
The right-hander has flashed ace potential during his career, but he has more often performed like a No. 2 starter and may be viewed as such on the trade market. Martinez also battled right shoulder problems in 2018 and spent much of the second half pitching out of the bullpen.
In addition, Goold notes that St. Louis will have conversations about Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel, who are arguably the top two pitchers on the free-agent market. The Cards have been more closely linked to the latter, but they may wait for Corbin's market to take shape before they determine if Keuchel makes sense financially.
Is Pollock the answer if Markakis departs Atlanta?
Nov. 20: With Nick Markakis on the free-agent market, the Braves may need to find a replacement in the outfield. In matching free agents to each NL club, Sports Illustrated's Jon Tayler has A.J. Pollock as the right fit for Atlanta.
"Pollock's injury history is worrisome, and his last two years have been largely unexceptional at the plate, but he can handle center or the corners and boasts a lot of upside, even at 31," Tayler writes.
Prior to being injured last season, Pollock was off to a great start, hitting .293/.349/.620 with 11 homers through May 14. Though he struggled after returning, as Tayler notes, there is high potential upside should Pollock stay healthy and regain his form at the plate.
Signing Kimbrel would be "out of character" for Cards
Nov. 20: The Cardinals have been mentioned as a potential landing spot for free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch doesn't see it happening.
"It would be so completely out of character and against everything the Cardinals have done the past three years," Goold wrote Monday.
Goold points out that when the Cards signed Greg Holland to a one-year, $14 million contract in March, they expressly said they did not want a long-term commitment at closer so Jordan Hicks wouldn't be blocked from eventually taking on the role. Holland's poor performance only reinforced St. Louis' internal stance against paying up for big-name closers.
Yankees get Paxton. What's next?
Nov. 19: For the Yankees, the arms race may have just begun. New York acquired southpaw James Paxton in a blockbuster involving Justus Sheffield -- their No. 1 prospect -- and two other Minor Leaguers on Monday evening. Don't expect general manager Brian Cashman to stop there in his search for starting pitching.
Even after re-signing lefty CC Sabathia, Cashman has said all offseason that his goal is to address the rotation by bringing in not one, but two big-name pitchers. So who could be next?
MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi checks in to note that the Yankees -- who also have been linked to the biggest names on the open market in Bryce Harper and, especially, Manny Machado -- still are very much eyeing free agent Patrick Corbin, as well as fellow lefty J.A. Happ, whom they acquired in a midseason trade in 2018.
ESPN's Buster Olney speculates the same, suggesting that the Yankees now may look to spend money in free agency (rather than swap any more young talent) to shore up the rotation.
In other words, the Paxton trade could be just the start of what looks like a big offseason for Cashman and the Yankees.
Video: Morosi on future of Yankees, Mariners after trade
Will the Mariners continue to sell?
Nov. 19: Reports during the General Managers Meetings suggested the Mariners could be on the verge of trading away their most-prized big leaguers in an effort to rebuild -- or "re-imagine" -- the roster with an eye toward the future. The trade of backstop Mike Zunino to the Rays was the first domino to fall, and Monday's blockbuster swap of ace left-hander James Paxton to the Yankees signals that general manager Jerry Dipoto -- one of the most trade-happy execs in baseball -- is moving forward with a new direction.
Seattle, in fact, may be looking at a "full-blown sell-off" as ESPN's Buster Olney notes.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports and MLB Network insider Jon Heyman are hearing the same: The Mariners' timeline has shifted from trying to contend in 2019 to more like 2021 now.
The natural question is: What other trade chips does Seattle possess after shipping off Zunino and Paxton? It's unlikely there would be much of a market for high-salary players like Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Dee Gordon, unless the Mariners are willing to pay down their contracts considerably. And Heyman reported during the GM Meetings that the club would prefer to hang onto star closer Edwin Diaz, breakout outfielder Mitch Haniger and lefty Marco Gonzales. Dipoto said Monday, after the Paxton swap, that more or less remains to be the case, according to MLB.com's Greg Johns.
The Mariners' biggest remaining piece, then, might be infielder Jean Segura, who has been productive (.304/.341/.415 with 10 homers and 20 steals last season) and is signed to a five-year, $70 million pact through 2022 with a $17 million option for '23. The 28-year-old, however, does have a no-trade clause, which complicates matters some.
MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Yankees asked about Segura before honing in on Paxton.
What does Suzuki's signing mean for the catcher market?
Nov. 19: The Nationals have been consistently mentioned as a potential suitor for the top catchers on the free-agent and trade markets, but they may be out of the running for Yasmani Grandal, Wilson Ramos and J.T. Realmuto after agreeing to a two-year contract with Kurt Suzuki on Monday. MLB.com's Mark Feinsand first reported the agreement, and sources told MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal that the contract will pay Suzuki $10 million -- $4 million for 2019 and $6 million for 2020.
Suzuki formed a productive catching tandem with Tyler Flowers for the Braves over the past two seasons, with both players splitting playing time fairly evenly. In that span, Suzuki recorded a 118 OPS+, putting him one point behind Realmuto, Buster Posey and Willson Contreras for the MLB lead among catchers (min. 500 plate appearances).
Suzuki played 122 games with the Nationals over 2012-13, and MLB Network insider Jon Heyman notes that they loved the veteran's makeup and receiving ability the first time they had him.
Washington has other needs to address and is unlikely to invest more of its resources in the catching position after inking Suzuki. That removes one potential competitor for Grandal, Ramos and Realmuto. There are still plenty of clubs in need of a catcher, but few contenders are expected to make improving at the position as much of a priority as the Nats did, which could cool the catcher market some.
While the Astros are known to be seeking a catcher, the club doesn't have to rush to sign or trade for one, with so many options still available.
Flowers remains with Atlanta, but the club is believed to be looking for someone to start regularly so it can push the 32-year-old to a more conventional backup role.
While the Marlins reportedly prefer not to deal Realmuto to another National League East team, the Braves may be able to offer Miami the best prospect package.
Tribe's Gomes is drawing trade interest
Nov. 19: The Indians have been reportedly open to shopping one of their top starting pitchers, but another name emerged Monday as a possible trade candidate in Cleveland. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Yan Gomes, in addition to the Tribe's pitchers, is drawing significant interest on the trade market.
Despite winning three consecutive division titles, the Tribe could be looking to shed salary this offseason. A rival executive told Rosenthal that Cleveland is "scrambling to get young players." Zack Meisel of The Athletic said any payroll trimming would be done not in an effort to rebuild but to address other weak spots on the roster, such as the outfield or bullpen.
Gomes is slated to earn $7 million next season and has club options for 2020 ($9 million) and '21 ($11 million). The only other catchers on Cleveland's 40-man roster are Eric Haase and Roberto Perez.
What kind of haul could Mets get for Thor?
Nov. 19: Mets starter Noah Syndergaard has surfaced in trade rumors of late, and while there are surely a number of teams interested in the hard-throwing right-hander, but what's not yet clear is what kind of return the Mets could get in exchange.
Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said last week that any offer would have to be "pretty lopsided" for the club to entertain moving on from Syndergaard.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post posited some possibiliites, polling a handful of baseball personnel. The report said an analytics-oriented club could be hesitant to surrender too much for Syndergaard given his injury history over the last two seasons as well as his struggles on the road, away from the spacious Citi Field.
Two clubs were named as possible fits: the Reds and Padres.
The Reds' limited budget could have them turning to the trade market to upgrade their rotation this winter, and Sherman suggests the Mets should ask for young closer Raisel Iglesias and MLB Pipeline's No. 6 prospect Nick Senzel, who could be knocking at the door to the big leagues in 2019. Senzel doesn't have a clear path to playing time with Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett ahead of him in Cincinnati.
As for the Padres, Sherman names infielder Luis Urias (Pipeline's No. 27 overall prospect) and catcher Austin Hedges as part of a package that includes a pair of high-end pitching prospects for Syndergaard.
MLB.com's David Adler also speculated the Cubs, White Sox, Astros and Yankees as possible trade fits. The Cubs might be open to dealing Kris Bryant and Syndergaard could be an appealing headliner in a potential return, the White Sox have a plethora of talented prospects to deal from, the Astros are in need of starting pitching with Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton free agents and the Yankees are in win-now mode and are still likely to add another starter even after acquiring Mariners ace James Paxton on Monday.
Video: Guys talk possible Noah Syndergaard trade on IT
Cards president: Team can afford to add a player like Harper
Nov. 19: The Cardinals have been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Bryce Harper, and team president Bill DeWitt III confirmed the club can afford to hand out $300 million or more in free agency, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"We could do it, sure," DeWitt said. It's about [considering] putting all our eggs in one basket. We have the payroll room."
With projected arbitration costs included, Baseball-Reference.com estimates that the Cardinals' payroll will be $136.9 million in 2019. Even if the Cards sign Harper for $35 million, their payroll wouldn't be much higher than it was this past season, and they would still be well below the $206 million luxury-tax threshold. St. Louis also has just $75.4 million committed for 2020, $33.4 million for 2021 and $6.67 million for 2022.
The Cardinals have needs in the bullpen, at third base and in the outfield, so they may choose to spread out their resources. But it's at least financially feasible for the club to sign Harper.
Could the Braves be a surprise suitor for Harper?
Nov. 19: The Athletic's David O'Brien floated the Braves as a potential suitor for Bryce Harper in a tweet on Monday, but a source quickly quashed that possibility, telling O'Brien that Atlanta is not in on the superstar outfielder.
The reigning National League East champions could benefit from Harper's power and patient approach, as Atlanta ranked just 19th in homers and finished in a tie for 19th in walk rate this past season. There's also an obvious need for Harper from a positional standpoint, with right fielder Nick Markakis joining Harper on the free-agent market. And the Braves seemingly have the financial room to sign Harper, with Baseball-Reference.com estimating that they will have an $86 million payroll in 2019, factoring in projected arbitration costs.
But Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos has indicated that he doesn't foresee the club handing out the type of contract -- possibly 10 years for north of $300 million -- it would take to sign Bryce Harper, and O'Brien's source reiterated that point Monday.
Should the Yankees go all-in on this year's free-agent class?
Nov. 19: By their lofty "World Series or bust" standards, the Yankees haven't had much success recently. New York hasn't hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy since 2009, and even the Orioles have won the American League East more recently than the Yanks.
ESPN's David Schoenfield thinks Yankees owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner need to "summon the spirit of their father and go big, ignore the luxury tax, do whatever it takes," and that means going all-in on this year's free-agent class.
Schoenfield outlines a five-move plan for the Yankees to become the best team in baseball, starting with signing infielder Manny Machado and left-hander Patrick Corbin.
Schoenfield thinks the Yanks should trade for Mariners southpaw James Paxton to join Corbin in their revamped rotation, noting that Paxton is projected to earn roughly the same amount as Sonny Gray in arbitration. New York can trade Gray and add Paxton without impacting the payroll. That looks prescient now, as the Yankees acquired Paxton on Monday in a blockbuster deal that sent Justus Sheffield -- the Yankees' No. 1 prospect -- and two other Minor Leaguers to Seattle.
Move No. 4 in Schoenfield's plan is to sign Daniel Murphy to start at first base and fill in at second, replacing the Greg Bird/Neil Walker combination. The Yankees gave more than 700 combined plate appearances to Bird and Walker in 2018, and both posted sub-.675 OPS marks. Schoenfield argues the lefty-swinging Murphy would be a great fit at Yankee Stadium, and points out that the veteran's contact-heavy approach would help to balance New York's strikeout-prone lineup some.
To cap it all off, Schoenfield has signing Bryce Harper as Move No. 5 for New York. In this scenario, Brett Gardner would become the fourth outfielder, with Giancarlo Stanton remaining the club's primary designated hitter.
For the Yankees to pull this off, the Steinbrenners would need to be willing to exceed the $206 million luxury-tax threshold by a significant margin, which isn't out of the question. Before staying under the threshold in 2018, New York paid the tax in every year from 2003, when the system was put in place, to 2017.
Donaldson's chances at a worthwhile multi-year deal
Nov. 19: Once expected to rival Bryce Harper and Manny Machado as one of the premier players on the free-agent market, Josh Donaldson's stock dropped precipitously after an injury riddled 2018 in which shoulder and calf ailments limited him to just 52 games.
That has led to speculation that the 2015 American League MVP might be better served to settle for a one-year contract in order to rebuild his reputation with a healthy, productive season -- then take another shot at the open market. How likely is that for the soon-to-be 33-year-old?
"Actually, a one-year deal might be his preference," MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal said on the "Hot Stove" show. "He's a guy who's very proud, very competitive, and he might say at age 33, 'I'm going to go out and prove myself over the course of a full season, and then really crush it next year.' "
Rosenthal finished the thought this way, however: "I do expect, because of who he is, what he's done ... he's going to do OK, and get enough interest for a multi-year deal and enough quality in that deal to accept it."
Video: Ken Rosenthal on the latest in free agency rumors
The question, then, might become just how many years -- and for how much money -- such a deal would need to be to entice Donaldson to sign. After all, he might have been able to justify pushing for a nine-figure contract had this past season been anything close to his performance level from 2013-17. Given his age and injury history, he might struggle to find suitors willing to offer in the neighborhood of $50 million.
Which team is the ideal fit for Corbin?
Nov. 19: In looking at the market for free-agent starter Patrick Corbin on Monday, SB Nation's Grant Brisbee named the Yankees as the likeliest landing spot for the left-hander, but not the ideal one.
Brisbee writes that the perfect fit for a high-risk, high-reward free agent such as Corbin is a team that is either on the fringes of contention or expected to be in the middle of a division battle in 2019, a young team that can expect costs to remain low in the next few years, and a team that hasn't had much success developing homegrown starters.
In Brisbee's opinion, all of that criteria applies for the A's, though it's questionable whether the small-market club is willing to hand out the type of contract Corbin is expected to command.
Brisbee offers up the Brewers as another potential suitor and predicts Milwaukee will sign the left-hander to a five-year, $90 million contract, with a top-of-the-rotation starter being the club's one glaring need.
Astros reportedly make an offer to Morton
Nov. 19: With Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton becoming free agents and Lance McCullers Jr. undergoing Tommy John surgery, the Astros have three rotation spots to fill for 2019. One of them could be taken by a familiar face, with USA Today's Bob Nightengale reporting that Houston has made an offer to Morton. Per Nightengale, the offer is a one-year deal with an option for 2020.
Morton had two strong seasons with the Astros, going 29-10 with a 3.36 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and a 10.4 K/9 rate after signing a two-year, $14 million contract in November 2016.
The right-hander reportedly pondered retirement during the 2018 season, but he indicated after the Astros' ALCS loss to the Red Sox that he was interested in returning to Houston.
The Astros extended a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer to Keuchel but not Morton this offseason. Keuchel rejected the offer, and many expect him to sign elsewhere.
Video: Charlie Morton enters 2019 free agency
Reggie Jackson weighs in on Machado-Yankees
Nov. 19: Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said earlier in the week that free agent superstar Manny Machado's comments during the postseason regarding his lack of hustle were "troubling."
Hall of Fame slugger Reggie Jackson, whom the Yankees signed as a free agent back in 1976, spoke to Wallace Matthews of the New York Daily News, saying that Machado's lack of hustle "ain't gonna play here [in New York]."
"I was a pretty good player and I ran hard every single at-bat," Jackson continued. "It takes talent to run fast, but it doesn't take talent to run hard. Effort is the least we can ask of ourselves."
Jackson did take some flak from manager Billy Martin for not running hard after a ball hit by the Red Sox's Jim Rice in a 1977 game, turning a single into a double. An incensed Martin pulled Jackson from the game, leading to a heated argument between the two in the dugout, during which they almost came to blows.
"I only ask one thing of my players," Martin said afterward. "Hustle. If said they hustle for me, they can play for me. I told them in Spring Training. I had a meeting. I told them you play only one way, to win. You play hard and give your 100 percent best. If you don't hustle, I don't accept it. If a player shows up the club, I show up the player."
Video: Cashman discusses how to evaluate free agent Machado
Machado is expected to command a contract somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 years and $300 million or more. The Yankees will open the 2019 season with their starting shortstop, Didi Gregorius, out of action as he recovers from offseason Tommy John surgery. That puts Machado in play for the vacancy, especially considering New York won 100 games in '18 but still finished eight games behind the eventual World Series champion Red Sox, who also defeated the Yanks in the American League Division Series.