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Yanks get Paxton for top prospect, 2 others

'Big Maple' fanned 208, threw no-hitter in 2018; Sheffield to Mariners
MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- The Yankees' search for high-end starting pitchers has delivered "The Big Maple" to the Big Apple.

New York acquired standout left-hander James Paxton from the Mariners on Monday evening for a package of three players, including top-rated southpaw Justus Sheffield.

NEW YORK -- The Yankees' search for high-end starting pitchers has delivered "The Big Maple" to the Big Apple.

New York acquired standout left-hander James Paxton from the Mariners on Monday evening for a package of three players, including top-rated southpaw Justus Sheffield.

Right-hander Erik Swanson and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams were also sent to Seattle in exchange for the 30-year-old Paxton, who followed a breakout 2017 campaign by going 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 28 starts this past season, including a May 8 no-hitter over Toronto.

"I couldn't be more excited," Paxton said. "It's going to be a fantastic opportunity in New York, always expecting to win, just like I do. I expect myself to win, I expect the best out of myself. I'm just looking forward to being a part of such a fantastic team."

Though injuries have been a concern for the Canadian-born hurler, who has been on the disabled list five times in the last three seasons, Paxton set a career high this year with 160 1/3 innings while collecting his first 200-strikeout campaign, with 208.

Video: Murti discusses Yankees' trade for James Paxton

"Health is a big part of it," Paxton said. "Having those larger chunks of time the last couple of years has allowed me come into my own and make some big strides. I think my best baseball is still to come."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he had been negotiating with Seattle counterpart Jerry Dipoto for about a month concerning Paxton, including during the General Managers' Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif.

The Astros' refusal to include Forrest Whitley -- their No. 2 prospect -- in an offer for Paxton precipitated the Mariners' decision to trade Paxton to New York, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

"I believe he had a lot of different clubs he was talking to," Cashman said of Dipoto. "He was very disciplined throughout this process, which forced me to wait on it. We had a lot of different ideas go back and forth. Hopefully, both clubs get what they're looking for."

Cashman said that Seattle insisted upon the inclusion of Sheffield, the game's No. 31 prospect per MLB Pipeline. Sheffield becomes the top prospect in Seattle's system, having logged a 2.56 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 20 appearances (15 starts) for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2018.

"I was in my car and just got done playing golf," Sheffield said. "I saw Cashman's number pop up on my phone and immediately knew I'd been traded somewhere. It definitely caught me by surprise."

Paxton spoke to Cashman and Yankees manager Aaron Boone on Monday. He is slated to join Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka atop a rotation that features CC Sabathia near the back end. Cashman has spoken openly about his intent to trade Sonny Gray before next season.

Tweet from @Yankees: Big Maple in the Big Apple. Welcome, @James_Paxton! pic.twitter.com/IlOtWehD03

With free agents Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ among those on the club's radar, Cashman indicated that he wants to add at least one more starter via trade or free agency. He also hopes to make changes to the middle infield in the wake of Didi Gregorius' injury, and the bullpen.

"Pitching is the key area for us to address," Cashman said.

After posting 12 wins and a 2.98 ERA in 2017, Paxton remained a steadying force atop Seattle's rotation this year. Over parts of six seasons with the Mariners (2013-18), Paxton is 41-26 with a 3.42 ERA in 102 starts, posting a sub-4.00 ERA in each of those seasons.

"He's continuing to trend in the right direction," Cashman said. "I think he is establishing himself as a real quality left-hander in the game today."

The 2009 first-round Draft selection earned $4.9 million in 2018 and has two seasons of arbitration eligibility remaining before he can become a free agent. Paxton is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $9 million in 2019.

"It seems to me that Seattle is trying to go young right now and building for the future," Paxton said. "My window is only for the next two years through arbitration, so I think that they're going young."

Acquired from the Rangers in the August 2016 trade of outfielder Carlos Beltran, Swanson had a breakout campaign in 2018, going 8-2 with a 2.66 ERA across three levels. He finished the year at Triple-A, where he was 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 14 games (13 starts).

Thompson-Williams, a center fielder, hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 homers in Class A and Class-A Advanced in 2018. He was a fifth-round Draft selection by New York in 2016.

One of four players acquired from the Indians in the July 2016 trade of left-hander Andrew Miller, Sheffield made three relief big league appearances in September. Cashman said that it was difficult to surrender Sheffield, but they believe Paxton will be able to help immediately.

"Sheff was a tough choice we had to make," Cashman said. "When we traded Andrew to get multiple pieces back, it was to try and address the rotation. With Paxton's addition, hopefully it pays off that way."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, James Paxton

Survey says: 10 top free agents will sign with ...

MLB Trade Rumors' poll predicts landing spots for the top names on the open market
MLB.com

Where will [fill in player's name here] sign? That's undoubtedly the most popular question asked early in the offseason, while the Hot Stove is just getting lit.

Well, what if you could have an answer -- maybe not the answer, but an answer -- and not just for one player, but for 10 of the biggest names on the open market? Sounds pretty good, right?

Where will [fill in player's name here] sign? That's undoubtedly the most popular question asked early in the offseason, while the Hot Stove is just getting lit.

Well, what if you could have an answer -- maybe not the answer, but an answer -- and not just for one player, but for 10 of the biggest names on the open market? Sounds pretty good, right?

MLB Trade Rumors conducted a poll in which 6,845 readers contributed guesses as to where the most impactful free agents will sign this offseason. The results are in, they're fascinating, and they're below -- along with analysis for each player-destination prediction.

Video: Zolecki discusses Phillies' offseason spending plans

Bryce Harper, OF
MLBTR reader prediction: Phillies (34.0%)
Other teams receiving votes: Dodgers (13.1%), Nationals (10.8%), Giants (9.8%), Cubs (8.5%), Cardinals (7.9%), White Sox (6.0%), Yankees (4.2%), Braves (1.4%), Astros (1.4%), Angels (1.1%)

Harper is seeking to shatter the record for the largest contract in baseball history (Giancarlo Stanton's 13-year, $325 million pact), and the Phillies have about as much money to spend as any team this offseason as they look to continue their ascension back to contention. That, plus Philly's need for a big lefty bat in the outfield, makes it easy to see this fit.

As two other big-budget contenders, the Dodgers and Nationals are the only other teams to crack double digits in percentage in the poll. While there hasn't been much in the way of firm news that L.A. could target Harper, it's known that the Nats -- with whom Harper spent his first seven seasons in The Show -- made a last-ditch effort (read: $300 million) to keep the superstar in D.C. before the season ended.

Manny Machado, SS/3B
MLBTR reader prediction:
 Phillies (45.8%)
Other teams receiving votes: Yankees (36.5%), White Sox (5.0%), Dodgers (4.0%), Cardinals (1.9%), Mets (1.5%), Cubs (1.3%)

In case you haven't heard, it's been said more than a few times that the Phillies might be able to land both Harper and Machado in one fell swoop this winter. If the club is forced to focus on just one, the prevailing thought is that Machado -- who can play either shortstop or third base -- is the better option given the lack of development of those on the left side of the infield (Maikel Franco, J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery). That's reflected in the whopping 45.8 percent in the poll who put Machado in Philly.

Of course, no one seems to be counting out the Yankees, who checked in at 36.5 percent, thanks to their deep pockets and possible need for a shortstop (while Didi Gregorius is recovering from Tommy John surgery) or a third baseman (in case Miguel Andujar's defense remains an issue).

Patrick Corbin, LHP
MLBTR reader prediction:
 Yankees (74.8%)
Other teams receiving votes: Phillies (3.1%), Astros (3.0%), Brewers (2.5%), Angels (2.4%), Braves (2.1%), Cardinals (1.4%), Nationals (1.4%), Diamondbacks (1.4%), Cubs (1.2%), Giants (1.1%)

Even after pulling off a blockbuster trade by getting lefty James Paxton from the Mariners, the Yankeees still are very much in play for another starting pitcher, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Source: #Yankees remain interested in free agents Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ, following the James Paxton deal. Yankees are placing a higher priority on adding one more starting pitcher than signing Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. @MLB @MLBNetwork

Between that and the natural fit Corbin -- an in-his-prime strikeout artist left-hander who grew up as a Yankees fan -- appears to be for New York, well, just about everyone in the poll (nearly 75 percent!) sees this as a foregone conclusion.

Dallas Keuchel, LHP
MLBTR reader prediction:
 Astros (16.4%)
Other teams receiving votes: Angels (13.8%), Nationals (13.5%), Brewers (9.9%), Yankees (8.2%), Phillies (6.2%), Braves (6.0%), Cardinals (4.1%), Reds (3.1%), Dodgers (2.1%), Cubs (2.1%), Giants (2.0%), Padres (1.9%), Rangers (1.5%), White Sox (1.4%), Twins (1.2%), Mariners (1.2%), Athletics (1.2%), Red Sox (1.1%)

These results are much more spread out than any of the first three. That's partly because Keuchel's price tag isn't expected to be quite as lofty (more teams should be able to afford him), and partly because a number of teams covet his durability and steadiness as a mid-rotation arm.

The poll shows a return to the Astros, who extended the one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer to Keuchel -- he declined -- and very much need to add a starter with Charlie Morton also a free agent and Lance McCullers Jr. out for 2019 after Tommy John surgery.

Video: Dallas Keuchel enters free agency

Craig Kimbrel, RHP
MLBTR reader prediction:
 Braves (28.8%)
Other teams receiving votes: Red Sox (25.4%), Cardinals (18.1%), Phillies (8.4%), Cubs (3.6%), Nationals (3.1%), Mets (2.6%), Astros (2.2%), Dodgers (1.5%), Angels (1.2%), Indians (1.2%)

Another reunion, huh? The poll predicts Kimbrel, who comes with the best resume among all relievers on the open market, will return to Atlanta, where he spent the first five years of his big league career. The Braves arrived in 2018, winning the National League East, but the bullpen -- and more specifically, the closer role -- was something of a question mark for much of the year. Kimbrel certainly would help solve that problem.

That is, if he doesn't return to the Red Sox, who garnered a still-strong 25.4 percent of the vote -- and with whom he spent the past three seasons, punctuated by a World Series title. Boston's bullpen is in flux with both Kimbrel and fellow hard-throwing righty Joe Kelly in free agency.

Yasmani Grandal, C
MLBTR reader prediction:
 Nationals (21.6%)
Other teams receiving votes: Astros (15.3%), Dodgers (14.4%), Mets (11.3%), Braves (7.8%), Angels (3.4%), Brewers (3.0%), Phillies (2.7%), Mariners (2.6%), Rockies (2.5%), Red Sox (2.5%), Athletics (1.5%), Rangers (1.4%), Diamondbacks (1.3%)

Here's the first poll result that's likely to be a casualty of timing. The voting was done over the past several days with the results being revealed Monday afternoon, not long after the Nationals agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal with Kurt Suzuki, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

In other words, Washington has addressed its gaping hole at catcher, so the likelihood of Grandal heading to D.C. is extremely slim. Eliminating the 21.6 percent of the vote the Nats received, one figures the corresponding percentages for the Astros (15.3 percent), Dodgers (14.4 percent) and Mets (11.3 percent) each would spike. The 30-year-old switch-hitting Grandal would be a solid fit for any of those three teams, although a return to L.A. may be less likely if only because he declined the qualifying offer.

Nathan Eovaldi, RHP
MLBTR reader prediction:
 Red Sox (51.5%)
Other teams receiving votes: Brewers (5.6%), Astros (4.3%), Yankees (4.0%), Angels (3.6%), Padres (3.2%), Phillies (3.0%), Braves (2.8%), Dodgers (2.4%), Reds (2.3%), Nationals (2.1%), Cubs (2.0%), Giants (2.0%), Cardinals (1.6%), White Sox (1.4%), Rangers (1.3%), Twins (1.1%), Athletics (1.0%)

The poll sees yet another re-signing, although in this case, that would put Eovaldi in line for his first full season in Boston after the Red Sox acquired him from the Rays back in July. It's worth noting, too, that the majority of voters put Eovaldi back with the reigning champs. Perhaps that's because the flamethrower has indicated he would like to return -- if the money is right -- as well as the fact that the righty would help bring more balance to a rotation that features southpaws Chris Sale, David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Video: Eovaldi and son share in championship fun at Fenway

A.J. Pollock, OF
MLBTR reader prediction:
 Giants (22.9%)
Other teams receiving votes: Indians (9.2%), Diamondbacks (9.0%), White Sox (6.7%), Phillies (6.2%), Braves (5.7%), Mets (5.4%), Cardinals (5.0%), Nationals (4.6%), Cubs (3.4%), Rockies (3.4%), Mariners (2.5%), Athletics (1.7%), Dodgers (1.6%), Angels (1.6%), Astros (1.5%), Padres (1.5%), Blue Jays (1.4%), Rangers (1.3%), Brewers (1.1%)

Center field has been a trouble spot for the Giants for years now -- since 2016, the position has totaled just 1.9 WAR (second lowest in MLB) -- so it's not surprising that this poll has new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi shoring up that spot as one of his first key moves.

J.A. Happ, LHP
MLBTR reader prediction:
 Yankees (30.9%)
Other teams receiving votes: Blue Jays (9.2%), Angels (8.2%), Brewers (6.5%), Phillies (4.7%), Astros (4.4%), Nationals (3.7%), Twins (3.1%), Athletics (3.1%), Braves (2.6%), Cubs (2.5%), White Sox (2.4%), Cardinals (2.3%), Reds (2.2%), Giants (1.7%), Mariners (1.7%), Dodgers (1.5%), Padres (1.2%), Diamondbacks (1.2%), Red Sox (1.1%), Rangers (1.0%), Indians (1.0%)

Remember how we mentioned above that the Yankees were going to be in on another starter even after getting Paxton? Well, this outcome would make that true. Of course, the voting came before that trade was made, so there's a good chance the results here would differ some.

Otherwise, if all of the poll's outcomes came true, it would mean New York's rotation would have added or re-signed four lefties since the start of the offseason: CC Sabathia, Paxton, Corbin and Happ, who would be returning after the Yanks acquired him from the Blue Jays at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Michael Brantley, OF
MLBTR reader prediction:
 Braves (30.8%)
Other teams receiving votes: Indians (10.1%), Giants (9.5%), Phillies (4.9%), Cardinals (4.5%), White Sox (4.2%), Nationals (3.6%), Cubs (3.0%), Mariners (2.9%), Astros (2.8%), Diamondbacks (2.6%), Rockies (2.4%), Athletics (2.3%), Mets (2.3%), Blue Jays (1.9%), Angels (1.4%), Twins (1.4%), Rangers (1.2%), Padres (1.1%), Rays (1.0%), Dodgers (1.0%)

Although Brantley has been one of the more underrated outfielders in baseball the past handful of years, the rumor that he could join the Braves has been quite popular, and the poll reflects that.

The 31-year-old would fit well as a younger, more well-rounded offensive and defensive replacement for fellow free agent Nick Markakis in one of Atlanta's corner spots. And he also could bat leadoff, allowing the Braves to push NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr. a notch or two lower in the lineup, where his power would do more damage.

Jason Catania is an editor and reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JayCat11.

Michael Brantley, Patrick Corbin, Nathan Eovaldi, Yasmani Grandal, J.A. Happ, Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, Manny Machado, A.J. Pollock

Rumors: Goldschmidt, Corbin, Happ, Mariners

The latest MLB free agent and trade rumors for Hot Stove season
MLB.com

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

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

Cardinals, Astros have had 'most meaningful' discussions with D-backs on Goldschmidt
Nov. 19: It doesn't appear the D-backs are close to trading star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, but the Cardinals and Astros are two 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.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: #Astros, #STLCards are the two teams that have had the most meaningful discussions with the #DBacks about a trade for Paul Goldschmidt, sources tell The Athletic. No deal is close; talks not yet advanced.

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.

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.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Source: #Yankees remain interested in free agents Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ, following the James Paxton deal. Yankees are placing a higher priority on adding one more starting pitcher than signing Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. @MLB @MLBNetwork

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.

Tweet from @Buster_ESPN: Presumably, the Yankees will fill their last open rotation spot through free agency, from the group of Nathan Eovaldi, Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, etc. Also looking for two relievers, and the middle infield vacancy (Machado?)

In other words, the Paxton trade could be just the start of what looks like a big offseason for Cashman and the Yankees.

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.

Tweet from @Buster_ESPN: Assumption within some corners of the industry is that the Paxton trade signals a full-blown sell-off for the Mariners -- move whatever you can for whatever you can get, even if you eat money.

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.

Tweet from @JeffPassan: This is accurate. Or at least what they're telling other clubs. https://t.co/NekvqBr79r

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.

Tweet from @GregJohnsMLB: Dipoto on whether he'd deal Diaz, Haniger or Marco Gonzales,: "We���re going to stay open minded to anything. Generally never say never. But Marco, Mitch, Eddie, we���d have to be blown away to move players like that. That���s what we���re trying to acquire."

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.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Source: #Yankees mentioned #Mariners SS Jean Segura in trade talks before decision was made to focus on Paxton alone. Segura���s inclusion in the deal would have all but eliminated Yankees as possible destination for Manny Machado. @MLB @MLBNetwork

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.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: Kurt Suzuki deal with #Nationals is two years, $10M, sources say - $4M in 2019, $6M in 2020. Agreement first reported by @Feinsand.

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.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Nats loved Suzuki for makeup, receiving ability the 1st time they had him @Feinsand 1st with agreement

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 drawing trade interest
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.

Tweet from @ZackMeisel: And for the hundredth time, this is not a white flag. They aren't rebuilding. They just have to find ways to fix their weaknesses, and at the moment, it appears they must do so without raising payroll. OK, back to Chiefs-Rams. https://t.co/7vJDa9uOsz

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.

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."

Tweet from @dgoold: Asked about meeting a whopper, free-agent deal like Harper will command (greater than $300 million), Bill DeWitt III says, ���We could do it, sure. It���s about (considering) putting all our eggs in one basket. We have the payroll room.��� #stlcards #cardinals #MLB

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.

Tweet from @DOBrienATL: And having said that, I was almost immediately assured (again) by someone I trust in these matters that the #Braves are not -- repeat *not* -- in on Harper and this person doesn't think they will be, said no way they'd give 10-year deal, etc. So, there ya go. Quashing my rumor. https://t.co/2hgL9vUkPY

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.

Phillies have lots of money and lots of options
Nov. 19: One very popular opinion this offseason involves the Phillies going hard after the two biggest names on the free-agent market, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Could they get one or (gasp!) even both? Sure. But should they?

ESPN's Buster Olney points out just how little money the Phillies have tied up in future obligations, allowing them the freedom to spend big this winter -- and runs through five paths for them to do so.

The primary path, of course, is the aforementioned popular belief that Philadelphia will land one -- or maybe even both -- of Harper and Machado. Olney cautions, though, that while it might be exciting for the club to go after both, the franchise would have to consider the worst-case scenario if they do: "What happens if one or both signings don't work out, because of injury or performance problems?"

"Bringing in Harper or Machado is just the start of things," Chris Russo said on his "High Heat" show on MLB Network, before also noting that such a move would give the Phillies a chance to seize the headlines during a winter in which the Eagles are struggling to defend their Super Bowl title.

Tweet from @MLBNetwork: "Bringing in Harper or Machado is just the start of things..."@MadDogUnleashed dissects the ready-to-spend #Phillies' potential offseason plans. #HighHeat pic.twitter.com/nAPv9FmmHb

As for the alternative approaches Olney touches on, the Phillies instead could focus their attention on pitching, targeting one of Patrick Corbin, Nathan Eovaldi or Dallas Keuchel to improve a rotation that tired down the stretch in 2018. Or they could look into acquiring a back-of-the-bullpen arm (Craig Kimbrel? Andrew Miller? Zach Britton?) to add a veteran presence to a unit that was both promising and lacking in experience last season.

The Phillies have the means and resources to get a lot done to boost their club back into postseason contention. It's a matter of the front office, led by general manager Matt Klentak, choosing a direction and executing the plan.

Video: Zolecki discusses Phillies' offseason spending plans

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.

Tweet from @BNightengale: The Houston #Astos, who would love to keep Charlie Morton, have made initial offer of one year and an option for him to stay.

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.

Reggie Jackson weighs in on Machado-Yankees
Nov. 18: 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.

Mike Trout to ... the Braves?
Nov. 18: The Angels have only reached the postseason once during the Mike Trout era, back in 2014 when they were swept in the American League Division Series by the Royals. As arguably the game's greatest player gets closer to free agency -- he'll be a free agent following the 2020 season -- the franchise must decide whether to stand pat entering '19, sign him to an extension, or trade him. 

The thought of trading Trout may be unthinkable to some, but MLB Network analyst Ron Darling was asked what Los Angeles should do, and responded with an eyebrow-raising proposal.

"I would say stand pat if they start strong, just because of the [Shohei] Ohtani factor, but if they get off to a slow start, I think you've gotta knock on the Braves' door," Darling said. "Give them a call and say, 'Empty out your farm system, and we'll give you Mike Trout.'"

The Braves have one of the best farm systems in baseball, and are already stocked with young talent at the big league level to complement All-Star Freddie Freeman as Atlanta enters the '19 season as the defending National League East champion. Adding Trout to the mix, given the Braves' trajectory, could vault them into World Series contention.

Tweet from @MLBNetwork: Trade him, extend him, or stand pat?What should the #Angels do with Mike Trout? #MLBTonight pic.twitter.com/KWCzzwjats

Harper in Houston, and for less than $300 million?
Nov. 18: Several Sports Illustrated writers made their predictions for where Bryce Harper would sign this offseason, and for how much. One of the out-of-the-box guesses came from Connor Grossman, who went with the Astros for $280 million over eight years, with an opt-out after 2020.

"I don't think Harper and Scott Boras are going to find a deal that meets their liking in both length and dollars," writes Grossman. "[Yankees general manager] Brian Cashman won't be swooping in with a 10-year, $400 million miracle. So they'll have to 'settle,' which in this case means breaking the average annual value record, joining an uber-talented team and leaving open the possibility of hitting free agency again at 28."

As for the Astros not being widely considered among the favorites to land Harper (like the Phillies and Yankees), Grossman cites the Angels' surprise signing of Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $254 million deal in 2011, as well as the Mariners inking Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million contract in '13, as examples of what can happen when you least expect it. A lineup featuring George Springer, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and Harper would be all the more formidable for a club a year removed from winning the World Series.

MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported earlier this month that Houston had a deal in place to acquire Harper at last season's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but it was nixed by Nationals ownership.

Mets not looking to rebuild; deGrom unlikely to be traded anytime soon
Nov. 18: The Mets are unlikely to consider trading Noah Syndergaard or any of their other starting pitchers unless it is part of a plan to improve the 2019 Major League roster, reports MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required). Sources tell Rosenthal that the Mets are receiving significant interest in their starters, but the club is not looking to rebuild.

Rosenthal reported Friday that the Padres remain interested in Syndergaard after pursuing a deal for the righty before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline this past season, but San Diego's best assets lie in its stellar farm system. It's unclear if that hurts the Padres' chances of acquiring Syndergaard, given the Mets' desire to contend in 2019. If it did trade one of its starters for high-end prospects, New York would likely look to flip some of them for another asset that can help the 2019 team.

Meanwhile, Rosenthal is told that a trade of National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom is not happening anytime soon, as the Mets will first try to work out an extension with the right-hander, who is under control for two more seasons. Mets COO Jeff Wilpon indicated Friday that discussions with deGrom's new agent could begin next month. New York could look to move deGrom if contract talks are unproductive, but Rosenthal notes the extension process could take months to resolve.

The Mets could also be active on the free-agent market, as new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen promised when he first took the job. Per Rosenthal, a representative for a free-agent starter described the Mets as "very engaged in the marketplace," though another warned not to put too much stock in early free-agent rumblings.

According to SNY's Matthew Cerrone, one underrated free agent that may fit very well into the Mets' plans is second baseman DJ LeMahieu. Van Wagenen has stated his desire to upgrade the middle infield, and LeMahieu has won Gold Glove Awards each of the last two seasons. He's also a very good contact hitter and likes to go to the opposite field, which Cerrone notes would be a good quality at Citi Field.

Are the D-backs making the right move by exploring markets for Greinke and Goldy?
Nov. 18: The D-backs are reportedly shopping Zack Greinke, and possibly first baseman Paul Goldschmidt as well. If that pair is available, it injects a former Cy Young Award winner and a perennial MVP candidate into the trade market. But given where Arizona is, is it wise to begin a rebuild? The Arizona Republic's Kent Somers thinks so.

 "The 2019 team might not be any better even if Goldschmidt and Greinke return," Somers writes. "Pitcher Patrick Corbin and outfielder A.J. Pollock are likely to leave via free agency, and the team still needs another power hitter to pair with Goldschmidt and David Peralta. ... If the Diamondbacks are as serious about building a winner as they say, this is the time to make difficult decisions, such as parting with Goldschmidt, one of the most productive and popular players in team history. ... As distasteful as trading him might be, it's the only realistic way for a team with the Diamondbacks' budget to contend."

Greinke is 35 and has more than $100 million remaining on his contract, which could complicate efforts to trade him. Trading Goldschmidt, however, could bring in quite the haul in terms of prospects for Arizona. The 31-year-old first baseman is a six-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove Award winner, and has a team-friendly contract that expires after the 2019 season.

Which teams could give the Indians the best return in a starter trade?
Nov. 18: Cleveland is reportedly open to dealing one of its top starting pitchers for salary relief, but given that the Indians remain in position to be a top American League contender, they'll need to find a team that can give them at least some impact help to the Major League roster, with outfield being Cleveland's most pressing need.

With that in mind, Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com examined the teams that might give the Indians the most fitting return for Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco or Trevor Bauer. He named the Yankees, Astros, Brewers, Padres and A's as possible trade partners.

The Yankees are still looking to add starting pitching, and have a Major League-ready arm in No. 1 prospect Justus Sheffield, who was in Cleveland's system before he was sent to New York in the Andrew Miller trade. Outfielder Clint Frazier was also a part of that trade and could move back to the Indians. In a deal with Houston, pitchers Josh James and Forrest Whitley would make sense for Cleveland, as would outfielders Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez -- each of the Astros' top four prospects is at or nearing the Major Leagues.

The Brewers have a clear need in the rotation, and Hoynes suggests 2017 breakout outfielder Domingo Santana or No. 2 prospect Corey Ray as possible return for the Indians. Or perhaps the Indians might make another blockbuster deal with the Padres and set their sights on 26-year-old outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who has hit 26 homers in consecutive seasons. The low-payroll A's would likely be a long shot, but with salary relief, they might be enticed to listen to offers involving Jesus Luzardo, their top prospect, who pitched his way up to Triple-A in 2018.

Will the Cubs join the fray for Harper?
Nov. 18: Although The Athletic reported earlier in November that the Cubs have "financial concerns that may limit their ability and motivation to make a huge splash this winter," the club may nonetheless be involved in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.

Dan Bernstein of 670 The Score reported Friday that the Cubs are among the teams that are "in" on Harper with negotiations starting to pick up steam.

Tweet from @Bernstein_McK: .@dan_bernstein reporting that the Bryce Harper negotiations are picking up steam and that the Cubs are among the teams "in" on the free agent right fielder. https://t.co/tJn6KQF40G pic.twitter.com/8UfoUewbBg

Of course, the report should be taken with a grain of salt, as Matt Snyder of CBS Sports noted Saturday. The Cubs may simply be floating this as a misdirection to make other teams think they are involved in the Harper bidding, and to avoid backlash from the fan base. Furthermore, Bernstein isn't a known news-breaker, and his report hasn't been confirmed by any local or national reporters of note.

Baseball-reference estimates the Cubs will have a $208.6 million payroll in 2019, putting them over the Competitive Balance Tax threshold of $206 million and subjecting them to a 20 percent tax on all overages. Teams that exceed the threshold by $20 million to $40 million are also required to pay a 12 percent surtax. The Cubs will likely fall into that range if they sign Harper for north of $30 million.

Still, a major free-agent move wouldn't be out of character for the Theo Epstein-led front office, which has signed Jon Lester, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, Yu Darvish and Brandon Morrow to expensive contracts over the past four offseasons.

Eovaldi receiving plenty of interest
Nov. 18: Nathan Eovaldi hasn't often performed like an elite starter during his career, but his dominant postseason has teams lining up to sign him. According to a report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, as many as nine teams could be in on the free-agent righty.

Cafardo names the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays, Giants, Padres and Red Sox as clubs that are interested in Eovaldi, and notes that more could join in on the bidding.

While teams don't hand out big-money contracts based solely on one strong postseason, it was how Eovaldi achieved his stellar results -- regularly flashing 100 mph heat, mixing his pitches and locating like he rarely has in the past -- that likely made so many clubs take notice.

The 28-year-old also turned in a solid regular season, recording a 3.81 ERA with personal bests K/9 rate (8.2) and BB/9 rate (1.6) over 111 innings.

And while Eovaldi's health history -- he's undergone two Tommy John surgeries -- could give some teams pause, his right arm was given a clean bill of health after a routine checkup this past week.

Add it all up and Eovaldi seems poised to cash in, with MLB Trade Rumors projecting he'll receive $60 million over four years.

Is the trade market the way to go for teams seeking starting pitching?
Nov. 18: On MLB Network Radio's "The Front Office" on Sunday, former MLB general managers Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden discussed the availability of starting pitchers this offseason. Specifically, they discussed the trade market, and whether it's the better way to go for teams looking for starters.

"I think the best starting pitchers right now are on the trade market," Bowden said. "Noah Syndergaard is available, the Mets are listening on him. They want Major League-ready guys. There's Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco of Cleveland, James Paxton of Seattle. I think you have to follow up with [Giants president of baseball operations] Farhan Zaidi about [Madison] Bumgarner, which makes five. Zack Greinke could be available in Arizona, so that makes six. ... It's nothing against Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel, good pitchers. But as far as top-of-the-rotation guys, I don't view any of [the starters on the free agent market] as top -- they're maybe No. 2 or No. 3 guys. These other guys are No. 1 guys."

Duquette also mentioned some teams that might have a good shot to land some of the premier starters on the trade market, primarily because their farm systems are among the best in baseball. They include the Braves, Yankees, Padres and White Sox. He also said that he felt Syndergaard and Paxton will "likely be moved."

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: Looking for starting pitching this winter? @JimBowdenGM and @Jim_Duquette agree the best options available may not be free agents. pic.twitter.com/C2rcGDirPe

If Kimbrel is too expensive, could Miller be a closing alternative for Boston?
Nov. 18: The Red Sox agreed to a one-year deal with World Series MVP Steve Pearce on Friday, and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has stated his desire to keep the club intact as much as possible for 2019. Does that mean Boston will re-sign free agent closer Craig Kimbrel?

It's not likely, according to MLB.com's Ian Browne, who notes that with players like American League MVP Mookie Betts and AL Championship Series MVP Jackie Bradley Jr. in line for raises via arbitration, there just may not be room to pay Kimbrel what he is expected to command on the open market. Boston must also reserve some money to re-sign Chris Sale, Xander Bogaerts and possibly Rick Porcello when the three become free agents next year.

In terms of average annual value (AAV), Kimbrel is projected to land a deal similar to those signed by Aroldis Chapman (five years, $86 million), Mark Melancon (four years, $62 million), Kenley Jansen (five years, $80 million) and Wade Davis (three years, $52 million) in recent offseasons.

Anthony Castrovince suggests left-hander Andrew Miller as a potential replacement for Kimbrel. Miller, who pitched for the Red Sox from 2011-14, struggled with injuries last season and did not perform at his typically strong level, but he owns a 2.21 ERA with a 0.94 WHIP and a 13.9 K/9 rate since the start of '12. Kimbrel, meanwhile, has recorded a 1.94 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP and a 14.5 K/9 rate in that same span.

MLB Trade Rumors predicts Miller will sign for $27 million over three years, so he could fit Boston's budget better than Kimbrel.

How will Lowrie need to perform to be 'worth' his next contract?
Nov. 18: Will Jed Lowrie, set to turn 35 years old, suffer a regression at the plate next season? The peripherals of the switch-hitting second baseman suggest that his production could be sustainable in future years, but Devan Fink argues in an analysis piece for Beyond the Box Score that Lowrie will be well worth the cost, even if he does take a step back as a hitter.

Fink cites some trends in Lowrie's hitting that others have also pointed out recently, including Lowrie's aversion to hitting ground balls and increasing trend in his hard-hit rate, to suggest that even if he does regress as a hitter, it shouldn't be significant. He also points to Lowrie's recent performance -- the second baseman's 8.5 WAR (per FanGraphs) over the last two seasons is second-most among available free agents, behind only Manny Machado (8.8) and ahead of Bryce Harper (8.3).

But the crux of Fink's argument lies in Lowrie's superior defense, which sets a relatively high floor for his value as compared to other free-agent second basemen. Lowrie was worth 7.1 runs above replacement as a defender last season, giving him nearly a WAR's worth of defensive value. Based on MLB Trade Rumors' projection of a three-year, $30 million deal for Lowrie and the estimated $8 million per WAR that FanGraphs uses for free agents, Fink writes that Lowrie's defense alone goes a long way in making him "worth" his contract, even if he regresses as a hitter to near league average.

Despite needing pitching, the Rangers could shop Minor
Nov. 18: Although the Rangers are in desperate need of starting pitching, they could consider trading the only hurler who is a lock for the 2019 rotation, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required).

Per Rosenthal, Texas may field offers for Mike Minor, who could be an attractive trade target for clubs that don't want to spend top dollar for a free-agent starter or deal a package of prospects for an ace such as the Indians' Corey Kluber. Minor, who will turn 31 in December, is under contract for $19 million over the next two years.

After missing all of 2015 and '16 due to shoulder problems and pitching exclusively as a reliever in '17, Minor made a return to starting last year. The left-hander recorded a 116 ERA+ with a 1.12 WHIP, though he also yielded the third-most barrels (49) in the Majors, per Statcast™, and allowed 25 homers in 157 innings. There's a chance his trade value won't get any better than it is right now.

As Rosenthal notes, the Rangers are seemingly headed for 90-plus losses with or without Minor, and at his age, the southpaw isn't a foundation piece for the rebuilding club.

Could Brantley's contact rate land him back with the Brewers?
Nov. 18: Last offseason, the Brewers reunited with Lorenzo Cain in free agency years after drafting and then trading him. Could they follow the same path this year with Michael Brantley?

MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince suggests Milwaukee as a suitor for Brantley, despite the club's surplus of outfielders. As Castrovince notes, the threat of positional excess didn't stop the Brewers from acquiring Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2018.

It's not like the Brewers have an offensive juggernaut. Milwaukee ranked 12th in the Majors in runs scored this past season and tied for 20th in contact rate. Brantley, meanwhile, finished first among all qualified hitters in contact rate, so his skill set fits well in the club's lineup.

MLB.com's Daniel Kramer further explored Brantley's extreme contact tendencies, noting that Brantley has made contact on 91.2 percent of his swings in his career, the seventh-highest mark among qualified hitters in that span. Moreover, Brantley's 4.8 percent whiff rate in 2018 on pitches in the zone was also, by far, the lowest among qualified hitters. That's led to his 9.5 percent strikeout rate in 2018 being MLB's second-lowest.

With that in mind, Kramer also suggests the Braves, Rockies, Cubs, Phillies and White Sox as destinations. Atlanta could hit Brantley leadoff to serve as an upgrade to Nick Markakis and set the table for Ronald Acuna Jr. Colorado has outfield holes, and Brantley's contact ability could play well at spacious Coors Field. The Cubs could gain a true leadoff hitter, while the White Sox could gain a veteran upgrade to their weak outfield bats. Philadelphia has reportedly already made Brantley a contract offer.

What are the pros and cons of the Yankees signing Keuchel?
Nov. 18: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has made it known he's looking to add two more starting pitchers this offseason, and free agent Dallas Keuchel is among the many potential fits. In an article for sny.tv Saturday, Chris Carelli broke down the pros and cons of New York signing the left-hander.

Carelli touts Keuchel's reliability in the regular season and success in the postseason, and he points out that the southpaw's high ground-ball rate (lifetime 58.8 percent) makes him a good match for homer-happy Yankee Stadium.

But Carelli also notes that the Yankees need a top-of-the-rotation starter, and Keuchel may not be a "slam-dunk option for the anticipated cost," which could potentially be as much as $100 million.

There's also a chance Keuchel has already peaked, as he'll turn 31 in January. The lefty showed some signs of regression in 2018, recording a 6.7 K/9 rate (8.0 from 2015-17) with his lowest ground-ball rate (53.7 percent) since 2012.

Carelli believes the Yankees should view Keuchel only as a fallback option if they can't sign Patrick Corbin or trade for James Paxton.

Suzuki headed to Nationals on 2-year deal

MLB.com @mlbbowman

Instead of enduring the long free-agency wait he experienced two years ago, Kurt Suzuki jumped at the opportunity to re-acquaint himself with the Nationals.

Suzuki and the Nationals have agreed to a two-year deal worth $10 million, sources told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The deal is pending the results of a physical. An official announcement could be made as soon as Tuesday. The Nats have not confirmed the agreement.

Instead of enduring the long free-agency wait he experienced two years ago, Kurt Suzuki jumped at the opportunity to re-acquaint himself with the Nationals.

Suzuki and the Nationals have agreed to a two-year deal worth $10 million, sources told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The deal is pending the results of a physical. An official announcement could be made as soon as Tuesday. The Nats have not confirmed the agreement.

Nationals fans are very familiar with Suzuki, who served as Washington's catcher for parts of 2012 and '13. While spending the past two seasons with the division-rival Braves, the 35-year-old catcher posted a .917 OPS over 86 plate appearances against the Nats.

Regarded as one of baseball's friendliest and most likeable players, Suzuki has the potential to have a positive influence on Spencer Kieboom and Pedro Severino, who are the Nats' only other internal catching options.

Video: LAD@ATL Gm4: Suzuki rips a go-ahead 2-run single

With Matt Wieters now a free agent and Suzuki past the point where he should be considered a primary option for a contending team, the Nationals will likely continue to peruse the trade and free-agent markets for a veteran to be their primary catcher.

When Suzuki signed a one-year deal with the Braves on Jan. 21, 2017, he was thrilled to end what was a longer-than-expected wait on the free-agent market. His two-season stint with Atlanta introduced him to hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, who helped him produce an unexpected power surge.

Suzuki notched a .825 OPS and 31 home runs over two seasons with the Braves. Before hitting 19 homers in 2017 and 12 in '18, he had not produced a double-digit homer total since '11.

While Suzuki's bat still has some value, his arm and framing metrics ranked among the game's worst this past season. Per Statcast™, Suzuki's 2.08 pop time to second base ranked third-worst among qualified catchers (min. 25 throws). Per Baseball Prospectus, Suzuki was 10th-worst of 117 qualified catchers in framing runs.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Washington Nationals, Kurt Suzuki

See who's new on the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot

MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

Is the Hall of Fame ballot "logjam" almost at an end?

With the Baseball Writers' Association of America electing a record 16 candidates over the past five years, including at least two per year, Cooperstown has been plenty busy in recent summers. While plenty of holdovers remain on the ballot, the clock continues to tick on their candidacies, and this year's voting figures to say a lot about their ultimate chances of being elected.

Is the Hall of Fame ballot "logjam" almost at an end?

With the Baseball Writers' Association of America electing a record 16 candidates over the past five years, including at least two per year, Cooperstown has been plenty busy in recent summers. While plenty of holdovers remain on the ballot, the clock continues to tick on their candidacies, and this year's voting figures to say a lot about their ultimate chances of being elected.

In the meantime, a host of name-brand stars have entered the fray, headlined by one legend who figures to get Yankees fans flocking upstate in July. Below is a look at the players on the 2019 BBWAA ballot, announced Monday by the National Baseball Hall of Fame, with an early guess on their Cooperstown fates. The election results will be announced on Jan. 22, live on MLB Network.

Video: 2019 Hall of Fame ballot includes 20 newcomers

FIRST-BALLOT LOCK

Mariano Rivera
Closers typically face a divisive electorate when it comes to the Hall, but with a record 652 saves and an incredible 0.70 postseason ERA, Rivera is really in a class of his own. Rivera's induction could challenge the record crowd of 82,000 that saw Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. receive their plaques in 2007, with Derek Jeter's certain election in 2020 figuring to do the same.

Video: Yankees Retired Number: No. 42, Mariano Rivera

FIRST-BALLOT INTRIGUE

Roy Halladay
A pair of Cy Youngs and a pair of no-hitters (including one in the postseason) would figure to get the late Halladay over the hump. But his 203 wins may seem paltry to more traditional voters, and we just saw another ace from Halladay's era, Johan Santana, go one-and-done with just 2.4 percent of the vote. The guess here is that Halladay gets in, however, and perhaps even squeaks through on his first ballot.

Video: MLB remembers the greatness of Roy Halladay

Todd Helton
Only 19 players since 1900 have accrued 5,000 plate appearances and put up a .300/.400/.500 slash line, and Helton is one of them. But so is Helton's former teammate Larry Walker, who's entering his ninth year on the ballot as a longshot. Voters are still wrapping their heads around the Coors Field factor, so Helton's candidacy could be debated for a while.

Andy Pettitte
Postseason moments are strong boosters for election, and no pitcher has more wins in October than Pettitte. But the lefty's 3.85 career ERA and his admission to using human growth hormone might ultimately leave him just shy of the Plaque Gallery.

Video: Yankees retired number: No. 46, Andy Pettitte

LAST CHANCE

Edgar Martinez
Martinez's candidacy has a full head of steam, jumping from 58.6 percent to 70.4 percent last year. Will 2019 finally be Edgar's time? Last year, the Tacoma News Tribune pointed out that each of the past 10 players who received between 70-74 percent of the BBWAA vote gained election the very next year, and every candidate who's crossed the 70-percent threshold has eventually gotten into Cooperstown via either the BBWAA or a Veterans Committee.

With Rivera being the only first-ballot lock, the guess here is that a little more room on the ballot, coupled with the urgency of Martinez's final-year push, convinces a final few voters to check off the Seattle slugger's name.

Video: Martinez looking ahead to 2019 Hall of Fame vote

Fred McGriff
McGriff's Cooperstown case, which includes a 134 adjusted OPS+ and 493 home runs, might be better than you think. But the Crime Dog would need a miraculous jump after his name appeared on only 23.2 percent of ballots last year.

NOTABLE RETURNEES

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens
More voters are beginning to look past performance-enhancing drug allegations and choosing to view Bonds and Clemens as indispensable legends of the game. But there's still a large block of voters that will never vote for this pair, and they still have about 20 percent more ground to make up in next four years.

Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling
Their career lines are similar, but Mussina has jumped ahead, arguably due to Schilling's off-field transgressions. After languishing below 25 percent as recently as 2015, Mussina's 63.5-percent total last year has him on the doorstep with five years to go.

Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa
Ramirez's multiple suspensions for PEDs has left him with a long uphill climb to election. Sosa debuted alongside Bonds on the ballot with 609 home runs, but his relatively low average and on-base percentage -- plus PED suspicions -- have kept him from getting sufficient support.

Larry Walker
As mentioned, the Coors factor has held back Walker -- though he was a better road hitter than you might remember. He'll likely run out of time on the BBWAA ballot, but could be viewed more favorably by a Veterans Committee down the road.

Omar Vizquel
Vizquel made a solid start at 37 percent in his ballot debut last winter. He compares well to defense-first Hall of Fame shortstops Luis Aparicio and Ozzie Smith, but his career 82 OPS+ will keep many voters away.

Video: MLB Network debates if Vizquel will make Hall of Fame

Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen
These two defined their positions defensively and brought plenty of power in their primes. Their candidacies stayed alive in Year 1, but each player needs momentum in the voting.

Jeff Kent, Gary Sheffield and Billy Wagner
All three of these players have their mainstay voters, but have had trouble building momentum. Their best-case scenarios are to get somewhere within 20 percent before their 10th year on the ballot and hope for a massive final-year push.

FIRST-TIMERS WHO COULD GET A SECOND CHANCE

Lance Berkman
Berkman's career line has some gaudy numbers, including a 144 OPS+ that ranks among the top 30 in history. But longevity will be an issue -- Berkman logged only eight seasons in which he played in at least 140 games.

Roy Oswalt
The former Astros ace posted two 20-win seasons and placed within the top five in Cy Young Award voting five times. But Oswalt's 163 wins and 2,245 1/3 innings will have trouble convincing even new-school voters to write down his name.

Video: Duquette looks back at Oswalt's 13-year career

LIKELY ONE AND DONE (less than 5 percent of vote)

Rick Ankiel (13 wins and 51 appearances as a pitcher, 462 hits as an outfielder)
Jason Bay (2004 NL Rookie of the Year, 121 OPS+)
Freddy Garcia (156 wins, 2001 AL ERA title)
Jon Garland (136 wins, 2005 World Series champion)
Travis Hafner (213 HR, tied MLB record with six grand slams in 2006)
Ted Lilly (130 wins, 1,681 SO)
Derek Lowe (176 wins and 86 saves)
Darren Oliver (766 appearances)
Juan Pierre (2,217 hits, 614 SB)
Placido Polanco (.297 BA, 2006 ALCS MVP)
Miguel Tejada (816 XBH, 2002 AL MVP)
Vernon Wells (270 HR, 2003 AL hit crown)
Kevin Youkilis (.382 OBP, 123 OPS+)
Michael Young (.300 BA, 2,375 hits)

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Zion Williamson can dunk. But can he rake?

As Duke Blue Devils freshman forward Zion Williamson continues to fill the highlight reels early in the college basketball season, there's no shortage of opportunities to marvel at his athleticism on the hardwood. But, there is a shortage of opportunities to marvel at his abilities on the baseball diamond ... and it's not because such opportunities are unavailable.

Let us take this moment, then, to take a break from the thunderous dunks of Williamson to check in with an explosive dinger from the phenom:

This move may impact market for Realmuto

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- One potential suitor for Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto may be off the board.

The Nationals on Monday reached an agreement on a two-year contract with veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reports the deal is worth $10 million.

MIAMI -- One potential suitor for Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto may be off the board.

The Nationals on Monday reached an agreement on a two-year contract with veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reports the deal is worth $10 million.

With that type of investment in Suzuki, it appears to have eliminated Washington as a potential trade match for Realmuto.

Latest Hot Stove rumors

The Marlins and Nationals had engaged in numerous conversations since last offseason regarding Realmuto. Throughout, Miami's asking price has always included either outfielder Victor Robles or Juan Soto to be part of a potential deal.

Robles is rated by MLB Pipeline as the No. 4 prospect in baseball. Soto finished second to Ronald Acuna Jr. in the National League Rookie of the Year Award voting.

Entering his second season of arbitration, Realmuto is drawing various levels of attention from at least 10 teams. But since he isn't a free agent until 2021, the Marlins don't have any urgency to make a move this offseason. After Realmuto made $2.9 million in '18, he is expected to get a raise via arbitration for the upcoming season but remain affordable, and there are no internal options ready to take over the starting role behind the plate.

In recent weeks, the organization hasn't completely closed the door on an extension -- even in light of Realmuto's agent, Jeff Berry of CAA, telling MLB Network Radio that his client isn't considering an extension. Still, it appears unlikely an extension will get done. It's also questionable if the Marlins feel comfortable enough to work out a contract for Realmuto with an average annual value (AAV) of around $20 million a season. That's on par with the top catchers.

Realmuto batted .277 and had career highs in home runs (21) and RBIs (74) in 2018.

There is no front-runner to strike a deal, but the Dodgers have serious interest in Realmuto. Yasmani Grandal is a free agent, and Los Angeles has a deep system. There's already been a report that the Marlins have asked for Cody Bellinger, the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year Award winner. But there is no sense Bellinger absolutely has to be part of a package. Los Angeles' top prospect is outfielder Alex Verdugo, the No. 32-ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list.

The Astros have consistently been mentioned as a possible trade match. But much like talks with the Nationals, nothing has gone far. Since last offseason, the Astros have balked at parting with outfield prospect Kyle Tucker or right-hander Forrest Whitley. Tucker is the No. 5 prospect on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list, and Whitley is eighth.

The Braves also have interest, and now that they are without Suzuki to split time with Tyler Flowers, they could either explore other options, or make a stronger push for Realmuto. But the Marlins would prefer not to trade their All-Star catcher to a National League East rival. If something could get done, Braves right-hander Mike Soroka is the No. 20 prospect in baseball, and he likely would have to be included in any deal.

The Yankees could be open to trading for Realmuto, especially with Gary Sanchez having a left shoulder procedure. There's been speculation that Sanchez could be included in a possible trade for Realmuto. But it's doubtful a one-for-one deal would happen.

The Angels could also be a potential fit. They also have a touted prospect in outfielder, Jo Adell, the No. 15 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, J.T. Realmuto

Paxton likely just start of NY wheeling & dealing

Yankees still looking for rotation upgrades after acquiring big lefty
MLB.com @jonmorosi

The Yankees traded for James Paxton on Monday.

They aren't done upgrading their rotation yet.

The Yankees traded for James Paxton on Monday.

They aren't done upgrading their rotation yet.

Even after acquiring Paxton, an All-Star-caliber left-hander, Yankees officials plan to add one more prominent starter this offseason, one source said Monday evening.

Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ are among the free agents in whom the Yankees remain interested, sources say. Both are familiar with the franchise: Corbin is from upstate New York and grew up as a Yankees fan; Happ went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts for the Yankees this year following a midseason trade with Toronto.

Video: J.A. Happ enters the 2019 free agent market

At present, the Yankees' rotation depth chart includes Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Sonny Gray, although Gray is widely expected to be traded in the coming days. The Reds and A's are among the teams that have shown interest in Gray.

The Yankees also remain involved in the marketplace for high-end position players, although sources say the addition of Manny Machado or Bryce Harper is less of a priority than augmenting the rotation.

The Yankees have had internal discussions since the offseason began about the possibility of signing Harper to play first base, but one source described that scenario as "unrealistic" -- at least, for now. The Yankees believe Machado is a better fit for their roster, given the absence of starting shortstop Didi Gregorius while he recovers from Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow.

The Yankees' interest in acquiring a veteran shortstop was evident during their trade talks with the Mariners. One source said they also asked Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto about the availability of Jean Segura, a two-time All-Star who has batted .300 in each of the past three seasons. Eventually, the teams agreed to center the trade on Paxton alone.

Injuries are the only obstacle between Paxton and status among the game's elite starting pitchers. He has surpassed 150 innings in a Major League season only once since his 2013 debut. Still, he ranks fourth in Fielding Independent Pitching among all pitchers to throw at least 400 innings over the last three seasons, with his 2.90 ranking behind only Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw and Jacob deGrom.

The Astros were among the teams that spoke with the Mariners about Paxton, one source said, although it's likely they would have had to make an extraordinary offer in order for Dipoto to trade Paxton within the American League West. Once the Astros refused to include pitching prospect Forrest Whitley in their final offer, the Mariners accepted the Yankees' proposal, headlined by left-hander Justus Sheffield.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.

New York Yankees, James Paxton

Next year's top free agents -- 1 for each team

Sale, Arenado among marquee players who could hit the market
MLB.com @williamfleitch

Free-agent season is just getting started, and one of the challenges of assessing free agents sometimes can be separating what they did in the last year of their most recent contract and what they can expect to do in the future. There's not a ton of evidence that players are healthier or better in their contract year than they are the rest of their career, but teams can't help but bid sometimes on what they saw most recently.

So, today, we look at the most prominent pending free agent for next year, the guys who will be playing for their next contract in 2019. These are the names we'll be talking about a year from now come Hot Stove time … though the sort of offers they'll get will depend on what happens next season.

Free-agent season is just getting started, and one of the challenges of assessing free agents sometimes can be separating what they did in the last year of their most recent contract and what they can expect to do in the future. There's not a ton of evidence that players are healthier or better in their contract year than they are the rest of their career, but teams can't help but bid sometimes on what they saw most recently.

So, today, we look at the most prominent pending free agent for next year, the guys who will be playing for their next contract in 2019. These are the names we'll be talking about a year from now come Hot Stove time … though the sort of offers they'll get will depend on what happens next season.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Justin Smoak
The Blue Jays actually have several big free agents coming up -- Russell Martin, Kendrys Morales, Yangervis Solarte -- but Smoak is coming off the best season of any of them.

Orioles: Mark Trumbo
That hefty contract he signed before the 2017 hasn't paid off well for the Orioles, and the market has definitely contracted for players like Trumbo since.

Rays: None
Think the Rays are meticulous planners? They have no impending free agents on their team at all. Even Tommy Pham, who is 30 and playing on a minimum contract, has three years of team control.

Red Sox: Chris Sale
The final year of that team-friendly deal he signed in 2013 is finally upon us, and he could be the most coveted a free agent a year from now. Xander Bogaerts is also poised to hit the market, and J.D. Martinez has an opt-out in his deal, so the Red Sox could look a lot different in 2020.

Video: WS2018 Gm5: Sale strikes out the side to clinch WS

Yankees: Didi Gregorius
This is a player who could make himself a lot of money with a terrific 2019, but he just underwent Tommy John surgery and could miss a decent chunk of the year.

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Jason Kipnis
The Indians have three "expensive" players with club options -- Kipnis, Edwin Encarnacion and Corey Kluber -- and Kipnis seems like the one they're least likely to pick up.

Royals: Alex Gordon
It is extremely unlikely that the club will pick up his $23 million mutual option.

Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos
He could be a sleeper option for someone next offseason … and an obvious Trade Deadline candidate.

Twins: Kyle Gibson
He was sneakily the Twins' best pitcher this year. If he can do that again, he could be another Kyle Lohse.

White Sox: Jose Abreu
Both Abreu and Avisail Garcia seem like obvious Trade Deadline candidates this year. It's a little surprising neither has been traded already.

Video: Abreu expresses emotions after Silver Slugger win

AL WEST

Angels: None
Here's another team with no pending free agents. Unfortunately for the Angels, it's for very different reasons than the Rays. Mike Trout has just two years left, friends.

Astros: Gerrit Cole
Here's another pitcher who has made himself quite a bit more money in the last calendar year.

Video: ALCS Gm 2: Cole escapes a bases-loaded jam

Athletics: Khris Davis
Davis will be one of the most fascinating free-agent cases next season. If the A's are excellent again, that'll help.

Mariners: Felix Hernandez
There might be no pitcher in baseball whom the sport will be cheering for to have a great final (?) season in Seattle.

Rangers: Drew Smyly
He'll be on his way out the door before most Rangers fans had a chance to even say hello.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Arodys Vizcaino
He might quietly be the best closer on the market next season.

Marlins: Martin Prado
That extension he signed after the 2016 season feels like it happened in a different lifetime.

Mets: Todd Frazier
Whatever you think of the Mets, they don't have many long-term contracts laying around the roster anymore.

Nationals: Anthony Rendon
It's possible the biggest contract next season might end up going to Rendon.

Video: WSH@COL: Rendon drives an RBI triple to center field

Phillies: Tommy Hunter
The Phillies are clearly ready to spend this offseason, and they should be.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Jhoulys Chacin
He ended up being their best pitcher last season. Do that again, and he might be one of the top starters on the market.

Cardinals: Marcell Ozuna
If he has the year in 2019 that the Cardinals had wanted him to have in 2018 he might end up the big-ticket item next winter.

Cubs: Cole Hamels
The arbitration hearings are starting to pile up for all those young Cubs stars.

Video: Cubs pick up Hamels' option, deal Smyly to Texas

Pirates: Francisco Cervelli
One of the most underrated catchers in the game. Corey Dickerson's deal will be up too.

Reds: Scooter Gennett
Has any player raised his profile more in the last two seasons than Gennett?

NL WEST

D-backs: Paul Goldschmidt
There are some trade rumors swirling around Goldschmidt, so it's possible he isn't with Arizona next winter when he hits the market.

Dodgers: Yasiel Puig
In case you were wondering whether next year's Hot Stove will lack for hot takes … it will not.

Giants: Pablo Sandoval
That deal he signed with the Red Sox finally expires next year, presuming the Giants don't pick up the club option.

Padres: Craig Stammen
Stammen is destined to be the reliever your team signs whom you're not excited about but is the only reliever you trust in September.

Rockies: Nolan Arenado
Surely they're going to get an extension done at some point … right? Otherwise he's all we'll be talking about next winter.

Video: Nolan Arenado honored to be MVP finalist

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Jose Abreu, Nolan Arenado, Nicholas Castellanos, Francisco Cervelli, Jhoulys Chacin, Gerrit Cole, Khris Davis, Todd Frazier, Scooter Gennett, Kyle Gibson, Paul Goldschmidt, Alex Gordon, Didi Gregorius, Cole Hamels, Felix Hernandez, Tommy Hunter, Jason Kipnis, Marcell Ozuna, Martin Prado, Yasiel Puig, Anthony Rendon, Chris Sale, Pablo Sandoval, Justin Smoak, Drew Smyly, Craig Stammen, Mark Trumbo, Arodys Vizcaino