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• Free agents, by position
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Feinsand: Dodgers 'actively trying' to trade Puig and/or Kemp, among others
Dec. 12: As the Dodgers explore a number of avenues to improve their roster, they are unsurprisingly looking to trade from the two areas where they have great depth: the rotation and the outfield.
Los Angeles is prepared to move starters Rich Hill and Alex Wood as well as two outfielders, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.
As for Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, specifically, the Dodgers are "actively trying" to move one or both of them, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
That echoes what MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal is hearing, particularly the part about Puig being discussed, and in this case with the Reds. While Rosenthal doesn't mention a possible target in the Dodgers' talks with Cincy, second baseman Scooter Gennett could be in play because of L.A.'s need at that spot.
The Dodgers have also had discussions with the Cardinals about Jose Martinez, per Rosenthal, with a creative plan to potentially move Martinez to first base and have Max Muncy play second and Bellinger play center field.
As far as other trade targets go, the Dodgers have been connected most prominently to the Indians' Corey Kluber and the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto this offseason. MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Monday that trade talks for Kluber had "intensified," and that Cleveland is interested in the Dodgers' top prospect, outfielder Alex Verdugo.
Cody Bellinger was among the outfielders Olney mentioned as being available for trade, but a source from a rival team got the sense that the Dodgers aren't open to that idea, per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
The 23-year-old Bellinger took a step backward in 2018, but he is just one season removed from slashing .267/.352/.581 with 39 homers in 132 games as a rookie. While the slugger has primarily played first base during his time in the Majors, he has shown the ability to capably handle center field as well, which is a major plus for a Dodgers club that seems to value versatility as much as any team in baseball.
Los Angeles has also been linked to Bryce Harper, but it's unclear if the club plans to make an aggressive play for the superstar free agent. The contract that Harper is expected to command would be out of character for the Andrew Friedman-led Dodgers front office, which hasn't handed out more than $93 million to any one player despite consistently maintaining a high payroll.
As MLB Network insider Joel Sherman noted in a column for the New York Post on Tuesday, Los Angeles is hesitant to tie up a large portion of its future payroll, which could reduce its flexibility as the retooling Giants and D-backs become serious contenders in the National League West again within the next few years.
But Sherman still envisions a scenario in which Harper lands with the Dodgers.
"Again, it takes dominoes falling," Sherman writes. "Manny Machado would sign with the Phillies; the Nationals, Cardinals and Yankees really would continue to have no interest in Harper; and the only substantial long-term offers would come from someplace like the White Sox. In that scenario, could Harper instead pivot to accept a four-year deal from the Dodgers for a record annual amount and, say, an opt-out after two years to get back into free agency either after his age-27 or -29 season?"
Ramos meets with at least three teams
Dec. 12: Free-agent catcher Wilson Ramos is in Las Vegas for the Winter Meetings and has met with the Mets, A's and Brewers, with more meetings possibly to come, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
The Mets have been aggressively engaged in trade discussions with the Marlins for J.T. Realmuto, but Heyman reports that the club is losing confidence that a deal will get done. As a result, New York seems to be exploring alternatives, including Ramos, Martin Maldonado and Yasmani Grandal.
With Jonathan Lucroy hitting the open market, Oakland is in need of a starting catcher. The A's signed Chris Herrmann on Tuesday, but the 31-year-old has never held a full-time job.
Ramos' camp is said to have sensed "serious interest" from the Brewers, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, though the club is working with some payroll restraints. Ramos would be an upgrade over Milwaukee's catching trio of Manny Pina, Erik Kratz and Jacob Nottingham.
Yankees close on Happ, but still interested in Syndergaard
Dec. 12: As the Yankees reportedly near an agreement with free agent J.A. Happ, the club remains interested in some of the Mets' pitchers, including Noah Syndergaard, according to Andy Martino of SNY.
The Yanks reportedly engaged in discussions with the Mets and Marlins regarding a trade that would have sent Syndergaard to the Bronx and J.T. Realmuto to Queens. Those talks seem to have stalled, but the Yankees are apparently still eyeing Syndergaard.
It's unclear if that means the Yankees are looking to sign Happ and trade for Syndergaard, or if the Mets right-hander is an alternative if their negotiations with Happ don't progress.
Mets meet with Jones in Vegas
Dec. 12: The Mets have met with free-agent outfielder Adam Jones at the Winter Meetings, according to a report from the New York Post's Mike Puma on Wednesday.
Adding an outfielder -- especially a right-handed-hitting outfielder -- is one of the Mets' chief needs this offseason. Jones is among the options they're considering, per Puma.
More of the attention in the free-agent rumor mill has been focused on A.J. Pollock, but Jones also fits the bill. The 33-year-old veteran wouldn't command as high a price tag as someone like Pollock, either.
The longtime Orioles center fielder hit .281/.313/.419 with 15 home runs and 63 RBIs in 145 games for Baltimore this year. Before a slight power dip in 2018, Jones had hit at least 20 homers in each of the previous seven seasons.
Reds, Braves, Mets in mix for Realmuto
Dec. 12: The Mets have been the most aggressive suitor for catcher J.T. Realmuto during the Winter Meetings, but their talks with the Marlins may be stalling. New York isn't completely out, however. Meanwhile, another club has jumped into the mix, as Craig Mish of SiriusXM reports that the Reds are eyeing the backstop. The Braves are involved as well, per MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi. Read the latest Realmuto trade rumors here.
Cruz negotiations 'progressing'
Dec. 12: Nelson Cruz's negotiations toward a free-agent contract are "progressing" on Day 3 of the Winter Meetings, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, but a deal isn't necessarily expected to happen Wednesday.
The Rays and Twins, who have emerged as two of the chief suitors for Cruz in recent days, still are both involved in the talks, per Morosi. So is at least one other mystery team. Which team could that be? Besides Tampa Bay and Minnesota, other clubs that likely would be in on Cruz include the Astros and White Sox.
The Rays' reported two-year, $30 million contract with righty Charlie Morton shouldn't preclude the club from staying in the hunt for Cruz, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who says the veteran slugger "fits the Rays perfectly."
The small-market club still has some financial resources to play with this offseason, and another short-term deal -- like the one for Morton -- makes sense for Cruz, too, especially at this stage of his career and given his limited market as a full-time designated hitter.
Boras not ruling out Yankees, Nats as suitors for Harper
Dec. 12: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman all but ruled out the club as a suitor for free agent Bryce Harper earlier this week, saying that there's "no spot" for the 26-year-old in New York's crowded outfield and that using him at first base "isn't an option," according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. And yet, Harper's agent, Scott Boras, isn't ready to say the club is out of the running. He's not counting out the Nats, either. Read the latest Harper rumors here.
A's, Rangers talking Profar trade
Dec. 12: Faced with the prospect of losing second baseman Jed Lowrie in free agency, the A's are exploring Jurickson Profar as a trade option. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday that Oakland is among the clubs talking to the Rangers about a potential deal.
The 25-year-old Profar played the first full season of his career with the Rangers in 2018. He was solid at the plate, hitting .254/.335/.458 with 20 home runs and 77 RBIs in 146 games. And Profar is highly versatile defensively -- he can play any infield position, and even the outfield. Second base just happens to be where the A's would need him.
The A's don't necessarily have to go out and find an external replacement for Lowrie, though. Rosenthal notes that they could also opt for Franklin Barreto as a solution from within the organization. The 22-year-old Barreto was ranked the A's top prospect in 2017 (no longer considered a prospect). He hit .233 with five home runs in 32 games for Oakland this season.
Rockies exploring trades for first basemen
Dec. 12: Bringing in Ian Desmond and making him their starting first baseman hasn't gone the way the Rockies presumably hoped it would, with the veteran producing -1.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), per FanGraphs, over the first two seasons of a five-year, $70 million contract.
As a result, Colorado is exploring ways to upgrade that position via trade, and potential options include Carlos Santana, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Abreu and Wil Myers, according to Jim Bowden of The Athletic.
Of those four players, Myers is seemingly the least likely target due to the exorbitant amount of money remaining on his contract, as MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reports. Myers' base salary is just $3 million for 2019, but he's owed $60 million over 2020-22.
Comparatively, Santana is owed $34.5 million over the next two seasons, Encarnacion is owed $20 million in 2019 and has a $20 million club option with a $5 million buyout for 2020, and Abreu is projected to receive a slight raise in his final year of arbitration eligibility after making $13 million in 2018. The White Sox slugger is due to hit free agency a year from now.
The Mariners acquired Santana from the Phillies as part of the return for Jean Segura earlier this month, but the 32-year-old "likely won't play a day" for the club, The Athletic's Corey Brock wrote (subscription required) Tuesday.
Per Brock, Seattle has discussed Santana with the Rays and Indians in addition to the Rockies. The inclusion of Cleveland on that list is particularly interesting, given the club is reportedly looking to trim payroll. Santana could make sense for the Indians if the club is able to deal both Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso, who will earn $8 million in 2019 and has a $9 million club option with a $1 million buyout for 2020. The Tribe is discussing several three-team deals that include both sluggers, per Cleveland.com.
Yankees meet with Ottavino's rep
Dec. 12: With Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and Chad Green in the fold, the Yankees should have a solid bullpen in 2019, even if free agents David Robertson and Zach Britton sign elsewhere.
But the club is still engaging with some of the top relief arms on the market, including New York native Adam Ottavino. According to MLB Network insider Joel Sherman, Yanks general manager Brian Cashman met with Ottavino's representative Tuesday. While no firm offers were exchanged, Sherman considers the 33-year-old to be high on the Yankees' wish list.
Ottavino is also a reported target of the rival Red Sox, as is Robertson, whom the Yankees haven't ruled out bringing back.
Britton, though, is considered unlikely to return, as he is believed to be looking for closing opportunities. Per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the Phillies and Cardinals are among several teams pursuing the left-hander.
Machado to meet with Yanks, Phils, White Sox and mystery teams
Dec. 11: The biggest transaction on the second day of the Winter Meetings -- at least as of late afternoon -- was the Phillies' deal to sign Andrew McCutchen to a reported three-year, $50 million pact. How does that impact Manny Machado, specifically?
It doesn't really change much, frankly, as McCutchen is expected to handle one of the corner outfield spots in Philly, and the amount of money -- while not insignificant -- shouldn't preclude the Phillies from making any substantial offer to Machado. In short: There's still a fit on the left side of the Phillies' infield, as MLB Network insider Jon Heyman pointed out.
So what's next for the superstar 26-year-old? Machado is slated to meet with teams most interested in him soon, and Heyman reports that three of them are the Yankees, White Sox and -- yep -- the Phillies, as well as three "mystery teams."
The takeaways from that? One, those three clubs are in big markets and have money to spend. Two, it's likely that nothing will happen any time soon (think: during the Winter Meetings) on the Machado front, given that he's planning to visit with a number of franchises.
Video: After Cutch, Phils could still target Harper, Machado
Will Giants trade Bumgarner now ... or later?
Dec. 11: It's hard to imagine longtime Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner in another uniform, isn't it? And yet, the biggest topic of conversation surrounding the club this offseason is whether -- maybe even when -- San Francisco should look to trade its ace. After all, the Giants are unlikely to contend in 2019, and the 29-year-old lefty's contract runs out after next season.
As to the question of when the Giants might be ready to move Bumgarner, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reports that it's looking "less and less likely" the club pulls the trigger this winter. While that possibility can't be ruled out, as Feinsand notes, a midseason move might make more sense.
Perhaps one reason for this approach is that the club has a new director of baseball operations in Farhan Zaidi. In addition to being busy plotting a course for the future of the franchise at the moment, Zaidi might not want to have his first major transaction involve shipping off a franchise face and three-time World Series champion.
That said, there is some risk in waiting until June or July to make Bumgarner available; he could see a further decline in his performance or suffer an injury that saps his value on the trade market. Not to mention, if Bumgarner is traded midseason, he would be ineligible for the qualifying offer and the corresponding Draft-pick compensation, which also must be factored into his value.
Among the teams that have been mentioned as interested in and/or possible fits for Bumgarner are the Braves, Phillies, Yankees, Astros and Brewers.
Reds among teams talking to Indians about Kluber, Bauer
Dec. 11: The Reds' desire to upgrade their rotation is no secret, and the Indians are expected to trade one of their aces this offseason. Could the intrastate rivals team up for a deal? Nothing is imminent, but Cincinnati is having "ongoing discussions" with Cleveland about Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
Morosi reported Monday, the first full day of the Winter Meetings, that trade talks regarding Kluber had "intensified," with the Dodgers among the teams involved.
Cleveland is reportedly hoping to trim payroll while still remaining competitive in an underwhelming American League Central, and Los Angeles could be a perfect trade partner given the club's outfield depth. With Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall departing via free agency, the outfield is a major question mark for the Indians at this point.
Morosi reports that the Dodgers' top prospect, outfielder Alex Verdugo (No. 32 overall, per MLB Pipeline), is part of the discussions between Cleveland and Los Angeles.
Morosi names the Yankees and Brewers as potential landing spots for Kluber as well, as both teams have highly ranked outfielders in their farm systems. The Reds do, too, with No. 2 prospect Taylor Trammell (No. 17 overall).
Kluber and Bauer are arguably more attractive than any of the remaining starters on the free-agent market. Kluber is signed for $17 million in 2019 with club options for 2020 ($17.5 million, $1 million buyout) and 2021 ($18 million, $1 million buyout). To put the value of Kluber's deal in perspective, the Red Sox just signed Nathan Eovaldi for roughly $17 million per year over four years. Meanwhile, Bauer is two years away from free agency.
Per MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal's article for The Athletic (subscription required) on Monday, a rival executive who has been in contact with the Indians said Cleveland is open to trades in which it would attach Kluber or Bauer to a highly paid player such as Jason Kipnis or Edwin Encarnacion as a way to shed another inflated contract.
Could Tulo be fit for his childhood team?
Dec. 11: Troy Tulowitzki is a free agent after being released by the Blue Jays on Tuesday. He has a well-chronicled injury history, and even when healthy, he has struggled to return to the elite form he exhibited during his 10 seasons with the Rockies. Still, if Tulowitzki could be had for the right price, the veteran shortstop might offer as much upside as any shortstop on the free-agent market.
Martin Gallegos of the San Jose Mercury News speculates that the A's could be among the most logical fits for the 34-year-old. Tulowitzki grew up in the Bay Area, rooted for the A's as a kid and the club has a positional need within its infield after Jed Lowrie departed via free agency. Most signs, as Gallegos indicated, allude that Oakland will not bring Lowrie back. And for a cost-minded club that has played on a small-market budget and consistently sought to maximize the dollar value of its players, the A's might make a lot of sense for Tulowitzki.
The five-time All-Star will receive $38 million from Toronto as part of the final two years of his contract. Given that he missed the entire 2018 season with a heel injury and was limited to just 66 games in '17 due to an ankle injury, Tulowitzki doesn't necessarily have significant leverage to warrant another multi-year, high-paying contract. Gallegos speculates that the A's could potentially sign Tulowitzki for the league minimum of $600,000.
It would certainly be a risk, but if Tulowitzki could return to some form of his old self, it could be one worth taking.
Video: Charlie Montoyo on Tulowitzki being released
Impact of McCutchen's deal on Pollock
Dec. 11: One of the bigger names in the free-agent outfielder market has come off the table, as Andrew McCutchen lands in Philadelphia. What does that mean for A.J. Pollock, who entered the offseason as arguably the top outfielder on the open market outside of Bryce Harper?
The 31-year-old center fielder wasn't necessarily linked to the Phillies much this offseason, so it's not as if McCutchen stole a potential destination right out from under Pollock. If anything, McCutchen's deal -- reported at $50 million for three years with an option for a fourth -- should be seen as a good sign for Pollock, as USA Today's Bob Nightengale suggests.
On one hand, Pollock doesn't have McCutchen's resume and his injury history is a concern. But on the other, Pollock, by comparison, is younger than McCutchen and as such brings a bit more of a dynamic power-speed combo at this stage of their respective careers -- not to mention, the ability to handle center field still.
In other words, it's possible the floor on offers Pollock will be considering could be about $50 million, with the likelihood for more money and almost certainly more years. Whether he's able to secure the reported five-year, $80 million deal (aka, the "Lorenzo Cain contract") that was rumored to be his asking price, however, remains to be seen.
Reds have discussed Inciarte trade
Dec. 11: The Reds cut ties with one premier defensive center fielder this offseason. Maybe they can add a new one.
Cincinnati has talked to the Braves about a trade for Ender Inciarte, a source told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon on Tuesday.
Even if no deal is imminent, the possibility is intriguing. The Reds have an opening in the outfield after non-tendering Billy Hamilton -- and Inciarte is just as elite defensively. Plus, Inciarte's a significantly better hitter than Hamilton.
Inciarte finished with a +21 Outs Above Average rating in 2018 -- that's Statcast™'s range-based metric for outfield defense -- tied for the best of any MLB outfielder. Hamilton ranked fifth with a +16 OAA mark.
The 28-year-old Inciarte is signed to a five-year, $30.53 million contract that runs through 2021, with a $9 million club option for 2022. If the Braves traded Inciarte, they could hand over the reins in center field to NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr.
Red Sox listening on Bogaerts, Porcello, JBJ?
Dec. 11: The Red Sox just inked Nathan Eovaldi to a four-year, $68 million deal to retain the righty and shore up their rotation. Did that decision push the club into a position where it needs to consider moving current big league pieces -- and their corresponding salaries -- to get something else done?
Boston may be trying to cut payroll as a way to simultaneously address its need in the bullpen and stay under the highest tier of the luxury-tax threshold, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, citing a rival exec.
That matches up with what USA Today's Bob Nightengale is hearing, too - that the Red Sox are "openly listening" too offers on righty Rick Porcello and potentially could discuss shortstop Xander Bogaerts and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
Given that both closer Craig Kimbrel and setup reliever Joe Kelly are free agents, the Red Sox have been in the market for bullpen help. General manager Dave Dombrowski suggested Monday, however, that the club is unlikely to make a big expenditure to improve the relief corps, meaning it's unlikely Kimbrel will return. Some names that have been linked to Boston include Zach Britton, Andrew Miller and David Robertson, all of whom have late-inning experience and should be more affordable than Kimbrel, who has floated an initial asking price of six years.
The big question here, then, is how much the defending champs feel the need to unload a key player like Bogaerts, Porcello or Bradley in order to gain some financial relief toward enhancing the bullpen. Dombrowski himself addressed this by saying he's "not driven to trade core players for the purpose of shedding payroll," according to MLB.com's Ian Browne.
Both Porcello, whose 2019 salary is $21 million, and Bogaerts, who is projected to earn almost $12 million in arbitration per MLB Trade Rumors, are due to become free agents after next season. Bradley, whose projected arbitration figure is just shy of $8 million for '19, is under control through '20.
The luxury-tax threshold -- officially known as the Competitive Balance Tax -- is set to be $206 million for next season and Boston's projected payroll calls for north of $230 million. The Red Sox surpassed the $197 million threshold this past season on their way to winning the World Series.
Are Twins, Rays the front-runners for Cruz?
Dec. 11: Given Nelson Cruz's role as a full-time designated hitter at this stage of the 38-year-old's career, it's not surprising that the teams most often linked to the free-agent slugger are in the American League. In recent days, the Rays, Twins, Astros and White Sox have emerged as the four likeliest landing spots, but is there a chance that batch of clubs has been whittled down even more?
Cruz's agent, Bryce Dixon, tells MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi that there still are ongoing discussions with teams beyond the Twins and Rays.
That seems to throw a little cold water on an earlier report that Minnesota and Tampa Bay are the two front-runners for Cruz.
It's hard to tell, then, whether there has been any real development here. One thing does seem pretty clear, though: The number of clubs in the mix for Cruz likely can be counted on one hand.
White Sox considering Grandal
Dec. 11: While the race for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has taken center stage at the Winter Meetings, the market for Yasmani Grandal has yet to develop. Some teams, such as the Mets, are seemingly viewing Grandal as more of a fallback option rather than a top target.
However, ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the White Sox, who aren't believed to be in the running for Realmuto, are considering Grandal.
The White Sox traded Omar Narvaez to the Mariners earlier this offseason for reliever Alex Colome, leaving Welington Castillo and Seby Zavala as the only catchers on the 40-man roster. Castillo has his share of value, but his lifetime .708 OPS vs. righties (.846 OPS vs. LHP) suggests he's better suited for a part-time role. The 30-year-old Grandal is a switch-hitter who does his best work against righties, so the two could fit well together.
Chicago is reportedly looking to expedite its rebuilding process with a big-name free agent or two and could be in on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in addition to Grandal.
Yankees open to trading Andujar
Dec. 11: Miguel Andujar was one of the Yankees' most consistent hitters during a year in which he finished second to the Angels' Shohei Ohtani in American League Rookie of the Year voting, but he may not be a long-term fixture with the club.
According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, rival executives say that the Yanks are open to moving the 23-year-old.
That's not entirely surprising, as the Yankees are reportedly discussing a three-team blockbuster with the Mets and Marlins that would see Noah Syndergaard join the Yankees and J.T. Realmuto land with the Mets, as well as another trade that would bring Realmuto to the Yanks. It would make sense if Andujar was one of the young pieces being offered to Miami.
The Yankees are also considering signing Manny Machado, who would presumably become the club's starting third baseman once Didi Gregorius is ready to return from Tommy John surgery, leaving Andujar without a place to play. Even if New York doesn't sign Machado, Andujar's defensive struggles give him a questionable future at the hot corner.
Yanks GM: There's 'no spot' for Harper in New York's outfield
Dec. 11: The Yankees continue to be mentioned as a team that could be a fit for Bryce Harper, but could the club actually fit Harper?
When asked about the superstar, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said there's "no spot" for him in New York's crowded outfield and that deploying him at first base "isn't an option," according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
Indeed, with incumbent starters Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks, as well as returning options Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier as backups, the club is more than set in the outfield. And while the topic of Harper as a first baseman has been floated by his agent, Scott Boras, that possibility doesn't appear to interest Cashman, despite the Yankees relying on the still-unproven Luke Voit and Greg Bird at the position.
If that wasn't a forceful enough take on Harper, Cashman followed up by saying, "I'm surprised [the media is] still asking" about the team's interest, as MLB.com's Bryan Hoch relayed.
Nationals discussing Roark trade
Dec. 11: After signing Patrick Corbin to a six-year, $140 million contract, the Nationals have tons of money tied up in their "Big Three" of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Corbin, which may explain why the club is reportedly making Tanner Roark available.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Washington has engaged in multiple discussions regarding a Roark trade, though Passan also notes that the Nats are still looking at free agents to supplement their rotation.
The 32-year-old Roark is one year away from free agency and should see a generous raise from his 2018 salary of $6.475 million in his final season of arbitration eligibility. While it would hardly be an untenable salary for a pitcher who has made 30-plus starts in three straight seasons and owns a career 3.59 ERA, the Nats may be looking to save some money at the back end of their rotation while also attempting to get something in return for Roark before he hits the open market next offseason.
The fact that Roark has been a slightly below average starter over the past two seasons (97 ERA+) is likely another reason why the Nats are considering a trade, as Washington might be able to bring in a lower-cost free agent to do a similar job.