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Rumors: Phils may be eyeing a HUGE haul

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

It's Hot Stove season, and 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 is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

Free agents, by position
Free agents, by team

Phillies' big plans involve Harper/Machado, other top FAs -- and Trout?!
Jan. 15: One of the popular theories earlier this offseason was that the Phillies had so much money available that not only were they seen as the prohibitive favorite to sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, but they actually could consider paying up for both free-agent superstars.

That pie-in-the-sky scenario for Phillies fans isn't happening, according to Matt Gelb of The Athletic (subscription required). But that doesn't mean Philly won't wind up with one of the premier young talents in the sport. On the contrary, it's looking like the club is seen as a favorite -- it's just a matter of which one.

Oh, and the Phillies aren't expected to stop there. That plan to be "a little bit stupid" about how they spend their money, as managing partner John Middleton said earlier in the offseason, very well might be in play.

Phillies team executives "have visions of signing Harper, [lefty starter Dallas] Keuchel and [closer Craig] Kimbrel," according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

Tweet from @BNightengale: The #Phillies, according to team executives, have visions of signing Harper,Keuchel and Kimbrel.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman is hearing something similar, acknowledging that the Phils are in "excellent position" to sign one of Harper or Machado and still take a look at "other top free agents" like Keuchel, Kimbrel and/or outfielder A.J. Pollock.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Philly is in excellent position to sign one or the other of the free agent mega stars ��� Harper or Machado. Signing both though is said to remain pretty unlikely. But after they secure 1, Phils may take a closer look at other top free agents (ie Keuchel, Kimbrel, Pollock)

And if that's not enough, Heyman also adds that the Phillies "will make a big play" for Mike Trout in two years, when the superstar Angels center fielder is due to hit the open market.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Regardless who they sign this winter, phillies will make a big play for mike trout in 2 years ��� provided he hasn���t signed an extension, of course. #LAAngels will try to extend Trout this winter, but while he likes it there, the whispers are that an extension now is unlikely.

It's one thing to spout all these names and another thing entirely for the Phillies to sign them. But at least, one club looks ready to make some big, bold moves in what has been slow offseason so far.

For the latest Harper rumors, go here. For more on Machado, head here. And this will keep you up to date on Keuchel.

Tweet from @MLBNetwork: Harper, Keuchel AND Kimbrel?!?! #MLBTonight

Could a three-team blockbuster involving Kluber work?
Jan. 15:'s Jon Paul Morosi recently reported that the Padres have remained in contact with the Indians about ace right-hander Corey Kluber. But would the Padres insert Kluber into the rotation or try to trade him away to fill another need? And if it's the latter, could a three-team blockbuster actually work?

Dennis Lin of The Athletic reports that San Diego's interest in Kluber is primarily to flip him, because he "does not fit the Padres age-wise." Lin adds that no deal is close, and the Padres are "struggling to line up with trade partners."

Tweet from @dennistlin: In their search for a third baseman, the Padres have explored three-team trade possibilities, including one that would send Corey Kluber to Cincinnati, sources tell @Ken_Rosenthal and me. No is deal close.

Tweet from @dennistlin: San Diego���s interest in Kluber is primarily to flip him, sources say; he does not fit the Padres age-wise. Pads struggling to line up with trade partners. If they could get Kluber, they likely would want top Reds prospect Nick Senzel, whom Cincinnati does not want to move.

The Indians reportedly have made Kluber available on the trade market, but only for a very high price. San Diego has one of the very best farm systems in baseball, and certainly could make a legitimate offer for the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner.

Flipping Kluber to the Reds would send the 32-year-old (33 in April) to a club that has made it clear that upgrading the starting rotation is among its highest priorities. Cincinnati already has acquired right-hander Tanner Roark and left-hander Alex Wood in separate trades.

If infielder Nick Senzel is what the Padres would be looking for to take over at third base, the 23-year-old would appear to fit well in San Diego's rebuild, providing the organization with the No. 6 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline.

The question, then, becomes: What do the Indians -- the team theoretically unloading Kluber -- get out of this scenario? Cleveland has a major need in the outfield and both the Padres and Reds have some depth at that position, including Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, Matt Kemp and Jesse Winker, among others. But it's likely the Tribe would need more pieces -- especially young, cost-controlled players -- to part with arguably its top arm.

Tweet from @MLBNetwork: The Padres are reportedly interested in acquiring and flipping Corey Kluber for a third baseman according to @Ken_Rosenthal. #MLBNHotStove

Why Braves may be hesitant to gamble on Pollock
Jan. 15: Center fielder A.J. Pollock 's market has been limited due to his lengthy injury history: Since 2016, he's only played in 237 games. Last season, he got off to a torrid start, slashing .293/.349/.620 with 11 home runs and nine steals through May 14. But that's when he fractured his thumb on a diving play, causing him to miss nearly two months. From the time he returned on July 2 through the end of the season, he hit just .236/.297/.407 with 10 homers in 73 games.

The former Gold Glove Award winner's skill set and potential are appealing, but the injury concerns surely are giving teams pause when considering him in free agency. Still, if he was amenable to a one-year deal, might the Braves fill their outfield need by signing Pollock? More >

Which teams might be in on Moustakas?
Jan. 15: In his second straight offseason as a free agent, Mike Moustakas' market has been held up to some degree by the fact that Manny Machado -- the top available shortstop/third baseman -- has yet to choose a team. But that doesn't mean we can't peek at possibilities for Moustakas in the meantime.

One such option is a return to the Brewers, as MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal writes in a story for The Athletic (subscription required). Milwaukee still needs an infielder after being linked to -- but missing out on -- second basemen Brian Dozier (Nationals), Jed Lowrie (Mets) and DJ LeMahieu (Yankees). The Crew acquired Moustakas at the Trade Deadline last season, playing him at the hot corner and shifting regular third baseman Travis Shaw to second. That plan could make sense again in 2019.

The Phillies also appear to be a fit for Moustakas, but only if they miss out on Machado to solidify the left side of their infield. And the Padres have been in the market for an upgrade at third base as well, making them a candidate for Moustakas -- or perhaps for the Phillies' Maikel Franco, who likely would become trade bait if Philadelphia lands either Machado or Moustakas, as Rosenthal suggests.

What kind of contract is Gonzalez seeking?
Jan. 15: Because of his recent offensive production in 2017-18 and status as a supremely versatile defender, a number of teams are interested in and good fits for Marwin Gonzalez. One thing that hasn't been made clear to this point in the offseason, however, is what type of deal the veteran free agent may be trying to land.

Part of the reason for that is Gonzalez is not among the very top tier of players available on the open market, so there's been less speculation surrounding him. Another reason is there are fewer past free agents to compare him to because of what he brings to the table on defense.

There is one similar name that could provide a glimpse at what Gonzalez is seeking, though. More >

With Sabathia cleared, Gray talks to 'ramp up'
Jan. 14: Although Yankees general manager Brian Cashman identified trading Sonny Gray as one of the items on his offseason to-do list way back in October, the right-hander remains with the team.

While the Yankees' reportedly lofty asking price is one reason why Gray hasn't been dealt, CC Sabathia's health problems -- the left-hander underwent an angioplasty procedure in December -- caused New York to briefly dial back trade talks. But with Sabathia now cleared to pitch once again, the Yankees are ready to "ramp up" discussions, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Per Heyman, at least six teams are said to be involved, including the Reds. The Padres, Brewers, A's, Mariners and Braves are among the teams that have also been linked to Gray this offseason.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Things said to ���ramp up��� in Sonny Gray trade talks since CC Sabathia was given clearance to pitch. At least 6 teams said to be involved. Reds are one. Padres, Brewers, A���s, Padres, Mariners, Braves among others linked to Sonny.

Gray, 29, can become a free agent next offseason. The righty struggled in 2018, posting a 4.90 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP, which prompted Cashman to reveal plans to trade him.

"We are going to move him if we get the right deal because I don't think it is going to work out in the Bronx," Cashman told MLB Network insider Joel Sherman at the GM Meetings. "I don't feel like we can go through the same exercise and expect different results."

Even if Gray's tenure with the Yankees hasn't gone all that well, there are reasons for other teams to be optimistic about a turnaround, including his 3.17 road ERA (6.98 ERA at home) and overall 50 percent ground-ball rate in 2018.

Cardinals not talking extension with Goldy, Ozuna or Wacha yet
Jan. 14: With Paul Goldschmidt, Marcell Ozuna and Michael Wacha all due to hit free agency next offseason, the upcoming campaign is a crucial one for the Cardinals.

St. Louis could look to extend one or more of those players before the season is over to sidestep the risk of losing all three. But according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals general manager Mike Girsch indicated that the club doesn't have any long-term extension talks planned at this time.

"We'll see how this year goes," Girsch said. "We've got to get one guy back feeling good and the other to experience how St. Louis is," he added, referring to Ozuna and Goldschmidt, respectively.

The Cardinals have to hope Goldschmidt's inaugural season with the team goes better than Ozuna's did in 2018. After hitting .312 with 37 homers, 124 RBIs and a .924 OPS in 2017, the outfielder fell to a .280 average with 23 homers, 88 RBIs and a .758 OPS while being plagued by right shoulder discomfort for much of 2018. He underwent a cleanup procedure in late October to address the problem.

The Cards traded for Goldschmidt in December after the D-backs picked up his $14.5 million team option for 2019. The deal gave St. Louis an incredibly durable player who has appeared in at least 155 games in four straight seasons. He's now 31 years old, however, so the club would be taking a slight risk by signing him to an extension before seeing how he performs.

Goldschmidt might not be open to signing an extension now, anyway, as he has never had a chance to experience free agency. The first baseman signed a team-friendly five-year extension for $32 million (plus the aforementioned 2019 club option) with Arizona in March 2013 that covered the 2014-18 seasons. He produced 26.9 Wins Above Replacement, per FanGraphs, during those years.

Wacha, meanwhile, needs to show the Cardinals he can stay healthy. The right-hander made just 15 starts in 2018, as he didn't appear after June 20 due to a left oblique strain. He also has a history of right shoulder problems and has made 30 starts in a season just twice.

Are the Phillies now leading the race to sign Harper?
Jan. 14: Following a five-hour meeting with Bryce Harper in his hometown of Las Vegas on Saturday, are the Phillies now the favorites to sign the market's most coveted free agent? Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported as much on Sunday, citing three anonymous sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations. 

Nightengale adds that the Nationals, who were considered to be leading the race to sign Harper after a lengthy meeting over the holidays, now believe they are a "long shot." 

The Phillies are also among a handful of favorites to sign Manny Machado -- and those odds could have increased, given that the Yankees' dialogue with the coveted shortstop have become "either dormant or completely dead," according to a report on Sunday from ESPN's Buster Olney. Nightengale's report added that the Yanks have "no intention of offering [Machado] a megacontract."

Philly is expected to make a formal offer within the week, per the report.'s Todd Zolecki reported on Sunday that the club may be shifting its sights on Harper instead of Machado, to whom the club has issued a formal offer, per Zolecki. 

Until the offer comes, however,'s Jim Duquette doesn't think the Phils can be deemed the front runner.

"At least make an offer," Duquette said on MLB Network Radio. "It looks so absurd that you're actually going to try to declare that and you haven't put an offer on paper. … So until that actually happens, there's no Philly front runner for Harper.

"Just because you were the last team to meet with him does not make you the front runner," Duquette added.

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: .@Jim_Duquette: The #Phillies are not the front runner on Bryce Harper until they "Show Him The Money!"#Nationals

At this point, the only team that is believed to have offered Harper a contract is the Nationals, whose latest offer was reportedly north of $300 million. As a result, Duquette thinks they are still the leading contender to sign the slugger.

In either case,'s Jamal Collier writes that Washington shouldn't be counted out.

"Harper's relationship with the organization, as well as [general manager and president of baseball operations Mike] Rizzo and the Lerner family, is strong," writes Collier. "A few front office members have wondered if eventually ownership will find a way to make it work to keep Harper in D.C. long term, even if doing so would almost certainly put the Nats over the luxury tax threshold again." More >

Video: MLB Tonight on Phillies, Harper meeting in Las Vegas

Should the Giants wait to trade Bumgarner?
Jan. 14: The most important decision Farhan Zaidi will make early in his tenure as the Giants president of baseball operations is what to do with franchise icon Madison Bumgarner. However, Zaidi doesn't necessarily need to make that decision now, or even in the next couple months.

MLB Network Radio's Eduardo Perez argues that Zaidi should wait to trade Bumgarner to allow his stock to improve. The left-hander has remained effective over the past two seasons (3.29 ERA), but his underlying metrics and velocity readings suggest he is declining. There's always a chance that the negative trends will continue, leaving San Francisco with an asset that has depreciated further. But Perez thinks it is worth the gamble to wait.

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: .@PerezEd believes the #SFGiants need to bet on a comeback season from Madison Bumgarner.

"I think [Zaidi] believes he can get more on the market for Bumgarner if those numbers, if the velocity, if the spin rate, if the effectiveness is there," Perez said. "And not necessarily at the Trade Deadline. It could be at the beginning of June. It could be a team saying, 'We need a No. 1 guy, and this is the guy that can give it to us.' For $12 million, you look at a prorated amount, that'll be less than $10 million, you're going to give up the farm. ... You trade him now, you probably won't get what you're going to get during the season."

As Perez notes, Bumgarner is still just 29 years old, so it's not far-fetched to think he can bounce back, especially if he experiences better health this season after dealing with fluke injuries over the past two years. In 2017, the left-hander suffered bruised ribs and a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder in a dirt bike accident in Colorado. Then, last March, he broke his left pinkie finger on a comebacker to the mound during Spring Training, underwent surgery and didn't return until June.

According to a report from's Jon Paul Morosi on Jan. 7, the Brewers and Giants have had "substantive communication" about a Bumgarner trade. However, in an appearance on San Francisco-area radio station KNBR, Zaidi indicated that the club isn't actively shopping the pitcher.

"We have the goal of being competitive in 2019," Zaidi said. "He's a huge part of that. We spent this offseason having to be realistic about where we are and being willing to listen on anything. But it doesn't change the fact that Bumgarner is a very central cog to this team. Nobody is making any outgoing calls on Bumgarner."

White Sox have made Machado a seven-year offer, maybe longer
Jan. 14: The White Sox have made a long-term offer to Manny Machado -- that much is known.'s Scott Merkin reported late Monday afternoon that the club's offer has not increased from seven years, which downplayed a report on Sunday from ESPN's Jeff Passan that Chicago had made an eight-year offer to the star shortstop.

Tweet from @scottmerkin: White Sox seven-year offer to Manny Machado has not changed, per source.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale and the Chicago Sun-Times' Daryl Van Schouwen echoed Merkin saying that the club's offer has not increased from seven years. It's possible that the deal could be worth seven years with incentives or options that could lead to an eighth year. 

The value of the deal, according to Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital, is $250 million. Passan adds that the club may "be compelled to go even longer" to land Machado, who is reportedly seeking a deal north of the record 13-year, $325 million contract the Marlins gave slugger Giancarlo Stanton in 2014.

Tweet from @hgomez27: SOURCE: The #WhiteSox have offered Manny Machado an eight-year, US$250 million deal, #Phillies still involved.First to reported @JeffPassan.#ZDigital #ZDeportes @z101digital @ZDeportes

Machado is one of two premier free agents on this offseason's market, along with fellow 26-year-old superstar Bryce Harper. The other team that is seen as a frontrunner for Machado is the Phillies, though Philadelphia is reportedly turning its attention to Harper (per's Todd Zolecki) after meeting with him in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The Yankees were also considered a serious suitor for Machado, but ESPN's Buster Olney reports talks with Machado are "either dormant or completely dead" following New York's acquisition of free-agent infielder DJ LeMahieu. So does that mean the White Sox are now leading the race for Machado? That may indeed be the case.

"Unless the Phillies give huge contracts to both players, which remains a possibility, that leaves the Sox and the Yankees as the two remaining teams interested in signing Machado," Paul Sullivan wrote Sunday for the Chicago Tribune.

"A 'mystery' team can emerge as they often do when agents try to ignite a bidding war, but the lack of public suitors for the 26-year-old Machado could mean he'll fall in the Sox's lap."

The White Sox are also in the hunt for Harper, but it seems likely that he will either re-sign with the Nationals or head to the Phillies.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported on Jan. 9 that Machado was believed to be seeking a contract north of Stanton's record $325 million. Per Heyman, neither Philadelphia nor Chicago is believed to be close to the $300 million mark in their offers.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Word is, Machado camp still seeking 300M plus. ChiSox, Phillies not believed to be close to that ask (though exact current offers aren���t known, and can change). Meanwhile, Yanks, believed to be preferred destination, have yet to make official offer. Still no word of mystery team.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: More specifically, Machado camp still believed seeking something ���north of Stanton.��� (325M plus). Great player, very young for a free agent (26) and doesn���t hurt to ask. Still, very hard to see him getting there (or even close) on non-deferred, true-value deal at this point.

The White Sox have tried to make themselves more appealing by adding Machado's brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and close friend Jon Jay to the mix this offseason. While money may ultimately be the prevailing factor in Machado's decision, Chicago could find itself in a situation where it is the last serious contender left standing.

What potential mystery teams could be in on Harper and/or Machado?
Jan. 14: At this point, it seems clear which teams are the front runners for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but is it possible there are some unknown clubs in the race, waiting to pounce? The door is certainly open for that outcome, as neither player has found a deal to his liking with the current contenders. In fact, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported last week that Machado's camp was telling some people that there is indeed an unknown team involved, though Heyman couldn't confirm the validity of that rumor.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Machado camp is telling some folks there���s a mystery team in addition to Chisox, Phils. Validity is unknown.

So which clubs might be lurking as potential "mystery teams?" After extensive research into the market,'s Richard Justice named five in a column that was published Monday, putting the Giants at the top of his list.

"Since [president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi] has not traded away Madison Bumgarner, his most valuable asset, that could be a tipoff that the Giants aren't diving into any kind of rebuild," Justice writes. "What they need more than anything is an impact offensive player or two, preferably an outfielder. Signing Harper would insert the Giants back into the postseason conversation and also give the franchise a foundational piece to build on for the next decade or so."

Find out here what other teams could stun the baseball world by swooping in to sign Harper or Machado.

Could Pollock end up back in Arizona after all?
Jan. 14: When the D-backs traded Paul Goldschmidt  to the Cardinals in early December, many assumed the club was starting a full rebuild, but that hasn't happened. Trade talk surrounding players such as Robbie Ray Zack Greinke David Peralta  and Nick Ahmed  has quieted, and the team is hoping to contend for a postseason berth with its current core.

The club has an opening in center field after A.J. Pollock  became a free agent, and's Steve Gilbert expects it will either sign a center fielder or move Ketel Marte to center and add a second baseman.

So with Pollock still available, is there a chance the team could reunite with the 31-year-old instead of looking for a replacement? More >

Rangers' targets include Ottavino, Harrison
Jan. 13: The Rangers' roster is in a state of flux after the team went 67-95 last season. Texas moved on from nearly its entire starting 2018 starting rotation, and Adrian Beltre (retired), Jurickson Profar (traded) and Alex Claudio (traded) are also gone.

The club added Lance Lynn, Drew Smyly, Edinson Volquez, Shelby Miller and Jesse Chavez on low-risk deals, but it still has holes in the infield and bullpen. Although they could look to fill those areas internally, the Rangers are at least considering several veteran free agents, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

Patrick Wisdom figures to get a chance at the hot corner, but Texas is also eyeing Josh Harrison and Yangervis Solarte, sources have said.'s Jon Paul Morosi had a similar report on Wednesday, tweeting that the Rangers have continued to show interest in Harrison. Harrison and Solarte make sense for the Rangers after the team moved Profar to the A's earlier this offseason, as both are versatile. Profar handled a utility role for the club in 2018, making at least 10 appearances at all four infield positions.

Meanwhile, Grant reports that the Rangers have remained in contact with Adam Ottavino, who is one of the top remaining free-agent relievers. Ottavino would provide a significant boost to a bullpen that has many question marks beyond Chavez and incumbent closer Jose Leclerc.

The Rangers' interest in Ottavino was first reported earlier this month by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, who tweeted on Jan. 5 that Texas was a "semi-surprise entry at the top of the bullpen market." The Rangers also had interest in Zach Britton, per Heyman, but the southpaw has since re-signed with the Yankees.

If it came down to it, would the Reds choose Keuchel or Pollock?
Jan. 13: The Reds have made it clear this offseason that upgrading their starting rotation is a priority, trading for both Tanner Roark and Alex Wood. They also have a vacancy in center field after non-tendering Billy Hamilton. So if it came down to it, would Cincinnati pursue free-agent left-hander Dallas Keuchel or free-agent center fielder A.J. Pollock?

In his latest Inbox,'s Mark Sheldon suggests Keuchel would be the choice given that he could be a "bigger difference maker in an area of weakness."

"The Reds could get by with Yasiel Puig, Scott Schebler or Nick Senzel in center field if they had to this season and have some good prospects not too far away from being ready," Sheldon notes.

Keuchel, 31, is a former American League Cy Young Award winner, though he has had up-and-down seasons since 2015, along with declining fastball velocity. Still, he is among the best in the game at producing soft contact and ground balls, skills that would play very well at the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.

Pollock, also 31, presents upside given the flashes of brilliance he's shown at the plate and in center field. But his injury history is long, and he's only played in 237 games since 2016. Pollock won a Gold Glove Award in his last healthy season (157 games in 2015), and last season, he was slashing .293/.349/.620 with 11 home runs and nine steals before fracturing his left thumb on a dive in center field on May 14.

Moustakas not among Top 10 third basemen right now
Jan. 13: Although only 13 Major Leaguers have hit more home runs than Mike Moustakas over the past two seasons, the 30-year-old was nowhere to be found on MLB Network's list of the Top 10 third basemen right now. He didn't make the list compiled by's Mike Petriello, either.

And yet, it's tough to argue with his exclusion.

Here is MLB Network's list: 1) Jose Ramirez 2) Justin Turner 3) Nolan Arenado 4) Anthony Rendon 5) Alex Bregman 6) Matt Carpenter 7) Matt Chapman 8) Kris Bryant 9) Josh Donaldson 10) Eugenio Suarez.

And Petriello's: 1) Bregman 2) Ramirez 3) Arenado 4) Chapman 5) Rendon 6) Bryant 7) Turner 8) Suarez 9) Carpenter 10) Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Travis Shaw, Miguel Andujar, Rafael Devers and Eduardo Escobar are other notable third basemen who didn't make either list.

And therein lies the problem for Moustakas, who remains unsigned long after free agency began for the second straight offseason. While the veteran is an above-average hitter and a capable defender, third base is perhaps baseball's deepest position. There just aren't many teams that need a third baseman, especially when factoring in the rebuilding clubs that prefer to go with a younger, cheaper option.

Moustakas has left a significant amount of money on the table since November 2017, when he rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Royals. Moustakas ended up returning to the Royals last March on a one-year contract for $5.5 million. He then turned down a $15 million mutual option for 2019, opting to take a $1 million buyout and test free agency again, though it's possible the Brewers would have declined their end of the mutual option if Moustakas had opted in.

It's led to another frustrating offseason for the third baseman, but it seems likely that he won't have to wait until March to find a home this time around.'s Jon Paul Morosi reported Tuesday that the Phillies and White Sox are eyeing Moustakas as a fallback option if Manny Machado signs elsewhere. So once Machado signs, Moustakas could quickly come off the board as well.

Video: Moustakas joins MLB Tonight to discuss the Brewers

Here's why a 3-team Kluber deal could happen

Breaking down report of potential trade between Tribe, Reds, Padres

The Reds need a starting pitcher. The Padres are looking for a third baseman. The Indians would like to add outfielders. Could there be a match that would help all three clubs?

The Athletic reported on Monday that the Padres had explored a potential three-team trade between the clubs that would send ace starter Corey Kluber from Cleveland to Cincinnati, with Reds top prospect and infielder Nick Senzel going to San Diego. It was not reported who the Indians might acquire, although the team needs outfielders, which the Padres have to deal.

The Reds need a starting pitcher. The Padres are looking for a third baseman. The Indians would like to add outfielders. Could there be a match that would help all three clubs?

The Athletic reported on Monday that the Padres had explored a potential three-team trade between the clubs that would send ace starter Corey Kluber from Cleveland to Cincinnati, with Reds top prospect and infielder Nick Senzel going to San Diego. It was not reported who the Indians might acquire, although the team needs outfielders, which the Padres have to deal.

The report noted that no deal was close to being finalized.

Why the trade could work
The Reds, who have been trying to overhaul their rotation all offseason, already acquired starters Tanner Roark and Alex Wood in trades. Both are solid middle-of-the-rotation pieces, but Cincinnati could still use someone for the top of the starting five. Enter Kluber, the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner and the kind of frontline starter the Reds haven't had since dealing Johnny Cueto in 2015. The club, which has space with an increased payroll, has been linked to Kluber in various rumors throughout the Hot Stove season.

Kluber, 32, has one guaranteed year left on his contract, with club options for 2020 and '21. If both options are picked up, the total outlay for his services would be $52.5 million. It's a lot of money for a small-market club, but it's also not a risky long-term contract that would hamstring the Reds for the future.

Video: Tribe, Padres, Reds exploring 3-team deal for Kluber?

Senzel, who is ranked as the Reds' No. 1 prospect (No. 6 overall) by MLB Pipeline, is a natural third baseman and can also play second base and the outfield. He is currently blocked from a starting spot in the infield by third baseman Eugenio Suarez and second baseman Scooter Gennett, but he will be competing for the opening in center field.

The Indians and Padres have had a good working relationship, with their last transaction coming in July when Cleveland acquired relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber. The Tribe is looking for young outfielders who are cost-controlled and can make an impact in 2019 and beyond. Last month, the Indians were linked to San Diego outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, both of whom check the majority of the Indians' boxes.

Margot, 24, is under team control through 2022, while Renfroe, 26, wouldn't be a free agent until after the '23 season. Margot is a right-handed-hitting center fielder who slashed .245/.292/.384 with 26 doubles, eight triples, eight homers and 51 RBIs in 2018. Renfroe, a corner outfielder, could bring some much-needed power to the Indians' lineup after hitting .248 with 26 homers and 68 RBIs last season.

Video: Indians might not trade Kluber or Bauer

The Padres have a glut of outfielders, with Wil Myers, Franmil Reyes, Franchy Cordero and Travis Jankowski also on board. They can afford to lose one or both of Renfroe and Margot -- if it means acquiring a third baseman. Right now, unheralded rookie Ty France is slated to start for the Padres at third, though that's likely to change in the coming weeks.

The Indians could also take a look at the Reds, who have plenty of corner-outfield options. Recently acquired Matt Kemp is coming off an All-Star season, hitting .290 with 21 home runs and 85 RBIs. Although Kemp could give the Tribe another option in both the outfield and as a designated hitter, the Indians may prefer younger, cost-controlled talent. The 34-year-old is owed $21.75 million in 2019, though a portion of the Dodgers' $7 million that was sent to the Reds in last month's blockbuster deal will help pay that salary. But the team already has shed roughly $20 million from the payroll and also would be dealing away Kluber's $17 million, so it could be an option.

Why the trade might not work
Because of Senzel's near Major League-ready skills that include an advanced hitting approach, the Reds would likely be apprehensive about moving him. For the Padres, they will probably take a long look at his medical files as Senzel was limited to 44 games at Triple-A last season because of a bout with vertigo in May and a fractured right index finger in June that required season-ending surgery. During instructional league in the fall, he had to stop playing to have bone chips removed from his left elbow.

The Indians may decide they just don't need to deal Kluber, a rotation anchor for three straight postseason teams. The main reason his name came up in the first place was a perceived need to cut costs, and they've already done that this winter -- shedding about $20 million in dealing Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso and Yan Gomes. Because of this, the Tribe could simply keep its rotation intact. Cleveland has been listening to potential offers for both Kluber and Trevor Bauer throughout the offseason, but it has a specific return in mind that clearly has yet to be met. In order to part ways with its ace, the club would have to receive enough talent to meet the high bar it has set for Kluber.

Video: Cassavell on the Padres' search for a starter

A trade could still happen, but maybe not with the Reds. Another option for both the Padres and the Indians would be giving the Yankees a call to see where they stand on Miguel Andujar. With the Padres looking for a third baseman, the 23-year-old Andujar, who finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year Award voting, may be another option. The Yankees are still looking to deal Sonny Gray, and with CC Sabathia's recent heart procedure and ongoing troubles with his right knee, it would seem logical that New York would be interested in adding another arm, especially of Kluber's caliber. The Yankees also have outfielders Clint Frazier and Aaron Hicks or reliever Chad Green who could be of interest to the Indians.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, Corey Kluber, Nick Senzel

Each team's lineup if season started today

We're less than a month away from Spring Training, so it's a good time to project what each club's Opening Day lineup will look like, or at least what it would look like if the season started today. With the help of all 30 beat writers, here's a roundup of how they might shake out.


We're less than a month away from Spring Training, so it's a good time to project what each club's Opening Day lineup will look like, or at least what it would look like if the season started today. With the help of all 30 beat writers, here's a roundup of how they might shake out.


Blue Jays
Initially, the Jays will be looking for a healthy, bounce-back year from second baseman Devon Travis and continued growth from shortstop Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and left fielder Teoscar Hernandez to support a lineup anchored by first baseman Justin Smoak, right fielder Randal Grichuk and designated hitter Kendrys Morales. But at some point soon, the real fun begins when the next wave of Jays stars reach Toronto -- outfielder Vladimir Guerrero Jr., infielder Bo Bichette and catcher Danny Jansen are all expected to arrive in 2019. Jansen likely will start the season with the Jays, and the other two won't be far behind. -- Gregor Chisholm


1. Devon Travis, 2B
2. Justin Smoak, 1B
3. Kendrys Morales, DH
4. Randal Grichuk, RF
5. Teoscar Hernandez, LF
6. Kevin Pillar, CF
7. Brandon Drury, 3B
8. Danny Jansen, C
9. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., SS

Video: Bo Bichette discusses his goals for 2019, Vlad Jr.

For years, the Orioles were anchored by a core group of positions players who Buck Showalter would regularly arrange into one of baseball's most powerful offensive units. Now with the O's fully in rebuilding mode, the only guarantee about new manager Brandon Hyde's first lineup is that it will look very different.

Seven of the nine members of last year's Opening Day lineup are out of the organization, but the fact that dozens of free agents remain on the market gives the Orioles ample time to bolster a roster that, as of now, projects to be only a fraction as productive as it was a year ago. The current group could receive a boost if Mark Trumbo recovers from offseason knee surgery in time for late March. Top prospects Yusniel Diaz or Ryan Mountcastle could also play their way into the mix, should they impress enough in camp to crack the club's Opening Day roster. -- Joe Trezza


1. Cedric Mullins, CF
2. Jonathan Villar, 2B
3. Trey Mancini, DH
4. Chris Davis, 1B
5. DJ Stewart, RF
6. Renato Nunez, 3B
7. Joey Rickard, LF
8. Richie Martin, SS
9. Chance Sisco, C

Due to the team's versatility, manager Kevin Cash will have a lot of quality options with his lineup card. Mallex Smith, who had a .357 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot in 2018, was traded to Seattle in November, which creates a hole at the top of the lineup for the Rays. With Smith gone, outfielder Kevin Kiermaier could be the first in line to get a crack at the leadoff spot. Kiermaier struggled at the plate to begin last season and then was sidelined for two months with a torn ligament in his right thumb. The 28-year-old outfielder finished the season with a .217 batting average, but had an encouraging end to his season, posting a .306/.371/.597 slash line in September.

In this lineup, Tommy Pham would hit third with designated hitter Ji-Man Choi hitting cleanup. In just 25 at-bats in the cleanup role last season, Choi posted a .450/.520/.850 slash line. Willy Adames and Yandy Diaz provide a good combination of contact and power in the fifth and sixth spots, while Meadows, who hit .250 in 10 games with the Rays last season, provides some power from the left-hand side in the seventh slot. Mike Zunino and Joey Wendle (or Daniel Robertson, depending on the pitcher) would round out the team's lineup. -- Juan Toribio


1. Kevin Kiermaier, CF
2. Matt Duffy, 3B
3. Tommy Pham, LF
4. Ji-Man Choi, DH
5. Willy Adames, SS
6. Yandy Diaz, 1B
7. Austin Meadows, RF
8. Mike Zunino, C
9. Joey Wendle, 2B

Red Sox
The World Series champs are in the enviable position of returning their entire allotment of position players, except for Ian Kinsler. But there's good news on that front also, as the hope is that second baseman and veteran leader Dustin Pedroia can return to the lineup after missing all but three games last season due to a left knee injury.

This lineup is deep and balanced, with power and speed, and has the ability to put the ball in play consistently. Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez should again present major headaches to the opposition on a near nightly basis. Andrew Benintendi and Betts will be flip-flopped from their spots from a year ago, with the hope it will create more RBI opportunities for the latter. This could be a big growth year for the 22-year-old Rafael Devers. -- Ian Browne


1. Andrew Benintendi, LF
2. Mookie Betts, RF
3. J.D. Martinez, DH
4. Xander Bogaerts, SS
5. Mitch Moreland, 1B
6. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
7. Rafael Devers, 3B
8. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
9. Christian Vazquez, C

One year after the Yankees became the first team to have a dozen players reach double digits in the home run department, the Bronx Bombers again appear primed to boast impressive power, even without adding a megastar like Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. The projected order skews heavily toward right-handed bats, which is odd considering Yankee Stadium's configuration, but most have the ability to power the ball to right-center field. Troy Tulowitzki will have first crack at shortstop, but DJ LeMahieu provides a capable option at second base, shortstop and third base. -- Bryan Hoch


1. Brett Gardner, LF
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Aaron Hicks, CF
4. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
5. Gary Sanchez, C
6. Miguel Andujar, 3B
7. Gleyber Torres, 2B
8. Luke Voit, 1B
9. Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Video: MLB Tonight on how LeMahieu fits in with Yankees


The Indians' lineup will feature plenty of new names in 2019, but one familiar face will be back with the Tribe. After spending last season with the Phillies, Carlos Santana was traded to the Mariners briefly before coming back home to Cleveland in exchange for Edwin Encarnacion.

Despite the team's high turnover rate, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez will return to the Indians' infield, providing leadership to the young roster. Both Ramirez and Lindor are coming off standout seasons, placing third and sixth in American League MVP voting, respectively. -- Mandy Bell


1. Francisco Lindor, SS
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Jose Ramirez, 3B
4. Carlos Santana, DH
5. Jake Bauers, 1B
6. Tyler Naquin, RF
7. Leonys Martin, CF
8. Jordan Luplow, LF
9. Roberto Perez, C

Video: Jose Ramirez is the No. 1 third baseman right now

Of course, the big question regarding the batting order is where manager Ned Yost will fit in speedster Billy Hamilton, who primarily hit toward the bottom of the order while with the Reds. Yost could go for the speed trifecta at 9-1-2 with Hamilton hitting ninth, and then Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi at the top. -- Jeffrey Flanagan


1. Whit Merrifield, 2B
2. Adalberto Mondesi, SS
3. Alex Gordon, LF
4. Jorge Soler, DH
5. Salvador Perez, C
6. Ryan O'Hearn,1B
7. Hunter Dozier, 3B
8. Jorge Bonifacio, RF
9. Billy Hamilton, CF

The Tigers have work to do before they can put together a lineup of young talent to go with their promising pitching prospects. But their 2019 lineup shows some promise. With Jeimer Candelario at third base and Christin Stewart likely in left field, Detroit has a pair of young run producers. On the flip side, the Tigers get veteran Miguel Cabrera back after he missed most of last season due to biceps surgery. If Nicholas Castellanos isn't traded, Detroit has a decent core to the batting order if it can identify another run producer for the fifth spot. -- Jason Beck


1. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
2. Christin Stewart, LF
3. Nick Castellanos, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Niko Goodrum, 2B
6. John Hicks, DH
7. Grayson Greiner, C
8. JaCoby Jones, CF
9. Jordy Mercer, SS

Minnesota finished 23rd in the Majors with 166 homers in 2018, but added a trio of right-handed sluggers with 30-homer power -- C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop and Nelson Cruz -- to address the power concerns and fill the needs at first base, second base and designated hitter on manager Rocco Baldelli's first Twins roster. -- Do-Hyoung Park


1. Jorge Polanco, SS
2. Eddie Rosario, LF
3. Miguel Sano, 3B
4. Nelson Cruz, DH
5. C.J. Cron, 1B
6. Max Kepler, RF
7. Jonathan Schoop, 2B
8. Jason Castro, C
9. Byron Buxton, CF

White Sox
This lineup on Jan. 15 could change by the end of the month or the end of the week or even the end of the day, as the White Sox continue their strong pursuit of premium free agent infielder Machado and possibly even premium free agent outfielder Harper. If they get one, let alone fulfill the long shot of reaching a deal with both, their lineup immediately looks quite different. Even if they miss out on both, the White Sox still have made significant changes to balance their lineup with the additions of left-handed hitting Yonder Alonso and Jon Jay. They also brought in catcher James McCann, who probably won't split time with Welington Castillo, but will get more than backup playing time. -- Scott Merkin


1. Jon Jay, RF
2. Yoan Moncada, 2B
3. Jose Abreu, 1B
4. Yonder Alonso, DH
5. Welington Castillo, C
6. Daniel Palka, LF
7. Tim Anderson, SS
8. Yolmer Sanchez, 3B
9. Adam Engel, CF


The Angels are expected to be without designated hitter Shohei Ohtani to begin the season, as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, which means Albert Pujols will open the year as DH. Manager Brad Ausmus said he'd like to see Mike Trout hit No. 2 in the lineup, while Zack Cozart served as leadoff hitter early last season until suffering a season-ending labrum tear in his left shoulder. There remains a competition in the infield among David Fletcher, Taylor Ward and Tommy La Stella and it'll be determined in Spring Training. -- Rhett Bollinger


1. Zack Cozart, 3B
2. Mike Trout, CF
3. Justin Upton, LF
4. Justin Bour, 1B
5. Albert Pujols, DH
6. Andrelton Simmons, SS
7. Kole Calhoun, RF
8. David Fletcher, 2B
9. Jonathan Lucroy, C

The Astros made a huge addition to their lineup last month when they signed free agent outfielder Michael Brantley, who brings a much-needed presence from the left side of the plate while being difficult to strike out. The core of Houston's powerful lineup is all right-handed --Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and George Springer -- and the addition of Brantley gives them a top five in the lineup that's perhaps the deepest in baseball, when healthy. -- Brian McTaggart


1. George Springer, CF
2. Alex Bregman, 3B
3. Jose Altuve, 2B
4. Carlos Correa, SS
5. Michael Brantley, LF
6. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
7. Josh Reddick, RF
8. Tyler White, DH
9. Robinson Chirinos, C

Video: AJ Hinch on Brantley's veteran approach, preparation

One of baseball's most potent offenses will feature many of the same bats that helped the A's into the postseason last year. Homer-happy Khris Davis isn't the only power hitter residing in this lineup: Matt Olson, Stephen Piscotty, Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien also routinely hit the ball out of the park, and they're flanked by productive complementary pieces, including on-base machine Nick Martini and the dynamic Ramon Laureano. -- Jane Lee


1. Nick Martini, LF
2. Matt Chapman, 3B
3. Matt Olson, 1B
4. Khris Davis, DH
5. Stephen Piscotty, RF
6. Jurickson Profar, 2B
7. Ramon Laureano, CF
8. Marcus Semien, SS
9. Chris Herrmann, C

Only four of last season's Opening Day position starters are still on the roster, though it's likely that a fifth -- Ichiro Suzuki -- will be added before the season begins. But gone are Seattle stalwarts Robinson Cano, Cruz and Jean Segura, who batted in the 2-3-4 spots in the lineup in last year's 2-1 Opening Day win over the Indians. Also gone is 2018 Opening Day catcher Mike Marjama, who was filling in for an injured Zunino, who has also been traded.

That leaves returning starters Dee Gordon -- who is shifting from center field to second base -- along with right fielder Mitch Haniger, third baseman Kyle Seager and first baseman Ryon Healy. -- Greg Johns


1. Mallex Smith, CF
2. Dee Gordon, 2B
3. Mitch Haniger, RF
4. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
5. Kyle Seager, 3B
6. Domingo Santana, LF
7. Ryon Healy, 1B
8. Omar Narvaez, C
9. Tim Beckham, SS

The Rangers are loaded with young left-handed power with Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor and Ronald Guzman, but are still susceptible to the strikeout. They could also use more help from the right side and depth at both catcher and third base. They also need a full and healthy season from Delino DeShields in the leadoff spot. -- T.R. Sullivan


1. Delino DeShields, CF
2. Elvis Andrus, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, DH
4. Nomar Mazara, RF
5. Joey Gallo, LF
6. Rougned Odor 2B
7. Ronald Guzman 1B
8. Patrick Wisdom 3B
9. Jeff Mathis C


The Braves feel good about having three MVP candidates at the top of their lineup, but uncertainty about who will be the third outfielder leaves a glaring hole in the cleanup spot. If an outfielder is not acquired and Adam Duvall is given a starting spot, manager Brian Snitker could address the top-heavy nature of his lineup by moving Ender Inciarte to the leadoff spot and dropping either Ronald Acuna Jr. or Josh Donaldson to the fourth spot. The offense's success will be influenced by Ozzie Albies' adjustments against left-handers and Dansby Swanson's attempt to expand his plate coverage. -- Mark Bowman


1. Ronald Acuna Jr., LF
2. Josh Donaldson, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. TBD
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Ozzie Albies, 2B
7. Ender Inciarte, CF
8. Dansby Swanson, SS

The Marlins continue to explore the market for a left-handed power bat to play either first base or a corner outfield spot, and there is the on-going saga of whether All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto will be traded or not. With so much up in the air, projecting the Marlins' Opening Spring Training lineup remains highly speculative. But based on how the roster is constructed as of now, there are a number of directions the organization can go. A year ago, Lewis Brinson was the Opening Day leadoff hitter, and unless a more traditional table-setter is added, Brinson again could get a look at the top of the order, in hopes of getting him on track. -- Joe Frisaro


1. Lewis Brinson, CF
2. J.T. Realmuto, C
3. Starlin Castro, 2B
4. Brian Anderson, RF
5. Peter O'Brien, 1B
6. Martin Prado, 3B
7. Austin Dean, LF
8. JT Riddle / Miguel Rojas SS

The addition of Jed Lowrie gives the Mets an obvious No. 2 hitter, though they'll skew left-handed at the top of the order for as long as Yoenis Cespedes remains sidelined. A greater issue is where Lowrie fits on defense; given his lack of experience at first base, he may push Todd Frazier to that position early in the season. -- Anthony DiComo


1. Brandon Nimmo, RF
2. Jed Lowrie, 3B
3. Robinson Cano, 2B
4. Wilson Ramos C
5. Michael Conforto, LF
6. Todd Frazier, 1B
7. Juan Lagares, CF
8. Amed Rosario, SS

Video: Jon Heyman discusses the Jed Lowrie signing for Mets

There is still so much speculation about whether Harper will ultimately wind up back in the middle of this batting order, but the Nationals feel confident in this lineup even without their homegrown star at the center. Thanks to a boost at catcher, a new second baseman and the infusion of rookie Victor Robles, this new-look Nats lineup has a chance to remain one of the most productive in the National League. -- Jamal Collier


1. Adam Eaton, RF
2. Trea Turner, SS
3. Anthony Rendon, 3B
4. Juan Soto, LF
5. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
6. Brian Dozier, 2B
7. Victor Robles, CF
8. Yan Gomes / Kurt Suzuki, C

The Phillies have upgraded their lineup from 2018, with the additions of outfielder Andrew McCutchen and shorstop Segura. But they hope to make one more major move before Opening Day. If the Phillies sign Harper or Machado to a multiyear contract, it changes everything. -- Todd Zolecki


1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Jean Segura, SS
3. Andrew McCutchen, LF
4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
5. Odubel Herrera, CF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Nick Williams, RF
8. Jorge Alfaro, C


The Brewers are returning the bulk of the roster that played to within one game of the World Series in 2018, with second base representing the only real hole after the team signed catcher Yasmani Grandal. Right now, a Hernan Perez/Cory Spangenberg platoon is possible, though general manager David Stearns is likely to either sign or trade for a player to fill that position, or find a third baseman and move Travis Shaw to second. -- Adam McCalvy


1. Lorenzo Cain, CF
2. Christian Yelich, RF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Travis Shaw, 3B
5. Jesus Aguilar, 1B
6. Yasmani Grandal, C
7. Hernan Perez / Cory Spangenberg, 2B
8. Orlando Arcia, SS

Video: MLB Now analyzes Grandal's deal with the Brewers

The top of the Cardinals' order became instantly more formidable with the December acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt. He'll likely hit behind one of the best leadoff hitters in the game and ahead of the club's two biggest power threats. With an element of speed at the bottom of the order, the Cardinals' lineup is positioned to be more dynamic than it was a year ago. -- Jenifer Langosch


1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
2. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
3. Paul DeJong, SS
4. Marcell Ozuna, LF
5. Dexter Fowler, RF
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Kolten Wong, 2B
8. Harrison Bader, CF

Cubs manager Joe Maddon cycled through 152 lineup variations in 2018, so this alignment is definitely written in pencil. At least 10 players appeared in each lineup spot for Chicago, which featured one of MLB's top offenses until a two-month slump to end last season. The Cubs are banking on a return to health from slugger Kris Bryant, among other things, to help this group get back on track in '19. -- Jordan Bastian


1. Ben Zobrist, 2B
2. Kris Bryant, 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Javier Baez, SS
5. Kyle Schwarber, LF
6. Willson Contreras, C
7. Jason Heyward, RF
8. Albert Almora Jr., CF

The Pirates haven't officially settled on a shortstop, and it's unclear how they'll use Colin Moran and Jung Ho Kang at third base. The look of their lineup will also change when right fielder Gregory Polanco, their most productive hitter last season, comes off the disabled list. Manager Clint Hurdle will look for the right configuration, but it's fair to assume that Adam Frazier, Starling Marte and Corey Dickerson will be involved atop the order with Josh Bell getting another shot in the cleanup spot. -- Adam Berry


1. Adam Frazier, 2B
2. Starling Marte, CF
3. Corey Dickerson, LF
4. Josh Bell, 1B
5. Francisco Cervelli, C
6. Colin Moran/Jung Ho Kang, 3B
7. Lonnie Chisenhall, RF
8. Erik Gonzalez / Kevin Newman, SS

The front office has signaled more improvements to the club are coming in the final month before Spring Training. There is still a need for a regular center fielder and the team has an overload of corner outfielders that will need to be sorted out. A fluid situation, it does not account for how the Reds will utilize another acquisition in corner outfielder Matt Kemp. And then there is Nick Senzel. The organization's No. 1 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, will be competing for the opening in center field but could also be a lineup regular in a utility role, playing up to five positions. -- Mark Sheldon


1. Jesse Winker, LF
2. Jose Peraza, SS
3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. Eugenio Suarez, 3B
5. Scooter Gennett, 2B
6. Yasiel Puig, RF
7. Scott Schebler, CF
8. Tucker Barnhart, C


The D-backs still have work to do in order to complete their lineup for Opening Day with one big piece still unknown. They are looking to either move Ketel Marte to center and acquire a second baseman or acquire a center fielder and leave Marte at second. How that plays out could will reshape this lineup. One thing to note about the catching spot: while Carson Kelly figures to get a lot of time behind the plate, the D-backs also like to rotate their catchers, so Alex Avila and John Ryan Murphy will also play. -- Steve Gilbert


1. Ketel Marte, 2B
2. Eduardo Escobar, 3B
3. David Peralta, LF
4. Steven Souza Jr., RF
5. Jake Lamb, 1B
6. Nick Ahmed, SS
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Jarrod Dyson, CF

There's plenty of time left for trades and free-agent signings and a host of mutations depending on matchups and platoons. Russell Martin figures to challenge Austin Barnes for the starting catching job. All that aside, what does the Dodgers' starting lineup for 2019 look like today? Some variation of this. -- Ken Gurnick


1. Chris Taylor, 2B
2. Corey Seager, SS
3. Justin Turner, 3B
4. Cody Bellinger, CF
5. Max Muncy, 1B
6. Enrique Hernandez, RF
7. Joc Pederson, LF
8. Austin Barnes, C

The Giants' current projected lineup is comprised of holdovers from 2018, but they are hoping to add a couple of new faces to the starting outfield by Opening Day to help boost an offense that struggled to consistently score runs last year. -- Maria Guardado


1. Steven Duggar, CF
2. Joe Panik, 2B
3. Buster Posey, C
4. Brandon Belt, 1B
5. Evan Longoria, 3B
6. Brandon Crawford, SS
7. Mac Williamson, RF
8. Chris Shaw, LF

Franmil Reyes, Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe are currently fighting for two corner outfield spots (and, presumably, the No. 4 and 5 spots in the lineup). The Padres have a clear logjam in their outfield, and it's possible one of those three big boppers is dealt before the season. Meanwhile, it seems unlikely that Ty France actually starts on Opening Day. General manager A.J. Preller remains in search of third-base help, and it's a near certainty he adds someone before the start of camp. -- AJ Cassavell


1. Manuel Margot, CF
2. Luis Urias, SS
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B
4. Franmil Reyes, RF
5. Wil Myers, LF
6. Ian Kinsler, 2B
7. Austin Hedges, C
8. Ty France, 3B

The addition of Daniel Murphy puts some left-handed pop in the lineup behind home run threats Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story. The lineup still could use one more right-handed threat. Another idea could be to lead off with David Dahl, followed by Story, Charlie Blackmon and Arenado to separate the left- and right-handed hitters through the early portion. -- Thomas Harding


1. Charlie Blackmon, LF
2. David Dahl, RF
3. Nolan Arenado, 3B
4. Trevor Story, SS
5. Daniel Murphy, 1B
6. Ian Desmond, CF
7. Ryan McMahon, 2B
8. Chris Iannetta, C

Video: Blackmon on adding Murphy, Arenado's importance

Position by position: These are the biggest upgrades @AndrewSimonMLB

With only about a month left before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, plenty of potential contenders still have needs to address, and some high-profile free agents remain available.

Still, as quiet as the offseason has seemed at times, there have been some important additions. With that in mind, here is a position-by-position look at which teams have done the most to upgrade weak spots, taking into account both their 2018 production (or lack thereof) and '19 outlook:

With only about a month left before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, plenty of potential contenders still have needs to address, and some high-profile free agents remain available.

Still, as quiet as the offseason has seemed at times, there have been some important additions. With that in mind, here is a position-by-position look at which teams have done the most to upgrade weak spots, taking into account both their 2018 production (or lack thereof) and '19 outlook:

• 10 teams with unfinished Hot Stove business

Catcher: Brewers
The Mets and Nationals certainly deserve mention here as well, after New York landed Wilson Ramos and Washington brought in a combo of Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki. But Milwaukee sits on top because Yasmani Grandal -- who agreed to a one-year deal Thursday -- has easily the highest ceiling, as a true two-way contributor, in that group. His unfortunate postseason scuffles aside, Grandal has been an above-average hitter in every season of his career (117 wRC+) and is one of the game's top pitch framers. Given that Brewers catchers (mainly Manny Pina and Erik Kratz) hit .237/.294/.363 last year, Grandal provides far more upside.

Video: Brewers, Grandal make one-year deal official

First base: Rockies
In 2018, Colorado first basemen (primarily Ian Desmond) finished 28th in the Majors in wRC+ (80) and 29th in FanGraphs' wins above replacement (-1.2), even as the team battled its way into the postseason. Signing veteran Daniel Murphy to a two-year contract was a bit of a risk, given that the left-handed batter will be 34 next season and struggled early in '18 as he came back from a knee injury. But Murphy was one of the game's top hitters from 2016-17 and recovered to slash .315/.346/.498 after the All-Star break. He should be a lot more comfortable defensively after moving from second to first.

Second base: Nationals
It's been a productive offseason for Washington, which has addressed several areas of need -- even with the Bryce Harper situation unresolved. One of the those was the keystone. Last year, Murphy's injury, slow start, and defensive shortcomings limited the club's production at second. Howie Kendrick was lost for the season in May, and Wilmer Difo posted a .650 OPS. Now the Nats have made a low-risk rebound bet by reaching a one-year agreement with Brian Dozier. One of MLB's best second basemen from 2013-17, Dozier slumped last year while fighting a knee issue. Steamer projects a solid 2.6 WAR in '19, and a fully healthy Dozier could contribute with the bat and glove while allowing Kendrick and Difo to come off the bench.

Video: Collier on Dozier's reported deal with Nationals

Third base: Braves
This one may change when we learn where Manny Machado winds up. In the meantime, this selection admittedly doesn't quite fit here, because the hot corner actually was a highly productive spot for the 2018 Braves. Behind a strong year from Johan Camargo, the National League East champs got a 116 wRC+ and 4.3 WAR from their third basemen. With that said, free-agent acquisition Josh Donaldson has the much more robust track record and the much more optimistic projections, with the upside of one of the league's elite third basemen. Meanwhile, Camargo now can see time around the diamond.

Shortstop: Phillies
The baseball world waits to see whether Philly lands one of the offseason's big fish -- Harper or Machado. In the meantime, pulling off a trade with the Mariners for shortstop Jean Segura was a meaningful upgrade for a club looking to take the next step. The 2018 Phillies ranked 27th in wRC+ (75) and 28th in WAR (0.8) from shortstop, with youngsters J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery struggling mightily with the bat before veteran Asdrubal Cabrera arrived at the Trade Deadline. Now Cabrera is a free agent, Crawford is in Seattle and Kingery can move around the field, while Segura stabilizes short with an above-average bat and solid defense.

Outfield: Mariners
It might seem strange to have the Mariners here, in an offseason that has seen them lose Segura and several other key pieces. At the same time, Seattle has complemented rising star Mitch Haniger with Mallex Smith and Domingo Santana, with the former pushing Dee Gordon back to second base and the latter replacing Denard Span and several others. The Mariners, who got little production from center or left last year, also now have Jay Bruce in the mix. But the speedy Smith and talented Santana -- who was blocked in Milwaukee -- look like the biggest prizes and both have at least three years of club control remaining.

Designated hitter: Twins
Minnesota was below replacement level at DH last year, ranking second-to-last in the AL in OPS (.682) and home runs (15). The Twins used 14 players in that role, including three for at least 35 starts: Logan Morrison, Joe Mauer and Robbie Grossman. That trio is gone, with Nelson Cruz now likely to see the vast majority of the at-bats at DH. Cruz, who signed a one-year deal with a club option, leads the Majors with 203 homers over the past five seasons and is tied for fifth with a 145 wRC+. His power could help Minnesota make a run at Cleveland in the AL Central.

Video: Park on what Cruz can add to the Twins' lineup

Starting rotation: Reds
Cincinnati may not be done improving in this area, with a free agent such as Dallas Keuchel or a trade target such as Sonny Gray among the possibilities. But the Reds already have made a pair of moves to solidify a rotation that last year posted the sixth-highest ERA and fourth-highest FIP in the Majors, over the eighth-fewest innings. Of the six Reds who made at least 20 starts last year, none had an ERA below 4.30. However, Homer Bailey (6.09) and Matt Harvey (4.50) are out, and Sal Romano (5.48) likely has been bumped, with Cincinnati trading for Nationals righty Tanner Roark and Dodgers lefty Alex Wood. While both are due to reach free agency after 2019, Roark has been a reliable innings-eater, and Wood owns a career 3.33 ERA as a starter.

Bullpen: Mets
Several clubs have added relief talent, even as Craig Kimbrel, Adam Ottavino and others remain unsigned. But the Mets -- who have been quite busy this offseason -- stand at the top of the heap after landing Edwin Diaz from Seattle. Diaz was arguably the best reliever in the Majors in 2018, with a 1.96 ERA, 57 saves and 124 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. The hard-throwing 24-year-old can team up with Jeurys Familia, who re-signed for three years after getting shipped to Oakland ahead of the 2018 Trade Deadline. A full season from both righties would do wonders for a Mets bullpen that ranked 28th in the Majors in ERA, 29th in FIP and 23rd in strikeout rate. New York also inked a Minor League deal with southpaw Luis Avilan, who has held lefties to a .581 OPS in his career.

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

This is why Dozier picked 1-year deal with Nats

Veteran eyes chance to make playoffs, test market again next year @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- With an influx of second basemen available this offseason and a number of teams seeking to improve at the position, Brian Dozier had a few offers from various suitors to weigh during free agency. Dozier said he had offers for more years and for more money than the one-year, $9 million contract he signed with the Nationals, but he believed D.C. was the "best fit."

That's because the Nationals presented him a team with a chance to make the postseason, had the blessing of Dozier's former teammates Josh Willingham and Kurt Suzuki -- now also with the Nats, but who shared a locker near Dozier's when the two were in Minnesota -- and Washington presented Dozier with a one-year deal to rebuild his market value.

WASHINGTON -- With an influx of second basemen available this offseason and a number of teams seeking to improve at the position, Brian Dozier had a few offers from various suitors to weigh during free agency. Dozier said he had offers for more years and for more money than the one-year, $9 million contract he signed with the Nationals, but he believed D.C. was the "best fit."

That's because the Nationals presented him a team with a chance to make the postseason, had the blessing of Dozier's former teammates Josh Willingham and Kurt Suzuki -- now also with the Nats, but who shared a locker near Dozier's when the two were in Minnesota -- and Washington presented Dozier with a one-year deal to rebuild his market value.

"Going into this year, personally, you kind of have a chip on your shoulder," Dozier said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. "Just because you want to make sure you prove people wrong, I guess. I felt like I've done that throughout my career; I had to do that. Which is perfectly fine with me. I enjoy that."

Dozier, 31, was a perfect fit for the Nationals at second base as well. First, he gives them a temporary starter at second while Carter Kieboom, the club's No.2 prospect as rated by MLB Pipeline, has a chance to develop in the Minors. And second, Dozier has a high ceiling when projecting his production next season.

A former All-Star who received down-ballot MVP consideration in the two years prior, Dozier saw his projection drop drastically in 2018, when he posted a slash line of .215/.305/.391 for an 88 OPS+ with the Twins and Dodgers. That lack of production might have been the product of a bone bruise in his left knee from early in the season, although Dozier never went to the disabled list.

Dozier was adamant about not making excuses, but he admitted the knee injury hampered him and led him to some bad habits at the plate.

"My swing works when I use my front side, and my front side is really strong and driving into it," Dozier said. "And I felt like, at times, I didn't really do that like I wanted to."

Now, Dozier says he is 100 percent recovered from the injury, which healed with some rest after the World Series. He does not expect any lingering issues entering Spring Training.

It's why Dozier has already become a popular bounce-back candidate for next season. Steamer projects Dozier to be worth 2.3 Wins Above Replacement, according to Fangraphs, after posting just 0.8 WAR with the Twins and Dodgers last season, one of the biggest projected increases of any player with at least 400 plate appearances in 2018.

The results from Statcast™ agree that Dozier appeared compromised last season. As's Mike Petriello pointed out earlier this offseason, Dozier's speed dipped last year, and although the decline began in 2017, he was usually still able to reach his peak speed around 29.0 ft/sec, but he was unable to do so late last season. Perhaps that could improve if the knee is better.

2015: 73rd percentile
2016: 71st percentile
2017: 54th percentile
2018: 47th percentile

Plate discipline
2015 9% 21%
2016 9% 20%
2017 11% 20%
2018 11% 20%
Season BB% K%

Another positive when projecting a Dozier bounce back is that his plate-discipline numbers remained steady despite last season's struggles.

He struck out 20 percent of the time and walked 11 percent of the time in 2018, identical to his numbers in '17. He swung at 22.5 percent of pitches out of the zone in '18, not a significant difference compared to the 23.4 percent from '17.

Where the difference lies is in his hard-hit rate, which dropped from 36 percent in 2016 and 35 percent to '17 to just 29 percent in '18.

Hard-Hit %
2015 31%
2016 36%
2017 35%
2018 29%
Season Hard-hit percentage

With the bone bruise preventing Dozier from driving through his front leg like he wanted, he could not hit the ball as hard as he once did.

If Dozier returns to his previous form, the Nationals may have found themselves a steal for 2019 with a player who makes an already dangerous lineup even stronger.

It will also be the perfect opportunity for Dozier to redo his contract year and show what he is really capable of.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Brian Dozier

Top 10 prospects: Right-handed pitchers @JimCallisMLB

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

When it comes to right-handed pitching prospects -- well, pitching prospects who throw with either hand -- there's Forrest Whitley and then there's everyone else.

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

When it comes to right-handed pitching prospects -- well, pitching prospects who throw with either hand -- there's Forrest Whitley and then there's everyone else.

The Astros' 2016 first-round pick has rated as the best pitching prospect in the Minors since the start of last season and, naturally, headlines MLB Pipeline's rankings of the best righty prospects at the start of 2019. He's one of six repeaters from our list of top 10 right-handers a year ago. Of the others, Shohei Ohtani and Walker Buehler graduated to the big leagues, while Alex Reyes (Cardinals) and Triston McKenzie (Indians) just missed the Top 10.

Video: Top Prospects: Forest Whitley, RHP, Astros

Though prep right-handers are considered the riskiest demographic in the Draft, it's interesting to note that six members of our Top 10 were selected out of high school: Whitley, Michael Kopech (White Sox), Mitch Keller (Pirates), Dylan Cease (White Sox), Mike Soroka (Braves) and Hunter Greene (Reds). A seventh, Sixto Sanchez (Phillies), signed at age 16 out of the Dominican Republic.

Top 10 Prospects by Position

The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Forrest Whitley, Astros (2019)
2. Casey Mize, Tigers (2020)
3. Michael Kopech, White Sox (2020)
4. Mitch Keller, Pirates (2019)
5. Dylan Cease, White Sox (2019)
6. Mike Soroka, Braves (2019)
7. Sixto Sanchez, Phillies (2020)
8. Brent Honeywell, Rays (2019)
9. Kyle Wright, Braves (2019)
10. Hunter Greene, Reds (2021)
Complete list »

Top Tools

Best Fastball: Kopech, Greene (80)
Kopech often climbs above 100 mph with late running action on his fastball, while Greene reached triple digits more easily than any high school pitcher ever and hit 103 during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game last July. Both ended the 2018 season on the shelf with elbow injuries, however, with Kopech requiring Tommy John surgery and Greene getting shut down with a sprain before returning to the mound in mid-December.

Video: Top Prospects: Hunter Greene, RHP, Reds

Best Curveball: Cease (65)
Cease was MLB Pipeline's 2018 Pitcher of the Year after going 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA and ranking fifth in the Minors in opponent average (.189) and eighth in strikeout rate (11.6 per nine innings). He has a hammer curveball with depth and power, and hitters can't try to sit on it because he can blow them away with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and reaches triple digits.

Video: Top Prospects: Dylan Cease, RHP, White Sox

Best Slider: Kopech (65)
Like his fellow White Sox pitching prospect Cease, Kopech backs up an electric fastball with a nasty breaking pitch. He gets two-plane break on a slider that sits in the mid-80s and approaches 90 mph, a big reason why he has averaged 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings in pro ball.

Video: Top Prospects: Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox

Best Changeup: Whitley (65)
Whitley can miss bats with four different pitches, including a devastating changeup with fade and depth that plays extremely well off his 93-98 mph fastball. It has helped him dominate left-handers as a pro, limiting them to a .196/.284/.275 line in three pro seasons.

Best Other Pitch: Mize (70)
Mize was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 Draft and signed for $7.5 million, the second-largest bonus in Draft history. One of the attributes that made him so coveted by pro teams was his mid-80s splitter, which dives at the plate and serves as his changeup.

Video: Top Prospects: Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers

Best Control: Mize, Soroka, Sanchez, Honeywell (60)
Soroka has exceedingly advanced control and command for a young pitcher, which helped him reach the big leagues at age 20 last May. Mize also scores well in both categories, leading NCAA Division I with a 12.1 K/BB ratio in 2017 and ranking fifth with a 9.8 mark in 2018.

Video: Top Prospects: Mike Soroka, RHP, Braves


Highest Ceiling: Whitley
Whitley has a 93-98 mph fastball with natural life, a pair of high-spin breaking pitches and a dastardly changeup. He's one of just five high school first-rounders this millennium to advance to Double-A during his first full pro season, joining a select group that also includes Zack Greinke, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw and Dylan Bundy. He still needs to upgrade his command but looks like a future Cy Young Award winner.

Highest Floor: Mize
Mize had the best combination of stuff and polish in the 2018 Draft and the same is arguably true in the Minors. Besides his unhittable splitter, he also throws a 92-97 mph fastball with running life and a plus mid-80s slider that he can transform into a cutter when he wants.

Rookie of the Year Candidate: Soroka
Only two of these right-handers have had success in Triple-A, and one of them is Honeywell, who missed all of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. That leaves Soroka, who had his moments with the Braves before getting shut down with shoulder soreness in mid-June. He's healthy again and the most talented of the youngsters who'll compete for the fifth spot in Atlanta's rotation.

Highest Riser: Cease
With the exception of Mize, who was a junior at Auburn, all of the other nine righties on this list entered last season as Top 100 Prospects. Cease ranked lowest among them at No. 61, in part because he had worked just 162 innings in three years after having Tommy John surgery coming out of high school, but he eased concerns about his durability with his spectacular 2018 performance.

Humblest Beginning: Sanchez
Of the nine drafted pitchers on this list, the lowest selection and bonus belong to Honeywell -- and he was a supplemental second-rounder who signed for $800,000. By contrast, the Phillies stumbled upon Sanchez when he was throwing batting practice at a workout for Cuban catcher Lednier Ricardo in 2014 and snapped him up for $35,000.

Video: Top Prospects: Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Phillies

Most To Prove: Honeywell
Honeywell seemed like a lock for the Rays rotation after a strong 2017 season, during which he was MVP of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and helped Durham win the Triple-A national championship. Then he blew out his elbow while throwing batting practice early last spring, requiring Tommy John surgery in February that cost him all of 2018.

Video: Top Prospects: Brent Honeywell, RHP, Rays

Keep An Eye On: Luis Patino, Padres
As if baseball's best farm system wasn't already overflowing with talented right-handers, the Padres have another one in Patino, signed for $120,000 out of Colombia in 2014. He has a mid-90s fastball that peaks at 99 mph, a pair of power breaking balls in his slider and curveball and a developing yet promising changeup.

Jim Callis is a reporter for Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Phils could sign Harper or Manny, not both