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• Free agents, by position
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Could D-backs make Greinke available?
Nov. 12: With the free-agent market for starting pitchers not particularly deep, the D-backs might be able to benefit by making Zack Greinke available via trade, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal suggests (subscription required). In fact, Rosenthal writes, Greinke might end up being the second-most attractive starting pitcher available this offseason, behind only teammate Patrick Corbin (who's now a free agent).
Greinke is 35, has had to deal with diminishing velocity over the past few seasons and is signed to an expensive contract -- he has three years and $104.5 million remaining on his six-year, $206.5 million deal that runs through 2021. But a selling point for the D-backs, per Rosenthal, would be their willingness to ease the financial burden on a prospective trade partner, whether by including cash or taking on another player's unfavorable contract.
And in Greinke's favor: his continued effectiveness and ability to adjust -- he had a 3.21 ERA and 199 strikeouts in 207 2/3 innings this season, after posting a 3.20 mark with 215 strikeouts in 202 1/3 innings in 2017.
Rosenthal notes that the D-backs haven't come out and said they want to trade Greinke, but the time might be right, with Corbin and A.J. Pollock free agents and Paul Goldschmidt a trade candidate since he's set to hit free agency next year.
Yankees doing "extensive" background work on Machado
Nov. 12: It's still a little murky how strong the Yankees' pursuit of Manny Machado will actually be. But they're definitely doing their due diligence.
According to The Athletic's Jayson Stark (subscription required), the Yankees have been doing "particularly extensive" background work on Machado, even beyond the typical amount of background information teams routinely seek about potential free-agent or trade targets.
Sources told Stark that Yankees manager Aaron Boone, front-office members and scouts are all among those who "calling around" about Machado.
The superstar shortstop remains a clear fit for the Yankees, with Didi Gregorius out indefinitely as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
Is there a trade market for Cano?
Nov. 12: Even if the Mariners want to rebuild, they might not be able to pull off deal for all their big-contract players, including Felix Hernandez, Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano.
Cano, for one, has several factors working against him, as Rosenthal notes (subscription required). He's 36, and has five years is signed to a 10-year, $240 million contract that runs through 2023. Cano has full no-trade protection. He might have to move from second base to first base/designated hitter in the near future, much less valuable positions. And teams will likely be leery of Cano's suspension this past season for violating MLB's Joint Drug Agreement.
Rosenthal thinks that Cano's preference would be to return to the Yankees, with whom he spent his first nine Major League seasons before signing with Seattle entering 2014. A deal between the two clubs might include, for example, Jacoby Ellsbury, who has another big contract -- the Mariners would likely have to take on such a contract to have a chance at moving Cano. But he notes that the two teams might not really have any reason to make such an exchange.
Are Phillies shopping Santana to clear room for Harper?
Nov. 12: According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required), a rival executive said the Phillies are "shopping the hell" out of first baseman Carlos Santana, who signed a three-year, $60 million contract with Philadelphia last offseason.
Per Rosenthal, the Phillies want to move Rhys Hoskins back to first base. While that makes strategic sense from a defensive standpoint -- Hoskins recorded -19 Outs Above Average, per Statcast™, and -24 Defensive Runs Saved in left field this past season -- Philadelphia may also be trying to clear space on the payroll and in the outfield for free agent Bryce Harper.
Santana's deal included a $10 million signing bonus, leaving him with a base salary of roughly $35 million over 2019-20, and he has a $500,000 buyout on his $17.5 million club option for '21. The Phillies will likely need to send some cash to move the 32-year-old, who hit .229/.352/.414 with 24 homers and 86 RBIs over 161 games in the first year of his contract.
Philadelphia has been consistently connected to Harper this offseason and could conceivably afford to sign him without moving Santana, but doing so would likely mean putting promising right fielder Nick Williams on the bench or giving Santana more playing time at third at the expense of Maikel Franco.
How will Rizzo address Nats' needs this offseason?
Nov. 12: Although the Nationals want to bring back Bryce Harper, the club has other holes to plug, and earmarking a substantial portion of their payroll for a potential Harper reunion could have dire consequences if the team waits too long and the 26-year-old signs elsewhere.
According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required), one agent offered a theory about Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo's offseason approach, predicting that Rizzo will aggressively try to address the team's needs, then leave it up to ownership to make the final decision on Harper if the outfielder is still available.
As Rosenthal points out, Rizzo must proceed as if Harper is not returning after the slugger reportedly rejected a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Nats on the final day of the regular season.
Rosenthal also notes that any upgrades the Nats make could make the team more appealing to Harper and persuade him to re-sign, which would be a win-win scenario for Rizzo.
Despite outfield questions, Indians unlikely to bring back Brantley
Nov. 12: With Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall hitting the open market, the Indians have question marks at all three starting outfield spots for next season.
But after a strong -- and healthy -- 2018 season put him in position to receive a lucrative multi-year offer, the 31-year-old Brantley is seemingly unlikely to return to an Indians club that is reportedly shopping some of its veterans for short-term financial relief and younger, cheaper assets.
In fact, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that there is "nearly a zero chance" of the Tribe re-signing Brantley.
With no qualifying offer attached to Brantley, new teams won't be forced to surrender a Draft pick to sign him. As a result, there could be a robust market for the veteran, especially among clubs that need a corner outfielder but aren't in on Bryce Harper. The Braves, the Phillies and the White Sox have reportedly already made offers to Brantley.
Arenado for Bryant? Hear this out.
Nov. 11: The rumors were flying earlier in the week about whether the Cubs would really entertain the idea of trading former NL MVP Kris Bryant. Former MLB general manager Jim Bowden, in a piece for The Athletic (subscription required), examines the idea, concluding that the likelihood of Bryant beginning the 2019 season anywhere but Wrigley Field is very low. Nevertheless, he suggests that for "the right deal," a swap could make sense for Chicago, and the organization may think hard about making it happen.
One of those "right deal" scenarios is -- brace yourself -- a swap of third basemen with the Rockies. That's right, trading Bryant for Nolan Arenado, who has one year remaining before he becomes a free agent. Bowden writes that such a deal could allow "the Cubs to try to extend Arenado instead, while the Rockies would have an extra two years of control of Bryant."
Arenado, an NL MVP finalist this year, has an .886 OPS (121 OPS+) with 186 home runs over six Major League seasons, along with six Gold Glove Awards at the hot corner. Bryant was the '15 NL Rookie of the Year before winning MVP honors the following season as he helped the Cubs win their first World Series title in 108 years. Though injuries hindered him last season, he remains one of the premier sluggers in the game, with a .900 OPS (137 OPS+) with 107 homers in 559 games.
Bryant has the aforementioned two years of team control remaining, while the Rockies will try to extend Arenado before he hits free agency. The prospect of a swap, while perhaps unlikely, is very intriguing nonetheless.
Should Cubs choose Machado over Bryant? Brisbee thinks so.
Nov. 11: SB Nation senior baseball writer Grant Brisbee decided to chime in on the Manny Machado debate with a lengthy column in which he debates the advantages and disadvantages of several teams' pursuits of the 26-year-old shortstop, including the Yankees, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and ... Padres.
In his search for an ideal fit for Machado, Brisbee considers four factors: extra money to spend, a fan base that needs a jolt, a robust farm system that can allow them to subsidize a superstar for the coming years, and a young team.
"We need the Padres. Machado needs the Padres. The Padres need Machado," Brisbee writes.
Brisbee points to the Eric Hosmer contract as an example of the Padres making an expensive, long-term investment in a player that could play a key role on a future team in contention, but concedes that Machado playing his home games in Petco Park remains a long shot. He ultimately concludes that he expects Machado to sign a 10-year, $330 million contract to play for the Cubs.
He doesn't feel that it's a coincidence that Kris Bryant trade rumors are gaining steam now, when Machado is also on the market. He writes that for the Cubs, the decision is between committing $300 million to a 29-year-old Bryant after the 2021 season versus making a similar commitment to a 26-year-old Machado right now -- and also reaping the benefits of whatever top prospects they would gain in a trade involving Bryant.
Astros targeting familiar foe
Nov. 11: Could Mariners ace James Paxton pitch for another American League West club in 2019?
Count the Astros among the teams talking to Seattle about a potential trade for the southpaw, per MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, who calls the market for Paxton "active." The Yankees were also identified as a party in contact with the Mariners about Paxton earlier this week, meaning there could be an arms race developing between AL superpowers for what would be an impact arm.
Paxton has fared well against Houston, posting a 2.89 ERA across 12 career starts against the division foe. Houston's rotation was historically good in 2018, but could look a little different with Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton both entering free agency and Lance McCullers Jr. out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Justin Verlander is also entering the final year of his deal in his age-36 season, and so adding an emerging front-of-the-rotation arm like Paxton -- who does not become a free agent until the end of the 2020 season -- could help Houston stay ahead of the curve.
Seattle would likely want a significant haul (especially from a successful division rival like the Astros) for Paxton, who threw his first no-hitter and struck out a career-high 208 batters last season.
Would the Mets part with Thor to bring Bryant to New York?
Nov. 11: It will likely take an offer of seismic proportions to convince the Cubs to part with star third baseman Kris Bryant. Could a package involving Noah Syndergaard do the trick?
SNY's Danny Abriano thinks that a swap of the hard-throwing Mets star for Chicago's former National League Most Valuable Player Award winner would make sense for both sides. And as he goes on to explain, if such a dramatic deal were to unfold, the impact could make ripples around the league, possibily even impacting the free-agency pursuits of high-end starters like Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi.
Why would it make sense for the Cubs? Abriano thinks that despite all of the high-profile names in Chicago's starting rotation, there is still a need for a true ace on the staff. He points to Jon Lester's diminishing numbers, Yu Darvish's inconsistent health and the inability of Jose Quintana and Kyle Hendricks to consistently pitch at an ace-caliber level as examples of why Syndergaard might be a good addition on the North Side.
Meanwhile, the Mets have a need for a right-handed power bat that could slot in at third base, and with New York reportedly not interested in pursuing Manny Machado, Bryant could offer a tantalizing alternative. Since Bryant hasn't yet hit free agency, if the Mets aren't willing to pay Bryce Harper or Machado to add a franchise-altering face, the Cubs third baseman could offer an outside-the-box solution.
With that said, if the Mets felt confident enough in Bryant's shoulder health to part with Syndergaard, they would likely seek a high-upside arm to bolster their rotation. Though Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco or James Paxton could make sense as trade options, the prospect cost of acquiring one of those arms -- in addition to whatever prospects the Mets might send to Chicago to sweeten the Bryant deal -- might be prohibitive.
So in that case, the Mets might join the fray for Corbin, Eovaldi, Dallas Keuchel or other top starters in free agency. Though the bidding for Corbin and Keuchel are expected to be pricey with the Yankees in tow, new Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has expressed that New York remains in win-now mode, and it wouldn't be a surprise if the Mets were aggressive in free agency.
Altuve says he will be ready for spring, addresses Gonzalez free agency
Nov. 11: Jose Altuve said Sunday that he expects to be "120 percent" ready by the start of Spring Training after undergoing surgery to repair a patella avulsion fracture in his right knee last month. The Astros' star second baseman, who's currently in the early stages of rehab, injured his knee sliding into second base in July.
Utility man Marwin Gonzalez filled in for Altuve at second base when Altuve was limited to designated hitter in the American League Championship Series and made 24 starts at the position in the regular season. If Altuve isn't ready or is limited to begin next season, Gonzalez may not be an option for Houston as he's currently a free agent.
"I don't think there's a single team in MLB that doesn't like Marwin," Altuve said. "For me, he's the savior. You have a problem, you call Marwin. That's one of the reasons why it's going to be really hard to get him back because he's in such high demand right now."
Altuve's words echo previous reports that Gonzalez has been a hot commodity on the open market. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported last week for Fancred Sports that nearly every MLB club has at least some level of interest in the versatile 29-year-old, who played every position besides catcher and pitcher this season.
The Astros opted not to extend a $17.9 million qualifying offer to Gonzalez, so they won't receive Draft compensation if he signs elsewhere.
Video: Altuve on Astros' free agents, 2019 season
Will Corbin return to the franchise that drafted him?
Nov. 11: Sure, the Yankees appear to be the favorite to land left-hander Patrick Corbin at this point, but according to MLB.com's Free Agent Matrix, there could be other serious players in the mix, including the Angels. It was the Angels that drafted Corbin in the second round of the 2009 Draft, but they traded him to the D-backs before he made his big league debut.
The Angels could definitely use an upgrade in their rotation, particularly with Shohei Ohtani unable to pitch next season after having Tommy John surgery. With Ohtani, Mike Trout and Corbin, perhaps Los Angeles could finally get back to the postseason. Corbin would be coming full circle, and it would make for a very intriguing move.
Rosenthal: Harper was very nearly an Astro
Nov. 10: The coming weeks will determine whose uniform Bryce Harper wears next, but the superstar outfielder very nearly switched uniforms at last season's Trade Deadline.
In a story published Saturday for the The Athletic, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal revealed that the Astros had a deal in place for Harper leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline before Nationals ownership rejected the move, per Major League sources. The Astros, without Harper, were ultimately unable to defend their 2017 World Series title as they fell to the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.
Rosenthal reports the proposed trade would have sent right-handed pitcher J.B. Bukauskas, the Astros' eighth-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, to Washington along with two other Minor League players for Harper. One of those two players could have been catcher Garrett Stubbs, Houston's No. 15 prospect, who was brought up in discussions between the two clubs. That kind of haul would offer significantly more value to the Nationals than their current compensation if Harper rejects their qualifying offer and signs with another team: A pick after the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Draft, per the current rules in MLB's Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Nationals' potential compensation is lower than 28 of the other 29 Major League clubs (with the Red Sox being the other exception) because they exceeded the $197 million competitive balance threshold (CBT) in '18.
The Nationals informed teams that Harper was available in the days leading up to the non-waiver Deadline as their NL East hopes began to wane, but general manager Mike Rizzo informed the Washington Post on the morning of the Deadline via text that "Bryce is not going anywhere." Harper then rejected the Nationals' 10-year, $300 million contract offer at the close of the regular season, per the Post.
Bukauskas, 22, missed the first three months of 2018 due to a slipped disc, but returned to compile a 2.14 ERA in 59 combined Minor League innings while ascending to Double-A. Stubbs hit .310 and posted an .836 OPS across 84 games for Triple-A Fresno last season.
Braves unlikely to bid on Kimbrel?
Nov. 10: Although pitching-staff usage continues to change, and fans just witnessed another postseason in which traditional starting pitchers were effectively utilized out of the bullpen in high-leverage situations, the era of the designated closer doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
NBC Sports' Evan Drellich asked a handful of top executives their views on the closer's role, and most were in favor of having a specific pitcher handle the ninth inning, at least during the regular season, which is good news for free-agent righty Craig Kimbrel.
"We'd like to have somebody pitch the ninth inning," Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. "I don't know what your idea of traditional is, but, we do like somebody to close the game...That designated guy."
While Kimbrel is expected to reject the one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer he received from the defending World Series champions, Boston could look to bring him back on a multi-year deal.
However, based on general manager Alex Anthopoulos' comments, the Braves -- a club that has been mentioned as a favorite for Kimbrel -- may not be as interested in the righty as many assumed they would be.
"What I basically said about pursuing high level, expensive relievers with term and significant AAVs: I don't know that makes a lot of sense for us to allocate the dollars available to that position," Anthopoulos said. "Doesn't mean that there won't be a day that we do it. Or if the value lines up -- right now for this current offseason, we haven't, we don't plan to go spend significant dollars and significant years on a reliever. And that doesn't take anything away from the great relievers that are out there. I just think we have other areas we need to address."
Is Pollock a good gamble?
Nov. 10: Center fielder A.J. Pollock has had an injury history that will make teams think twice about the free agent this offseason, but could he be a good gamble for certain clubs? MLB.com's Andrew Simon breaks it down, and given Pollock's value both offensively and defensively when he's healthy, there are several clubs that may take a chance with a potentially big payoff. They include the Indians, Rockies, Mets, Phillies and Mariners.
Simon notes that "on one hand, the injury-plagued Pollock has collected 500 plate appearances in a season only once in his career, during a breakout 2015. On the other hand, his average of 3.3 WAR per season since '13 balloons to 5.9 per 650 plate appearances." Defensively, Pollock has well-above-average sprint speed at 28.2 feet/second, as well as plus-6 Outs Above Average, per Statcast™.
The Reds have money and need pitching. Will they make a bid for Keuchel?
Nov. 10: The Reds will be active this offseason, and their primary need is pitching, writes the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay. Does that mean they'll take a run at top-tier starters on the market, like former AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel? The Athletic's Jim Bowden thinks so, including Keuchel on a list of free agents the Reds may target.
Fay reports the Reds, who have finished in fifth place in the NL Central in four consecutive seasons, have a significant amount of money to spend this offseason, though they won't say exactly how much. "Bob Castellini said the payroll [may] be the highest ever," Fay writes. "It was $101.3 million last year. The guess here is it goes to at least $120 million and possibly to $130 million."
Fay argues that given Cincinnati's recent history when it has signed free agents to big contracts, it wouldn't be wise of the club to commit to a long-term deal with one of the top-tier starters. He suggests they look for multi-inning relievers instead, given the rise of bullpenning around the game.
Could Rockies be right fit for Brantley?
Nov. 10: In his piece for The Athletic outlining needs and potential free agent targets for all 30 clubs, former MLB general manager Jim Bowden lists outfielder Michael Brantley as a potential fit for the Rockies. Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich has stated that the club's offense will be the focus during this offseason, and with both Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra on the free agent market, offense in the form of an outfielder would make sense.
Brantley has spent his entire 10-year Major League career in the AL with the Indians, but spacious Coors Field and the thin air of Denver could be very inviting for a hitter of his caliber. Though he's never been a 30-plus home run hitter, Brantley has always had a penchant for extra-base hits, leading the AL in doubles with 45 in just 137 games for the Tribe in 2015. With the large gaps between outfielders at Coors Field, Brantley could certainly use that to his -- and the Rockies' -- advantage.
Beltre's decision on retirement could come soon
Nov. 10: Adrian Beltre's decision on whether to continue playing or hang up his cleats for good could come "within a week or so," a source told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported earlier this week that the 21-year veteran is leaning toward retiring.
Beltre, who will turn 40 on April 7, believes he still has the ability to keep playing, but it's believed that he has aspirations to play for a contending club. Beltre had been linked to rumors ahead of last season's non-waiver Trade Deadline -- notably to the Braves and Red Sox -- but no deal wound up manifesting. He would still be a strong fit for Atlanta, which is in need of a third baseman until touted prospect Austin Riley (the club's fifth-ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline) is Major League ready.
Video: TEX@SEA: Beltre hugs teammates after being pulled
"We know he is a guy who will perform at well above Major League average," Beltre's agent, Scott Boras, said at the GM Meetings this week, per Grant. "We fully expect teams to express interest in that. I will leave it to Adrian on when to direct me to advance or not on that interest."
The Rangers finished in last place last season and are on the cusp of a rebuild. General manager Jon Daniels, who signed a multiyear contract extension in June, has said that he plans to outline a specific map for Beltre's role should he return and present it to the third baseman soon.
With NL contenders having financial uncertainty, should Mets spend?
Nov. 10: The Mets are reeling in rejuvenation. As the GM Meetings conclude, the talk of the baseball world -- aside from the Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sweepstakes -- surrounded New York's hire of Brodie Van Wagenen to run its front office. A renewed sense of optimism, a roster that, at full strength, has the potential to go toe to toe with any club in the National League East, and the possible regression of the NL powerhouses might create an environment for the Mets to be aggressive this winter.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman makes an argument that this offseason's market might be conducive for the Mets to be spenders. The Cubs and Dodgers are both believed to be out on some of the blue-chip free agents in an effort to trim payroll, and within a wide open NL East, New York could be right back in the hunt with the right acquisitions.
Sherman points out that the Mets only have Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes and David Wright on their 2020 payroll and have no players signed for '21. The Phillies are the only NL club that has been prominently linked to spending big this winter, along with the Braves and Cardinals, but to a lesser degree. Sherman has made the case that the Mets should sign Machado, though that currently appears unlikely.
The trade market could also be where the Mets make a splash. Sherman speculates that San Diego, with its No. 1 farm system, might be a strong partner given the club's pressures to emerge from their multiyear rebuild soon and win again. The Padres' pipeline is loaded with pitching depth, though much of it is not yet Major League ready.
The Mets have the talent to be active in the trade market, the financial flexibility to sign high-profile free agents and the ambition to return to relevancy in the immediate future.
Would Harper or Machado be enough for Phillies to contend?
Nov. 10: In hopes of contending next year, the Phillies are expected to make a run at big-name free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado this offseason. But Jonah Keri of CBS Sports argues that adding one of those players might not be enough to spark a postseason run in 2019.
As Keri points out, the last three World Series winners -- the Cubs, the Astros and the Red Sox -- all had a strong core in place before adding to it in free agency. The Phils, though, have a ton of question marks after Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins.
Philadelphia's roster isn't barren, but Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez are coming off poor second halves, Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez and Zach Eflin haven't proven to be consistent rotation options, and neither J.P. Crawford nor Scott Kingery have lived up to expectations as former top prospects.
Keri writes that signing Harper or Machado -- potentially for $400 million -- should be part of a larger free-agency plan that involves adding relief help as well as a starting pitcher. Keri names J.A. Happ and Charlie Morton, who has expressed his desire to be close to his wife's family's Delaware home, as potential options.
Meanwhile, Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that this offseason could get tricky for the Phillies, with the markets for Harper and Machado potentially playing out slowly as their agents -- Scott Boras and Dan Lozano, respectively -- try to land the longest and most lucrative deal possible. As Lauber writes, neither agent is going to want his client to be the first of the two to sign, instead preferring to let the other player set the market. Moreover, the longer each player's free agency endures, the more likely it is that other teams will join the bidding.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has indicated that he won't wait around for Harper or Machado if he has a chance to improve the team.
"We're not going to forgo opportunities early in the offseason because we're waiting on something else," Klentak said this past week during the General Managers Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. "If there are good opportunities for us to improve our club now or in the coming weeks or months that make sense for us, we will do it."
Cutch could offer quality alternative to Harper
Nov. 10: The reality is that only one team will land Bryce Harper, and so prospective buyers will need to consider other options to fill their holes in the outfield. In a column for ESPN posted Saturday (subscription required), Buster Olney points out that Andrew McCutchen could prove to be a quality, cost-effective alternative to the the superstar headliner.
McCutchen, while not the hitter he was while capturing NL MVP honors in 2013, still works pitchers into deep counts and gets on base at a high clip, earning the trust of both Giants manager Bruce Bochy and Yankees manager Aaron Boone to hit at the top of their lineups as the leadoff man. He also remains a universally recognized teammate and leader at the big league level. At age 32, McCutchen is unlikely to receive a deal any longer than three years based on recent market trends, and so teams can hope for a handful more productive years from a versatile outfielder without being tied up in a long-term commitment as they would with a superstar like Harper or Manny Machado.
Olney lists the Braves as a possible fit, considering their need for a right-handed bat and the possible departure of free agent Nick Markakis, who just captured his first Silver Slugger Award. Olney also mentioned the Phillies (whose young lineup showed a need for more patient at-bats in 2018) and the Dodgers (who could potentially trade right fielder Yasiel Puig this winter) as logical candidates, while also not ruling out a return to the Giants or a pair of AL Central up-and-comers in the Tigers and Twins.
Could Harper captivate Chicago like Sammy Sosa?
Nov. 10: Bryce Harper or Manny Machado? Manny Machado or Bryce Harper? The White Sox would likely be thrilled to sign either player this offseason, but if they had to pick just one, who would it be?
In the opinion of Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times, it should be Harper.
Morrissey argues that while Machado may be the more consistent player, Harper is more compelling and would be the most magnetic baseball personality in Chicago since Sammy Sosa.
And although the White Sox are hoping to put their rebuild into overdrive this offseason, Morrissey contends that owner Jerry Reinsdorf should first be concerned about filling Guaranteed Rate Field, where a captivating personality and prodigious talent like Harper would be a significant draw.
Is the Harper-to-the-Yankees dream dead?
Nov. 10: As he prepares for an offseason in which he'll be heavily promoting Bryce Harper behind closed doors, agent Scott Boras spent some time this week talking up his client in public. When he wasn't touting Harper as a "generational player" who is worth "$400 million to $500 million" in true value, Boras was trumpeting Harper's ability to help a team at first base.
The Daily News' Bill Madden thinks the latter proclamation was a last-ditch effort by Boras to keep alive an idea the agent has held for quite some time -- that Harper will sign the biggest contract in baseball history with the Yankees.
But Madden considers the Harper-to-the-Yankees dream to be "dead," noting that New York has no interest in spending another $250 million or more on an outfielder.
Madden writes that the Yanks' priority instead is "to add at least two more proven quality frontline pitchers," and he predicts that after staying under the luxury-tax threshold in 2018, New York "will not be out-bid for Patrick Corbin" or J.A. Happ, if they choose to pursue them.
Per Madden, the Yankees aren't closing the door on Manny Machado, but they may be unwilling to saddle themselves with another potential albatross after being burned by the Alex Rodriguez and Jacoby Ellsbury deals.
Said one former big league executive: "All you have to know with Machado is he says he's no 'Charlie hustle' or whatever before he even gets the money. What's he going to do AFTER he gets the money, when he's got the security and nobody can talk to him? For me, he'd be toxic. To give that guy 10 years? That's one bad contract waiting to happen."