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Domino effect: Bryce, Manny deals just the start?

Keuchel, Kimbrel among those likely to come off board in aftermath
MLB.com

The biggest questions of the offseason have been where Manny Machado and Bryce Harper will sign for 2019 and beyond. Well, Spring Training has started for all 30 teams and both superstars remain unsigned, leaving plenty of Hot Stove intrigue as position players get set to report next week.

Which of the two will sign first? And what will it mean to the other -- not to mention a couple of other high-profile unsigned free agents in Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel -- when the first domino falls?

The biggest questions of the offseason have been where Manny Machado and Bryce Harper will sign for 2019 and beyond. Well, Spring Training has started for all 30 teams and both superstars remain unsigned, leaving plenty of Hot Stove intrigue as position players get set to report next week.

Which of the two will sign first? And what will it mean to the other -- not to mention a couple of other high-profile unsigned free agents in Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel -- when the first domino falls?

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Here's a look at what a Harper or Machado signing would mean for the rest of the top available free agents. We'll start with a few Harper scenarios, and then move on to Machado. We won't hit on every possible scenario, but we've attempted to address the most likely possibilities.

IF HARPER SIGNS WITH THE PHILLIES ...
Machado: The White Sox would immediately become heavy favorites for Machado in this scenario, though the Yankees could make a late move for the infielder, trying to convince Machado that playing for a contender would make a shorter-term deal worth his while. The Phillies would likely be out of the mix, unless ownership's definition of "stupid" money was even crazier than any of us believed.

Keuchel: The Phillies have been viewed as a logical landing spot for the left-hander, but Philadelphia's pursuit of Harper and Machado has left the former American League Cy Young Award winner playing a waiting game. The Phillies could still make a play for Keuchel even after signing Harper, though that seems unlikely. The Braves could still use a starter, and given that the Phillies would have strengthened their lineup with the addition of Harper, perhaps Atlanta counters with a Keuchel signing. A return to the Astros would also remain in play.

Kimbrel: Like Keuchel, many have viewed Philly as a potential fit for Kimbrel, even after the Phillies' signing of David Robertson. A Harper signing would make that less likely, making the Red Sox and Braves the favorites to sign the All-Star closer, possibly on a shorter-term deal with opt-outs that would allow Kimbrel to return to the free-agent market again in a year or two.

Video: Klentak discusses the free agents still on market

IF HARPER SIGNS WITH THE NATIONALS ...
Machado: Having missed out on Harper, the Phillies could put the full-court press on Machado, who has been the team's preferred choice between the two all winter, according to sources. While both players were on the market, the fallback plan was always that the Phillies could sign the other if they miss out on the first. If Harper returns to the Nationals, Washington would become an overwhelming favorite in the NL East despite the moves the Phillies have made this offseason, making Machado feel like more of a necessity for Philly. The White Sox, who have been in pursuit of both players for much of the winter, could also make a bigger push for Machado.

Keuchel: Of course, Philadelphia could also pivot in another direction, addressing their pitching staff instead of making a bigger push for Machado. Adding Keuchel to Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta would take some pressure off the youngsters at the back end of the rotation, while the Phillies would also have enough money to add another notable reliever. Which brings us to …

Kimbrel: With Robertson and Seranthony Dominguez already in tow to anchor the back of the Phillies' bullpen, the addition of Kimbrel would give them the best bullpen in the National League. The Braves might also feel some pressure if Harper stays in Washington, making a reunion with Kimbrel an option, too.

IF HARPER SIGNS WITH THE GIANTS ...
Machado: This might be the dream scenario for Machado, who could spark a bidding war between the Phillies, White Sox and Padres. Machado would be in a similar situation if Harper goes back to Washington, though a big move by the Giants could push San Diego general manager A.J. Preller to make a big splash.

Keuchel/Kimbrel: A Harper-to-San Francisco move would leave Keuchel and Kimbrel in a similar situation as they would be in if Harper was to return to Washington. The Phillies' interest in the pitchers would likely still depend upon Machado and how aggressive they chose to get in their pursuit of the infielder.

Video: Harper is No. 15 on MLB Network's Top 100 Right Now

IF MACHADO SIGNS WITH THE PHILLIES ...
Harper: Philadelphia would likely be out of the Harper mix, which might ease the pressure on the Nationals to go above and beyond to bring back the face of their franchise at any cost. The White Sox would then become the favorites to sign Harper, though the Padres could also make a push. But what if Harper decides he wants to play for more of a "win-now" club? Perhaps the former NL MVP might consider a shorter-term deal, giving teams such as the Yankees, Cubs and Dodgers an opportunity to re-think their positions.

Keuchel: Much like the Harper-to-Philly scenario, this would be bad news for Keuchel. The left-hander would lose his biggest potential bidder as the Phillies would likely be out, though the Braves could jump in with an offer to counter their division foes. The Astros would also remain on the periphery, though Keuchel would probably have to accept a shorter-term deal to return to Houston. The good news in that scenario? He wouldn't be subject to a qualifying offer when he returned to the free-agent market, having received one this winter from the Astros.

Kimbrel: As outlined earlier, the Red Sox and Braves would remain Kimbrel's most likely destinations if the Phillies sign either Machado or Harper.

Video: Machado is No. 14 on MLB Network's Top 100 Right Now

IF MACHADO SIGNS WITH THE WHITE SOX ...
Harper: The Phillies, having missed out on Machado, would likely go all-in to sign Harper. Philly's offer could easily be the biggest out there for Harper, but it would be surprising if agent Scott Boras didn't give the Nationals one final chance to match or exceed it. Might the prospect of Harper joining an NL East rival be enough to get the Nationals to make another major financial commitment? With third baseman Anthony Rendon slated to become a free agent at the end of 2019, the decision could come down to which of the two players they prefer to ink long-term.

Keuchel/Kimbrel: Like nearly every other scenario, the Phillies' response would be the key. Philadelphia could make a run at Keuchel and/or Kimbrel (and Marwin Gonzalez, for that matter) if they chose not to meet Harper's price, though given how aggressive the Phillies have been, Harper would still figure to be their top choice. The Braves could be an option for either pitcher, while the Astros (Keuchel) and Red Sox (Kimbrel) could still bring back their former players, likely on shorter-term deals.

Video: MLB Now: Machado and the Padres meet a 2nd time

IF MACHADO SIGNS WITH THE PADRES ...
Harper: San Diego has been in on Harper as well, so while this would eliminate the Padres from his future, it would leave the Phillies and White Sox in a potential bidding war for his services. The Nationals would also still be in the mix, though Washington's involvement would again likely hinge on how aggressive the Phillies got in their pursuit of Harper.

Keuchel/Kimbrel: The best news for either of these pitchers would be Machado or Harper signing with the White Sox and the other landing with someone other than Philly. If the Phillies miss out on both stars, it could spark a chain reaction that could land Keuchel or Kimbrel -- or both -- in Philly.

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.

Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, Manny Machado

Has Bryce picked a team? We'll see ...

MLB.com

After a seven-season tenure with the Nationals that included a National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, an NL MVP Award in 2015 and six All-Star nods, Bryce Harper is now a free agent for the first time.

Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the outfielder.

After a seven-season tenure with the Nationals that included a National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, an NL MVP Award in 2015 and six All-Star nods, Bryce Harper is now a free agent for the first time.

Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the outfielder.

Has Harper made a decision?
Feb. 15: Make of this what you will, but a report started circulating and gaining some steam Friday afternoon that Bryce Harper just might be on the verge of finding a new home.

Maybe.

In a conversation with radio station 94WIP in Philadelphia about the superstar free agent's situation, Chris Russell of 106.7 The Fan, a radio station in Washington, D.C., speculated that Harper could be making up his mind very, very soon -- perhaps even today.

"Maybe I took a little bit of a leap of faith here based on some indications I got from a real good source," said Russell, who has heard that Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, as well as his wife have been meeting since Monday in his hometown of Las Vegas. "But I'm led to believe by the people that I've talked to that are close to the situation -- and I have, again, a real good source that has helped me through this process, let's just leave it at that -- that Bryce was in a mood to celebrate yesterday. Now, the source said, 'I believe it's done.'

"I don't have concrete, 100 percent proof for you guys," Russell continued. "I wish I did, otherwise I would have it and I would be running around with it. ... But that's what I was led to believe, that this thing is now decided."

Meanwhile, Harper commented on an Instagram post by Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins on Friday, which showed Hoskins walking with bat and glove at the Phillies' Spring Training complex in Clearwater, Fla. Harper's comment was "suhhhhh kiiiiiiid."

Tweet from @JClarkNBCS: Bryce Harper commenting on Rhys Hoskins Instagram!!!! 👀 🤔 #Phillies ������������🌴 pic.twitter.com/gdDiLBEUzz

This all sounds very speculative at the moment, but sometimes news breaks from unlikely sources and unexpected places. We're just keeping you up to date on the latest while it's out there -- and while we await more information.

Here's how Harper could fit with Yankees
Feb. 15: The Yankees have made several additions this offseason to bolster their roster ahead of another run at reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009. The club has brought in the likes of James Paxton, Adam Ottavino, Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu and brough back J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia and Zack Britton. But is that enough to overtake the powerhouse Red Sox?

While it may be, with superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado still on the free-agent market, MLB.com's Mike Lupica asks: How much farther would the organization go financially to tilt the scales more sharply in its favor? Signing Harper or Machado certainly would do that, but neither will come cheap, and the Yankees already have a payroll in the $220 million range.

"Yankees fans want [owner Hal] Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman to finish the job this season," Lupica writes. "[If] it turns out that they haven't spent enough, and Machado or Harper might make all the difference, Yankees fans aren't going to want to hear about how fiscally responsible the team is being." More >

Here's a look at how Harper, in particular, could fit into the Yankees' roster and lineup, courtesy of MLB.com's Andrew Simon.

Video: Harper, Machado keep Yankees on their radar

Are Phillies still front-runners for Harper or Machado?
Feb. 15: Even if the Phillies aren't necessarily the first choice for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, will one of the superstar free agents ultimately accept Philadelphia's offer?

Buster Olney predicted as much on ESPN's "Get Up!," saying the feeling is that the White Sox are a "safety net" for both players.

With both Harper and Machado reportedly seeking contracts in the range of 10 years for more than $300 million, the two have lingered on the free agent market. But Olney thinks both players eventually will land deals between 8 and 10 years.

Meanwhile, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak indicated that he is still monitoring the open market but feels like the team accomplished its offseason goals by adding Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto and David Robertson.

"I think if you look at our offseason, we have done just about everything we've set out to do," Klentak said. "At the beginning of the offseason, we identified for sure that we wanted to improve the team defense. That was a flaw of our team last year and it was something we knew we needed to address. We wanted to address our ability to get good hitters out late in the game, particularly left-handed hitters. We think we've addressed that. We've addressed our offense in a couple of key places. And now we've taken care of locking up our best young player. A lot of years, that would be a very complete, thorough and successful offseason. And I really think that it is. The notion that we hear that if we fail to sign a big free agent then it's a failure of an offseason, I don't agree with that.

"Now, I say all that, I'm not trying to throw cold water on the idea that we may still sign a free agent. We are going to continue to explore that market because there's still several really good free agents out there."

The belief in Clearwater is that the Phils' front office prefers Machado over Harper because of the former's combination of offense and defense, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. However, the club remains in contact with each player's agent.

Video: Klentak discusses the free agents still on market

Which teams have the best chance at landing Harper?
Feb. 13: Bryce Harper has been connected to several teams since the offseason began, but while a few clubs have emerged to be seen as frontrunners, which teams have the best chance to land the superstar free agent? MLB.com's Mark Feinsand ranked every potential landing spot for Harper based on the likelihood that the club signs him.

The "longshots" on Feinsand's list are the Cubs, Yankees, and Giants, with San Francisco being the most recent club to join the Harper Sweepstakes by meeting with him in Las Vegas last week. The next category up is "contenders," in which Feinsand places the Padres and White Sox. San Diego is also a recent entrant into the "Harper Bazaar" as his agent, Scott Boras, called it early in the offseason, and also sent a delegation to meet with Harper. The White Sox have shown serious interest this offseason in both Harper and fellow 26-year-old free agent Manny Machado, even though Chicago is currently in the middle of a rebuild with a lot of talent in the pipeline.

Finally, in the "favorites" category are the Phillies and Harper's former team, the Nationals. Philadelphia made it no secret at the start of the offseason that it intended to spend big. Washington reportedly offered Harper a 10-year, $300 million contract at the end of last season, which he declined, but it has been reported since then that the Nats increased their offer substantially and are definitely in the running.

"The Phillies have been the odds-on favorites to land Harper and/or Machado from the outset of the offseason, and many believe they will still ultimately sign one of them," writes Feinsand. "Last week's trade for J.T. Realmuto made the Phillies' roster even more attractive for a free agent, though some have wondered whether either Harper or Machado wants to play in Philly."

With respect to the Nationals, Feinsand writes that "the consensus is that Boras will give Nationals ownership a chance to exceed [or at least match] the biggest offer before Harper signs elsewhere." More >

Video: When will Harper and Machado sign new deals?

Is Harper open to a short-term deal?
Feb. 13: While it has been reported that the Giants are hoping to sign Bryce Harper to a shorter-term contract, the star slugger "is not signing -- or even considering -- short-term deals," according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Despite rumored offers/wishes of teams, word is Bryce Harper is not signing ��� or even considering ��� short-term deals.

That is similar to what MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi is hearing. "According to what I was told by a source, Harper is not actively discussing a short-term deal right now with the Giants," Morosi says. "At this point in time, Harper's mindset is still the longer-term deal. I think if Harper was going to sign a short-term deal, if that was a preference of his, he would have done so by now."

ESPN's Buster Olney reports that there's even skepticism among some of the people involved in the discussions that the Giants would generate the type of offer that will sway the slugger to pick San Francisco.

Tweet from @Buster_ESPN: There continues to be skepticism among some of the folks involved in the Giants/Harper conversation that San Francisco would generate the kind of offer that would sway the slugger. More smoke than fire at this point, in eyes of some involved.

Still, USA Today's Bob Nightengale thinks that the club is a strong place, telling San Francisco radio station KNBR that the Giants and Phillies look like the finalists to land the superstar outfielder.

"Right now, I really do think it's the Giants and the Phillies. It's a two-team race here," said Nightengale, who thinks San Francisco and Philadelphia are neck and neck. "With the Giants moving in and all the optimism, I do believe it's a coin flip," Nightengale said. "I think for the Phillies to get Harper, they're going to have to grossly outbid the Giants to get him. I really do. I think if it's close, he goes to San Francisco. If there's a huge gap, it's tough to walk away from that kind of money."

On the other hand, Nightengale believes the Nationals and Dodgers -- two of the other suitors most strongly linked to Harper this offseason -- are "definitely out of it."

The Giants did make a move to address their outfield Tuesday, bringing in Gerardo Parra on a Minor League deal. While Parra has a good chance to make the team, a source told Morosi that the Giants, who have a full 40-man roster, remain hopeful to sign Harper and didn't want to add another outfielder to their 40-man roster until Harper's situation is settled. Hence, the Minor League contract for Parra.

Video: MLB Tonight on Harper not looking for short-term deal

Could Giants add Harper and still go through rebuild?
Feb. 11: The Giants recently entered the race for Bryce Harper, sparking comparisons to the 1992-93 offseason, when San Francisco signed Barry Bonds after a 72-90 season.

With Bonds in the fold, the Giants won 103 games in 1993. Could Harper lead this San Francisco club to a similar turnaround and help the franchise get another few postseason runs from its aging core? Perhaps that's what new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and team president and CEO Larry Baer are hoping.

However, MLB Network insider Joel Sherman suggests that signing Harper could be a "middle-ground move" that keeps the club relevant while Zaidi reconstructs the roster.

"I wonder if the Giants are in this right now because they looked left and right and said, 'Well, Bryce Harper's still out there.'" Sherman said Monday on MLB Network's "Hot Stove" program. "'Should we at least put our toe in the water and see if we can do this at a level that we like? Because he's young enough to be part of our next good team, and he's star enough to keep our fans interested in the painful period that's likely to come over the next two to three years.'"

In Sherman's view, it would be surprising if the Giants stuck with the status quo, considering the hiring of Zaidi was the organization's way of breaking free from an old-fashioned thought process and ushering in a new era. But Harper could at least prevent the club from bottoming out and losing more fans and viewers in the interim.

"When you're in a market like San Francisco, where you're selling out every day, where TV ratings do matter, where you're in competition with the 49ers and the championship Warriors, you want to make sure you don't bleed out in the two- or three- or four-year period where they're [rebuilding]."

Video: Joel Sherman on the Giants' interest in Harper

One GM's prediction: Harper to Padres, Machado to Phillies
Feb. 11: Where will Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sign? The top question of the offseason will now become one of the top questions of Spring Training as pitchers and catchers report MLB-wide this week.

While both players' markets are still somewhat shrouded in mystery, one MLB general manager offered up his prediction to SNY's Andy Martino recently. In said GM's opinion, Harper is going to sign with the Padres, and Machado with the Phillies.

Tweet from @martinonyc: Asked this exact question of an MLB GM the other day and he said Harper to Padres, Machado to Phillies. But honestly, no one really knows yet. https://t.co/Y0wU6FHShj

San Diego recently entered the mix for Harper, meeting with the outfielder at the end of January. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is one of two clubs -- along with the White Sox -- that are known to be engaged with both Harper and Machado.

Harper also recently met with another National League West team, the Giants, in Las Vegas, and "there has been an increased sense among some in the clubhouse that Harper prefers" San Francisco, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Report: Giants prefer short-term deal for Harper
Feb. 10: The Giants have emerged as a serious contender for Bryce Harper in the past week, but USA Today's Bob Nightengale writes that the club has "no desire" to make Harper an offer approaching the 10-year, $300 million deal he reportedly rejected from the Nationals in September. Rather, San Francisco plans to make Harper a lucrative short-term offer.

Of course, as Nightengale notes, ownership was willing to take on $265 million of Giancarlo Stanton's contract last offseason if it acquired him from the Marlins, so it's possible the Giants will be open to investing that type of money in Harper as well.

Harper was a popular topic during the Giants' annual FanFest at Oracle Park on Saturday. The club's CEO, Larry Baer, declined to make any predictions about where Harper will land, but did say the meeting Giants executives had with him earlier this week in Las Vegas went well and lasted four hours, longer than either side expected. Baer also said the Giants are "giving it a shot."

Video: Giants CEO Baer discusses interest in Harper

According to NBC Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, Harper spoke of his admiration of catcher Buster Posey during the meeting, and "there has been an increased sense among some in the clubhouse that Harper prefers the Giants."

On Sunday, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr chimed in during a press conference, saying, "Bryce, come to San Francisco. Let's go."

Tweet from @NBCSWarriors: Coach Kerr has a message for you, @Bharper3407 😏 pic.twitter.com/KpNthKUBtM

The Giants, along with the Dodgers and Padres, are among the clubs closest to Harper's home in Las Vegas. A move to sign Harper wouldn't be unprecedented for the franchise; San Francisco plucked a 28-year-old Barry Bonds off the market in late 1992 with a six-year, $44 million contract that was, at that time, the largest in baseball history. The following season, the club won 103 games.

"There is obviously mutual interest on both sides," Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Friday. "We thought it made sense to get together. We had a good conversation over a few hours. He's obviously got a lot of suitors and a lot of interest. He's going to have some decisions to make. I think it's fair to say that was an expression of our interest level, to make the trip out there to meet with him. You don't make a trip out there to meet with a player just for show."

Zaidi, though, wouldn't go as far as saying whether the team has made a formal offer to Harper.

Video: MLB Tonight on Harper's meeting with the Giants

What would an Arenado extension mean for Harper?
Feb. 9: The Rockies are optimistic they will be able to sign their superstar third baseman, Nolan Arenado, to a contract extension soon, as club owner Dick Monfort told MLB.com's Thomas Harding last week. If Colorado is able to secure Arenado for the long term, how might that impact two superstars still on the free-agent market in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado?

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand writes that Arenado's extension could set a new average annual value record for position players, and if it does, Harper and Machado could benefit.

"It depends on the numbers, but I would expect the agents to fight to be above [Arenado's deal]," one AL general manager told Feinsand.

Beyond the AAV, the length of a potential Arenado extension, which could keep the 27-year-old in Denver through his mid-30s, could be a boon for Harper and Machado as well, as they seek deals that would exceed 10 years and $300 million.

Feinsand also delves into how an Arenado extension would impact this summer's trade market, as well as next offseason's free-agent market. More >

Harper faces "staring contest" ahead of Spring Training
Feb. 8: The sweepstakes for what was touted to be one of the biggest free-agent classes in history remains at a standstill just days before clubs report to Spring Training. And the root of the impasse, for Bryce Harper (and Manny Machado) at least, seems to be easy to decipher: dollars. 

In a Friday piece for The Athletic (subscription required), MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal outlined the many factors as to why both players remain unsigned with roughly seven weeks left until Opening Day. Rosenthal reports that both are still seeking a deal in excess of $300 million, and given their limited pool of suitors, that figure could remain difficult to attain. 

Rosenthal adds that "neither wants to sign first, knowing once one of the players goes off the board, the other will benefit from gaining the sole attention of the remaining suitors" and that  "the clubs, too, prefer to stall."

The Phillies and White Sox have been the clubs most prominently linked to both players, and though the Padres emerged as an interested party in each last week, San Diego may have just been doing its due diligence late in the offseason. 

Rosenthal writes that Philly has conviction that it will land one or the other, with the financial bandwidth capable of topping any offer either player might otherwise receive. And White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Rosenthal adds, would prefer to wait out to the market to glean a firm gauge on what either player will cost, then determine if he's willing to meet that figure.  

Could Realmuto acquisition sway Harper to sign with Phils?
Feb. 8: If the Phillies wanted to gain even more leverage in their pursuit of Bryce Harper, trading for a player that Harper has publicly admired for years certainly couldn't hurt. The Phils continued their promising offseason by adding All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto on Thursday, which should help bolster a lineup that was already projected to win 84 games, according to PECOTA forecasts from Baseball Prospectus. 

Video: IT discusses Phils getting Realmuto, eyeing Harper

It wasn't long ago that Harper publicly expressed frustration with the Nationals failing to land Realmuto ahead of last summer's non-waiver Trade Deadline. But Washington's surprisingly sustained level of disappointment prompted the club to sell instead of buy. And in a game against the Marlins three days before the Deadline, in which Realmuto drove in the winning run, Harper told reporters after: "If that guy was on our side, it wouldn't have happened."

Additionally, at the All-Star Game a few weeks prior, Harper playfully placed a Nats cap on Realmuto's head while the National League club was posing for a photo.  

Bryce Harper is a big fan of new Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto

So, while Harper's decision will likely come down to dollars more than anything, it can't hurt the Phils' chances that they acquired an All-Star talent that Harper has made it clear he's a fan of. 

How Realmuto to Philly could affect Harper
Feb. 7: While the Phillies continue to pursue free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the club made another big move to bolster its roster Thursday, acquiring catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins in a four-player deal. With the ambitious team looking to propel its way to contention, adding the game's top backstop could affect its leverage with not just Harper, but also Machado.

As MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal points out, the determining factor for Harper and Machado will likely still be dollars.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: #Phillies view Realmuto, if acquired, as another potential enticement for Harper or Machado. Obviously, the biggest enticement will be money. https://t.co/N2R1wgL29U

But adding to an already strong positional nucleus -- Realmuto will join shortstop Jean Segura, left fielder Andrew McCutchen and closer David Robertson as Philly's prized offseason acquisitions (so far) -- certainly doesn't hurt Philadelphia's chances.

It's unclear what the Phillies have offered to both Harper and Machado, but multiple reports have shared that Harper turned down a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Nats at the end of the regular season, and Machado turned down a seven-year, $175 million deal from the White Sox recently. 

It's believed that, because their markets haven't gained much traction, the Phils are playing a waiting game of sorts while holding most of the leverage. 

Although adding Realmuto makes the team's need for Harper or Machado less acute, it doesn't sound as though Philadelphia is backing out of the race for either player.

"This doesn't take us out of the free-agent market by any stretch," general manager Matt Klentak said Thursday, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Tweet from @BNightengale: Philadelphia #Phillies GM Matt Klentak, when asked if the JT Realmuto acquisition will have any impact on a certain couple of free agents: "This doesn���t take us out of the free-agent market by any stretch.'' #Harper #Machado

Meanwhile, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reports that according to an official with one of the teams pursuing Harper, the superstar's decision does not appear to be imminent. Further, Morosi notes that according to a source familiar with the Nationals' thinking, Washington may be wary of losing Harper to the Phillies, in particular, given that the two are National League East rivals. That may cause the Nats to up their bid for Harper in the event he is close to signing with Philadelphia.

On Thursday, Baseball Prospectus released its 2019 PECOTA projections and forecasted that the Phils would win 84 games, tied with the Braves for third in the National League East behind the Mets and Nationals, who are each projected to win 89 games. But those forecasts did not include the acquisition of Realmuto, who is projected to be worth 3.8 Wins Above Replacement, according to Steamer

As Harper and Machado remain unsigned, Steinbrenner not ruling out another big addition
Feb. 7: Although Yankees manager Aaron Boone said earlier this week that he thought the team's roster was set for 2019, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner is leaving the door open for another big acquisition.

"I don't think it's ever done," Steinbrenner said Thursday, according to Newsday. "Look, if somebody comes -- I haven't changed -- I mean if somebody comes to me with a suggestion or a proposal, I'm going to seriously consider it right up until Opening Day or after. That's part of my leave-no-stone-unturned [policy], right? But I'm excited about the roster. I think we've definitely got a better club Opening Day than we did Opening Day last year, particularly in pitching, which was my biggest area of concern."

The Yankees have had a busy offseason, adding James Paxton, Adam Ottavino, Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu and re-signing CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ and Zack Britton.

But as long as superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain available, the deep-pocketed Yanks will continue to loom as a potential suitor, no matter how unlikely that seems right now.

"Fans should keep an open mind that I'm never done until I'm done, and that's not usually until Opening Day," Steinbrenner said. "Proposals come to me every day with these guys, between the analytics guys and the pro scouting guys, and I'm going to consider every single one of them. But I have to look at the big picture and it is my responsibility that my family expects and my partners expect not just to look at the present, but to look at the future, too. Three, four, five years from now, we've got a lot of homegrown kids that we love, our fans love, that are going to be coming up for free agency and that's something I've got to keep in mind as well."

The Yanks have been more closely connected to Machado this offseason, meeting with him in December. Meanwhile, general manager Brian Cashman did his part to quash any speculation that the Yanks were secretly in on Harper, noting that the club already has a glut of outfielders.

If there's still any chance that Harper could become a Yankee, Aaron Judge is willing to do what it takes to make that possibility a reality. Judge told TMZ Sports on Monday that he would consider moving to center field to clear a spot for Harper, if that was indeed something that could put New York over the top in the Harper sweepstakes.

"Wherever he wants to play, we'll make it work," Judge said. "Anytime you can add an MVP to a team, it's going to make it better."

Tweet from @MLB: Is the outfield at Yankee Stadium big enough? https://t.co/djpnbm1PnR pic.twitter.com/Z4ImkOebr5

 

How signing Machado would impact Padres

MLB.com @AJCassavell

PEORIA, Ariz. -- If the Padres have their way, Manny Machado will be their Opening Day third baseman.

That's not earth-shattering news. Twenty-nine other teams would happily pencil Machado into their starting lineups. The news is that the Padres are making a serious push for the star third baseman.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- If the Padres have their way, Manny Machado will be their Opening Day third baseman.

That's not earth-shattering news. Twenty-nine other teams would happily pencil Machado into their starting lineups. The news is that the Padres are making a serious push for the star third baseman.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

It's easy to see why. Machado fills an obvious void at third base, and he'd become an anchor in the middle of San Diego's lineup for most of the next decade.

With that in mind, here's a breakdown of how the star third baseman could affect the rest of the Padres' short-, medium- and long-term plans.

In the short term ...
If Machado were to report to Padres camp, the dynamic would change instantly.

As things stand, San Diego is probably a year away from making a push at contention. Given the holes in the starting rotation, Machado's presence alone probably wouldn't change that.

But it might. Suddenly, the Padres' biggest lineup deficiency -- third base -- would become their biggest strength. Suddenly, that third-base competition becomes a (pretty fierce) competition for a utility role in the infield.

And who knows? Maybe a Machado signing would prompt a further look into the pitching staff. Maybe, with Machado on board, the Padres look to push their window of contention forward, and they trade from their immensely deep farm system for a front-line starter.

Video: Padres' Opening Day pitching staff still far from set

In the medium term ...
The most pressing question about a Machado acquisition is how it would affect the long-term infield plans, specifically for top shortstop prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect is expected to arrive within the season's first couple of months, and he's widely believed to be the club's shortstop of the future.

Machado, of course, can also play short. And some have speculated that Tatis might ultimately move to third. But the organization is staunch in its belief that Tatis is a shortstop for the long-haul.

"He's got the athleticism to play a lot of spots on the diamond," said manager Andy Green. "There's only one we're interested in having him play."

With that in mind, it's possible the Padres ask Machado to play shortstop until Tatis arrives. But Machado would almost certainly be a long-term third baseman in San Diego. How's this for an everyday lineup -- for 2019 and beyond?

1. Luis Urias, 2B
2. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B
4. Manny Machado, 3B
5. Wil Myers, LF
6. Franmil Reyes/Hunter Renfroe, RF
7. Manuel Margot/Franchy Cordero, CF
8. Austin Hedges/Francisco Mejia, C

Video: Andy Green speaks to the media about Spring Training

In the long term ...
Everyone else in that starting lineup is under team control through at least 2022. A number of highly ranked pitching prospects are on the horizon as well. At 26, Machado is young enough to fit right into the expected window for contention -- and help keep it open for a long time.

In that regard, Machado's presence wouldn't change much about the long-term plans in San Diego. Everything else moves ahead as scheduled. The Padres might be lighter in the pocket by a few million bucks. But they still have the top farm system in baseball, and general manager A.J. Preller would no longer need to spend any of his time scouring for a third baseman.

Next offseason, the focus would shift from general talent acquisition to -- gasp -- piecing together a playoff roster on the edges. Who are the right utility/platoon pieces? Which pitchers could be brought in to provide depth? Which prospects to trade in order to accomplish some of these goals? (Right now, many in the organization are high on youngsters like third baseman Hudson Potts and shortstop Xavier Edwards. But with Machado and Tatis anchoring the left side of the infield, maybe they become trade bait.)

Padres fans have been waiting a long time to start asking questions about playoff contention. An acquisition like Machado might put the club on the brink of that goal.

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

San Diego Padres, Manny Machado

Cespedes confident he'll return to field in 2019

Out until at least the All-Star break, Mets slugger to begin baseball activities next week
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Yoenis Cespedes does not know if it will be in July, or August, or September. But he does firmly believe that at some point this season, he will return to uniform with the Mets.

In the interim, Cespedes' life has become a slog of daily workouts as he tries to ramp back into game shape. Almost four months removed from the second of two surgeries to remove calcification and bone spurs from both heels, Cespedes expects to begin baseball activities next week. But he doesn't know when doctors will clear him to begin hitting, shagging fly balls or, most importantly, running.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Yoenis Cespedes does not know if it will be in July, or August, or September. But he does firmly believe that at some point this season, he will return to uniform with the Mets.

In the interim, Cespedes' life has become a slog of daily workouts as he tries to ramp back into game shape. Almost four months removed from the second of two surgeries to remove calcification and bone spurs from both heels, Cespedes expects to begin baseball activities next week. But he doesn't know when doctors will clear him to begin hitting, shagging fly balls or, most importantly, running.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"It's been frustrating for me so far because I love baseball, and I've been out of the game now for a few months," Cespedes said through an interpreter, making his first public comments since September. "I don't really know what to do with myself. I'm pretty bored. I want to start with the team, but I just can't right now at the moment."

The truth is that no one -- not the Mets, not their doctors, nor their trainers, their coaches or anyone else -- knows when Cespedes can return. When he last took the field on July 20, Cespedes was attempting to play through the heel, hip, hamstring and quad injuries that have dogged him throughout his Mets career. Subsequent examination revealed that his heels were the root of his medical issues; fix them, doctors said, and he should be able to return to 100 percent.

So Cespedes underwent twin surgeries in August and October, giving himself an eight- to 10-month timeframe to return. That was a best-case scenario; more recently, those close to Cespedes have pegged the All-Star break as his best-case return date. His surgeries have little precedent among Major League players other than Troy Tulowitzki, who underwent similar operations early last year and is still trying to make it back to the field.

"I do feel a lot better," Cespedes said. "I can't even tell you at the moment that I'm at 50 percent, but when I used to wake up, I would struggle walking. Now, even at this stage of the rehab, I can definitely walk without any pain."

The most significant test for Cespedes will be running, which he says he can't attempt until doctors clear it -- and that may not occur for several more weeks or even months. So while the Mets are hopeful to receive meaningful contributions from Cespedes in 2019, they're trying to keep their expectations low.

"I think we all saw how valuable he was in the past," manager Mickey Callaway said, "impacting a team and putting them over the edge. ... We're going to let him get to where he can come back and be that guy that is going to be impactful, and be the 100 percent Yoenis that he can be. We have time. I know he's itching to get out there. But that's kind of how I see it as a manager at this point."

Return date aside, there are no guarantees that once Cespedes comes back he will ever be a 30-homer, middle-of-the-order slugger again. Yet Cespedes, now 33, has been consistent in saying he underwent the surgeries with hope of rediscovering that form.

"When I do return, I plan on being 100 percent like I was in 2015," Cespedes said. "My body will be at 100 percent like it was in 2015, and that's what I plan on doing."

Back then, Cespedes was the catalyst for a Mets team that acquired him in a blockbuster non-waiver Trade Deadline deal with the Tigers, then rode his otherworldly second half to the National League pennant. The Mets re-signed Cespedes that winter, then again a year later to a four-year, $110 million contract -- a significant portion of which they have recouped through insurance.

In two seasons since signing, Cespedes has appeared in 119 games, producing a .282 batting average, 26 homers and an .869 OPS. The rest of the time, he has been sidelined, shying away from watching games on television because of how they make him feel.

"It's frustrating to watch, me knowing that I can't help," Cespedes said. "But this year, I'm going to be trying to watch a lot more, so I can call the players and I can be rooting for them and supporting them in the best way that I can.

"I can't really speak for myself, but what I can say is we have a great team. And God willing, if I do get back, I can help the best way I can."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Yoenis Cespedes

Count Angels among the suitors for Moose

MLB.com

Mike Moustakas has crushed 66 homers the past two seasons -- only Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado and Jose Ramirez have more among players with at least 50 percent of games at third base in that span. That power makes the 30-year-old, who is in his second straight offseason as a free agent, a solid alternative to Machado.

Below you will find the most recent buzz and rumors about the third baseman.

Mike Moustakas has crushed 66 homers the past two seasons -- only Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado and Jose Ramirez have more among players with at least 50 percent of games at third base in that span. That power makes the 30-year-old, who is in his second straight offseason as a free agent, a solid alternative to Machado.

Below you will find the most recent buzz and rumors about the third baseman.

Halos in on Moose
Feb. 15: For a second straight offseason, Moustakas is unsigned into Spring Training. But he has a new suitor: the Angels.

According to a report Friday from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the Halos are now in on Moustakas. That adds one more team to the list of potential landing spots for the third baseman, along with the Brewers, Padres and Phillies.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: #LAAngels are a new (or at least previously unpublicized) team in on Mike Moustakas. Moose is from the LA Valley and has done good work raising $ for fire victims in Cali. Brewers, possibly Padres and Phillies are other possibilities.

Third base has been an issue for the Angels for a while. They signed Zack Cozart last offseason to solidify the position, but he got off to a slow start and then suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder that required season-ending surgery in June.

If Cozart returns to full strength in 2019, there would be some question about how to fit both him and Moustakas in the Angels' lineup. One possibility would be playing Moustakas at third and Cozart at second, where he spent some time last year. They could also use Cozart at third and Moustakas at DH or first base, even though the Angels already have Albert Pujols and Justin Bour at those spots while they await Shohei Ohtani's return. The Halos could also platoon Cozart and Moustakas, with the former a right-handed bat and the latter a lefty.

Is a reunion between Moose and Milwaukee inevitable?
Feb. 9: As the Brewers await the arrival of second-base prospect Keston Hiura (MLB Pipeline's No. 20 overall prospect), the club has an unsettled keystone situation on the big league roster. Could Milwaukee solve that problem by signing … a third baseman?

Mike Moustakas is still available after finishing the 2018 campaign with the Brewers, who traded for the veteran in July and moved Travis Shaw from the hot corner to second base. The Crew could consider taking that route again, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required).

In fact, Rosenthal writes that "a reunion between the Brewers and Moustakas seems inevitable."

Moustakas could be a fallback option for teams eyeing Manny Machado, including the Phillies, White Sox and Padres. But if Machado remains unsigned over the next few weeks, Moustakas may tire of waiting.

That said, signing Moustakas and moving Shaw to second base for the 2019 season would raise some questions for the Brewers, as Rosenthal notes.

Primarily, Shaw's lack of range could become a concern if he is forced to stay at second base for the entire season. Shaw may also be uncomfortable making that move when he has his second year of arbitration eligibility upcoming after the 2019 campaign. Sources tell Rosenthal that the two sides are not discussing a long-term deal, and a poor defensive campaign at second base could hurt Shaw if he is forced to go to an arbitration hearing next offseason.

Meanwhile, the Brewers reportedly added another short-term second-base option to the fold Saturday, agreeing to a Minor League contract with Brett Lawrie. The 29-year-old hasn't played in the Majors since 2016, but he was a first-round Draft pick in '08 and a near-league-average bat (97 OPS+) over '12-16. He initially announced the signing himself via Instagram. According to Robert Murray of The Athletic, Lawrie's deal includes a club option for '20 and could be worth up to $7 million. Lawrie, Cory Spangenberg, Hernan Perez and Tyler Saladino are all in the mix to receive playing time at second until Hiura arrives.

Tweet from @ByRobertMurray: Further context: If Lawrie makes it to the majors in ���19, his salary is $1 million. Performance bonuses in ���19 and escalators in ���20. If the option for ���20 is declined, he would be eligible for free agency. https://t.co/TsmqKQb7Jq

Could Rays make a play for Moustakas?
Feb. 6: As one of the smaller-market teams with limited resources, the Rays typically don't spend much in free agency. But they're also coming off a surprising 2018 and looking to contend now, meaning they might be more willing to hit the open market, especially since some of the names they could target likely would come cheaper than expected with Spring Training just around the corner.

Their biggest expenditure so far this offseason was the two-year, $30 million deal to land righty Charlie Morton to improve their rotation. Could the Rays fit one more free agent in their budget? Like, say, Mike Moustakas?

Tampa Bay still has something of a need at both third base and designated hitter, and Eno Sarris of The Athletic thinks Moustakas would be a match (subscription required).

"The Rays had a shot at [Edwin] Encarnacion when they were negotiating with the Indians and Mariners in the three-team trade that turned Jake Bauers into Yandy Diaz," Sarris writes. "And they passed. Could they instead spend some free-agent dollars on a player that would add infield depth and perhaps surpass the slugger's production with a slightly different package of strengths and weaknesses?"

Moustakas is projected to hit .257/.317/.475 with 30 homers and a .218 isolated power mark while only striking out 16.8 percent of the time, according to Steamer projections. Encarnacion, on the other hand, is projected to slash .238/.337/.463 with 28 long balls, a .260 ISO and a 22.8 percent strikeout rate.

Another factor? The Rays lean right-handed on offense, with only Kevin Kiermaier, Austin Meadows, Joey Wendle and Ji-Man Choi among expected regulars who swing from the left side. Moustakas would add to that, quickly becoming Tampa Bay's top southpaw-slugging threat. It also would work well on defense, as Moustakas could take over at the hot corner, pushing Matt Duffy into more of a utility role, which would fit well given his versatility and injury history.

Could Moose reunite with Hoz?
Jan. 29: The Padres made news this past week with their reported interest in Manny Machado, but don't count them out of the running for another star free-agent infielder. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reports that San Diego is considering an offer for Moustakas, whose free agency is stretching toward Spring Training for a second straight year.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: While Padres have an eye on Manny Machado, they are also considering Mike Moustakas, who may be a more realistic target. No surprise, Eric Hosmer is said to have highly recommended Moose.

Moustakas and Hosmer teamed up in Kansas City through the 2017 season, of course, helping the Royals capture back-to-back American League pennants and the '15 World Series championship. San Diego's third-base hole is one of the most glaring on any of the 30 MLB rosters, with rookie Ty France currently slotted in as the Opening Day starter. There were rumors that the Padres would ask Machado to play third if he wound up signing with the Friars. Moustakas was worth 0.7 more WAR in 2018 than Christian Villanueva, the Padres' primary third baseman last season.

 

Mike Moustakas

Prospects who should vie for a roster spot in camp

MLB.com

As Spring Training gets underway, MLB.com has taken a closer look at prospects getting the chance to show what they can do in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. For example, there's been a story on 20 prospects likely to be impact rookies during the 2019 season.

Our beat writers also singled out one prospect to watch in each big league camp. But that didn't necessarily focus on prospects vying for Opening Day jobs. The 30 prospects below all are getting very long looks this spring with an eye toward breaking camp with the parent club. Even if they start the year in the Minors, they all should get the chance to contribute at some point in the very near future.

As Spring Training gets underway, MLB.com has taken a closer look at prospects getting the chance to show what they can do in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. For example, there's been a story on 20 prospects likely to be impact rookies during the 2019 season.

Our beat writers also singled out one prospect to watch in each big league camp. But that didn't necessarily focus on prospects vying for Opening Day jobs. The 30 prospects below all are getting very long looks this spring with an eye toward breaking camp with the parent club. Even if they start the year in the Minors, they all should get the chance to contribute at some point in the very near future.

American League East

Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B (No. 1 on Top 100 Prospects list)
Guerrero probably won't land on the Blue Jays' Opening Day roster as the club looks to retain an extra year of control over one of the best prospects in history. However, it almost goes without saying that the 20-year-old third baseman is ready to make an impact in the big leagues after he led the Minors in average (.381), slugging (.636) and OPS (1.073) in 2018. With his 80-grade bat and potential to hit 35-plus homers, Guerrero should become one of the sport's premier talents in short order.

Video: MLB Network on Vlad Jr. being game's top prospect

Orioles: Richie Martin, SS
Left off the A's 40-man roster despite his breakout 2018 season in Double-A, the '15 first-rounder became the first selection in the Rule 5 Draft in December. A plus defender who runs well and hits for average, albeit without much pop, Martin is penciled in as the Orioles' Opening Day shortstop right now, and he does enough things well to stick on the active roster in a reserve role.

Rays: Brandon Lowe, 2B/OF 
Breaking out in earnest in 2018, Lowe slugged his way up to Triple-A and hit 14 homers there to earn his first big league callup in August. With the Rays, he overcame an 0-for-19 start to his career to finish with six home runs and a .774 OPS in 129 at-bats, keeping his prospect status in place. Given Tampa Bay's emphasis on defensive versatility, Lowe, with his ability to play both second base and the outfield, is a candidate to get regular at-bats in '19.

Red Sox: Colten Brewer, RHP
In search of low-cost bullpen options, Boston acquired Brewer from the Padres in November in exchange for second-base prospect Esteban Quiroz. Brewer has a difference-making pitch in a 92-96 mph fastball with tremendous natural cut, and he also has a power curveball that he doesn't always land for strikes.

Yankees: Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP (MLB No. 66)
New York doesn't have an obvious rotation opening after trading for James Paxton and re-signing J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia. But Loaisiga impressed at times during his big league debut last summer and has three pitches (fastball, curveball, changeup) that grade as plus or better when at their best.

AL Central

Indians: Yu Chang, SS/3B
Chang is not going to dislodge Francisco Lindor from shortstop, but he is capable of playing second and third base and winning at least a utility role this spring. He could approximate the production Cleveland gets out of Jason Kipnis at second base for a fraction of the veteran's $14.5 million salary.

Royals: Richard Lovelady, LHP
The Royals do have a pair of Rule 5 Draft picks in Sam McWilliams and Chris Ellis, and we know they like to keep those guys, as well as hard-throwing prospects like Josh Staumont. But Lovelady's funky delivery and potential to have three very usable pitches gives him the chance to get some high-leverage innings very soon.

Tigers: Christin Stewart, OF
The second of Detroit's two first-round picks in 2015, Stewart reached the Majors for the first time last September after hitting 93 home runs in 460 Minor League games. He homered twice in the big leagues, hitting both as part of a multihomer performance against the Royals, and he impressed with an approach that has improved in every season. While his limitations on defense suggest that Stewart will likely see most of his time as a DH, he has the combination of massive raw power and on-base skills to stick in the role.

Twins: Stephen Gonsalves, LHP
Gonsalves' first taste of the big leagues didn't go so well last year, but the hope is the adversity he faced there, along with some mechanical tweaks he's made, will help him going forward. The Twins' rotation is crowded, but look for this lefty to help out at some point in 2019.

White Sox: Eloy Jimenez, OF (MLB No. 3)
Jimenez not only should win a corner-outfield job with the White Sox, but he also should be their best offensive player as a rookie. While the No. 3 overall prospect may have his arrival in Chicago further delayed by service-time considerations, he's ready to rake after batting .337/.384/.577 with 22 homers in the upper Minors a year ago.

Video: MLB Network on talent of No. 3 prospect Eloy Jimenez

AL West

A's: Jesus Luzardo, LHP (MLB No. 12)
A lot of eyes are on the top lefty pitching prospect in baseball, as he is being given every chance to make the A's rotation this spring. Keep in mind, though, he's only made four starts above Double-A, so a little seasoning could be in order. Expect him to pitch well enough in Cactus League games to make the decision very tough.

 Video: Luzardo on feeling no pressure and improving in 2019

Angels: Ty Buttrey, RHP
The Angels clearly liked Buttrey enough to get him in the Ian Kinsler trade with the Red Sox last summer, but they were more impressed with his complete repertoire than they anticipated. In addition to his outstanding fastball, he has the chance to have two excellent secondary pitches, which points to a future pitching late in games.

Astros: Josh James, RHP (MLB No. 62)
A 34th-round pick out of Western Oklahoma JC in 2014, James broke out last year by leading the Minors in strikeout rate (13.5 per nine innings) and claiming a spot on Houston's postseason roster. He misses bats with three pitches and should open the season in the Astros' rotation provided he throws enough strikes.

Mariners: Justus Sheffield, LHP (MLB No. 43)
The M's acquired Sheffield in the Paxton deal with the expectation he'd contribute to the rotation in 2019. If everyone is healthy, Seattle has a set five ready to go, but the young lefty will get a long look and could break through with a strong spring, or at least be ready to be the first one to answer the bell when there's a need.

Rangers: C.D. Pelham, LHP
Pelham rocketed from Class A Advanced to Texas last year and has the highest upside of any of the left-handed relievers on the club's 40-man roster. With a fastball that can reach the upper 90s and a cutter that can be unhittable at times, he just needs to throw strikes to become a late-inning force.

National League East

Braves: Touki Toussaint, RHP (MLB No. 50)
So many pitchers, so little room. A number of pitching prospects who contributed to the Braves' playoff push will get innings in Florida, with Mike Soroka, Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson coming most to mind. Toussaint, though, made a lasting impression and landed on the postseason roster, giving him a small leg up.

Marlins: Sandy Alcantara, RHP
Alcantara might have the best stuff of any of Miami's rotation candidates, though he still needs to prove he can harness it on a regular basis. He can reach triple digits with his fastball and carve up hitters with his slider and curveball when they're working.

Mets: Peter Alonso, 1B (MLB No. 51)
After he tied for the Minor League lead with 36 homers and led it outright with 119 RBIs in 2018, Alonso enters the season with nothing left to prove in the Minors. There was clamoring from fans for the Mets to promote him late last season, and that is likely to carry over into Spring Training. The Mets must keep Alonso in the Minors until mid-April if they want to ensure an extra year of team control, though with the organization seemingly in win-now mode, a spot on the Opening Day roster could be a possibility.

Video: Top Prospects: Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets

Nationals: Victor Robles, OF (MLB No. 4)
After making his debut in the big leagues as a 20-year-old and then winning a spot on the Nationals' postseason roster in 2017, Robles appeared poised for an everyday role in the team's outfield last season until a hyperextended left elbow in April derailed his progress, landing him on the injured list for three months. Robles should finally get his chance as the Nats' center fielder in 2019, and has the type of across-the-board tools -- headlined by top-of-the-scale speed and defense -- that could make him an impact player in all facets of the game.

Phillies: Enyel De Los Santos, RHP
The Phillies have some pitching depth amassing at the top of the system, with lefties like Ranger Suarez, JoJo Romero and Cole Irvin all just about ready to help out. De Los Santos chipped in last year and has the stuff that would fit well out of the bullpen if that's where the need is in Philadelphia.

NL Central

Brewers: Keston Hiura, 2B (MLB No. 20)
The No. 9 pick in the 2017 Draft, Hiura raked his way up to Double-A in his first full season, then garnered MVP honors in the Arizona Fall League after he led the circuit in RBIs. The Brewers likely will send Hiura, a plus hitter with plus power potential, to the Minors to begin the season so as to offer him more upper-level experience. However, second base has also been a black hole of production for the club in recent years, and there's no better prospect at the keystone in the Minors than Hiura.

Cardinals: Alex Reyes, RHP (MLB No. 33)
After Tommy John surgery cost him all of 2017 and delayed the start of his campaign in '18, Reyes, the Cardinals' top prospect in each of the past four years, returned to the Majors last June, only to leave his first start with a torn tendon in his lat muscle that required season-ending surgery. His rehab schedule has him on track to pitch during Spring Training, and if he proves to be healthy, Reyes, with his power stuff and knack for missing bats, would be a welcome addition to the Cards' Opening Day rotation.

Video: Mayo on Reyes being a prospect to keep an eye out for

Cubs: Dakota Mekkes, RHP
Mekkes led NCAA Division I in hit rate (4.1 per nine innings) and strikeout rate (15.2) at Michigan State in 2016, and has put up similarly crazy numbers in three years as a pro: 1.16 ERA, 5.3 hits and 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings. He succeeds largely on the basis of a low-90s fastball that plays way above its velocity because of his extension and deception, just the kind of different look that would fit nicely in the middle innings for the bullpen-needy Cubs.

Pirates: Kevin Newman, SS
Jordy Mercer is gone, so there will be competition for the shortstop gig in Pittsburgh. Most think Erik Gonzalez will be the guy, but Newman will get the chance to win it and push Gonzalez to a utility role. The former first-round pick has hit in the Minors, but looked overmatched during his brief big league debut last year.

Reds: Nick Senzel, OF (MLB No. 6)
Senzel was primarily a third baseman. Then he saw time at second. Now he's learning how to play center field. Even though injuries curtailed Senzel's 2018 season, the Reds think Senzel's bat is just about ready, so they're trying to find a spot for it in their lineup, and center might be the best opportunity right now.

NL West

D-backs: Yoan Lopez, RHP
Signed by Arizona for more than $8 million in 2015, Lopez overcame a host of struggles early in his career, both on and off the field, to put it all together in '18. He made the jump from Double-A, where he had averaged 12.7 K/9, to the Majors in September and showcased electric stuff out the D-backs' bullpen, pairing a fastball that reached 99 mph with a wipeout mid-80s slider.

Dodgers: Alex Verdugo, OF (MLB No. 35)
One of the best pure hitters in the Minors, Verdugo has batted .321 in Triple-A the past two seasons as one of the youngest regulars in the Pacific Coast League. But Los Angeles still has a logjam of outfielders, even after trading Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to the Reds, so he faces an uphill battle.

Giants: Chris Shaw, OF
No Giant managed more than 16 home runs last year, a total Shaw easily could top if he wins San Francisco's wide-open left-field job. He has averaged 23 homers in three full Minor League seasons and his first big league shot was a 468-foot blast off Seunghwan Oh last September.

Padres: Francisco Mejia, C (MLB No. 26)
Acquired from the Indians at last year's All-Star break for relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber, Mejia slashed .328/.364/.582 with seven homers in 31 Triple-A games after the trade before joining the Padres in the big leagues as a September callup. He's an advanced switch-hitter who makes a lot of hard contact from both sides of the plate, though his defense is inferior to Austin Hedges'.

Video: Top Prospects: Francisco Mejia, C, Padres

Rockies: Brendan Rodgers, INF (MLB No. 10)
With DJ LeMahieu signing a free agent deal with the Yankees, second base is up for grabs in Colorado. Rodgers, who has seen time at three infield spots in the Minors, joins fellow prospect Garrett Hampson and recently graduated prospect Ryan McMahon among those competing for the job. He might start the year in Triple-A, but look for him to hit his way back up quickly.

Severino, Yanks reach 4-year deal

Right-hander expected to start season opener March 28
MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees believe that Luis Severino will continue to stand tall among the sport's young aces for years to come, and they rewarded that promise by announcing a four-year contract extension with the right-hander on Friday, avoiding salary arbitration. The deal includes a club option for the 2023 season.

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand confirmed that Severino is guaranteed $40 million in the deal, and he will make $52.25 million if the option is exercised.

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees believe that Luis Severino will continue to stand tall among the sport's young aces for years to come, and they rewarded that promise by announcing a four-year contract extension with the right-hander on Friday, avoiding salary arbitration. The deal includes a club option for the 2023 season.

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand confirmed that Severino is guaranteed $40 million in the deal, and he will make $52.25 million if the option is exercised.

"He's a great pitcher and I hope he's here for a long time," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. "That would be my hope. I'm excited to get him back in camp, hopefully tomorrow. I missed seeing him out here today."

Severino and the Yankees had been $850,000 apart with their exchange of arbitration figures, with the pitcher filing at $5.25 million. The club countered at $4.4 million, and a hearing had been scheduled for Friday in St. Petersburg.

A two-time All-Star, Severino earned $604,975 last season, when he was 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 32 starts. He will receive a $2 million signing bonus, $4 million in 2019, $10 million in '20, $10.25 million in '21 and $11 million in '22.

The pact came one day after the Phillies formally announced a four-year, $45 million extension with right-hander Aaron Nola. Like Severino, Nola could have gambled by going to arbitration in future seasons but opted for the security of a guaranteed contract.

Video: MLB Tonight: Details of Severino's 4-year extension

Boone said he heard buzz about Severino's new deal while patrolling the practice fields on Friday, and that he expects Severino -- who turns 25 next week -- to serve as the Yankees' starter for the March 28 opener against the Orioles. It will be the second straight Opening Day assignment for Severino, who drew those honors last March in Toronto.

Severino was a leading candidate for the American League Cy Young Award through the season's first four months, going 14-2 with a 2.12 ERA through 19 starts. From July 12 through the end of the season, Severino was 5-6 with a 5.69 ERA in 13 starts.

The hurler said he has altered his diet and workout program to avoid a similar dropoff in 2019. He is also avoiding heavy lifting, saying he has been running and stretching often to avoid becoming too tight.

As a result of his changes, Severino said he has lost 12 to 15 pounds and feels "way lighter" than he did at the end of the season.

"I had a great first half and then all of that happened," Severino said recently. "I knew it was just that I struggled for a little bit. I know the pitcher that I am. I know I can come back. I know I can pitch well again."

Since making his big league debut in 2015, Severino has compiled a career record of 41-25 with a 3.51 ERA in 96 games. He owns two of the top six single-season strikeout totals in franchise history, having fanned 230 batters in 2017 and 220 last year. The Yankees are 44-19 in Severino's 63 starts since the start of '17, the most team wins started by any Major League pitcher over that span.

The Yankees' most recent trip to arbitration was with right-hander Dellin Betances in 2017. Prior to that, the club had not been to arbitration since prevailing over right-hander Chien-Ming Wang in '08.

"Any time in an arbitration situation when the two sides can agree, I think that's better for the club and the player to not have to go through that process," Boone said.

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

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

Baez challenging Altuve as top fantasy 2B

MLB.com @_dadler

Could Jose Altuve have a challenger this year at the top of the fantasy second-base rankings? Welcome to the conversation, Javier Baez.

Baez's runner-up finish for National League MVP Award last year has vaulted him up the list of top second basemen. In the end, Altuve retains his No. 1 spot -- and he's the only clear-cut first-round pick at the position -- but Baez merits consideration in the early rounds, too.

Could Jose Altuve have a challenger this year at the top of the fantasy second-base rankings? Welcome to the conversation, Javier Baez.

Baez's runner-up finish for National League MVP Award last year has vaulted him up the list of top second basemen. In the end, Altuve retains his No. 1 spot -- and he's the only clear-cut first-round pick at the position -- but Baez merits consideration in the early rounds, too.

Fantasy rankings: Overall | Catcher | First basemen | Third basemen | ShortstopsOutfieldersRelievers

If you don't snag one of those two, you might want to wait a couple of rounds and tab a high-upside youngster like Gleyber Torres or Ozzie Albies, or hold out a few rounds more for a solid but maybe more limited option like Dee Gordon or Scooter Gennett. Or if your strategy is to wait out the market, you could always take a shot at a veteran like Robinson Cano or Daniel Murphy later on.

Here's how the fantasy tiers break down for second basemen entering 2019:

Tier 1: Jose Altuve, Javier Baez

Altuve is a perennial Tier 1 second baseman. He's just a hair lower in the 2019 overall rankings than he was a year ago (No. 8, vs. No. 2 entering '18) after a dip in production last season, when he played through a right knee injury that required offseason surgery. But he's still an elite asset at his position, and the top option for fantasy. Because here's what a "dip" looked like for Altuve: a .316 batting average, 13 homers, 61 RBIs, 84 runs scored and 17 stolen bases. He's expected to be fully recovered for the start of this season, so the 28-year-old Astros star could easily return to his 200-hit, 20-homer, 30-steal MVP level.

Baez is the new power-speed second baseman who just jumped into the MVP conversation. The electric 26-year-old hit .290 with 34 home runs, 111 RBIs, 101 runs scored and 21 steals in 2018. Baez isn't yet the proven commodity that Altuve is, but he's surrounded by other stars in the Cubs' lineup, and he offers positional versatility, too, as he'll likely have eligibility at both third base and shortstop in '19. Put it all together and that's why he's ranked No. 22 overall in fantasy this year.

Video: Jose Altuve is the No. 1 second baseman right now

Tier 2: Whit Merrifield, Ozzie Albies, Gleyber Torres

Merrifield isn't as young as the other two Tier 2 second basemen, but he's made his late breakout count. The 30-year-old has now led the AL in stolen bases two years in a row, and in 2018 he led the Majors in both hits (192) and steals (45) while hitting .304 with 12 homers, 60 RBIs and 88 runs scored for the Royals. Look for another 30-steal effort with double-digit home runs in 2019.

Albies and Torres look like stars in the making. Both are just 22 years old and have the potential to jump into the top tier at their position. Albies broke out in his sophomore season with the Braves, hitting .261 with 24 home runs, 14 stolen bases, 72 RBIs and 105 runs scored. Torres was an AL Rookie of the Year finalist after hitting .271 with 24 homers, 77 RBIs and 54 runs for the Yankees (although he wasn't a stolen-base threat, with six steals). Plus, in strong playoff-contending lineups, both players could have plenty of opportunities to pad the stat sheet.

Video: Whit Merrifield is the No. 3 second baseman right now

Tier 3: Rougned Odor, Dee Gordon, Scooter Gennett

Tier 3 starts with a power-speed option, but a somewhat risky one, in Odor. The 25-year-old has provided double-digit homers and steals in three straight seasons for the Rangers, but his home run total dropped from 30-plus from 2016-17 to 18 last season, as he missed time with a left hamstring strain early in the year and slumped in the first half. His plate discipline can be an issue, and he's a .248 career hitter, but if Odor can make strides in '19, he could be one of the top run producers among second basemen.

Gordon also has his drawbacks -- he won't hit for power or drive in runs -- but his speed upside gives him value. Gordon's average baserunning sprint speed last year, per Statcast™, was a top-tier 29 ft/sec -- two full feet per second above the MLB average of 27 ft/sec. The 30-year-old stole 30 bases in his first season with the Mariners, his fifth straight year reaching that mark. He projects to swipe 30-plus bags once again in 2019, and along with a decent average and run-scoring ability, that should keep him on fantasy radars.

Gennett, like Merrifield in the tier above him, is a late bloomer who's turned into an impressive hitter and fantasy asset. Over his last two seasons with the Reds, the 28-year-old has put up a .303/.351/.508 slash line while averaging 25 home runs, 94 RBIs and 83 runs scored. (His 2018 numbers: .310/.357/.490, 23 homers, 92 RBIs and 86 runs). And he plays in one of baseball's hitter-friendliest ballparks in Cincinnati, so there could be more of the same in '19, although the Steamer projections see him taking a slight hit in the average and power departments.

Video: Scooter Gennett is the No. 6 second baseman right now

Tier 4: Jonathan Villar, Daniel Murphy, Robinson Cano, Brian Dozier

Which Villar are you going to get in 2019? The one who struggled through the first half with the Brewers, or the one who put together a strong final two months after his trade to the Orioles? The projections see him at about 10-20 home runs and 20-30 stolen bases, with a batting average in the .250 range -- so, similar to his overall numbers from '18. The O's infield is a lot less crowded than the Brewers', so Villar should get plenty of playing time, but they're a rebuilding team that might not provide the run-production opportunities of Milwaukee.

After that, the theme of Tier 4 is veterans who have produced at high levels in past seasons but carry significant question marks into 2019.

Murphy got off to a slow start last year coming back from offseason right knee surgery, but his numbers soon improved, and he hit .317/.355/.493 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 76 games from July through September. But there are some underlying concerns. Murphy's hard-hit rate dropped from 41.7 percent in 2017 to just 28.5 percent in '18, and the percentage of balls he pulled -- a key for his home run power -- dropped from 37.6 percent to 32.6 percent. On the other hand, he continues to make tons of contact -- his strikeout rate was just 11.4 percent last season -- and he's going to hit at Coors Field, which should boost his stats. Projections see Murphy hitting over .300 with 20-plus homers, 80-plus RBIs and 80-plus runs in his Rockies debut.

Cano fell below the 150-games-played threshold for the first time in more than a decade last year, a combination of a right hand fracture from being hit by a pitch and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. He's also 36 years old. But there's reason for optimism, because despite his age, Cano has continued to maintain star-level production when he's on the field. In the 80 games he did play in 2018, Cano hit .303/.374/.471 with 10 homers, 50 RBIs and 44 runs scored. His hard-hit rate of 51.7 percent was among the five best in the Majors, indicating his contact quality is still excellent. While he won't steal you any bases, the projections predict Cano will hit in the .280 range with 20-plus homers and 80-plus RBIs in his first season with the Mets.

Dozier might be the riskiest option in Tier 4, as his production plummeted in 2018. The 31-year-old hit just .215/.305/.391. From a fantasy perspective, he did stil chip in 21 homers, 12 steals and 72 RBIs, but those were also drops from the previous couple of seasons -- from '16-17, Dozier averaged 38 homers, 17 steals and 96 RBIs. In terms of underlying numbers, Dozier's hard-hit rate also dropped from 34.7 percent in 2017 to 28.4 percent in '18. Given his previous track record, the projections do see some bounceback for Dozier in his first season with the Nationals -- a batting average in the .240 range, about 20 home runs, double-digit steals and 70 or so RBIs. But even that wouldn't be the same level he was at before.

David Adler is a reporter and researcher for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Carolina Hurricanes celebrate win with stick flip and 'home run trot' on ice

This hockey season, Carolina Hurricanes victories at home have taken on a fun new element for the fans in Raleigh. Instead of the customary celebrations, they've adopted the "Storm Surge." A Prince Fielder-like earthquake? Check. Bowling yourself down the ice? Done.

Now, the 'Canes can add another sport to the party. 

Vandy, Fullerton open inaugural MLB4 with wins

MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Veteran infielder Ryan Flaherty made the roughly 40-mile trek from the Indians' Spring Training facility in Goodyear to Salt River Fields on Friday to support Vanderbilt, his former college team, in the inaugural MLB4 college baseball tournament.

The Commodores have been one of the top programs in the country in recent years; they're well represented in many MLB organizations and Flaherty isn't shy about sharing how he feels Vanderbilt compares to other schools.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Veteran infielder Ryan Flaherty made the roughly 40-mile trek from the Indians' Spring Training facility in Goodyear to Salt River Fields on Friday to support Vanderbilt, his former college team, in the inaugural MLB4 college baseball tournament.

The Commodores have been one of the top programs in the country in recent years; they're well represented in many MLB organizations and Flaherty isn't shy about sharing how he feels Vanderbilt compares to other schools.

"It's the best program in the country," Flaherty said.

Opening their season against Virginia at the Spring Training home of the D-backs and Rockies, the Commodores showed just why Flaherty -- and other former Vandy players -- are comfortable making that statement. Vanderbilt pounded out 17 hits in a 15-9 win in the MLB4 tournament's MLB Network showcase game.

Tweet from @MLBNetwork: The @VandyBoys win 15-9! #MLB4 pic.twitter.com/V1xdQxm4kC

Flaherty is one of numerous former Vanderbilt standouts now playing in MLB. David Price (Red Sox), Walker Buehler (Dodgers), Sonny Gray (Reds), Dansby Swanson (Braves), Carson Fulmer (White Sox), Mike Minor (Rangers), Tony Kemp (Astros) and Pedro Alvarez (Marlins) are among the 13 former Commodores that made an MLB appearance in 2018.

After playing at Vanderbilt from 2006-08, Flaherty has played seven Major League seasons with the Orioles and Braves. The infielder, who signed a Minor League deal with the Indians last week, said he watches Commodores games as frequently as possible.

"Whether it's players, front office, coaches, every affiliate, every organization has Vanderbilt people in it, so it's something I'm definitely proud of, for sure," Flaherty said. "There are a lot more televised games than when I played there, so I get to watch them."

The Commodores have made it to the NCAA Tournament every year since 2006, a stretch that included back-to-back appearances in the College World Series in '14 and '15. They beat Virginia to win the national championship in 2014, but lost to the Cavaliers the following year.

Virginia has also had success in sending players to the Majors. Current big leaguers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals), Chris Taylor (Dodgers), Mark Reynolds (Rockies), Brandon Guyer (White Sox) and John Hicks (Tigers) are former Cavaliers.

Vanderbilt, which was ranked No. 1 in the preseason D1Baseball Top 25, scored at least one run in each of the first four innings Friday night, which included eight in the fourth. Austin Martin, JJ Bleday (MLB Pipeline's No. 24 2019 Draft prospect) and Ethan Paul each had three hits.

"You never know how the first game's going to go. You're confident, but you never know," said Paul, who homered and drove in three runs. "We all got some barrels and we all found some grass, so we're excited about that."

While the four teams (Vanderbilt, Virginia, TCU and Cal State Fullerton) participating in the MLB4 tournament will go back to playing at college campuses after this weekend, it may not be long before some of these standouts are back training and playing at MLB facilities.

As the MLB4 tournament is growing the sport by exposing college baseball to a wider audience, it also gives these players a chance to see where their career could head after college.

"At Vanderbilt, Coach [Tim] Corbin has done a great job creating a culture here, and we try to just hold up those standards so that we can represent ourselves as best as we can," Paul said. "That's definitely a motivation for everyone in here. I'm sure I can speak for a lot of guys that they want to play at the next level."

Tweet from @MLBDevelops: Today, big-time college ball. Tomorrow, the pros?@FullertonBSB and @TCU_Baseball kick off #MLB4, a showcase tournament hosted by @MLB! pic.twitter.com/XCLz05eGcX

Cal State Fullerton tops TCU in opener
Friday's action started with a matchup between two ranked teams -- No. 19 TCU and No. 25 Cal State Fullerton.

Although TCU had Nick Lodolo (MLB Pipeline's No. 16 2019 Draft prospect) on the mound, it was Cal State Fullerton starter Tanner Bibee who pitched his team to victory. Bibee tossed six scoreless innings, working out of several tough jams, to help the Titans win, 2-0, in both teams' season opener.

Lodolo also fared well, allowing two earned runs over five innings. He gave up a leadoff home run to Daniel Cope in the second and an RBI single to Sahid Valenzuela in the third.

Bibee combined with relievers Gavin Velasquez and Michael Weisberg for the shutout. TCU went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, leaving 12 runners on base.

"It was exciting, it was unreal," Bibee said of the Titans' season-opening win. "It just shows us that everyone needs to give us respect. We're young, but we're going to compete and we're going to grind you every single pitch. This competition is definitely something special."

Jake Rill is a reporter/producer for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JakeDRill.

Projected 2019 lineups, rotations for every team

MLB.com

Spring Training is here, so now is a good time to project what each club's Opening Day lineup and rotation would look like if the season began today. Of course, rosters are still fluid at this point, but with help from all 30 MLB.com beat writers, here's a roundup of how they might turn out.

Spring Training is here, so now is a good time to project what each club's Opening Day lineup and rotation would look like if the season began today. Of course, rosters are still fluid at this point, but with help from all 30 MLB.com beat writers, here's a roundup of how they might turn out.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

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

Rotation and closer:
1. Marcus Stroman, RHP
2. Aaron Sanchez, RHP
3. Ryan Borucki, LHP
4. Matt Shoemaker, RHP
5. Clayton Richard, LHP
Closer: Ken Giles, RHP

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

Rotation and closer:
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP
2. Andrew Cashner, RHP
3. Alex Cobb, RHP
4. David Hess, RHP
5. Nate Karns, RHP
Closer: Mychal Givens, RHP

RAYS
Lineup:
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

Rotation and closer:
1. Blake Snell, LHP
2. Charlie Morton, RHP
3. Opener
4. Tyler Glasnow, RHP
5. Opener
Closer: Jose Alvarado, LHP

RED SOX
Lineup:
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

Rotation and closer:
1. Chris Sale, LHP
2. David Price, LHP
3. Rick Porcello, RHP
4. Nathan Eovaldi, RHP
5. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
Closer: Matt Barnes, RHP 

YANKEES
Lineup:
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

Rotation and closer:
1. Luis Severino, RHP
2. James Paxton, LHP
3. Masahiro Tanaka, RHP
4. J.A. Happ, LHP
5. CC Sabathia, LHP
Closer: Aroldis Chapman, LHP

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

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

Rotation and closer:
1. Corey Kluber, RHP
2. Trevor Bauer, RHP
3. Carlos Carrasco, RHP
4. Mike Clevinger, RHP
5. Shane Bieber, RHP
Closer: Brad Hand, LHP

ROYALS
Lineup:
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. Brett Phillips, RF
9. Billy Hamilton, CF

Rotation and closer:
1. Danny Duffy, LHP
2. Brad Keller, RHP
3. Jakob Junis, RHP
4. Ian Kennedy, RHP
5. Jorge Lopez, RHP
Closer: Brad Boxberger, RHP

TIGERS
Lineup:
1. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
2. Christin Stewart, LF
3. Nicholas 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

Rotation and closer:
1. Matthew Boyd, LHP
2. Michael Fulmer, RHP
3. Jordan Zimmermann, RHP
4. Matt Moore, LHP
5. Tyson Ross, RHP
Closer: Shane Greene, RHP

TWINS
Lineup:
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

Rotation and closer:
1. Jose Berrios, RHP
2. Kyle Gibson, RHP
3. Michael Pineda, RHP
4. Jake Odorizzi, RHP
5. Martin Perez, LHP
Closer: Trevor May, RHP

WHITE SOX
Lineup:
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

Rotation and closer:
1. Carlos Rodon, LHP
2. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP
3. Ivan Nova, RHP
4. Lucas Giolito, RHP
5. Manny Banuelos, LHP
Closer: Alex Colome, RHP

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

ANGELS
Lineup:
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

Rotation and closer:
1. Tyler Skaggs, LHP
2. Andrew Heaney, LHP
3. Matt Harvey, RHP
4. Trevor Cahill, RHP
5. Jaime Barria, RHP
Closer: Cody Allen, RHP

ASTROS
Lineup:
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

Rotation and closer:
1. Justin Verlander, RHP
2. Gerrit Cole, RHP
3. Wade Miley, LHP
4. Collin McHugh, RHP
5. Josh James, RHP
Closer: Roberto Osuna, RHP

ATHLETICS
Lineup:
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

Rotation and closer:
1. Mike Fiers, RHP
2. Marco Estrada, RHP
3. Brett Anderson, LHP
4. Daniel Mengden, RHP
5. Paul Blackburn, RHP
Closer: Blake Treinen, RHP

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

Rotation and closer:
1. Marco Gonzales, LHP
2. Yusei Kikuchi, LHP
3. Mike Leake, RHP
4. Wade LeBlanc, LHP
5. Felix Hernandez, RHP
Closer: Hunter Strickland, RHP

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

Rotation and closer:
1. Mike Minor, LHP 
2. Lance Lynn, RHP
3. Drew Smyly, LHP
4. Edinson Volquez, RHP
5. Shelby Miller, RHP
Closer: Jose Leclerc, RHP

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

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

Rotation and closer:
1. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP
2. Sean Newcomb, LHP
3. Kevin Gausman, RHP
4. Julio Teheran, RHP
5. Touki Toussaint, RHP
Closer: Arodys Vizcaino, RHP

MARLINS
Lineup:
1. Lewis Brinson, CF
2. Curtis Granderson, LF
3. Starlin Castro, 2B
4. Brian Anderson, 3B
5. Peter O'Brien, RF
6. Neil Walker, 1B
7. Jorge Alfaro, C
8. JT Riddle, SS

Rotation and closer:
1. Jose Urena, RHP
2. Dan Straily, RHP
3. Wei-Yin Chen, LHP
4. Sandy Alcantara, RHP
5. Trevor Richards, RHP
Closer: Drew Steckenrider, RHP

METS
Lineup:
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

Rotation and closer:
1. Jacob deGrom, RHP
2. Noah Syndergaard, RHP
3. Zack Wheeler, RHP
4. Steven Matz, LHP
5. Jason Vargas, LHP
Closer: Edwin Diaz, RHP

NATIONALS
Lineup:
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, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Max Scherzer, RHP
2. Stephen Strasburg, RHP
3. Patrick Corbin, LHP
4. Anibal Sanchez, RHP
5. Jeremy Hellickson, RHP
Closer: Sean Doolittle, LHP

PHILLIES
Lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Jean Segura, SS
3. J.T. Realmuto, C
4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
5. Andrew McCutchen, LF
6. Odubel Herrera, CF
7. Maikel Franco, 3B
8. Nick Williams, RF

Rotation and closer:
1. Aaron Nola, RHP
2. Jake Arrieta, RHP
3. Nick Pivetta, RHP
4. Zach Eflin, RHP
5. Vince Velasquez, RHP
Closer: David Robertson, RHP, or Seranthony Dominguez, RHP

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

BREWERS
Lineup:
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. Cory Spangenberg, 2B
8. Orlando Arcia, SS

Rotation and closer:
1. Jhoulys Chacin, RHP
2. Chase Anderson, RHP
3. Zach Davies, RHP
4. Jimmy Nelson, RHP
5. Brandon Woodruff, RHP
Closer: Corey Knebel, RHP

CARDINALS
Lineup:
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

Rotation and closer:
1. Miles Mikolas, RHP
2. Carlos Martinez, RHP
3. Jack Flaherty, RHP
4. Michael Wacha, RHP
5. Adam Wainwright, RHP
Closer: Andrew Miller, LHP

CUBS
Lineup:
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

Rotation and closer:
1. Jon Lester, LHP
2. Kyle Hendricks, RHP
3. Cole Hamels, LHP
4. Yu Darvish, RHP
5. Jose Quintana, LHP
Closer: Pedro Strop, RHP

PIRATES
Lineup:
1. Adam Frazier, 2B
2. Starling Marte, CF
3. Corey Dickerson, LF
4. Josh Bell, 1B
5. Francisco Cervelli, C
6. Colin Moran, 3B
7. Lonnie Chisenhall, RF
8. Erik Gonzalez, SS

Rotation and closer:
1. Jameson Taillon, RHP
2. Chris Archer, RHP
3.