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First Spring Training workout dates for all clubs

MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

Major League Baseball has revealed the first Spring Training workout dates for pitchers and catchers and those for the full squads for all 30 clubs. MLB also announced game times for all Cactus and Grapefruit League action in February and March.

Major League Baseball has revealed the first Spring Training workout dates for pitchers and catchers and those for the full squads for all 30 clubs. MLB also announced game times for all Cactus and Grapefruit League action in February and March.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The A's, fresh off their surprise run to the 2018 American League Wild Card Game, will be the first club to have its pitchers and catchers report. They'll do so on Monday, Feb. 11, followed by the Indians and Mariners on Feb. 12 and the remainder of MLB clubs in the days following. Oakland and Seattle will travel to Tokyo to stage two exhibition games each against Japanese teams on March 17-18, followed by the first two games of the 2019 regular season on March 20-21 at Tokyo Dome.

Complete Spring Training schedule

Oakland and Seattle will hold their first full-squad workouts on Saturday, Feb. 16, in Arizona, with the rest of MLB following suit in the days after. The Braves will be the last club to hold its first full-squad workout, doing so on Thursday, Feb. 21. The A's and Mariners open Cactus League action with a matchup on Feb. 21, and the Rays and Phillies open up Grapefruit League action the following day. The Red Sox and Tigers will play exhibition games against college teams on Feb. 22.

Here are first-workout dates for pitchers and catchers and full squads for each team:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Angels: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Astros: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Athletics: Feb. 11/Feb. 16
Blue Jays: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Indians: Feb. 12/Feb. 18
Mariners: Feb. 12/Feb. 16
Orioles: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rangers: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rays: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Red Sox: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Royals: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Tigers: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Twins: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
White Sox: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Yankees: Feb. 14/Feb. 19

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Braves: Feb. 16/Feb. 21
Brewers: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Cardinals: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Cubs: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Diamondbacks: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Dodgers: Feb. 13/Feb. 19
Giants: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Marlins: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Mets: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Nationals: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Padres: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Phillies: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Pirates: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Reds: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rockies: Feb. 13/Feb. 18

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

No-doubt Hall of Famers you'll see play this season

MLB.com @mike_petriello

We have an extremely hot take to offer: One day, Mike Trout is going to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

In his seven full seasons, he's finished either first or second in the Most Valuable Player Award voting six times, with 2017's fourth place somehow representing a "down year." While he hasn't quite reached the 10-season minimum for eligibility yet, at 27 years old he's accomplished enough that if he were to enter Cooperstown today, he'd already have outproduced many other Hall of Famers. He's that good. You're watching a legend in the prime of his career.

We have an extremely hot take to offer: One day, Mike Trout is going to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

In his seven full seasons, he's finished either first or second in the Most Valuable Player Award voting six times, with 2017's fourth place somehow representing a "down year." While he hasn't quite reached the 10-season minimum for eligibility yet, at 27 years old he's accomplished enough that if he were to enter Cooperstown today, he'd already have outproduced many other Hall of Famers. He's that good. You're watching a legend in the prime of his career.

That much shouldn't be controversial. But who else? How many other all-time greats will you be seeing on the field in 2019? It's a complicated question. As it it weren't hard enough to try to forecast whether today's current stars will get there, you never know which cup of coffee from an unheralded prospect turns out to be the beginning of something great. (For example: 2018 inductee Jim Thome was a 13th-round pick who received 104 generally unimpressive plate appearances in 1991. At the time, who thought they were seeing a future legend? Maybe that's, let's say, Cristian Pache this year.) 

When we've done this in recent years (2018, 2017, 2016), we've identified that an average season has approximately 31 Hall of Famers playing in it, so that's the number we'll try to hit here. We'll break it into tiers, and we'll show FanGraphs' Wins Above Replacement, just to give some rough context to a player's career. (The average Hall of Famer has put up between 50 WAR to 70 WAR, and legends like Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds topped 160 WAR.) We'll also use the "JAWS" system to compare players to other Hall of Famers.

We're bidding farewell to one no-doubt Hall of Famer in Adrian Beltre, who retired in November after 21 seasons and should gain easy entrance to Cooperstown. It's not quite so clear if Joe Mauer and Chase Utley will make it, but they'll have cases to make now that they're officially retired, as will David Wright, who probably falls short due to the injuries that sidelined his career.

Here's the potential greats that you'll want to keep an eye out for in 2019.

The no-doubt slam dunks

Video: DET@PIT: Miggy has a four-hit game in Pittsburgh

1. Albert Pujols (88 WAR)
2. Miguel Cabrera (71 WAR)
3. Mike Trout (65 WAR)
4. Justin Verlander (64 WAR)
5. Clayton Kershaw (62 WAR)
6. Ichiro Suzuki (58 WAR)*
7. Max Scherzer (52 WAR) 

Last year, Pujols was on this list showing 89 WAR, which tells you a little about how the back end of his career in Anaheim is going, but it doesn't matter. There's nothing he can do to change his status as an inner-circle all-time great. The same goes for Cabrera, despite his injury-plagued 2018, and it says a lot about how wonderful Kershaw has been that we're talking about his decline after a year in which he had a 2.73 ERA. We know Trout doesn't have 10 years yet. It doesn't matter.

We're elevating Scherzer here because he's got three Cy Young Awards (and three other top-five finishes). Nine other pitchers have won three Cy Youngs; seven are in Cooperstown, one will clearly be there when he's eligible (Kershaw), and one has well-known reasons for lagging in the ballot (Roger Clemens). At 34, Scherzer is still at the top of his game, and he'll get there, easily. Verlander's outstanding Houston rebound strongly enhances his case after what appeared to be the beginning of the end late in his Detroit tenure, and he's also won a rare pitching Most Valuable Player Award.

*Wait, Ichiro? Didn't he retire after playing in only 15 games in 2018? He sure did. But when the Mariners and A's open the 2019 season with two games in Tokyo on March 20 and 21, he's reportedly going to be a part of the active roster. It might just be a pinch-hitting appearance or two; he might not play any games in North America. But technically, he'll be an active player in the 2019 Major League season. He counts.

The 30-and-over players with strong cases

Video: Verlander takes second place for AL Cy Young Award

8. CC Sabathia (68 WAR)
9. Zack Greinke (57 WAR)
10. Robinson Cano (57 WAR)
11. Joey Votto (56 WAR)
12. Andrew McCutchen (49 WAR)
13. Buster Posey (39 WAR)
14. Yadier Molina (38 WAR)
15. Paul Goldschmidt (37 WAR)
16. Craig Kimbrel (19 WAR)
17. Aroldis Chapman (18 WAR)
18. Kenley Jansen (17 WAR)

Not all of these guys get in, but several will, especially as voters of the future are more likely to appreciate the skills of someone like Votto than those in years gone by. Molina's case is probably not fully represented using WAR; while he's not the slam dunk first-ballot guy Cardinals fans would have you believe, it's more likely than not he gains enshrinement.

It's very possible that Cano torpedoed his candidacy with his 80-game suspension in 2018, but given how Bonds and Clemens have increased their share of the ballot in recent years, we can't say for certain what things will look like in 10 years or so when he's eligible. Voters change, and so do opinions. 

We've dropped some players who previously appeared on this list, because they've stalled out or been injured as they've aged, like Felix Hernandez, Evan Longoria, Dustin Pedroia, and Troy Tulowitzki. Pedroia (and Ian Kinsler), for example, ranks below the average Hall of Fame second baseman, and his best days seem behind him.

Chapman, Kimbrel and Jansen are interesting cases. Relievers rarely pile up high WAR totals, but they've each been part of the holy trinity of star closers for more than a half-decade now. As the game embraces bullpens more and more, and closers like Trevor Hoffman and Lee Smith get inducted, it seems more and more likely these three will get in.

We didn't include current stars like Jacob deGrom, Corey Kluber, J.D. Martinez, Justin Turner and Josh Donaldson, because they reached elite levels relatively late in their 20s and may not have enough time to compile the counting stats. Don't lose sight of them entirely, however.

Under-30 players on the right path

Video: Betts reacts to winning American League MVP Award

19. Chris Sale (42 WAR)
20. Giancarlo Stanton (39 WAR)
21. Jose Altuve (32 WAR)
22. Mookie Betts (31 WAR)
23. Bryce Harper (31 WAR)
24. Freddie Freeman (31 WAR)
25. Manny Machado (30 WAR)
26. Nolan Arenado (26 WAR)
27. Anthony Rizzo (26 WAR)
28. Anthony Rendon (26 WAR)
29. Francisco Lindor (23 WAR)
30. Kris Bryant (23 WAR) 
31. Jose Ramirez (21 WAR)

So here's the problem we're running into here, which maybe you've already noticed. This is a group of incredibly talented young players, including five MVP winners (Harper 2015, Stanton 2016, Bryant 2016, Altuve 2017, Betts 2018) and two players in Machado and Harper who are on a path that's more "historic" than merely "impressive."

They won't all get there, of course. Maybe Rendon remains perpetually underrated into retirement, or someone gets hurt or flames out at age 30. We've seen all that before -- just look at Wright, Hernandez, etc. 

No, the problem is that we just hit 31 names. We haven't included current stars like Aaron Judge, Christian Yelich, Madison Bumgarner, Andrelton Simmons, Alex Bregman, Luis Severino, Cody Bellinger, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Corey Seager, etc., or last season's breakouts like Ronald Acuna Jr., Shohei Ohtani, Walker Buehler or Juan Soto. We haven't had a chance to note the future stars we expect to see debut in 2019 like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Eloy Jimenez or Forrest Whitley.

We didn't get to consider injury-shortened debuts from high-level talents like Michael Kopech or Victor Robles, or wonder if Max Muncy's magical breakout was the start of something historic. We haven't talked about the disappointing debut or out-of-nowhere guy you didn't notice in 2018, like hey, what if Scott Kingery really is great? What if Lewis Brinson figures out how to make contact?

There's just too many incredible talents in the game right now to list them all, which is what makes this entire exercise difficult. It's what makes it fun too, we suppose. It's so hard to predict the future. You'll never be able to know for sure which players on the field are future legends. 

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.

Machado's agent questions recent reports

MLB.com

Manny Machado has been one of the game's best players since debuting in 2012, and he is set to cash in as a first-time free agent this offseason.

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

Manny Machado has been one of the game's best players since debuting in 2012, and he is set to cash in as a first-time free agent this offseason.

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

Lozano releases statement on Machado reports
Jan. 16: Speculation about whether Manny Machado has been presented with a formal offer and for how much has become so rampant that it led to his agent, Dan Lozano, releasing a statement questioning some of the reports Wednesday afternoon.

Tweet from @Feinsand: Dan Lozano of MVP Sports Group, the agent for Manny Machado, released the following statement regarding recent reports: pic.twitter.com/MmKy9doaFz

Lozano's statement specifically mentioned multiple reports that emerged earlier Wednesday indicating the White Sox had offered Machado a seven-year deal for $175 million, well below the expected market price for the superstar infielder.

Video: After agent's statement, what is market on Machado?

Machado's early targets were topping either Alex Rodriguez's record 10-year, $275 million free-agent deal from 2007 or even Giancarlo Stanton's 13-year, $325 million extension with the Marlins in '14. But the dwindling number of interested teams (Machado's current market may be down to just the Phillies and White Sox) means the demand from the club side might not be there to satisfy Machado's desire for a record deal. That said, Machado should still be able to net a larger deal than Chicago's reported offer when all is said and done.

Phils don't plan on signing both Harper and Machado
Jan. 15: Given the financial bandwidth it would require to sign both of the free-agent market's top two players, it logistically -- and realistically -- seems unlikely that the Phillies will sign both Machado and Bryce Harper, despite this being one of the popular theories early in the offseason. 

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

In a story detailing why the Phils feel confident (subscription required) in their slow-play approach with regard to Harper and Machado so far this winter, Gelb writes: "League sources insisted the Phillies have made this much clear during negotiations: They will not sign both players."

That jives with what MLB Network insider Jon Heyman is hearing, and he also notes that Philly might have more in mind than landing Machado or Harper -- like some other high-end free agents, including lefty Dallas Keuchel, closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder A.J. Pollock.

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

Back in late December, the Phillies hosted Machado at Citizens Bank Park, too, making them one of two teams -- the White Sox are the other -- known to have had face-to-face sit-downs with both stars this offseason. That could give them an advantage over some of the other suitors who have been linked to one player or the other, a list that potentially includes the Nationals, Yankees and Dodgers.

The Phils last week conducted a five-hour interview with Harper in his hometown of Las Vegas, sending a contingent that included owner John Middleton, general manager Matt Klentak and manager Gabe Kapler. The meeting went so well that the club turned its sights more centrally on Harper, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, after spending most of the offseason with Machado as their top priority. That makes things interesting, if Gelb's report is indeed true that the club will only attempt to sign one or the other. 

And yet, the waiting game continues for the Phillies, who don't seem to mind seeing how this plays out, because of the fact that either Harper or Machado could be a great fit for them -- and their financial fortitude to perhaps present the largest offers to either player.

"There is risk in dragging out this dance," Gelb writes, "but multiple league sources indicated the Phillies' risk of losing out on both stars is mitigated by the apparent lack of interested teams throughout Major League Baseball and the club's financial wherewithal."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yankees' negotiations with Machado are 'either dormant or completely dead'
Jan. 13: After the Yankees have bolstered their infield depth with a pair of veteran former Rockies -- second baseman DJ LeMahieu and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki -- to go along with promising third baseman Miguel Andujar and second baseman Gleyber Torres, the club might have swung significant leverage in its favor in any potential negotiations with Machado. 

In a piece published on Sunday, ESPN's Buster Olney writes (subscription required) that the Yankees' negotiations with Machado are "either dormant or completely dead."

Andujar has long been a speculated trade chip given his breakout rookie campaign and his club control through the 2023 season. But his defense has been a glaring liability at times -- Andujar was worth minus-25 Defensive Runs Saved in 2018, per FanGraphs, which was by far the lowest among qualified third basemen. Machado, however, has been one of the Majors' most elite at the position, though he's made it clear that he'd ideally like to play shortstop. 

The Yankees, per Olney, believe that Andujar's work ethic could be a propellant for the 23-year-old to make significant strides defensively. If they are committed to a patient approach, the Yankees could avoid shelling out another megadeal to land Machado, even though they are among a handful of clubs with the financial bandwidth capable of doing so. 

Machado met with the Yankees in December, along with the White Sox and Phillies. It's believed that he would choose among those three clubs, though it's unclear if or what New York's offer currently is. Machado's representatives are currently telling his suitors that there is a mystery club involved, per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman

After meeting with Harper, Phillies optimistic
Jan. 12: Phillies executives traveled to Las Vegas to meet with superstar free agent Bryce Harper on Saturday, and according to Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, they emerged from the meeting "optimistic" about their chances to land either Harper or fellow 26-year-old free agent Manny Machado this offseason.

In addition to the Phillies, the other clubs seen as frontrunners to land Harper on what may be an unprecedented deal are the Nationals and White Sox. Philadelphia and Chicago are also seen as the frontrunners in the chase for Machado. As Breen notes, one area in which the Phillies may be able to stand out is the sheer amount of money they can offer either superstar. Phillies owner John Middleton said earlier this offseason that the club might be "a little stupid" in how it spends its money.

So should money be the ultimate deciding factor, the Phillies may be the favorite. Philadelphia recently hired a mentor of Machado's, former Orioles third-base coach Bobby Dickerson, as infield coach. And that came after the White Sox traded for Machado's brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and signed close friend Jon Jay. 

Both Harper and Machado are reportedly looking to exceed the record contract Giancarlo Stanton received from the Marlins in 2014, which was for 13 years and $325 million. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that the amounts on the table in Machado's case are closer to $200 million than they are to $300 million.

Meanwhile, MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM analyst and former MLB general manager Jim Bowden reported Washington made an offer well north of $300 million to Harper, after it initially offered 10 years and $300 million toward the end of the regular season. MLB.com's Mark Feinsand wrote earlier in the week that momentum appeared to be building for a Harper-Nationals reunion.

After signing LeMahieu, are the Yankees out on Machado?
Jan. 11: Didi Gregorius' elbow injury, which led to Tommy John surgery in October, has caused the Yankees to be more aggressive than expected on the free-agent market with regards to infielders, and they have been connected to Manny Machado for months.

But the Yanks raised some doubts about their place in the Machado sweepstakes by signing Troy Tulowitzki, and New York's latest move might just close the door entirely on the superstar infielder landing in the Big Apple.

According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, the Yankees have agreed to a two-year deal with former Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu. Per Feinsand, New York plans to use LeMahieu as a utility infielder, giving him time at second, third and first. As Feinsand points out, LeMahieu also gives the Yankees insurance against a Tulowitzki injury, as the club could plug in the 30-year-old at second base every day and move Gleyber Torres to shortstop.

Tweet from @Feinsand: The Yankees plan to use D.J. LeMahieu all around the infield (1B, 2B and 3B), per source. They view him as a versatile, everyday player who gives them options. If Troy Tulowitzki needs a day or gets hurt, they can move Gleyber Torres to SS and plug LeMahieu in at 2B.

Despite Machado's reported preference to play in New York, the Yankees were already running behind the Phillies and the White Sox in terms of interest, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, and this move further narrows the 26-year-old's chances of signing with the Yanks.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: In Manny Machado market, #Yankees have trailed #Phillies and #WhiteSox in seriousness of interest. With DJ LeMahieu nearing a 2-year deal with Yankees, Machado���s chances of going to New York have narrowed further. @MLBNetwork @MLB

Even without Gregorius, who can become a free agent after the upcoming season, the Yankees have a glut of infielders, including Torres, Tulowitzki, LeMahieu, Miguel Andujar, Greg Bird and Luke Voit.

Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM thinks the Yankees can be crossed off the list of Machado suitors.

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) reports #Yankees are "closing in on" a two-year deal with IF DJ LeMahieu.https://t.co/f4lPcYp6onINSTANT REACTION from @JimBowdenGM: pic.twitter.com/J2c1zVudhf

"This takes them out on Machado, it means they're done," Bowden said. "I'm going to jump to conclusions without any confirmation from the Yankees. None. No confirmation, no inside information. But I don't know why LeMahieu is going to sign this deal with the Yankees if they're going to sign Manny.

"I got the impression all along that [Yankees principal owner] Hal Steinbrenner did not want to give that kind of years and money to Machado ... and this backs it up. So that leaves Machado probably to the White Sox or Phillies at this point."

But MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal writes in an article for The Athletic, that he'll believe the Yanks are out on Machado only when the superstar dons another club's uniform.

"This is not to say the Yankees are 'in' on Machado, not after reaching agreement on Friday with free-agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu on a two-year, $24 million contract," Rosenthal writes. "But I'm guessing the Yankees will follow their usual practice. Stay in contact with Machado's agent, Dan Lozano. Wait for the market to fully form. Then decide at the end if they are willing to meet Machado's price."

Rosenthal cites many past examples in which the Yankees have seemingly come out of nowhere to snatch up marquee players via free agency or trade, including Giancarlo Stanton last offseason, Mark Teixeira prior to the 2009 season, and Johnny Damon prior to the '06 season. He also notes that the Teixeira and Damon moves were under George Steinbrenner, and since Hal Steinbrenner has been at the helm, New York has been conscious about getting under the luxury tax threshold. 

"Still, after they spent years trying to get under the luxury-tax threshold, it sure is odd the Yankees might end up exceeding the $206 million boundary for 2019," Rosenthal writes. "They currently are more than $7 million over, according to RosterResource.com -- without signing Machado, Bryce Harper or even left-hander Patrick Corbin."

Are the Yankees really out on Machado? Machado himself has reportedly expressed his preference to play in the Bronx. Perhaps New York isn't out until Machado puts pen to paper on a contract elsewhere. More >

Phillies hire Manny's mentor for coaching staff
Jan. 10: The Phillies are one of three teams seen as the favorites to sign superstar free agent Manny Machado, along with the White Sox and Yankees. And they may have just taken a step that could help them bring Machado to Philadelphia. According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, the club has hired former Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson as infield coach. Dickerson's mentorship of Machado dates back to before Machado made his MLB debut in 2012.

Tweet from @masnRoch: The #phillies have hired former #orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson as infield coach. Will be in the dugout for games. 1st member of O's 2018 staff to find job in majors.

Tweet from @masnRoch: Dickerson had interviewed for job as #phillies minor league infield coordinator but was bypassed. Ends up with job on major league staff #orioles

According to a story by Dan Connolly for The Athletic last October, Machado referred to Dickerson as "one of his most important mentors." The hiring of Dickerson by the Phillies isn't the first personnel move made by a potential Machado suitor that involves people close to the infielder. In December, the White Sox traded for Machado's brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso. And on Wednesday, Chicago reportedly agreed to terms with free-agent outfielder Jon Jay, a close friend of Machado's.

Along with Bryce Harper, Machado is one of the two premier free agents on the market this offseason. At the outset, it was thought that both could command a long-term contract of more than $300 million. Although it has been reported in recent days that Machado is seeking a contract north of Giancarlo Stanton's record $325 million deal with the Marlins in 2014, it has also been reported that no team has made an offer that high to this point.

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

Machado, 26, had his best offensive season in '18, slashing .297/.367/.538 (146 OPS+) with 37 home runs and 14 steals between the Orioles and Dodgers, helping Los Angeles reach the World Series for a second consecutive year. Phillies owner John Middleton said earlier this offseason that the organization has money to spend and might be "a little bit stupid" about it, raising expectations that Philadelphia would make a giant splash in the free-agent market. It is also rumored to be one of the frontrunners for Harper, and Phillies representatives will be meeting with Harper in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Are Phillies, White Sox ahead of Yankees in chase for Machado?
Jan. 9: For a brief period of time Wednesday, it appeared the three-team chase for Manny Machado between the Phillies, White Sox and Yankees might have been narrowed down to two -- with New York out of the picture -- based on a single report.

Tweet from @hgomez27: SOURCE: The race to sign Manny Machado is down to two teams - the #Phillies and the #WhiteSox.#ZDigital #ZDeportes @z101digital @ZDeportes

Further digging, however, has yet to support that. "The Yankees have not been informed that they are out on Machado," a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

"The market for Manny isn't down to two teams yet," MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported, also citing a source.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman expressed a similar take -- that there's no word the Yankees have been told they're out of the running -- but did reiterate that New York "hasn't engaged in negotiations lately or made an official offer." What's more, there are questions about just how close the Yankees are willing to get to Machado's reported asking price, which is believed to be in the range of $325 million -- a number that's signficant for matching Giancarlo Stanton's contract, currently the biggest in baseball history.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Can���t confirm Yankees are out (there���s no word they���ve been told this at least), but as said, they haven���t engaged in negotiations lately or made an official offer. They aren���t meeting the believed 325M-plus target, or even 300. Or even coming especially close. https://t.co/pTjdkPLjSP

That lines up with what USA Today's Bob Nightengale pointed out, too, noting that the Yankees "have talked financial concepts with Machado, but have yet to make [an] official offer." It is worth highlighting, though, that Nightengale went on to say while the Yankees "have not backed out of [the] Machado sweepstakes," the White Sox and Phillies are "leading the way."

 

Tweet from @BNightengale: The #Yankees��� stance has not changed one iota in Manny Machado talks. They have talked financial concepts with Machado, but have yet to make official offer. Certainly, they have not backed out of Machado sweepstakes with #WhiteSox and #Phillies leading the way.

Manny Machado

Rumors: Trout, Harper, Machado, Moustakas

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

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

Free agents, by position
Free agents, by team

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

Free agents, by position
Free agents, by team

What would it take for Angels to keep Trout long term?
Jan. 16: Mike Trout is the best player in baseball. He's also smack in the middle of his prime at age 27. And he's due to hit free agency after the 2020 season, when his current six-year, $144.5 million contract runs out. That puts the Angels at something of a crossroad over the next 18 to 24 months.

Will the Halos be able to afford extending Trout a second time, with what almost certainly would have to be a massive, record-breaking deal? Or will they ever actually consider trading their franchise face? Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic considers this in a deep dive into where things stand between the Angels and Trout (subscription required).

For an extension, the expectation would be that Trout could command more than Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million contract -- the largest in history to date. And obviously, whatever happens with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado -- the two top names on the open market this offseason -- is going to impact the cost of signing Trout beyond 2020, too.

A long-term pact takes two to tango, so to speak. "I think it just gets to having overlap," said Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who previously served as general manager of the Rays when he signed Evan Longoria to a six-year, $100 million extension in 2012. "It's the player really wanting it, the team really wanting it. Usually, when that's the case, you can find an overlap. There are just different points in time where that may not line up perfectly and then it's obviously harder."

And if there isn't overlap, maybe because Trout would prefer to test free agency two years from now rather than re-upping before then? "The Angels have said emphatically they will not trade Trout," Ardaya writes. "But what if they don't feel they can keep him?"

It's not as if the front office hasn't tried hard to build a winning team around Trout. Big money has been spent on Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson, Justin Upton and others over the years -- and yet the Halos have made the postseason just once with Trout: a three-game sweep at the hands of the Royals in the 2014 ALDS.

"I could argue that the Angels have tried," said former Marlins president David Samson, who played a big role in Stanton's contract and now is an analyst for CBS Sports. "But Trout cannot guarantee the Angels a ring. He is the face of that franchise, and it is a brutal thing to think about, but if you're not going to win, then paying him that amount of money may not be the best thing for your team's chances to win. But it hurts like hell to lose a player like that."

Three teams reportedly are in on Harper -- but several more could swoop in
Jan. 16: There have been plenty of rumors and all kinds of buzz surrounding free-agent superstar Bryce Harper since the start of the offseason more than two-and-a-half months ago. The latest news is especially interesting because it appears to narrow down the field of interested teams to three primary suitors -- at least, for now.

The Phillies, Nationals and White Sox, all of whom have been connected to Harper in numerous reports, are "the only three teams known to be in" on the slugging outfielder, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. More >

The latest on reported offers for Machado
Jan. 16: Speculation about whether Manny Machado has been presented with a formal offer and for how much has become so rampant that it led to his agent, Dan Lozano, releasing a statement questioning some of the reports Wednesday afternoon. More >

Which teams might be in on Moustakas?
Jan. 16: In his second straight offseason as a free agent, Mike Moustakas' market has been held up to some degree by the fact that Manny Machado -- the top available shortstop/third baseman -- has yet to choose a team. But that doesn't mean we can't peek at possibilities for Moustakas in the meantime.

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

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

In ranking the seven best remaining free agents -- other than Machado and Bryce Harper -- MLB.com's Richard Justice puts Moustakas No. 7 and agrees that the Brewers and Padres look like potential landing spots.

Red Sox still waiting on Kimbrel?
Jan. 16: Spring Training gets underway in less than a month, and the World Series champion Red Sox still don't have a definite closer. Meanwhile, Craig Kimbrel -- who has held that role with Boston the past three seasons -- also remains available in free agency. Is this lining up to be a reunion after all? More >

D-backs add Flores, likely closing door on Pollock reunion
Jan. 16: When the D-backs traded Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals in early December, many assumed the club was starting a full rebuild, but that hasn't happened. Trade talk surrounding players such as Robbie Ray, Zack Greinke, David Peralta and Nick Ahmed has quieted, and the team is hoping to contend for a postseason berth with its current core, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com.

With that in mind, could the club look to re-sign A.J. Pollock if he is willing to accept a shorter-term deal? It's possible, but not likely, especially after Arizona reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with Wilmer Flores on Wednesday.

Video: Gilbert on D-backs reportedly signing Flores

Gilbert wrote last week that he thought the D-backs would either sign a center fielder or add a second baseman, allowing Ketel Marte to move to center. The Flores signing seemingly makes it possible for the Marte position switch to happen, leaving Arizona without a spot for Pollock.

Tweet from @SteveGilbertMLB: The #Dbacks would use Flores at second which would allow them to move Ketel Marte to center. https://t.co/jFKUgJbnrb

Can Nationals afford Harper and Rendon?
Jan. 16: As the baseball world speculates where free agent Bryce Harper  will land, the Phillies and the Nationals are seemingly leading the race -- and might be the only two teams in the running -- at this point.

One major advantage the Phils have is that they can likely outbid the Nats for Harper. Washington exceeded the luxury-tax threshold in each of the past two seasons and is going to be up against it again in 2019. The penalties get steeper when teams exceed the threshold in consecutive seasons, and there is also a surtax for exceeding it by $20 to $40 million. Signing Harper would likely put the Nats more than $20 million over the threshold in 2019.

The team also needs to worry about Anthony Rendon 's impending free agency next offseason. According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required), Rendon and agent Scott Boras, who also represents Harper, are seeking a deal similar to Jose Altuve's.

The Astros gave Altuve a five-year, $151 million extension before the 2018 season, covering 2020-24. At the time, Altuve was already under contract for $12.5 million over 2018-19, bringing his total deal to seven years and $163.5 million.

As Rosenthal points out, signing Harper and extending Rendon would likely give the Nats a combined luxury-tax number exceeding $130 million for just five players (Harper, Rendon, Max Scherzer Stephen Strasburg Patrick Corbin ) over the next three seasons, assuming Strasburg doesn't opt out after 2019 or 2020.

However, MLB.com's Jamal Collier gets the sense that the Nationals are proceeding as if they can afford both players.

"As recently as the Winter Meetings, [general manager Mike Rizzo] said he felt like there was room for both," Collier said Tuesday on MLB Network. "And I think that when he looks at the number that Rendon just signed for in arbitration -- $18.8 million -- that's about what the Nationals think for an extension, he'll be making over that time. And the fact that they're still in on Harper while negotiating with Rendon makes me think that they think they can sign both.

"It's going to be a matter of what exact number is Harper coming back for. If that number is closer to $400 million, there's probably not room for more. … If that number is closer to 10 years, $300 million, then there's probably a scenario where the Nats can fit both of these guys in. ... But I would certainly say, the way they're operating, the way they're going about their business, they haven't ruled it out, so right now I won't rule it out either."

Video: Can Nationals sign Harper and also extend Rendon?

Four possible fits for Keuchel
Jan. 16: Dallas Keuchel  entered the offseason as one of the most accomplished starting pitchers on the free-agent market. With other big names like Patrick Corbin  (Nationals), Nathan Eovaldi  (Red Sox) and Yusei Kikuchi  (Mariners) having signed, Keuchel is unquestionably the top starter left -- and has been for some time.

Although there hasn't been a shortage of rumors surrounding the 31-year-old, it's possible his decision is being held up to some extent by seeing what happens with Bryce Harper  and Manny Machado . Their decisions could impact which clubs make a push for Keuchel -- and have the money left for a long-term contract.

Like these four. More >

Ottavino is in good position amid active relief market
Jan. 16: No position has seen more action on the open market this offseason than relievers. Among the many elite late-inning arms to find deals: Andrew Miller  (Cardinals), Zach Britton  (Yankees), David Robertson  (Phillies), Jeurys Familia  (Mets) and Joakim Soria  (A's).

A number of good relief pitchers remain available, but two stand out above the rest at this point -- Craig Kimbrel  and Adam Ottavino .

In a ranking of seven of the top remaining free agents besides Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, MLB.com's Richard Justice ranks Ottavino No. 6 and writes: "Ottavino and Kimbrel are the last of the elite relievers on the market. At 33, he may not get a deal longer than two years, but after a season that included 75 appearances and a 0.991 WHIP for the Rockies, he's going to be a major catch for some team."

Which teams might be in play for Gonzalez?
Jan. 16: Marwin Gonzalez  has made a career of flying somewhat under the radar despite being a valuable player who can cut it at just about any position on the diamond. As a free agent, his market has been much the same -- quiet -- but that doesn't mean he's not highly sought-after for what he brings.

Gonzalez's versatility allows him to fit on just about any roster, and while he's one of the better free agents still available, the 29-year-old isn't likely to require contract that would price him out of most teams' budgets, either. So which club could Gonzalez wind up with? More >

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweet from @MLBNetwork: The Padres are reportedly interested in acquiring and flipping Corey Kluber for a third baseman according to @Ken_Rosenthal. #MLBNHotStove pic.twitter.com/W3OpvJWkv1

Another question is: Could another team or teams be good matches in a Kluber deal? MLB Network analysts Bill Ripken and Ron Darling discussed the notion of the Yankees getting involved, perhaps sending third baseman Miguel Andujar to the Padres to acquire Kluber should San Diego swing a trade with Cleveland. Andujar impressed at the plate in his rookie season, slashing .297/.328/.527 with 27 homers, finishing second in American League Rookie of the Year voting behind the Angels' Shohei Ohtani.

But defense was an issue at the hot corner for Andujar, and with the Yankees recently signing DJ LeMahieu, there's an abundance of infielders in the Bronx. Not only that, there's another potentially big free-agent market following next season, especially if superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado is testing the open market.

"Do they look at DJ LeMahieu on a two-year deal and say, 'OK, why don't you go over there and play third base?,'" asked Ripken. " ... I don't know if he's expendable or not, but DJ LeMahieu, I'm interested in seeing how the Yankees use him."

"I think with the glut of infielders that the Yankees have, this is a real opportunity for them to put a -- would I say No. 2, No. 1-A, No. 1 over Severino?" said Darling. "Whatever it is, you'd have two really good people at the top of that rotation." 

Tweet from @MLBNetwork: Would you move Miguel And��jar to get Corey Kluber? #MLBTonight pic.twitter.com/meilWC3k6p

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweet from @MLBNetwork: Harper, Keuchel AND Kimbrel?!?! #MLBTonight pic.twitter.com/Pc2GLerVtl

Why Braves may be hesitant to gamble on Pollock, but Mets may not
Jan. 15: Center fielder A.J. Pollock 's market has been limited due to his lengthy injury history: Since 2016, he's only played in 237 games. Last season, he got off to a torrid start, slashing .293/.349/.620 with 11 home runs and nine steals through May 14. But that's when he fractured his thumb on a diving play, causing him to miss nearly two months. From the time he returned on July 2 through the end of the season, he hit just .236/.297/.407 with 10 homers in 73 games.

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

The franchise still is dealing with the fallout from being hit hard for infractions on the international market and in the MLB Draft in late 2017, and Pollock is tied to Draft-pick compensation for declining the one-year qualifiying offer from the D-backs.

"The [Braves] likely would jump on [Pollock] at a dollar figure it deemed acceptable," MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal writes in a story for The Athletic (subscription required). "But the pick -- which for the Braves would be their second overall choice, likely in the mid-60s -- would be part of the acquisition cost. And the Braves, because of all the young players the penalties cost them and all those they will lose in the future, value the selection more than most clubs."

The Mets, meanwhile, might be amenable to a one-year "pillow" contract with Pollock should he accept one, reports SNY's Andy Martino. Though he's reportedly looking for a deal in the five-year, $80 million range, a one-year deal would give Pollock a chance to show his value over a full season if he can stay healthy, bolstering his free agency going into the '20 season. Another option that may be attractive to the Mets, notes Martino, is a one-year deal with an opt-out for '20. More >

Tweet from @martinonyc: Reading between lines of what I���ve heard about mets and A.J. pollock, I could see them playing for him again at this point if he wants a pillow contract or an opt out after the first year.

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

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

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

Are Red Sox still waiting on Kimbrel?

MLB.com

Craig Kimbrel has compiled an impressive resume during his nine seasons in the big leagues, recording a microscopic 1.91 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP, 333 saves and a 14.7 K/9 rate, and he should be a coveted asset on the free-agent market this offseason.

Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the right-hander.

Craig Kimbrel has compiled an impressive resume during his nine seasons in the big leagues, recording a microscopic 1.91 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP, 333 saves and a 14.7 K/9 rate, and he should be a coveted asset on the free-agent market this offseason.

Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the right-hander.

Red Sox still waiting on Kimbrel?
Jan. 16: Spring Training gets underway in less than a month, and the World Series champion Red Sox still don't have a definite closer. Meanwhile, Craig Kimbrel -- who has held that role with Boston the past three seasons -- also remains available in free agency. Is this lining up to be a reunion after all?

"The closer situation is the big [area of need for the Red Sox]," Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe said in an appearance on MLB Network's High Heat. "I think they're kind of waiting out Craig Kimbrel. If he doesn't get any great offers from anybody, then I think he's going to be back. He'll probably have to take much less than the five or six years he was seeking.

"Although, the Phillies are out there and they've got all this money," Cafardo continued, "and I know they're interested in him."

The Red Sox have indicated all along that they don't anticipate a large expenditure to cover the closer role. While initial reports speculated Kimbrel was asking for something in the range of $80 million to $100 million over five or six years, that is looking less and less likely, which means a return to the Red Sox is at least becoming more of a possibility -- depending on the terms and how desperate either side gets. If Boston doesn't bring Kimbrel back, Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier are expected to be in the mix to handle the ninth inning.

The Phillies, as Cafardo noted, are one club that is something of a wild card for Kimbrel, as they have plenty of money to spend and could add him to further bolster a bullpen that now includes David Robertson. Philadelphia's ongoing pursuits of superstar free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado appear to be higher on the priority list at the moment, but once they play out, it's possible the Phillies could turn their attention to Kimbrel.

Phils have 'visions' of signing Kimbrel -- along with two other star FAs
Jan. 15: Craig Kimbrel may have to wait out the dominoes of the Hot Stove season, as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain on the market. However, if the Phillies have their way, Craig Kimbrel could be part of what would be a huge haul this offseason. 

According to a report on Tuesday from USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Phils have their eyes on signing not only Harper, arguably the top position player, but also left-hander Dallas Keuchel -- the market's top remaining starter -- and Kimbrel, the top free-agent closer. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman echoed Nightengale's assertion. 

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

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

Add Philly's acquisitions of Andrew McCutchen and Jean Segura, and signing those three would assuredly propel the club into the conversation to become favorites in the National League East. 

Philly has been linked to Kimbrel all offseason, but the club has had its sights more squarely set on the top two available players: Harper and Machado. Many in baseball circles even suggest that the Phils' offseason will be a disappointment if they do not land one or the other. Others have suggested that they could sign both, though Matt Gelb of The Athletic (subscription required) reported earlier on Tuesday that doing so would be unlikely. 

Nightengale reported earlier this week that many front office officials believe that should Philly sign Harper or Machado, they will still go after some of the other top talent available. 

Tweet from @BNightengale: There are several GMs who believe that even if the #Phillies sign Harper or Machado, they will be aggressive in the market for Keuchel and Kimbrel.

The Phillies surprised many early in the 2018 season by competing for the top spot in the NL East. But they faded rapidly toward the end of the season, falling to third place with a record of 80-82. With promising young prospects soon to reach the big leagues, the club is apparently looking to bolster the club with superstar power and, per Nightengale, potentially a former American League Cy Young Award winner to slot in behind right-hander Aaron Nola, and/or one of the premier closers in the game.

Could Kimbrel sign 1-year deal with Red Sox?
Jan. 11: The top-tier free-agent relief options are dwindling. The Red Sox have a clear need at the back of their bullpen as they prepare to start their title defense. So in theory, re-signing their closer makes perfect sense. And yet, a reunion with Craig Kimbrel might not be in the cards.

Here's a choice comment from president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, in a recent interview with USA Today's Bob Nightengale: "Craig did a great job for us, he's a Hall of Fame reliever, but we have not anticipated having a large expenditure for a closer."

Dombrowski said something similar earlier this offseason, and his latest comments make it seem like Kimbrel would have to significantly lower his asking price to have any chance of going back to Boston.

It's not out of the question, of course. Yasmani Grandal just accepted a one-year deal for $18.25 million deal with the Brewers after reportedly turning down a four-year contract offer from the Mets worth more than $50 million.

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand predicts Kimbrel will take a similar route, accepting a one-year contract from the Red Sox in the $18 million range and returning to the free-agent market again next offseason, when the relief options won't be nearly as strong.

"This year, you had those alternatives, the Andrew Miller, David Robertson, Zach Britton types," Feinsand said Friday on MLB Network's "Hot Stove" program. "Next year, you look at the relief market, Dellin Betances is the big guy out there, that's really it."

Video: Feinsand predicts Kimbrel with pitch for Red Sox

Is Kimbrel's desire to close actually limiting his market?
Jan. 9: When the offseason opened, Craig Kimbrel was the No. 1 name among free-agent relievers by a large margin. That's even more true at this stage, which isn't necessarily great for his market. So many clubs already have inked late-inning help that they either no longer have the need or the money to target Kimbrel, who may be running out of teams that fit when factoring in the contract he's been seeking.

"If you believe what he wanted -- six years, and he wanted $100 million," MLB Network analyst and former big league reliever Dan Plesac said on MLB Now in reference to Kimbrel's reported asking price at the outset of the offseason, "I don't think ... he's going to come close to that -- either the $100 million or the six years. Three years, maybe four years? I think there would be a few teams in [at that range]. But right now, all the doors that were open ... they're closing, one by one. There aren't that many options left for him right now, with the exception of maybe the Red Sox or going back to the Braves."

While those teams could be possible matches for Kimbrel -- they certainly need relief help -- both Boston and Atlanta have indicated they're unwilling to spend big on a closer, particularly on a long-term deal.

Another factor impacting Kimbrel, oddly, may be his strict preference to pitch the ninth inning, as the MLB Now crew discussed. On one hand, Kimbrel's proven ability as a closer makes him a major commodity. On the other hand, though, teams have been favoring relievers who are more open to roles that call for them to be used in all sorts of high-leverage situations rather than, say, only in the final frame of a game.

"Kimbrel likes the ninth," host Brian Kenny said. "Certain guys you can float [around and use in various innings] ... Andrew Miller famously said, 'I'll pitch any [inning].' Kimbrel does like the ninth inning, which might limit some of those options."

One reason to pay up for Kimbrel is ...
Jan. 8: A number of quality, late-inning arms continue to sign deals in what has been a robust reliever market. As the supply dwindles, though, attention turns more and more to Craig Kimbrel, who has been the biggest name in this field since the offseason began -- and yet remains unsigned.

Much of the conversation around the 30-year old with the unsurpassed resume -- including being a seven-time All-Star with a career 1.91 ERA, an 0.92 WHIP and a 14.7 K/9 rate -- has centered on a lofty asking price that has Kimbrel possibly seeking a record contract for a reliever.

But there's also the inarguable fact that Kimbrel has been and continues to be one of the most dominant pitchers in the entire sport, something made abundandtly clear in MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince's rundown of the nastiest pitches, as voted on by big leaguers. Kimbrel's devastating knuckle-curve registered seven votes, making it the fourth nastiest specific pitch thrown by any hurler in baseball.

"Closers typically wow us with their fastball, and Kimbrel has definitely delivered there in his great career (his fastball did get one vote)," Castrovince writes. "But it's this beastly breaking ball with devastating downward movement and 90-mph velocity that has made this current free agent such a consistent late-inning force. He got whiffs on 55.6 percent of his curves in 2018, limiting opponents to five hits in 61 at-bats (.082) that ended on it, per Statcast™."

Video: Craig Kimbrel's nasty curveball fools hitters

"That [pitch] combined with the fastball is a deadly combo," Cubs veteran Ben Zobrist said.

Makes you wonder: What might that be worth to teams that are looking for a big-time bullpen arm and have the funds to spend on a major upgrade?

Red Sox-Yankees rivalry heats up over Kimbrel and Ottavino
Jan. 6: The Yankees lost one potential bullpen target when David Robertson signed with the Phillies this week, but a source has told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand that they have agreed to a deal that will reunite them with left-hander Zach Britton. How might this move impact the best two relievers remaining on the market, Craig Kimbrel and Adam Ottavino?

It looks like Ottavino could be the next big-name reliever to find a new home, according to SNY's Andy Martino, who points out that the Yankees remain very interested -- to the extent that they're more focused on Ottavino than Manny Machado at the moment.

Tweet from @martinonyc: As of now, Yankees more engaged on Adam Ottavino than Manny Machado. Machado sweepstakes still moving at glacial pace as far as this lil ol reporter can tell. Pen market is moving and Ottavino could sign soon

MLB.com's Richard Justice writes that as great as both the Red Sox (108 wins) and the Yankees (100 wins) were last season, we should prepare for even more excitement in the rivalry for 2019, given how the offseason is shaking out. Justice notes that Kimbrel is now an even more obvious fit with the Red Sox, and that bringing him back to Boston should be a pretty straightforward proposition given what New York is doing.

"All of a sudden, a six-year deal for free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel doesn't seem so outrageous, does it?" writes Justice. "That's especially true when you've just watched the Yankees construct baseball's best bullpen with a deal to bring back left-hander Zach Britton. ... Wait, what's that? Yankees general manager Brian Cashman may sign Ottavino as well? Reports indicate that's a possibility.

" ... And the Yanks would gain even more if Cashman wins the Machado sweepstakes. To add him to a lineup that hit 40 more home runs than any other AL club last season could set up one of the great division races we've ever had. He'd be nice leverage for Kimbrel in his talks with the Red Sox."

Kimbrel is reportedly looking for a deal in the neighborhood of five or six years; a six-year pact would be a record for a relief pitcher. He's among the elite closers in baseball, having posted a 1.91 career ERA with 333 saves, most among active relievers.

Get ready, because the AL East promises to be one of the most exciting divisions in baseball next season.

Biggest question in reliever market is ...
Jan. 6: Plenty of top free-agent relievers already have landed deals this offseason, but the top free-agent reliever still has to find a home -- and the possible suitors seem to be drying up.

"The biggest question in the relief market remains this," MLB.com's Mark Feinsand writes in a look at the impact of Zach Britton's deal to return to the Yankees, "What will happen with Craig Kimbrel?"

A number of teams that looked like good fits -- both in terms of roster need and financial resources -- at the outset of the offseason no longer appear to be likely destinations for Kimbrel. The Cardinals, for one, added lefty relief ace Andrew Miller, while the Mets brought back Jeurys Familia and the Phillies just signed righty David Robertson. While the Yankees weren't necessarily linked to Kimbrel, their three-year agreement with Britton all but takes them out of the running, if they ever were in it at all.

"According to sources, Boston has been monitoring Kimbrel's market all offseason, hoping it would fall to the point where the Sox could bring the closer back at a price more palatable to [Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave] Dombrowski," Feinsand writes. "Britton's signing makes that possibility more realistic, as Adam Ottavino heads a late-inning relief list that includes Kelvin Herrera, Cody Allen, Bud Norris, Brad Brach and Justin Wilson."

So with a handful of solid alternatives still available and the number of teams willing to spend big on a late-inning arm dwindling, it's starting to look like Kimbrel may have to settle for far less than the $80 million to $100 million deal over five or six years he was hoping for initially.

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: Zach Britton is off the market. #RedSox are without a closer (for now). @stevesaxspeaks wonders why they haven't re-signed Craig Kimbrel. pic.twitter.com/5Usc5K3eCr

Craig Kimbrel

Lots of turnover among Top 10 catching prospects

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

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

There's a good amount of turnover on this year's Top 10 Catching Prospects list compared to the 2018 version. That starts at the top, with a member of the 2018 Draft Class, Joey Bart, leading the way.

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

There's a good amount of turnover on this year's Top 10 Catching Prospects list compared to the 2018 version. That starts at the top, with a member of the 2018 Draft Class, Joey Bart, leading the way.

Video: Top Prospects: Joey Bart, C, Giants

Francisco Mejia, now with the Padres, continues to be a mainstay, sitting in the top two for the third straight season. Keibert Ruiz of the Dodgers, the A's Sean Murphy and Danny Jansen from the Blue Jays are the other holdovers from last year's Top 10. Graduation caused some serious turnover, with Carson Kelly, now with the D-backs, Jorge Alfaro (Phillies), Chance Sisco (Orioles) and Victor Caratini (Cubs) all moving on to larger big league contributions.

Top 10 Prospects by Position

The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Joey Bart, Giants (2021)
2. Francisco Mejia, Padres (2019)
3. Keibert Ruiz, Dodgers (2020)
4. Sean Murphy, A's (2019)
5. Danny Jansen, Blue Jays (2019)
6. Ronaldo Hernandez, Rays (2021)
7. Miguel Amaya, Cubs (2021)
8. Daulton Varsho, D-backs (2020)
9. M.J. Melendez, Royals (2021)
10. Andrew Knizner, Cardinals (2019)
Complete list »

Top tools

Hit: Mejia (60)
Mejia has hit at pretty much every stop in the Minors, starting with his 50-game hitting streak and .342 average in 2016. Following his trade to the Padres last year in the Brad Hand deal, he showed what the fuss was about by hitting .328 with Triple-A El Paso en route to making his San Diego debut. His ability to swing the bat from both sides of the plate is well ahead of his defense behind it.

Video: Top Prospects: Francisco Mejia, C, Padres

Power: Bart (60)
The No. 2 overall pick in last June's Draft, Bart not only has a strong college power resume, with double-digit home runs as a sophomore and a junior, but he showed that it would translate immediately in the pro game when he hit 13 home runs in just 45 Northwest League games during his pro debut. He has the potential to hit at least 25 homers annually.

Run: Varsho (55)
There are some who feel Varsho is athletic enough to play second base if catching doesn't work out, and he certainly did nothing to dampen that evaluation during his first full year. Varsho stole 19 bases in 22 tries in just 80 California League games. He then went on to swipe eight more during his Arizona Fall League stint.

Video: Top Prospects: Daulton Varsho, C, D-backs

Arm: Mejia, Murphy (70)
Mejia has thrown out 33 percent of potential basestealers in his Minor League career. Last year, that was down to 28.9 percent, though he also spent less time behind the plate compared to other seasons. Murphy threw out 34.3 percent in 2018, which actually brought his career percentage down to 35.5 percent.

Video: Top Prospects: Sean Murphy, C, Athletics

Field: Murphy (65)
Murphy would be the runner-up on the All-Defense Prospect Team thanks to his all-around work behind the plate. In addition to his arm detailed above, he's agile with excellent blocking, receiving and game-calling skills. He gets very high marks for his ability to work with a pitching staff.

Superlatives

Ceiling: Melendez
The 2017 second-round pick showed off all of his skills during his first full season. He finished fifth in the South Atlantic League in home runs and slugging percentage, and he should tap into his raw power even more as he refines his approach. Behind the plate, Melendez used his plus arm to throw out nearly 42 percent of those trying to steal last season.

Video: Top Prospects: M.J. Melendez, C, Royals

Floor: Ruiz
Murphy could be a candidate if you wanted to focus solely on defense -- his glove will make him a big leaguer. But Ruiz's bat, with the ability to hit for average and power, provides a little more certainty that he'll be a big league regular at the position.

Video: Top Prospects: Keibert Ruiz, C, Dodgers

Rookie of the Year candidate: Jansen
There are several on this list ready to contribute in 2019, but Jansen appears to be the only one heading into the season as the No. 1 backstop on the depth chart. He had a solid big league debut in August and September last year to build a foundation for his first full year in the big leagues.

Video: Top Prospects: Danny Jansen, C, Blue Jays

Highest riser: Hernandez
Hernandez began 2018 as the Rays' No. 20 prospect, but was up to No. 7 by the end of the season. Now he's jumping onto this Top 10 list for the first time after a year that saw him hit 21 home runs in his full-season debut while throwing out 36 percent of runners trying to steal.

Video: Top Prospects: Ronaldo Hernandez, C, Rays

Humblest beginnings: Knizner
The Cardinals have a knack for finding late-round talent and it looks like they've done it again with Knizner, a seventh-round pick in 2016. The North Carolina State product was a third baseman until he began his catching career as a sophomore and now he's ready to be a big leaguer, thanks to a .310/.373/.460 line and a 36.2 percent caught stealing rate.

Video: Top Prospects: Andrew Knizner, C, Cardinals

Most to prove: Mejia
Yes, Mejia has hit pretty much everywhere he's been in the Minors, but he has a .583 OPS in 76 big league plate appearances, a small sample size for sure. That, combined with questions about his ability to catch full-time and showing he was worth trading for, makes the spotlight a little brighter on him in 2019.

Keep an eye on: William Contreras, Braves
The younger brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, William had a very strong first taste of full-season ball, earning a promotion to the Class A Advanced Florida State League at age 20. He has a solid approach at the plate with some pop (11 homers in 2018) in addition to a strong arm and solid receiving skills behind it.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Rumors prove it's never too early to talk Trout

Angels star set to hit free agency in 2020 but already creating league-wide buzz
MLB.com @williamfleitch

It was inevitable. With everyone waiting on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to sign -- not to mention the roster machinations teams are doing in preparation of next offseason's hot stove (namely free-agent-to-be Paul Goldschmidt being traded) -- we were invariably going to end up discussing what might be baseball's biggest story over the next 20 months: The looming free agency of Mike Trout, which is set to happen after the 2020 season.

Trout's name was floated Tuesday when MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, while discussing the Phillies' ongoing pursuit of Harper or Machado, noted that the Phillies are already looking two years down the road to make a play for Trout when he hits the market:

It was inevitable. With everyone waiting on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to sign -- not to mention the roster machinations teams are doing in preparation of next offseason's hot stove (namely free-agent-to-be Paul Goldschmidt being traded) -- we were invariably going to end up discussing what might be baseball's biggest story over the next 20 months: The looming free agency of Mike Trout, which is set to happen after the 2020 season.

Trout's name was floated Tuesday when MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, while discussing the Phillies' ongoing pursuit of Harper or Machado, noted that the Phillies are already looking two years down the road to make a play for Trout when he hits the market:

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

It is a surprise only that it took this long for Trout to get dragged into this. In case you've forgotten, Trout -- baseball's greatest player, and somehow still only 27 years old -- has only two years left on the six-year, $144.5 million extension he signed in March 2014. Suffice it to say, the Angels have gotten their money's worth on that contract: Trout has produced 44.4 WAR in the five seasons since he signed the deal, which is more than a number of Hall of Famers produced in their entire careers. But not a single one of those seasons has ended with a postseason victory. That Trout still hasn't won a postseason game (the Angels were swept in the '14 American League Division Series by the Royals, his only playoff appearance) is a little bit sad for all of us.

And, well, the Angels don't look any closer to a playoff spot than they have been the past few seasons. They were below .500 in 2018, 17 games behind the A's for the second AL Wild Card slot, and when you consider that Shohei Ohtani won't pitch in 2019 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery -- and could be limited as a hitter -- you have to squint to see them having a path to make it in '19. The Angels have a chance to reach the postseason by virtue of being a team that's actually going to floor it, but there are holes in that roster, as '18 proved. Even with the head start having Trout gives them, making the playoffs this season is an uphill climb.

So, then: What happens if the Angels are nine games or so out of a playoff spot at the Trade Deadline, like they were in 2018? If they're as far away from an extension as they seem to be, don't they have to explore trading Trout? After all, we've seen how even some of baseball's biggest stars fail to bring back much in trade when they only have one year left on their deal, like Trout would if the Angels waited until after the Deadline to deal him. The Cardinals got Goldschmidt, one of the best hitters in the game, for right-hander Luke Weaver and catcher Carson Kelly, two promising young players but not clear difference-makers.

Trout would bring back more than that, but not dramatically so, and certainly not enough to serve as a foundation for a rebuild, the way the White Sox did with their trades of Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, each of whom had multiple years left on their deals.

The Angels don't appear to be making headway on an extension. The Halos aren't a top-tier contender. And Trout's value on the market essentially falls off a cliff after the 2019 Trade Deadline, because at that point you are only getting him for one potential postseason push as opposed to two. These three factors could combine to make it downright irresponsible for the Angels not to consider a Trout trade.

Video: Mike Trout comes in second for 2018 AL MVP vote

And, uh, I suspect there would be some interest.

As Heyman notes, the fact that the best player in baseball could quite possibly be on the market in the next six months -- and will definitely be on the market in the next 20 -- is surely something teams are keeping in mind when they make plans for 2019 and beyond. So what happens if Trout hits the trade market in July?

The usual suspects would be involved, you'd think: The Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs ... the big boys. But the fun of having Trout on the trade market is that as long as you can take on Trout's short-term salary -- he'll make $66.5 million combined in 2019 and '20, an absolute steal -- you can have Mike Trout (Mike Trout!) on your team without having to give him the biggest contract in the history of the sport. (Remember, Trout will be only 29 when he hits the market. Yikes.) So if you have a deep, talent-rich farm system and you're in contention next July, you get to play. That opens up the bidding outside the biggest spenders.

Imagine if, say, the White Sox are still hanging around the Indians in July. We know they have the prospects, because it wasn't long ago they traded for them. What if the Padres, with their trove of prospects, decide it's time to make the big move A.J. Preller is clearly itching to be a part of? The Cardinals have a gaggle of disposable young pitchers that the Angels could build around for the next half-decade; if they don't get right field resolved by July, would they jump in? Houston? Philadelphia? Maybe even Tampa Bay decides they can pay for Trout as long as it's only a year and a half. Sky's the limit!

Video: Mike Trout wins his sixth career Silver Slugger Award

The most intriguing candidate, though, would probably be Atlanta, a team with top-shelf starting-pitching depth and one that will likely find itself in a dogfight in its division this year. That franchise might be hesitant to spend on a long-term Trout but would surely leap at a pennant-chase Trout. And the Braves have the obvious outfield need. He'd look sharp in a Braves uniform, one thinks. And can you imagine Trout and Ronald Acuna Jr. in the same outfield? Is that even legal?

One wrinkle, of course, is that Trout has full no-trade protection, so it's possible he could block a deal. But it's hard to see a scenario in which Trout doesn't want to go play for a contender, at least for a year and a half.

And then, of course, the intrigue after a theoretical trade -- when he does become a free agent -- will match and even likely surpass the current Machado-Harper sweepstakes. This is, after all, the best player in the sport, and one of the best in baseball history, available in his prime. The Phillies are now reportedly eying Trout's potential availability. They're surely not the first, and they're definitely not the last. Trout's pending free agency is going to dominate every baseball conversation over the next 20 months. Might as well start it now. Strap in.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Mike Trout

Source: D-backs near deal with Wilmer Flores

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- The D-backs are close to a deal with free-agent infielder Wilmer Flores, a source told MLB.com on Wednesday.

ESPN's Jeff Passan first reported the news that pending a physical, Flores will receive a one-year contract with an option for a second season.

PHOENIX -- The D-backs are close to a deal with free-agent infielder Wilmer Flores, a source told MLB.com on Wednesday.

ESPN's Jeff Passan first reported the news that pending a physical, Flores will receive a one-year contract with an option for a second season.

The club has not confirmed the deal.

Video: Wilmer Flores reportedly signs with D-backs

Flores, 27, has played second, third, shortstop and first base during his six seasons with the Mets.

The D-backs would use Flores at second base and move Ketel Marte to center field where he would take the place of free agent A.J. Pollock, who is expected to sign elsewhere.

Flores had a slash line of .267/.319/.417 last season, numbers which are pretty much in line with his career figures.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Wilmer Flores

D-backs acquire Locastro from Yankees

MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

The D-backs and Yankees announced a trade Wednesday that will send outfielder Tim Locastro to Arizona in exchange for left-hander Ronald Roman and cash considerations.

Locastro, 26, is known for his speed and earned two cups of coffee with the Dodgers in 2017 and '18. The Auburn, N.Y., native is 2-for-12 as a Major Leaguer with a double, two walks, five steals and six runs scored. The Yankees acquired Locastro in a trade from the Dodgers in November before designating him for assignment Monday to make room for free-agent signing, DJ LeMahieu.

The D-backs and Yankees announced a trade Wednesday that will send outfielder Tim Locastro to Arizona in exchange for left-hander Ronald Roman and cash considerations.

Locastro, 26, is known for his speed and earned two cups of coffee with the Dodgers in 2017 and '18. The Auburn, N.Y., native is 2-for-12 as a Major Leaguer with a double, two walks, five steals and six runs scored. The Yankees acquired Locastro in a trade from the Dodgers in November before designating him for assignment Monday to make room for free-agent signing, DJ LeMahieu.

The D-backs signed Roman, 17, out of the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2018. The southpaw is set to make his professional debut this upcoming season.

Arizona is also close to completing a deal with free-agent infielder Wilmer Flores, per multiple reports, but Locastro's acquisition makes the D-backs' roster full at 40 players. That means Arizona will need to make another move to clear a roster spot for Flores.

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

New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Tim Locastro