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Talks 'intensifying' between Harper, Phillies

Negotiations appear to be progressing, though deal not yet imminent
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies have been the favorites in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes for months, and that speculation heated up over the weekend.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Sunday afternoon that negotiations between the Phillies and Harper "appear to be intensifying." Sources told MLB.com that while the Phillies and Harper's agent Scott Boras have been talking recently and making progress, nothing is imminent. Heyman said that interested teams like the Padres, Giants and White Sox have not been told they are out of the running, also indicating that nothing is close.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies have been the favorites in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes for months, and that speculation heated up over the weekend.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Sunday afternoon that negotiations between the Phillies and Harper "appear to be intensifying." Sources told MLB.com that while the Phillies and Harper's agent Scott Boras have been talking recently and making progress, nothing is imminent. Heyman said that interested teams like the Padres, Giants and White Sox have not been told they are out of the running, also indicating that nothing is close.

The Phillies have been pursuing both Harper and Manny Machado since the beginning of the offseason. The agents for both Harper and Machado know that no team probably has more money to commit to a single player than the Phillies, which means it behooves them to try to pit the Phillies against other teams to drive up the bidding.

Hot Stove Tracker

But push the Phillies too hard and they could move to the other player. And if the Phillies fall off the board first -- most still believe Philadelphia will sign Harper or Machado -- the remaining superstar free agent has lost a significant bargaining chip (i.e. telling teams the Phillies are ready to write their client a monster check).

Sources have indicated in the past that the Phillies prefer Machado over Harper in part because of his combination of offense and defense at a premium position, like third base. But Harper is a tremendous hitter and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has said he believes Harper is a better defensive outfielder than his metrics showed last season. Harper also is a true superstar with mass marketing appeal. Just a couple weeks ago, he showed his impact when a bogus report surfaced from Las Vegas that Harper had agreed to a deal with the Phillies. Some fans called the Citizens Bank Park ticket office to purchase partial season-ticket plans, based solely on that unsubstantiated tweet.

Over the past few days there have been reports that Harper is in a "mood to celebrate" and "rounding third" in negotiations. Fans even searched for meaning in Harper typing "suhhhhh kiiiiiiid" in the comment section below Rhys Hoskins' most recent Instagram post. (Harper and Hoskins both share Boras as an agent.)

Phillies fans also got worked up Sunday when Twitter starting buzzing that the Phillies allegedly told their entire sales department they needed to work Monday, despite the offices being closed for Presidents Day. Some wondered if that meant the Phillies needed everybody in the office to handle a sudden crush of phone calls.

The truth is just a few interns in the sales department will be manning the phone lines Monday, just like previous years. Everybody else in the sales department is off as scheduled.

Yes, this is the life and times of Harper and the Phillies.

So what do we know? The Phillies and Boras have been talking recently and nothing is imminent. Oh, we also know this: The Phillies will have their first full-squad workout Monday at Carpenter Complex. Harper and Machado will not be there.

Harper could be coming at some point, but negotiations can change at a moment's notice. Phillies fans might not remember, but the Phillies' negotiations with Cliff Lee in December 2010 legitimately died a few times within a span of 72 hours. Phillies front office executives and Lee's agent even sent each other condolence texts expressing their dismay that they could not strike a deal.

Then they did.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies, Bryce Harper

Padres make serious bids for Manny, Bryce

MLB.com @AJCassavell

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's crunch time in the race to sign two of baseball's most prominent free agents in recent memory. The Padres appear ready to make their move.

San Diego's efforts to make Manny Machado the third baseman of the future have produced a "substantial" contract offer, sources said Sunday night. There's a belief it's the largest offer on the table for the 26-year-old slugger -- and unlikely to be topped.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's crunch time in the race to sign two of baseball's most prominent free agents in recent memory. The Padres appear ready to make their move.

San Diego's efforts to make Manny Machado the third baseman of the future have produced a "substantial" contract offer, sources said Sunday night. There's a belief it's the largest offer on the table for the 26-year-old slugger -- and unlikely to be topped.

Hot Stove news, rumors

The Padres are still in on Bryce Harper, too, and MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman noted the Padres have made a "serious offer" on the superstar outfielder.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Padres aren���t kidding around and are said to have made serious offers for both Machado and Harper. Their bid for Machado is believed to be for about $250M (and about 8 years) tho there is the Cali tax and possibly deferrals. Bid for Harper believed to be for more than that.

The specific dollar amount for either offer remains a mystery. Heyman tweeted his belief that Machado's offer sits around eight years and $250 million -- and that Harper's offer is even higher than that.

San Diego is in dire need of a middle-of-the-order bat, and both players would provide that kind of thump. Machado batted .297/.367/.538 with 37 homers last season. Harper posted a .249/.393/.496 slash line with 34 dingers. The Padres haven't had a hitter with 30-plus homers and a .900 OPS since Adrian Gonzalez in 2010.

Video: Cassavell on Harper reportedly meeting with Padres

Offensively, the Padres' lineup of the future actually seems pretty stable, save for one position -- third base. On paper, Machado seems to be a perfect fit for a long-term infield that could feature Eric Hosmer at first, prospect Luis Urias at second, top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. at short and a four-time All-Star at third.

Harper's fit isn't so clean in a crowded corner-outfield mix that already features Hunter Renfroe, Wil Myers, Franmil Reyes and Franchy Cordero. But he's Bryce Harper -- a 26-year-old potential franchise cornerstone. If they need to deal from their glut of outfielders, the Padres are prepared to do so.

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

San Diego Padres, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado

Source: Moustakas agrees to return to Brewers

Infielder will make $10 million in 2019 with mutual option for '20
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

PHOENIX -- It was just a day earlier that Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw said he would welcome Mike Moustakas back to the Brewers with open arms, even though it could cost Shaw his primary position.

On Sunday afternoon, Shaw got his wish.

PHOENIX -- It was just a day earlier that Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw said he would welcome Mike Moustakas back to the Brewers with open arms, even though it could cost Shaw his primary position.

On Sunday afternoon, Shaw got his wish.

A source told MLB.com that Moustakas had agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract to return to the Brewers that includes a mutual option for 2020. Since the deal is pending a physical, the Brewers didn't comment.

MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal was first to report the agreement, and USA TODAY was first to report the salary figure, which will drive higher a Brewers payroll that already was set to top $120 million and break a franchise record.

Video: Crew seizes opportunity to improve with Moose signing

Just like their one-year, $18.25 million pact with switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal in January, the Brewers were willing to stretch the budget for a solid bat like Moustakas if the commitment was only for one year. The move shores up second base with a combination of Moustakas or Shaw, who has belted 63 home runs in his two seasons in Milwaukee. And since mutual options are very rarely exercised by both sides, it essentially provides a bridge to middle-infield prospects Mauricio Dubon and Keston Hiura. They are ticketed to start this season as tandem at shortstop and second base at Triple-A San Antonio.

After spending his entire career with the Royals, Moustakas slashed .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and a career-high 95 RBIs last season between Kansas City and Milwaukee. The Brewers traded for him in late July and shifted Shaw to second base, then got hot down the stretch and won the National League Central. Moustakas hit .256 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs in 218 plate appearances for Milwaukee in the regular season. He went 8-for-40 (.200) in the postseason including a walk-off single in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, helping to send Milwaukee to a sweep of the Rockies.

Video: COL@MIL Gm1: Moustakas delivers walk-off hit in 10th

"Obviously, he was a great addition to this team last year in the second half after the [Trade Deadline]," said Christian Yelich, who spent much of the winter working alongside Moustakas and Ryan Braun to raise funds for Californians affected by wildfires. "A great player, a great clubhouse guy, and he definitely helped us on the field."

With Moustakas, the Brewers will be able to post a lineup against a right-handed starter featuring as many as six left-handed bats for the eight position-player spots: reigning NL MVP Yelich, Shaw, Grandal, Moustakas, first baseman Eric Thames and outfielder Ben Gamel, who is the primary backup to Braun in left field and figures to see significant at-bats as the Brewers try to keep Braun healthy and productive.

Tweet from @ChristianYelich: . @Mooose_8 pic.twitter.com/Wmc9YwP7HW

Milwaukee will have some flexibility with the infield alignment since Moustakas expressed willingness to try second base after the trade. That never materialized, but the idea could be revisited if the Brewers prefer to keep Shaw entrenched at third.

Either way, the signing provided a significant offensive upgrade at second base. Before Moustakas' return, the Brewers were poised to platoon Cory Spangenberg with either Hernan Perez or Tyler Saladino. Spangenberg is another left-handed hitter who will be used against righties.

Yelich, Shaw and Braun stayed in close contact with Moustakas throughout the offseason as he navigated a second straight year of free agency. After the 2017 season, Moustakas was unable to secure the sort of multiyear contract he was hoping for, so he signed back with the Royals for one year plus with a mutual option.

Now, with his free agency stalled again, he did the same with the Brewers.

"Moose is a great guy, and if he came back here I would welcome him with open arms," Shaw said Saturday. "I also think that if he came back here, I don't think that would be the deal that he was looking for going into the offseason."

Moustakas' agreement came on the eve of Brewers position players formally reporting to camp. The first full-squad workout at American Family Fields of Phoenix is Tuesday.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Mike Moustakas

Reasons for optimism for each MLB club

MLB.com @RichardJustice

On this opening week of Spring Training, all 30 Major League teams have one thing in common: optimism. You've read a lot about teams being all-in for 2019 and also about some teams rebuilding. Here's what's also true: When players and coaches get to work in Florida and Arizona, optimism is infectious.

That's the very nature of the sport. Every single team is excited about something. Some teams want to get a look at the new acquisitions. Others want to see prospects or returning veterans or unheralded players hoping for a new start.

On this opening week of Spring Training, all 30 Major League teams have one thing in common: optimism. You've read a lot about teams being all-in for 2019 and also about some teams rebuilding. Here's what's also true: When players and coaches get to work in Florida and Arizona, optimism is infectious.

That's the very nature of the sport. Every single team is excited about something. Some teams want to get a look at the new acquisitions. Others want to see prospects or returning veterans or unheralded players hoping for a new start.

Some of it is the warmer weather of Spring Training. Some of it is the guys seeing one another again. And some of it is simply putting the uniform on and getting back out on the field and doing the thing they love more than anything.

Here's an optimism cheat sheet for all 30 teams:

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Josh Donaldson
To a young team that won the NL East and has a deep farm system comes a 33-year-old former American League Most Valuable Player ready to prove he's still one of the best players in the game.

Video: Donaldson thrilled to be with the Braves

Marlins: Youth
Manager Don Mattingly's Opening Day lineup probably will have at least six players in their 20s, and it's going to be fun watching those young guys grow and begin to prove themselves.

Mets: Expectations
The Mets finally have some after an offseason in which they've been upgraded all over the place while holding onto a rotation that might be baseball's best.

Nationals: Max Scherzer
His every start is a must-see event, and now he's the biggest name on a team that has had a tremendous offseason and might just be the NL's best team whether Bryce Harper returns or not.

Phillies: Anticipation
The Phillies made a string of solid acquisitions and remain in the middle of the race for Harper and/or Manny Machado. Regardless of how that plays out, the additions of J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura and David Robertson have moved them closer to a postseason berth.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: NL's best record
The Brewers were one win from going to the World Series and are bringing back the core of that 2018 team, in addition to upgrades behind the plate (signing Yasmani Grandal) and in the rotation (the return of injured ace Jimmy Nelson).

Cardinals: Paul Goldschmidt
He's on the short list of baseball's best offensive players and could transform the lineup, if not the entire team. With the signing of lefty reliever Andrew Miller and a slew of young arms, the Cardinals probably could not feel better about 2019.

Video: Paul Goldschmidt gets formally introduced

Cubs: Yu Darvish
He's ready to be the ace the Cubs projected he would be in 2018, when he was limited to just eight starts in his first year with the club due to injury. If the Cubs can keep Darvish and their other core guys on the field, there may not be a better NL team.

Pirates: Youth
Don't sleep on this team. The starting rotation could be very good. If third base prospect Ke'Bryan Hayes makes his debut in the first half of the season, he'll join first baseman Josh Bell to give the Pirates a solid pair of corner infielders to go with a potentially very good outfield.

Reds: Rotation
The Reds could turn a big corner with the addition of Alex Wood, Sonny Gray and Tanner Roark to the rotation. Watching new right fielder Yasiel Puig hit in Great American Ball Park could be one of the best shows in baseball.

NL WEST

D-backs: Rotation
There are legitimate reasons to be excited about this club, thanks to a rotation that could be as good as any in the NL with Taijuan Walker back from Tommy John surgery and Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray and Zack Godley all returning.

Dodgers: Corey Seager
With six straight division championships and back-to-back NL pennants in their pocket, the Dodgers are getting potentially their best player back from Tommy John surgery.

Video: BP, throwing across diamond next on docket for Seager

Giants: Madison Bumgarner
He's healthy again after injuries limited him to 38 starts the last two seasons. Last time he pitched a full season was 2016 when he threw 226 2/3 innings, and the Giants made the playoffs. Go ahead and connect the dots.

Padres: Youth
The Padres have 10 of MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects, a record. Even better is that at least four of them, including shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (No. 2 overall), are projected to play in the big leagues this season.

Rockies: Nolan Arenado
Both sides are publicly optimistic he'll be signed to an extension before reaching free agency after the season. Meanwhile, his team is positioned for a third straight postseason appearance, thanks to what should be the best rotation in franchise history.

AL EAST

Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
He's the top prospect in the sport and one of the best hitting prospects ever, according to MLB Pipeline, and will be playing third base for the Blue Jays at some point this season. He's the face of a wave of kids that will usher in a new chapter of baseball in Toronto.

Video: Top Prospects: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays

Orioles: The future
The Orioles are being rebuilt by two of the men -- Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal -- who helped make the Astros a powerhouse. This season will be devoted to throwing young kids on the field and giving them a chance to show they belong, much the way Houston did a few years before winning a World Series.

Rays: Front office
Smartest in baseball? It's in the conversation. Same thing with manager Kevin Cash. Last season's 90-win team reinforced both those notions. They've gotten better this offseason with depth and flexibility up and down the roster.

Red Sox: Trophy case
Why would the Red Sox be optimistic? Other than winning the World Series four times in 15 seasons. Other than having the reigning AL MVP (Mookie Betts) and an offense and rotation that could be baseball's best.

Yankees: Bullpen
General manager Brian Cashman upgraded his team all over the place, especially in the bullpen, which has a chance to be one of the best ever. No division has three teams as good as the top three in the AL East.

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Rotation
There may not be one better, and that's why the front office resisted the temptation to trade a starter for a hitter. The Indians are solid favorites to win the AL Central again, and that rotation could make them a formidable October opponent.

Royals: Kyle Zimmer
What a story. He is a former top pitching prospect whose career appeared to be over after four surgeries. He was sent to the Driveline Baseball program in Seattle as sort of a last-chance saloon. Now at 27, he's throwing hard and without pain and should make his Major League debut in 2019.

Video: Kyle Zimmer on returning to form going into 2019

Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
His 2018 season ended after 38 games when he underwent biceps surgery. Now 35 years old, he's ready to continue building on a Hall of Fame resume.

Twins: Byron Buxton
He has added 21 pounds of muscle and seems confident he'll get his career back on track after a tough 2018 season that was mostly spent in the Minor Leagues. He's still only 25, and the Twins are hopeful he can be the electrifying presence he was once projected to be.

White Sox: Eloy Jimenez
He's the crown jewel of a very good farm system and ranked No. 3 overall by MLB Pipeline. Injuries delayed his debut last summer, and now that he's healthy again, he'll be the most-watched player at Sox camp.

AL WEST

Angels: Mike Trout
OK, this is stating the obvious. We could be watching one of baseball's 10 greatest players ever at his peak, and the Angels may have constructed a team that'll help put Trout on display in October.

Astros: Alex Bregman
He did more than emerge as a great player in 2018. He also became a huge presence in his community, giving of his time and money and making himself a role model for every other professional athlete.

Athletics: Matt Chapman
If you're not completely familiar with his game, you soon will be. He's a generational defensive player at third and on his way to becoming one of the players every other is compared to.

Mariners: Yusei Kikuchi
He was the most interesting addition in an offseason of change for the Mariners and will slot between Marco Gonzales and Mike Leake in a rotation that will give Seattle a chance to be competitive.

Video: Yusei Kikuchi discusses his first bullpen session

Rangers: Joey Gallo
There's a buzz the moment he steps into the batter's box. His 81 home runs the last two seasons are the fourth most in the Majors. His 93.9 mph average exit velocity is third highest.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Rumors: Kimbrel, Moose, Keuchel, Marwin

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

Signing Kimbrel could help Astros rival Yanks for bullpen supremacy
Feb. 17: Which team has the best bullpen in baseball?

Most would answer that it's the Yankees, especially after they brought back lefty Zack Britton and brought in righty Adam Ottavino to a group that also includes elite setup relievers Dellin Betances and Chad Green plus closer Aroldis Chapman. In fact, New York's bullpen is projected for the most WAR of all teams in 2019, ahead of the Brewers and Mets.

But what about the Astros, who check in fourth on that list? Sure, they added two key arms at the Trade Deadline last summer in Roberto Osuna and Ryan Pressly. But is there a chance they could make a play for the one remaining high-end reliever on the open market -- Craig Kimbrel -- to complete a super bullpen to rival that of the Yankees? More >

Moustakas' return to Milwaukee has ripple effects
Feb. 17: Mike Moustakas is headed back to the Brewers, as a source told MLB.com he has agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract that includes a mutual option for 2020.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: Free-agent Mike Moustakas in agreement with #Brewers on a one-year contract, pending a physical, sources tell The Athletic.

Milwaukee acquired Moustakas, 30, at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last summer, and he went on to hit .256/.326/.441 with eight home runs over 54 games while helping the Crew reach the postseason and make it all the way to the National League Championship Series.

With Moustakas back with the Brewers, here's a look at some of the ripple effects for Milwaukee, as well as other clubs that had been linked to the third baseman.

Video: Moustakas returns to Brewers according to a source

Could Keuchel be missing piece for Braves?
Feb. 17: First, the Braves signed slugger Josh Donaldson to be their third baseman and brought back Brian McCann, who last played for Atlanta in 2013, to help at catcher. Most recently, the club re-signed outfielder Nick Markakis. That checks off three boxes on general manager Alex Anthopoulos' offseason to-do list.

One that hasn't been checked off yet? Adding a starting pitcher, ideally of the frontline variety. Could Dallas Keuchel -- the top starter still on the open market -- be that for the Braves? More >

Is Marwin to Minneapolis the perfect match?
Feb. 17: Why would Marwin Gonzalez to the Twins be the right fit? According to MLB.com's Richard Justice, while it's true Minnesota has made some offensive upgrades, particularly by signing veteran slugger Nelson Cruz, Gonzalez would be "an insurance policy for the things that don't go right."

Since Gonzalez is the ultimate super-utility player, having played every position but pitcher and catcher, and the Twins could use more depth pretty much all over the diamond, such a signing would make a lot of sense.

Gonzalez had a breakout 2017 campaign for the World Series champion Astros, hitting .303/.377/.530 with 23 homers in 515 plate appearances. He took a step back last year, slashing .247/.324/.409 with 16 homers in 552 plate appearances. Nevertheless, he's 29 years old and has proven his ability to hit in addition to his added value from his versatility.

The Twins are looking up at the Indians in what could very well be a competitive American League Central in '19. Not to mention, bringing in Gonzalez also could take away a possible target for Cleveland, which has been looking to upgrade and add depth to its outfield.

Heyman: 'Intensified' Harper talks are 'heating up'
Feb. 17: There's been plenty of buzz around Bryce Harper over the past 48 hours or so. Could a resolution to the superstar slugger's free agency be coming soon?

"Things are heating up" for Harper, with the Phillies being seen as the favorite, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, who describes the discussions as "intensified" but also cautions that "nothing is done yet," although it would be a long-term deal. Heyman adds that Harper's camp is still engaged with other clubs -- including perhaps the Nationals, Giants and White Sox -- and has "multiple long-term offers for more than $30 million a year" on the table. Sources told MLB.com that while the Phillies and Harper's agent Scott Boras have been talking recently and making progress, nothing is imminent.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Things are heating up with Harper. Intensified is the word I heard. Phillies are the favorite, but word remains that nothing���s done yet. Will be a long-term deal.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: As things intensify, Bryce Harper has multiple long-term offers for more than 30M a year. Philly is viewed as the favorite, as said here, but it is also said to an ���evolving��� market.

This comes two days after a report started circulating and gaining some steam Friday afternoon that Harper just might be on the verge of finding a new home. More >

Padres reportedly make Manny an offer of around 8 years, $250 million or more
Feb. 17: With the Padres, Phillies and White Sox seen as the finalists in the Manny Machado Sweepstakes, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reports that San Diego has made Machado an offer of about eight years and $250 million. The San Diego Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee reports the offer is actually north of that. 

Tweet from @sdutKevinAcee: I don���t know the years. But my understanding is offer to Machado is for more than $250 million. https://t.co/kSkJo5DVwo

Heyman reported earlier that it appears Machado will go with the highest offer, regardless of destination, but that if Machado would consider a shorter deal with the Yankees, New York might take him up on it. A source told MLB.com's AJ Cassavell that the Padres' offer is "substantial" and believed to be the highest on the table for Machado, one that will likely not be topped. 

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Word is Machado will go for the ���best deal��� (ie most money), but if he���s willing to do something short term ��� very short term ��� he should try calling back the Yankees. It���s a long shot, but under those circumstances, word is they might consider Manny.

The Padres are also still in the mix for Machado's fellow 26-year-old superstar free agent, Bryce Harper. According to Heyman, San Diego has made an offer to Harper as well, which is higher than the offer made to Machado. More >

Examining potential of Machado to White Sox
Feb. 17: The White Sox still look like one of the favorites to land Manny Machado. But just how big is their offer to him, and what other factors could be at play to help the star infielder land with Chicago?

Several numbers have been floated throughout the offseason, including a recent report from Dominican radio station Z101's Hector Gomez of an eight-year, $250 million offer, as well as an earlier report of a $175 million offer. But MLB Network insider Jon Heyman thinks the real offer from Chicago to Machado could be somewhere in between those two figures.

As for how Machado would fit with the White Sox -- a rebuilding team coming off six straight losing seasons but with a crop of young, up-and-coming prospects -- MLB.com's Richard Justice writes that they "feel like an ideal fit." Here's why.

How could a Harper or Machado signing impact Kimbrel?
Feb. 16: Craig Kimbrel entered the offseason as the best closer on the market, but while most other back-of-the-bullpen relievers have come off the board, the All-Star right-hander remains unsigned. That may be due, in part, to the type of contract he's been rumored to be asking for: a six-year deal, which would be unprecedented for a relief pitcher. But Kimbrel isn't the only big-name free agent still out there, of course. So what could happen with Kimbrel if Bryce Harper or Manny Machado signs before he does?

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand goes through multiple scenarios in which one of the two superstars secure a contract, and what impact it would have on other top free agents. In the case of Kimbrel, Feinsand writes that the closer likely would end up reuniting with either the Red Sox or Braves in the event Harper or Machado signs with the Phillies. He adds that if Harper signs with the Nationals or Giants, the Phillies may become a more likely destination for Kimbrel. Philadelphia's level of interest, of course, would also depend on its continued pursuit of Machado in that case.

What if Machado signs with the White Sox and Harper is still out there? Feinsand surmises Philly could then become a more likely landing spot for Kimbrel, but that would also depend on how serious the club is about inking Harper. If the Phillies aren't able to sign either superstar, "it could spark a chain reaction that could land Dallas Keuchel  or Kimbrel -- or both -- in Philly." More >

Don't count Yanks out on Harper or Machado
Feb. 16: Even as Spring Training has begun and the Yankees already have made several moves to upgrade a roster that won 100 games last year, don't count New York out when it comes to the two premier free agents remaining on the market, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

"I wouldn't say specifically, but I would reinforce, I'm doing my job," general manager Brian Cashman said Saturday. "Whether that's those two players or other players that aren't as significant name value, the job at hand is to constantly be open-minded to ways to make this work the best it can possibly work. ... We like what we've done to this point, but we're never a finished product."

The Yankees already have a full outfield with Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and an injured Jacoby Ellsbury. Signing Harper could necessitate some reshuffling and adjusting. With respect to Machado, the Yankees have added multiple infielders, signing free agents Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu. Tulowitzki is expected to open the season at shortstop as Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery, and LeMahieu is expected to play a super-utility role.

Then again, this is the Yankees, a team that can never be counted out on big free agents, regardless of the situation. 

Is Keuchel still waiting on Harper and Machado?
Feb. 16: Dallas Keuchel has been the top available starting pitcher for several weeks now, but his market appears to be at something of a standstill. Why? Perhaps in large part due to the two bigger names still available in free agency: Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

In an in-depth rundown of how the dominoes could fall once Harper or Machado signs, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand explains how many of Keuchel's scenarios depend on where the slugging outfielder and/or star infielder wind up. More >

After meeting with Padres GM, here's how Machado could fit in San Diego
Feb. 16: After SNY's Andy Martino reported that the Padres were being "very aggressive" with their offer to Manny Machado, a source confirmed to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand that general manager A.J. Preller actually flew to Miami to meet with Machado and his wife sometime in the past week.

Machado is the Friars' first choice to fill their vacancy at the hot corner, but it is not believed that the 26-year-old is close to choosing a team at this time, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

MLB.com's AJ Cassavell provides a look at how Machado would fit with the Padres in both the short and long term, while Feinsand breaks down how the dominoes could fall for Bryce Harper (as well as Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel) if Machado goes to San Diego. More > 

Latest on extension talks between Mets, deGrom
Feb. 15: Jacob deGrom's representatives have set an Opening Day deadline for the Mets to complete a contract extension with the right-hander, and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said that deGrom's reps will be in Port St. Lucie soon to ramp up discussions.

deGrom, 30, took part in a press conference after being announced as the Mets' 2019 Opening Day starter and reaffirmed his desire to remain with the club on a long-term basis.

"I would like to be a part of this team's future," deGrom said. "I would like the feeling to be mutual, but that's just something that we're going to have to see."

The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, who can become a free agent after the 2020 season, also said he would consult with his agents about a self-imposed restriction on his workload if the two sides can't reach an agreement. More >

Video: deGrom, Van Wagenen on a potential contract extension

Keuchel still could be a fit for Astros in 2019 -- and beyond
Feb. 15: When the Astros inked left-hander Wade Miley  in late January, the initial thought was that transaction decreased the chances of free agent Dallas Keuchel  returning to Houston. And yet, the club may be keeping the door open to the possibility, as USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported.

Here's why a reunion with Keuchel still could work. It's true that the Astros have excellent rotation depth for this season, as Justin Verlander Gerrit Cole Collin McHugh  and Miley are backed up by Brad Peacock , and a host of youngsters like Forrest Whitley  (MLB Pipeline's No. 7 overall prospect), Josh James  (the No. 62 overall prospect), Framber Valdez Cionel Perez  and J.B. Bukauskas

But with Miley in the fold on a one-year pact, the Astros now have (count 'em) four starters who can hit the open market after the 2019 season; McHugh and co-aces Verlander and Cole are the others. And the looming free agency of the latter two is something Houston's front office is going to have to face soon enough. More >

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 in an appearance 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 player will eventually land deals between 8 and 10 years.

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

Arenado won't set hard deadline on contract extension negotiations
Feb. 14: The Rockies are hoping to work out a long-term contract extension with Nolan Arenado before the third baseman becomes a free agent next offseason, and they'll have some time to do so.

Arenado said Thursday that he won't make Opening Day a hard deadline for negotiations, giving his agent, Joel Wolfe, a chance to continue talks with Colorado during the season, if needed.

The 27-year-old recently came to an agreement with the Rockies on a one-year deal for 2019 that will pay him $26 million, a record for an arbitration-eligible player. More >

Boone on Judge: 'He's good to go'

Slugger fully healed from right wrist injury; Yanks hoping Loaisiga continues to impress
MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- Watching Aaron Judge pummel batting-practice fastballs at the Yankees' Minor League complex this week, two words came to Aaron Boone's mind: "Plus power."

Having witnessed his hulking right fielder deposit a boxload of baseballs beyond the fences at the facility, the Yankees' manager is confident that Judge has come all the way back from the fractured right wrist that cost him about seven weeks of last season.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Watching Aaron Judge pummel batting-practice fastballs at the Yankees' Minor League complex this week, two words came to Aaron Boone's mind: "Plus power."

Having witnessed his hulking right fielder deposit a boxload of baseballs beyond the fences at the facility, the Yankees' manager is confident that Judge has come all the way back from the fractured right wrist that cost him about seven weeks of last season.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Oh yeah, he's good to go," Boone said. "He's healthy. I think he's as healthy as he's been probably since he's been in the big leagues. He's in really good condition, and I know he's excited to get started."

Judge played 112 games for New York last season, hitting .278/.392/.528 with 27 homers and 67 RBIs. He sustained a chip fracture of the wrist on July 26 when he was hit by a pitch from the Royals' Jakob Junis, and he did not return to the lineup until Sept. 18. Judge batted .421 (8-for-19) with a double, three homers and four RBIs in the Yankees' five postseason games.

Video: KC@NYY: Judge gets hit by pitch, fractures wrist

"I think he had a really good offseason," Boone said. "I think he's so much further ahead of the game than he was last year when we kept him out and really slow-played him the first week or two of games, because he was still recovering from that [left] shoulder [surgery] and a lot of his winter was poured into the rehab of his shoulder.

"This year, it's been having a normal offseason and getting his body in excellent condition. When you talk to him, I think he's really excited where his shoulder is at right now, certainly compared to this time last year. The maintenance that he's had to do on it the last couple of years, I feel like in a lot of ways he's through that."

Though Aaron Hicks is envisioned to serve as the Yankees' regular leadoff hitter, Boone suggested that he could use Judge in that spot against a tough left-handed pitcher, something that he flirted with last spring. All 108 of Judge's regular-season starts came as the No. 2 hitter.

"You have a left-handed pitcher out there, and you want Judge and [Giancarlo] Stanton coming up as much as possible," Boone said. "I don't necessarily think it's likely, but it's one of those things you consider. I would say Hicks is the guy I envision the most in that spot, but we'll see also how camp unfolds. I've looked at it a little bit, but I haven't had a lot of conversations yet on the order."

Second helping

Jonathan Loaisiga enjoyed glimpses of brilliance during his nine appearances (four starts) in the Majors last season, including a June 25 effort at Philadelphia in which the right-hander carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Boone said that the Yankees believe Loaisiga's delivery and pitch package suggest that he can be an effective starter at the big league level.

Video: NYY@PHI: Loaisiga K's 8 in 1-hit gem vs. the Phillies

"There's no denying the ceiling," Boone said. "I really feel confident that he's going to help us this year, and I think he can be a really good pitcher in this league. I think he flashed that to us last year. I think the question for him is going to be, can we continue to build up his workload and really keep him healthy full time? His talent and the pitch mix is real."

Comeback trail

Didi Gregorius (Tommy John surgery on right elbow) will continue to participate in defensive drills when position players have their first workout on Tuesday, with Gregorius taking grounders and throwing. By early March, Gregorius hopes to be cleared to begin a hitting program, which would begin with dry (non-contact) swings and tee work.

Tweet from @BryanHoch: Here���s @LuisSeverino94 pumping some strikes in to @ElGarySanchez... #Yankees #SpringTraining @MLB pic.twitter.com/b4l4zETGnG

Bombers bits

• Several pitchers threw live batting practice at the Minor League complex on Sunday morning, with Chance Adams, Luis Cessa, Danny Coulombe, Cale Coshow, Domingo German, David Hale, Joe Harvey, Jonathan Holder and birthday boy Stephen Tarpley taking the hill.

• Bullpen sessions at the Steinbrenner Field complex were headlined by Luis Severino throwing to Gary Sanchez, plus Domingo Acevedo, Rex Brothers, Drew Hutchison and Trevor Stephan. Boone said that Sanchez (left shoulder surgery) received a scheduled day off from hitting.

• Yankees position players are scheduled to report to camp on Monday.

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

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Jonathan Loaisiga

J.D. looking to build off monster 2018 campaign

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A year ago at this time, J.D. Martinez was sweating away in solitude at his Miami training base, hoping his prolonged free agency would finally end.

Things were much more enjoyable on Sunday, as the star slugger arrived at camp on time with the rest of the position players and ready to do more damage in his second season with the Red Sox.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A year ago at this time, J.D. Martinez was sweating away in solitude at his Miami training base, hoping his prolonged free agency would finally end.

Things were much more enjoyable on Sunday, as the star slugger arrived at camp on time with the rest of the position players and ready to do more damage in his second season with the Red Sox.

In truth, Year One in Boston couldn't have gone any better for Martinez. The DH/OF won Silver Slugger Awards at two positions and put up monster numbers (.330 average, 43 homers, 130 RBIs, 1.031 OPS) for a team that won the World Series.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Did you actually think not winning the American League MVP Award could put a damper on Martinez's fun?

For starters, Mookie Betts -- Martinez's inseparable hitting partner -- did win the MVP Award, so that was a victory for the entire organization.

And Martinez, who finished fourth, now admits in a somewhat humorous way that he knew he never had a chance.

"No, I kind of laughed about it because everybody was making a big deal about it," Martinez said. "Like, 'You had a chance to have a chance to win' and stuff like that, and I was like, 'Guys, there's no way that the analytic guys are ever going to let that happen. For a DH to win an MVP, they're going to have to walk on water.' That will never happen."

It turns out Martinez never did walk on water or win the Triple Crown. He did do a multitude of other things, including changing the entire hitting culture of the team he plays for.

Video: Martinez is No. 11 on MLB Network's Top 100 Right Now

"It became the talk in the clubhouse last year and everyone was like, 'The only way you're going to win is if you win the Triple Crown' or whatever. I was like, '100 percent. That's the only chance.' When it came out, I expected it," Martinez said. "I kind of laughed about it. I know how my peers think of me, and I know how my peers thought of me with the text messages I got and the congratulations I got."

Martinez also pointed out that he did win the MLBPA Players Choice Player of the Year Award, mentioning how meaningful that was because it came from his peers.

In truth, awards aren't what make Martinez tick. He is driven by his passion for hitting and winning, which kind of go hand in hand.

"I've never been around someone who puts in as much time as he does to be really good at his craft," Red Sox utilityman Brock Holt said. "While we're on the plane traveling cross country to the next series, guys are playing cards, guys are listening to music, watching movies; he's got his iPad or his computer out and he's watching video. I think just watching him do what made him as good as he is I think helped everyone else out.

"Just having him there to ask questions to and to kind of lean on because he's been doing it for a long time now, I think that aspect kind of rubbed off on some guys and helped us out."

Tweet from @RedSox: Another champ in camp! 👌@JDMartinez14 | #SoxSpring pic.twitter.com/sJeqVt4G1D

Though Martinez enjoyed not having to think about his contract this offseason, there will be another decision to make in 2019. He has an opt-out clause after the next two seasons. If Martinez stays with his original contract and doesn't opt out, these are his payouts over the final three years of the deal: $23.75 million in '20, $19.375 million in '21 and $19.375 million in '22.

Either way, Martinez can't lose. Someone is going to pay him a lot of money to pound the baseball.

Will Martinez's decision on whether to opt out be influenced at all by how long it took him to get a contract last season or the fact that Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are currently going through the same thing?

"I don't really think it does," Martinez said. "Personally, you listen to obviously [agent] Scott [Boras] and their advice, and that's what they're really good at. At the end of the day, I know my value and I know what I bring to the table, and I really don't kind of look at that. I really judge me on me."

Video: Work out like a World Series Champ with J.D. Martinez

One thing is clear about Martinez: His passion and obsession for his craft makes him perfect for the market he is currently playing in.

"I'm going to tell you right now, no one is harder on me than me. The fact that fans sit there and boo me, I'm booing myself when I'm walking in," Martinez said. "No one is more [angry] than me. I'm with them. I'm like, 'Yeah, you should be mad. That's terrible.' For me, it's never really bothered me because I'm so locked in and caught up in the process that I don't worry about the outside noise and stuff like that.

"Obviously, I love Boston. I love the passion. It kind of matches my personality. The fans, I almost feel like they're just as passionate as me. Obviously I'd love to stay here, but that's not something I'm worrying about right now."

Instead, it will be opposing pitchers who will do all the worrying whenever the dangerous Martinez steps to the plate.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez

'I feel like I'm 25': Cano joins Mets at camp

Expected to lead, 36-year-old honored to have Wright's former locker
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The most pressing question surrounding Robinson Cano, entering his first season with the Mets at age 36, is what kind of player he can be in his late 30s. In his 20s, he was a phenom, batting .308 with a .503 slugging percentage for the Yankees. Since then, he has fallen off only slightly, making four of his eight career All-Star Game appearances after his 30th birthday.

Still, the list of position players productive at age 36 is small. At 37, even smaller. Beyond that, infinitesimal. So it was worth noting that shortly after Cano showed up to the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie for the first time, he stated: "I feel like I'm 25."

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The most pressing question surrounding Robinson Cano, entering his first season with the Mets at age 36, is what kind of player he can be in his late 30s. In his 20s, he was a phenom, batting .308 with a .503 slugging percentage for the Yankees. Since then, he has fallen off only slightly, making four of his eight career All-Star Game appearances after his 30th birthday.

Still, the list of position players productive at age 36 is small. At 37, even smaller. Beyond that, infinitesimal. So it was worth noting that shortly after Cano showed up to the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie for the first time, he stated: "I feel like I'm 25.":: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I always feel like that," Cano said. "I never feel like I'm 30. … I feel good, physically and mentally. For me, that's what matters as a player."

If the Mets plan on making any concessions to Cano's age, they aren't saying. While general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has noted that the Mets could use him at first base, Cano said the team hasn't approached him about that yet -- and he didn't sound like a man all that interested in changing positions. To the contrary, before serving an 80-game suspension last year for violating Major League Baseball's joint drug agreement, Cano had averaged 159 games per season over the previous 11 years, nearly all of them at second.

He doesn't expect anything to be different in Queens, and manager Mickey Callaway noted that the team would likely only use Cano at first in a pinch. Most days -- maybe every day -- he will be at second.

"As long as I feel good, for me, I love to play this game," Cano said. "As a young kid, you dream to play in the big leagues. So if I have a chance to go out and play every day, I would love to. I don't want to step back from that."

Video: Robinson Cano is the No. 4 second baseman right now

The Mets would love that too, assuming Cano proves worthy of the third spot in the lineup that Callaway has already bestowed upon him. While the Mets feature depth at second base -- Jed Lowrie, Jeff McNeil and T.J. Rivera can all play there -- they would prefer to use those players in other places.

Mostly, the Mets would like Cano to make good on his intention of "being back in the playoffs," which he missed over the half-decade he spent in Seattle after making it seven times in his first eight years in the Bronx. They are also counting on Cano to be a clubhouse leader, replacing the void left by captain David Wright. It wasn't by accident that the Mets issued Wright's longtime spring locker to Cano, understanding the effect he can have on his teammates.

"Nobody is going to replace David Wright in this organization," Cano said. "We all know what he did. It was sad that he had to end his career that way. … I feel special that I get to have his locker. 

"Am I going to go out and do my best and give everything I've got? Yes, I will. I don't like to pressure myself that I have to go out and be that guy. But I will do my best and do everything I can to help the team compete and help the team to win a game."

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

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

TCU stuns Vandy at inaugural MLB4 Tournament

Williamson leads Horned Frogs over No. 1 Vanderbilt on event's final day
MLB.com @wboor

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Playing baseball for TCU means playing when the lights are brightest.

While those opportunities typically come later in the season, Brandon Williamson got a chance to pitch on a big stage in his TCU debut and, after overcoming some initial nervousness, he rose to the occasion on the final day of the inaugural MLB4 Tournament.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Playing baseball for TCU means playing when the lights are brightest.

While those opportunities typically come later in the season, Brandon Williamson got a chance to pitch on a big stage in his TCU debut and, after overcoming some initial nervousness, he rose to the occasion on the final day of the inaugural MLB4 Tournament.

Williamson -- who opted to go to TCU rather than signing with the Brewers after being picked in the 36th round of the 2018 MLB Draft -- led the Horned Frogs to a 10-2 win over No. 1 Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

"It was unbelievable," Williamson said of the atmosphere at the MLB4 Tournament. "Honestly, I had some nerves before the game, came in and I realized that is what I wanted. This is baseball, it's no different than any other game I've pitched before."

Tweet from @TCU_Baseball: BALLGAME!! TCU knocks off No. 1 Vanderbilt to finish 2-1 in the potent MLB4 Tournament. Austin Henry (3-for-5, 3 RBI); Jake Guenther (3 RBI) and Jake Eissler with 5 2/3 solid innings! #GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/OzE1WrTen7

The Commodores' offense had totaled 29 runs on 31 hits over the first two games, but Williamson was able to keep them in check. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings, but held Vanderbilt to one run on four hits and threw 45 of his 77 pitches for strikes.

"I thought he did a really nice job for his first college start," TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "He didn't get a fall practice, so that's only the fifth time he's been on a game mound since May. And May, that was in a junior college game in the Midwest, and now he's starting in this setting against the No. 1 team in the country."

Williamson checked in at No. 90 on MLB Pipeline's 2018 list of the Top 200 Draft prospects after he struck out 104, a school record, in 66 innings for North Iowa Area CC. He showed the same ability to rack up strikeouts early against Vanderbilt.

The lefty struck out two in the first and then fanned four in a row over the second and third innings before finishing with seven strikeouts in his brief outing.

TCU's offense came to life over the final two games of the MLB4 Tournament.

The Horned Frogs were shut out in a loss to Fullerton on Friday and then didn't score through the first two innings against Virginia on Saturday. However, the Horned Frogs' offense ultimately found its rhythm and tallied 19 runs in 14 innings in wins over Virginia and Vanderbilt.

"When you come out and get shut out like that right away, it said a lot about our team, whether we were going to roll over or we were going to pick it up, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and that's what we did," Williamson said.

TCU -- a program that has five College World Series appearances (second in NCAA) since 2010 and 231 wins (fourth in the nation) over the past five years -- missed the postseason for just the second time in 15 seasons in 2018. It began the 2019 campaign with something to prove and this weekend's 2-1 start will certainly go a long way toward that goal.

"You can take a lot of confidence from a weekend like this when you have success," Schlossnagle said. "The beauty of playing this kind of competition in this setting is you expose your team, anything you don't do well, it's going to get exposed. You learn more about your team than you would playing against a lighter schedule."

The schedule eases up a bit from here as TCU heads home for four games against Abilene Christian and Grand Canyon.

"Kids today, they know who the good teams are, and they want to play the good teams and they want to play in the great venues," Schlossngale said. "That's part of the reason why they chose to come to TCU."

Cal State Fullerton rallies to MLB4 victory
Cal State Fullerton rallied to score three runs in the ninth, overcoming a two-run deficit to top Virginia, 6-5, in Sunday's MLB4 finale.

Defensive miscues put Fullerton in an early hole, as it gave up a trio of unearned runs. But after being held in check for the majority of the game, the Titans' offense came alive in the ninth.

There was no big blast that broke the game open, but rather a series of plays that led to the comeback, as six Titans reached base in the ninth and all nine batters came to the plate in the inning.

Jake Pavletich drew a walk to open the frame, and Jason Brandow -- who put Fullerton on the board with a two-run double in the fifth -- followed with his second double of the game. A hit batter loaded the bases, and after Jackson Lyon's RBI single brought home the first run of the ninth, Hank LaForte tied the game with a sacrifice fly.

Two batters later, Virginia, which finished the weekend 0-3, had a chance to keep the game tied with two outs and the bases loaded, but Daniel Cope hit a grounder to short and put the Titans ahead via the RBI infield single.

Noah Murdock pitched well for Virginia, striking out five and giving up three runs on five hits in six innings.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Shortstops to watch in your fantasy draft

'19 crop features plenty of speed, slugging and star power
MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

It's possible that we're seeing the best crop of young shortstops in history -- or at the very least since Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez took baseball by storm in the late 1990s. That means it's pretty hard to go wrong at the position, so long as one locks up one of these supreme talents within the first few rounds of his or her draft.

With that confidence in mind, here's a look at the top fantasy options at shortstop via MLB.com's 2019 rankings as Spring Training kicks off.

It's possible that we're seeing the best crop of young shortstops in history -- or at the very least since Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez took baseball by storm in the late 1990s. That means it's pretty hard to go wrong at the position, so long as one locks up one of these supreme talents within the first few rounds of his or her draft.

With that confidence in mind, here's a look at the top fantasy options at shortstop via MLB.com's 2019 rankings as Spring Training kicks off.

• Fantasy rankings:  Overall | Catcher | First basemenSecond basemen | Third basemen | OutfieldersRelievers

Tier 1: Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado, Trea Turner
On one hand, you might want to wait to see where Machado signs. But on the other hand, does it really matter? Whether he lands with the White Sox, Phillies or someone else -- and whether he actually winds up logging more games at third base than shortstop -- Machado is baseball's top hitter when it comes to putting hard contact in play. He also recorded the lowest strikeout rate of his career in 2018 and chipped in 14 steals despite his reputation not "hustling." No matter what uniform Machado dons, he's one of baseball's best players with a bat in his hand.

Video: Manny Machado is the No. 4 shortstop right now

Meanwhile, there's no mystery as to where Lindor or Turner will play this year; they're franchise cornerstones in Cleveland and Washington. A right calf strain that will sideline Lindor through much of Spring Training might give some drafters pause, but he's more than tripled his homer count in four seasons as a big leaguer and is the complete package when healthy. With Turner, it still feels like fans are waiting for him to truly deliver on the promise of his limited debut in 2016, when he hit .342. But Turner was finally able to play in all 162 games last year, eclipsed the 100-run threshold and stole 43 bags while knocking a career-high 19 homers and driving in 73 runs. Still just 25 years old, Turner could be primed for his best season yet.

Tier 2: Trevor Story, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Corey Seager

Video: Story poised to build on breakout season with Rockies

Looking for power? Story now owns the longest home run tracked by Statcast™ and knocked 42 homers last year. Speed? He chipped in 27 steals. Story was also durable, logging 157 games and 656 plate appearances. If you miss out on the megastars in Lindor and Machado, Story can still carry your team's lineup.

Meanwhile, Correa's track record suggests that his injury-marred 2018 should be an aberration -- though back injuries can prove pesky. Correa's surgery to repair a deviated system could also help improve on a campaign in which he saw his slugging drop by nearly 150 points and recede from a superstar to a league-average hitter. When he's right, Correa brings rare power for the position.

Bogaerts overcame his own wrist ailments from 2017 to return to star status for the World Series champions. The shortstop struggled with one of MLB's lowest barrel rates that season, but surged back with a 9.8 percent rate that matched Tommy Pham and Juan Soto in '18. With injuries behind him, Bogaerts should continue to be the all-around hitting star we grew accustomed to seeing. Seager, like Correa, has a major rehabilitation to overcome, but FanGraphs' Steamer system projects an extremely solid .284/.359/.478 slash line and 23 homers -- which seems logical if Seager is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery.

Video: Jean Segura is the No. 9 shortstop right now

Tier 3: Jean Segura, Adalberto Mondesi, Jose Peraza
Segura rarely draws a walk, but his high-contact skills still yields plenty of value. His biggest asset is his consistency; he's slashed .308/.353/.449 over the last three seasons, and hasn't compiled a below-average line since he was a Brewer in 2015. Segura has also averaged 25 steals a year in that span.

Mondesi might not be the hyped prospect he once was, but things began clicking after his mid-June recall last year, when he showed a tantalizing power-speed combo over 75 games with 14 homers and 32 steals in 39 attempts. The Royals figure to run wild this season, and a 50-steal campaign seems feasible for this up-and-comer. Peraza's power surge (an increase of 30 extra-base hits and nearly a 100-point boost in slugging from 2017 to '18) was a pleasant surprise for the Reds, and his Steamer-projected .281 average and 22 steals represent a competent mid-round pickup.

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

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. Trevor Williams, RHP
4. Joe Musgrove, RHP
5. Jordan Lyles, RHP
Closer: Felipe Vazquez, LHP

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

Rotation and closer:
1. Sonny Gray, RHP
2. Tanner Roark, RHP
3. Alex Wood, LHP
4. Luis Castillo, RHP
5. Anthony DeSclafani, RHP
Closer: Raisel Iglesias, RHP

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

D-BACKS
Lineup:
1. Ketel Marte, CF
2. Eduardo Escobar, 3B
3. David Peralta, LF
4. Steven Souza Jr., RF
5. Jake Lamb, 1B
6. Wilmer Flores, 2B
7. Nick Ahmed, SS
8. Alex Avila, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Zack Greinke, RHP
2. Robbie Ray, LHP
3. Zack Godley, RHP
4. Luke Weaver, RHP
5. Merrill Kelly, RHP
Closer: Archie Bradley, RHP

DODGERS
Lineup:
1. A.J. Pollock, CF
2. Corey Seager, SS
3. Justin Turner, 3B
4. Cody Bellinger, RF
5. Max Muncy, 1B
6. Chris Taylor, 2B
7. Joc Pederson, LF
8. Austin Barnes, C

Rotation and closer:
1. Clayton Kershaw, LHP
2. Walker Buehler, RHP
3. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP
4. Rich Hill, LHP
5. Kenta Maeda, RHP
Closer: Kenley Jansen, RHP

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

Rotation and closer:
1. Madison Bumgarner, LHP
2. Derek Holland, LHP
3. Dereck Rodriguez, RHP
4. Drew Pomeranz, LHP
5. Jeff Samardzija, RHP
Closer: Will Smith, LHP

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

Rotation and closer:
1. Joey Lucchesi, LHP
2. Eric Lauer, LHP
3. Robbie Erlin, LHP
4. Bryan Mitchell, RHP
5. Matt Strahm, LHP
Closer: Kirby Yates, RHP

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

Rotation and closer:
1. Kyle Freeland, LHP
2. German Marquez, RHP
3. Tyler Anderson, LHP
4. Jon Gray, RHP
5. Chad Bettis, RHP
Closer: Wade Davis, RHP