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J.A. Happ reportedly nearing deal with Yanks

MLB.com @BryanHoch

LAS VEGAS -- The Yankees are closing in on a three-year agreement that will keep left-hander J.A. Happ in pinstripes, a source told MLB.com on Wednesday.

Happ, 36, had fielded interest from several clubs, including the Phillies, Astros, Blue Jays, Rangers and Reds, though most of the offers had been two-year pacts. The Yankees' initial offer had been for two years, but pushing to three appears to have secured the deal.

LAS VEGAS -- The Yankees are closing in on a three-year agreement that will keep left-hander J.A. Happ in pinstripes, a source told MLB.com on Wednesday.

Happ, 36, had fielded interest from several clubs, including the Phillies, Astros, Blue Jays, Rangers and Reds, though most of the offers had been two-year pacts. The Yankees' initial offer had been for two years, but pushing to three appears to have secured the deal.

Other teams that have been in contact with Happ in recent days include the Phillies and Astros, as well as the Blue Jays, Rangers and Reds.

Happ was excellent for the Yankees down the stretch after they acquired him in a trade with the Blue Jays on July 26. He went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 regular-season starts, although he had a rocky postseason outing in Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Red Sox.

The Yankees, who have re-signed CC Sabathia and landed James Paxton via trade this offseason, have been outspoken about their desire to add another starting pitcher. Patrick Corbin signing with the Nationals and Nathan Eovaldi returning to the Red Sox leave Happ as one of the top free-agent options remaining.

Overall in 2018, Happ went 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 31 starts for Toronto and New York, with 193 strikeouts in 177 2/3 innings. He also earned the first All-Star nod of his 12-year career.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007.

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ

5 moves that could still come at Winter Meetings

MLB.com @jonmorosi

LAS VEGAS -- The Winter Meetings are more than halfway over, and Andrew McCutchen's contract with the Phillies remains the lone major transaction since the baseball industry gathered at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Monday.

For the event to equal the week's glitzy venue, general managers will need to act quickly -- and boldly.

LAS VEGAS -- The Winter Meetings are more than halfway over, and Andrew McCutchen's contract with the Phillies remains the lone major transaction since the baseball industry gathered at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Monday.

For the event to equal the week's glitzy venue, general managers will need to act quickly -- and boldly.

With that in mind, here are five moves that could be completed before the proceedings conclude Thursday.

J.T. Realmuto traded to the Mets
While sources indicate a three-team deal involving the Mets, Yankees and Marlins is highly unlikely to occur, the Mets continue to aggressively pursue a Realmuto trade.

The Mets appear determined to acquire a catcher before the start of 2019, whether Realmuto or a free agent such as Yasmani Grandal or Wilson Ramos. But the Mets possess young Major Leaguers who appeal to the Marlins, such as Brandon Nimmo and Amed Rosario, and the addition of Realmuto would fit with the aggressive tenor of general manager Brodie Van Wagenen's first offseason leading the Mets.

Video: Ken Rosenthal: Mets pushing the hardest for Realmuto

Madison Bumgarner traded to the Brewers
The Brewers' pitching staff relied on youth and creativity to come within one victory of the World Series this past season. Through its offseason pursuits, the team is acknowledging -- if subtly -- that a different formula may be required in 2019.

The Brewers have spoken with the Indians about Corey Kluber and the Giants regarding Bumgarner. Milwaukee's chances of landing Bumgarner are perhaps better than any other team, because of its depth among young pitchers and position players.

Craig Kimbrel signs with the Phillies
The McCutchen contract is only the start of the Phillies' offseason spending. While the Phillies have been linked extensively to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, one of their most pressing needs is at closer.

Kimbrel, 30, has the best adjusted ERA of any pitcher in baseball this decade, among those who have thrown at least 400 innings. Perhaps that is the rationale for Kimbrel's reported request of a six-year deal. A more plausible outcome is a four-year contract that surpasses Wade Davis' $17.3 million average annual value, a record among closers.

Video: MLB Now on Kimbrel looking for a 6-year deal

Corey Kluber traded to the Dodgers
The Indians' willingness to trade an elite pitcher has not diminished, sources say, and Kluber is drawing the most widespread interest. Amid concerns over Kluber's workload, National League teams are expected to value him most highly.

The Dodgers have had conversations with the Indians and match up well with Cleveland's needs. Alex Verdugo, a 22-year-old center fielder, could be the key player the Indians obtain in the deal.

Video: Bell on Indians possibly moving Kluber or Bauer

Yasiel Puig traded to the Indians
If Kluber joins Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler at Dodger Stadium, Puig could replace (or join) Verdugo in the package of players heading to Cleveland. The Dodgers are actively trying to move Puig and/or Matt Kemp, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

The Dodgers' conversations this offseason suggest they're confronting the reality that they must trade at least one outfielder in order to rebalance their roster. Puig, the subject of perpetual trade rumors during his time in Los Angeles, might finally be on the move as he enters his final season before free agency.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.

Updates on Lynn, market for starters

MLB.com @feinsand

LAS VEGAS -- With Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi already off the board, the starting-pitching market might be ready to begin sorting itself out.

According to sources, the markets for both J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn are beginning to become clearer -- and they look eerily similar. Ken Rosenthal reported early Wednesday that the Yankees are closing in on a deal with Happ for three years.

LAS VEGAS -- With Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi already off the board, the starting-pitching market might be ready to begin sorting itself out.

According to sources, the markets for both J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn are beginning to become clearer -- and they look eerily similar. Ken Rosenthal reported early Wednesday that the Yankees are closing in on a deal with Happ for three years.

The Astros, Yankees, Blue Jays, Rangers and Reds were engaged with the agents for both pitchers, while the Phillies were also in on Happ and the White Sox on Lynn.

Both pitchers are believed to be seeking three-year deals, though many teams are looking to sign them for two seasons.

"These guys could both move soon," one source said. "Once one goes, the other should follow quickly."

Charlie Morton also fits into this equation, as some of the same teams are believed to be interested in the right-hander, who is believed to be seeking a two-year contract.

As for one of the popular names on the trade market, a source said it is becoming less likely that the Giants will deal Madison Bumgarner this winter, though it still can't be ruled out. A midseason trade seems more likely if the Giants are not in contention, the source said.

Indians starters Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer remain prime trade chips, while the Mets continue to flirt with the idea of trading Noah Syndergaard.

Dallas Keuchel is considered by many to be the top pitcher left on the free-agent market, though not all of the teams interested in Happ and/or Lynn are keen on the idea of handing out the type of contract the former Cy Young Award winner is looking for.

Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi could also emerge as a fallback plan for teams in search of starting pitching, though unlike the other free agents, Kikuchi has a strict time frame to land a deal, with a Jan. 2 deadline if he wants to make the move to the Majors.

Video: Hoch believes Happ is likely to sign with Yankees

The Phillies and Yankees are considered the front-runners for Happ, though neither team is believed to have moved to three years as of Tuesday evening. Happ started his career in Philadelphia and pitched the final two-plus months with the Yankees last season, so he's quite familiar with both organizations and cities.

Happ went 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 31 starts for the Blue Jays and Yankees last season, making the All-Star Game for the first time in his career. The southpaw went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts for New York after being acquired prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Although New York would love to have Happ back, the Yankees seem hesitant to offer a third year.

Video: RHP Lance Lynn enters free agent market

Lynn's season was not nearly as appealing, as he went 10-10 with a 4.77 ERA in 31 games (29 starts) for the Twins and Yankees. Lynn, who didn't sign with the Twins until March 12, got off to a rough start, going 1-4 with a 7.47 ERA in his first eight outings.

Lynn turned things around after that, pitching to a 3.74 ERA over his next 12 outings before being traded to the Yankees on July 30. He posted a 4.14 ERA in 11 games (nine starts) for New York, though his numbers -- including a 2.17 FIP -- suggest he pitched much better than his ERA would indicate.

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

J.A. Happ, Lance Lynn

Source: Mets front-runners to land Realmuto

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

LAS VEGAS -- Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen insists that even with those players he is pursuing most ardently, there is "a walkaway point" he will not cross -- a point in which a potential deal stops making sense for the Mets.

He's just not there yet with J.T. Realmuto.

LAS VEGAS -- Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen insists that even with those players he is pursuing most ardently, there is "a walkaway point" he will not cross -- a point in which a potential deal stops making sense for the Mets.

He's just not there yet with J.T. Realmuto.

Multiple sources said the Mets remained steady Tuesday in their pursuit of Realmuto, the Marlins' All-Star catcher, on the second day of the Winter Meetings. One source said the Marlins consider the Mets the front-runners to land Realmuto, though Van Wagenen cautioned later in the day that "I wouldn't want to say we're making significant progress or close to anything."

"We've been really active," Van Wagenen said. "We're going to be as busy as possible and we're not going to have a lot of downtime."

Video: Ken Rosenthal: Mets pushing the hardest for Realmuto

While the Mets are exploring upgrades both in the outfield and their bullpen, catching remains a priority at the Winter Meetings. In addition to their Realmuto talks, the club met in person with free agent Wilson Ramos, among other backstops. Yasmani Grandal and Martin Maldonado also remain options for the Mets, as do a slew of potential trade targets.

But the grandest prize is Realmuto, whom many consider the best catcher in baseball after he hit .277 with 21 homers and an .825 OPS. Realmuto's agent, Jeff Berry, has been vocal in saying his client won't sign an extension with the rebuilding Marlins, lighting a fire under Miami's front office to complete a trade.

Wright advising Mets' brain trust at Meetings

Still, Realmuto won't come cheap; one source with knowledge of the trade talks said Amed Rosario alone wouldn't be enough to land him. Noah Syndergaard likely would, whether in a regular deal or a three-team trade, but multiple sources poured cold water on the notion that the Mets are about to complete a multiteam blockbuster.

Other options for Miami include outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto. The former will make less money next season and is under team control for four more years, making him a more likely target for the Marlins than the latter. Yet Van Wagenen will tread carefully. While he did not dismiss the idea of trading big league talent in a deal for Realmuto, Van Wagenen made it clear he would not do so unless the deal clearly makes the Mets better in 2019.

Video: Callaway on catching help, Thor and new GM

"If we're going to move any player of significance off our current roster," Van Wagenen said, "it's going to put us in a position to win more games [next] year."

Of course, the Mets can add players without giving up talent through free agency, which appears to be their method of choice to upgrade the outfield and bullpen. New York remains a prime landing spot for free-agent outfielder A.J. Pollock, as well as for relievers Andrew Miller and David Robertson. When manager Mickey Callaway was asked Tuesday what his recruiting pitch would be for Miller, whom he coached in Cleveland, the manager replied: "You're really good and we need you."

The Mets feel similarly about Realmuto, even as they continue to talk up in-house options Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

"I think after last season we need to get better at the catcher position," Callaway said. "We're taking a lot of steps with the guys we have in our organization currently to improve. And I know that Brodie is out there looking at external options to help our team improve. But we definitely need to get better."

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

New York Mets

What is the outfield of the future in MLB?

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

I often say that the College World Series and the Arizona Fall League are my two favorite baseball events every year. The Scouts of the Year reception at the Winter Meetings may be No. 3 on the list, though I didn't make it to Las Vegas for the 2018 festivities.

This year's winners were Phillies international scouting director Sal Agostinelli, Rockies special assistant Danny Montgomery, Yankees vice president of domestic amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer and Red Sox special assignment scout Brad Sloan. Agostinelli, Oppenheimer and Sloan all have contributed to World Series championships with their current teams, while Montgomery has been integral to Colorado's success as one of the franchise's first hires. Jonathan Mayo will have more on the deserving honorees this week.

I often say that the College World Series and the Arizona Fall League are my two favorite baseball events every year. The Scouts of the Year reception at the Winter Meetings may be No. 3 on the list, though I didn't make it to Las Vegas for the 2018 festivities.

This year's winners were Phillies international scouting director Sal Agostinelli, Rockies special assistant Danny Montgomery, Yankees vice president of domestic amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer and Red Sox special assignment scout Brad Sloan. Agostinelli, Oppenheimer and Sloan all have contributed to World Series championships with their current teams, while Montgomery has been integral to Colorado's success as one of the franchise's first hires. Jonathan Mayo will have more on the deserving honorees this week.

Congratulations to all of them, as well as to Jayson Stark, the winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. Stark has been on the baseball beat for more than four decades, and there may not be anyone who ever has covered the sport with a greater combination of reporting skills, humor and grace.

Tweet from @Chapdaddy76: If you could build an OF for the future (current MiLB players) which players would you take?

Eliminating Victor Robles (Nationals) and Kyle Tucker (Astros) because they finished the season in the big leagues, the obvious answer is to take the top three outfielders on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list.

Left fielder Eloy Jimenez (White Sox, No. 3 overall) rivals the Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (No. 1) as the best offensive prospect in baseball. Center fielder Jo Adell (Angels, No. 15) has electrifying tools and has silenced doubters who wondered whether he could solve pro pitching. Right fielder Alex Kirilloff (Twins, No. 10) led the Minors in doubles (44), extra-base hits (71) and total bases (296) this year after missing all of 2017 following Tommy John surgery.

I've been reading several glowing reports about D-backs shortstop Jazz Chisholm, some extreme, some more toned down. How do you gauge a positive bump like this without going overboard or not respecting it enough? What do you personally think his floor and ceiling were prior to and after his strong Arizona Fall League performance?
-- Matt Y., Norfolk, Va.

Chisholm is for real. He only got to play two games per week in the AFL because he was a taxi-squad player, but he excelled to the tune of a .442/.489/.767 line with three homers and seven steals in 10 contests. The AFL is skewed in favor of hitters, and that's a small sample size, but his tools were exciting.

I don't think Chisholm's brief dominance in the AFL changed his ceiling or floor as much as it just revealed his potential to a wider audience. He was similarly dynamic in the last six weeks of the season after a promotion to Class A Advanced, where he batted .329/.369/.597 with 10 homers and nine steals in 36 games.

Video: Jazz Chisholm on 3-hit game at Arizona Fall League

Only 20 years old, Chisholm, Arizona's No. 3 prospect, has the upside of a 20-20 player who can make highlight plays at shortstop. He needs to do a better job of controlling the strike zone after posting a 149/39 strikeout-to-walk ratio between two Class A levels, so there's a chance he doesn't hit enough to become a regular, but at worst, he should be a utilityman capable of playing all over the diamond and providing some pop and speed.

Tweet from @verobluecrew: Who���s a sleeper prospect for the St. Louis Cardinals this season that will make a name for himself?

It's the season of giving, so I'll provide you with not one but four prospects (two recent trade acquisitions and two 2018 Draftees) who bear watching even if they couldn't crack the top 10 on our Cardinals Top 30 Prospects list from July.

Left-hander Genesis Cabrera and outfielder Lane Thomas could possibly contribute in St. Louis next season. Acquired from the Rays in the Tommy Pham trade this past summer, Cabrera can run his fastball up to 98 mph and pairs it with a power slider. Thomas arrived from the Blue Jays in 2017 in exchange for international bonus pool money and broke out with 27 homers and 17 steals this past season, a testament to his all-around tools.

First baseman Luken Baker, a supplemental second-round choice in June, possesses considerable raw power and batted .319/.386/.460 in his pro debut. Left-hander Steven Gingery slid to the fourth round after having Tommy John surgery at Texas Tech, but he had arguably the best changeup and some of the best pitchability in the 2018 Draft.

Tweet from @TheJaysMan: Which high school player and college player has the best ceiling and which high school player and college player has the best floor in your opinion?

Jonathan Mayo had the privilege of manning the Inbox right after MLB Pipeline unveiled its 2019 Draft Top 50 Prospects list last week, which made for plenty of fun Draft-related questions. I'm so jealous that I'm going to steal one of the questions that didn't make his final cut.

The highest ceilings belong to the top two players on our Top 50 list. Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman is a switch-hitter with impressive bat-to-ball skills, burgeoning power, a strong and accurate arm and fine receiving skills. Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. has plus power, speed, arm strength and defensive ability.

Video: Callis breaks down top MLB Draft prospect Rutschman

As for the highest floor, that belongs to California first baseman Andrew Vaughn, the reigning Golden Spikes Award winner who's the best offensive player available and an almost sure bet to hit. His prep counterpart is Hagerty High (Oviedo, Fla.) outfielder Riley Greene, the top high-school bat in the Draft and one who projects to hit for both average and power.

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

Rumors: The latest from Las Vegas

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 

Mets' pursuit of Realmuto may be fizzling
Dec. 12: The Mets have been the most aggressive suitor for catcher J.T. Realmuto during the Winter Meetings, but their talks with the Marlins may be stalling.

According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, New York is losing confidence in Realmuto discussions and may look at alternatives. One possibility could be signing Martin Maldonado, with whom the club met Tuesday, and putting more resources into the bullpen. The Mets have also met with Wilson Ramos, per Heyman, and Andy Martino of SNY reported Tuesday that Yasmani Grandal is still in play for New York if the club is unable to acquire Realmuto. That said, signing Ramos or Grandal would leave the Mets with less money to add a reliever and an outfielder.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Mets are to lose a bit of confidence in realmuto talks, and are starting to think about the value of acquiring a defensive catcher ��� they met on Maldonado Tuesday ��� and bulking up the bullpen instead.

The Marlins covet Amed Rosario, as well as outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto, but the Mets have been hesitant to give up their young shortstop and are unlikely to consider a package that includes both Nimmo and Conforto.

Realmuto, 27, has been one of the most talked-about trade candidates in recent days, with a potential three-team deal featuring the Marlins and both New York teams drawing significant buzz on Day 1 of the Winter Meetings before petering out. In the discussed trade, Realmuto would have gone to the Mets, with Noah Syndergaard joining the Yankees and prospects presumably heading to the Marlins.

Per MLB Network insider Joel Sherman, the Marlins also tried to float the idea that the Yanks were independently trying to acquire Realmuto, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the club is pursuing no primary catchers and confirmed that Gary Sanchez is the team's starting backstop.

Tweet from @Joelsherman1: #Marlins have tried to create perception that #Yankees are independently in to try to obtain Realmuto. Cashman said they are pursuing ���no��� primary catchers. Sanchez is the starter, he said.

The Mets and Yanks were among the seven teams Heyman listed as having the best chance to land Realmuto, along with the Dodgers, Padres, Astros, Phillies and Braves.

According to Heyman, Miami's discussions with Los Angeles hit a snag due to the Dodgers' unwillingness to include Cody Bellinger in a trade.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: The holdup with the dodgers on realmuto has been their unwillingness to include Cody Bellinger.

Feinsand: Dodgers 'actively trying' to trade Puig and/or Kemp, among others
Dec. 12: As the Dodgers explore a number of avenues to improve their roster, they are unsurprisingly looking to trade from the two areas where they have great depth: the rotation and the outfield.

Los Angeles is prepared to move starters Rich Hill and Alex Wood as well as two outfielders, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Tweet from @Buster_ESPN: Dodgers have talked to other teams about moving two outfielders among the group of Kemp, Puig, Pederson, Bellinger, and as they look to re-shape payroll, they are also are prepared to move starting pitchers Rich Hill and Alex Wood.

As for Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, specifically, the Dodgers are "actively trying" to move one or both of them, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

Tweet from @Feinsand: According to a source, the Dodgers are actively trying to trade Yasiel Puig and/or Matt Kemp.

That echoes what MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal is hearing, particularly the part about Puig being discussed, and in this case with the Reds. While Rosenthal doesn't mention a possible target in the Dodgers' talks with Cincy, second baseman Scooter Gennett could be in play because of L.A.'s need at that spot.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: #Dodgers, #Reds have talked multiple times, sources tell The Athletic. Different packages being discussed; Puig in play as well as other LAD outfielders, pitchers. Dodgers want to clear money for other pursuits. Puig projected $11.3M in arb, per @mlbtraderumors, Alex Wood $9M.

The Dodgers have also had discussions with the Cardinals about Jose Martinez, per Rosenthal, with a creative plan to potentially move Martinez to first base and have Max Muncy play second and Bellinger play center field. 

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: This one is a surprise. #Dodgers talking to #STLCards about Jose Martinez, sources tell The Athletic. LAD could play the defensively challenged Martinez at first base, with Muncy at second and Bellinger in center.

As far as other trade targets go, the Dodgers have been connected most prominently to the Indians' Corey Kluber and the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto this offseason. MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Monday that trade talks for Kluber had "intensified," and that Cleveland is interested in the Dodgers' top prospect, outfielder Alex Verdugo.

Cody Bellinger was among the outfielders Olney mentioned as being available for trade, but a source from a rival team got the sense that the Dodgers aren't open to that idea, per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Impression from a rival about the Dodgers: ���Any of their guys are in play except Buehler and Bellinger.��� (My add: we���ll assume Kershaw, Turner, Seager and Jansen probably aren���t going anywhere either).

The 23-year-old Bellinger took a step backward in 2018, but he is just one season removed from slashing .267/.352/.581 with 39 homers in 132 games as a rookie. While the slugger has primarily played first base during his time in the Majors, he has shown the ability to capably handle center field as well, which is a major plus for a Dodgers club that seems to value versatility as much as any team in baseball.

Los Angeles has also been linked to Bryce Harper, but it's unclear if the club plans to make an aggressive play for the superstar free agent. The contract that Harper is expected to command would be out of character for the Andrew Friedman-led Dodgers front office, which hasn't handed out more than $93 million to any one player despite consistently maintaining a high payroll.

As MLB Network insider Joel Sherman noted in a column for the New York Post on Tuesday, Los Angeles is hesitant to tie up a large portion of its future payroll, which could reduce its flexibility as the retooling Giants and D-backs become serious contenders in the National League West again within the next few years.

But Sherman still envisions a scenario in which Harper lands with the Dodgers.

"Again, it takes dominoes falling," Sherman writes. "Manny Machado would sign with the Phillies; the Nationals, Cardinals and Yankees really would continue to have no interest in Harper; and the only substantial long-term offers would come from someplace like the White Sox. In that scenario, could Harper instead pivot to accept a four-year deal from the Dodgers for a record annual amount and, say, an opt-out after two years to get back into free agency either after his age-27 or -29 season?"

Machado to meet with Yanks, Phils, White Sox and mystery teams
Dec. 11: The biggest transaction on the second day of the Winter Meetings -- at least as of late afternoon -- was the Phillies' deal to sign Andrew McCutchen to a reported three-year, $50 million pact. How does that impact Manny Machado, specifically?

It doesn't really change much, frankly, as McCutchen is expected to handle one of the corner outfield spots in Philly, and the amount of money -- while not insignificant -- shouldn't preclude the Phillies from making any substantial offer to Machado. In short: There's still a fit on the left side of the Phillies' infield, as MLB Network insider Jon Heyman pointed out. 

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Brantley is out as a Phillies option since McCutchen deal, but door is still open for Harper (and of course Machado)

So what's next for the superstar 26-year-old? Machado is slated to meet with teams most interested in him soon, and Heyman reports that three of them are the Yankees, White Sox and -- yep -- the Phillies, as well as three "mystery teams."

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Yanks, White Sox and Phillies are 3 teams that will meet with Manny Machado. The 3 alleged mystery teams remain so.

The takeaways from that? One, those three clubs are in big markets and have money to spend. Two, it's likely that nothing will happen any time soon (think: during the Winter Meetings) on the Machado front, given that he's planning to visit with a number of franchises.

Video: After Cutch, Phils could still target Harper, Machado

Will Giants trade Bumgarner now ... or later?
Dec. 11: It's hard to imagine longtime Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner in another uniform, isn't it? And yet, the biggest topic of conversation surrounding the club this offseason is whether -- maybe even when -- San Francisco should look to trade its ace. After all, the Giants are unlikely to contend in 2019, and the 29-year-old lefty's contract runs out after next season.

As to the question of when the Giants might be ready to move Bumgarner, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reports that it's looking "less and less likely" the club pulls the trigger this winter. While that possibility can't be ruled out, as Feinsand notes, a midseason move might make more sense.

Tweet from @Feinsand: A source said it is becoming less and less likely that the Giants will trade Madison Bumgarner this winter, though it still can't be ruled out. A midseason trade seems more likely if the Giants are not in contention, the source said.

Perhaps one reason for this approach is that the club has a new director of baseball operations in Farhan Zaidi. In addition to being busy plotting a course for the future of the franchise at the moment, Zaidi might not want to have his first major transaction involve shipping off a franchise face and three-time World Series champion.

That said, there is some risk in waiting until June or July to make Bumgarner available; he could see a further decline in his performance or suffer an injury that saps his value on the trade market. Not to mention, if Bumgarner is traded midseason, he would be ineligible for the qualifying offer and the corresponding Draft-pick compensation, which also must be factored into his value.

Among the teams that have been mentioned as interested in and/or possible fits for Bumgarner are the Braves, Phillies, Yankees, Astros and Brewers.

Reds among teams talking to Indians about Kluber, Bauer
Dec. 11: The Reds' desire to upgrade their rotation is no secret, and the Indians are expected to trade one of their aces this offseason. Could the intrastate rivals team up for a deal? Nothing is imminent, but Cincinnati is having "ongoing discussions" with Cleveland about Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Source: #Reds continue to pursue rotation options via trade, including ongoing discussions with #Indians about Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. @MLB @MLBNetwork

Morosi reported Monday, the first full day of the Winter Meetings, that trade talks regarding Kluber had "intensified," with the Dodgers among the teams involved.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Sources: Corey Kluber trade talks have intensified. #Dodgers are among the teams involved. @MLBNetwork @MLB

Cleveland is reportedly hoping to trim payroll while still remaining competitive in an underwhelming American League Central, and Los Angeles could be a perfect trade partner given the club's outfield depth. With Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall departing via free agency, the outfield is a major question mark for the Indians at this point.

Morosi reports that the Dodgers' top prospect, outfielder Alex Verdugo (No. 32 overall, per MLB Pipeline), is part of the discussions between Cleveland and Los Angeles.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Source: #Indians interested in #Dodgers OF Alex Verdugo as part of Corey Kluber trade talks. Cleveland is looking for outfield bats, and Verdugo is the Dodgers' top prospect, according to @MLBPipeline. @MLB @MLBNetwork

Morosi names the Yankees and Brewers as potential landing spots for Kluber as well, as both teams have highly ranked outfielders in their farm systems. The Reds do, too, with No. 2 prospect Taylor Trammell (No. 17 overall).

Tweet from @jonmorosi: If #Indians trade Corey Kluber, they would like to receive a young outfielder in the deal. So it is not a surprise that the #Dodgers (Alex Verdugo), #Yankees (Estevan Florial) and #Brewers (Corey Ray) all are potential landing spots for Kluber. @MLB @MLBNetwork

Kluber and Bauer are arguably more attractive than any of the remaining starters on the free-agent market. Kluber is signed for $17 million in 2019 with club options for 2020 ($17.5 million, $1 million buyout) and 2021 ($18 million, $1 million buyout). To put the value of Kluber's deal in perspective, the Red Sox just signed Nathan Eovaldi for roughly $17 million per year over four years. Meanwhile, Bauer is two years away from free agency.

Per MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal's article for The Athletic (subscription required) on Monday, a rival executive who has been in contact with the Indians said Cleveland is open to trades in which it would attach Kluber or Bauer to a highly paid player such as Jason Kipnis or Edwin Encarnacion as a way to shed another inflated contract.

Could Tulo be fit for his childhood team?
Dec. 11: Troy Tulowitzki is a free agent after being released by the Blue Jays on Tuesday. He has a well-chronicled injury history, and even when healthy, he has struggled to return to the elite form he exhibited during his 10 seasons with the Rockies. Still, if Tulowitzki could be had for the right price, the veteran shortstop might offer as much upside as any shortstop on the free-agent market. 

Martin Gallegos of the San Jose Mercury News speculates that the A's could be among the most logical fits for the 34-year-old. Tulowitzki grew up in the Bay Area, rooted for the A's as a kid and the club has a positional need within its infield after Jed Lowrie departed via free agency. Most signs, as Gallegos indicated, allude that Oakland will not bring Lowrie back. And for a cost-minded club that has played on a small-market budget and consistently sought to maximize the dollar value of its players, the A's might make a lot of sense for Tulowitzki.

The five-time All-Star will receive $38 million from Toronto as part of the final two years of his contract. Given that he missed the entire 2018 season with a heel injury and was limited to just 66 games in '17 due to an ankle injury, Tulowitzki doesn't necessarily have significant leverage to warrant another multi-year, high-paying contract. Gallegos speculates that the A's could potentially sign Tulowitzki for the league minimum of $600,000.

It would certainly be a risk, but if Tulowitzki could return to some form of his old self, it could be one worth taking. 

Video: Charlie Montoyo on Tulowitzki being released

Impact of McCutchen's deal on Pollock
Dec. 11: One of the bigger names in the free-agent outfielder market has come off the table, as Andrew McCutchen lands in Philadelphia. What does that mean for A.J. Pollock, who entered the offseason as arguably the top outfielder on the open market outside of Bryce Harper?

The 31-year-old center fielder wasn't necessarily linked to the Phillies much this offseason, so it's not as if McCutchen stole a potential destination right out from under Pollock. If anything, McCutchen's deal -- reported at $50 million for three years with an option for a fourth -- should be seen as a good sign for Pollock, as USA Today's Bob Nightengale suggests.

Tweet from @BNightengale: Certainly, free-agent outfielders A.J. Pollock and Adam Jones should benefit nicely from Andrew McCutchen's 3-year, $50 million contract with the #Phillies

On one hand, Pollock doesn't have McCutchen's resume and his injury history is a concern. But on the other, Pollock, by comparison, is younger than McCutchen and as such brings a bit more of a dynamic power-speed combo at this stage of their respective careers -- not to mention, the ability to handle center field still.

In other words, it's possible the floor on offers Pollock will be considering could be about $50 million, with the likelihood for more money and almost certainly more years. Whether he's able to secure the reported five-year, $80 million deal (aka, the "Lorenzo Cain contract") that was rumored to be his asking price, however, remains to be seen.

Reds have discussed Inciarte trade
Dec. 11: The Reds cut ties with one premier defensive center fielder this offseason. Maybe they can add a new one.

Cincinnati has talked to the Braves about a trade for Ender Inciarte, a source told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon on Tuesday.

Tweet from @m_sheldon: Source -- #reds have talked to the Braves about CF Ender Inciarte. Nothing is imminent, however. Club is talking to a lot of teams/agents here .

Even if no deal is imminent, the possibility is intriguing. The Reds have an opening in the outfield after non-tendering Billy Hamilton -- and Inciarte is just as elite defensively. Plus, Inciarte's a significantly better hitter than Hamilton.

Inciarte finished with a +21 Outs Above Average rating in 2018 -- that's Statcast™'s range-based metric for outfield defense -- tied for the best of any MLB outfielder. Hamilton ranked fifth with a +16 OAA mark.

The 28-year-old Inciarte is signed to a five-year, $30.53 million contract that runs through 2021, with a $9 million club option for 2022. If the Braves traded Inciarte, they could hand over the reins in center field to NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr.

Red Sox listening on Bogaerts, Porcello, JBJ?
Dec. 11: The Red Sox just inked Nathan Eovaldi to a four-year, $68 million deal to retain the righty and shore up their rotation. Did that decision push the club into a position where it needs to consider moving current big league pieces -- and their corresponding salaries -- to get something else done?

Boston may be trying to cut payroll as a way to simultaneously address its need in the bullpen and stay under the highest tier of the luxury-tax threshold, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, citing a rival exec.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: *Highest tier of luxury-tax threshold��� https://t.co/kmXZ5iekRZ

That matches up with what USA Today's Bob Nightengale is hearing, too - that the Red Sox are "openly listening" too offers on righty Rick Porcello and potentially could discuss shortstop Xander Bogaerts and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

Tweet from @BNightengale: The Boston #Redsox, trying to clear salary space for bullpen help, are openly listening to offers on Rick Porcello, and rivals insist also are willing to talk about Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr.

Given that both closer Craig Kimbrel and setup reliever Joe Kelly are free agents, the Red Sox have been in the market for bullpen help. General manager Dave Dombrowski suggested Monday, however, that the club is unlikely to make a big expenditure to improve the relief corps, meaning it's unlikely Kimbrel will return. Some names that have been linked to Boston include Zach Britton, Andrew Miller and David Robertson, all of whom have late-inning experience and should be more affordable than Kimbrel, who has floated an initial asking price of six years.

The big question here, then, is how much the defending champs feel the need to unload a key player like Bogaerts, Porcello or Bradley in order to gain some financial relief toward enhancing the bullpen. Dombrowski himself addressed this by saying he's "not driven to trade core players for the purpose of shedding payroll," according to MLB.com's Ian Browne.

Tweet from @IanMBrowne: Dave Dombrowski said he is not driven to trade core players for the purpose of shedding payroll. Added that he would like to have the catching situation resolved before Spring Training.

Both Porcello, whose 2019 salary is $21 million, and Bogaerts, who is projected to earn almost $12 million in arbitration per MLB Trade Rumors, are due to become free agents after next season. Bradley, whose projected arbitration figure is just shy of $8 million for '19, is under control through '20.

The luxury-tax threshold -- officially known as the Competitive Balance Tax -- is set to be $206 million for next season and Boston's projected payroll calls for north of $230 million. The Red Sox surpassed the $197 million threshold this past season on their way to winning the World Series.

The next Mariners trade chip is …
Dec. 11: Is there another trade on the horizon for the Mariners? It doesn't take a Magic 8 ball to know the answer to that, so perhaps a better question is: Which big-name player are the Mariners likeliest to deal next?

Enter Carlos Santana. But wait, isn't that the first baseman they just acquired in the swap that sent Jean Segura to the Phillies? Yep, one and the same. With general manager Jerry Dipoto making it known recently that he's planning to keep breakout outfielder Mitch Haniger, Santana looks like the next candidate to be on the move, according to Corey Brock of The Athletic (subscription required).

"Next up on the trade block: first baseman Carlos Santana, who after being acquired from the Phillies earlier this month likely won't play a day for the Mariners," Brock writes. "According to sources, the Mariners have talked with the Rays, Indians and Rockies about the 32-year-old Santana, who still has two years and $40 million remaining on a deal that he signed with Philadelphia last winter."

The switch-hitting Santana makes sense for the Rays and Rockies, since both clubs have been eyeing offensive help at first base. A return to Cleveland seems less likely given his salary, but it also could be a fit if the Tribe were to make room by parting with Edwin Encarnacion, who has been rumored to be on the block. The Yankees also could be a match, given that they're counting on Luke Voit and Greg Bird to stay productive and healthy, respectively.

In case you've lost track already, Dipoto has traded away the following players this offseason (deep breath here): Mike Zunino to the Rays, James Paxton to the Yankees, Alex Colome to the White Sox, Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets and Segura to the Phillies. (And … exhale.)

Are Twins, Rays the front-runners for Cruz?
Dec. 11: Given Nelson Cruz's role as a full-time designated hitter at this stage of the 38-year-old's career, it's not surprising that the teams most often linked to the free-agent slugger are in the American League. In recent days, the Rays, Twins, Astros and White Sox have emerged as the four likeliest landing spots, but is there a chance that batch of clubs has been whittled down even more?

Cruz's agent, Bryce Dixon, tells MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi that there still are ongoing discussions with teams beyond the Twins and Rays.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Nelson Cruz���s agent, Bryce Dixon, tells me he���s talking with additional teams beyond the Twins and Rays. @MLB @MLBNetwork

That seems to throw a little cold water on an earlier report that Minnesota and Tampa Bay are the two front-runners for Cruz.

Tweet from @hgomez27: SOURCE: The race to sign DH Nelson Cruz is down to two teams - the #Twins and the #Rays.#ZDigital #ZDeportes @z101digital @ZDeportes

It's hard to tell, then, whether there has been any real development here. One thing does seem pretty clear, though: The number of clubs in the mix for Cruz likely can be counted on one hand.

White Sox considering Grandal
Dec. 11: While the race for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has taken center stage at the Winter Meetings, the market for Yasmani Grandal has yet to develop. Some teams, such as the Mets, are seemingly viewing Grandal as more of a fallback option rather than a top target.

However, ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the White Sox, who aren't believed to be in the running for Realmuto, are considering Grandal.

Tweet from @Buster_ESPN: The White Sox pushing to take a step forward in 2019. Nova improves the rotation, and they're looking at Yasmani Grandal as a possible catching upgrade.

The White Sox traded Omar Narvaez to the Mariners earlier this offseason for reliever Alex Colome, leaving Welington Castillo and Seby Zavala as the only catchers on the 40-man roster. Castillo has his share of value, but his lifetime .708 OPS vs. righties (.846 OPS vs. LHP) suggests he's better suited for a part-time role. The 30-year-old Grandal is a switch-hitter who does his best work against righties, so the two could fit well together.

Chicago is reportedly looking to expedite its rebuilding process with a big-name free agent or two and could be in on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in addition to Grandal.

Yankees open to trading Andujar
Dec. 11: Miguel Andujar was one of the Yankees' most consistent hitters during a year in which he finished second to the Angels' Shohei Ohtani in American League Rookie of the Year voting, but he may not be a long-term fixture with the club.

According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, rival executives say that the Yanks are open to moving the 23-year-old.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: Name to watch with #Yankees: Miguel And��jar. Rival execs tell me and @ByRobertMurray NYY open to moving him. Would make sense as #Marlins��� ask for Realmuto; MIA wants established young MLB player as headliner. Also would line up with NYY pursuit of Machado. Torres could play SS.

That's not entirely surprising, as the Yankees are reportedly discussing a three-team blockbuster with the Mets and Marlins that would see Noah Syndergaard join the Yankees and J.T. Realmuto land with the Mets, as well as another trade that would bring Realmuto to the Yanks. It would make sense if Andujar was one of the young pieces being offered to Miami.

The Yankees are also considering signing Manny Machado, who would presumably become the club's starting third baseman once Didi Gregorius is ready to return from Tommy John surgery, leaving Andujar without a place to play. Even if New York doesn't sign Machado, Andujar's defensive struggles give him a questionable future at the hot corner.

Yanks GM: There's 'no spot' for Harper in New York's outfield
Dec. 11: The Yankees continue to be mentioned as a team that could be a fit for Bryce Harper, but could the club actually fit Harper?

When asked about the superstar, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said there's "no spot" for him in New York's crowded outfield and that deploying him at first base "isn't an option," according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

Tweet from @Feinsand: Asked about Bryce Harper, Brian Cashman rattled off the names of his six outfielders and said there���s no spot. Reiterated that playing Harper at first base isn���t an option for the Yankees.

Indeed, with incumbent starters Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks, as well as returning options Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier as backups, the club is more than set in the outfield. And while the topic of Harper as a first baseman has been floated by his agent, Scott Boras, that possibility doesn't appear to interest Cashman, despite the Yankees relying on the still-unproven Luke Voit and Greg Bird at the position.

If that wasn't a forceful enough take on Harper, Cashman followed up by saying, "I'm surprised [the media is] still asking" about the team's interest, as MLB.com's Bryan Hoch relayed.

Tweet from @BryanHoch: Cashman said that at no point this winter did he talk about getting an outfielder. ���The Harper stuff, I���m surprised you���re still asking.���

Nationals discussing Roark trade
Dec. 11: After signing Patrick Corbin to a six-year, $140 million contract, the Nationals have tons of money tied up in their "Big Three" of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Corbin, which may explain why the club is reportedly making Tanner Roark available.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Washington has engaged in multiple discussions regarding a Roark trade, though Passan also notes that the Nats are still looking at free agents to supplement their rotation.

Tweet from @JeffPassan: Sources: The Washington Nationals have engaged in multiple discussions to trade starter Tanner Roark, who is a year out from free agency and could make upward of $10M in arbitration. The Nationals continue to look at free agent pitchers to supplement their rotation.

The 32-year-old Roark is one year away from free agency and should see a generous raise from his 2018 salary of $6.475 million in his final season of arbitration eligibility. While it would hardly be an untenable salary for a pitcher who has made 30-plus starts in three straight seasons and owns a career 3.59 ERA, the Nats may be looking to save some money at the back end of their rotation while also attempting to get something in return for Roark before he hits the open market next offseason.

The fact that Roark has been a slightly below average starter over the past two seasons (97 ERA+) is likely another reason why the Nats are considering a trade, as Washington might be able to bring in a lower-cost free agent to do a similar job.

Are Yankees in on Machado, out on Harper?
Dec. 10: With a need at shortstop and a crowded outfield, the Yankees may be in the mix for Manny Machado but not so much for Bryce Harper. If it's a choice between Machado and Harper, it appears New York would lean toward the former -- and might, in fact, be out on the latter, as MLB.com's Bryan Hoch noted after GM Brian Cashman said Harper isn't a fit in their loaded outfield or at first base.

Tweet from @BryanHoch: What we learned from Day 1 of the #Yankees #WinterMeetings: they are in on Manny Machado (and others), and out on Bryce Harper.

The question, then, becomes whether the typically deep-pocketed Yankees are serious enough about Machado to meet what is expected to be an asking price in the range of $300 million. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees plan to meet with Machado but won't necessarily pony up to that extent. 

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Yankees like Manny Machado and will meet with Machado but source says they will not pay $300M for Machado. Phillies, Chisox and mystery teams(?) seen as main competitors.

New York is among the few teams with the financial means to sign Machado to a long-term deal, and it has an immediate need at shortstop, where Didi Gregorius will miss a chunk of next season recovering from Tommy John surgery. To that end, it's not a surprise that Cashman said he has spoken with Machado's agent, Dan Lozano, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

Tweet from @Feinsand: Cashman said he has spoken with Dan Lozano, the agent for Manny Machado, multiple times. They have not spoken in Vegas. ���I���m not going to deny we���ve had a conversation or two.���

Heyman also reported that although New York is "pursuing" Machado, the club is considering other candidates to address its need in the infield, including Reds trade chip Scooter Gennett and versatile veteran free agents Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Harrison.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Yankees are pursuing Machado but they have other infield options ��� Marwin Gonzalez, Josh Harrison and possibly even Scooter Gennett to name 3

Heyman listed the Phillies, White Sox and potential mystery clubs as the Yankees' primary competitors for Machado. And even after trading for James Paxton, the Yankees are still looking to add to their rotation, which has been said to be their priority over pursuing Harper or Machado.

Red Sox GM doesn't anticipate 'big expenditure' at closer
Dec. 10: The Red Sox would like to have free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel back, but given the right-hander's contract demands -- he's reportedly seeking a six-year deal -- the club is exploring other options.

GM Dave Dombrowski said he doesn't anticipate a "big expenditure" for the closer's role, according to MLB.com's Ian Browne, who took that further by saying it "would be a miracle" if Kimbrel came back.

Tweet from @IanMBrowne: Dave Dombrowski doesn't anticipate the @RedSox making a big expenditure for the closer's role next year. Cites payroll already being high. Reading between the lines, it would be a miracle for Craig Kimbrel to return to Boston.

Part of that is because Boston has to worry about next offseason when Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and Xander Bogaerts can become free agents, and 2020, when Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are set to hit the open market. Bringing back Kimbrel could make it tough to re-sign some of those other players.

So who could the Red Sox target for the back of their bullpen? David Robertson and Adam Ottavino are believed to be high on Boston's wish list, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Robertson and Ottavino are believed high on Red Sox list of back-end relief targets. Of course they���d like to have Kimbrel and Kelly back but they are free agents too. Deep pen market also includes Britton, Miller, Familia, more.

Joe Kelly is also a free agent, which could leave the Red Sox's relief corps without two key contributors from the club's championship run. Much like Nathan Eovaldi, Kelly bolstered his free-agent stock with a strong postseason, recording a 0.79 ERA with 13 strikeouts and only one walk over 11 1/3 innings. Kimbrel had his share of struggles during the playoffs, but he's been one of the top closers in the game for eight years and is poised to cash in this offseason, even if he doesn't get six years.

Robertson and Ottavino, on the other hand, will cost less than Kimbrel, and Boston could comfortably insert either one into the closer's role in 2019. That said, the Red Sox will have fierce competition for both pitchers, with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reporting that at least a half-dozen teams are showing interest in Robertson, including the rival Yankees -- with whom Robertson has spent the majority of his career. Per Feinsand, the Yanks are also believed to be interested in Ottavino, a New York native.

Boston is also competing with multiple teams for Kelly's services, including the Dodgers, Mets and White Sox, as Rob Bradford of weei.com reported Monday.

Yankees have scouted Kikuchi 'extensively'
Dec. 10: The Yankees continue to focus on addressing their rotation, perhaps even more so after missing out on Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi last week. But with those two big names off the board, is there a new pitcher the club is turning its attention toward?

One candidate could be Yusei Kikuchi, the recently posted left-hander who has been one of the best arms in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball the past several seasons. In fact, GM Brian Cashman said the Yankees have scouted Kikuchi "extensively" and even talked to agent Scott Boras about him, according to MLB Network insider Joel Sherman.

Tweet from @Joelsherman1: Cashman said #Yankees have scouted Kikuchi ���extensively��� and he has talked to Scott Boras about the LHP.

New York already has re-signed CC Sabathia and traded for fellow lefty James Paxton from the Mariners, so Kikuchi would be the third southpaw to join the club's rotation just this offseason. While Kikuchi has been linked to a number of National League teams, including the Giants, Padres and Dodgers, the Yankees could be an appealing landing spot for him because of the success Masahiro Tanaka -- another longtime NPB star -- has had in the Bronx.

The 27-year-old Kikuchi has a fastball that sits in the 92-94 mph range and can touch 96, and he also features a sharp slider that gets swings and misses. In eight years pitching in NPB, Kikuchi has gone 73-46 with a 2.77 ERA in 158 games (153 starts), totaling 903 strikeouts in 1,010 2/3 innings. He's been especially impressive over the last three seasons, going 42-17 with a 2.51 ERA in 71 starts, including 497 strikeouts in 494 1/3 innings. Kikuchi did, however, spend time on the disabled list with left shoulder stiffness in 2018 and has dealt with shoulder issues over his career.

Brewers interested in Murphy, re-signing Moustakas
Dec. 10: The Brewers' search for a second baseman could lead them to free-agent Daniel Murphy, whom the club is reportedly interested in, a source told The Athletic's Robert Murray [subscription required]. The club is also interested in retaining third baseman Mike Moustakas, per Murray. 

Last month, the Brewers non-tendered second baseman Jonathan Schoop, whom they acquired at last year's Trade Deadline, after he underperformed in his half-season with the club. His departure left a hole at second base, but it's a deep position in free agency with DJ LeMahieu, Josh Harrison, Jed Lowrie, Asdrubal Cabrera, Ian Kinsler among the options. The current in-house options are Hernan Perez and Tyler Saladino. 

If they signed Murphy, it'd likely be on a short-term deal with top prospect Keston Hiura climbing the Minor League ranks. Although there are concerns about his defense, Murphy hit .299/.336/.454 in 91 games with the Nationals and Cubs last season.

As for the interest in bringing back Moustakas, who joined Milwaukee last year via trade, Murray said talks are on-going and that the Brewers will face competition from the National League Central-rival Cardinals.

"It's possible," a source told Murray about re-signing Moustakas. "But far from done."

Rizzo: Nats not closing door on Harper
Dec. 10: Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner's candid interview with 106.7 The Fan on Friday drew widespread publicity, as Lerner acknowledged that the reported 10-year, $300 million offer Bryce Harper rejected at the end of the regular season was "the best we can do," and indicated that he didn't expect the free-agent outfielder to be back.

And yet, a reunion between Harper and Washington is a possibility that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo isn't ruling out.

"We haven't closed the door on [Harper]," Rizzo said Monday on MLB Network Radio. "He's a big part of our franchise. He's near and dear to my heart personally, and professionally he's a great player."

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: Mike Rizzo: "We haven't closed the door on Bryce Harper."Plot: [Thickens]#Nationals GM at the #WinterMeetings: pic.twitter.com/I5Aq4SzQiP

The Nats have been one of the busier teams this offseason, acquiring Patrick Corbin, Trevor Rosenthal, Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes, and it's unclear if the club will still be open to giving Harper $300 million should the 26-year-old come back to the negotiating table. But with rivals such as the Phillies expected to be among the bidders for Harper, it is better for the Nats if other teams think Washington might still be in.

Video: High Heat: Nats not closing door on Harper reunion

Castellanos drawing interest from Braves, Dodgers, others
Dec. 10: Don't want to break the bank on Bryce Harper or go after A.J. Pollock? Nicholas Castellanos could be the answer. The Tigers outfielder is drawing interest on the trade market, according to a report from MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi on Monday. The Braves and Dodgers are among the teams to have checked in.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Sources: #Tigers OF Nick Castellanos is drawing trade interest. #Braves are among the teams that have checked in. Castellanos, 26, is coming off a career offensive year and is an alternative to Brantley and Pollock via free agency. @MLBNetwork @MLB

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Source: #Dodgers interested in #Tigers OF Nick Castellanos via trade, but there���s no present momentum toward a deal. Dodgers active on numerous fronts and Castellanos is not their highest priority. @MLBNetwork @MLB

Castellanos hit .298/.354/.500 with 23 home runs and 89 RBIs in 2018. His .854 OPS was the highest of his six Major League seasons. Castellanos is in his final year of arbitration eligibility, and is set to become a free agent after the 2019 season, which could lead the Tigers to move him.

Castellanos can also play third base if needed -- he spent the majority of his time at the hot corner from 2014-17 before moving to right field full-time in 2018.

Multiple clubs interested in Belt
Dec. 10: The Giants started their offseason with a big move last month when they brought in Farhan Zaidi to be their president of baseball operations. Since then, however, the club has been relatively quiet on the rumor front, likely because Zaidi and Co. are in the process of charting a course for 2019 and beyond.

One big topic related to the Giants is whether they will deal longtime ace Madison Bumgarner. It appears a new trade chip also may be surfacing in Brandon Belt. A number of teams have touched base with San Francisco about the 30-year-old first baseman, who is available, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

Tweet from @BNightengale: Several teams have expressed interest in 1B Brandon Belt, who���s available, in talks with the #SFGiants

With a .266/.356/.455 career line and 124 OPS+, Belt has been productive when healthy over his eight years in the Majors, but he's battled various injuries and has played only 216 games the past two seasons. That, along with Belt's contract -- he's signed for $16 million per year through 2021 and has a 10-team limited no-trade clause -- suggests the Giants may be looking to save some salary by moving on from him.

Nats on the hunt at the keystone
Dec. 10: The Nationals need a second baseman, and they're casting a wide net across the free-agent market.

Among the names on their list: DJ LeMahieu, Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Harrison, according to a report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman on Monday.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Nats are looking closely at 2B. LeMahieu, Marwin, Harrison all in play.

That's interesting, because it means the Nats could either go after a prototypical second baseman like LeMahieu, or more of a versatile, super-utility type to fill the position like Gonzalez or Harrison.

The Washington Post's Chelsea Janes notes that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has said the team has made contact with LeMahieu's agent. She adds that Washington also loves Gonzalez, who became a key cog for the Astros playoff teams of the last two seasons, and has likely also contacted his agent, Scott Boras.

Tweet from @chelsea_janes: On potential moves this week: Rizzo has said Nats made contact with DJ LeMahieu���s agent. They also love Marwin Gonzalez, a Boras client. So would assume they���ve ���made contact��� with his rep, too.

Is Gennett available in a trade?
Dec. 10: While sources told MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal that the Reds are looking to trade second baseman Scooter Gennett, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon has heard differently. Per Sheldon, Cincinnati is not actively shopping the 28-year-old.

Tweet from @m_sheldon: Source: #reds not actively looking to trade Scooter Gennett. Refutes an early report today from the Winter Meetings

 After being claimed off waivers by the Reds in March 2017, Gennett has become an All-Star in Cincinnati, slashing .303/.351/.508 with 50 homers over the past two seasons. But Gennett projects to earn a sizable raise in arbitration this year and can become a free agent next offseason, making a trade conceivable.

As Rosenthal notes in his latest story for The Athletic (subscription required), moving Gennett would open up a spot for top prospect Nick Senzel (No. 6 overall, per MLB Pipeline) to play and allow the club to pursue other possibilities, including signing utility man and Cincinnati native Josh Harrison. It would also free up more money for the team to spend on the rotation, its primary area of need.

However, the return for Gennett could be limited at a time when veteran second basemen such as Jed Lowrie, DJ LeMahieu, Daniel Murphy, Brian Dozier and Ian Kinsler are all available.

Miller drawing 'legitimate interest' from at least nine teams
Dec. 10: The relief market could pick up steam during the Winter Meetings, as MLB.com's Mark Feinsand wrote Monday, and Andrew Miller is one of the bullpen arms whose market appears to be robust.

According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required), at least nine teams are showing "legitimate interest" in Miller, seemingly indicating that clubs aren't holding the left-hander's injury-plagued and underwhelming 2018 season against him.

Miller made three trips to the disabled list with three different injuries (left hamstring strain, right knee inflammation, left shoulder impingement) in 2018 and finished with a 4.24 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP and a 29.2 percent strikeout rate. But teams are evidently putting more stock in his performance from 2012-17, a span in which he recorded a 2.01 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP and a 39.6 percent strikeout rate while filling a variety of relief roles.

According to Feinsand, the Yankees and Red Sox could target Miller, and SNY's Andy Martino reports that the Mets, Phillies and Cardinals have shown interest as well. Mets manager Mickey Callaway was previously Miller's pitching coach in Cleveland, which may give them an edge.

Yankees discussing Gray trade with Padres, Reds
Dec. 10: With the Winter Meetings kicking off in Las Vegas, the Yankees and Padres reportedly remain engaged in discussions about New York right-hander Sonny Gray, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

Gray would fit the Padres' need to fill out their rotation, which doesn't have any spots guaranteed for next season. San Diego has also been linked to Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard and were reportedly in on Nathan Eovaldi before he re-signed with the Red Sox.

The Reds, another rebuilding team that is known to be looking for veterans to upgrade its rotation, have also discussed Gray with the Yankees. However, MLB Network insider Joel Sherman reports that Cincinnati balked at New York's request for outfielder Taylor Trammell, who is the club's No. 2 prospect (No. 17 overall), per MLB Pipeline.

Tweet from @Joelsherman1: #Yankees shooting high with Sonny Gray, asked #Reds about 1 of top prospects, OF Taylor Trammell, which was a no go. Sign NYY can get something good for Gray or that they simply or asking high before settling low, Could also always partner with a prospect to get more.

The Yankees acquired Gray from Oakland prior to the 2017 non-waiver Trade Deadline with hopes of him solidifying their starting rotation. But now they're looking to deal the 29-year-old after he struggled in 2018 with a 5.56 ERA through 21 starts before he was pulled from the rotation and left off the Yankees' postseason rosters.

Gray is up for arbitration this offseason and is scheduled to hit free agency in 2020. A change of scenery could benefit the righty, who only three years ago turned in a stellar All-Star campaign. In 2015, he won 14 games, posted a 2.73 ERA and hurled three complete games (two shutouts) in 31 starts with the A's, finishing third in American League Cy Young Award voting.

30 updates from Winter Meetings -- 1 for each team

MLB.com @AndrewSimonMLB and @DKramer_

The first domino of the Winter Meetings fell on Tuesday when Andrew McCutchen reached a three-year, $50 million agreement with the Phillies, according to an MLB.com source. Meanwhile, the Mets have emerged as favorites to land coveted Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto

Though most marquee free agents remain unsigned, there was still plenty of action from baseball's biggest offseason event, which is taking place in Las Vegas. 

The first domino of the Winter Meetings fell on Tuesday when Andrew McCutchen reached a three-year, $50 million agreement with the Phillies, according to an MLB.com source. Meanwhile, the Mets have emerged as favorites to land coveted Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto

Though most marquee free agents remain unsigned, there was still plenty of action from baseball's biggest offseason event, which is taking place in Las Vegas. 

Below is a roundup of the biggest news out of Day 2 of baseball's annual summit for all 30 MLB clubs:

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays
The writing might have been on the wall, but this move would have seemed an impossibility just a few seasons ago: The Blue Jays released shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on Tuesday, ending the five-time All-Star's injury-plagued tenure in Toronto. More >

Video: Tulo released by Blue Jays, enters free agency

Orioles
While general manager Mike Elias denied that a decision has been made, Baltimore is expected to name Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde as its new manager. More >

Rays
Casting a wide net for upgrades and with some money to spend, the Rays are seeking an impact bat (Nelson Cruz? Edwin Encarnacion?) and starting pitching (Charlie Morton?) More >

Red Sox
Would the defending champions trade a key figure such as Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. or Rick Porcello for the purposes of shedding payroll? Dave Dombrowski said he's "not driven" to do so. More >

Yankees
Expect to see Gary Sanchez behind the plate next season in the Bronx. General manager Brian Cashman reiterated that The Kraken is slated to be the Yankees' starting catcher in 2019, with no deals in the works for a replacement such as J.T. Realmuto. More >

AL CENTRAL

Indians
"If we were rebuilding, we'd take a dramatically different approach," general manager Chris Antonetti said of Cleveland's offseason strategy, as the Tribe tries to set up a fourth straight division title run. More >

Royals
Is former Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, hired recently as a special assistant to general manager Dayton Moore, Ned Yost's successor-in-waiting? Not so fast, Moore says. More >

Tigers
What was once expected to be a lengthy search for starting pitching depth ended for the Tigers midway through the Winter Meetings with the signing of veteran right-hander Tyson Ross. Detroit general manager Al Avila can now shift his sights on the shortstop market and the Rule 5 Draft. More >

Video: Tyson Ross signs with the Tigers on a one-year deal

Twins
Byron Buxton was unhappy when the Twins didn't recall him to the Majors following an extended stint in Triple-A to finish a difficult 2018 season, but he remains a big part of the club's future. More >

White Sox
By acquiring right-hander Ivan Nova from the Pirates, Chicago bolstered its young starting rotation with a veteran known for his ability to throw strikes. More >

AL WEST

Angels
The Angels may not have made any significant moves on the second day of the Winter Meetings, but that doesn't mean they weren't active. The club signed seven players to Minor League contracts with Spring Training invites, including one former Angels prospect making his return to the organization. More >

Astros
The Astros' front office says its pursuit of offense won't come at the hindrance of top prospect Kyle Tucker, who struggled in his big league debut last season but has the skills to be one of the club's outfielders of the future. More >

Athletics
Oakland may have found a platoon partner for catcher Josh Phegley, inking a one-year deal with Chris Herrmann, a left-handed batter who also has experience at first base and in the corner outfield. More >

Mariners
The Mariners are gauging the trade market for recently acquired first baseman Carlos Santana as general manager Jerry Dipoto continues remaking the roster. The club also is eyeing veteran shortstops to help provide a cushion for youngster J.P. Crawford, who came over in the same deal that brought Santana to Seattle. More >

Video: Tucker on his 2018 debut, strong season at Triple-A

Rangers
The Rangers aren't in the market to make a big free-agent splash, but the club is seeking veteran arms to boost its rotational depth. More >

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves
General manager Alex Anthopoulos continues to scour the trade and free-agent markets for a frontline starter, bullpen help and a corner outfielder. One candidate for the latter came off the board Tuesday, when Andrew McCutchen agreed to a three-year deal with the Phillies, making the NL East even more competitive in what already has been a busy offseason for the division. More >

Marlins
All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto remains arguably the hottest topic on the rumor mill at the Winter Meetings, with the Mets still the most aggressive suitor at the end of Day 2. But they're far from the only team interested in acquiring the backstop, as the Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers and Braves still could make a push. More >

Video: Hill talks about J.T. Realmuto, his potential value

Mets
With J.T. Realmuto trade talk swirling, and names like Noah Syndergaard and Amed Rosario coming up as potential headliners, a familiar face has joined the Mets contingent in Las Vegas as a sounding board for the front office: David Wright. More >

Nationals
Washington is open to trading right-hander Tanner Roark, perhaps using him to fill a need elsewhere on the roster and then replacing his rotation spot through free agency. More >

Phillies
With the first big splash of these meetings, the Phillies agreed to a three-year deal with outfielder Andrew McCutchen. It's a move that could lead to a trade of Odubel Herrera or Nick Williams, but crucially, it does not mean the Phillies won't also sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. More >

NL CENTRAL

Brewers
Looking to upgrade behind the plate, the Brewers have met with free agent Wilson Ramos, who has made two All-Star teams and posted an .826 OPS in the past three years. More >

Video: Duquette discusses Brewers' interest in Wilson Ramos

Cardinals
Drew Robinson, a left-handed batter with power and defensive versatility, could be a candidate for the St. Louis bench in 2019 after the Cardinals acquired him from Texas for Patrick Wisdom. More >

Cubs
While Joe Maddon expects his front office to "do a couple of things" this offseason, the Cubs skipper believes the club has "got to get more out of" the pieces already in place. In other words, Chicago may attempt to improve from within rather than go after a marquee free agent. More >

Pirates
The Bucs shuffled their pitching staff, dealing veteran Ivan Nova to the White Sox but also agreeing to a deal with another right-hander, Jordan Lyles. The 28-year-old took some intriguing steps forward in 2018 and could fill multiple roles in Pittsburgh. More >

Reds
While a deal is not imminent, the club has reached out to the Braves to ask about three-time Gold Glove Award winner Ender Inciarte, who could replace Billy Hamilton in center field. The club has also checked in on Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig pertaining to a potential deal involving Homer Bailey. More >

NL WEST

D-backs
Following the trade of Paul Goldschmidt, the loss of lefty Patrick Corbin and the expected departure of free-agent center fielder A.J. Pollock, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo wants to make it clear to his players that he still has confidence and belief in them. More >

Dodgers
Will the Dodgers deal one of their outfielders, including Joc Pederson, Matt Kemp or even Yasiel Puig? President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman declined to comment on that, specifically, but he did say he's confident the club could add help in the bullpen or at catcher based on the supply at those positions both via trade and free agency. More >

Video: Roberts on Dodgers' surplus of starters, outfielders

Giants
Giants president of baseball o­perations Farhan Zaidi on Monday identified the bullpen as an area of surplus, and he could look to flip some of the club's relief assets to fill needs in the outfield and in the rotation. More >

Padres
Untouchable? Technically there's no such thing when it comes to players San Diego might include in trades this offseason, according to general manager A.J. Preller. But it would take a lot for the club to part with any top prospects from its fertile farm system. More >

Rockies
The Rockies are hoping to boost what became an anemic offense down the stretch in 2018 with the hiring of Dave Magadan as hitting coach. More >

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

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Alex Bregman took the brunt of a diving P.J. Tucker at the Rockets game and beer went everywhere

Most of us aren't afforded the luxury of sitting courtside at an NBA game. Those who have the chance know they're closer to the game action than just about everybody else -- which means, of course, they're the ones susceptible to flying basketball players, who sometimes tumble into the stands in pursuit of a loose ball.

Enter Astros star Alex Bregman, who was enjoying Tuesday's Blazers-Rockets game in Houston when Rockets shooting guard P.J. Tucker went all out for a ball and it made a big 'ol mess. 

Source: Cutch, Phillies agree to 3-year deal