The Hot Stove is open for business. As the top free agents begin to ink new deals and clubs begin to make the moves they think will vault them into contention or put them over the top, MLB.com will have you covered with all the latest buzz right here.
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Yankees discussing trade for Pirates' Cole
The Yankees and Pirates are discussing a deal that would send starting pitcher Gerrit Cole to New York in exchange for a package of players that would possibly include outfielder Clint Frazier, according to an initial report Friday by the New York Post and later tweeted by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
It's been widely reported that the Yankees are in the market for starting pitching. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington did not make it clear Thursday at the conclusion of the Winter Meetings whether his club intends to be a buyer or a seller, but Cole has been linked to the Yankees several times this week.
The Pirates are said to covet a haul of controllable prospects who supplement their existing young core, should management decide to deal their veterans and focus on 2019. Pitchers who are ready to make an impact in the Major Leagues are said to be on the Pirates' wish list, and Yankees right-hander Chance Adams is thought to be a fit. Adams, the Yankees' No. 2 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, reached Triple-A in 2017.
Frazier, 23, is a former top prospect who debuted with the Yankees in July. The promising outfielder hit .231/.268./.448 with four home runs, nine doubles, four triples and 17 RBIs in 39 games with the Bronx Bombers in 2017. He missed just over a month with an oblique muscle injury, but was able to return to action in September. Should Frazier be moved to the Pirates, he could soon join Pittsburgh's top overall prospect per MLBPipeline, Austin Meadows, in the outfield after the two players grew up playing for rival high schools in Loganville, Ga.
Cole made 32 starts last season and went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA and 196 strikeouts in 203 innings. The 27-year-old right-hander is entering his second arbitration process and is under club control through the 2019 season. The Yankees actually selected Cole in the first round of the 2008 Draft, but he did not sign and went on to pitch at UCLA before being selected by the Pirates with the first overall pick in the 2011 Draft.
Frazier, the fifth overall pick by the Indians in the 2013 Draft, has already been part of a blockbuster trade. The Yankees acquired Frazier as part of a package of players from Cleveland in return for Andrew Miller at the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2016.
O's talking to multiple teams about Machado
A slew of suitors continue to be in talks with the Orioles about star third baseman Manny Machado, who is entering his final season before free agency.
The Orioles have received offers from "several teams," sources told MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, and MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli has reported that Baltimore has made "good progress" in trade talks with numerous teams.
The Cardinals recently traded several prospects for Miami's Marcell Ozuna but still have several that intrigue the Orioles. A source told MASN's Roch Kubatko that Baltimore wants Jordan Hicks, who has a 100 mph fastball and is the team's No. 13 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. Catcher Carson Kelly, the team's No. 2 prospect and baseball's No. 32 overall prospect could also be included in a deal.
Other teams interested in the 25-year-old Machado include the Yankees, Giants, Red Sox and D-backs, but the most aggressive suitor has reportedly been the White Sox.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn wouldn't comment on the team's pursuit of Machado on Thursday.
The White Sox, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, have discussed a package for Machado that would include either right-hander Lucas Giolito or right-hander Michael Kopech (MLB's 10th-ranked prospect, per MLBPipeline.com) but not both.
"Nothing has changed in terms of what we are trying to accomplish," Hahn said. "We're very interested in adding premium young talent to what we've already built, but at the same time we're not going to rob Peter to pay Paul, if that makes sense.
"We are headed towards a bright future. We want to make moves that are going to enhance that, not necessarily take away from it."
If Machado is indeed dealt, he'd like to return to his desired position: shortstop. He came up through the Orioles' system as a top shortstop prospect, but the presence of veteran J.J. Hardy caused the team to move Machado to third base, where he became one of baseball's best.
It's believed that Machado would like to test the market next winter, so any team acquiring him would be unlikely to get him to agree to a contract extension.
Machado is one of the elite young players in the game, clubbing at least 30 home runs over the last three seasons and finishing top-five in the American League MVP voting in two of the past three years.
Video: Orioles ponder Machado options, a move by week's end
Twins, Mets looking at Napoli
The Twins and Mets "are interested" in free-agent first baseman Mike Napoli, according to Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News.
Fraley noted that both clubs have ties to Napoli, as Twins general manager Thad Levine was the assistant GM for the Rangers when Napoli played for Texas and Mets manager Mickey Callaway was a coach for the Indians during the veteran's time with Cleveland.
Napoli would conceivably slide in as the Twins' designated hitter, and he could give Mets another option alongside young first baseman Dominic Smith.
The 36-year-old Napoli batted .193/.285/.428 in 2017 but bashed 29 home runs while battling a torn ligament in his right hand. He had surgery this offseason to repair the ligament and could provide his next team with decent pop from the right side of the plate.
Napoli, a 12-year Major League veteran, is a career .246/.346/.475 hitter and has 267 home runs in 1,392 games with the Angels, Red Sox, Rangers and Indians.
Angels inquire about Harrison
The Angels, who traded for Ian Kinsler earlier in the week and signed infielder Zack Cozart to a three-year contract on Friday, might not be finished adding to their already improved lineup for 2018.
The Angels have talked with the Pirates about acquiring second baseman/outfielder Josh Harrison, according to Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register. It's unclear where exactly Harrison would fit in with Los Angeles, but it's possible he could be used in a super-utility role similar to that of the Cubs' Ben Zobrist or the Astros' Marwin Gonzalez.
Video: CIN@PIT: Harrison makes a terrific diving stop in 5th
Kinsler's contract runs out after the 2019 season, so Harrison could eventually slide into a full-time job at second base. The 30-year-old Harrison batted .272/.339/.432 with a career-high 16 home runs in 128 games this year while being selected to the National League All-Star team.
Harrison is under contract through 2018, but Fletcher noted a potential downside to trading for Harrison: The Angels would likely have to part with a promising prospect to obtain him, and they already have a lineup dominated by right-handed hitters.
Arcia agrees to deal with Japan's Fighters
Oswaldo Arcia, who last appeared in the Major Leagues in 2016 with the Padres, Marlins, Rays and Twins, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
Heyman reported that the deal is worth $1.7 million and comes with a mutual option for the 2019 season and up to $300,000 more in incentives.
Arcia is a career .235/.298/.422 hitter at the big league level and has hit 44 home runs and drove in 131 runs in 288 games over four years in the Majors.
The 26-year-old outfielder mashed in 2017 with Triple-A Reno, an affiliate of the D-backs, batting .326/.410/.639 with 24 homers and 87 RBIs in 96 games.
He will look to restore his value with a big year in Japan in hopes of landing a Major League deal next offseason.
Red Sox looking to sign both Martinez and Hosmer
The Red Sox have been pursuing a slugger to upgrade the middle of their lineup this offseason, but it now seems possible Boston is trying to land both J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer.
According to the Boston Herald, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski neither confirmed nor denied the report of his club trying to sign both free agent sluggers.
Martinez is coming off a season in which he hit 45 home runs and slugged an MLB-best .690. Hosmer had a career season in 2017 as well, slashing .318/.385/.498 with 25 home runs.
The Red Sox are looking to upgrade the offense particularly after the American League East rival Yankees landed National League Most Valuable Player Giancarlo Stanton in a deal with the Marlins last week, pairing Stanton with slugger Aaron Judge in the heart of New York's lineup.
Cain garnering interest from Jays
One name we haven't heard much about on the free-agent market yet is Lorenzo Cain. But that might be about to change.
The Blue Jays are one of the teams with interest in the veteran outfielder, according to a report by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. Toronto prefers a four-year deal, according to Heyman.
Cain, 31, enjoyed another productive season on both sides of the field in 2017, his seventh year with Kansas City. The speedy outfielder hit .300/.363/.440 with 15 home runs, 49 RBIs and 26 stolen bases while playing one of the best center fields in baseball. Cain ranked fifth in the Majors in the Statcast™ defensive metric outs above average, with 15.
He'd significantly upgrade a Toronto outfield that has two open spots, and if signed, it's possible he could push Kevin Pillar to a corner spot. Pillar is known for making spectacular, highlight-reel catches, but Cain rates better than Pillar in many defensive metrics. The Blue Jays have little roster certainty in either corner outfield spot, with longtime right fielder Jose Bautista gone and left fielder Steve Pearce presenting more of a versatile, bat-first option. Toronto is expected to have competition for Cain, who reportedly also intrigues the Mets and Giants.
Mets have 'serious talks' with Tribe about Kipnis
The Mets have been in the market for a second baseman this offseason, and according to SB Nation's Chris Cotillo, that search has led to "serious talks" with the Indians about acquiring Jason Kipnis.
The 30-year-old Kipnis struggled in an injury-shortened 2017 campaign, slashing .232/.291/.414 with 12 home runs in 90 games. In 2016, he helped the Indians win the American League pennant by posting an .811 OPS with 23 homers in 156 games.
With another potential option off the table in Ian Kinsler, whom the Tigers traded to the Angels on Wednesday, New York continues to seek a second baseman as its biggest offseason priority.
In the case of Kipnis, he could be a fit in the sense that he is without a true position in Cleveland after being moved to center field in 2017, and the Mets could use a versatile position player.
Nats look to fortify staff
The Nationals have been searching for additions to their pitching staff and added one Wednesday night, reaching agreement on a two-year deal with reliever Brandon Kintzler, a source told MLB.com's Jamal Collier. The club hasn't confirmed the news.
Washington was looking for bullpen help and exploring the trade market for a starter, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported Wednesday night. Heyman listed Kintzler, Addison Reed, and Steve Cishek (who reportedly has a deal with the Cubs) among the relief options on the Nats' radar. The club has also expressed interest in right-hander Hector Rondon, per Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post, though the Nationals are not considered the favorite to sign him.
Kintzler returns to the Nationals after being dealt by the Twins at the Trade Deadline. The right-hander made 27 appearances for the Nats, going 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA. He was 4-3 with a 3.03 ERA and 29 saves overall in 2017.
Video: Rizzo discusses the Nationals' offseason goals
As far as bolstering their rotation, the Nats were linked to free-agent right-hander Jake Arrieta on Tuesday, but Heyman says Washington isn't sure it has the financial resources to sign him, so the club is also exploring the trade market. Those options include the Rays' Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi, as well as the D-backs' Zack Greinke.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo has said he is looking to add only to the back end of the rotation this season, rather than the front. Rizzo is looking at both free-agent and trade options to address the need.
"We're open to both," Rizzo said on Tuesday. "I think we're going to find the best avenue for us and what gives us the most value in any type of deal. The thing with free agency is it doesn't cost you any prospects, but the trade market is sometimes more beneficial."
Source: Mariners, Nicasio have deal
The Mariners have reached a two-year, $17 million agreement with free-agent reliever Juan Nicasio, a source told MLB Network insiders Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman on Wednesday. The club has not confirmed a deal.
Jim Bowden of Sirius XM Radio reported earlier in the day that the Mariners were a "strongly rumored possibility" to sign Nicasio.
Video: CHC@STL: Nicasio notches four-out save to seal win
The 31-year-old righty topped the National League in appearances in 2017 with 76 and recorded a 2.61 ERA while striking out 72 in 72 1/3 innings split between the Pirates, Phillies and Cardinals. He allowed just two runs in 11 innings while accruing four saves down the stretch in serving as St. Louis' closer.
Nicasio's two seasons primarily as a reliever have been easily his two best. Overall, he is 12-11 with a 3.38 ERA with 228 strikeouts in 205 innings in relief, compared to 25-26 with a 5.11 ERA in 424 2/3 innings across 82 starts in his career.
CarGo pursuit heating up
Following arguably the worst season of his career, and for a Rockies club that otherwise has depth in the outfield, Carlos Gonzalez may not be returning to Colorado. However, multiple teams at the Winter Meetings reportedly are showing interest in the three-time All-Star, including the Blue Jays, Orioles, Astros, A's and Phillies, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
The Rays, Royals and Giants are also "believed to be keeping an eye on him," ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported. Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said on Tuesday that the club still has interest in the two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, but that it has been more focused on addressing needs in the bullpen, at first base and at catcher.
Video: SD@COL: CarGo rockets 13th jack, then watches it sail
Gonzalez, who is among a sizable number of outfielders entering their age-32 seasons, has been widely speculated to sign a short-term contract to re-establish his value. He hit 221/.299/.338 in the first half this year, but posted a respectable .314/.390/.531 after the All-Star break. His 44.2-percent hard-hit rate in the second half ranked fourth-highest among left-handed batters.
A two-time Gold Glove Award winner, Gonzalez was still a productive right fielder, though if he can regain his old form, his bat would be more coveted, which is why most of his potential suitors are American League clubs. He was worth one out above average, according to Statcast™, and converted on 21 of 52 catches ranked three-star or better.
And while it may not be the most coveted attribute among free agents, his leadership was widely respected in the Rockies clubhouse -- particularly among Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, who credited Gonzalez in playing a significant role in their early-career development. Interested clubs seeking to take a flyer on a veteran outfielder may take that into consideration.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.