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Rumors: Marte, Braves, Moose, Buchholz

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

Dodgers 'active' in Marte talks
Jan. 21: After the Dodgers traded Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Reds in December, the club's lineup now skews left-handed, and Los Angeles is reportedly exploring a number of options to remedy that.

One of those options is A.J. Pollock, as MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday. According to Michael J. Duarte of NBC Sports Los Angeles, the Dodgers are also having "ongoing and active discussions" with the Pirates about Starling Marte.

Tweet from @michaeljduarte: Sources: #Dodgers having ���active and ongoing discussions��� with #Pirates for Starling Marte. They���ve discussed a deal in previous weeks as well. Not known what other players are involved, or if teams are close to a deal. Marte is under contract with Pittsburgh through 2021.

The Dodgers still have a surplus of outfielders, but Marte would solve the team's need for a right-handed bat and give the club even more flexibility, allowing Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger to be used in the infield more often, if needed.

The 30-year-old Marte is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner in left field, and he capably handled the starting center-field job for Pittsburgh in 2018. Marte also continued to display a multidimensional offensive skill set, hitting .277 with 20 homers and 33 steals.

Marte has a $10 million base salary for 2019, and he is controllable for two seasons after that via reasonable team options for '20 ($11.5 million with a $2 million buyout) and '21 ($12.5 million with a $2 million buyout), so it will likely take a significant package to acquire him.

Markakis reunion one possibility for Braves
Jan. 21: The Braves still have a lot of options to address their corner outfield vacancy, and MLB Network insider Jon Heyman thinks bringing back Nick Markakis is the "most logical" solution.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: With slow moving market, Braves are in good position to fill their corner outfield opening. Markakis, who had big year for them in 2018, remains most logical, but they���ve checked on a Joc Pederson trade, and free agents Adam Jones, CarGo and Parra (and others) are still out there

The 35-year-old Markakis was a first-time All-Star for the Braves last season, and finished the year hitting .297/.366/.440 with 14 home runs for the NL East champs.

Heyman notes that the slow free-agent market for outfielders should work in the Braves' favor. Aside from Markakis, he lists Adam Jones, Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra as possibilities for Atlanta. The Braves could also explore the trade market -- according to Heyman, they're one of the teams that has checked in on Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson.

Moose's market includes Phillies, Brewers, Padres
Jan. 21: The Phillies have made it clear they're looking to land one of the two premier free agents on this offseason's market, Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. But what would Philadelphia's plan be for third base if it doesn't land Machado? According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, Plan B could very well be free agent Mike Moustakas.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Phillies have interest in Mike Moustakas. A Move for Moose likely depends on how Machado pursuit works out for them, though.

In an article for The Athletic (subscription required) on Sunday, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal mentioned that Moustakas' market also includes the Brewers and Padres. More >

Video: Rosenthal on the teams interested in Moustakas

Rangers have been in contact with Buchholz
Jan. 21: The Rangers have spent this offseason overhauling their rotation, starting back in early November when they declined team options for Doug Fister, Martin Perez and Matt Moore and saw Bartolo Colon and Yovani Gallardo enter free agency.

Texas has focused on buy-low options who have recently dealt with major injuries, bringing in Drew Smyly, Lance Lynn, Edinson Volquez and Shelby Miller on low-risk contracts. Given that strategy, it makes perfect sense that the club would be in contact with Clay Buchholz, which is reportedly the case, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. However, there's no indication that any deal is close.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Rangers have been in contact with Clay Buchholz but there's no word whether any deal is close

The knock on Buchholz has always been his inability to stay healthy. Even last year, when he posted a surprising 2.01 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP over 16 starts for the D-backs, his season ended prematurely due to a flexor strain in his right forearm. Buchholz has never made more than 29 starts in a season during his 12-year career, and only four times has he exceeded 20 starts.

That said, the 34-year-old would be another low-risk acquisition that could pay big dividends for the Rangers, either by helping them make an unexpected postseason run or giving them a pitcher to flip for a prospect or two this summer.

Pirates? Marlins? The latest on the Machado mystery teams
Jan. 21: Where will Manny Machado land? With Spring Training less than a month away, we're no closer to finding out the answer to that question, especially with the reports of multiple undisclosed teams being involved only creating more speculation.

Some of the mystery team suggestions are more surprising than others. Hector Gomez of Z101, a Dominican Republic radio station, has heard the Pirates could be in the mix. Meanwhile, Casey Stern of MLB Network Radio shared his belief Monday that the Marlins, Machado's hometown club, are eyeing the superstar. More >

Reds complete deal for Gray, sign him to extension
Jan. 21: The Reds have acquired right-hander Sonny Gray and left-hander Reiver Sanmartin from the Yankees in exchange for second baseman Shed Long and a 2019 Competitive Balance Round A Draft pick. In addition, Cincinnati has signed Gray to a three-year contract extension with a club option for 2023.

According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, Gray will earn $30.5 million over 2020-22, plus his $7.5 million salary for 2019. The club option is for $12 million.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: Gray extension with #Reds complete, per source. Three years, $30.5M, covering 2020-22. Club option for ���23 at $12M. All salaries can grow based on numerous escalators. Plus $500K of innings pitched bonuses each year.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reports that the Yankees have sent Long to the Mariners for outfielder Josh Stowers. Long was previously the Reds' No. 7 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. The Yankees would have needed to add Long to their 40-man roster, but won't need to do so with Stowers, who was Seattle's No. 10 prospect.

class="token token-third-party token-third-party-twitter-embed" data-tokeninfo=" tokenGUID: token‑C2210B5A933530FA348AD type: thirdParty subType: twitterEmbed embedId: 1087465341033304065 authorName: Jeff Passan authorUrl: https://twitter.com/JeffPassan height: null width: 550 html:

Shed Long to the Mariners and Josh Stowers to the Yankees is done league sources tell ESPN.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 21 2019

\n href: https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/1087465341033304065" id="token-C2210B5A933530FA348AD">Tweet from @JeffPassan: Shed Long to the Mariners and Josh Stowers to the Yankees is done, league sources tell ESPN.

 

Gray is the third notable addition to Cincinnati's rotation this offseason, with the Reds having traded for Tanner Roark and Alex Wood in separate December deals. Roark and Wood can become free agents next offseason. More >

Dodgers discussing Joc trade with White Sox, others
Jan. 20: The Dodgers have been discussing trades involving outfielder Joc Pederson, sources told MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal on Sunday. The White Sox are one of the teams in the mix for Pederson, but per Rosenthal, it's unknown if the talks are at the stage where the teams would be close to a deal.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: On rumors of Joc Pederson trade to #WhiteSox: #Dodgers have been discussing Pederson in possible deals, rival executives say. CWS one of clubs in those conversations, according to sources. Not known if talks are advanced to point where teams are close to a deal.

The 26-year-old Pederson hit .248/.321/.522 with 25 home runs for Los Angeles last season. He's under team control for two more seasons until he's eligible for free agency in 2021.

Pederson would slot in as a starting corner outfielder for a White Sox team looking to accelerate its rebuild. On the Dodgers side, trading Pederson could clear the way for a free-agent outfield signing like A.J. Pollock, who the Dodgers reportedly are interested in. And Bryce Harper is still out there, of course.

The Athletic's David O'Brien thinks the Braves also might be among the teams interested in Pederson. Atlanta has been in the market for a corner outfielder, and O'Brien notes on Twitter that Pederson could give the Braves a power bat to start in the middle of the order against right-handed pitching.

Video: Rosenthal discusses the Dodgers' pursuit of Pollock

Are the Yankees targeting Arenado?
Jan. 20: If the Yankees' interest in Manny Machado has petered out, it might be because they have their eyes on another superstar third baseman. A Major League source suggested to SNY's Andy Martino that Nolan Arenado could be a target for New York, either in a trade this offseason or as a free agent after the 2019 campaign.

Citing "people briefed on the Yankees' thinking," Martino reports that general manager Brian Cashman has internally discussed trying to trade for Arenado. Another source said it's likely the Yankees and Rockies have already talked.

However, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post was told there is "no substance" to the report, which suggests the two sides are not currently in contact regarding Arenado.

Tweet from @psaundersdp: Regarding those rumors coming out of NY about #Yankees #Rockies trade for Nolan Arenado... I���m told there is no substance to them. Far fetched.

Bridich has expressed interest in signing Arenado to a long-term extension, but the two sides haven't even been able to agree on a salary for 2019. Arenado and the Rockies exchanged arbitration figures before last week's deadline and are reportedly $6 million apart, as the third baseman is asking for $30 million while Colorado is offering $24 million. That doesn't bode well for the team's chances of working out a long-term deal, as Martino points out.

"It's going to be difficult for Colorado to keep him," one person familiar with the Rockies' situation told Martino.

Although Machado and Bryce Harper are having trouble getting the record-breaking deals they are reportedly seeking, MLB Network Radio's CJ Nitkowski doesn't think Arenado is going to be open to signing a long-term contract with the Rockies now.

"At this point, I can't imagine that he would try to sign any extension, not with a year to go," Nitkowski said. "Even if you're looking out at the market. Wherever the Rockies are right now on any kind of extension, they'll be at the end of the season as well. So there's no reason to take the other 29 teams out of the running."

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: Have the #Rockies already lost Nolan Arenado to free agency next winter?@CJNitkowski believes it is a strong possibility. pic.twitter.com/eMKHpOVIoT

The Yankees could entice the Rockies by offering a package centered around young third baseman Miguel Andujar, though any trade would likely be contingent on New York signing Arenado to a new contract. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman suggests New York isn't interested in sending Andujar to Colorado as part of a trade for Arenado, and there are no trade discussions happening between the two clubs at this time. That doesn't, of course, rule out New York pursuing the superstar in free agency.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Just to clear up something that���s getting a lot of play in NY today: Yankees and Rockies are not talking about an Arenado trade, and Yankees wouldn���t send Miguel Andujar in package for Arenado. That said, have heard NYY loves Arenado, a free agent after ���19 (what���s not to love?)

Video: MLB Tonight discusses latest on Arenado negotiations

Among remaining free agents, Gonzalez is 'Mr. Versatility'
Jan. 20: In baseball today, versatility is value. Baseball executives, managers and coaches are seeking out players who can cover multiple positions, thus allowing more roster flexibility. The poster boy for this? Marwin Gonzalez.

Not only can the veteran free agent play just about anywhere on the field -- from first base to shortstop to second base to left field -- he does so at capable or better level. Oh, and his bat is pretty good, too, so the 29-year-old isn't merely a defensive specialist. More >

No current free agent hit the ball hard more often than Machado in '18
Jan. 20: Manny Machado is, along with Bryce Harper, the most talented free agent on the market. One particular area in which the 26-year-old superstar excels is consistently making hard contact. MLB.com's Andrew Simon took a look at the best skills among remaining free agents, and Machado had the highest hard-hit rate (percentage of batted balls with exit velocity of 95 mph or greater) in 2018, at 48.2 percent. That was good for 15th among 228 MLB hitters with a minimum of 250 batted balls.

The Phillies, White Sox and a pair of mystery teams reportedly lead the pack for Machado, who is reportedly looking for a record contract that would exceed the 13-year, $325 million deal Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Marlins in '14. More >

These clubs are in on Harrison
Jan. 20: Speaking of versatile players (see: Marwin Gonzalez above), Josh Harrison also has the ability to play all over the diamond. It's not surprising, then, to see that at least a handful of clubs are showing interest in the veteran.

Among the teams in the mix? The Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Phillies and Rays, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Phillies and Rays are among teams in on Josh Harrison, a great and versatile defender

Harrison, 31, had a club option for $10.5 million in 2019 that the Pirates chose to buy out for $1 million after he had an injury riddled '18 in which he played just 97 games due to hand and hamstring problems and hit .250/.293/.363 -- his worst season since becoming a regular in 2014.

Although he may be declining on offense at this stage of his career, Harrison does bring a bit of pop and speed for a versatile defensive player, and it's likely that the ailments hampered his production last year. He primarily has played second base since the start of '16, but Harrison also has had extensive action at third base and can handle a corner outfield spot as needed. That sort of profile makes him a good fit for clubs seeking roster depth and flexibility at a price that shouldn't be a cost prohibitive.

Which teams would benefit most from Keuchel's skill set?
Jan. 20: As the top starting pitcher left in free agency, Dallas Keuchel would make just about any team better. But some clubs look like they would be better fits than others for the veteran southpaw, based on his repertoire and approach.

In a look at which remaining free agents possess the best skills in various categories (i.e., hardest hitter, most effective fastball), MLB.com's Andrew Simon highlights Keuchel as the best ground-ball artist.

"For a team that plays in a homer-friendly ballpark, Keuchel would have obvious appeal," Simon writes. "The lefty threw his sinker more than 40 percent of the time last season, and generated a grounder on roughly 55 percent of balls put in play against him. While that represented a drop from his 68 percent mark in 2017, it still ranked among the best in MLB, and Keuchel has finished well above 50 percent in every season of his career."

Keuchel's ability to suppress homers and get grounders could suggest teams like the Reds, Phillies and Brewers -- all of whom have at least been linked to him in some fashion this offseason -- could benefit by bringing his skill set to their homer-happy ball parks.

Taking that one step further to factor in Keuchel's ability to pitch to the edges of the strike zone, MLB.com's David Adler ran down the catchers who might mesh best with Keuchel. In that regard, the Reds (with Tucker Barnhart) don't appear to be as good of a fit, but the Phillies (Jorge Alfaro) and Brewers (recently signed Yasmani Grandal) make a lot of sense.

Clubs that could use Kimbrel's elite swing-and-miss stuff
Jan 20: Craig Kimbrel  is the last of the high-end relievers remaining on the free-agent market, as Andrew Miller Zach Britton David Robertson Jeurys Familia Joe Kelly  and Adam Ottavino all have signed. Cody Allen  is also off the market, leaving one less proven closer out there.

As for why Kimbrel still should be considered a top-of-the-scale reliever at this point in his career, MLB.com's Andrew Simon dubbed Kimbrel as the pitcher with the most swing-and-miss ability among players still available on the open market.

"One of the game's elite closers over the past eight seasons, Kimbrel would also lead this remaining class of free-agent pitchers in fastball velocity (97.1 mph) -- albeit down from 98.3 mph in 2017 -- and best secondary pitch," Simon writes. "Working off that heater, Kimbrel threw his curveball about 35 percent of the time last season, and batters went 5-for-61 (.082) against it, with one extra-base hit and 33 strikeouts. Between those two pitches, the righty racks up lots of strikeouts. Batters missed on 40 percent of their swings against him in 2018, the third-highest rate out of 499 pitchers (minimum 200 swings)."

So which clubs could benefit from having Kimbrel in their bullpen (hint: a lot), and which ones appear to be the best matches for the right-hander? Read on here.

Do the Mets need either Harper or Pollock to avoid slipping in the NL East?
Jan. 20: The Mets have been among the busiest teams in the Majors this offseason, making big moves under new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen that include a trade for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz from the Mariners, as well as landing free agents Jeurys Familia, Wilson Ramos and Jed Lowrie. But will it be enough to avoid taking a step back in the National League East next season?

SNY's Matthew Cerrone asks whether this could be the case given what the Braves, Nationals and Phillies are reportedly trying to do to improve their rosters. He argues that New York needs to sign either Bryce Harper or A.J. Pollock in the outfield, not only for the obvious advantages to the Mets, but also to keep those players away from division rivals.

"The Phillies are projected to have the fourth-best lineup in the division," Cerrone notes. "By adding Harper or Manny Machado, they slip just pass the Mets. The bulk of reporting indicates they will eventually sign one or the other and could possibly sign both, which, if that happens, puts their projection atop the entire division. 

"Similarly, if the Braves then add Pollock -- and a mid-rotation starter, which they're in the market to acquire -- they, too, move past the Mets, who drop from second to fourth."

Will the Mets surprise the baseball world and end up landing Harper, who MLB Network recently ranked the No. 5 right fielder in baseball and along with Machado is the most coveted free agent on the market? Could New York be a "mystery team" for the superstar slugger? It remains to be seen, but the shakeup of power in the NL East would be seismic if that were to happen.

Are markets for Harper and Machado impacting Realmuto's future?
Jan. 19: J.T. Realmuto has been the player talked about most on this offseason's trade market, but he still remains a Marlin for the time being. That could change soon, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, who said on MLB Network that he believes a deal will come together prior to Spring Training. Still, the current "holding pattern" in Realmuto's case, Frisaro said, may be due to the fact that neither of the two marquee free agents on the market, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, have signed yet.

"Let's say Machado or Harper signs with the Phillies," said Frisaro. "Does that motivate the Braves to say, 'Now we've got to make our counter-move,' and they add an extra piece to get a deal done with the Marlins? I think there's a little bit of that going on, but as far as I can tell you from the reporting I've done, and others have agreed, there are about four or five teams in. I think the Braves are one of those teams that are just waiting in the wings."

Video: Frisaro on latest rumblings surrounding J.T. Realmuto

Realmuto, 27, had a breakout year in 2018, slashing .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs in 125 games for Miami. He has well-above-average speed and is considered one of the best catchers in the game today. MLB Network ranks him as the No. 2 catcher in baseball right now. More >

Red Sox reportedly discussed extension with Bogaerts
Jan. 19: Earlier this month, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports reported that the Red Sox were discussing an extension with an undisclosed core player, and now it's clear who that player was. Multiple sources have confirmed that Boston had talks with shortstop Xander Bogaerts, but the two sides never came close to an agreement, according to Drellich.

At the time of the initial report, Drellich noted that some in the industry were speculating that it was left fielder Andrew Benintendi, but the 24-year-old said Saturday that he hasn't had any extension discussions with the team to this point.

Bogaerts, 26, is one of a number of key Red Sox players who are due to enter free agency in the next two offseasons. Bogaerts, Chris Sale and Rick Porcello can hit the open market after the 2019 season, and Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are eligible the following year. Meanwhile, J.D. Martinez can opt out of his contract in 2019 and 2020. Benintendi is under team control for four more seasons.

Sale said Saturday that he is open to talking with Boston about an extension.

"My phone is on if they call me," said Sale. "Obviously nothing has happened up until this point. If they call, I'd answer."

As for Betts, Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said the team would love to have the reigning American League MVP Award winner stay in Boston for his entire career. But Betts knows there are no guarantees in baseball.

"Contract things are kind of tough to come up with, especially with both sides and kind of how the economics and all those things work," Betts said. "I love Boston, love my teammates, love the fans and all those types of things, so we'll just continue to see what happens."

Giants gauging trade interest in Longoria
Jan. 19: Slightly more than a year after acquiring him from the Rays, the Giants are reportedly shopping Evan Longoria, as MLB Network insider Jon Heyman hears that San Francisco has been gauging trade interest in the third baseman.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Word going around is, #SFGiants have been gauging trade interest in Evan Longoria. Rivals believe it would take big bucks to offset his contract to move him. Has $72.5M to go through 2022 plus $2M assignment bonus if traded (Tampa Bay chipped in $14.5M to trade him last year).

It may be difficult to move him, however, as he is still due to receive an immense amount of money over the next four seasons. As part of the December 2017 trade sending Longoria from Tampa Bay to San Francisco, the Rays picked up $14.5 million of the $88 million in guaranteed money that was still owed to the veteran at that point. He earned $13.5 million in 2018, leaving about $60 million on his deal that isn't being covered by the Rays (including a $5 million buyout on a $13 million team option for 2023).

According to Heyman, rivals believe the Giants would need to eat a significant portion of his salary to have any chance of trading the 33-year-old, who has been a below-average offensive player over the past two seasons (91 wRC+).

Coming off a 73-89 campaign in 2018, the Giants are in a tough spot, as they have several high-priced veterans who are on the decline, significant needs on the big league roster and a lackluster farm system.