Hot Stove Inbox: Gray, Frazier deals likely?

Mark Feinsand answers Hot Stove questions from fans

November 30th, 2020

The Hot Stove began to simmer this week with the signings of Charlie Morton (Braves) and Mike Minor (Royals), the third and fourth starters, respectively, to come off the board in the opening weeks of free agency.

The “Big 5” free agents -- Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, George Springer, DJ LeMahieu and Marcell Ozuna -- remain available, but now that the calendar is turning to December, we might start to see some movement around the league, especially once Wednesday’s non-tender deadline arrives.

Let’s open up the Twitter mailbag and see what’s on your mind this week as we head into the holiday season. As always, you can send your questions to me @feinsand.

Do you think the Reds will trade this winter?
-- @MitchSGalloway

I don’t think it’s a lock by any means, but given the state of the free-agent pitching market, it would certainly make sense for Cincinnati to see what kind of offers are out there.

Beyond Bauer, the next tier of free-agent pitchers includes Jake Odorizzi, Masahiro Tanaka and Taijuan Walker. Gray and Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell -- who could also be on the move -- are both a step above those pitchers, so the trade market might be a team’s best shot at adding a frontline starter.

Are the Yankees going to give a chance (keep him in the lineup regardless if he is in a slump) or trade him before he becomes [less valuable]?
-- @J_TripletDad

Unless Brian Cashman can flip Frazier for a young, controllable starting pitcher, I don’t see him being moved this offseason. Frazier did a nice job in the field last year and showed the offensive potential we’ve all been hearing about for the past few years.

Even if Brett Gardner comes back for 2021, I have to think Frazier sees a significant amount of playing time in the outfield. Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks have had injury issues, and Gardner is no longer a 150-game player at his age. Barring some unexpected arm becoming available, I believe Frazier will be a part of the Yankees’ future.

What’s the delay with the Yankees re-signing ?
-- @neverEnough32

The delay is that LeMahieu is one of the top free agents available this offseason and there are a number of teams that would love to sign him. Even if he wants to return to the Yankees, he’s not just going to take the first offer they throw at him.

I expect LeMahieu to receive interest from at least a half-dozen teams, and although the Yankees suffered financial losses in 2020 -- who didn’t? -- I think he’ll be back in the Bronx. Over the past 25 years, can you name a free agent the Yankees wanted to retain that departed because another team outbid them? I can’t think of one, either.

Is going to be signed by a rebuilding team like the Tigers as an everyday player or as a utility guy by a team like the Padres or Dodgers?
-- @WillHolder9

Profar is an interesting free agent this offseason. More and more teams are using super-utility players to start at multiple positions, and Profar, who has played every position on the diamond other than pitcher and catcher during his career, fits that profile.

His versatility was a plus for the Padres last season, as he started 32 games in left field, 16 at second base, one in right field and one in center field. Profar also posted the highest on-base percentage of his career (.343) with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 56 games. There are several contenders out there who could use a player like him, starting him somewhere on a daily basis. I don’t know that he will have to sign with a rebuilding team in order to get a full season’s worth of at-bats.

Who will be the most active team this offseason among those who didn’t make the playoffs?
-- @abran88garcia

The one is easy: the Mets.

New owner Steve Cohen will surely want to get his fan base excited with a new addition or two, and team president Sandy Alderson has already said the team is more likely to be involved in the free-agent market than the trade market.

The top four free agents are Realmuto, Bauer, Springer and LeMahieu; it wouldn’t surprise me if the Mets sign two of these players.

Are the Twins spenders and [will they] try to go get a big-ticket starter and reliever? Or did we miss the window already?
-- @ben_orzolek

Executives around the league expect the Twins to make some kind of move this winter, whether that’s bringing back Odorizzi or signing another starter. Could it be Bauer? Anything is possible, especially if Bauer is truly willing to sign a one-year deal.

The Indians (assuming they trade Francisco Lindor) will take a step back in the AL Central. So while the White Sox -- I’ll get to them in a minute -- are surging forward and will look to build on their strong 2020 season, the Twins know they still have a window to make something happen. I expect they will make some moves to give them a shot at the division title in 2021.

Do you see the White Sox adding, and if so, by signings or trades? SP, OF, DH?
-- @JoeyRiot78

Chicago finally had the type of season we’ve all been waiting for throughout its rebuild, finishing 35-25 and making its first postseason appearance since 2008. The additions of Dallas Keuchel and Yasmani Grandal were big, while the emergence of Luis Robert also gave the club a boost.

The White Sox are one of the few teams I expect will be aggressive this offseason. That could mean the signing of Ozuna or Springer, as the right field and DH spots could each use an upgrade. Don’t be surprised to see Chicago make a big splash in some form or fashion in the coming weeks.

Will there be an active trade market before the non-tender deadline?
-- @baldheaded1der

This week’s non-tender deadline could be one like we have never seen before. Given the financial implications of the pandemic-shortened season, many arbitration-eligible players could be cut loose, flooding the free-agent market with a number of quality players.

That said, I don’t think it means we’ll see a lot of trades made between now and Wednesday’s deadline. With so many teams seemingly looking to trim payroll, the idea of acquiring a player who might be due a raise in arbitration might not be that appealing. Also, any player being shopped around before the deadline could be a non-tender candidate, so other teams could simply wait for the deadline to pass, then sign the non-tendered player -- possibly for less money -- without giving up any assets in exchange.