Rumor roundup: Mets 'very interested' in Zobrist
The rumor mill was in full swing Wednesday, with the Mets and Cubs rumored to be interested in some big-name free agents and the Orioles and Pirates said to have put trade talks on hold.
Here's a look at some of the top Hot Stove stories circulating around the big leagues:
Mets targeting Zobrist
The Mets are "very interested" in Ben Zobrist and had a conference call with him on Wednesday, according to The New York Times.
Zobrist, a highly sought-after free agent, is rumored to have interest from at least 10 teams, mainly contenders, so the Mets will face some competition if they want to sign the versatile 34-year-old.
Zobrist split last season between the A's and Royals and produced a .276/.359/.450 slash line in 467 at-bats during the regular season. He's primarily played second base, corner outfield and shortstop during his career, but can also play first base and third.
Cubs keeping tabs on Samardzija
The Cubs are looking to add starting pitching this offseason, and they appear to have some interest in free-agent right-hander Jeff Samardzija.
Samardzija and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein were "hanging together" Wednesday night in Chicago, tweeted MLB.com's Phil Rogers.
Samardzija and the Cubs have a history, of course. The organization drafted him in the fifth round in 2006, and he made his Major League debut as a reliever for Chicago in '08. Samardzija moved to the Cubs' rotation in '12 and remained there until being traded to the A's in '14. He pitched in Chicago last season, going 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA in 32 starts with the White Sox.
Orioles check on Walker
The Orioles have shown some interest in Pirates second baseman Neil Walker and engaged in preliminary trade talks during last week's General Managers Meetings, according to MASN, though no deal was reached.
The Pirates are indeed trying to move Walker, per the Baltimore Sun. The second baseman is eligible for his final year of salary arbitration this winter.
Walker has a lifetime .272 average over seven seasons in the Majors, all with the Pirates. He could make sense as a switch-hitting designated hitter with the O's.
Two free-agent relievers seek multiyear deals
Darren O'Day and Joakim Soria are two of the top relievers available on the free agent market, and both are reportedly looking for multiyear deals.
O'Day is asking for a four-year contract worth $28-36 million, according to Fox Sports, while Soria is seeking a deal in the range of three years and $27 million, per ESPN.
A number of teams have been linked to Soria so far this offseason, including the Tigers, Rangers, Red Sox, Twins and Royals. However, the Tigers acquired closer Francisco Rodriguez in a trade with the Brewers on Wednesday and the Red Sox traded for closer Craig Kimbrel last week.