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On The Move: Trades & Transactions

MLB Buzz: Ozuna to St. Louis in the cards?

MLB.com

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.

Hot Stove Tracker

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.

Hot Stove Tracker

Interest high for Ozuna, Yelich
The Marlins have cleared two massive chunks of salary in Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton in their quest to get their payroll under $90 million, but could All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna be next?

MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported Monday night that the Marlins are pushing Ozuna over fellow outfielder Christian Yelich, telling teams that Ozuna will cost less in a trade. Ozuna is under team control for two more years and due to become a free agent in 2020, while the 26-year-old Yelich will be under control for five more years -- his contract runs through 2021 with a club option for '22.

The Cardinals are viewed as frontrunners for Ozuna, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. A possible deal could include two of the three of pitching prospects Jack Flaherty (St. Louis' No. 3 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com), Dakota Hudson (No. 8) and Sandy Alcantara (No. 9) plus a replacement in the outfield in either Stephen Piscotty or Randal Grichuk.

The market for Ozuna has eight to 10 teams interested, including the Nationals, Cardinals and Giants. According to the Miami Herald, the Rockies, Rangers and Blue Jays also are in the mix.

Frisaro reported Monday that the market for Ozuna was starting to build now that Stanton has been dealt to the Yankees.

St. Louis and San Francisco seem like natural fits for Ozuna, as each expressed a willingness to take on salary in the Stanton sweepstakes and are both looking for impact bats in the outfield. Ozuna is coming into his prime years at age 27, having posted a .312/.376/.548 slash line with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs last season. The left fielder is eligible for arbitration this winter after playing on a one-year, $3.5 million deal in 2017.

The Marlins have remained reluctant to trade Yelich, but at least 10 teams are expressing interest in the 26-year-old left fielder. The D-backs, Cardinals and Braves are among the inquiring clubs, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.

Yelich, who turned 26 on Dec. 5, is making $7 million in 2018, and he is signed for $43.25 million through 2021, with a $15 million club option in 2022.

Mets keep tabs on 2B market
The Mets continue to consider a variety of second basemen on the trade market. According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, that group includes the Tigers' Ian Kinsler, the Indians' Jason Kipnis, the Pirates' Josh Harrison and the Phillies' Cesar Hernandez.

One second baseman the Mets are not looking into, according to Heyman: Starlin Castro, recently dealt from the Yankees to the Marlins in the Giancarlo Stanton trade.

The Mets have been linked to Kinsler for a while, and as the Winter Meetings continue the Tigers appear to be getting closer to actually trading their veteran -- but it might not be to New York. According to MLB.com Tigers reporter Jason Beck, there's some skepticism that the Mets can swing a deal for Kinsler due to their lack of prospect depth. Other teams like the Angels are also in the mix to land Kinsler.

Kipnis has been floated as a possibility for New York since early in the offseason, and the Mets were also linked to Harrison this week. But they have had the most discussions with the Tigers regarding Kinsler, according to Newsday's Marc Carig.

Hernandez is a new name, but it would take a lot to get him from the Phillies, according to Heyman. Hernandez is the youngest of the four at age 27 -- Kinsler is 35, and Kipnis and Harrison are both 30 -- and is under team control until 2021. Hernandez hit .294/.373/.421 in 128 games last season with nine home runs and 15 stolen bases.

If the Mets can't trade for a second baseman, they could address their need via free agency, for example by bringing back Neil Walker.

Rangers, D-backs discuss Greinke?
The Rangers, whose top priority this offseason is adding starting pitching, are in discussions with the D-backs -- and Zack Greinke could be on the table, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.

A deal isn't yet close, and a lot would have to happen for the two teams to make such a trade, according to Sullivan, but discussions are ongoing.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that the Rangers are offering only marginal prospects and want the D-backs to pay part of Greinke's salary, but Arizona is not interested in a salary dump. Still, the Rangers and D-backs could work out a deal with another starter.

Video: D-backs, Rangers reportedly talking Greinke deal

Texas has already signed Mike Minor and Doug Fister since free agency began, but the team missed out on Shohei Ohtani and still wants to add at least one more starter heading into 2018.

They could target one of the free-agent pitchers still available as the Winter Meetings progress -- including Yu Darvish, with whom a reunion is a possibility, as well as players like Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb.

Or they could try to swing a trade for someone like Greinke, who reemerged as an ace for the D-backs last season after a rocky first year in Arizona, helping lead them to the National League Division Series.

The 34-year-old right-hander went 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA and 215 strikeouts in 202 1/3 innings in 2017, earning his fourth career All-Star nod and finishing fourth in the NL Cy Young voting. Greinke is entering the third year of a six-year, $206.5 million deal he signed with Arizona prior to the 2016 season, which runs through 2021. He will make $34 million in 2018.

Blue Jays reportedly talk with CC
The market for CC Sabathia continues to take shape, with the veteran left-hander meeting with the Blue Jays on Tuesday, according to the New York Post's George King. The Yankees are also still talking to the 37-year-old free agent to potentially bring him back in 2018, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Sabathia has also had discussions with the Angels about signing with them, King reported on Sunday, bringing the known field to three teams.

Toronto entered the Winter Meetings in the market for a fifth starter, and Sabathia could fill that need nicely. Sabathia made 27 starts for the Yankees last season and went 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 148 2/3 innings. He also drew some key starts in the postseason as the Yankees reached Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.

But that success, and having pitched in New York since 2009, could also make a deal to remain a Yankee more likely, especially after the Yankees missed out on signing Shohei Ohtani. Sabathia has said he hopes to return to New York in 2018.

The Angels, of course, were the ones who landed the Japanese phenom, but they could still want to add starting pitching given that their rotation has been decimated by injuries over the past several seasons. That includes staff ace Garrett Richards and others like Matt Shoemaker, Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs all missing extended time. Sabathia would give the Angels extra depth.

A's focused on Piscotty
The Athletics have largely spent the offseason addressing their bullpen but now turn their attention to hitting.

According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, the team has zeroed in on Stephen Piscotty, who is part of a crowded Cardinals outfield.

Piscotty is coming off a down season in which he slashed .235/.342/.367 with nine home runs, but he went deep 22 times in 2016. He is in line to fight for a corner-outfield spot with Randal Grichuk, Harrison Bader and Magneuris Sierra, while the team also has top prospects Tyler O'Neill and Jose Adolis Garcia waiting in the wings.

Piscotty could also be of particular interest to the A's as he grew up in the Bay Area and went to college at Stanford. His name has been picking up heat lately as the Marlins have been connected to him in a potential Marcell Ozuna trade.

Video: Lee discusses A's seeking right-handed bat

Shaw, Hunter reportedly nearing deals
There was a flurry of activity in the relief market Tuesday evening, and free agents Bryan Shaw and Tommy Hunter are reportedly off the board.

The Phillies are nearing an agreement with Hunter, a source told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, and Shaw is close to a deal with the Rockies, per MLB Network insider Joel Sherman. Shaw's deal is for three years and valued at around $9 million annually, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Hunter would be the second addition to the Phillies' bullpen this week. They also came to terms on a two-year contract with Pat Neshek, pending a physical, Zolecki reported Monday.

The 31-year-old right-hander spent the 2017 season with the Rays, who signed him to a Minor League deal last winter. He posted a 2.61 ERA through 61 games (58 2/3 innings).

Video: Bryan Shaw reportedly agrees to terms with Rockies

Shaw, 30, has spent the last five years in Cleveland. He made at least 70 relief appearances in each of those seasons and owns a 3.11 ERA in that span (358 2/3 innings).

Cubs, Yankees check in on Duffy
If the Royals are indeed intent on initiating a rebuild in 2018, it could be more than free agents Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas switching uniforms. MLB Network insider Joel Sherman reports that many clubs, most notably the Cubs and Yankees, have asked Kansas City about left-handed starter Danny Duffy, though a deal did not seem imminent.

Duffy, 28, broke out with a 12-3 record, 3.51 ERA and 188 strikeouts over 179 2/3 innings for the Royals while moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation in 2016. Last year was rockier for the southpaw, as he managed to toss just 146 1/3 innings while dealing with injury. Duffy, who underwent surgery in October to remove a loose body from his left elbow, is under team control until 2022 and is slated to earn $14 million next season.

Duffy presents an interesting match for the Cubs, who may let Jake Arrieta walk in free agency and have already added Tyler Chatwood to their rotation this offseason. The Yankees, meanwhile, cleared financial space by trading Chase Headley to the Padres on Tuesday morning and now have roughly $30 million to spend before reaching the luxury tax threshold, per MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. Bolstering the starting rotation is seen as the Yankees' next priority after the Bronx Bombers finalized their trade for Giancarlo Stanton on Monday.

Marlins discussing Straily deal
As the Marlins' rebuild continues, their trade talks have expanded to include starter Dan Straily.

According to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, Miami has discussed the right-hander with the Orioles, among other American League East teams that need pitching. The Yankees and Blue Jays have also been in the market for starters.

Straily, 29, registered a 4.26 ERA over 181 2/3 innings in his first season with the Marlins and is under team control for three more seasons. He is arbitration eligible for the first time this winter.

The Orioles only return two starters this winter: Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. Their internal options include Alec Asher, Gabriel Ynoa and Miguel Castro, although the team has also been connected to free-agent starters Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn.

Pirates preparing to deal Cole?
The Pirates are reportedly prepared to trade ace Gerrit Cole if they can find a suitable trade partner, ESPN's Buster Olney reported Tuesday.

If the Pirates were to make Cole available, he would be a hot commodity as one of the top arms on the market. The Yankees already surfaced as a possible destination in trade rumors Monday, per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, though it was unclear if Pittsburgh was willing to part with him.

The Yankees have long been linked to Cole, whom they drafted in the first round back in 2008. They were unable to sign him out of Orange Lutheran High School in Orange, Calif.

New York refrained from giving up any of its top prospects to obtain Giancarlo Stanton from Miami and remains loaded with top-end young talent. Perhaps general manager Brian Cashman could be willing to part with a top prospect to open the Pirates' ears.

Cole, 27, is coming off a down year in 2017, going 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA in 33 starts. He is 59-42 with a 3.50 ERA in 127 starts over his five-year career with the Pirates.

Yankees eyeing Fulmer?
The Yankees are clearly not content with simply acquiring home run champ Giancarlo Stanton, as New York traded third baseman Chase Headley and reliever Bryan Mitchell to the Padres on Tuesday for outfielder Jabari Blash. The Yankees' next need would figure to be filling out their starting rotation, and a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand that Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer is a potential trade target for New York.

Video: Yanks rumored to be interested in trading for Fulmer

Fulmer won't come cheap. The 2016 American League Rookie of the Year is under team control for five more years and is seen is one of the brightest young starters in the game. As the Tigers embark on their rebuild in full, they certainly appear to be in the market for talented position-player prospects. Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier seems like the natural headliner for a Yankees-Tigers deal involving Fulmer, but Detroit would be expected to garner a big prospect haul beyond Frazier, too.

Fulmer represents a big piece of Detroit's future, but the Tigers could potentially turn one talented prospect into three or four from the Yankees' revered farm system. Fulmer just turned 23, and he is coming off a season in which he went 10-12 with a 3.83 ERA for a team that lost 98 games. In a record-setting year for home runs across the Majors, Fulmer's rate of 0.711 homers allowed per nine innings was the best in the AL.

Market developing for CarGo
MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported Tuesday that the market for outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is beginning to take shape, noting the Astros, Orioles, Rockies and A's are among the teams to express interest. The Blue Jays, Rays, Giants and Royals have also been linked to the 32-year-old this winter.

Gonzalez endured a down year in 2017, batting .262/.339/.423 with 14 homers in 136 games with the Rockies. But he's just one year removed from his 2016 All-Star campaign, during which he hit .298 with 100 RBIs, 25 homers and a career-best 42 doubles.

A return to Colorado isn't out of the cards. Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said Monday on MLB Network that the club will "continue conversations" with Gonzalez.

Gonzalez has spent nine of his 10 big league seasons with the Rockies, earning three trips to the All-Star Game (2012, '13 and '16). He's a .288 career hitter with 215 home runs.

Video: LAD@COL: Gonzalez belts a solo homer to right field

Reds' outfielders generating interest
Billy Hamilton ranks among the Majors' fastest baserunners and best defensive center fielders, and he's drawing interest on the Hot Stove.

MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reports that Hamilton and other Reds outfielders are floating around Winter Meetings discussions, with the Giants reportedly being the team most interested in Hamilton. Those other outfielders could include Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler.

Hamilton, 27, recorded the second-fastest average sprint speed among MLB players last year at 30.1 feet per second, ranking just behind Twins center fielder Byron Buxton. Hamilton was also a top-10 outfielder in terms of the Statcast™ Outs Above Average (OAA) metric. That makes Hamilton a potential fit for San Francisco, who missed out on both Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton and featured the Majors' second-worst outfield by OAA in 2017.

Video: Bochy praises Billy Hamilton's unique skill set

Hamilton is the only player in this decade to record at least four seasons with 50 or more stolen bases, doing so consecutively from 2014 through last year. Getting on base to affect opposing pitchers and defenses has been a bigger challenge, as Hamilton hit only .247 in 2017 and owns a career .298 on-base percentage. He won''t fix the power issues for the Giants' offense, who finished last in the Majors in home runs and OPS a year ago. But he would figure to be a defensive upgrade in center over Denard Span, who could be moved to left to platoon with Hunter Pence in 2018. Hamilton is still under team control for two more years before he becomes a free agent in the fall of 2020.

Orioles shopping Machado, who seeks return to SS
The Orioles are shopping star third baseman Manny Machado as he enters his final season before free agency, per MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

While the Orioles are seeking two young, controllable starting pitchers according to Rosenthal, Machado is also seeking something himself: a return to shortstop.

Machado 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 when he reached the Majors, a position in which he as flourished as one of the best in baseball.

Soon entering free agency at age 26, Machado could make himself even more valuable if he shows he still has what it takes at shortstop. Machado's .840 OPS the past three seasons would rank third among shortstops during that span.

Hosmer to Padres is "very real" possibility
The Padres have already added a friendly face in their trade for Chase Headley and now they might be opening the checkbook for a big boost to their lineup. The possibility of free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer signing with the Padres is "very real," a source told MLB.com's AJ Cassavell.

The Padres already have a franchise player at first base in Wil Myers, but it has been reported in the past that Myers is open to a move back to the outfield, where he played coming up through the Minors and then in Tampa Bay. After two seasons as the Rays' full-time right fielder, Myers has played just nine games in right through three seasons with San Diego.

Phillies, Nationals considering Arrieta
The Phillies might still be a year away from contending, but they're considering what would be a big splash with free-agent starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. The Nationals, meanwhile already figure to have a playoff-worthy rotation in 2018, but they've also expressed interest in adding Arrieta, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

As Heyman pointed out, many Phillies executives know Arrieta well from their shared time in the Orioles organization, including president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail and general manager Matt Klentak.

Arrieta represents one of the biggest draws in free agency this offseason. Signing him would be both a big risk for a Phillies team that went 66-96 last season, but also a message that they think contention is just around the corner.

As far as the Nats go, it's worth noting that the club has a good relationship with Scott Boras, who is the agent Arrieta -- as well as Washington's 1-2 punch of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

Arrieta's contract year didn't go exactly as planned last season, as he struggled with the long ball and right hamstring issues on the way to a 3.53 ERA in 2017, but his track record with the Cubs is stellar. He ranks fifth in the Majors in ERA over the past four seasons with a 2.67 mark.

Multiple clubs pursuing Bruce
Jay Bruce is drawing attention from several teams on the free-agent market. According to a report from Heyman on Monday night, the Mets, Rockies, Blue Jays and Mariners are among those interested in the power-hitting right fielder.

Bruce slugged a career-high 36 home runs in 2017, as well as a pair of big homers for the Indians in the American League Division Series against the Yankees. The 30-year-old hit .254/.324/.508 and also drove in 101 runs.

The Mets would be looking for a reunion with Bruce, who spent parts of the past two seasons in New York. The Mets traded for Bruce at the 2016 Trade Deadline before sending him to the Indians this past August. In 153 total games for the Mets, Bruce hit 37 home runs and tallied 94 RBIs. The team is faced with uncertainty in the outfield with Michael Conforto recovering from left shoulder surgery and unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, and Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares both missing significant time due to injury in 2017.

The Rockies and Blue Jays both have vacancies in right field due to longtime franchise cornerstones becoming free agents this offseason -- Carlos Gonzalez for Colorado and Jose Bautista for Toronto.

The Mariners may be a less likely destination for Bruce. After trading for the Marlins' Dee Gordon, whom they plan to convert to a center fielder, Seattle is set up with Ben Gamel, Gordon and Mitch Haniger across the outfield. General manager Jerry Dipoto has said that the team is focused strictly on adding starting pitching with Gordon now on the roster.

Sabean says Cain, Moustakas might be long shot for Giants
At first glance, it would appear free agents Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas would be ideal fits for a Giants club that sorely needs to upgrade its outfield defense and its run production from third base. But the qualifying offers the Royals extended to both players makes the Giants unlikely suitors, according to the team's executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean.

"If you're asking me personally, my vote would be a no," Sabean told NBC Sports Bay Area, "being that we wouldn't want to get involved with somebody like that."

Sabean was referring to what the Giants would have to give up if they signed either Cain or Moustakas this winter. Per the new CBA, San Francisco would give up its No. 2 pick in the second round of next June's amateur Draft, as well as $1 million in international bonus pool money, should it sign a player who rejected his original team's qualifying offer.

"That would be a huge hit in a year [we have] the second pick in every round," Sabean said. "We really have a chance to make hay in this Draft, and we expect to do so, so that would be a stretch."

While the Giants are obviously looking to improve on their 64-98 record in 2017, they're also hoping to restock a relatively shallow farm system and become bigger players in the international market. San Francisco's title window, already plentiful with three World Series championships in five years from 2010-14, may be coming to a conclusion, and it would appear prudent for the club to keep some resources for a potential rebuild.

Astros showing interest in Darvish, Arrieta
The World Series-champion Astros are "considering the addition of another marquee starting pitcher," according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

Sources tell Rosenthal that Houston is particularly interested in free-agent right-handers Yu Darvish and Arrieta. Rosenthal also reports the club could feel out the trade market for starting pitchers, especially if someone such as the Rays' Chris Archer becomes available.

The Astros went out and got Justin Verlander on Aug. 31 in a trade that paid huge dividends en route to their title run, and it appears the team is looking to build even further on the phenomenal rotation it already has.

Rosenthal notes that Verlander's contract ends after the 2019 season and the reported hiring of Scott Boras by left-hander Dallas Keuchel (a hint that he will test the free-agent waters when his contract is up at the end of 2018). Both factors figure to play prominent roles in how the Astros approach the market this offseason.

Darvish, 31, was acquired by the Dodgers a month before Verlander was dealt to Houston and pitched well for Los Angeles during the regular season. The Japanese hurler went 4-3 with a 3.44 ERA in nine starts for the Dodgers before having an up-and-down postseason. He struggled particularly versus the Astros, who got to him for nine runs (eight earned) in 3 1/3 innings during the World Series.

The Astros don't appear to be scared off by those struggles, however, and Darvish has had an excellent career to date. The four-time All-Star finished second in the American League Cy Young Award voting in 2013 with Texas and is 56-42 with a 3.42 ERA in 131 career starts.

Arrieta has been sensational since being traded from the Orioles to the Cubs in 2013. The 31-year-old went 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA in 128 starts over five seasons with Chicago. He was the National League Cy Young Award winner in 2015.

The Rays are reportedly generating trade interest from a number of clubs regarding Archer, among some of their other stars, but it's unclear whether they would indeed part with their star right-hander. Archer, 29, is 51-63 with a 3.63 ERA in six season with Tampa Bay.

Nationals keeping tabs on Kintzler, Rondon
The Nationals, who shored up their bullpen prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline in acquiring Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the A's and Brandon Kintzler from the Twins, are continuing to try and bolster their late-inning staff.

Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports the club has "expressed interest in bringing back" Kintzler and Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports the team has "checked in" on former Cubs reliever Hector Rondon.

Kintzler recorded a 3.46 ERA in 27 appearances following the move to Washington, and while general manager Mike Rizzo would like to retain him, his market is heating up as the Winter Meetings progress. The 33-year-old is reportedly drawing interest from "many other teams," per Janes, and it's possible he could sign elsewhere for more than what the Nationals are willing to give considering he would be the third option behind Madson and Doolittle.

Kintzler, who went 4-3 with a 3.03 ERA in 72 appearances in 2017 split between the Twins and Nationals, was selected to the American League All-Star team.

Rondon, 29, worked with new Nationals manager Dave Martinez while pitching for the Cubs, so there is an obvious link between the two sides. Rondon went 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in 61 appearances last season, but has a 3.22 career ERA over five Major League seasons, all with the Cubs.

Chicago non-tendered Rondon earlier this month, in turn granting him free agency. Castillo notes he is a "name to keep in mind" for the Nationals this offseason.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs agree to terms with Morrow, Smyly

Both pitchers set to sign two-year deals
MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Cubs gave their bullpen a huge boost by agreeing to terms with free-agent reliever Brandon Morrow, and also took a step toward 2019 by agreeing to terms with lefty Drew Smyly.

Morrow underwent a physical on Tuesday in Chicago, and has agreed to a two-year, $21 million deal with a vesting option. If the season started now, Morrow would be the closer, but general manager Jed Hoyer seemed to indicate they're not done.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Cubs gave their bullpen a huge boost by agreeing to terms with free-agent reliever Brandon Morrow, and also took a step toward 2019 by agreeing to terms with lefty Drew Smyly.

Morrow underwent a physical on Tuesday in Chicago, and has agreed to a two-year, $21 million deal with a vesting option. If the season started now, Morrow would be the closer, but general manager Jed Hoyer seemed to indicate they're not done.

"I'd say [Morrow is] a late-inning reliever," Hoyer said. "Obviously, if we broke camp right now, he'd be our closer. We'll see what the rest of the offseason brings.

"[Morrow] is a team player and will do anything," Hoyer said. "He did an awesome job last year in the eighth inning for the Dodgers. We're excited to have him, and he'll pitch super high-leverage innings. If the season started tomorrow, he'd be our closer."

Video: Morrow brings his blazing fastball to Chicago

The Cubs are looking for their fourth closer in as many years, following Hector Rondon, Aroldis Chapman and Wade Davis. However, the Cubs have been in contact with Davis' agent, and the right-hander could return.

According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, Morrow would earn $9 million in 2018 and $9 million in 2019 with a $3 million buyout or $12 million vesting option for 2020.

Smyly, 28, is 31-27 with two saves and a 3.74 ERA in 156 Major League appearances, 85 as a starter, covering all or parts of five seasons with the Tigers and Rays. He suffered an elbow injury in March that led to Tommy John surgery in July and missed the entire 2017 season. Smyly was non-tendered by the Mariners earlier this month.

"Anything we get out of him next year will be sort of gravy," Hoyer said. "He may be able to help us late in the season out of the bullpen. This is a move that's focused on 2019. He's a really good, high-quality starting pitcher, and we're excited to get him on this deal and rehab him and hopefully get him back to where he was."

Video: Smoltz uses Statcast™ to analyze Smyly's performances

Smyly formerly pitched with the Rays, and being reunited with Cubs manager Joe Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey was an attractive option. The lefty signed a two-year, $10 million deal that has an additional $7 million in performance bonuses.

"It's a real nice piece for us in the future," Hoyer said. "People won't talk about it a lot in 2018. We'll know he'll be there with us, and hopefully in 2019, he'll be a big part of things."

Tweet from @Cubs: The #Cubs and LHP Drew Smyly have agreed to terms on a two-year contract through the 2019 campaign. pic.twitter.com/O95TC2VXhz

Morrow, 33, is coming off his best season since he was converted to a full-time reliever, posting a 2.06 ERA over 43 2/3 innings with the Dodgers. He set career highs in strikeout rate (29.1 percent) and WHIP (0.92) while not giving up a home run all season.

"You've got to have that great bullpen to play the last game of the year and win it," Maddon said Tuesday. "Wade was great last year -- hopefully he'll come back to us."

Hoyer also addressed a report by Rosenthal that Mike Montgomery wants a chance to start or go someplace where he can. The Cubs have used the lefty as both a starter and reliever.

"That kind of caught me by surprise, to be honest," Hoyer said. "We view him as a starting pitcher. I know he views himself as a starting pitcher, but he's a good teammate and has been willing to do both, and I think he's done that very well."

Hoyer said he has had no dialogue with Montgomery this offseason.

"Our job is to build up pitching depth and to make sure we have enough pitching," Hoyer said. "With a signing like Smyly, he's definitely a guy we're looking for in '19. We have to keep building up depth in '18 and beyond. In '18, our search is not done for starting pitching."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chicago Cubs, Brandon Morrow, Drew Smyly

Rockies agree to terms with reliever Shaw

MLB.com

DENVER -- The Rockies' push to improve the back end of their bullpen reportedly has landed them durable right-hander Bryan Shaw, the only pitcher in the Majors to make at least 70 appearances the past five seasons.

Shaw, 30, went 5-6 with a 3.52 ERA and three saves in 79 appearances for the Indians in 2017. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that the deal was done. ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting the deal is for three years at something in the range of $9 million per year.

DENVER -- The Rockies' push to improve the back end of their bullpen reportedly has landed them durable right-hander Bryan Shaw, the only pitcher in the Majors to make at least 70 appearances the past five seasons.

Shaw, 30, went 5-6 with a 3.52 ERA and three saves in 79 appearances for the Indians in 2017. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that the deal was done. ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting the deal is for three years at something in the range of $9 million per year.

General manager Jeff Bridich went into the offseason looking to bolster the back of the bullpen, and Shaw is part of that effort. After serving as the Indians' primary setup man, he slots in as an experienced replacement for Pat Neshek. After being acquired from the Phillies at the non-waiver Trade Deadline and helping the Rockies to the postseason, Neshek reportedly has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Phillies.

Rockies focused on catching, pitching on Day 2 of Winter Meetings

Shaw led the American League in appearances in three of the past four seasons, pitching in 80 games in 2014, 75 in 2016 as the Indians won the AL pennant and 79 in 2017. Shaw also has postseason experience, having posted a 2.45 ERA with 22 strikeouts and six walks in 22 career playoff innings. That includes 14 postseason appearances in the past two years.

In 2017, Shaw became the first Major League pitcher to have at least 70 appearances in five straight years since Joe Smith from 2011-15. Shaw and Jeurys Familia are the only pitchers in baseball with at least 70 games and 75 innings in a season three times in the past 10 years. Over the past five, Shaw has posted a 3.11 ERA with a 3.45 FIP and the most games (378), innings (tied at 358 2/3) and pitches thrown (5,892) among Major League relievers.

Hot Stove Tracker

Indians manager Terry Francona lauded Shaw for his dependability at the end of the regular season.

"The way I view [him] is it's almost like the offensive lineman who shows up every game, and the only time people really talk about him is when he misses a block," Francona said. "He took so much pride in being available, and he carried so much of the load for us for five years. It is remarkable. And you guys saw the other day, he was throwing 97. I think because of his personality, people laugh it off at times. But my goodness sakes, he is so reliable."

In addition to durability, Shaw brings a strike-throwing ability that the Rockies value late in games. His 3.32 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2017 was a career high. Also, his homers per nine innings has never been above 1.1 in a season.

Not only was Neshek a free agent, but the Rockies' closer in 2017, Greg Holland, and lefty setup man, Jake McGee, also are free agents. The Rockies have acknowledged talking to both, as well as exploring other closer options, such as former Cubs closer Wade Davis, on the open market, as well as looking at trade options such as the Rays' Alex Colome and the Orioles' Zach Britton, among others.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page. Jordan Bastian and Manny Randhawa contributed.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Colorado Rockies, Bryan Shaw

Indians sign RHP Ogando with spring invite

MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Indians continued to stockpile depth behind their Major League roster on Tuesday, agreeing to a Minor League contract with right-hander Alexi Ogando at the Winter Meetings.

Ogando's pact with Cleveland is pending a physical and will include a non-roster invite to attend Spring Training with the big league squad. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported that Ogando -- a reliever for most of his Major League career -- hopes to be stretched out as a starter this spring.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Indians continued to stockpile depth behind their Major League roster on Tuesday, agreeing to a Minor League contract with right-hander Alexi Ogando at the Winter Meetings.

Ogando's pact with Cleveland is pending a physical and will include a non-roster invite to attend Spring Training with the big league squad. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported that Ogando -- a reliever for most of his Major League career -- hopes to be stretched out as a starter this spring.

The 34-year-old Ogando was an All-Star with the Rangers in 2011, but has not pitched in the big leagues since 2016, when he made 36 appearances for the Braves. Last season, Ogando suited up for the Hanwa Eagles in Korea, going 10-5 with a 3.93 ERA and 74 strikeouts against 30 walks in 19 starts (110 innings).

Hot Stove Tracker

In seven seasons in the Majors, Ogando went 33-18 with a 3.47 ERA in 283 games (48 starts) with the Rangers, Red Sox and Braves. Two years ago, he posted a 3.94 ERA, struck out 29 and walked 23 in 32 innings during his lone season with Atlanta.

Ogando joins outfielder Brandon Barnes, infielders Michael Martinez and Drew Maggi, and pitchers Jeff Beliveau, Leonel Campos, Evan Marshall and Neil Ramirez on Cleveland's current list of non-roster invitees for this spring. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Goodyear, Ariz., on Feb. 14.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cleveland Indians, Alexi Ogando

Rays get Schimpf from SD for Minor Leaguer

Tansel dealt in exchange as club continues to bolster infield with lefty hitters
MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- For the second time in as many days, the Rays made a deal at Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings.

On Tuesday, the Rays announced that they acquired infielder Ryan Schimpf from the Padres in exchange for Minor League infielder Deion Tansel. On Monday, Tampa Bay acquired infielder Joey Wendle from the A's in exchange for a player to be named.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- For the second time in as many days, the Rays made a deal at Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings.

On Tuesday, the Rays announced that they acquired infielder Ryan Schimpf from the Padres in exchange for Minor League infielder Deion Tansel. On Monday, Tampa Bay acquired infielder Joey Wendle from the A's in exchange for a player to be named.

Hot Stove Tracker

The additions of Schimpf, Wendle and Micah Johnson have given the Rays three players who can play second base, all have options and each hits left-handed. Rays general manager Erik Neander told reporters not to read too much into that oddity, calling the roundup a "matter of opportunity." He pointed out that the price paid for each "made sense," while adding that a "fresh start" might just play out well for one or all of them.

Video: Rays acquire 2B Wendle for player to be named

Neander also said that the acquisitions should not be viewed as acquiring players to offset the potential exits of others.

Schimpf, 29, has spent parts of the past two seasons in the Major Leagues, batting .195/.317/.492 with 19 doubles, 34 home runs and 76 RBIs in 142 games. He has made 126 starts at various positions, including 66 at second base, 58 at third base, one in left field and one at designated hitter.

In Schimpf's career, 67.4 percent of his hits have gone for extra bases, the highest ratio in the Majors (minimum 500 plate appearances) over that span (since 2016). In addition, his 12.97 AB/HR ratio over the past two seasons ranks sixth in the Majors, and third in the National League (minimum 500 plate appearances) behind Giancarlo Stanton (11.74) and Cody Bellinger (12.31).

Video: CHC@SD: Schimpf crushes a solo shot to right

Neander complimented Schimpf's power, but acknowledged the tradeoff by saying, "His skill set rests on the extreme of the spectrum."

Schimpf began last season as the Padres' starting third baseman and hit .158/.284/.424 with 14 home runs and 25 RBIs in 53 games (47 starts). Through the end of May, the left-handed batter led San Diego and was tied for fifth in the NL with 14 home runs. He was optioned to Triple-A El Paso on June 9 and remained there through the end of the season, batting .202/.311/.475 with 19 home runs and 44 RBIs.

Video: Neander discusses the Rays' philosophy

Tansel, 23, hit .280/.345/.392 with four home runs and 43 RBIs in 85 games over parts of two seasons in the Rays' organization. He spent last season with Class A Short-Season Hudson Valley, batting .277/.336/.403 with three home runs and 33 RBIs in 53 games.

He was selected by the Rays in the 32nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of the University of Toledo.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tampa Bay Rays, Ryan Schimpf

Headley returns to SD, along with righty Mitchell

Padres send outfielder Blash to Yankees; Friars also deal Schimpf to Rays
MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Chase Headley is headed back to San Diego, and right-hander Bryan Mitchell is coming with him.

The Padres and Yankees struck a deal Tuesday morning, sending Headley and Mitchell to San Diego for outfielder Jabari Blash. In a separate move, San Diego also sent second baseman Ryan Schimpf to Tampa Bay, clearing room for Mitchell and Headley on the 40-man roster. In return for Schimpf, the Friars landed Minor League infielder Deion Tansel.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Chase Headley is headed back to San Diego, and right-hander Bryan Mitchell is coming with him.

The Padres and Yankees struck a deal Tuesday morning, sending Headley and Mitchell to San Diego for outfielder Jabari Blash. In a separate move, San Diego also sent second baseman Ryan Schimpf to Tampa Bay, clearing room for Mitchell and Headley on the 40-man roster. In return for Schimpf, the Friars landed Minor League infielder Deion Tansel.

Headley was drafted by the Padres in 2005 and spent his first seven seasons in San Diego, before heading to New York at the 2014 non-waiver Trade Deadline (in the deal that netted Yangervis Solarte). Headley is due to make $13 million in '18, the final season on his contract, and the Padres will pay that in full. The two sides will also split his $1 million assignment bonus.

Video: Padres welcome back Chase Headley

• Hot Stove Tracker

Headley's arrival makes it increasingly likely that the Padres deal one of their current third-base options -- a group that includes Cory Spangenberg and Solarte. Both can play second base, too, meaning Carlos Asuaje could be on the move as well.

Within minutes of the deal, general manager A.J. Preller said he received calls from opposing clubs asking about the trio. Preller also wouldn't rule out the possibility of Headley being flipped again before the season begins.

"Obviously, Solarte and Spangy, they've got some versatility as well, bouncing around, moving over [to second]," Preller said. "I talked to Chase this morning and explained to him that we're going to look at the situation and figure out if there's space for everybody, was very honest, telling him we're going to talk to other clubs as well.

"From our standpoint, he's a professional hitter, a professional bat, experience playing in New York under the bright lights there for a winning club. We'll kind of see how the next few months play out."

Mitchell, meanwhile, is a starting pitcher in the Padres' eyes, despite four seasons with New York spent mostly in the bullpen. In 20 appearances last season, Mitchell posted a 5.79 ERA.

Video: NYY@MIN: Mitchell whiffs Castro to end the 2nd

The 26-year-old righty is out of options, meaning he's likely to make the Opening Day roster. The Padres' rotation is far from full, and Preller will add at least two more starting pitchers before Spring Training. But for now, Mitchell appears to have an inside track to a rotation spot.

"He's a guy that our scouting group had talked about acquiring the last three years," Preller said. "It's really good stuff. It's big fastball velocity, and he's got a really good breaking pitch in there, too, a power curve. [He's] a guy, 26 years old, four years of control -- we compared that to the free-agent market, and he was probably more intriguing in terms of the upside and how he fit."

As for Blash, he was likely the odd-man out in a crowded outfield. A Rule 5 Draft selection in 2015, Blash hit .200/.323/.336 in parts of two seasons with the Padres, but he spent more time in Triple-A. Nobody questioned his prodigious power, but Blash simply didn't make enough contact against big league pitching, striking out 36 percent of the time.

Headley, meanwhile, brings some much-needed on-base ability to a Padres lineup that's severely lacking in that department. His .352 mark last year would've led the team. Plus, he brings a veteran bat to the youngest lineup in baseball.

"We're building toward a team that can contend, year in, year out," Preller said. "We're going to need some players who are going to help us get there from an on-field standpoint and also from setting the tone with some of our younger players."

In 2012, Headley put forth the best offensive season by a Padre this decade. He batted .286 with 31 homers and a league-leading 115 RBIs, winning the National League Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards in the process. The Padres are hopeful he can rekindle some of that old form.

Of course, Headley wasn't the only infielder the Padres acquired on Tuesday. They snagged Tansel from Tampa Bay in a largely procedural move. Schimpf was likely to be removed from the 40-man roster anyway.

"Some of these moves, you get a roster crunch a little bit, which I think is a positive thing," Preller said. "That [trade] freed it up for us. And also, in Ryan's case, it gives him opportunity to go elsewhere, see what that leads to for him."

Tansel, a 32nd-round pick out of Toledo in 2016, batted .277/.336/.403 for Hudson Valley in the New York-Penn League this season, while seeing time at second, third and short.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Diego Padres, Jabari Blash, Chase Headley, Bryan Mitchell

Yanks deal Headley, Mitchell to SD for Blash

Trade allows more flexibility for further moves, as club seeks at least one starter
MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Yankees are continuing to make noise at the Winter Meetings, jumping on an opportunity to clear salary space for future moves by swapping third baseman Chase Headley and right-hander Bryan Mitchell to the Padres on Tuesday in exchange for outfielder Jabari Blash.

The Yankees also sent $500,000 to the Padres in the deal. San Diego is assuming the $13 million remaining on Headley's contract, which ends after the 2018 season. General manager Brian Cashman said that the deal will help the team add at least one starting pitcher while still keeping the team's 2018 payroll below the luxury tax threshold of $197 million.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Yankees are continuing to make noise at the Winter Meetings, jumping on an opportunity to clear salary space for future moves by swapping third baseman Chase Headley and right-hander Bryan Mitchell to the Padres on Tuesday in exchange for outfielder Jabari Blash.

The Yankees also sent $500,000 to the Padres in the deal. San Diego is assuming the $13 million remaining on Headley's contract, which ends after the 2018 season. General manager Brian Cashman said that the deal will help the team add at least one starting pitcher while still keeping the team's 2018 payroll below the luxury tax threshold of $197 million.

With Blash, Yankees are absolutely filled with dingers

"We have more flexibility today than we had prior to this trade," Cashman said. "We did it with knowledge that we have some hungry, talented, inexperienced kids ready to prove that they can take that next step. At that same time, there might be some opportunities that exist by free agency or trade that could make us gravitate in a different direction. So we'll see."

New York has been connected to free agents Alex Cobb and CC Sabathia, while also exploring the trade market. The club has contacted the Tigers about right-hander Michael Fulmer, the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year, and is thought to have expressed interest in D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin.

Video: Yanks rumored to be interested in trading for Fulmer

"We're trying. We're working real hard at it," manager Aaron Boone said. "I think it's something that we need to do, and we're trying to do. Hopefully, at some point we'll get a guy or two in the mix."

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The 28-year-old Blash is a career .200/.323/.336 hitter through two seasons with San Diego, hitting eight homers with 21 RBIs in 99 games. A right-handed hitter with power, Blash could be utilized as corner depth in the Yankees' outfield, having played 51 career games in right field and 22 games in left field.

Originally drafted by the Mariners in the eighth round in 2010, Blash has hit .260/.378/.513 with 140 home runs, 432 RBIs and 392 walks in 685 games over eight Minor League seasons. His 106 Minor League home runs over the past five seasons are tied for eighth most in the Minors in that span.

Video: SF@SD: Blash crushes tape-measure jack to left-center

The move reduces the Yankees' 40-man roster to 39 players and spells a return to San Diego for the 33-year-old Headley, who hit .273/.352/.406 with 12 homers and 61 RBIs in 147 games last season. Headley moved from third base to first base after Todd Frazier was acquired from the White Sox in July.

"He obviously had some big hits for us in the postseason," Cashman said. "I wish him the best of luck. High-character man, great family. San Diego obviously has had a lot of interest in Bryan Mitchell as well."

Tweet from @Yankees: Thanks for everything Chase and Bryan. We wish you guys the best of luck going forward! pic.twitter.com/5Kb5ricnvO

Mitchell, who turns 27 in April, was 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in 20 games (one start) in the big leagues last year. A 16th-round pick by the Yankees in the 2009 Draft, scouts have raved about Mitchell's stuff, but he has had trouble remaining healthy.

Headley's departure could set up a reunion with Frazier, who is currently a free agent and hit .222/.365/.423 in 66 games for the Yankees. Cashman said on Tuesday that he has spoken with Frazier's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen. It is unclear if the Yankees would offer the multi-year commitment that Frazier covets.

Another option is Miguel Andujar, who is the team's No. 5 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com and played briefly at the big league level last season. The organization did seem to have some concerns about Andujar's developing defensive skills, although he's reputed to be an impact hitter.

"He's come a long way defensively," Cashman said. "He's worked extremely hard on it."

Video: NYY@CWS: Andujar drives in four in big league debut

The Yankees also have a hole at second base after dealing Starlin Castro to the Marlins in the Giancarlo Stanton trade. Cashman has named Thairo Estrada, Gleyber Torres, Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade as candidates for that vacancy, and some of those names could see time at third base as well.

"I'm certainly comfortable with the talent level that's about ready to go," Boone said. "Whether we give them some time kind of depends on what moves we make, or don't make, here in the coming months."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New York Yankees, Jabari Blash, Chase Headley, Bryan Mitchell

Rays acquire Wendle on Day 1 of Meetings

Club adds infield piece in deal with A's, while exploring direction for 2018
MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Yankees officially acquired slugger Giancarlo Stanton on Monday. Meanwhile, the Rays brought aboard infielder Joey Wendle in a trade with the A's.

That's life in the American League East for the Rays, who have constantly played the role of The Little Engine That Could. General manager Erik Neander kept his sense of humor about the situation on Day 1 of Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Yankees officially acquired slugger Giancarlo Stanton on Monday. Meanwhile, the Rays brought aboard infielder Joey Wendle in a trade with the A's.

That's life in the American League East for the Rays, who have constantly played the role of The Little Engine That Could. General manager Erik Neander kept his sense of humor about the situation on Day 1 of Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings.

When asked about any effects Stanton joining the Yankees might have on the Rays, Neander quipped: "Less reluctant to charge the mound. Our hitters get 60 feet. [Aaron Judge] and Stanton are about [a 200-foot run from the outfield to join the fray]."

Cash emphasizes value of 'pen, middle relievers

He added: "It impacts things. ... It makes them a better team, and that has an effect on us, as it does other teams in our division and the league. It's something. But I think, at the end of the day, we really have to stay focused on our roster, the talent we have, and letting that play out."

More to the point, the Rays are busy trying to assemble their 2018 squad, and Wendle's acquisition brings value to the team, according to Neander.

"Grinder-type player," said Neander of Wendle, who was acquired for a player to be named or cash considerations. "High baseball IQ, left-handed hitter, infielder that has a history of hitting. Part of what has drawn us to him over time is ... [he is] really a high-quality defender and is about as reliable as they come."

Wendle, 27, has spent parts of the last two seasons in the Major Leagues for the A's, batting .266/.305/.339 (29-for-109) with two doubles, two home runs and 16 RBIs in 36 games (27 starts, all at second base). He was designated for assignment by the A's on Thursday.

Video: OAK@PHI: Wendle cranks a grand slam to right field

While the Rays did pick up a piece, they have not tipped their hand about what direction they want to head in 2018. Will they try to find the five games that kept them out of the playoffs in 2017, or will they trade their players of value in hopes of establishing a foundation for future greatness through the acquisition of prospects?

Neander allowed that the direction they will decide to go is still up in the air.

"Probably depends on the pace of the market and as guys are coming off the board," Neander said. "Right now things are starting to move [after Stanton and Shohei Ohtani have found landing spots].

"... For us, we'd be happy to resolve as much as possible in the next week if it goes that way. Probably going to be something that will play out, based on the history of any given offseason, in January for most of it."

Video: Cash on Ray's goals at Winter Meetings

From the speculation circulating, Alex Colome, Jake Odorizzi, Chris Archer, and Evan Longoria could all be in play depending on the team.

Judging from what's being said, Colome is the most likely to be traded. And the team that could be most interested is the Rockies.

If the Rockies do make a deal for Colome, who is projected to make $5.5 million in his first year of being arbitration eligible, it would likely be for low-level prospects with high upsides but not close to the Major Leagues.

However, if the Cardinals are involved, those prospects would likely be closer to being Major League-ready. Reports have the Cardinals being interested in Colome, Archer and Longoria.

And the Cardinals have a lot of prospects who could be dealt.

For starters, there are right-handers Jack Flaherty (the Cardinals' No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline), Dakota Hudson (No. 8), Sandy Alcantara (No. 9) and Luke Weaver. Also a right-hander, but said to be unavailable, is the Cardinals' No. 1 prospect, Alex Reyes.

In addition, Cards outfield prospect Magneuris Sierra (No. 6) could be available along with current Major League outfielders Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk. Of note, Piscotty could possibly play some first base.

Hot Stove Tracker

The Brewers have been rumored to be possible Archer suitors. They do not have Minor League pitching to offer, but they do have several interesting outfield possibilities in Lewis Brinson, a five-tool player identified as the organization's No. 1 prospect. Others possibilities include Brett Phillips, Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton.

"It's natural when you have depth at any position to get calls on players at those positions, so that's what happens," Brewers GM David Stearns told reporters. "But it's also natural that if we're going to even consider trading someone who is such an important part of our team, we are going to expect a sizable return."

While the Brewers would like Archer, they might be the ultimate landing spot for Odorizzi, who began his professional career in the Brewers' organization.

The Cubs are also interested in Archer, along with free agent Alex Cobb.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tampa Bay Rays, Joey Wendle

Source: Texas signs Martin to two-year deal

Righty pitched to 1.12 ERA over 88 1/3 innings the past two seasons in Japan
MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Rangers have reached an agreement with right-handed reliever Chris Martin on a two-year contract worth $4 million, according to Major League sources. The move reinforces the Rangers' bullpen and increases the comfort the Rangers would have in moving reliever Matt Bush to the rotation.

The Rangers have not yet announced the signing of a pitcher who was born and raised in Arlington.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Rangers have reached an agreement with right-handed reliever Chris Martin on a two-year contract worth $4 million, according to Major League sources. The move reinforces the Rangers' bullpen and increases the comfort the Rangers would have in moving reliever Matt Bush to the rotation.

The Rangers have not yet announced the signing of a pitcher who was born and raised in Arlington.

Martin, who stands 6-foot-8 with a fastball clocked at 95 mph, was dominating over the past two years in Japan with the Nippon Ham Fighters. The 31-year-old appeared in a combined 92 games with a 1.12 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP. He averaged 9.3 strikeouts, 4.7 hits and 1.3 walks per nine innings with 22 saves in 2016-17.

The Rangers came into the Winter Meetings looking for both starting pitching and relievers. Martin adds to a bullpen that already includes Bush, Tony Barnette and Keone Kela from the right side and left-handers Jake Diekman and Alex Claudio.

Right-handers Jose Leclerc, Nick Gardewine and Ricardo Rodriguez will also get Spring Training looks, although they will have to earn their way on the team.

The Rangers have also signed left-hander Mike Minor to a three-year contract with the intention of moving the lefty into the rotation. But he pitched in relief for the Royals last season after missing two years because of shoulder problems and could be used in the bullpen if he is not ready to move into the rotation.

Video: Rangers bolster rotation after signing Minor

Bush has spent the past two seasons in the Rangers 'pen and that could still be the case in 2018. But the Rangers want him to prepare this offseason as a starter and will take a look at that possibility in Spring Training.

Martin gives them added depth to consider that option, although the Rangers will continue to look for more bullpen options as the offseason progresses.

Martin is originally from Arlington High School and McLennan College in Waco, Texas, where he played before being taken by the Rockies in the 21st round of the 2005 MLB Draft. His pitching career was cut short by a torn labrum in his right shoulder and he spent three years working various blue-collar jobs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In 2010, Martin attempted a comeback and pitched for the Grand Prairie AirHogs of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. The AirHogs, playing just down the freeway from Arlington, were then managed by former Rangers outfielder Pete Incaviglia.

The Red Sox signed Martin after one year in Grand Prairie and he spent three years in their farm system before being traded to the Rockies. He pitched for Colorado in 2014 and then was traded to the Yankees the following season. The righty pitched in 40 games for the Rockies and the Yankees in 2014-15 with a 6.19 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP before going to Japan.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Texas Rangers, Chris Martin

Astros ink Federowicz, Ramsey to Minors pacts

MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Astros signed catcher Tim Federowicz and right-handed pitcher Matt Ramsey to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training, the team announced Monday.

Fedorowicz, 30, spent last season in the Giants organization, including a 13-game stint in the big leagues. He spent most of his year at Triple-A Sacramento, hitting .300 with nine home runs, 43 RBIs and a .829 OPS in 77 games (73 at catcher). A right-handed-hitting catcher, he has played in the Majors for parts of six seasons, appearing in 119 games for the Dodgers (2011-14), Cubs (2016) and Giants (2017).

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Astros signed catcher Tim Federowicz and right-handed pitcher Matt Ramsey to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training, the team announced Monday.

Fedorowicz, 30, spent last season in the Giants organization, including a 13-game stint in the big leagues. He spent most of his year at Triple-A Sacramento, hitting .300 with nine home runs, 43 RBIs and a .829 OPS in 77 games (73 at catcher). A right-handed-hitting catcher, he has played in the Majors for parts of six seasons, appearing in 119 games for the Dodgers (2011-14), Cubs (2016) and Giants (2017).

Fedorowicz will serve the same role as Juan Centeno did last season and provide veteran depth at Triple-A.

"We've had our eye on him for a while," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "The last few years, we made a run at trying to get him on a Minor League deal. I'm excited to have him. He's going to be a really good option for us to have, especially on a Minor League deal. He's got experience in the big leagues. We like a lot about him."

Ramsey, 28, pitched at the Double-A and Triple-A levels of the Brewers system in 2017. He was a Southern League All-Star at Double A Biloxi, posting a 3-3 record, a 3.65 ERA, 27 saves and 58 strikeouts in 48 games. He was originally a Rays Draft pick in 2011 and has since spent time in the Tampa Bay (2012-14), Miami (2014-16) and Milwaukee (2017) organizations.

"Ramsey's a nice pitcher," Luhnow said. "He's improved his arsenal the last year or so and we want to see what it looks like over the course of a season with us. We think he's a good fit for us and a guy that comes to Spring Training and have our staff get to know him and a guy that would be a possibility to come up during the year because his weapons are Major League."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Houston Astros, Tim Federowicz

Stanton: Joining Yanks 'a great new chapter'

Yankees introduce slugger at Winter Meetings
MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton pinched at the shoulders of a pinstriped jersey with his No. 27 stitched on the back, holding it up for public consumption while a broad grin spread across his face. It might soon constitute a nightmare for American League pitchers, but this was the outcome the slugger had dreamed of, being introduced as the newest member of the Yankees' imposing lineup.

Stanton tried on his new uniform top for the first time on Monday afternoon as the Yankees interrupted the relative quiet of the Winter Meetings' first day to show off their prized acquisition. Flanked by managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone, Stanton is the first reigning Most Valuable Player Award winner to be traded since Alex Rodriguez landed in New York prior to the 2004 season.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton pinched at the shoulders of a pinstriped jersey with his No. 27 stitched on the back, holding it up for public consumption while a broad grin spread across his face. It might soon constitute a nightmare for American League pitchers, but this was the outcome the slugger had dreamed of, being introduced as the newest member of the Yankees' imposing lineup.

Stanton tried on his new uniform top for the first time on Monday afternoon as the Yankees interrupted the relative quiet of the Winter Meetings' first day to show off their prized acquisition. Flanked by managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone, Stanton is the first reigning Most Valuable Player Award winner to be traded since Alex Rodriguez landed in New York prior to the 2004 season.

Get your Stanton jersey

"I'm glad to be here and part of the New York Yankees. It's going to be a great new chapter in my life and my career," Stanton said. "I think it's going to be a fun new dynamic, but at the same time, it's baseball. So I understand there will be some ups and downs, and I'll have to deal with that on a bigger scale. But it's the same game I played down in Miami -- just a bigger scale, brighter lights."

Video: Stanton on why he decided to join the Yankees

Three months removed from a season in which he led the Majors in home runs (59), RBIs (132) and slugging percentage (.631), the 28-year-old Stanton was acquired from the Marlins with cash considerations in exchange for second baseman Starlin Castro and a pair of Minor League prospects: right-handed pitcher Jorge Guzman and infielder Jose Devers.

Stanton's Winter Meetings news conference

Though a big-swinging outfielder hadn't been on the shopping list, Cashman said that he touched base with Miami during the General Managers Meetings. Those talks picked up steam after Shohei Ohtani eliminated the Yankees from competition for his services, but Cashman had doubts that the Yanks could land Stanton when the Cardinals and Giants worked out separate trade agreements with the Marlins.

"Maybe Wednesday of last week, I thought it was not going to happen," Cashman said. "They had already cut deals, which is very public, with two other franchises. But nothing had been consummated in terms of approval."

Video: Stanton on if he ever thought he could play for Yanks

Stanton said that he was told that if he did not approve the trade, he would remain a Marlin for life, a statement that frayed what had become a testy relationship with the organization that drafted him in 2007. He declined to waive his no-trade clause for both St. Louis and San Francisco, effectively calling the Marlins' bluff.

"You can't say that and expect me to jump at what's there if that's not the right situation for me," Stanton said.

Apprised of the developments, Steinbrenner authorized the trade, in which the Yankees will assume $265 million of the $295 million remaining on Stanton's contract over the next 10 seasons.

"I've always said New York's a marquee town, and I think it's important to have some marquee players," Steinbrenner said. "But more important than that, I think it's important to have veteran players that could be mentors for the young kids. We've got a lot of young kids, and they all have things to learn, even at this level."

Despite Stanton's massive salary, which will count for about $22 million toward the Yankees' upcoming luxury tax bill, Steinbrenner said that there is still a path for the Yanks to reset their penalty rate by fielding a payroll below $197 million.

Video: Cashman on staying under luxury tax, making deals

"I always said that is absolutely my goal, but again, my main goal is to field a championship-caliber team -- which I do believe we have," Steinbrenner said.

For Stanton, the chief concern was having the opportunity to play for a winning club, leaving the 77-win Marlins as they prepare to enter a rebuilding phase. Stanton told Miami that he would approve trades to only the Astros, Cubs, Dodgers and Yankees.

"They're winners," Stanton said. "They're young and they're in a good position to win for a long time, and I lost for a long time. So I want to change that dynamic and be a winner."

Video: Stanton on Marlins' move to rebuild leading to deal

Though Stanton's contract permits him to opt out following the 2020 season, agent Joel Wolfe said his client intends to stay in New York through the entire deal, which expires after the '28 season.

"He wants to be sure, because this is probably it," Wolfe said. "He has no desire to opt out. We fought for that. It was meant to be a shield, not a sword. We're not planning to use it just to get more money. That's been taken care of. It's an escape clause in the event it's not working out."

Cashman said that as talks progressed, he called AL Rookie of the Year Award winner and AL MVP Award runner-up Aaron Judge to explain what was happening and to lay out one potential way a rotation could work, with Judge and Stanton both seeing time in right field and at designated hitter.

Video: Stanton on how joining Judge will make both better

"He said, 'Hey, I'm pumped. This is exciting. If could you pull that off that would be amazing,'" Cashman said. "I didn't talk about who we would be giving up, so he didn't know that aspect. But I did want to reach out to him and get a feel from his perspective, and I was excited even more so by his response."

Video: Boone discusses Yankees' lineup with Stanton in it

With Stanton and Judge (52 homers in 2017), the Yankees will be just the second team ever to have two players who hit 50 or more homers the previous season, a feat accomplished after Roger Maris (61) and Mickey Mantle (54) enjoyed a memorable summer of 1961 in the heart of the Yanks' lineup.

"He obviously brings a whole new dimension," Steinbrenner said. "He's a league MVP and a really good guy, and it's going to be exciting. He's going to produce some runs for us, and seeing him and Judge and Sanchez and [Greg] Bird and Didi [Gregorius], it's going to be exciting for our fans. They're excited."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton