Rumor roundup: Mets only have eyes for Zobrist
The Mets have expressed interest in numerous free agents and continue to be heavily targeting infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist.
Zobrist, who turns 35 in May, has attracted plenty of suitors because of his versatility. But his age has been the main factor in teams not yet offering the four-year deal he reportedly seeks.
The two-time All-Star is thought to be looking for a contract worth about $60 million, after hitting .276/.359/.450 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs in 126 games with the A's and Royals in 2015. Because he was dealt midseason, a team will not have to surrender a Draft pick.
The Mets also continue to look at center-field options, including Denard Span and Gerardo Parra, according to Newsday's Marc Carig. Carig also reports the team has cooled on Dexter Fowler, who would require the surrender of a Draft pick.
Another option could be a reunion with Yoenis Cespedes, who hit .287/.337/.604 with 17 homers in 57 games with the Mets after being acquired from Detroit. But the 30-year-old outfielder is seeking a larger contract than the Mets appear to be willing to hand out. Should Cespedes' market fail to develop, however, ESPN's Buster Olney wonders if Cespedes' price could drop into the Mets' range.
On to the next one
The aftermath of Zack Greinke's six-year, $206-million deal with the D-backs leaves the right-hander's two other most-interested suitors -- and Arizona's National League West rivals -- looking at Plan B.
Although the Dodgers and Giants both wanted Greinke, it appears their second choices differ.
The Giants recovered quickly, agreeing to terms with right-hander Jeff Samardzija on a five-year, $90-million deal Saturday afternoon, according to multiple reports. The Giants, who Jon Heyman notes are "believed to have big money to spend," were reportedly looking to add two starters after missing out on Greinke.
Like Samardzija, the Giants have been linked to right-hander Mike Leake for most of the offseason. Leake made nine starts for San Francisco in 2015 after being acquired by the Reds.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, will now turn their attention to right-hander Johnny Cueto, according to CBS Sports. The 29-year-old Cueto, who has a 2.71 ERA over the past five seasons, turned down a six-year, $120-million offer from the D-backs before they landed Greinke. The Dodgers were interested in acquiring Cueto from the Reds in July before opting not to part with their top prospects.
As expected, two of the biggest names who weren't offered contracts by their former clubs this week are drawing plenty of interest.
Former Pirates power hitter Pedro Alvarez, who figures to land with an AL team as a designated hitter, has received calls from five teams, per Heyman.
Heyman also notes former Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez -- who won't be ready for the start of the season after shoulder surgery -- has drawn the interest of at least 10 teams.
Despite being active in the trade market the past few months, the Braves have maintained they'll only move right-hander Shelby Miller for the right price.
The D-backs are apparently trying to meet that price, according to ESPN, which reports the D-backs are pushing on Miller. The Braves are reportedly searching for young, controllable outfielders -- especially A.J. Pollock.
The 25-year-old Miller, who posted a 3.02 ERA in 33 starts last season, is under club control until 2019. The D-backs are continuing to try to upgrade their rotation behind Greinke, who multiple sources told MLB.com agreed to a six-year, $206.5 million contract on Friday night.
The D-backs have a potent lineup of everyday players, and a plethora of outfielders from which to deal, but the 28-year-old Pollock stands out after an All-Star and Gold Glove Award-winning season in which he hit .315 with 20 home runs and 39 stolen bases.
Dodgers targeting Iwakuma
Greinke's departure left a void in the Dodgers' rotation, and it appears one option to fill it is free agent Hisashi Iwakuma. FOX Sports reported on Saturday that the Dodgers are making a push for the veteran right-hander, noting the Giants and Mariners are also in the mix.
At 34, Iwakuma likely won't command a long-term contract, making him an attractive option for teams seeking a starter. Iwakuma went 9-5 with a 3.54 ERA in 20 starts last season. He is 47-25 with a 3.17 ERA overall through four seasons with the Mariners. Seattle extended a qualifying offer to Iwakuma last month, meaning the club that signs him must forfeit its highest unprotected Draft pick.
Cubs pursuing closer
The Cubs are reportedly exploring trade options for a top closer, according to ESPN.com.
The report did not specify any names, but several bullpen arms have been rumored to be on the trading block this offseason, including Aroldis Chapman of the Reds, Andrew Miller of the Yankees, Ken Giles of the Phillies, as well as Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger of the Rays. Two big-name closers -- Craig Kimbrel (Red Sox) and Francisco Rodriguez (Tigers) -- have already swapped uniforms this winter via trade.
Hector Rondon handled the primary ninth-inning duties for the Cubs in 2015. The 27-year-old righty recorded 30 saves and posted a 1.67 ERA through 70 innings of relief.