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The latest Kimbrel free-agent rumors

MLB.com

Craig Kimbrel has compiled an impressive resume during his nine seasons in the big leagues, recording a microscopic 1.91 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP, 333 saves and a 14.7 K/9 rate, and he should be a coveted asset on the free-agent market this offseason.

Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the right-hander.

Craig Kimbrel has compiled an impressive resume during his nine seasons in the big leagues, recording a microscopic 1.91 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP, 333 saves and a 14.7 K/9 rate, and he should be a coveted asset on the free-agent market this offseason.

Below you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the right-hander.

Kimbrel signing with Phils would align with club's offseason agenda
Dec. 11: The Phillies continued what many anticipate will remain an active offseason on Tuesday by signing veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen to three-year, $50 million deal, MLB.com has learned. Could Kimbrel be the club's next prized acquisition? MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi speculated so as one of five major moves that could come before the Winter Meetings conclude this week in Las Vegas. 

Morosi writes that the "McCutchen contract is only the start of the Phillies' offseason spending." The club has long been linked to both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but one of their most prominent needs is for a high-leverage reliever. Phillies relievers last year were worth 4.1 WAR, per FanGraphs, and posted a 4.19 ERA, which ranked 11th and 18th, respectively. 

Morosi argues that Kimbrel has the best adjusted ERA of any pitcher in baseball over the last decade among those who've compiled at least 400 innings. 

"Perhaps that is the rationale for Kimbrel's reported request of a six-year deal. A more plausible outcome is a four-year contract that surpasses Wade Davis' $17.3 million average annual value, a record among closers," Morosi writes. 

The Phils also remain "very aggressive" on All-Star reliever Zach Britton, per MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal

Red Sox GM doesn't anticipate 'big expenditure' at closer
Dec. 10: The Red Sox would like to have free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel back, but given the right-hander's contract demands -- he's reportedly seeking a six-year deal -- the club is exploring other options.

GM Dave Dombrowski said he doesn't anticipate a "big expenditure" for the closer's role, according to MLB.com's Ian Browne, who took that further by saying it "would be a miracle" if Kimbrel came back.

Tweet from @IanMBrowne: Dave Dombrowski doesn't anticipate the @RedSox making a big expenditure for the closer's role next year. Cites payroll already being high. Reading between the lines, it would be a miracle for Craig Kimbrel to return to Boston.

Part of that is because Boston has to worry about next offseason when Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and Xander Bogaerts can become free agents, and 2020, when Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are set to hit the open market. Bringing back Kimbrel could make it tough to re-sign some of those other players.

So who could the Red Sox target for the back of their bullpen? David Robertson and Adam Ottavino are believed to be high on Boston's wish list, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Robertson and Ottavino are believed high on Red Sox list of back-end relief targets. Of course they���d like to have Kimbrel and Kelly back but they are free agents too. Deep pen market also includes Britton, Miller, Familia, more.

Joe Kelly is also a free agent, which could leave the Red Sox's relief corps without two key contributors from the club's championship run. Much like Nathan Eovaldi, Kelly bolstered his free-agent stock with a strong postseason, recording a 0.79 ERA with 13 strikeouts and only one walk over 11 1/3 innings. Kimbrel had his share of struggles during the playoffs, but he's been one of the top closers in the game for eight years and is poised to cash in this offseason, even if he doesn't get six years.

Video: Dombrowski on possibility of re-signing Kimbrel

Robertson and Ottavino, on the other hand, will cost less than Kimbrel, and Boston could comfortably insert either one into the closer's role in 2019. That said, the Red Sox will have fierce competition for both pitchers, with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reporting that at least a half-dozen teams are showing interest in Robertson, including the rival Yankees -- with whom Robertson has spent the majority of his career. Per Feinsand, the Yanks are also believed to be interested in Ottavino, a New York native.

Boston is also competing with multiple teams for Kelly's services, including the Dodgers, Mets and White Sox, as Rob Bradford of weei.com reported Monday.

What to expect of Kimbrel's future
Dec. 7: Kimbrel is said to be seeking a long-term deal for as many as six years this offseason, but at age 30 and coming off a postseason in which he struggled, teams may be reluctant to commit that many years to the veteran closer.

MLB.com's Andrew Simon looked to the past performance of similar players to try to predict what the next six years may look like for Kimbrel, whose 333 career saves rank first all-time for a pitcher through his age-30 season.

The piece narrowed the comparison down to a dozen pitchers who had at least 150 saves and a 130 ERA+ through age 30. Attrition began for most of the pitchers at age 32, where the average ERA jumped from 2.40 to 3.13 for the group, and by age 35, several of the pitchers were out of baseball or barely pitching.

Despite that, Trevor Hoffman, Mariano Rivera and Billy Wagner provide an excellent blueprint as each remained a top closer through age 36, and at least half the group contributed four or more strong seasons.

"Kimbrel has been better at his job through age 30 than anyone, but that doesn't make him immune from the ever-present threat of injuries that could knock him out of action and erode the quality of his stuff," Simon writes. "Still, history suggests that the club that signs him this winter would have reason to hope for a solid return on investment, if health allows." More >

Are Red Sox out on Kimbrel?
Dec. 6: News that Boston is bringing back right-hander Nathan Eovaldi impacts the market for Craig Kimbrel, because the Red Sox also had been lined up for a possible reunion with the All-Star closer. That may no longer be the case.

MLB.com's Ian Browne explores whether the Red Sox faced an either-or scenario with Kimbrel and Eovaldi this offseason.

"Of course, the Red Sox would love to have Kimbrel back, but it sounds like the cost could be prohibitive," Browne writes. "I just don't think the Red Sox have the budget for both Eovaldi and Kimbrel. They are likely going to have to pick one or the other. Don't forget that there are some star players on the team who are going to need to be paid within the next year or two if Boston wants to keep them, including Mookie Betts, Chris Sale, Xander Bogaerts and possibly J.D. Martinez. By signing both Kimbrel and Eovaldi, you wouldn't be leaving yourself much financial flexibility going forward."

Kimbrel's free agency already has become a fascinating case, as many believe he is holding up the reliever market as MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo notes -- by being the top available late-inning arm and by reportedly floating an asking price of a six-year deal. "Kimbrel is unquestionably the top reliever this winter and will land the largest contract," Cotillo writes. "Even if he doesn't land the six-year deal he reportedly desires, he's drawing strong interest, with teams like the Phillies, Braves and Cardinals."

Bowden: Red Sox should re-sign Kimbrel
Dec. 5: The Red Sox were rumored to be closing in on bringing back one member of their pitching staff Wednesday with talks reportedly progressing with free agent Nathan Eovaldi. Another elite arm from their 2018 staff is still available in Craig Kimbrel, whom former Reds and Nationals general manager Jim Bownden lists among the transactions he'd like to see come to fruition before Winter Meetings end next week in a column for The Athletic (subscription required).

Bowden says if the Red Sox can sign Kimbrel to a reasonable deal "somewhere between what the Rockies paid Wade Davis and the Dodgers paid Kenley Jansen, they should get the deal done."

Closers of Kimbrel's talent and resume aren't readily available via free agency and trades, especially now that Edwin Diaz was dealt to the Mets, and Bowden says the defending champions won't be the same team without an "impact closer" in 2019.

Kimbrel, 30, has spent the past three years in Boston after the Red Sox acquired him in an offseason trade prior to the 2016 season. The seven-time All-Star posted a 2.74 ERA with 42 saves in the regular season, but stumbled in the playoffs. He allowed seven earned runs in 10 2/3 innings (5.91 ERA) despite converting all seven of his save opportunities during Boston's title run. 

Why Kimbrel's market may take time to develop
Dec. 4: There are three key factors at play when it comes to Craig Kimbrel's free agency. One: He's the most accomplished and established reliever on the open market. Two: Despite being tied to Draft-pick compensation after declining the Red Sox's qualifying offer, he's reportedly seeking a whopping six-year contract. And three: There are a number of other late-inning arms for teams seeking bullpen help to consider.

Add it all up, and how does that affect Kimbrel? ESPN's Buster Olney looks at how the relief market could play out (subscription required): "The sheer volume of options could work against Kimbrel, so it may take some time for his situation to play out -- and the other prime relievers might have to wait for Kimbrel to set the top of the market," Olney writes. "It's possible that some clubs will work to move on and land the best of those relievers not named Kimbrel."

Among the other top names are Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, David Robertson, Adam Ottavino, Jeurys Familia, Joakim Soria and Cody Allen. To name just a handful or so.

Given those options, the question with Kimbrel becomes whether he will sign earlier than most relievers to help set the top end of the market ... or have to wait for a number of the aforementioned arms to get their deals first in order to see the supply dip and the demand spike. Considering Kimbrel's lofty asking price, the latter would seem more likely.

Despite acquisitions of Nicasio and Pazos, Phils could still pursue Kimbrel
Dec. 3: The Phillies' offseason could be just beginning with Monday's trade with the Mariners that was headlined by the acquisition of infielder Jean Segura but also relievers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos. That doesn't mean the club won't continue to be aggressive in bolstering its bullpen with a top-end free-agent reliever -- such as Kimbrel -- according to The Athletic's Jayson Stark. MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported last month that the Phils were interested in the seven-time All-Star. 

Tweet from @jaysonst: Even though the #Phillies added 2 relievers today (Nicasio, Pazos), there's no indication it would stop them from pursuing a 9th-inning bullpen option a la Kimbrel/Miller/Britton/possibly David Robertson.What's more likely is, it frees them to include Hunter or Neshek in a deal

Stark lists Kimbrel, Andrew Miller, Zach Britton and David Robertson as potential Phillies targets -- all of whom have been linked to the club this offseason. Monday's acquisitions could also position the Phils to trade relievers Pat Neshek and/or Tommy Hunter to help acquire pieces they need elsewhere, which would only become more apparent should they sign a top reliever.

With owner John Middleton saying the club is prepared to spend aggressively and with general manager Matt Klentak loosely suggesting interest in Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and Patrick Corbin publicly, the team's needs in the bullpen haven't been as prominently illuminated. Phillies relievers last year were worth 4.1 WAR, per FanGraphs, and posted a 4.19 ERA, which ranked 11th and 18th, respectively. Fortifying their backend could be just as pivotal for the Phils as making the offensive upgrades they aspire to. 

A left-handed target would appear to be more logical, given the club is carrying a freight of righties currently, and Kimbrel, who is reportedly seeking a six-year deal, figures to be the most expensive free-agent reliever. Depending on how they allocate their free-agent budget elsewhere, Kimbrel's price range could be steep. 

Will Kimbrel's desire for six-year deal hinder his market?
Dec. 2: Based on the contracts teams have given elite closers over the past few years, Craig Kimbrel is poised to cash in this offseason. But the deal he's reportedly seeking would put him in unprecedented territory. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, Kimbrel's initial ask is for a six-year contract.

Tweet from @Buster_ESPN: Teams being told that in initial ask, All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel is looking for a six-year deal.

Even if he has to take a lower average annual value in exchange for a longer contract, a six-year pact still likely would make him the highest paid reliever in MLB history. Aroldis Chapman holds that distinction, having signed a five-year, $86 million contract with the Yankees after the 2016 season. Kenley Jansen isn't far behind, as he landed a five-year, $80 million deal from the Dodgers during the same offseason. Wade Davis holds the reliever record for average annual value at $17.3 million, though his deal with the Rockies is for only three years.

Jeff Joyce of MLB Network Radio doesn't think any team will be willing to meet Kimbrel's demands, or even come close.

"I don't even think he's gonna get a five-year deal like Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman got a couple of years ago," Joyce said. "Maybe a four-year deal. … I personally am not giving him a four-year deal for $60 [million] or $70 million, and I don't know who out there would, when you look at it, and especially when you've got guys like [Adam] Ottavino and [Zach] Britton and [Andrew] Miller and [Jeurys] Familia and [David] Robertson.

"I get it that Britton and Miller might not be what they were a couple of years ago, but I think teams would probably take chances on guys before giving [Kimbrel] this huge contract."

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: Reports are that Craig Kimbrel wants a six-year deal. Jeff Joyce says no way he gets that many years. pic.twitter.com/iIsVFSvrby

In any case, Kimbrel's initial demands might make it unlikely he'll reunite with the Red Sox or the Braves. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reports for Fancred Sports that, "The Red Sox want Kimbrel back but suggest they won't go five years for a reliever" -- let alone six. And while many consider Atlanta to be the favorite to sign Kimbrel, general mananger Alex Anthopoulos has made it clear the club may not have the financial resources to do so.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Alex Anthopoulos spoke of how Craig Kimbrel (a free agent) is rightly beloved in Atlanta, but he also cautioned that the #Braves may not have the budget to invest in a high-end closer. @MLBNetwork @MLB

Craig Kimbrel

30 updates from Winter Meetings -- 1 for each team

MLB.com

The first domino of the Winter Meetings fell on Tuesday when Andrew McCutchen reached a three-year, $50 million agreement with the Phillies, according to an MLB.com source. Meanwhile, the Mets have emerged as favorites to land coveted Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto

Though most marquee free agents remain unsigned, there was still plenty of action from baseball's biggest offseason event, which is taking place in Las Vegas. 

The first domino of the Winter Meetings fell on Tuesday when Andrew McCutchen reached a three-year, $50 million agreement with the Phillies, according to an MLB.com source. Meanwhile, the Mets have emerged as favorites to land coveted Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto

Though most marquee free agents remain unsigned, there was still plenty of action from baseball's biggest offseason event, which is taking place in Las Vegas. 

Below is a roundup of the biggest news out of Day 2 of baseball's annual summit for all 30 MLB clubs:

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays
The writing might have been on the wall, but this move would have seemed an impossibility just a few seasons ago: The Blue Jays released shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on Tuesday, ending the five-time All-Star's injury-plagued tenure in Toronto. More >

Video: Tulo released by Blue Jays, enters free agency

Orioles
While general manager Mike Elias denied that a decision has been made, Baltimore is expected to name Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde as its new manager. More >

Rays
Casting a wide net for upgrades and with some money to spend, the Rays are seeking an impact bat (Nelson Cruz? Edwin Encarnacion?) and starting pitching (Charlie Morton?) More >

Red Sox
Would the defending champions trade a key figure such as Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. or Rick Porcello for the purposes of shedding payroll? Dave Dombrowski said he's "not driven" to do so. More >

Yankees
Expect to see Gary Sanchez behind the plate next season in the Bronx. General manager Brian Cashman reiterated that The Kraken is slated to be the Yankees' starting catcher in 2019, with no deals in the works for a replacement such as J.T. Realmuto. More >

AL CENTRAL

Indians
"If we were rebuilding, we'd take a dramatically different approach," general manager Chris Antonetti said of Cleveland's offseason strategy, as the Tribe tries to set up a fourth straight division title run. More >

Royals
Is former Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, hired recently as a special assistant to general manager Dayton Moore, Ned Yost's successor-in-waiting? Not so fast, Moore says. More >

Tigers
What was once expected to be a lengthy search for starting pitching depth ended for the Tigers midway through the Winter Meetings with the signing of veteran right-hander Tyson Ross. Detroit general manager Al Avila can now shift his sights on the shortstop market and the Rule 5 Draft. More >

Video: Tyson Ross signs with the Tigers on a one-year deal

Twins
Byron Buxton was unhappy when the Twins didn't recall him to the Majors following an extended stint in Triple-A to finish a difficult 2018 season, but he remains a big part of the club's future. More >

White Sox
By acquiring right-hander Ivan Nova from the Pirates, Chicago bolstered its young starting rotation with a veteran known for his ability to throw strikes. More >

AL WEST

Angels
The Angels may not have made any significant moves on the second day of the Winter Meetings, but that doesn't mean they weren't active. The club signed seven players to Minor League contracts with Spring Training invites, including one former Angels prospect making his return to the organization. More >

Astros
The Astros' front office says its pursuit of offense won't come at the hindrance of top prospect Kyle Tucker, who struggled in his big league debut last season but has the skills to be one of the club's outfielders of the future. More >

Athletics
Oakland may have found a platoon partner for catcher Josh Phegley, inking a one-year deal with Chris Herrmann, a left-handed batter who also has experience at first base and in the corner outfield. More >

Mariners
The Mariners are gauging the trade market for recently acquired first baseman Carlos Santana as general manager Jerry Dipoto continues remaking the roster. The club also is eyeing veteran shortstops to help provide a cushion for youngster J.P. Crawford, who came over in the same deal that brought Santana to Seattle. More >

Video: Tucker on his 2018 debut, strong season at Triple-A

Rangers
The Rangers aren't in the market to make a big free-agent splash, but the club is seeking veteran arms to boost its rotational depth. More >

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves
General manager Alex Anthopoulos continues to scour the trade and free-agent markets for a frontline starter, bullpen help and a corner outfielder. One candidate for the latter came off the board Tuesday, when Andrew McCutchen agreed to a three-year deal with the Phillies, making the NL East even more competitive in what already has been a busy offseason for the division. More >

Marlins
All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto remains arguably the hottest topic on the rumor mill at the Winter Meetings, with the Mets still the most aggressive suitor at the end of Day 2. But they're far from the only team interested in acquiring the backstop, as the Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers and Braves still could make a push. More >

Video: Hill talks about J.T. Realmuto, his potential value

Mets
With J.T. Realmuto trade talk swirling, and names like Noah Syndergaard and Amed Rosario coming up as potential headliners, a familiar face has joined the Mets contingent in Las Vegas as a sounding board for the front office: David Wright. More >

Nationals
Washington is open to trading right-hander Tanner Roark, perhaps using him to fill a need elsewhere on the roster and then replacing his rotation spot through free agency. More >

Phillies
With the first big splash of these meetings, the Phillies agreed to a three-year deal with outfielder Andrew McCutchen. It's a move that could lead to a trade of Odubel Herrera or Nick Williams, but crucially, it does not mean the Phillies won't also sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. More >

NL CENTRAL

Brewers
Looking to upgrade behind the plate, the Brewers have met with free agent Wilson Ramos, who has made two All-Star teams and posted an .826 OPS in the past three years. More >

Video: Duquette discusses Brewers' interest in Wilson Ramos

Cardinals
Drew Robinson, a left-handed batter with power and defensive versatility, could be a candidate for the St. Louis bench in 2019 after the Cardinals acquired him from Texas for Patrick Wisdom. More >

Cubs
While Joe Maddon expects his front office to "do a couple of things" this offseason, the Cubs skipper believes the club has "got to get more out of" the pieces already in place. In other words, Chicago may attempt to improve from within rather than go after a marquee free agent. More >

Pirates
The Bucs shuffled their pitching staff, dealing veteran Ivan Nova to the White Sox but also agreeing to a deal with another right-hander, Jordan Lyles. The 28-year-old took some intriguing steps forward in 2018 and could fill multiple roles in Pittsburgh. More >

Reds
While a deal is not imminent, the club has reached out to the Braves to ask about three-time Gold Glove Award winner Ender Inciarte, who could replace Billy Hamilton in center field. The club has also checked in on Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig pertaining to a potential deal involving Homer Bailey. More >

NL WEST

D-backs
Following the trade of Paul Goldschmidt, the loss of lefty Patrick Corbin and the expected departure of free-agent center fielder A.J. Pollock, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo wants to make it clear to his players that he still has confidence and belief in them. More >

Dodgers
Will the Dodgers deal one of their outfielders, including Joc Pederson, Matt Kemp or even Yasiel Puig? President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman declined to comment on that, specifically, but he did say he's confident the club could add help in the bullpen or at catcher based on the supply at those positions both via trade and free agency. More >

Video: Roberts on Dodgers' surplus of starters, outfielders

Giants
Giants president of baseball o­perations Farhan Zaidi on Monday identified the bullpen as an area of surplus, and he could look to flip some of the club's relief assets to fill needs in the outfield and in the rotation. More >

Padres
Untouchable? Technically there's no such thing when it comes to players San Diego might include in trades this offseason, according to general manager A.J. Preller. But it would take a lot for the club to part with any top prospects from its fertile farm system. More >

Rockies
The Rockies are hoping to boost what became an anemic offense down the stretch in 2018 with the hiring of Dave Magadan as hitting coach. More >

5 moves that could still come at Winter Meetings

MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- The Winter Meetings are more than halfway over, and Andrew McCutchen's contract with the Phillies remains the lone major transaction since the baseball industry gathered at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Monday.

For the event to equal the week's glitzy venue, general managers will need to act quickly -- and boldly.

LAS VEGAS -- The Winter Meetings are more than halfway over, and Andrew McCutchen's contract with the Phillies remains the lone major transaction since the baseball industry gathered at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Monday.

For the event to equal the week's glitzy venue, general managers will need to act quickly -- and boldly.

With that in mind, here are five moves that could be completed before the proceedings conclude Thursday.

J.T. Realmuto traded to the Mets
While sources indicate a three-team deal involving the Mets, Yankees and Marlins is highly unlikely to occur, the Mets continue to aggressively pursue a Realmuto trade.

The Mets appear determined to acquire a catcher before the start of 2019, whether Realmuto or a free agent such as Yasmani Grandal or Wilson Ramos. But the Mets possess young Major Leaguers who appeal to the Marlins, such as Brandon Nimmo and Amed Rosario, and the addition of Realmuto would fit with the aggressive tenor of general manager Brodie Van Wagenen's first offseason leading the Mets.

Video: Ken Rosenthal: Mets pushing the hardest for Realmuto

Madison Bumgarner traded to the Brewers
The Brewers' pitching staff relied on youth and creativity to come within one victory of the World Series this past season. Through its offseason pursuits, the team is acknowledging -- if subtly -- that a different formula may be required in 2019.

The Brewers have spoken with the Indians about Corey Kluber and the Giants regarding Bumgarner. Milwaukee's chances of landing Bumgarner are perhaps better than any other team, because of its depth among young pitchers and position players.

Craig Kimbrel signs with the Phillies
The McCutchen contract is only the start of the Phillies' offseason spending. While the Phillies have been linked extensively to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, one of their most pressing needs is at closer.

Kimbrel, 30, has the best adjusted ERA of any pitcher in baseball this decade, among those who have thrown at least 400 innings. Perhaps that is the rationale for Kimbrel's reported request of a six-year deal. A more plausible outcome is a four-year contract that surpasses Wade Davis' $17.3 million average annual value, a record among closers.

Video: MLB Now on Kimbrel looking for a 6-year deal

Corey Kluber traded to the Dodgers
The Indians' willingness to trade an elite pitcher has not diminished, sources say, and Kluber is drawing the most widespread interest. Amid concerns over Kluber's workload, National League teams are expected to value him most highly.

The Dodgers have had conversations with the Indians and match up well with Cleveland's needs. Alex Verdugo, a 22-year-old center fielder, could be the key player the Indians obtain in the deal.

Video: Bell on Indians possibly moving Kluber or Bauer

Yasiel Puig traded to the Indians
If Kluber joins Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler at Dodger Stadium, Puig could replace (or join) Verdugo in the package of players heading to Cleveland. The Dodgers are actively trying to move Puig and/or Matt Kemp, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

The Dodgers' conversations this offseason suggest they're confronting the reality that they must trade at least one outfielder in order to rebalance their roster. Puig, the subject of perpetual trade rumors during his time in Los Angeles, might finally be on the move as he enters his final season before free agency.

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network.

Clubs showing interest in Giants relievers

MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi on Monday identified the bullpen as an area of surplus, which he said played into the club's decision to non-tender right-hander Hunter Strickland last month. He could now look to flip some of those assets to fill needs in the outfield and in the rotation.

Zaidi confirmed Tuesday that he's received a "high level of interest" in the club's relievers while engaging in trade conversations with other teams.

LAS VEGAS -- Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi on Monday identified the bullpen as an area of surplus, which he said played into the club's decision to non-tender right-hander Hunter Strickland last month. He could now look to flip some of those assets to fill needs in the outfield and in the rotation.

Zaidi confirmed Tuesday that he's received a "high level of interest" in the club's relievers while engaging in trade conversations with other teams.

Latest Hot Stove rumors

The Cardinals are reportedly among several teams who have inquired about Giants closer Will Smith. Fellow left-hander Tony Watson is also said to be of interest to St. Louis, though to a lesser degree than Smith.

"We've gotten a lot of calls on guys in our bullpen, both veteran guys and even some of the younger guys," Zaidi said. "That's an area of strength for the team. If we keep this group intact, I think it's going to be one of the best groups in the National League. If it makes sense for us to move somebody to fill needs on the position-player side or in the rotation, I think we're still going to go into next year with a pretty good core."

The Cardinals make sense as a possible trade partner for the Giants because they possess an intriguing trade chip in outfielder/first baseman Jose Martinez, who became expendable following St. Louis' acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt. Martinez, 30, has established himself as an elite right-handed bat over the last two seasons, batting a combined .306 with an .847 OPS and 31 home runs in 258 games for the Cardinals. He won't be arbitration-eligible until 2020 and won't hit free agency until after the 2022 season, making him an inexpensive option for teams in search of offensive help.

Though Martinez offers the type of positional flexibility that Zaidi covets, he is also a defensive liability, ranking as one of the worst right fielders in the Majors in defensive runs saved while also rating poorly at first base. The Giants have tended to favor players who can handle the spacious outfield at AT&T Park, but Zaidi said he'd be amenable to acquiring a bat-first outfielder this offseason, particularly given the offensive woes the team experienced in 2018.

"We've got to be open-minded because at the end of the day, we want the guys that are the best and most productive players in totality," Zaidi said. "If you're a double-plus offensive player and you're giving back a little defensively, that would still be an upgrade for our current outfield group. I think we've got to assess those guys, not against some ultimate ideal, but against whether they're an incremental improvement to what we have."

Prying Smith or Watson away from the Giants could be difficult, as the pair emerged as the club's most reliable back-end relievers this past season.

Smith, 29, enjoyed a successful return from Tommy John surgery in 2018, posting a 2.55 ERA over 53 innings while converting 14 saves. He is projected by MLBTradeRumors.com to earn $4.1 million next year in his final season before free agency.

Watson, 33, recorded a 2.59 ERA over 66 innings in the first season of the two-year, incentive-laden deal he signed with the Giants in February. He also has a player option for the 2020 season.

"We're going to have to feel good about the return to trade one of those guys, especially the guys that were big contributors for us last year," Zaidi said.

Cutch lands in Philly

Former Giants outfielder Andrew McCutchen has agreed to a three-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies, according to multiple reports, closing the door on a potential return to San Francisco. Acquired from the Pirates last offseason, McCutchen crushed 15 home runs for the Giants before being traded to the Yankees in exchange for infielder Abiatal Avelino and right-hander Juan De Paula in August.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.

San Francisco Giants, Will Smith, Tony Watson

Antonetti: Indians aim to build for '19, beyond

Tribe fielding offers, eyeing trade scenarios during Meetings
MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- There was no doubt the Indians would draw attention at the Winter Meetings, regarding potential trades involving Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. Although there are plenty of conversations happening behind closed doors, all has been silent on the Cleveland front so far at Mandalay Bay.

That is, for now.

LAS VEGAS -- There was no doubt the Indians would draw attention at the Winter Meetings, regarding potential trades involving Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. Although there are plenty of conversations happening behind closed doors, all has been silent on the Cleveland front so far at Mandalay Bay.

That is, for now.

Outside of a report by The Athletic's Corey Brock on Tuesday that the Indians have expressed interest in Carlos Santana and rumors regarding a potential Kluber trade on Monday, the Tribe has kept itself out of the headlines. Although the club hasn't made a splash just yet, president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti mentioned on Tuesday afternoon that it had been a "long" and "eventful" day. Antonetti also said that he, general manager Mike Chernoff and their decision-making team have been using anything from a whiteboard to computers, to pens and paper, to break down every offer and potential trade scenario.

Tribe prez disputes 'intensifying' Kluber talks

"We have to be cognizant of [which team a player may be traded to], but I think the thing we're most concerned about is how we put ourselves in a better position in 2019 and beyond," Antonetti said. "And that will always be the driving factor. If there's a great deal for us that happens to be with one of our competitors, we'll still pursue it."

Some may wonder why the Indians would trade two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Kluber, or Bauer, who is coming off a career season. But trading either pitcher would require a nice return of talent, which could help fill multiple needs by adding outfield depth and landing some arms for the bullpen after the club lost multiple relievers, including Cody Allen and Andrew Miller, to free agency.

"[Adding to the bullpen is] definitely on the list of things we'd like to do," Antonetti said. "At the same time, we do feel that we have a number of alternatives that are coming back that we expect will either be better than what they were in 2018 or, in some cases, guys returning from injuries that weren't available to us in 2018. We've run through that list of guys. Everybody from Cody Anderson to Nick Goody, Danny Salazar, there's a variety of different guys that could fill that role."

Antonetti said on Monday that Salazar is "progressing with his rehab in Arizona" and he is expected to start throwing this week after having season-ending shoulder surgery in July. Despite his confidence, a potential Kluber or Bauer trade would still leave a solid rotation with the starter who is not dealt and Carlos Carrasco, while adding more strength to the bullpen and outfield, which may be the answer the Indians are looking for.

A potential trade to create for a reunion with Santana could've been a factor in Antonetti's hectic day. Santana was recently dealt to the Mariners in a trade with the Phillies, but he is back on the market. Other teams reportedly interested in the first baseman are the Rays, Rockies and Marlins.

With Santana owed $40 million the next two seasons, and the Indians looking to trim their payroll, this may result in Cleveland acquiring Santana simply to flip him to another team. If not, the deal could include a trade of Yonder Alonso (who is owed $8 million in 2019) to free up first base for Santana. With the Mariners entering a rebuilding year, taking on Edwin Encarnacion's $21.67 million contract for '19 would be a stretch. If the Tribe would be able to dump that contract elsewhere, keeping Santana would be much more reasonable.

No matter what deal, if any, is currently being cooked up, Antonetti made one thing clear: the team is not rebuilding.

"If we were rebuilding, we'd take a dramatically different approach," he said.

Through each step of the process, Antonetti has been sure to keep his players updated with his expectations for 2019. As of now, the plan is for Kipnis to spend the majority of his time in the outfield while Yandy Diaz would man third base.

"Kip was awesome in how he approached it," Antonetti said. "He said, 'Hey, I'll do whatever, I'll prepare, I just want a head start, and give me your best guess.' So at the time, we gave him what we thought was our best estimate and told him if that changes, we'll let you know."

Antonetti said he believes his decision-making team's responsibility is to put the Indians in the best position for 2019 and beyond.

"I'm hopeful our behaviors over the last handful of seasons demonstrates that winning is a priority for us," Antonetti said. "It's a priority for our front office, it's a priority for our ownership. There are some things and some realities we have to face in how we build winning teams, and maybe do it a little bit differently, but that doesn't change the end goal, which is to try to win a World Series. Yes, we have to take different approaches in how we do that, but it doesn't change the objective."

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com.

Cleveland Indians

Tigers in wait-and-see mode to fill SS vacancy

MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- The Tigers entered the offseason prepared to wait out the free-agent market to find bargains at starting pitcher and shortstop. Midway through the Winter Meetings, the offseason has played halfway to expectations.

Detroit has pitching depth, with at least seven starting pitchers now that Matt Moore and Tyson Ross are signed to one-year deals. The Tigers still, however, do not have a shortstop, and appear unlikely to acquire one anytime soon.

LAS VEGAS -- The Tigers entered the offseason prepared to wait out the free-agent market to find bargains at starting pitcher and shortstop. Midway through the Winter Meetings, the offseason has played halfway to expectations.

Detroit has pitching depth, with at least seven starting pitchers now that Matt Moore and Tyson Ross are signed to one-year deals. The Tigers still, however, do not have a shortstop, and appear unlikely to acquire one anytime soon.

Video: Shane Greene highlights

"But believe me, we'll have a shortstop come Spring Training," Tigers general manager Al Avila said from his suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Tuesday.

"Thank you," manager Ron Gardenhire said, sitting to his left.

"It's not as important here in December," Avila continued, "but we'll have one in Spring Training, one way or another."

The Tigers will take a look at former All-Star Troy Tulowitzki, released by the Blue Jays on Tuesday with two years and $38 million left on his contract, once he works out for teams, though Avila called it a "low probability."

The Tigers are taking a look at other free agents, but that segment of the market isn't moving. And unlike other positions, it's not exactly clear who needs to sign to set the rest of the market in motion. Manny Machado is the consensus top shortstop available, but he's so far in front that it's difficult to label the others as fallback options.

Video: Manny Machado set to test waters of free agency

With the pitching search, the Tigers didn't need that to happen.

"We did identify Tyson Ross early as one of the guys we wanted to get, so we were happy with that," Avila said. "And with Matt Moore, really, I think for the cost and the possible turnaround, it was a low-cost, low-risk move, so we felt comfortable there. And both players wanted to move it along. …

"With the shortstops, it's kind of been the opposite. They're being more patient, I would say, as we are."

Ross believes he can return to his old form

Ross and Moore signed early for one-year deals. That's unlikely to happen early with the second tier of shortstops the Tigers are eyeing, such as Freddy Galvis, Jordy Mercer, Adeiny Hechavarria and Tim Beckham. The Tigers want a one-year stopgap to buy time until Willi Castro and/or Sergio Alcantara are ready for the big leagues.

Video: Freddy Galvis set to enter free agency in 2019

The Tigers are also looking at creative options, potentially trades. But again, that might require another move to set in motion.

"We're kicking around a lot of things," Avila said. "When you get in a room like this with everybody together, there's a lot of ideas that get kicked around. If you go out and sign a shortstop right now, something two days from now or a week from now can happen and you go, 'Why did we do that?'

"Everything has its timing. And when it feels right, it'll happen."

Quick hits
• The Tigers are keeping tabs on the relief market, Avila said, but it's not a high priority for them.

"We've got a lot of arms," he said, noting a few of their relievers are out of Minor League options.

• The Tigers are finalizing a list of prospects for Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. Detroit holds the fifth pick, and is likely to select at least one player.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers

A's sign veteran catcher Herrmann to 1-year deal

Bay Area native Tulowitzki emerges as potential infield addition
MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- The A's got a catcher on Tuesday but aren't ruling out adding another.

The signing of veteran backstop Chris Herrmann to a one-year deal marked progress in their push for depth behind the plate, and he could very well partner with Josh Phegley in a platoon when the 2019 season opens, A's general manager David Forst said from the Winter Meetings.

LAS VEGAS -- The A's got a catcher on Tuesday but aren't ruling out adding another.

The signing of veteran backstop Chris Herrmann to a one-year deal marked progress in their push for depth behind the plate, and he could very well partner with Josh Phegley in a platoon when the 2019 season opens, A's general manager David Forst said from the Winter Meetings.

That hasn't stopped them from continuing conversations with Jonathan Lucroy's reps, however, or looking elsewhere for alternative help.

"Obviously as of right now, [Herrmann] and Josh are platooning," Forst said. "I think we'll probably look around and see if there are options, just because you never know, but it's nice to be in a spot right now where we have two Major League catchers who fit well."

Tweet from @Athletics: Heating up the stove.We've agreed to terms with catcher Chris Herrmann on a one-year contract for the 2019 season. Welcome to Oakland, Chris!#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/7C1uvBTw6p

Forst said Herrmann will be utilized as a catcher but also offers versatility at first base and the corner-outfield spots, in addition to a handy late-game option off the bench.

Along with his speed, Herrmann can draw a walk and has potential to provide some pop, offsetting an otherwise uninspiring offensive resume.

The 31-year-old appeared in just 36 games for Seattle in 2018, hitting .237 with a .743 OPS in 87 plate appearances. He began his career as a reserve catcher for Minnesota in 2012 before latching on with the D-backs in '16. Herrmann hit .284 over 56 games in his first year with Arizona, then made his way into a career-high 106 games and totaled 10 homers in 2017 but hit .181.

Herrmann was most recently non-tendered by the Astros after being claimed from Seattle in the middle of his ongoing American League West winter tour.

"We needed an option from the left side, and in fact when Chris got claimed on waivers by the Astros, we were kind of kicking ourselves for not jumping in front of that one," Forst said. "Then we were pleasantly surprised to see he got non-tendered."

Another newly available player who could be of interest to the A's: Troy Tulowitzki. The Blue Jays released the veteran infielder on Tuesday and are on the hook for the remaining $38 million on his pact, which expires after 2020; the team that signs him will only have to pay him the Major League minimum over that span.

Video: Tulo released by Blue Jays, enters free agency

Forst, abiding by the A's policy of not commenting on specific free agents, was mum when asked specifically about Tulowitzki but noted, "I do like minimum salaries."

That's expected to be $555,000 in 2019 and just above that in '20, making Tulowitzki -- a five-time All-Star with an injury-ridden past -- an attractive, affordable option for several teams. The 34-year-old shortstop would have to accept a move to second base were he to choose Oakland, but it's also home for the Bay Area native.

The A's have other outside options to explore, though the best-case scenario at this position -- enticing Jed Lowrie back -- is looking less likely by the day. Then there's the rotation, which could include an opener yet again.

Video: Forst discusses how Lowrie, Davis are keys to A's

Both Forst and manager Bob Melvin affirmed as much when asked about utilizing the strategy that was so prevalent in September as their starting stuff crumbled in front of them. They even employed it in the American League Wild Card Game, opening the game with Liam Hendriks for one inning.

"I think it may continue to be a necessity going forward," Forst said. "It's not easy trying to find starting pitching. We are exploring all avenues, but I think we recognize that there are different ways to get 27 outs, and we're going to have to consider all of them."

"We're used to it so to speak, and you're seeing other teams do it, too," Melvin said. "I think you'll see more of it next year."

Among the crop of injured A's starters is Sean Manaea, who had an encouraging follow-up appointment with Dr. Neal ElAttrache last week. The left-hander underwent shoulder surgery in September and is making good progress. He's expected to begin plyometric work in January, but it remains to be seen whether he'll be able to pitch in 2019.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Oakland Athletics, Chris Herrmann

Dodgers may be discussing moving outfielders

Kershaw looking to add to velocity; Utley expected to join front office
MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- The Dodgers continue to shop their two highest-paid outfielders, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, according to a source, with Winter Meetings rumors focusing on Puig because, well, he's Puig.

The former All-Star is one year away from free agency and projected by MLBTradeRumors.com to earn $11.3 million in 2019, while Kemp is in the last year of his deal at $21.5 million. Moving either would help thin a crowded outfield and free up salary for a game-changing acquisition like Corey Kluber or Bryce Harper (should his long-term market turn soft).

LAS VEGAS -- The Dodgers continue to shop their two highest-paid outfielders, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, according to a source, with Winter Meetings rumors focusing on Puig because, well, he's Puig.

The former All-Star is one year away from free agency and projected by MLBTradeRumors.com to earn $11.3 million in 2019, while Kemp is in the last year of his deal at $21.5 million. Moving either would help thin a crowded outfield and free up salary for a game-changing acquisition like Corey Kluber or Bryce Harper (should his long-term market turn soft).

Dodgers president Andrew Friedman on Tuesday wouldn't comment on rumors that he's spoken with the Reds and Mets about Puig. The outfielder was tied to the Reds because that's where former Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward went and he's tied to the Mets because of his close friendship with their new acquisition, Robinson Cano.

Latest Hot Stove rumors

Reds president Dick Williams said nothing was close when asked about his talks with the Dodgers, which could involve a salary swap.

"We've had conversations with the Dodgers and there have been a variety of permutations," Williams said. "I'm not going to get into what we've talked about."

Friedman said there's "more clarity" about which deals he feels can and cannot get done. He said he's confident that there are enough catchers and relievers available through trades or free agency to address the club's needs in those areas.

Video: Duquette breaks down Dodgers' outfielder surplus

• Manager Dave Roberts said Clayton Kershaw is working on biomechanics and he expects an uptick in velocity in 2019.

According to Statcast™, Kershaw's fastball averaged 90.8 mph this year compared to 92.8 mph in 2017 and he relied more than ever on a hard slider (88.1 mph). Kershaw has never mastered a changeup (he threw 11 this year) and his only true offspeed pitch is the curve (79.2 mph). Opponents batted .297 against his fastball with a .514 slugging percentage and .189 against his slider with a .298 slugging percentage.

"It's just going to increase his margin [for error]," said Roberts. "And I think that Clayton feels that there's more in there. We do, medically. And so it's just going to make him that much better and the trust to execute a fastball glove-side. I think that confidence that he can touch 92, 93 consistently, it's going to make it that much tougher -- make the slider that much better, too. He's pretty set he wants to see that number tick up."

Roberts said Kershaw is healthy, but previous back injuries got his mechanics "out of whack." He cited Justin Verlander as a veteran starter that increased his velocity. Friedman said he expects Kershaw to be even more effective in 2019, increased velocity or not.

Friedman downplayed the importance of Kershaw's fastball velocity.

"I would just bet on him having a lot of success and I don't feel like he needs to significantly improve his velocity to do that," said Friedman.

"I don't think it's necessary to have great success for him. Look at last year, how well he pitched, I would bet on his stuff and his execution being better next year. Velocity, mixing pitches, whatever it is. I don't think it's all tied to fastball velocity. He is working on his body. He feels there was some delivery stuff that got out of whack, to be expected with a back injury to be compensating. There are so many more guys I'm focused on. I will bet on him."

Chase Utley, who retired as a player after the 2018 season, is part of the Dodgers' baseball operations contingent at the Winter Meetings and likely will join the front office in some fashion soon, Friedman said, but the details are still being worked out.

"I'm confident we'll figure something out," said Friedman.

• Roberts said he's hoping to see Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy, who were platooned for much of 2018, play almost every day in 2019. He also said Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling and Julio Urias are considered starting pitchers going into Spring Training. All ended last season as relievers.

• Roberts said he spoke with Rich Hill after the World Series to clear the air about their Game 4 miscommunication and doesn't feel the need to discuss it further.

"We're in a good place," said Roberts.

Hill, with a 2019 salary of $18 million, and Alex Wood, with a projected salary of $9 million, top the list of surplus starting pitchers the Dodgers want to move.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig

Big free-agent splash not in Rangers' plans

Texas in market for veteran arms to boost rotation depth
MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- Free-agent infielder Manny Machado is 26 and a proven offensive star who hit .297 with 37 home runs, 107 RBIs and a .538 slugging percentage for the Orioles and Dodgers this past season.

He would seem to be a good long-term fit for the Rangers as they rebuild their team around young players and get ready to move into a new ballpark in 2020. The Rangers also have unusual financial flexibility with Adrian Beltre, Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Matt Moore and others no longer on their payroll.

LAS VEGAS -- Free-agent infielder Manny Machado is 26 and a proven offensive star who hit .297 with 37 home runs, 107 RBIs and a .538 slugging percentage for the Orioles and Dodgers this past season.

He would seem to be a good long-term fit for the Rangers as they rebuild their team around young players and get ready to move into a new ballpark in 2020. The Rangers also have unusual financial flexibility with Adrian Beltre, Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Matt Moore and others no longer on their payroll.

Hot Stove news, rumors

But that is not going to be a part of the Rangers' strategy as they put together their 2019 ballclub.

"We just decided this isn't the year for us to pursue the top guys," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We're looking for long-term fits, which you could certainly characterize some of the top free agents as. But you look at the best years of free agents, [they] are often the first years of their contracts. That doesn't necessarily line up with where we are looking to put it all together. You could argue we need to wait for an opportunity where the timing is more consistent with what we are trying to do."

The Rangers have played at the top of the market before. That was the case when they signed Beltre in 2011, Yu Darvish in '12 and Shin-Soo Choo before the '14 season. This is not a club that has a long-term history of financial austerity. But this time around, the Rangers want to continue to rebuild their foundation before taking another deep plunge into the free-agent market.

That will not always be the case, Daniels said.

"There will be a point in time where we will entertain the top free agents," Daniels said. "We have done it before and we will do it again. We are not always going to do it and we are not always going to go for the top guys. But we will be more aggressive at points in the future than we are right now."

Video: Chris Woodward on important Rangers issues to address

The Rangers' focus on the free-agent market is aimed more toward starting pitchers seeking one- to three-year deals who can provide rotation stability as the young prospects continue their development.

Some of the names that have emerged on the Rangers' board include right-handers Charlie Morton and Lance Lynn, and left-hander J.A. Happ. Veteran right-hander James Shields is another possibility.

Yohander Mendez and Ariel Jurado are both candidates for the rotation, but the Rangers' preference is to give them more development time in the Minor Leagues, along with Jonathan Hernandez, Joe Palumbo, Taylor Hearns and others.

"You have a lot of things on the board," Daniels said. "You're trying to figure out what are not options and what things are real, trying to whittle those down from a concept to push it across the finish line."

Video: Woodward on how he'll use Rangers pitching staff

Morton, 35, was 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 2018 over 30 starts for the Astros. Happ, 36, was 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 31 starts for the Blue Jays and Yankees.

Lynn, 31, wasn't quite as stellar, finishing last season at 10-10 with a 4.77 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP with the Twins and Yankees. But he had a strong finish, going 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in his last four outings and that has helped renew clubs' interest in him.

Shields, 36, is no longer the top-of-rotation starter he was with the Rays and Royals earlier in his career. He was 7-16 with a 4.53 ERA last season for the White Sox, but he also gave them 204 innings. That's the kind of workhorse the Rangers could use to give their young pitchers more time.

"That's something we've discussed," Daniels said. "There is value in that."

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.

Texas Rangers

Rumors: Realmuto, Machado, Bumgarner, Puig

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 

What's the latest on Realmuto?
Dec. 11: While the buzz surrounding a potential three-team blockbuster featuring the Marlins and both New York teams has quieted, the Mets remain "very aggressive" in their pursuit of Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Per Heyman, the Mets are debating if it makes more sense to give up shortstop Amed Rosario or right-hander Noah Syndergaard in their quest to land Realmuto. The Marlins covet Rosario, as well as outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto, but the Mets have been hesitant to give up their young shortstop and are unlikely to deal both Nimmo and Conforto.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Mets said ���very aggressive��� on Realmuto. Debate in room now about whether to give up coveted SS Rosario in package or top SP Syndergaard. Mets didn���t want to open SS hole but that hasn���t been ruled out. Plus, while NYY thing is less a hurdle now, 3 way deals are still complicated

News broke from multiple sources Monday night that the Yanks, Mets and Marlins were discussing a deal that would send Realmuto to Queens and Syndergaard to the Bronx, with prospects presumably going to Miami, but MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Tuesday that talks between the three teams are not progressing.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Sources: #Yankees, #Mets, #Marlins 3-team deal is *not* progressing. However, the #Mets continue to show interest in acquiring J.T. Realmuto directly. @MLBNetwork @MLB

Another possibility that was mentioned by MLB Network insider Joel Sherman on Tuesday is a trade that would bring Realmuto to the Yankees. In this scenario, New York would keep catcher Gary Sanchez, but use him more as the designated hitter, pushing Giancarlo Stanton to the outfield on a regular basis.

Tweet from @Joelsherman1: Have heard multiple times now this scenario laid out: #Yankees try to get Realmuto, keep Sanchez as catcher/DH, move Stanton to OF more regularly. #Marlins

MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reported that it is currently unknown what the Yankees would give up in the proposed deal, though general manager Brian Cashman has said that he has been frequently asked about third baseman Miguel Andujar in addition to Sanchez this winter, among many other players on the club's 40-man roster.

"Some are more touchable than others," Cashman said on Tuesday, per Hoch. "Andujar is part of a young nucleus of players that we're excited about. We don't get to 100 wins without the booster rockets of Andujar and [Gleyber] Torres at second and third last year. They really propelled us in the second half and hit that win column all the way to 100."

The Mets and Yanks were listed among the seven teams Heyman listed as having the best chance to land Realmuto, along with the Dodgers, Padres, Astros, Phillies and Braves. 

Tweet from @JonHeyman: As of this moment the teams with the best chance to land Realmuto are these 7 ��� dodgers, mets, padres, astros, phillies, yankees and braves. A couple notably deny being too involved but they are all apparently involved enough to be in the top 7.

While the aforementioned three-team blockbuster is considered a long shot, a Realmuto trade in general seems more likely now than at any point since Miami began its rebuild. It might not take quite as much to land him as previously expected, according to Sherman, who reports outside executives have a sense the Marlins will move Realmuto but don't want to pull the trigger too quickly.

Tweet from @Joelsherman1: Hear #Marlins have slightly lowered return request on Realmuto since end of the season. Outside execs say they perceive Mia knows have to deal him but after getting not enough last year, esp for Yelich, gunshy to go quickly and undersell.

A lower price isn't the same as a low price, though. Teams that are in on Realmuto still see the Marlins' asking price as high, according to Andy Martino of SNY, with the 27-year-old only under team control for the next two seasons. But Martino thinks the Marlins may end up with no choice but to move Realmuto, while they can still maximize the value they get back for him.

Tweet from @martinonyc: Teams in on Realmuto see very high price with 2 years of control but note how little relative trade value Goldschmidt had with one year of control. Marlins would seem to have to blink. Can't hold onto him and blow chance to get something

Machado to meet with Yanks, Phils, White Sox and mystery teams
Dec. 11: The biggest transaction on the second day of the Winter Meetings -- at least as of late afternoon -- was the Phillies' deal to sign Andrew McCutchen to a reported three-year, $50 million pact. How does that impact Manny Machado, specifically?

It doesn't really change much, frankly, as McCutchen is expected to handle one of the corner outfield spots in Philly, and the amount of money -- while not insignificant -- shouldn't preclude the Phillies from making any substantial offer to Machado. In short: There's still a fit on the left side of the Phillies' infield, as MLB Network insider Jon Heyman pointed out. 

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Brantley is out as a Phillies option since McCutchen deal, but door is still open for Harper (and of course Machado)

So what's next for the superstar 26-year-old? Machado is slated to meet with teams most interested in him soon, and Heyman reports that three of them are the Yankees, White Sox and -- yep -- the Phillies, as well as three "mystery teams."

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Yanks, White Sox and Phillies are 3 teams that will meet with Manny Machado. The 3 alleged mystery teams remain so.

The takeaways from that? One, those three clubs are in big markets and have money to spend. Two, it's likely that nothing will happen any time soon (think: during the Winter Meetings) on the Machado front, given that he's planning to visit with a number of franchises.

Video: After Cutch, Phils could still target Harper, Machado

Will Giants trade Bumgarner now ... or later?
Dec. 11: It's hard to imagine longtime Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner in another uniform, isn't it? And yet, the biggest topic of conversation surrounding the club this offseason is whether -- maybe even when -- San Francisco should look to trade its ace. After all, the Giants are unlikely to contend in 2019, and the 29-year-old lefty's contract runs out after next season.

As to the question of when the Giants might be ready to move Bumgarner, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reports that it's looking "less and less likely" the club pulls the trigger this winter. While that possibility can't be ruled out, as Feinsand notes, a midseason move might make more sense.

Tweet from @Feinsand: A source said it is becoming less and less likely that the Giants will trade Madison Bumgarner this winter, though it still can't be ruled out. A midseason trade seems more likely if the Giants are not in contention, the source said.

Perhaps one reason for this approach is that the club has a new director of baseball operations in Farhan Zaidi. In addition to being busy plotting a course for the future of the franchise at the moment, Zaidi might not want to have his first major transaction involve shipping off a franchise face and three-time World Series champion.

That said, there is some risk in waiting until June or July to make Bumgarner available; he could see a further decline in his performance or suffer an injury that saps his value on the trade market. Not to mention, if Bumgarner is traded midseason, he would be ineligible for the qualifying offer and the corresponding Draft-pick compensation, which also must be factored into his value.

Among the teams that have been mentioned as interested in and/or possible fits for Bumgarner are the Braves, Phillies, Yankees, Astros and Brewers.

Feinsand: Dodgers 'actively trying' to trade Puig and/or Kemp, among others
Dec. 11: As the Dodgers explore a number of avenues to improve their roster, they are unsurprisingly looking to trade from the two areas where they have great depth: the rotation and the outfield.

Los Angeles is prepared to move starters Rich Hill and Alex Wood as well as two outfielders, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. What is surprising, though, is that Cody Bellinger is one of the players the Dodgers are open to dealing. Per Olney, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson are also available.

Tweet from @Buster_ESPN: Dodgers have talked to other teams about moving two outfielders among the group of Kemp, Puig, Pederson, Bellinger, and as they look to re-shape payroll, they are also are prepared to move starting pitchers Rich Hill and Alex Wood.

As for Puig and Kemp, specifically, the Dodgers are "actively trying" to move one or both of them, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

Tweet from @Feinsand: According to a source, the Dodgers are actively trying to trade Yasiel Puig and/or Matt Kemp.

That echoes what MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal is hearing, particularly the part about Puig being discussed, and in this case with the Reds. While Rosenthal doesn't mention a possible target in the Dodgers' talks with Cincy, second baseman Scooter Gennett could be in play because of L.A.'s need at that spot.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: #Dodgers, #Reds have talked multiple times, sources tell The Athletic. Different packages being discussed; Puig in play as well as other LAD outfielders, pitchers. Dodgers want to clear money for other pursuits. Puig projected $11.3M in arb, per @mlbtraderumors, Alex Wood $9M.

The Dodgers have also had discussions with the Cardinals about Jose Martinez, per Rosenthal, with a creative plan to potentially move Martinez to first base and have Max Muncy play second and Bellinger play center field. 

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: This one is a surprise. #Dodgers talking to #STLCards about Jose Martinez, sources tell The Athletic. LAD could play the defensively challenged Martinez at first base, with Muncy at second and Bellinger in center.

As far as other trade targets go, the Dodgers have been connected most prominently to the Indians' Corey Kluber and the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto this offseason. MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Monday that trade talks for Kluber had "intensified," and that Cleveland is interested in the Dodgers' top prospect, outfielder Alex Verdugo.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman noted in his "Inside Baseball" column for Fancred Sports on Thursday that multiple teams have asked about Bellinger, but rivals say the Dodgers are "hesitant" to include him in any trade. The Indians and Marlins are likely two of those teams.

The 23-year-old Bellinger took a step backward in 2018, but he is just one season removed from slashing .267/.352/.581 with 39 homers in 132 games as a rookie. While the slugger has primarily played first base during his time in the Majors, he has shown the ability to capably handle center field as well, which is a major plus for a Dodgers club that seems to value versatility as much as any team in baseball.

Los Angeles has also been linked to Bryce Harper, but it's unclear if the club plans to make an aggressive play for the superstar free agent. The contract that Harper is expected to command would be out of character for the Andrew Friedman-led Dodgers front office, which hasn't handed out more than $93 million to any one player despite consistently maintaining a high payroll.

As MLB Network insider Joel Sherman noted in a column for the New York Post on Tuesday, Los Angeles is hesitant to tie up a large portion of its future payroll, which could reduce its flexibility as the retooling Giants and D-backs become serious contenders in the National League West again within the next few years.

But Sherman still envisions a scenario in which Harper lands with the Dodgers.

"Again, it takes dominoes falling," Sherman writes. "Manny Machado would sign with the Phillies; the Nationals, Cardinals and Yankees really would continue to have no interest in Harper; and the only substantial long-term offers would come from someplace like the White Sox. In that scenario, could Harper instead pivot to accept a four-year deal from the Dodgers for a record annual amount and, say, an opt-out after two years to get back into free agency either after his age-27 or -29 season?"

Reds among teams talking to Indians about Kluber, Bauer
Dec. 11: The Reds' desire to upgrade their rotation is no secret, and the Indians are expected to trade one of their aces this offseason. Could the intrastate rivals team up for a deal? Nothing is imminent, but Cincinnati is having "ongoing discussions" with Cleveland about Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Source: #Reds continue to pursue rotation options via trade, including ongoing discussions with #Indians about Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. @MLB @MLBNetwork

Morosi reported Monday, the first full day of the Winter Meetings, that trade talks regarding Kluber had "intensified," with the Dodgers among the teams involved.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Sources: Corey Kluber trade talks have intensified. #Dodgers are among the teams involved. @MLBNetwork @MLB

Cleveland is reportedly hoping to trim payroll while still remaining competitive in an underwhelming American League Central, and Los Angeles could be a perfect trade partner given the club's outfield depth. With Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall departing via free agency, the outfield is a major question mark for the Indians at this point.

Morosi reports that the Dodgers' top prospect, outfielder Alex Verdugo (No. 32 overall, per MLB Pipeline), is part of the discussions between Cleveland and Los Angeles.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Source: #Indians interested in #Dodgers OF Alex Verdugo as part of Corey Kluber trade talks. Cleveland is looking for outfield bats, and Verdugo is the Dodgers' top prospect, according to @MLBPipeline. @MLB @MLBNetwork

Morosi names the Yankees and Brewers as potential landing spots for Kluber as well, as both teams have highly ranked outfielders in their farm systems. The Reds do, too, with No. 2 prospect Taylor Trammell (No. 17 overall).

Tweet from @jonmorosi: If #Indians trade Corey Kluber, they would like to receive a young outfielder in the deal. So it is not a surprise that the #Dodgers (Alex Verdugo), #Yankees (Estevan Florial) and #Brewers (Corey Ray) all are potential landing spots for Kluber. @MLB @MLBNetwork

Kluber and Bauer are arguably more attractive than any of the remaining starters on the free-agent market. Kluber is signed for $17 million in 2019 with club options for 2020 ($17.5 million, $1 million buyout) and 2021 ($18 million, $1 million buyout). To put the value of Kluber's deal in perspective, the Red Sox just signed Nathan Eovaldi for roughly $17 million per year over four years. Meanwhile, Bauer is two years away from free agency.

Per MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal's article for The Athletic (subscription required) on Monday, a rival executive who has been in contact with the Indians said Cleveland is open to trades in which it would attach Kluber or Bauer to a highly paid player such as Jason Kipnis or Edwin Encarnacion as a way to shed another inflated contract.

Could Tulo be fit for his childhood team?
Dec. 11: Troy Tulowitzki is a free agent after being released by the Blue Jays on Tuesday. He has a well-chronicled injury history, and even when healthy, he has struggled to return to the elite form he exhibited during his 10 seasons with the Rockies. Still, if Tulowitzki could be had for the right price, the veteran shortstop might offer as much upside as any shortstop on the free-agent market. 

Martin Gallegos of the San Jose Mercury News speculates that the A's could be among the most logical fits for the 34-year-old. Tulowitzki grew up in the Bay Area, rooted for the A's as a kid and the club has a positional need within its infield after Jed Lowrie departed via free agency. Most signs, as Gallegos indicated, allude that Oakland will not bring Lowrie back. And for a cost-minded club that has played on a small-market budget and consistently sought to maximize the dollar value of its players, the A's might make a lot of sense for Tulowitzki.

The five-time All-Star will receive $38 million from Toronto as part of the final two years of his contract. Given that he missed the entire 2018 season with a heel injury and was limited to just 66 games in '17 due to an ankle injury, Tulowitzki doesn't necessarily have significant leverage to warrant another multi-year, high-paying contract. Gallegos speculates that the A's could potentially sign Tulowitzki for the league minimum of $600,000.

It would certainly be a risk, but if Tulowitzki could return to some form of his old self, it could be one worth taking. 

Video: Charlie Montoyo on Tulowitzki being released

Impact of McCutchen's deal on Pollock
Dec. 11: One of the bigger names in the free-agent outfielder market has come off the table, as Andrew McCutchen lands in Philadelphia. What does that mean for A.J. Pollock, who entered the offseason as arguably the top outfielder on the open market outside of Bryce Harper?

The 31-year-old center fielder wasn't necessarily linked to the Phillies much this offseason, so it's not as if McCutchen stole a potential destination right out from under Pollock. If anything, McCutchen's deal -- reported at $50 million for three years with an option for a fourth -- should be seen as a good sign for Pollock, as USA Today's Bob Nightengale suggests.

Tweet from @BNightengale: Certainly, free-agent outfielders A.J. Pollock and Adam Jones should benefit nicely from Andrew McCutchen's 3-year, $50 million contract with the #Phillies

On one hand, Pollock doesn't have McCutchen's resume and his injury history is a concern. But on the other, Pollock, by comparison, is younger than McCutchen and as such brings a bit more of a dynamic power-speed combo at this stage of their respective careers -- not to mention, the ability to handle center field still.

In other words, it's possible the floor on offers Pollock will be considering could be about $50 million, with the likelihood for more money and almost certainly more years. Whether he's able to secure the reported five-year, $80 million deal (aka, the "Lorenzo Cain contract") that was rumored to be his asking price, however, remains to be seen.

Reds have discussed Inciarte trade
Dec. 11: The Reds cut ties with one premier defensive center fielder this offseason. Maybe they can add a new one.

Cincinnati has talked to the Braves about a trade for Ender Inciarte, a source told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon on Tuesday.

Tweet from @m_sheldon: Source -- #reds have talked to the Braves about CF Ender Inciarte. Nothing is imminent, however. Club is talking to a lot of teams/agents here .

Even if no deal is imminent, the possibility is intriguing. The Reds have an opening in the outfield after non-tendering Billy Hamilton -- and Inciarte is just as elite defensively. Plus, Inciarte's a significantly better hitter than Hamilton.

Inciarte finished with a +21 Outs Above Average rating in 2018 -- that's Statcast™'s range-based metric for outfield defense -- tied for the best of any MLB outfielder. Hamilton ranked fifth with a +16 OAA mark.

The 28-year-old Inciarte is signed to a five-year, $30.53 million contract that runs through 2021, with a $9 million club option for 2022. If the Braves traded Inciarte, they could hand over the reins in center field to NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr.

Report: Happ will sign with first team that offers him three years
Dec. 11: J.A. Happ has a number of two-year offers in hand, but he is reportedly seeking three years, and no team has been willing to go there yet. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the left-hander has indicated he'll sign with the first club that does.

Tweet from @JeffPassan: Sources: Where J.A. Happ winds up could come down to the team that guarantees him a third year. Right now, none has, and he has indicated he���ll sign with the first one that does. If none steps up, he���s got a number of two-year offers to consider, most from contending teams.

The Yankees are among the teams that have been consistently connected to Happ, but George A. King III of the New York Post reported Monday that New York doesn't want to go to three years for the 36-year-old.

Meanwhile, the Phillies have had "ongoing dialogue" with Happ in recent days, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic.

Tweet from @jaysonst: The #Phillies have had ongoing dialogue with LHP J.A. Happ over the last several days, according to sources. The Phillies have a long shopping list. But Happ appears to be their best fit, as a LH with experience in Philadelphia who won't require a long deal. Still seeking 3 years

The Phillies have a long shopping list, as Stark notes, but a left-handed starter is believed to be high on that list. Philadelphia's rotation skews right-handed, and only two southpaws -- Adam Morgan and Ranger Suarez -- have started a game for the club since Cole Hamels was traded to the Rangers in 2015.

Philadelphia is also in on Dallas Keuchel and Zach Britton, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Tweet from @BNightengale: The #Phillies in on Dallas Keuchel and Zach Britton while also hoping to lure a certain mega free agent

Per MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, the Astros are another team that has remained in contact with Happ's representatives in recent days. With Keuchel and Charlie Morton hitting the open market and Lance McCullers Jr. undergoing Tommy John surgery, Houston's rotation is in flux, at least after Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. The Astros can fill the back of their starting staff with a combination of Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock, Josh James and No. 2 prospect Forrest Whitley, but they could use a reliable No. 3 starter, and Happ fits that bill.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Source: #Astros have remained in contact with J.A. Happ���s camp in recent days. @MLBNetwork @MLB

Red Sox listening on Bogaerts, Porcello, JBJ?
Dec. 11: The Red Sox just inked Nathan Eovaldi to a four-year, $68 million deal to retain the righty and shore up their rotation. Did that decision push the club into a position where it needs to consider moving current big league pieces -- and their corresponding salaries -- to get something else done?

Boston may be trying to cut payroll as a way to simultaneously address its need in the bullpen and stay under the highest tier of the luxury-tax threshold, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, citing a rival exec.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: *Highest tier of luxury-tax threshold��� https://t.co/kmXZ5iekRZ

That matches up with what USA Today's Bob Nightengale is hearing, too - that the Red Sox are "openly listening" too offers on righty Rick Porcello and potentially could discuss shortstop Xander Bogaerts and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

Tweet from @BNightengale: The Boston #Redsox, trying to clear salary space for bullpen help, are openly listening to offers on Rick Porcello, and rivals insist also are willing to talk about Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr.

Given that both closer Craig Kimbrel and setup reliever Joe Kelly are free agents, the Red Sox have been in the market for bullpen help. General manager Dave Dombrowski suggested Monday, however, that the club is unlikely to make a big expenditure to improve the relief corps, meaning it's unlikely Kimbrel will return. Some names that have been linked to Boston include Zach Britton, Andrew Miller and David Robertson, all of whom have late-inning experience and should be more affordable than Kimbrel, who has floated an initial asking price of six years.

The big question here, then, is how much the defending champs feel the need to unload a key player like Bogaerts, Porcello or Bradley in order to gain some financial relief toward enhancing the bullpen. Dombrowski himself addressed this by saying he's "not driven to trade core players for the purpose of shedding payroll," according to MLB.com's Ian Browne.

Tweet from @IanMBrowne: Dave Dombrowski said he is not driven to trade core players for the purpose of shedding payroll. Added that he would like to have the catching situation resolved before Spring Training.

Both Porcello, whose 2019 salary is $21 million, and Bogaerts, who is projected to earn almost $12 million in arbitration per MLB Trade Rumors, are due to become free agents after next season. Bradley, whose projected arbitration figure is just shy of $8 million for '19, is under control through '20.

The luxury-tax threshold -- officially known as the Competitive Balance Tax -- is set to be $206 million for next season and Boston's projected payroll calls for north of $230 million. The Red Sox surpassed the $197 million threshold this past season on their way to winning the World Series.

The next Mariners trade chip is …
Dec. 11: Is there another trade on the horizon for the Mariners? It doesn't take a Magic 8 ball to know the answer to that, so perhaps a better question is: Which big-name player are the Mariners likeliest to deal next?

Enter Carlos Santana. But wait, isn't that the first baseman they just acquired in the swap that sent Jean Segura to the Phillies? Yep, one and the same. With general manager Jerry Dipoto making it known recently that he's planning to keep breakout outfielder Mitch Haniger, Santana looks like the next candidate to be on the move, according to Corey Brock of The Athletic (subscription required).

"Next up on the trade block: first baseman Carlos Santana, who after being acquired from the Phillies earlier this month likely won't play a day for the Mariners," Brock writes. "According to sources, the Mariners have talked with the Rays, Indians and Rockies about the 32-year-old Santana, who still has two years and $40 million remaining on a deal that he signed with Philadelphia last winter."

The switch-hitting Santana makes sense for the Rays and Rockies, since both clubs have been eyeing offensive help at first base. A return to Cleveland seems less likely given his salary, but it also could be a fit if the Tribe were to make room by parting with Edwin Encarnacion, who has been rumored to be on the block. The Yankees also could be a match, given that they're counting on Luke Voit and Greg Bird to stay productive and healthy, respectively.

In case you've lost track already, Dipoto has traded away the following players this offseason (deep breath here): Mike Zunino to the Rays, James Paxton to the Yankees, Alex Colome to the White Sox, Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets and Segura to the Phillies. (And … exhale.)

Are Twins, Rays the front-runners for Cruz?
Dec. 11: Given Nelson Cruz's role as a full-time designated hitter at this stage of the 38-year-old's career, it's not surprising that the teams most often linked to the free-agent slugger are in the American League. In recent days, the Rays, Twins, Astros and White Sox have emerged as the four likeliest landing spots, but is there a chance that batch of clubs has been whittled down even more?

Cruz's agent, Bryce Dixon, tells MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi that there still are ongoing discussions with teams beyond the Twins and Rays.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Nelson Cruz���s agent, Bryce Dixon, tells me he���s talking with additional teams beyond the Twins and Rays. @MLB @MLBNetwork

That seems to throw a little cold water on an earlier report that Minnesota and Tampa Bay are the two front-runners for Cruz.

Tweet from @hgomez27: SOURCE: The race to sign DH Nelson Cruz is down to two teams - the #Twins and the #Rays.#ZDigital #ZDeportes @z101digital @ZDeportes

It's hard to tell, then, whether there has been any real development here. One thing does seem pretty clear, though: The number of clubs in the mix for Cruz likely can be counted on one hand.

White Sox considering Grandal
Dec. 11: While the race for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has taken center stage at the Winter Meetings, the market for Yasmani Grandal has yet to develop. Some teams, such as the Mets, are seemingly viewing Grandal as more of a fallback option rather than a top target.

However, ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the White Sox, who aren't believed to be in the running for Realmuto, are considering Grandal.

Tweet from @Buster_ESPN: The White Sox pushing to take a step forward in 2019. Nova improves the rotation, and they're looking at Yasmani Grandal as a possible catching upgrade.

The White Sox traded Omar Narvaez to the Mariners earlier this offseason for reliever Alex Colome, leaving Welington Castillo and Seby Zavala as the only catchers on the 40-man roster. Castillo has his share of value, but his lifetime .708 OPS vs. righties (.846 OPS vs. LHP) suggests he's better suited for a part-time role. The 30-year-old Grandal is a switch-hitter who does his best work against righties, so the two could fit well together.

Chicago is reportedly looking to expedite its rebuilding process with a big-name free agent or two and could be in on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in addition to Grandal.

Yankees open to trading Andujar
Dec. 11: Miguel Andujar was one of the Yankees' most consistent hitters during a year in which he finished second to the Angels' Shohei Ohtani in American League Rookie of the Year voting, but he may not be a long-term fixture with the club.

According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, rival executives say that the Yanks are open to moving the 23-year-old.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: Name to watch with #Yankees: Miguel And��jar. Rival execs tell me and @ByRobertMurray NYY open to moving him. Would make sense as #Marlins��� ask for Realmuto; MIA wants established young MLB player as headliner. Also would line up with NYY pursuit of Machado. Torres could play SS.

That's not entirely surprising, as the Yankees are reportedly discussing a three-team blockbuster with the Mets and Marlins that would see Noah Syndergaard join the Yankees and J.T. Realmuto land with the Mets, as well as another trade that would bring Realmuto to the Yanks. It would make sense if Andujar was one of the young pieces being offered to Miami.

The Yankees are also considering signing Manny Machado, who would presumably become the club's starting third baseman once Didi Gregorius is ready to return from Tommy John surgery, leaving Andujar without a place to play. Even if New York doesn't sign Machado, Andujar's defensive struggles give him a questionable future at the hot corner.

Yanks GM: There's 'no spot' for Harper in New York's outfield
Dec. 11: The Yankees continue to be mentioned as a team that could be a fit for Bryce Harper, but could the club actually fit Harper?

When asked about the superstar, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said there's "no spot" for him in New York's crowded outfield and that deploying him at first base "isn't an option," according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

Tweet from @Feinsand: Asked about Bryce Harper, Brian Cashman rattled off the names of his six outfielders and said there���s no spot. Reiterated that playing Harper at first base isn���t an option for the Yankees.

Indeed, with incumbent starters Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks, as well as returning options Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier as backups, the club is more than set in the outfield. And while the topic of Harper as a first baseman has been floated by his agent, Scott Boras, that possibility doesn't appear to interest Cashman, despite the Yankees relying on the still-unproven Luke Voit and Greg Bird at the position.

If that wasn't a forceful enough take on Harper, Cashman followed up by saying, "I'm surprised [the media is] still asking" about the team's interest, as MLB.com's Bryan Hoch relayed.

Tweet from @BryanHoch: Cashman said that at no point this winter did he talk about getting an outfielder. ���The Harper stuff, I���m surprised you���re still asking.���

Nationals discussing Roark trade
Dec. 11: After signing Patrick Corbin to a six-year, $140 million contract, the Nationals have tons of money tied up in their "Big Three" of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Corbin, which may explain why the club is reportedly making Tanner Roark available.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Washington has engaged in multiple discussions regarding a Roark trade, though Passan also notes that the Nats are still looking at free agents to supplement their rotation.

Tweet from @JeffPassan: Sources: The Washington Nationals have engaged in multiple discussions to trade starter Tanner Roark, who is a year out from free agency and could make upward of $10M in arbitration. The Nationals continue to look at free agent pitchers to supplement their rotation.

The 32-year-old Roark is one year away from free agency and should see a generous raise from his 2018 salary of $6.475 million in his final season of arbitration eligibility. While it would hardly be an untenable salary for a pitcher who has made 30-plus starts in three straight seasons and owns a career 3.59 ERA, the Nats may be looking to save some money at the back end of their rotation while also attempting to get something in return for Roark before he hits the open market next offseason.

The fact that Roark has been a slightly below average starter over the past two seasons (97 ERA+) is likely another reason why the Nats are considering a trade, as Washington might be able to bring in a lower-cost free agent to do a similar job.

Which teams might be in on Keuchel?
Dec. 10: The market for free agent Dallas Keuchel is still a bit hazy as the Winter Meetings get underway in Las Vegas.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported Monday that the Braves, Phillies and Reds are the top three teams in on the left-hander, but MLB.com's Mark Bowman has heard something different. Per Bowman, the Braves have not had discussions regarding Keuchel. And MLB.com's Mark Sheldon previously reported that the Reds' interest in Keuchel was being overblown.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Braves, Reds and the Phillies are three prime teams on Keuchel. But what if Yankees lose out on Happ. Might they pounce?

Tweet from @mlbbowman: Nothing has changed with the Braves regarding Dallas Keuchel. They have not had any discussions regarding Keuchel.

It's possible the connection between Keuchel and the Braves was floated by Keuchel's representatives to get the Phillies to up their offer. Philadelphia is reportedly in on the 30-year-old after missing out on Patrick Corbin, who signed with the Nationals.

Meanwhile, the Yankees are focusing their attention on J.A. Happ rather than Keuchel, but Heyman speculates that the club could jump in on Keuchel if they miss out on Happ.

According to George A. King III of the New York Post, there is "industry buzz" that the Yanks would like to sign Happ to no more than two years, while the left-hander is believed to be looking for three.

New York was also unwilling match the lengthy contracts given to Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi, causing those pitchers to sign elsewhere. It's possible the same could happen with Happ.

Video: Braves remain heavily interested in Keuchel

Are Yankees in on Machado, out on Harper?
Dec. 10: With a need at shortstop and a crowded outfield, the Yankees may be in the mix for Manny Machado but not so much for Bryce Harper. If it's a choice between Machado and Harper, it appears New York would lean toward the former -- and might, in fact, be out on the latter, as MLB.com's Bryan Hoch noted after GM Brian Cashman said Harper isn't a fit in their loaded outfield or at first base.

Tweet from @BryanHoch: What we learned from Day 1 of the #Yankees #WinterMeetings: they are in on Manny Machado (and others), and out on Bryce Harper.

The question, then, becomes whether the typically deep-pocketed Yankees are serious enough about Machado to meet what is expected to be an asking price in the range of $300 million. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees plan to meet with Machado but won't necessarily pony up to that extent. 

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Yankees like Manny Machado and will meet with Machado but source says they will not pay $300M for Machado. Phillies, Chisox and mystery teams(?) seen as main competitors.

New York is among the few teams with the financial means to sign Machado to a long-term deal, and it has an immediate need at shortstop, where Didi Gregorius will miss a chunk of next season recovering from Tommy John surgery. To that end, it's not a surprise that Cashman said he has spoken with Machado's agent, Dan Lozano, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

Tweet from @Feinsand: Cashman said he has spoken with Dan Lozano, the agent for Manny Machado, multiple times. They have not spoken in Vegas. ���I���m not going to deny we���ve had a conversation or two.���

Heyman also reported that although New York is "pursuing" Machado, the club is considering other candidates to address its need in the infield, including Reds trade chip Scooter Gennett and versatile veteran free agents Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Harrison.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Yankees are pursuing Machado but they have other infield options ��� Marwin Gonzalez, Josh Harrison and possibly even Scooter Gennett to name 3

Heyman listed the Phillies, White Sox and potential mystery clubs as the Yankees' primary competitors for Machado. And even after trading for James Paxton, the Yankees are still looking to add to their rotation, which has been said to be their priority over pursuing Harper or Machado.

Red Sox GM doesn't anticipate 'big expenditure' at closer
Dec. 10: The Red Sox would like to have free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel back, but given the right-hander's contract demands -- he's reportedly seeking a six-year deal -- the club is exploring other options.

GM Dave Dombrowski said he doesn't anticipate a "big expenditure" for the closer's role, according to MLB.com's Ian Browne, who took that further by saying it "would be a miracle" if Kimbrel came back.

Tweet from @IanMBrowne: Dave Dombrowski doesn't anticipate the @RedSox making a big expenditure for the closer's role next year. Cites payroll already being high. Reading between the lines, it would be a miracle for Craig Kimbrel to return to Boston.

Part of that is because Boston has to worry about next offseason when Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and Xander Bogaerts can become free agents, and 2020, when Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are set to hit the open market. Bringing back Kimbrel could make it tough to re-sign some of those other players.

So who could the Red Sox target for the back of their bullpen? David Robertson and Adam Ottavino are believed to be high on Boston's wish list, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Robertson and Ottavino are believed high on Red Sox list of back-end relief targets. Of course they���d like to have Kimbrel and Kelly back but they are free agents too. Deep pen market also includes Britton, Miller, Familia, more.

Joe Kelly is also a free agent, which could leave the Red Sox's relief corps without two key contributors from the club's championship run. Much like Nathan Eovaldi, Kelly bolstered his free-agent stock with a strong postseason, recording a 0.79 ERA with 13 strikeouts and only one walk over 11 1/3 innings. Kimbrel had his share of struggles during the playoffs, but he's been one of the top closers in the game for eight years and is poised to cash in this offseason, even if he doesn't get six years.

Robertson and Ottavino, on the other hand, will cost less than Kimbrel, and Boston could comfortably insert either one into the closer's role in 2019. That said, the Red Sox will have fierce competition for both pitchers, with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reporting that at least a half-dozen teams are showing interest in Robertson, including the rival Yankees -- with whom Robertson has spent the majority of his career. Per Feinsand, the Yanks are also believed to be interested in Ottavino, a New York native.

Boston is also competing with multiple teams for Kelly's services, including the Dodgers, Mets and White Sox, as Rob Bradford of weei.com reported Monday.

Yankees have scouted Kikuchi 'extensively'
Dec. 10: The Yankees continue to focus on addressing their rotation, perhaps even more so after missing out on Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi last week. But with those two big names off the board, is there a new pitcher the club is turning its attention toward?

One candidate could be Yusei Kikuchi, the recently posted left-hander who has been one of the best arms in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball the past several seasons. In fact, GM Brian Cashman said the Yankees have scouted Kikuchi "extensively" and even talked to agent Scott Boras about him, according to MLB Network insider Joel Sherman.

Tweet from @Joelsherman1: Cashman said #Yankees have scouted Kikuchi ���extensively��� and he has talked to Scott Boras about the LHP.

New York already has re-signed CC Sabathia and traded for fellow lefty James Paxton from the Mariners, so Kikuchi would be the third southpaw to join the club's rotation just this offseason. While Kikuchi has been linked to a number of National League teams, including the Giants, Padres and Dodgers, the Yankees could be an appealing landing spot for him because of the success Masahiro Tanaka -- another longtime NPB star -- has had in the Bronx.

The 27-year-old Kikuchi has a fastball that sits in the 92-94 mph range and can touch 96, and he also features a sharp slider that gets swings and misses. In eight years pitching in NPB, Kikuchi has gone 73-46 with a 2.77 ERA in 158 games (153 starts), totaling 903 strikeouts in 1,010 2/3 innings. He's been especially impressive over the last three seasons, going 42-17 with a 2.51 ERA in 71 starts, including 497 strikeouts in 494 1/3 innings. Kikuchi did, however, spend time on the disabled list with left shoulder stiffness in 2018 and has dealt with shoulder issues over his career.

Brewers interested in Murphy, re-signing Moustakas
Dec. 10: The Brewers' search for a second baseman could lead them to free-agent Daniel Murphy, whom the club is reportedly interested in, a source told The Athletic's Robert Murray [subscription required]. The club is also interested in retaining third baseman Mike Moustakas, per Murray. 

Last month, the Brewers non-tendered second baseman Jonathan Schoop, whom they acquired at last year's Trade Deadline, after he underperformed in his half-season with the club. His departure left a hole at second base, but it's a deep position in free agency with DJ LeMahieu, Josh Harrison, Jed Lowrie, Asdrubal Cabrera, Ian Kinsler among the options. The current in-house options are Hernan Perez and Tyler Saladino. 

If they signed Murphy, it'd likely be on a short-term deal with top prospect Keston Hiura climbing the Minor League ranks. Although there are concerns about his defense, Murphy hit .299/.336/.454 in 91 games with the Nationals and Cubs last season.

As for the interest in bringing back Moustakas, who joined Milwaukee last year via trade, Murray said talks are on-going and that the Brewers will face competition from the National League Central-rival Cardinals.

"It's possible," a source told Murray about re-signing Moustakas. "But far from done."

Rizzo: Nats not closing door on Harper
Dec. 10: Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner's candid interview with 106.7 The Fan on Friday drew widespread publicity, as Lerner acknowledged that the reported 10-year, $300 million offer Bryce Harper rejected at the end of the regular season was "the best we can do," and indicated that he didn't expect the free-agent outfielder to be back.

And yet, a reunion between Harper and Washington is a possibility that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo isn't ruling out.

"We haven't closed the door on [Harper]," Rizzo said Monday on MLB Network Radio. "He's a big part of our franchise. He's near and dear to my heart personally, and professionally he's a great player."

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: Mike Rizzo: "We haven't closed the door on Bryce Harper."Plot: [Thickens]#Nationals GM at the #WinterMeetings: pic.twitter.com/I5Aq4SzQiP

The Nats have been one of the busier teams this offseason, acquiring Patrick Corbin, Trevor Rosenthal, Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes, and it's unclear if the club will still be open to giving Harper $300 million should the 26-year-old come back to the negotiating table. But with rivals such as the Phillies expected to be among the bidders for Harper, it is better for the Nats if other teams think Washington might still be in.

Video: High Heat: Nats not closing door on Harper reunion

Castellanos drawing interest from Braves, Dodgers, others
Dec. 10: Don't want to break the bank on Bryce Harper or go after A.J. Pollock? Nicholas Castellanos could be the answer. The Tigers outfielder is drawing interest on the trade market, according to a report from MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi on Monday. The Braves and Dodgers are among the teams to have checked in.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Sources: #Tigers OF Nick Castellanos is drawing trade interest. #Braves are among the teams that have checked in. Castellanos, 26, is coming off a career offensive year and is an alternative to Brantley and Pollock via free agency. @MLBNetwork @MLB

Tweet from @jonmorosi: Source: #Dodgers interested in #Tigers OF Nick Castellanos via trade, but there���s no present momentum toward a deal. Dodgers active on numerous fronts and Castellanos is not their highest priority. @MLBNetwork @MLB

Castellanos hit .298/.354/.500 with 23 home runs and 89 RBIs in 2018. His .854 OPS was the highest of his six Major League seasons. Castellanos is in his final year of arbitration eligibility, and is set to become a free agent after the 2019 season, which could lead the Tigers to move him.

Castellanos can also play third base if needed -- he spent the majority of his time at the hot corner from 2014-17 before moving to right field full-time in 2018.

Multiple clubs interested in Belt
Dec. 10: The Giants started their offseason with a big move last month when they brought in Farhan Zaidi to be their president of baseball operations. Since then, however, the club has been relatively quiet on the rumor front, likely because Zaidi and Co. are in the process of charting a course for 2019 and beyond.

One big topic related to the Giants is whether they will deal longtime ace Madison Bumgarner. It appears a new trade chip also may be surfacing in Brandon Belt. A number of teams have touched base with San Francisco about the 30-year-old first baseman, who is available, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

Tweet from @BNightengale: Several teams have expressed interest in 1B Brandon Belt, who���s available, in talks with the #SFGiants

With a .266/.356/.455 career line and 124 OPS+, Belt has been productive when healthy over his eight years in the Majors, but he's battled various injuries and has played only 216 games the past two seasons. That, along with Belt's contract -- he's signed for $16 million per year through 2021 and has a 10-team limited no-trade clause -- suggests the Giants may be looking to save some salary by moving on from him.

Nats on the hunt at the keystone
Dec. 10: The Nationals need a second baseman, and they're casting a wide net across the free-agent market.

Among the names on their list: DJ LeMahieu, Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Harrison, according to a report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman on Monday.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Nats are looking closely at 2B. LeMahieu, Marwin, Harrison all in play.

That's interesting, because it means the Nats could either go after a prototypical second baseman like LeMahieu, or more of a versatile, super-utility type to fill the position like Gonzalez or Harrison.

The Washington Post's Chelsea Janes notes that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has said the team has made contact with LeMahieu's agent. She adds that Washington also loves Gonzalez, who became a key cog for the Astros playoff teams of the last two seasons, and has likely also contacted his agent, Scott Boras.

Tweet from @chelsea_janes: On potential moves this week: Rizzo has said Nats made contact with DJ LeMahieu���s agent. They also love Marwin Gonzalez, a Boras client. So would assume they���ve ���made contact��� with his rep, too.

Is Gennett available in a trade?
Dec. 10: While sources told MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal that the Reds are looking to trade second baseman Scooter Gennett, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon has heard differently. Per Sheldon, Cincinnati is not actively shopping the 28-year-old.

Tweet from @m_sheldon: Source: #reds not actively looking to trade Scooter Gennett. Refutes an early report today from the Winter Meetings

 After being claimed off waivers by the Reds in March 2017, Gennett has become an All-Star in Cincinnati, slashing .303/.351/.508 with 50 homers over the past two seasons. But Gennett projects to earn a sizable raise in arbitration this year and can become a free agent next offseason, making a trade conceivable.

As Rosenthal notes in his latest story for The Athletic (subscription required), moving Gennett would open up a spot for top prospect Nick Senzel (No. 6 overall, per MLB Pipeline) to play and allow the club to pursue other possibilities, including signing utility man and Cincinnati native Josh Harrison. It would also free up more money for the team to spend on the rotation, its primary area of need.

However, the return for Gennett could be limited at a time when veteran second basemen such as Jed Lowrie, DJ LeMahieu, Daniel Murphy, Brian Dozier and Ian Kinsler are all available.

Miller drawing 'legitimate interest' from at least nine teams
Dec. 10: The relief market could pick up steam during the Winter Meetings, as MLB.com's Mark Feinsand wrote Monday, and Andrew Miller is one of the bullpen arms whose market appears to be robust.

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