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Rumors: Donaldson, Moose, Price, Kimbrel

The latest MLB free agent and trade rumors for Hot Stove season
MLB.com

As the postseason concludes, Hot Stove season begins. MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

• Complete list of free agents this offseason 

As the postseason concludes, Hot Stove season begins. MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

• Complete list of free agents this offseason 

How does Escobar's contract impact third-base market?
Oct. 22: Eduardo Escobar was expected to be one of the top third basemen available this offseason, but he won't be hitting the open market after agreeing to a three-year deal with the D-backs on Monday.

With Escobar signed, Manny Machado potentially looking to stay at shortstop long term and Adrian Beltre likely to return to the Rangers if he opts to continue his career, Josh Donaldson and Mike Moustakas (if his $15 million mutual option isn't picked up) are shaping up to be the most attractive free-agent options at third base, by far. Another factor working in their favor? Neither player is eligible to receive a qualifying offer.

Beyond Beltre, Donaldson and Moustakas, the third-base market will include players such as Pablo Sandoval, Chase Headley, Danny Valencia, Jose Reyes and Luis Valbuena.

Of those five, Sandoval led the way with 0.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), per Fangraphs. The other four produced negative WAR totals, and Headley and Valencia were released before the season concluded.

Donaldson played just 52 games in 2018 due to injury problems, but he is one year removed from recording 33 homers with a .944 OPS in 113 games, and he has an American League MVP Award under his belt.

As for Moustakas, he has belted 66 home runs over the past two years, which ranks fourth in that span among those who have played at least 50 percent of their games at third base, behind Nolan Arenado, Machado and Jose Ramirez.

Even if Machado is willing to move back to third base, not every team can afford him, and only one can sign him, which means Donaldson and Moustakas could be in high demand as fallback options or lower-cost alternatives to the big prize.

World Series presents last chance for impending free agents to shine
Oct. 22: The World Series gets underway tonight, with the Red Sox hosting the Dodgers in Game 1 at Fenway Park. The bicoastal showdown features plenty of interesting subplots, including the looming free agency for a number of key free agents.

Manny Machado is the biggest name among them, though his free-agent case is already cemented. Regardless of how he does in the World Series, he's going to break the bank this offseason. The same goes for Clayton Kershaw, if he decides to opt out of his deal.

But several players have a lot riding on how they perform on baseball's biggest stage.

Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi has already boosted his stock over the first two rounds. If he can thrive against the Dodgers, it may only increase the number of teams willing to give him a lucrative multi-year offer.

On the other end of the spectrum are Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel and Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, with both players looking to put their struggles over the first two rounds in the rearview mirror.

The Red Sox think they pinpointed the root of Kimbrel's woes -- with an assist from Eric Gagne, who reportedly texted manager Alex Cora during the ALCS to let him know that Kimbrel was tipping his pitches. A dominant World Series from Kimbrel would go a long way toward convincing clubs he is worth a deal similar to those given to big-name closers such as Wade Davis (three years, $52 million), Aroldis Chapman (five years, $82 million), Kenley Jansen (five years, $80 million) and Mark Melancon (four years, $62 million) in the past few offseasons.

Grandal, meanwhile, has notably struggled on offense and defense this postseason. Given the dearth of quality catching options in the game, there shouldn't be a shortage of suitors for the backstop. But Grandal's performance in the World Series -- especially against the Red Sox, who might be in the market for a catcher -- may be a factor when it comes to the size and length of his contract offers. Of course, it's fair to wonder how much Grandal will actually play in the Fall Classic after Austin Barnes started the final four games of the NLCS behind the plate.

And then there's David Price, who can opt out of the final four years and $127 million remaining on his deal. When asked by masslive.com in September if he planned to take that route, Price replied, "Why would I leave here to go to a team that's not as good as this team? I came here to win. I don't worry about all the other stuff. Just come here to win. We're going to have a really good chance to do that."

But if Price follows up his stellar showing in ALCS Game 5 with another gem or two in the World Series, emphatically closing the book on the narrative that he can't pitch in playoffs, it would increase his chances of opting out in search of a longer deal.

Video: ALCS Gm5: Price leads Sox to pennant with 6 scoreless

Report: Seibu Lions will post Kikuchi if left-hander wants to pursue MLB opportunity
Oct. 22: Yusei Kikuchi wasn't ready to discuss his future after the Seibu Lions' season came to an end with a loss in Game 5 of the Pacific League Climax Series on Sunday, but many expect the Japanese left-hander to make a move for Major League Baseball this offseason.

According to a report from the Japan Times, the Lions said Sunday that they would make Kikuchi available to MLB clubs via the posting system if that is the route the southpaw wants to take.

As MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi noted in August, multiple MLB scouts believe Kikuchi has the ceiling of a No. 2 starter in the big leagues.

The 27-year-old has recorded a 2.77 ERA with 903 strikeouts over 1,010 2/3 innings during his career in Japan. He spent some time on the disabled list with left shoulder stiffness in 2018, but still finished with a 3.08 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP over 163 2/3 frames.

After Sunday's loss, Kikuchi said there were no plans yet to sit down with the Lions to discuss his future, and he declined to speculate on his next step.

"The season just ended," Kikuchi said. "I'll spend some time with my family. That's all I'm thinking about."

Pollock shaping up to be best option among available center fielders
Oct. 22: While the corner-outfield market is flush with free-agent options, including Bryce Harper, Michael Brantley, Andrew McCutchen, Nick Markakis and Carlos Gonzalez, A.J. Pollock will likely be the most attractive center fielder available this offseason.

As a result, there should be heavy competition for Pollock's services, even though the veteran is set to turn 31 years old this December and has played fewer than 115 games in each of the past three years due to injuries.

Pollock is eligible to receive a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the D-backs, though it's not a foregone conclusion that the club will extend one his way. If he receives a qualifying offer from Arizona and subsequently rejects it, other clubs would need to forfeit one or more Draft picks to sign him, which could give some teams pause.

But Pollock ultimately shouldn't have a problem finding a home, with the Indians, Mariners, Giants, Mets and Rangers among those in obvious need of a center fielder. The Rockies could also be in that mix if they opt to move Charlie Blackmon to a corner-outfield spot and aren't comfortable with David Dahl as the everyday center fielder.

Is Girardi waiting for managerial position to open up in Chicago?
Oct. 22: Joe Girardi was believed to be a frontrunner for the Reds' managerial job before removing his name from consideration Friday. The industry speculation, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, is that Girardi, an Illinois native, is waiting for a manager job to open up with one of the two Chicago clubs.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Girardi surprised reds by pulling out Friday. He had a chance to win job at that point but they never got to point of talking money with him. He also pulled out of rangers derby. Industry speculation: he���s waiting a year on Chicago

Girardi last managed in 2017, taking the Yankees to Game 7 of the ALCS before losing to the eventual World Series-champion Astros. During an 11-year career as a manager with the Marlins and Yankees, Girardi has gone 988-794 (.554) with one World Series title (2009).

Cubs manager Joe Maddon has one year remaining on his contract, and there was some chatter that the club would look to go in a different direction this offseason after it lost to the Rockies at home in the National League Wild Card Game, but president of baseball operations Theo Epstein confirmed that Maddon would be back in 2019.

Rick Renteria will also return next season as the manager of the White Sox, but his future beyond 2019 is uncertain. Another uncertainty is whether the club would even want Girardi at the helm, as the Yankees reportedly moved on from the skipper because he had trouble connecting with young players. The White Sox are in the midst of a rebuild that will see many top prospects reach the Majors within the next one to two years to join those who have already debuted, such as 23-year-old Yoan Moncada, making Girardi a questionable fit.

Free agent market for starting pitchers headlined by Corbin, Eovaldi
Oct. 20: In a relatively thin starting pitcher market this year, the field will be headlined by left-hander Patrick Corbin and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi. Corbin, 29, is coming off a breakout season for the D-backs, going 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA over 33 starts, earning his second career All-Star selection. According to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, Corbin will be sought after by the Yankees, Dodgers, Giants and Braves. Cafardo also posits Corbin could be offered a deal in the neighborhood of at least five years and $20 million to $25 million.

Eovaldi, 28, has boosted his stock ahead of free agency this winter with two stellar postseason starts for the Red Sox, Cafardo notes. The right-hander has a 1.88 ERA over two starts between the AL Division Series against the Yankees and the AL Championship Series against the Astros. Cafardo compares Eovaldi to Alex Cobb, who also returned following Tommy John surgery and landed a four-year, $57 million deal with the Orioles last offseason.

Cafardo also mentions J.A. Happ, the veteran left-hander who may garner interest from the Yankees and Astros. Happ posted a 2.69 ERA in seven starts for New York after being acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays. Two other notable free-agents-to-be are Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton. Keuchel, 30, posted a 3.74 ERA in 34 starts for the Astros. Morton, 34, had another solid season (3.13 ERA over 30 starts), and could draw interest from the Yankees and Red Sox, according to Cafardo.

Machado's controversial week not expected to impact value to free agent suitors
Oct. 20: Milwaukee fans at Miller Park weren't all too happy to see impending free agent Manny Machado in Games 6 and 7 of the National League Championship Series after his controversial week, and they made their displeasure known with a hearty round of boos as Machado stepped to the plate, which turned to cheers when Wade Miley struck Machado out swinging during Game 6. Machado was seen gesturing to the crowd as if to egg them on as he walked into the dugout following the strikeout.

After hitting a solo homer and two-run single in Game 1 and following that up with a 2-for-3 showing in Game 3, Machado cooled down over the course of the week, going 1-for-12 with two walks (one intentional) in Games 4, 5 and 6. But he had a 2-for-4 showing with a pair of singles in Game 7, which the Dodgers won to advance to their second straight World Series. The first hit was particularly significant, a bunt single ahead of Cody Bellinger in the second inning. Bellinger proceeded to launch a two-run homer to give Los Angeles the lead.

The week, of course, also included the incident in which Machado clipped Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar's foot while running through first base, prompting Christian Yelich to call Machado a "dirty player," and his interview with MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in which Machado called hustling not his "cup of tea."

But through all of the controversy, Machado is still one of the most tantalizing talents in baseball entering free agency at the young age of 26, and as MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi points out, Machado's 175 homers through his age-25 season ranked fifth all-time among infielders, behind only Alex Rodriguez, Eddie Mathews, Jimmie Foxx and Orlando Cepeda.

Video: NLCS Gm6: Machado on Game 6 loss, handling the boos

Those accomplishments, as well as Machado's bounceback defense with the Dodgers, his positional flexibility and his contact rate, make it difficult for the controversy to move the needle on his free agency significantly -- a high-ranking club executive told Morosi that the impact to Machado should be "minimal," with agreement from others around baseball.

The market as a whole -- not individual front offices -- will ultimately dictate Machado's overall value come free agency, meaning that as long as interest from other clubs holds steady, his ultimate contract shouldn't be too highly affected by all the recent news.

As MLB Network insider Jon Heyman noted in an article for Fancred Sports, the Yankees should be firmly in play for Machado, especially with Didi Gregorius' recent Tommy John surgery. New York has tried to land Machado before, and Machado's interest in joining the Yankees was documented back in August, when Heyman reported that people close to the slugger were suggesting that the club was his first choice in free agency.

Heyman also said in an appearance on "The Rundown" on Thursday that the Phillies are prepared to pursue Machado and fellow uber-free agent Bryce Harper, and many expect them to come away with at least one.

"People around baseball are going to be surprised if [the Phillies] don't get at least one of these two players, and maybe both," Heyman said.

Miley continues surprising 2018 with solid Game 6 start
Oct. 20: Wade Miley might not be one of the premier names on the free agent market this offseason, but he's made a big splash this postseason due to both his solid work on the mound and his unorthodox usage in manager Craig Counsell's unique pitching plan. Couple that with his strong regular season, and he could be a solid option in free agency for teams looking for rotation depth and a veteran presence.

The left-hander hadn't allowed a run in three postseason "starts" prior to his NLCS Game 6 start on Friday, when he went 4 1/3 innings and allowed two runs -- a leadoff homer and RBI double by David Freese -- while striking out four and walking two.

Video: NLCS Game 6: Wade Miley discusses forcing a Game 7

Earlier in October, he pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings at Coors Field to clinch the NLDS for the Brewers and followed that up with 5 2/3 shutout innings of two-hit ball in NLCS Game 2 at Miller Park. Though he faced a first-and-second, two-out jam in the second inning, he induced a foul pop from Freese before retiring the next seven batters in order.

The Brewers might not have been in the postseason at all had it not been for Miley, who helped stabilize the flux in Milwaukee's starting rotation by going 5-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 16 starts, mostly from July on, after he was signed to a Minor League contract in the offseason. Gio Gonzalez will also hit free agency for the Brewers whenever their 2018 season comes to an end.

The latest Machado free-agent rumors

MLB.com

Manny Machado has been one of the game's best players since debuting in 2012, and he is set to cash in as a first-time free agent this offseason.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the infielder.

Manny Machado has been one of the game's best players since debuting in 2012, and he is set to cash in as a first-time free agent this offseason.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the infielder.

How does Escobar's contract impact third-base market?
Oct. 22: Eduardo Escobar was expected to be one of the top third basemen available this offseason, but he won't be hitting the open market after agreeing to a three-year deal with the D-backs on Monday.

With Escobar signed, Manny Machado potentially looking to stay at shortstop long term and Adrian Beltre likely to return to the Rangers if he opts to continue his career, Josh Donaldson and Mike Moustakas (if his $15 million mutual option isn't picked up) are shaping up to be the most attractive free-agent options at third base, by far. Another factor working in their favor? Neither player is eligible to receive a qualifying offer.

Beyond Beltre, Donaldson and Moustakas, the third-base market will include players such as Pablo Sandoval, Chase Headley, Danny Valencia, Jose Reyes and Luis Valbuena.

Of those five, Sandoval led the way with 0.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), per Fangraphs. The other four produced negative WAR totals, and Headley and Valencia were released before the season concluded.

Donaldson played just 52 games in 2018 due to injury problems, but he is one year removed from recording 33 homers with a .944 OPS in 113 games, and he has an American League MVP Award under his belt.

As for Moustakas, he has belted 66 home runs over the past two years, which ranks fourth in that span among those who have played at least 50 percent of their games at third base, behind Nolan Arenado, Machado and Jose Ramirez.

Even if Machado is willing to move back to third base, not every team can afford him, and only one can sign him, which means Donaldson and Moustakas could be in high demand as fallback options or lower-cost alternatives to the big prize.

Machado's controversial week not expected to impact value to free agent suitors
Oct. 20: Milwaukee fans at Miller Park weren't all too happy to see impending free agent Manny Machado in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series after his controversial week, and they made their displeasure known with a hearty round of boos as Machado stepped to the plate, which turned to cheers when Wade Miley struck Machado out swinging. Machado was seen gesturing to the crowd as if to egg them on as he walked into the dugout following the strikeout.

After hitting a solo homer and two-run single in Game 1 and following that up with a 2-for-3 showing in Game 3, Machado cooled down over the course of the week, going 1-for-12 with two walks (one intentional) in Games 4, 5 and 6.

That week, of course, also included the incident in which Machado clipped Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar's foot while running through first base, prompting Christian Yelich to call Machado a "dirty player," and his interview with MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in which Machado called hustling not his "cup of tea."

But through all of the controversy, Machado is still one of the most tantalizing talents in baseball entering free agency at the young age of 26, and as MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi points out, Machado's 175 homers through his age-25 season ranked fifth all-time among infielders, behind only Alex Rodriguez, Eddie Mathews, Jimmie Foxx and Orlando Cepeda.

Video: NLCS Gm6: Machado on Game 6 loss, handling the boos

Those accomplishments, as well as Machado's bounceback defense with the Dodgers, his positional flexibility and his contact rate, make it difficult for the controversy to move the needle on his free agency significantly -- a high-ranking club executive told Morosi that the impact to Machado should be "minimal," with agreement from others around baseball.

The market as a whole -- not individual front offices -- will ultimately dictate Machado's overall value come free agency, meaning that as long as interest from other clubs holds steady, his ultimate contract shouldn't be too highly affected by all the recent news.

Braves unlikely to make bids for Machado, Harper
Oct. 19: While the Braves may have at least $60 million to address their multiple needs, which include a catcher, a corner outfielder, bullpen depth and a frontline starter, they may take a cautious approach to the free-agent market to avoid deals that hinder them down the road.

"We're not going to just walk in the store and buy because we have money in our pockets," Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "If we don't find the right deal with something we like, there's still other opportunities to shop. There could be opportunities next season. If you start signing guys to big, long deals, if you feel good about the deal, you do it now. I wouldn't force a deal right now that would limit you in years from now."

As a result, the Braves are unlikely to make competitive offers for Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. Rather, the club is more likely to be aggressive on the trade market as it looks to take another step forward after winning the National League East in 2018.

"I don't think with our club, with what we have, that the value is going to be there in the free-agent market," Anthopoulos said. "It doesn't mean it won't. We'll certainly explore it. But if I could sit here in the middle of October, I'd say it's more likely we go the trade route. It's not ideal to give up young assets, but it's also not ideal to do a deal you don't believe in -- that may look good for a year or two, and then in years three, four and five, it does not." More >

Yankees expected to pursue Machado after Gregorius undergoes Tommy John surgery
Oct. 18: With Didi Gregorius recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the shortstop position is now an unexpected question mark for the Yankees. The speculation, of course, is that Gregorius' injury may only increase the Yankees' interest in impending free agent Manny Machado, who was already expected to be on the club's offseason radar as a potential option at third base.

And as MLB Network insider Jon Heyman notes in an article for Fancred Sports, there's good reason for that speculation. New York has tried to land Machado before, and Machado's interest in joining the Yankees was documented back in August, when Heyman reported that people close to the slugger were suggesting that the club was his first choice in free agency.

Machado, a two-time Gold Glove Award winner at the hot corner, struggled defensively at shortstop with the Orioles this season (-18 defensive runs saved), but he has been much improved since joining the Dodgers in a July trade (6 DRS).

And while Machado's lack of hustle has been a topic of conversation during the postseason, teams may be willing to overlook that problem given his immense talent.

Gregorius has been worth 8.7 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) over the past two seasons, per FanGraphs, so the Yankees aren't going to be in a hurry to move on from him. But the shortstop can become a free agent next offseason, and signing Machado would give the Yankees extra leverage in contract negotiations with Gregorius, as well as insurance in case his recovery from Tommy John surgery doesn't go smoothly.

The Yankees could also sign Machado and then work out an extension with Gregorius to secure the left side of their infield into the next decade, but they would need to trade or find a new position for third baseman Miguel Andujar.

Another possibility, if New York doesn't land Machado this winter, could be Giants second baseman Joe Panik, who is expected to be on the trade market, according to Heyman. Panik, who was an All-Star in 2015 and won a Gold Glove Award in '16, has been beset with injuries much of the last few seasons. But he turns 28 at the end of the month, and is under team control for another three years. The Yankees could have him at second with Gleyber Torres at shortstop. Panik would also provide a left-handed bat to replace the left-handed-hitting Gregorius in the Yankees lineup, which is heavily right-handed.

Granted, the rotation is arguably a greater area of need than the offense, with Luis Severino struggling in the second half and CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn hitting free agency. Adding a starter such as left-hander Patrick Corbin, who is expected to be one of the Yankees' free-agent targets, according to another report from Heyman, may be the club's top priority.

But as Heyman points out, the Yankees could be in position to sign multiple top free agents, considering they won't be subject to the luxury-tax repeat-offender penalty after staying under the threshold in 2018.

Phillies set to make run at Machado, Harper
Oct. 18: Will Manny Machado and Bryce Harper join forces in Philadelphia? According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an appearance on "The Rundown" on Thursday, the Phillies are prepared to pursue both players, and many expect them to come away with at least one.

"People around baseball are going to be surprised if [the Phillies] don't get at least one of these two players, and maybe both," Heyman said.

Heyman had a similar report back in September, writing for Fancred Sports that multiple rival executives believed that the Phillies could land both superstars.

However, as Heyman pointed out Thursday, it could ultimately be tough for any team to pull that off, as both players are looking to break the bank in free agency. Furthermore, any club looking to sign either player will have plenty of competition.

Video: Heyman on Mariners, Phillies free agent rumors

Cashman has no comment on Machado's lack of hustle
Oct. 17: Since news broke that shortstop Didi Gregorius would need to undergo Tommy John surgery -- he had the procedure Wednesday -- speculation has increased about the Yankees' intention to pursue Manny Machado in free agency.

Meanwhile, Machado has drawn some negative attention for his lack of hustle in the NLCS vs. the Brewers. Although Machado's name wasn't specifically mentioned, Brian Cashman was asked about the situation when the Yankees general manager called into "The Michael Kay Show" on Wednesday.

"If somebody is an otherworldly talent that doesn't run hard to first base all the time, would that be somebody the Yankees would want to put in their clubhouse?" Kay asked.

Cashman, though, wouldn't take the bait.

"Boy, you're really good at what you do," Cashman said, good-naturedly. "You're trying to Jedi mind trick me into answering a question that would put me into the abyss at MLB."

Machado, Grandal on opposite tracks in postseason
Oct. 16: One run of postseason games might not outweigh the full body of work of the regular season, but it leaves an impression. And two of the Dodgers' key free-agents-to-be, Manny Machado and Yasmani Grandal, have been trending in opposite directions this October.

Machado, one of the two marquee names hitting the market this winter along with Bryce Harper, has been heating up. After a slow-ish start to the playoffs -- which still included the decisive two-run homer in the Dodgers' Game 2 NLDS win over the Braves -- the superstar shortstop has three multi-hit efforts and a pair of home runs in his last four games. In the NLCS, Machado is 5-for-11 with a homer and a double (although there have been questions about his hustle after he didn't run hard on a groundout in Game 2).

Grandal, on the other hand, has struggled offensively and behind the plate. He's hitting just .136 this postseason (3-for-22) with one homer. But Grandal's defense has been the most visible issue. He's had two nightmarish games in the NLCS, both of which have resulted in the Dodgers replacing him with Austin Barnes for the following game.

In Game 1, a one-run loss, Grandal has two errors and two passed balls -- becoming the first catcher in postseason history with multiple errors and multiple passed balls in the same game. Barnes then started Game 2. Grandal returned for Game 3, but had another tough night in another Dodgers loss. He couldn't block a wild pitch in the sixth inning, which brought home a run for the Brewers, and he had a passed ball in the eighth. After that, Barnes will start Tuesday's Game 4.

That's now two straight postseasons Grandal has lost playing time to Barnes. Last year, Barnes started 13 of the Dodgers' 15 playoff games at catcher, including all seven World Series games, compared to just two starts for Grandal.

Even after Grandal's impressive 2018 regular season -- he hit the second-most home runs among catchers (24) and the third-highest wRC+ (125, meaning he was 25 percent better than a league-average hitter) -- that's not what potential suitors want to see in October out of a free-agent target, especially one who could be an important signing at a critical position.

Manny Machado

The latest Donaldson free-agent rumors

MLB.com

Josh Donaldson has battled injuries in recent years, but his track record of MVP-level production should make him a coveted free agent nonetheless this offseason.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the third baseman.

Josh Donaldson has battled injuries in recent years, but his track record of MVP-level production should make him a coveted free agent nonetheless this offseason.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the third baseman.

How does Escobar's contract impact third-base market?
Oct. 22: Eduardo Escobar was expected to be one of the top third basemen available this offseason, but he won't be hitting the open market after agreeing to a three-year deal with the D-backs on Monday.

With Escobar signed, Manny Machado potentially looking to stay at shortstop long term and Adrian Beltre likely to return to the Rangers if he opts to continue his career, Josh Donaldson and Mike Moustakas (if his $15 million mutual option isn't picked up) are shaping up to be the most attractive free-agent options at third base, by far. Another factor working in their favor? Neither player is eligible to receive a qualifying offer.

Beyond Beltre, Donaldson and Moustakas, the third-base market will include players such as Pablo Sandoval, Chase Headley, Danny Valencia, Jose Reyes and Luis Valbuena.

Of those five, Sandoval led the way with 0.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), per Fangraphs. The other four produced negative WAR totals, and Headley and Valencia were released before the season concluded.

Donaldson played just 52 games in 2018 due to injury problems, but he is one year removed from recording 33 homers with a .944 OPS in 113 games, and he has an American League MVP Award under his belt.

As for Moustakas, he has belted 66 home runs over the past two years, which ranks fourth in that span among those who have played at least 50 percent of their games at third base, behind Nolan Arenado, Machado and Jose Ramirez.

Even if Machado is willing to move back to third base, not every team can afford him, and only one can sign him, which means Donaldson and Moustakas could be in high demand as fallback options or lower-cost alternatives to the big prize.

Josh Donaldson

Lowrie could be top 2B on free-agent market

MLB.com

Jed Lowrie was a major part of the A's 2018 success, producing a career-high 23 homers, 99 RBIs and 4.9 Wins Above Replacement, per FanGraphs. After that strong showing, the 34-year-old will enter the free-agent market looking for a new deal.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the infielder.

Jed Lowrie was a major part of the A's 2018 success, producing a career-high 23 homers, 99 RBIs and 4.9 Wins Above Replacement, per FanGraphs. After that strong showing, the 34-year-old will enter the free-agent market looking for a new deal.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the infielder.

Lowrie arguably best second baseman on free-agent market
Oct. 22: While the free-agent market will be relatively deep at second base this offseason, Jed Lowrie is arguably the best of the bunch. The 34-year-old is coming off a pair of solid campaigns with the A's, recording a 121 wRC+ with 8.5 WAR in that span.

Lowrie made the All-Star team for the first time in 2018 and was an integral part of the equation for the 97-win A's, though Khris Davis and Matt Chapman drew more headlines.

While prospect Franklin Barreto is waiting for his chance at a starting job, Oakland could try to bring back Lowrie to make another postseason run in 2019. However, there's a good chance Lowrie will seek a multi-year deal, and he may be able to land one after boosting his value significantly over the past two years.

Clubs in need of a keystone man will have their share of options, including Asdrubal Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, DJ LeMahieu, Brian Dozier and Daniel Murphy, but none of those players has been nearly as valuable as Lowrie recently. In fact, Lowrie has posted 2.7 WAR more than anyone in that group since the outset of 2017.

Besides the A's, teams that could be in the market for a second baseman include the Dodgers, Rockies, Nationals, Angels, Cardinals and Giants. Lowrie also has extensive experience at shortstop and some at third base, but he has made just two appearances at shortstop and 15 at the hot corner over the past three years.

Jed Lowrie

The latest Brantley free-agent rumors

MLB.com

Although he's battled his share of injury problems, Michael Brantley has proven to be a well-rounded player throughout his career, and he'll enter free agency after hitting .309 with 17 homers, 76 RBIs, 12 steals and only 60 strikeouts over 143 games this past season.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the outfielder.

Although he's battled his share of injury problems, Michael Brantley has proven to be a well-rounded player throughout his career, and he'll enter free agency after hitting .309 with 17 homers, 76 RBIs, 12 steals and only 60 strikeouts over 143 games this past season.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the outfielder.

What will Indians' outfield look like in 2019?
Oct. 19: With Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall set to hit the open market, the Indians have question marks at all three starting outfield spots for next season. As a result, Brantley is a logical candidate to receive the $17.9 million qualifying offer, in the opinion of MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.

After getting just 101 games and 1.4 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) from Brantley over 2016-17, the Indians nonetheless exercised his $12 million option for '18. The move worked out, as Brantley made the All-Star team and produced 3.5 WAR, per FanGraphs.

Brantley also recorded 10.0 WAR from 2014-15, so his '18 production wasn't out of the blue.

Bastian also thinks the Indians could pursue free agent Andrew McCutchen if Brandon Guyer's $3 million option isn't picked up, as McCutchen recorded a 128 wRC+ against lefties in 2018 (118 wRC+ vs. RHP). Guyer's primary role was as a platoon option against southpaws, and he posted a 120 wRC+ in those situations this past season, compared to a 34 mark vs. righties.

Michael Brantley

The latest Grandal free-agent rumors

MLB.com

With 20-plus homers in each of the past seasons, a lifetime 13.1 percent walk rate and well-regarded defensive tools behind the plate, Yasmani Grandal will enter free agency as one of the most valuable backstops in baseball.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the catcher.

With 20-plus homers in each of the past seasons, a lifetime 13.1 percent walk rate and well-regarded defensive tools behind the plate, Yasmani Grandal will enter free agency as one of the most valuable backstops in baseball.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the catcher.

Will Grandal's struggles boost market for Ramos?
Oct. 20: There are going to be a slew of teams in the market for a catcher this offseason, possibly including playoff hopefuls like the Dodgers, Rockies, Rays, Brewers, Red Sox, A's, Astros, Braves, Phillies and Nationals.

Even in light of his well-documented struggles this postseason, Dodgers backstop Yasmani Grandal should still be one of the most highly coveted catchers in free agency -- though any loss to Grandal's stock from his October performance figures to benefit Wilson Ramos, the other premier catcher on the market entering 2019.

The 29-year-old Grandal could hardly have drawn up a worse postseason to cap his walk year. After going 1-for-13 with five strikeouts in the NL Division Series against the Braves, Grandal was 2-for-8 with five strikeouts in his two NLCS starts, but more concerningly, he had three passed balls in those two starts and also committed two errors in Game 1, when he became the first catcher in postseason history with multiple errors and multiple passed balls in a game.

For the second straight postseason, Grandal finds himself losing significant playing time to Austin Barnes, who started Games 4, 5 and 6 behind the plate. Last season, Barnes started 13 playoff games, including all seven World Series games, and Grandal started only two. That's concerning in Grandal's last showcase before hitting free agency, but it's worth noting that Grandal is still coming off a regular season in which he posted a career-best full-season OPS+ (121), with his 24 homers and .241/.349/.466 slash line all near his career highs.

Ramos, a year older than Grandal, was sidelined for part of the 2018 season with a hamstring injury and missed his first career All-Star Game start as a result, but posted a .337/.396/.483 slash line for the Phillies in 33 games following his return from injury, capping a season with a career-best 130 OPS+.

The other factor that might slightly increase Ramos' appeal is that due to his midseason trade from the Rays, he's not eligible for a qualifying offer from the Phillies before he hits free agency, whereas Grandal is a solid candidate for a qualifying offer (reportedly valued at $17.9 million for 2019) from the Dodgers. If Grandal were to reject a qualifying offer, the team signing him would forfeit one or more Draft picks, while a Ramos signing would not be subject to such a penalty.

Machado, Grandal on opposite tracks in postseason
Oct. 16: One run of postseason games might not outweigh the full body of work of the regular season, but it leaves an impression. And two of the Dodgers' key free-agents-to-be, Manny Machado and Yasmani Grandal, have been trending in opposite directions this October.

Machado, one of the two marquee names hitting the market this winter along with Bryce Harper, has been heating up. After a slow-ish start to the playoffs -- which still included the decisive two-run homer in the Dodgers' Game 2 NLDS win over the Braves -- the superstar shortstop has three multi-hit efforts and a pair of home runs in his last four games. In the NLCS, Machado is 5-for-11 with a homer and a double (although there have been questions about his hustle after he didn't run hard on a groundout in Game 2).

Grandal, on the other hand, has struggled offensively and behind the plate. He's hitting just .136 this postseason (3-for-22) with one homer. But Grandal's defense has been the most visible issue. He's had two nightmarish games in the NLCS, both of which have resulted in the Dodgers replacing him with Austin Barnes for the following game.

In Game 1, a one-run loss, Grandal has two errors and two passed balls -- becoming the first catcher in postseason history with multiple errors and multiple passed balls in the same game. Barnes then started Game 2. Grandal returned for Game 3, but had another tough night in another Dodgers loss. He couldn't block a wild pitch in the sixth inning, which brought home a run for the Brewers, and he had a passed ball in the eighth. After that, Barnes will start Tuesday's Game 4.

That's now two straight postseasons Grandal has lost playing time to Barnes. Last year, Barnes started 13 of the Dodgers' 15 playoff games at catcher, including all seven World Series games, compared to just two starts for Grandal.

Even after Grandal's impressive 2018 regular season -- he hit the second-most home runs among catchers (24) and the third-highest wRC+ (125, meaning he was 25 percent better than a league-average hitter) -- that's not what potential suitors want to see in October out of a free-agent target, especially one who could be an important signing at a critical position.

Grandal set to land big payday?
Oct. 11: Finding a catcher who can handle himself with the bat and provide strong defense behind the plate is a difficult endeavor for many Major League clubs.

Yasmani Grandal has proven to be a player who can do both. As a result, the veteran backstop could be set to cash in as a free agent this offseason.

Sure, Grandal loses some bargaining power with Wilson Ramos also hitting the free-agent market, but there are enough catcher-needy clubs that both players should have no problem finding lucrative offers. Within the past five years, fellow catchers Brian McCann and Russell Martin have each landed five-year deals worth more than $80 million.

Grandal will clearly be the top available option, having produced the third-best wRC+ at 116 (min. 1,000 plate appearances), the second-best defensive runs saved (DRS) total at 45 and the third-highest Wins Above Replacement (WAR) figure at 11.2 (per FanGraphs) among big league catchers since the outset of 2015. In that same timeframe, Ramos has recorded a 103 wRC+, -1 DRS and 6.6 WAR.

Yasmani Grandal

Yanks, Dodgers, Giants likely to target Corbin

MLB.com

After a breakout 2018 campaign in which he tied for fourth among qualified hurlers in WAR (6.3, per FanGraphs) and ranked fifth in strikeouts (246), Patrick Corbin will be free to sign anywhere as a first-time free agent.

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

After a breakout 2018 campaign in which he tied for fourth among qualified hurlers in WAR (6.3, per FanGraphs) and ranked fifth in strikeouts (246), Patrick Corbin will be free to sign anywhere as a first-time free agent.

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

Corbin should have no shortage of free-agent suitors
Oct. 22: Even if Clayton Kershaw opts out of his contract, a case can be made that Patrick Corbin is the most attractive free-agent starter on the market.

Corbin is a 29-year-old coming off a season in which he posted a 3.15 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and 246 strikeouts in 200 innings.

Of course, there's some obvious risk involved, as the left-hander wasn't nearly as good in the two seasons prior (4.53 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 8.1 K/9). He is also likely to receive a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the D-backs, which would force other clubs to forfeit one or more Draft picks to sign him. But Corbin should be a top free-agent target for many clubs nonetheless.

The Yankees are expected to pursue the southpaw, according to a report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe also names the Giants, Braves and Dodgers as clubs that are likely to have interest.

Corbin's free agency among major questions facing D-backs this offseason
Oct. 3: The D-backs are surely interested in bringing back Patrick Corbin after a breakout season in which the left-hander ranked as one of the top pitchers in baseball. But according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert, Arizona may find that Corbin is out of its price range.

The left-hander will arguably be the best pitcher available, depending on whether the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw opts out of his contract, and he is expected to draw interest from big-market teams such as the Yankees.

Corbin's free agency is among several major questions facing the D-backs this offseason. The club must decide what to do with its other free agents, which include A.J. Pollock, Eduardo Escobar, Daniel Descalso and Clay Buchholz, and it also needs to keep an eye on the 2019-20 offseason, when Paul Goldschmidt can hit the open market. More >

Patrick Corbin

Cruz could be attractive free-agent option for AL clubs

MLB.com

Although he is approaching his 40s and spends most of his time at designated hitter these days, Nelson Cruz is still one of the top sluggers in the game and should draw plenty of interest on the free agent market this offseason.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the veteran.

Although he is approaching his 40s and spends most of his time at designated hitter these days, Nelson Cruz is still one of the top sluggers in the game and should draw plenty of interest on the free agent market this offseason.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the veteran.

Will defensive shortcomings limit suitors for Cruz?
Oct. 22: Having played just nine games in the field over the past two seasons combined, Nelson Cruz is unlikely to find many suitors among National League teams.

But given Cruz's skills on the offensive side of the ball, the competition for his services could be fierce in the AL.

The slugger produced 37 homers with 97 RBIs and a 134 wRC+ over 591 plate appearances in 2018, and the underlying metrics were just as impressive.

According to Statcast™, Cruz ranked second among all Major Leaguers (min. 150 balls in play) in average exit velocity at 93.9 mph, seventh in hard-hit rate at 51.3 percent and 11th in barrel rate at 9.3 percent this past season.

A reunion with the Mariners could make sense, as a veteran-laden Seattle club should be positioned to contend again after going 89-73 during a season in which Robinson Cano played just 80 games. The Astros, Twins, Rangers and Rays may also be in the mix.

Cruz's free agency among Mariners' biggest offseason questions
Oct. 3: Although Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais have said they would love to have slugger Nelson Cruz back, and Cruz has said he'd like to return, it remains unclear if the club will actually look to re-sign the designated hitter.

Cruz remained incredibly productive with the bat in 2018 (37 homers, 97 RBIs, .850 OPS), but he is now 38 years old and has played the field just nine times combined since the start of '17.

If Seattle lets Cruz walk, it could use the designated-hitter spot to alleviate the second-base logjam between Robinson Cano and Dee Gordon, or as a way to provide extra rest for some of its everyday players without removing them from the lineup. The Mariners could also use the money they would have spent on Cruz to acquire a starting pitcher or a center fielder. More >

Nelson Cruz

Keuchel among best available free-agent starters

MLB.com

After a seven-season tenure with the Astros that included a trio of 200-inning seasons, an American League Cy Young Award in 2015 and an overall 3.66 ERA, Dallas Keuchel is set to become a free agent.

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

After a seven-season tenure with the Astros that included a trio of 200-inning seasons, an American League Cy Young Award in 2015 and an overall 3.66 ERA, Dallas Keuchel is set to become a free agent.

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

What kind of contract can Keuchel expect?
Oct. 22: The ascendance of Patrick Corbin to an ace level will give Dallas Keuchel unexpected competition at the top of the free-agent starting pitcher list this offseason, and it could get even more crowded if Clayton Kershaw opts out of his contract with the Dodgers.

But Keuchel will still be one of the best pitchers on the market, and he'll be helped by the fact that J.A. Happ -- a southpaw whose stats over the past three seasons are comparable to Keuchel's -- is more than four years older.

Keuchel's situation is similar to Jake Arrieta's last offseason. Arrieta, who won the NL Cy Young Award the same season Keuchel took AL honors (2015), recorded a 3.51 ERA with a 3.96 FIP in 92 starts over '16-18 before hitting free agency as a 31-year-old. It took a while, but the right-hander ultimately signed a three-year, $75 million contract with the Phillies in March after rejecting a qualifying offer.

Keuchel, meanwhile, has posted a 3.77 ERA with a 3.78 FIP in 83 starts over the past three years, and he'll turn 31 on Jan. 1. The starting-pitcher market may be stronger this year, but the left-hander, who is eligible to receive a qualifying offer from Houston, will likely be able to secure a multi-year deal for an average annual value close to Arrieta's.

Dallas Keuchel

Pollock expected to be top available center fielder

MLB.com

A.J. Pollock has missed a considerable amount of time with injuries during his career, but he offers a well-rounded skill set and is sure to be a top free-agent target for clubs in need of outfield help this offseason.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the veteran center fielder.

A.J. Pollock has missed a considerable amount of time with injuries during his career, but he offers a well-rounded skill set and is sure to be a top free-agent target for clubs in need of outfield help this offseason.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the veteran center fielder.

Pollock shaping up to be best option among available center fielders
Oct. 22: While the corner-outfield market is flush with free-agent options, including Bryce Harper, Michael Brantley, Andrew McCutchen, Nick Markakis and Carlos Gonzalez, A.J. Pollock will likely be the most attractive center fielder available this offseason.

As a result, there should be heavy competition for Pollock's services, even though the veteran is set to turn 31 years old this December and has played fewer than 115 games in each of the past three years due to injuries.

Pollock is eligible to receive a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the D-backs, though it's not a foregone conclusion that the club will extend one his way. If he receives a qualifying offer from Arizona and subsequently rejects it, other clubs would need to forfeit one or more Draft picks to sign him, which could give some teams pause.

But Pollock ultimately shouldn't have a problem finding a home, with the Indians, Mariners, Giants, Mets and Rangers among those in obvious need of a center fielder. The Rockies could also be in that mix if they opt to move Charlie Blackmon to a corner-outfield spot and aren't comfortable with David Dahl as the everyday center fielder.

Will D-backs extend qualifying offer to Pollock?
Oct. 11: While the D-backs are expected to extend a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer to Patrick Corbin this offseason, it won't be as easy to decide whether to make the same offer to their other big-name free agent, A.J. Pollock.

Sure, extending the qualifying offer to Pollock would set up Arizona to receive Draft-pick compensation if the outfielder then signed elsewhere. But as Jeff Wiser of The Athletic (subscription required) writes, it isn't guaranteed that Pollock, an injury-prone center fielder who is nearing his 31st birthday, would reject the offer. Doing so would potentially set him up to face a depressed market, as many teams may be unwilling to forfeit one or more Draft picks to sign him.

If Arizona isn't willing to pay Pollock $17.9 million, which would be the second-highest 2019 salary on the team after Zack Greinke's $34.5 million, it might choose to avoid the risk and let him walk without making him a qualifying offer.

D-backs likely to lose Pollock?
Oct. 3: The D-backs have several key players who are set to become free agents this offseason, with Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock representing the biggest names among them.

Determining whether to rebuild or make another run at the postseason in 2019 is one of the biggest questions facing an Arizona club that has Paul Goldschmidt under control (via '19 club option) for just one more season.

But even if Arizona does decide to take the contending route in 2019, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert expects the team to lose both Corbin and Pollock to free agency. More >

A.J. Pollock

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 delivers first scoreless appearance of 2018 postseason in ALCS Game 5
Oct. 19: The Red Sox beat the Astros, 4-1, in ALCS Game 5 on Thursday to win the American League pennant and advance to the World Series, with closer Craig Kimbrel throwing a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save.

Video: ALCS Gm5: Red Sox win the American League pennant

It was Kimbrel's first scoreless appearance of the entire postseason. Although he is 5-for-5 in save chances, the right-hander has allowed five runs over 6 ⅓ innings while yielding six hits, six walks and two hit batsmen in this year's playoffs. With Kimbrel struggling on a big stage, it's fair to wonder how much he has hurt his stock with free agency upcoming after the season.

Kimbrel has long been one of the most dominant closers in baseball, and he had another strong campaign in the 2018 regular season. However, he also showed some signs of regression, posting a career-high 3.13 FIP with a 3.1 K/BB ratio (1.42 FIP, 9.0 K/BB ratio in '17).

Recent history may also give teams pause when it comes to the size of Kimbrel's next contract, as the lucrative deals given to big-name closers such as Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, Wade Davis and Mark Melancon in the past few offseasons haven't gone as well as the signing clubs likely hoped they would.

Still, most teams will likely view Kimbrel as the best available option among the free agents with closing experience, and given the ever-growing importance of relievers in today's game, there shouldn't be a shortage of clubs interested in his services -- especially if he can rebound in the Fall Classic.

Kimbrel could benefit from lack of high-end closing options on free-agent market
Oct. 11: Two offseasons ago, clubs in need of a high-end reliever with closing experience had a multitude of options, with Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon all hitting free agency.

Last year, though, Wade Davis was arguably the only one who fit that bill. As a result, Davis was able to land a three-year, $52 million contract with the Rockies even though he was entering his age-32 season and had shown some signs of decline in 2017.

Craig Kimbrel could benefit from a similar situation when he enters the free-agent market this offseason.

The right-hander regressed in 2018 (3.13 FIP) after a spectacular '17 campaign (1.42 FIP), but he still posted a 2.74 ERA with a 0.99 WHIP, a 13.9 K/9 rate and 42 saves this season.

The free-agent market certainly won't be bereft of quality relievers, with David Robertson, Andrew Miller, Adam Ottavino, Jeurys Familia and Zach Britton among the available options. But as the most accomplished closing option on the market by far, Kimbrel is likely positioned to cash in.

Craig Kimbrel

The latest Harper free-agent rumors

MLB.com

After a seven-season tenure with the Nationals that included a National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, an NL MVP Award in 2015 and six All-Star nods, Bryce Harper is set to become a free agent for the first time.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the outfielder.

After a seven-season tenure with the Nationals that included a National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012, an NL MVP Award in 2015 and six All-Star nods, Bryce Harper is set to become a free agent for the first time.

Below, you will find a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the outfielder.

Braves unlikely to make bids for Harper, Machado
Oct. 19: While the Braves may have at least $60 million to address their multiple needs, which include a catcher, a corner outfielder, bullpen depth and a frontline starter, they may take a cautious approach to the free-agent market to avoid deals that hinder them down the road.

"We're not going to just walk in the store and buy because we have money in our pockets," Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "If we don't find the right deal with something we like, there's still other opportunities to shop. There could be opportunities next season. If you start signing guys to big, long deals, if you feel good about the deal, you do it now. I wouldn't force a deal right now that would limit you in years from now."

As a result, the Braves are unlikely to make competitive offers for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Rather, the club is more likely to be aggressive on the trade market as it looks to take another step forward after winning the National League East in 2018.

"I don't think with our club, with what we have, that the value is going to be there in the free-agent market," Anthopoulos said. "It doesn't mean it won't. We'll certainly explore it. But if I could sit here in the middle of October, I'd say it's more likely we go the trade route. It's not ideal to give up young assets, but it's also not ideal to do a deal you don't believe in -- that may look good for a year or two, and then in years three, four and five, it does not." More >

Nats planning to make strong effort to retain Harper
Oct. 18: As fan bases and front offices around the Majors dream of having Bryce Harper in the fold next season, the only team Harper has ever played for is holding out hope that the impending free agent will be back.

According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an article for Fancred Sports, the Nationals plan to make a strong effort to retain Harper this offseason, though they are also formulating an alternative plan in case he opts to sign elsewhere.

This comes after Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reported last week that the consensus within the Nats organization is that the club does not want to eclipse the competitive balance tax threshold after doing so in each of the past two seasons.

If Harper is signed for roughly $30 million annually, it could considerably hinder the Nationals' ability to address other needs on the roster. However, it doesn't sound like that will prevent Washington from making a major push to re-sign its homegrown star.

Janes also reports that if Harper signs, it could mean center fielder Adam Eaton goes on the trade block. Eaton has only played in 118 games during two seasons with Washington due to injury, hitting .300/.394/.422.

Phillies set to make run at Harper, Machado
Oct. 18: Will Bryce Harper and Manny Machado join forces in Philadelphia? According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an appearance on "The Rundown" on Thursday, the Phillies are prepared to pursue both players, and many expect them to come away with at least one.

"People around baseball are going to be surprised if [the Phillies] don't get at least one of these two players, and maybe both," Heyman said.

Heyman had a similar report back in September, writing for Fancred Sports that multiple rival executives believed that the Phillies could land both superstars.

However, as Heyman pointed out Thursday, it could ultimately be tough for any team to pull that off, as both players are looking to break the bank in free agency. Furthermore, any club looking to sign either player will have plenty of competition.

Video: Heyman on Mariners, Phillies free agent rumors

Will Yankees chase Harper, Machado in effort to catch up to Red Sox?
Oct. 11: After spending much of the season chasing the Red Sox in the American League East and then losing to Boston in the ALDS, the Yankees will be looking to close the gap with their offseason moves.

One way they could do it? A spending spree that results in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado wearing pinstripes, as Newsday's Anthony Rieber wrote Wednesday.

That type of plan isn't as outrageous as it sounds, especially after the Yankees stayed under the luxury-tax threshold in 2018 -- which means they won't be subject to the repeat-offender penalty next season. Without that restriction, the Yankees will likely look to significantly increase their payroll.

Of course, the rotation is arguably a greater area of need for New York than the offense, with Luis Severino struggling in the second half and CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn hitting free agency. Adding a starter such as Patrick Corbin, who is expected to be one of the Yankees' free-agent targets, according to a report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, may be the club's top priority.

Rizzo: Harper 'in our plans' for future
Sept. 30: Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo confirmed Sunday before the season finale that the club wants impending free agent Bryce Harper back.

"Of course he's in our plans," Rizzo said. "He's a guy we would love to have. He's a part of our family. He's a big part of this roster, performance-wise. Like I've always said with these type of deals, you're not betting on the baseball player, you're betting on the person. He's a person we'd like to have with us."

Rizzo's comments came in response to Harper saying he would "absolutely love to be" with the Nats long term, provided the club was interested in re-signing him.

"Am I in the [Nationals'] plans, you know? I don't know," Harper said. "It's hard to think about ... It's like, 'Well, it could all be over in a second.' It's kind of crazy.

"I've always said, 'If I'm in those plans, I'd absolutely love to be here.' But if I'm not, there's nothing I can do about it. There's nothing I can do. I would love to play next to Victor Robles or Juan Soto or Adam Eaton. I'd love to. But am I in those plans? I have no idea." More >

Harper expresses desire to remain with Nats
Sept. 25: As Bryce Harper prepares to become a free agent for the first time this offseason, the outfielder told the Washington Post that he would "absolutely love to be" in Washington long term.

"I think about other cities, but I love it here," Harper said.

"When I talk about D.C., I get giddy. I get happy. Because it's me. It's what I know," Harper said. "I don't know anything else. I don't know what it feels like to play for the Dodgers. I don't know what it feels like to play for the Yankees. I don't know what it feels like to play for anybody that you look at." More >

Harper expresses desire to remain with Nats

MLB.com

The prospect of watching Bryce Harper take the field at Nationals Park in a visiting jersey is one that isn't just bemusing to most baseball observers, but Harper himself.

"That's weird," Harper said on Tuesday in an interview with The Washington Post. "And who wants to see that? That's really weird."

View Full Game Coverage

The prospect of watching Bryce Harper take the field at Nationals Park in a visiting jersey is one that isn't just bemusing to most baseball observers, but Harper himself.

"That's weird," Harper said on Tuesday in an interview with The Washington Post. "And who wants to see that? That's really weird."

View Full Game Coverage

In one of his first interviews relating to his impending free agency, Harper told the Post that he would "absolutely love to be" in Washington long term. Harper established himself as a fan favorite and the face of the franchise -- if not all of MLB -- while leading the club to four postseason berths since he was selected with the first overall pick in 2010.

"I think about other cities, but I love it here," Harper said.

Harper's free agency has been calendar-marked for years, given his rapid ascent to becoming one of the Majors' best players at such a young age. And it's long been speculated that Harper wouldn't have pause to leave Washington given the demand he would likely see on the free-agent market, though Harper tempered those assertions in his interview with the Post.

"When I talk about D.C., I get giddy. I get happy. Because it's me. It's what I know," Harper said. "I don't know anything else. I don't know what it feels like to play for the Dodgers. I don't know what it feels like to play for the Yankees. I don't know what it feels like to play for anybody that you look at. I don't know!"

Harper won the 2012 National League Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL MVP Award, he's a six-time All-Star and will turn just 26 years old next month, positioning him to hit the market with established credentials as he enters the prime of his career. However, the Nationals' disappointing end to the 2018 season has created uncertainty as to how the club plans to address the team's needs heading into the offseason. Harper has also had one of the most up-and-down seasons of his seven-year career, hitting just .214/.365/.468 through the first half -- though he did club 23 homers and made the All-Star team.

"Am I in the [Nationals'] plans, you know? I don't know," Harper said. "It's hard to think about ... It's like, 'Well, it could all be over in a second.' It's kind of crazy.

"I've always said, 'If I'm in those plans, I'd absolutely love to be here,'" Harper said. "But if I'm not, there's nothing I can do about it. There's nothing I can do. I would love to play next to Victor Robles or Juan Soto or Adam Eaton. I'd love to. But am I in those plans? I have no idea."

Harper is expected to sign a lucrative long-term deal this offseason, perhaps exceeding the record $325 million mark that Giancarlo Stanton inked in 2014. And there are high-payroll teams that have been linked to interest in his services -- such as the Phillies and Dodgers, who reportedly claimed Harper off trade waivers last month before he was pulled back by the Nats when a deal didn't manifest.

At the very least, the Nationals will likely offer Harper a qualifying offer to retain Draft pick compensation. But whether the club even makes an offer in the ballpark that other clubs can -- and likely will -- extend remains a question, one that Harper is now clearly pondering.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper

Harper and Machado in Philly in '19? Why not?

MLB.com

Will Bryce Harper or Manny Machado end up in Philadelphia next season? Why not both?

According to a report from Fancred's Jon Heyman on Friday, multiple rival executives think the Phillies might be able to land both of the biggest superstar free agents on the market this offseason.

Will Bryce Harper or Manny Machado end up in Philadelphia next season? Why not both?

According to a report from Fancred's Jon Heyman on Friday, multiple rival executives think the Phillies might be able to land both of the biggest superstar free agents on the market this offseason.

Philadelphia has come up plenty of times as a potential destination for Harper and Machado. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki has previously reported that Philadelphia will target both players when they hit free agency after this season, and that the club could sign both.

Making such a big splash would certainly make the Phillies a favorite to contend for a playoff spot in the National League East in 2019. The team's rebuild has accelerated faster than expected -- the Phils entered Friday 74-71 and in second place in the division -- and Harper and Machado are two of the top position players in the game. Adding either one, let alone both, could be the difference-making piece for a postseason push.

The Phillies have shown they're willing to spend in the offseason, having brought in big-ticket free agents Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana this past offseason to complement their core of homegrown young stars like Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins. Even with the deals they handed out to Arrieta and Santana, the Phils still have a relatively low payroll and plenty of room to add another marquee player or two entering 2019.

The 25-year-old Harper is hitting .247/.388/.503 with 33 home runs and 94 RBIs for the Nationals this season. Machado, who's 26, is hitting .302/.374/.545 with 34 homers and 93 RBIs between the Orioles and Dodgers.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Philadelphia Phillies, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado

Trade Talk: All the moves before the deadline

MLB.com

The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline has come and gone, but the transaction wire stayed hot ahead of Aug. 31. That date is important because clubs acquiring new players via trade must have those players on their 40-man roster by then in order for that player (or players) to be eligible for its postseason roster. Teams can acquire players after Sept. 1, but those players would not be eligible to play with that team in the playoffs. 

Throughout August, it's not uncommon for high-profile players to be placed on waivers. In fact, most clubs will place a sizable portion of their Major League roster on waivers to gauge interest for their talent ahead of the offseason. 

The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline has come and gone, but the transaction wire stayed hot ahead of Aug. 31. That date is important because clubs acquiring new players via trade must have those players on their 40-man roster by then in order for that player (or players) to be eligible for its postseason roster. Teams can acquire players after Sept. 1, but those players would not be eligible to play with that team in the playoffs. 

Throughout August, it's not uncommon for high-profile players to be placed on waivers. In fact, most clubs will place a sizable portion of their Major League roster on waivers to gauge interest for their talent ahead of the offseason. 

When a waiver claim is placed, the player's original club has three options:
• Work out a standard trade with the claiming club within 48 hours
• Allow the player -- and all money remaining on his contract -- to go to the claiming club with no return
• Pull the player back off waivers

A player who is pulled back off waivers can be placed on trade waivers a second time, but at that point the waiver request becomes irrevocable. If a player passes through waivers unclaimed, he can then be traded to any club, free of restriction (though all 40-man-roster players in the trade must clear waivers before being dealt).

Glossary: Trade Waivers & Aug. 31 'Deadline'

With that in mind, here is the latest trade buzz:

Yankees officially land McCutchen
Aug. 31: The Yankees have officially acquired outfielder Andrew McCutchen from the Giants for a pair of Minor League prospects.

With Aaron Judge still recovering from a fractured right wrist, New York adds a veteran outfield bat to the lineup in McCutchen, who is hitting .255/.357/.415 with 16 home runs and 13 steals this season.

In exchange for McCutchen, the Yankees are sending No. 23 prospect Abiatal Avelino, a 23-year-old infielder slashing .287/.333/.446 with 15 homers in 123 games between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre in 2018, and Class A short-season pitcher Juan DePaula to San Francisco. More >

Video: Aaron Boone on what Andrew McCutchen adds to Yankees

Donaldson traded to Indians
Aug. 31: Star third baseman Josh Donaldson has been traded from the Blue Jays to the Indians, a source has confirmed to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. Donaldson cleared revocable waivers earlier in the day, making him free to be traded to any of the other 29 teams, as MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported.

The 32-year-old has been limited to 36 Major League games this season by injuries, most notably a calf issue that kept him out of game action for three months. Donaldson, who is set to become a free agent this winter, has posted his worst OPS (.757) since 2012. In 2017, the three-time All-Star and former American League Most Valuable Player posted a .944 OPS with 33 homers in 113 games for Toronto.

The Indians have AL MVP candidate Jose Ramirez at third base, but Ramirez could be moved to second and current second baseman Jason Kipnis, who has struggled at the plate (.690 OPS), could be moved to a bench role. More >

Video: Antonetti discusses acquisition of Donaldson

Brewers acquire Gio Gonzalez, Granderson
Aug. 31: The Brewers and Nationals agreed to a deal that will send Gonzalez to Milwaukee in exchange for two Minor League prospects, catcher/first baseman KJ Harrison and infielder Gilbert Lara. With Jimmy Nelson not likely to pitch again for the Brewers this season, and the club making a push to reach the postseason for the first time since 2011, Gonzalez joins a rotation featuring Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin, Junior Guerra and Wade Miley. 

In 27 starts this season for Washington, Gonzalez has a 4.57 ERA. In 2017, he posted a 2.96 ERA over 32 starts and finished sixth in NL Cy Young Award voting.

Milwaukee wasn't done adding, however, also acquiring veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson from the Blue Jays and lefty reliever Xavier Cedeno from the White Sox for two other prospects, outfielder Bryan Connell and right-hander Johan Dominguez. Granderson, 37, hit .243/.340/.429 with 11 home runs in 103 games for the Blue Jays this season, his 15th in the Majors. While Milwaukee's outfield is set with Ryan Braun, Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, Granderson could provide a veteran bat off the bench. More >

Video: MIL@WSH: Gonzalez talks about trade to Brewers

Dodgers acquire Madson, Freese
Aug. 31: The Dodgers have acquired right-hander Ryan Madson from the Nationals, completing a trade for the reliever after claiming him off waivers earlier this week.

Los Angeles was in great need of some bullpen help, with a number of relievers on the disabled list and Kenley Jansen struggling since he returned from nearly two weeks off due to an irregular heartbeat.

Madson, 38, has an unimpressive 5.28 ERA in 49 appearances for Washington this season, his 13th in the Majors. However, the right-hander has extensive postseason experience and a pair of World Series rings. He's also just one season removed from posting a 1.83 ERA.

Just prior to Friday's deadline to add players to rosters for postseason eligibility, the Dodgers also acquired veteran infielder David Freese from the Pirates in exchange for Minor League infielder Jesus Manuel Valdez. Freese has extensive postseason experience from his time with the Cardinals, including performances in 2011 that earned him the NLCS and World Series MVP awards. In 94 games for Pittsburgh this season, he hit .282/.336/.444 with nine homers. More >

Video: ARI@LAD: Roberts on Dodgers acquiring Freese

Yankees acquire Hechavarria from Pirates
Aug. 31: The Yankees bolstered their middle infield depth by adding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from the Pirates in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. Hechavarria, who was traded from the Rays to the Pirates earlier this season, is hitting .254/.287/.342 in 76 games (61 with Tampa Bay, 15 with Pittsburgh). More >

A's add Gearrin
Aug. 31: The A's added to an already deep bullpen by acquiring reliever Cory Gearrin in a trade with the Rangers, sending Minor League pitchers Abdiel Mendoza and Teodoro Ortega to Texas. Gearrin has a 3.51 ERA in 56 appearances between the Giants (35) and the Rangers (21) this season. He is the latest relief pitcher acquisition in a long line of them for Oakland this year, including Jeurys Familia, Fernando Rodney and Shawn Kelley. More >

Garcia nearing deal with Cubs
Aug. 31: The first-place Cubs appear close to adding another veteran arm to their bullpen mix for the stretch run, as MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reports southpaw Jaime Garcia is likely to sign with Chicago on a Minor League deal. The Cubs, whose 40-man roster is currently full, have not confirmed Garcia's signing.

The Cubs made a similar move in July when they traded Minor League pitcher Tyler Thomas to the Rangers in exchange for right-hander Jesse Chavez, though Garcia figures to serve as a situational lefty should he eventually get a callup to the big league roster. Though the Blue Jays formally released Garcia on Wednesday amid a tough season, the veteran has held left-handed hitters to a .188 average -- a skill that could prove useful to Chicago down the stretch.

Overall, the 32-year old Garcia is 3-6 with a 5.93 ERA in 2018, with 13 starts and 12 appearances out of the bullpen.

Braves acquire Rivera from Angels, Duda from Royals
Aug. 29: The Braves made a pair of moves to improve the fringes of their roster Wednesday, acquiring catcher Rene Rivera from the Angels on a waiver claim and first baseman Lucas Duda from the Royals for cash considerations.

This is the second straight year that Rivera and Duda have changed teams during the season, as they were teammates with the Mets before Duda was traded to the Rays last July and Rivera was claimed off waivers by the Cubs the following month.

Rivera, 35, recently returned from the disabled list after missing nearly three months with right knee inflammation. He has posted a .244/.287/.439 slash line with four homers and 11 RBIs over 87 plate appearances in 2018.

Rivera doesn't figure to see a great deal of playing time down the stretch, as he is joining a Braves club that already has a productive catching tandem in Tyler Flowers, who signed a contract extension Tuesday, and Kurt Suzuki.

As for Duda, the 32-year-old has posted a .242 average with 13 homers over 341 plate appearances this season. With Freddie Freeman entrenched at first base, the left-handed-swinging Duda will likely contribute primarily as a pinch-hitter. The slugger has some experience as an outfielder, but he hasn't started out there since 2013.

Video: Duda discusses being traded to the Braves

Phillies acquire Bautista from Mets
Aug. 28: The Phillies added another bench bat for their postseason push with the acquisition of Jose Bautista from the Mets on Tuesday for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman previously reported that the Mets weren't willing to let Bautista go on waivers for nothing, as the club didn't have much financial incentive to do so due to the 37-year-old's reasonable salary, which is a prorated portion of the league minimum. The veteran slugger has amassed 302 plate appearances since joining the Mets in May, hitting just .204 but posting a solid .351 on-base percentage with nine homers.

Bautista is the Phillies' second bench acquisition following the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, as Philadelphia traded for Justin Bour on Aug. 10 after claiming the first baseman off waivers from the Marlins. Bautista offers a veteran right-handed complement to the lefty-hitting Bour, though Bour is currently on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain.

The Phillies are the third National League East team Bautista will play for this season, as he signed with the Braves in April and appeared in 12 games before being released. More >

Video: MLB Tonight panel on Phillies acquiring Bautista