Rumor roundup: Yanks talks include Castro
The Hot Stove season is gaining steam, with numerous rumored transactions circulating around the big leagues. And on Thursday, relievers were the most popular subject of speculation, as several bullpen arms generated buzz among the free agents and trade targets.
Here's a look at some of the top stories from a busy Thursday in baseball.
Yankees willing to talk trade for any player
The Yankees appear willing to part with top bullpen arms. General manager Brian Cashman said on Thursday on MLB Network that the Yankees are open to any moves and confirmed that the club is listening to offers for some of their top relievers, likely including Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances.
"Yeah, I'd say that's accurate," Cashman said. "That's not something you want to do, but I'm definitely open and listening to all ideas.
"I'm open to listening on the bullpen, whether it's from very top names to some of the lesser names, whether it's setup guys or what have you. And if something does make sense, then we'll try to be aggressive and pursue it. But we do so cautiously."
Another New York player drawing significant interest is outfielder Brett Gardner, about whom Cashman said the Yankees have also fielded calls, though he noted that entertaining conversations won't necessarily lead to a trade, calling Gardner "one of our favorites."
According to the New York Daily News, the Yankees and Cubs have "discussed a swap involving Gardner and Cubs infielder Starlin Castro." Castro, a three-time All-Star, made the move from shortstop to second base this season with the emergence of young shortstop Addison Russell.
The 25-year-old Castro will make about $40.43 million over the next four seasons (he also has a $16 million team option or $1 million buyout in 2020) after signing a seven-year, $60 million extension with the Cubs in 2012.
According to the same report, the Indians are another club that has shown interest in Gardner, but the return in that scenario would more likely be a pitcher.
Gardner has three years and $37.5 million remaining on his contract, plus a $12.5 million team option or $2 million buyout for 2019.
Closer market shrinks as Reds hope to 'get moving' in Chapman talks
It's long been rumored that Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman could be on his way out of Cincinnati this offseason, but another closer-needy potential trade partner was seemingly eliminated on Wednesday, when the Tigers acquired Francisco Rodriguez in a trade with the Brewers.
The move comes less than a week after the Red Sox traded for Padres closer Craig Kimbrel, checking off another potential Chapman destination.
"We've been talking to clubs, but I don't think there's anything that's close," Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Hopefully we get something done with somebody before the Winter Meetings. We'd like to get moving on some things."
Chapman has a 2.17 ERA, 146 saves and 546 strikouts through six seasons and 319 innings with Cincinnati, but with the Reds in a rebuilding phase and Chapman set to become a free agent after the 2016 season, the club will likely continue to listen to offers.
With San Diego and Boston likely out of the mix, Miami, Houston, Arizona and, possibly, Washington, Seattle and San Francisco remain as teams seeking to add a closer.
Giles draws trade interest
Another closer garnering some attention on the trade market this offseason is Philadelphia right-hander Ken Giles.
The Phillies have taken multiple calls from interested teams, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Although general manager Matt Klentak said last week that trading Giles is not among the Phillies' goals this winter, he also noted that they're "trying to be opportunistic at every turn and trying not to operate in absolutes."
FOXSports reported on Tuesday that the Marlins and Astros are among the clubs inquiring about Giles, who replaced Jonathan Papelbon as the Phillies' closer in late July and recorded 15 saves in 17 opportunities, with a 1.80 ERA. He's under contract through the 2020 season.
Braves pursuing O'Day, Thornton
The Braves' efforts to rebuild their bullpen may include free-agent relievers Darren O'Day and Matt Thornton.
According to FOXSports.com, the club is actively pursuing both players, likely eyeing O'Day as a potential closer and Thornton as a setup man. The report noted that O'Day is seeking a four-year deal between $28 million and $36 million and that the Dodgers are also among the clubs pursuing him.
O'Day is one of the most sought-after relievers to hit the market this offseason. The right-hander notched six saves and posted a 1.52 ERA in 68 games for the Orioles last season, earning his first All-Star nod.
Thornton is coming off a strong 2015 campaign with the Nationals. The veteran had a 2.18 ERA through 60 relief appearances.