Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Minnesota Twins
news

On The Move presented by Penske

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 now 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 now a free agent for the first time.

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

Phillies' "dream" outfield: Harper, Trout, Cutch
Jan. 17: The Phillies are thinking big. "Harper and Mike Trout in the same outfield" big.

According to a report from Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci -- citing a source with knowledge of Philadelphia's offseason plans -- while the Phillies have enough money to sign both Harper and Manny Machado, they'd actually like to sign just one. Why? So they can make a run at Trout, too, if he hits free agency after the 2020 season.

"In one dream scenario," Verducci writes, "the Phillies would field an all-MVP outfield in 2021: Trout, Harper and Andrew McCutchen."

Trout and Harper might be the two most talented players of their generation, and the "Trout vs. Harper?" question was one of the biggest debates in the baseball world as the two ascended to superstardom. Putting them together on one roster really would be a dream for any team.

Three teams reportedly are in on Harper -- but several more could swoop in
Jan. 16: There have been plenty of rumors and all kinds of buzz surrounding free-agent superstar Bryce Harper since the start of the offseason more than two-and-a-half months ago. The latest news is especially interesting because it appears to narrow down the field of interested teams to three primary suitors -- at least, for now.

The Phillies, Nationals and White Sox, all of whom have been connected to Harper in numerous reports, are "the only three teams known to be in" on the slugging outfielder, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: phillies, nats and chisox are the only 3 teams known to be in on bryce harper. but fwiw, word is, several teams are said to be waiting in the wings. the word "waiting" suggests this may yet take awhile.

Several teams, however, "are said to be waiting in the wings," Heyman continues, meaning that a) more clubs likely are (or could be) in the mix at various levels of interest and engagement, and b) the Harper sweepstakes may not be nearing a conclusion any time soon.

With pitchers and catchers due to report in less than a month, is it possible negotiations for Harper could push close to -- or even into -- the start of Spring Training?

Phillies choosing between Harper and Machado; do they have a preference?
Jan. 16: One of the popular theories earlier this offseason was that the Phillies had so much money available that not only were they seen as the prohibitive favorite to sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, but they actually could consider paying up for both free-agent superstars.

That pie-in-the-sky scenario for Phillies fans isn't happening, according to Matt Gelb of The Athletic (subscription required). But that doesn't mean Philly won't wind up with one of the premier young talents in the sport. On the contrary, it's looking like the club is seen as a favorite -- it's just a matter of which one they choose to sign.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman notes that while Machado seemed to be the Phillies' top choice at one point, the club may now be leaning toward Harper, to whom the club is expected to make an offer soon, if it hasn't already.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Philly is in excellent position to sign one or the other of the free agent mega stars ��� Harper or Machado. Signing both though is said to remain pretty unlikely. But after they secure 1, Phils may take a closer look at other top free agents (ie Keuchel, Kimbrel, Pollock)

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Felt like Machado was Phils��� top choice at one time. Now it seems like it���s even or maybe a lean toward Harper. That 4/5 hour, 2 video meeting in Las Vegas sounds like it went great for Harper and the Phillies, who are expected to make offer to him soon, if they haven���t by now.

The Phillies sent a group of their decision-makers -- including managing partner John Middleton, president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and manager Gabe Kapler -- to meet with Harper in his hometown of Las Vegas over the weekend. The visit went rather well, as MLB.com's Todd Zolecki writes.

Heyman points to the Phillies' previous acquisition of shortstop Jean Segura, Harper's star power and the desire to one-up the rival Nationals -- who are believed to be in on the outfielder, but not Machado -- as reasons why the club could prefer Harper over Machado. Heyman also hears that Harper and Kapler "really hit it off," as both have similarly intense personalities.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Phillies could still go either way on the 2 FA mega stars. But here���s why they may be leaning Harper now: 1) acquisition of ss Segura 2) Harper cachet, success at philly 3) great meeting w/Harper 4) competition for Harper comes from nl east rival nats, who beat phils for Corbin

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Word is, Harper and Kapler really hit it off during the Las Vegas meeting, which could be another factor in Phillies��� thinking. Easy to see that: both quite intense

Back in late December, the Phillies hosted Machado at Citizens Bank Park, too, making them one of two teams -- the White Sox are the other -- known to have had face-to-face sit-downs with both stars this offseason. That could give them an advantage over some of the other suitors who have been linked to one player or the other, a list that potentially includes the Nationals, the Yankees and the Dodgers.

And yet, the waiting game continues for the Phillies, who don't seem to mind seeing how this plays out, because of the fact that either Harper or Machado could be a great fit for them -- and their financial fortitude to perhaps present the largest offers to either player.

"There is risk in dragging out this dance," Gelb writes, "but multiple league sources indicated the Phillies' risk of losing out on both stars is mitigated by the apparent lack of interested teams throughout Major League Baseball and the club's financial wherewithal."

Can Nationals afford Harper and Rendon?
Jan. 16: As the baseball world speculates where free agent Bryce Harper will land, the Phillies and the Nationals are seemingly leading the race -- and might be the only two teams in the running -- at this point.

One major advantage the Phils have is that they can likely outbid the Nats for Harper. Washington exceeded the luxury-tax threshold in each of the past two seasons and is going to be up against it again in 2019. The penalties get steeper when teams exceed the threshold in consecutive seasons, and there is also a surtax for exceeding it by $20 to $40 million. Signing Harper would likely put the Nats more than $20 million over the threshold in 2019.

The team also needs to worry about Anthony Rendon's impending free agency next offseason. According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required), Rendon and agent Scott Boras, who also represents Harper, are seeking a deal similar to Jose Altuve's.

The Astros gave Altuve a five-year, $151 million extension before the 2018 season, covering 2020-24. At the time, Altuve was already under contract for $12.5 million over 2018-19, bringing his total deal to seven years and $163.5 million.

As Rosenthal points out, signing Harper and extending Rendon would likely give the Nats a combined luxury-tax number exceeding $130 million for just five players (Harper, Rendon, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin) over the next three seasons, assuming Strasburg doesn't opt out after 2019 or 2020.

However, MLB.com's Jamal Collier gets the sense that the Nationals are proceeding as if they can afford both players.

"As recently as the Winter Meetings, [general manager Mike Rizzo] said he felt like there was room for both," Collier said Tuesday on MLB Network. "And I think that when he looks at the number that Rendon just signed for in arbitration -- $18.8 million -- that's about what the Nationals think for an extension, he'll be making over that time. And the fact that they're still in on Harper while negotiating with Rendon makes me think that they think they can sign both.

"It's going to be a matter of what exact number is Harper coming back for. If that number is closer to $400 million, there's probably not room for more. … If that number is closer to 10 years, $300 million, then there's probably a scenario where the Nats can fit both of these guys in. ... But I would certainly say, the way they're operating, the way they're going about their business, they haven't ruled it out, so right now I won't rule it out either."

Are the Phillies now leading the race to sign Harper?
Jan. 14: Following a five-hour meeting with Bryce Harper in his hometown of Las Vegas on Saturday, are the Phillies now the favorites to sign the market's most coveted free agent? Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported as much on Sunday, citing three anonymous sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations. 

Nightengale adds that the Nationals, who were considered the favorites to sign Harper after a lengthy meeting over the holidays, now believe they are a "long shot." 

The Phillies are also among a handful of favorites to sign Manny Machado -- and those odds could have increased, given that the Yankees' dialogue with the coveted shortstop have become "either dormant or completely dead," according to a report on Sunday from ESPN's Buster Olney. Nightengale's report added that the Yanks have "no intention of offering [Machado] a megacontract."

Philly is expected to make a formal offer within the week, per the report. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reported on Sunday that the club may be shifting its sights on Harper instead of Machado, to whom the club has issued a formal offer, per Zolecki.

For their meeting with Harper, the Phillies sent managing partner John Middleton, president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak, manager Gabe Kapler and assistant general manager Ned Rice to meet with Harper and his agent Scott Boras, and the club's front-office officials left the meeting feeling "optimistic" to land either Harper or Machado.

"It was really impressive to spend some time with him, get to know him better, answer his questions, and we got to ask some questions, learn about him, and I think that's a really important step in any negotiation is kind of understanding what the other party is looking for. And now we'll see where it takes us," Klentak told 6ABC in Philadelphia late Saturday night.

Until they make their offer to Harper, however, MLB.com's Jim Duquette doesn't think the Phils can be deemed the front runner.

"At least make an offer," Duquette said on MLB Network Radio. "It looks so absurd that you're actually going to try to declare that and you haven't put an offer on paper. … So until that actually happens, there's no Philly front runner for Harper.

"Just because you were the last team to meet with him does not make you the front runner," Duquette added.

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: .@Jim_Duquette: The #Phillies are not the front runner on Bryce Harper until they "Show Him The Money!"#Nationals pic.twitter.com/lMUsXgBNL9

At this point, the only team that is believed to have offered Harper a contract is the Nationals, whose latest offer was reportedly north of $300 million. As a result, Duquette thinks they are still the leading contender to sign the slugger.

In either case, MLB.com's Jamal Collier writes that Washington shouldn't be counted out.

"Harper's relationship with the organization, as well as [general manager and president of baseball operations Mike] Rizzo and the Lerner family, is strong," writes Collier. "A few front office members have wondered if eventually ownership will find a way to make it work to keep Harper in D.C. long term, even if doing so would almost certainly put the Nats over the luxury tax threshold again."

Video: MLB Tonight on Phillies, Harper meeting in Las Vegas

What potential mystery teams could be in on Harper and/or Machado?
Jan. 14: At this point, it seems clear which teams are the frontrunners for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but is it possible there are some unknown clubs in the race, waiting to pounce? The door is certainly open for that outcome, as neither player has found a deal to his liking with the current contenders. In fact, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported last week that Machado's camp was telling some people that there is indeed an unknown team involved, though Heyman couldn't confirm the validity of that rumor.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Machado camp is telling some folks there���s a mystery team in addition to Chisox, Phils. Validity is unknown.

So which clubs might be lurking as potential "mystery teams?" After extensive research into the market, MLB.com's Richard Justice named five in a column that was published Monday, putting the Giants at the top of his list.

"Since [president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi] has not traded away Madison Bumgarner, his most valuable asset, that could be a tipoff that the Giants aren't diving into any kind of rebuild," Justice writes. "What they need more than anything is an impact offensive player or two, preferably an outfielder. Signing Harper would insert the Giants back into the postseason conversation and also give the franchise a foundational piece to build on for the next decade or so."

Find out here what other teams could stun the baseball world by swooping in to sign Harper or Machado.

After meeting with Harper, Phillies optimistic
Jan. 12: Phillies executives traveled to Las Vegas to meet with superstar free agent Bryce Harper on Saturday, and according to Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, they emerged from the meeting "optimistic" about their chances to land either Harper or fellow 26-year-old free agent Manny Machado this offseason.

In addition to the Phillies, the other clubs seen as frontrunners to land Harper on what may be an unprecedented deal are the Nationals and White Sox. Philadelphia and Chicago are also seen as the frontrunners in the chase for Machado. As Breen notes, one area in which the Phillies may be able to stand out is the sheer amount of money they can offer either superstar. Phillies owner John Middleton said earlier this offseason that the club might be "a little stupid" in how it spends its money.

So should money be the ultimate deciding factor, the Phillies may be the favorite. Philadelphia recently hired a mentor of Machado's, former Orioles third-base coach Bobby Dickerson, as infield coach. And that came after the White Sox traded for Machado's brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and signed close friend Jon Jay. 

Both Harper and Machado are reportedly looking to exceed the record contract Giancarlo Stanton received from the Marlins in 2014, which was for 13 years and $325 million. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that the amounts on the table in Machado's case are closer to $200 million than they are to $300 million.

Meanwhile, MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM analyst and former MLB general manager Jim Bowden reported Washington made an offer well north of $300 million to Harper, after it initially offered 10 years and $300 million toward the end of the regular season. MLB.com's Mark Feinsand wrote earlier in the week that momentum appeared to be building for a Harper-Nationals reunion.

Do Phillies have another reason to meet with Harper?
Jan. 11: The Phillies are set to send a sizable contingent of their decision-makers to visit with Bryce Harper in his hometown of Las Vegas on Saturday, according to multiple reports. On the surface, the club is doing so because of legitimate interest in the free-agent superstar. There's no denying that the team and the player are a great match, as MLB.com's Richard Justice wrote Thursday.

But is there perhaps another reason -- an ulterior motive, if you will -- for this cross-country trek?

MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal presents just such a possibility in a column for The Athletic (subscription required) in which he examines how bringing back Harper -- who is seeking a deal north of Giancarlo Stanton's record $325 million contract -- would impact the Nationals' already lofty payroll.

"If the Phillies' preference is [Manny] Machado, as some in the industry believe, then the meeting from their perspective might simply be a ploy to drive up the price for the Nationals, a division rival," Rosenthal speculates. "Harper and [his agent Scott] Boras, in fact, might be proceeding with the same motivation."

Oh, wouldn't that be something? Sure, the most likely scenario is that the Phillies are meeting with Harper because they want him -- and are willing to spend some of their "stupid" money on a 26-year-old lefty slugger who would fit their lineup and rebuilt roster exceptionally well over the next decade.

But it's at least fun to consider that the Phillies could be making a show of heading to Vegas -- a city known for big, over-the-top displays -- as a way to push the rival Nats, who many now view as the favorite for Harper, to (ahem) raise the stakes on their reported 10-year, $300 million-plus offer.

Just a little showdown between a pair of clubs that expect to go head to head to win a super-competitive NL East division? Hmmm.

Should teams be worried about giving a 10-year deal to Harper?
Jan. 11: As the free-agent market continues to thin out, the two biggest names out there -- Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but you probably already knew that -- remain available. Dallas Keuchel, A.J. Pollock and Craig Kimbrel are still unsigned as well. What do these players have in common? They are all reportedly seeking long-term deals, something teams have been hesitant to give out in the past two offseasons.

Jonah Keri of CBS Sports polled a number of executives about why Harper and Machado haven't signed yet, and the aversion to adding players on lengthy contracts was one of the reasons mentioned.

"I think most of it is that teams aren't excited to sign anyone to 10-plus-year contracts," one exec said. "They are almost all bad deals. Certainly both players at their ages have advantages over most players who are free agents three, four, and five years older. But most teams are too rational to feel great about giving out 10-year contracts to anyone."

Indeed, many of the longest contracts in MLB history have later turned out to be albatrosses. But Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post argues that the risks that applied to many of the players who signed those deals don't apply to Harper or Machado because of their relative youth. Harper and Machado are 26. Albert Pujols, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez (in 2007) were all over 30 when they inked 10-year contracts.

Svrluga compares Harper and Machado to Rodriguez in 2001, when he landed a 10-year, $252 million contract with the Rangers as a 25-year-old. That deal would have covered the '01-10 seasons, had Rodriguez not opted out after the '07 campaign, at which point he signed an ill-fated 10-year contract for $275 million with the Yankees.

Now, the Rangers may argue that the franchise was hamstrung by Rodriguez's deal, preventing it from building a competitive team around him. After three straight last-place finishes, Texas traded the slugger to New York in 2004. But from a production standpoint, Rodriguez's original deal was a smashing success. Over the 10 years covered by the original deal, Rodriguez averaged 42 homers and 124 RBIs per season while recording a .971 OPS.

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.

Lozano releases statement on Machado reports
Jan. 16: Speculation about whether Manny Machado has been presented with a formal offer and for how much has become so rampant that it led to his agent, Dan Lozano, releasing a statement questioning some of the reports Wednesday afternoon.

Tweet from @Feinsand: Dan Lozano of MVP Sports Group, the agent for Manny Machado, released the following statement regarding recent reports: pic.twitter.com/MmKy9doaFz

Lozano's statement specifically mentioned multiple reports that emerged earlier Wednesday indicating the White Sox had offered Machado a seven-year deal for $175 million, well below the expected market price for the superstar infielder.

Video: After agent's statement, what is market on Machado?

Machado's early targets were topping either Alex Rodriguez's record 10-year, $275 million free-agent deal from 2007 or even Giancarlo Stanton's 13-year, $325 million extension with the Marlins in '14. But the dwindling number of interested teams (Machado's current market may be down to just the Phillies and White Sox) means the demand from the club side might not be there to satisfy Machado's desire for a record deal. That said, Machado should still be able to net a larger deal than Chicago's reported offer when all is said and done.

Phillies could eye Machado now, Trout later
Jan. 16: Imagine Mike Trout anchoring the outfield and Machado anchoring the infield. The Phillies are.

According to a report from Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci -- citing a source with knowledge of Philadelphia's offseason plans -- while the Phillies have enough money to sign both Machado and Bryce Harper, they'd actually like to sign just one. Why? So they can make a run at Trout, too, if he hits free agency after the 2020 season.

Either Machado or Harper, Verducci writes, "would invigorate what for years has been a sleeping giant among Major League franchises." And a pairing with Trout would be a once-in-a-generation combo.

And Verducci writes that while Trout, Harper and Andrew McCutchen would indeed be a dream outfield, "Philadelphia seems to carry a slight preference for Machado over Harper, if only because club officials met much earlier with Machado than they did with Harper."

Phils don't plan on signing both Machado and Harper
Jan. 15: Verducci's report echoes an earlier one from Matt Gelb of The Athletic, which suggests that while the Phillies won't sign both Machado and Harper, they're seen as a favorite to get one of the two -- it's just a matter of which one.

In a story detailing why the Phils feel confident in their slow-play approach with regard to Machado and Harper so far this winter, Gelb writes (subscription required): "League sources insisted the Phillies have made this much clear during negotiations: They will not sign both players."

That jives with what MLB Network insider Jon Heyman is hearing, and Heyman also notes that Philly might have more in mind than landing Machado or Harper -- like some other high-end free agents, including lefty Dallas Keuchel, closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder A.J. Pollock.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Philly is in excellent position to sign one or the other of the free agent mega stars ��� Harper or Machado. Signing both though is said to remain pretty unlikely. But after they secure 1, Phils may take a closer look at other top free agents (ie Keuchel, Kimbrel, Pollock)

Back in late December, the Phillies hosted Machado at Citizens Bank Park, too, making them one of two teams -- the White Sox are the other -- known to have had face-to-face sit-downs with both stars this offseason. That could give them an advantage over some of the other suitors who have been linked to one player or the other, a list that potentially includes the Nationals, Yankees and Dodgers.

The Phils last week conducted a five-hour interview with Harper in his hometown of Las Vegas, sending a contingent that included owner John Middleton, general manager Matt Klentak and manager Gabe Kapler. The meeting went so well that the club turned its sights more centrally on Harper, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, after spending most of the offseason with Machado as their top priority. That makes things interesting, if Gelb's report is indeed true that the club will only attempt to sign one or the other. 

And yet, the waiting game continues for the Phillies, who don't seem to mind seeing how this plays out, because of the fact that either Harper or Machado could be a great fit for them -- and their financial fortitude to perhaps present the largest offers to either player.

"There is risk in dragging out this dance," Gelb writes, "but multiple league sources indicated the Phillies' risk of losing out on both stars is mitigated by the apparent lack of interested teams throughout Major League Baseball and the club's financial wherewithal."

White Sox have made Machado a seven-year offer, maybe longer
Jan. 14: The White Sox have made a long-term offer to Manny Machado -- that much is known. MLB.com's Scott Merkin reported late Monday afternoon that the club's offer has not increased from seven years, which downplayed a report on Sunday from ESPN's Jeff Passan that Chicago had made an eight-year offer to the star shortstop.

Tweet from @scottmerkin: White Sox seven-year offer to Manny Machado has not changed, per source.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale and the Chicago Sun-Times' Daryl Van Schouwen echoed Merkin saying that the club's offer has not increased from seven years. It's possible that the deal could be worth seven years with incentives or options that could lead to an eighth year. 

The value of the deal, according to Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital, is $250 million. Passan adds that the club may "be compelled to go even longer" to land Machado, who is reportedly seeking a deal north of the record 13-year, $325 million contract the Marlins gave slugger Giancarlo Stanton in 2014.

Tweet from @hgomez27: SOURCE: The #WhiteSox have offered Manny Machado an eight-year, US$250 million deal, #Phillies still involved.First to reported @JeffPassan.#ZDigital #ZDeportes @z101digital @ZDeportes

Machado is one of two premier free agents on this offseason's market, along with fellow 26-year-old superstar Bryce Harper. The other team that is seen as a frontrunner for Machado is the Phillies, though Philadelphia is reportedly turning its attention to Harper (per MLB.com's Todd Zolecki) after meeting with him in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The Yankees were also considered a serious suitor for Machado, but ESPN's Buster Olney reports talks with Machado are "either dormant or completely dead" following New York's acquisition of free-agent infielder DJ LeMahieu. So does that mean the White Sox are now leading the race for Machado? That may indeed be the case.

"Unless the Phillies give huge contracts to both players, which remains a possibility, that leaves the Sox and the Yankees as the two remaining teams interested in signing Machado," Paul Sullivan wrote Sunday for the Chicago Tribune.

"A 'mystery' team can emerge as they often do when agents try to ignite a bidding war, but the lack of public suitors for the 26-year-old Machado could mean he'll fall in the Sox's lap."

The White Sox are also in the hunt for Harper, but it seems likely that he will either re-sign with the Nationals or head to the Phillies.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported on Jan. 9 that Machado was believed to be seeking a contract north of Stanton's record $325 million. Per Heyman, neither Philadelphia nor Chicago is believed to be close to the $300 million mark in their offers.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Word is, Machado camp still seeking 300M plus. ChiSox, Phillies not believed to be close to that ask (though exact current offers aren���t known, and can change). Meanwhile, Yanks, believed to be preferred destination, have yet to make official offer. Still no word of mystery team.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: More specifically, Machado camp still believed seeking something ���north of Stanton.��� (325M plus). Great player, very young for a free agent (26) and doesn���t hurt to ask. Still, very hard to see him getting there (or even close) on non-deferred, true-value deal at this point.

The White Sox have tried to make themselves more appealing by adding Machado's brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and close friend Jon Jay to the mix this offseason. While money may ultimately be the prevailing factor in Machado's decision, Chicago could find itself in a situation where it is the last serious contender left standing.

What potential mystery teams could be in on Harper and/or Machado?
Jan. 14: At this point, it seems clear which teams are the frontrunners for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but is it possible there are some unknown clubs in the race, waiting to pounce? The door is certainly open for that outcome, as neither player has found a deal to his liking with the current contenders. In fact, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported last week that Machado's camp was telling some people that there is indeed an unknown team involved, though Heyman couldn't confirm the validity of that rumor.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Machado camp is telling some folks there���s a mystery team in addition to Chisox, Phils. Validity is unknown.

So which clubs might be lurking as potential "mystery teams?" After extensive research into the market, MLB.com's Richard Justice named five in a column that was published Monday, putting the Giants at the top of his list.

"Since [president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi] has not traded away Madison Bumgarner, his most valuable asset, that could be a tipoff that the Giants aren't diving into any kind of rebuild," Justice writes. "What they need more than anything is an impact offensive player or two, preferably an outfielder. Signing Harper would insert the Giants back into the postseason conversation and also give the franchise a foundational piece to build on for the next decade or so."

Find out here what other teams could stun the baseball world by swooping in to sign Harper or Machado.

Yankees' negotiations with Machado are 'either dormant or completely dead'
Jan. 13: After the Yankees have bolstered their infield depth with a pair of veteran former Rockies -- second baseman DJ LeMahieu and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki -- to go along with promising third baseman Miguel Andujar and second baseman Gleyber Torres, the club might have swung significant leverage in its favor in any potential negotiations with Machado. 

In a piece published on Sunday, ESPN's Buster Olney writes (subscription required) that the Yankees' negotiations with Machado are "either dormant or completely dead."

Andujar has long been a speculated trade chip given his breakout rookie campaign and his club control through the 2023 season. But his defense has been a glaring liability at times -- Andujar was worth minus-25 Defensive Runs Saved in 2018, per FanGraphs, which was by far the lowest among qualified third basemen. Machado, however, has been one of the Majors' most elite at the position, though he's made it clear that he'd ideally like to play shortstop. 

The Yankees, per Olney, believe that Andujar's work ethic could be a propellant for the 23-year-old to make significant strides defensively. If they are committed to a patient approach, the Yankees could avoid shelling out another megadeal to land Machado, even though they are among a handful of clubs with the financial bandwidth capable of doing so. 

Machado met with the Yankees in December, along with the White Sox and Phillies. It's believed that he would choose among those three clubs, though it's unclear if or what New York's offer currently is. Machado's representatives are currently telling his suitors that there is a mystery club involved, per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman

After meeting with Harper, Phillies optimistic
Jan. 12: Phillies executives traveled to Las Vegas to meet with superstar free agent Bryce Harper on Saturday, and according to Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, they emerged from the meeting "optimistic" about their chances to land either Harper or fellow 26-year-old free agent Manny Machado this offseason.

In addition to the Phillies, the other clubs seen as frontrunners to land Harper on what may be an unprecedented deal are the Nationals and White Sox. Philadelphia and Chicago are also seen as the frontrunners in the chase for Machado. As Breen notes, one area in which the Phillies may be able to stand out is the sheer amount of money they can offer either superstar. Phillies owner John Middleton said earlier this offseason that the club might be "a little stupid" in how it spends its money.

So should money be the ultimate deciding factor, the Phillies may be the favorite. Philadelphia recently hired a mentor of Machado's, former Orioles third-base coach Bobby Dickerson, as infield coach. And that came after the White Sox traded for Machado's brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and signed close friend Jon Jay. 

Both Harper and Machado are reportedly looking to exceed the record contract Giancarlo Stanton received from the Marlins in 2014, which was for 13 years and $325 million. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that the amounts on the table in Machado's case are closer to $200 million than they are to $300 million.

Meanwhile, MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM analyst and former MLB general manager Jim Bowden reported Washington made an offer well north of $300 million to Harper, after it initially offered 10 years and $300 million toward the end of the regular season. MLB.com's Mark Feinsand wrote earlier in the week that momentum appeared to be building for a Harper-Nationals reunion.

After signing LeMahieu, are the Yankees out on Machado?
Jan. 11: Didi Gregorius' elbow injury, which led to Tommy John surgery in October, has caused the Yankees to be more aggressive than expected on the free-agent market with regards to infielders, and they have been connected to Manny Machado for months.

But the Yanks raised some doubts about their place in the Machado sweepstakes by signing Troy Tulowitzki, and New York's latest move might just close the door entirely on the superstar infielder landing in the Big Apple.

According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, the Yankees have agreed to a two-year deal with former Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu. Per Feinsand, New York plans to use LeMahieu as a utility infielder, giving him time at second, third and first. As Feinsand points out, LeMahieu also gives the Yankees insurance against a Tulowitzki injury, as the club could plug in the 30-year-old at second base every day and move Gleyber Torres to shortstop.

Tweet from @Feinsand: The Yankees plan to use D.J. LeMahieu all around the infield (1B, 2B and 3B), per source. They view him as a versatile, everyday player who gives them options. If Troy Tulowitzki needs a day or gets hurt, they can move Gleyber Torres to SS and plug LeMahieu in at 2B.

Despite Machado's reported preference to play in New York, the Yankees were already running behind the Phillies and the White Sox in terms of interest, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, and this move further narrows the 26-year-old's chances of signing with the Yanks.

Tweet from @jonmorosi: In Manny Machado market, #Yankees have trailed #Phillies and #WhiteSox in seriousness of interest. With DJ LeMahieu nearing a 2-year deal with Yankees, Machado���s chances of going to New York have narrowed further. @MLBNetwork @MLB

Even without Gregorius, who can become a free agent after the upcoming season, the Yankees have a glut of infielders, including Torres, Tulowitzki, LeMahieu, Miguel Andujar, Greg Bird and Luke Voit.

Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM thinks the Yankees can be crossed off the list of Machado suitors.

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) reports #Yankees are "closing in on" a two-year deal with IF DJ LeMahieu.https://t.co/f4lPcYp6onINSTANT REACTION from @JimBowdenGM: pic.twitter.com/J2c1zVudhf

"This takes them out on Machado, it means they're done," Bowden said. "I'm going to jump to conclusions without any confirmation from the Yankees. None. No confirmation, no inside information. But I don't know why LeMahieu is going to sign this deal with the Yankees if they're going to sign Manny.

"I got the impression all along that [Yankees principal owner] Hal Steinbrenner did not want to give that kind of years and money to Machado ... and this backs it up. So that leaves Machado probably to the White Sox or Phillies at this point."

But MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal writes in an article for The Athletic, that he'll believe the Yanks are out on Machado only when the superstar dons another club's uniform.

"This is not to say the Yankees are 'in' on Machado, not after reaching agreement on Friday with free-agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu on a two-year, $24 million contract," Rosenthal writes. "But I'm guessing the Yankees will follow their usual practice. Stay in contact with Machado's agent, Dan Lozano. Wait for the market to fully form. Then decide at the end if they are willing to meet Machado's price."

Rosenthal cites many past examples in which the Yankees have seemingly come out of nowhere to snatch up marquee players via free agency or trade, including Giancarlo Stanton last offseason, Mark Teixeira prior to the 2009 season, and Johnny Damon prior to the '06 season. He also notes that the Teixeira and Damon moves were under George Steinbrenner, and since Hal Steinbrenner has been at the helm, New York has been conscious about getting under the luxury tax threshold. 

"Still, after they spent years trying to get under the luxury-tax threshold, it sure is odd the Yankees might end up exceeding the $206 million boundary for 2019," Rosenthal writes. "They currently are more than $7 million over, according to RosterResource.com -- without signing Machado, Bryce Harper or even left-hander Patrick Corbin."

Are the Yankees really out on Machado? Machado himself has reportedly expressed his preference to play in the Bronx. Perhaps New York isn't out until Machado puts pen to paper on a contract elsewhere. More >

Phillies hire Manny's mentor for coaching staff
Jan. 10: The Phillies are one of three teams seen as the favorites to sign superstar free agent Manny Machado, along with the White Sox and Yankees. And they may have just taken a step that could help them bring Machado to Philadelphia. According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, the club has hired former Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson as infield coach. Dickerson's mentorship of Machado dates back to before Machado made his MLB debut in 2012.

Tweet from @masnRoch: The #phillies have hired former #orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson as infield coach. Will be in the dugout for games. 1st member of O's 2018 staff to find job in majors.

Tweet from @masnRoch: Dickerson had interviewed for job as #phillies minor league infield coordinator but was bypassed. Ends up with job on major league staff #orioles

According to a story by Dan Connolly for The Athletic last October, Machado referred to Dickerson as "one of his most important mentors." The hiring of Dickerson by the Phillies isn't the first personnel move made by a potential Machado suitor that involves people close to the infielder. In December, the White Sox traded for Machado's brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso. And on Wednesday, Chicago reportedly agreed to terms with free-agent outfielder Jon Jay, a close friend of Machado's.

Along with Bryce Harper, Machado is one of the two premier free agents on the market this offseason. At the outset, it was thought that both could command a long-term contract of more than $300 million. Although it has been reported in recent days that Machado is seeking a contract north of Giancarlo Stanton's record $325 million deal with the Marlins in 2014, it has also been reported that no team has made an offer that high to this point.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Word is, Machado camp still seeking 300M plus. ChiSox, Phillies not believed to be close to that ask (though exact current offers aren���t known, and can change). Meanwhile, Yanks, believed to be preferred destination, have yet to make official offer. Still no word of mystery team.

Machado, 26, had his best offensive season in '18, slashing .297/.367/.538 (146 OPS+) with 37 home runs and 14 steals between the Orioles and Dodgers, helping Los Angeles reach the World Series for a second consecutive year. Phillies owner John Middleton said earlier this offseason that the organization has money to spend and might be "a little bit stupid" about it, raising expectations that Philadelphia would make a giant splash in the free-agent market. It is also rumored to be one of the frontrunners for Harper, and Phillies representatives will be meeting with Harper in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Are Phillies, White Sox ahead of Yankees in chase for Machado?
Jan. 9: For a brief period of time Wednesday, it appeared the three-team chase for Manny Machado between the Phillies, White Sox and Yankees might have been narrowed down to two -- with New York out of the picture -- based on a single report.

Tweet from @hgomez27: SOURCE: The race to sign Manny Machado is down to two teams - the #Phillies and the #WhiteSox.#ZDigital #ZDeportes @z101digital @ZDeportes

Further digging, however, has yet to support that. "The Yankees have not been informed that they are out on Machado," a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

"The market for Manny isn't down to two teams yet," MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported, also citing a source.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman expressed a similar take -- that there's no word the Yankees have been told they're out of the running -- but did reiterate that New York "hasn't engaged in negotiations lately or made an official offer." What's more, there are questions about just how close the Yankees are willing to get to Machado's reported asking price, which is believed to be in the range of $325 million -- a number that's signficant for matching Giancarlo Stanton's contract, currently the biggest in baseball history.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Can���t confirm Yankees are out (there���s no word they���ve been told this at least), but as said, they haven���t engaged in negotiations lately or made an official offer. They aren���t meeting the believed 325M-plus target, or even 300. Or even coming especially close. https://t.co/pTjdkPLjSP

That lines up with what USA Today's Bob Nightengale pointed out, too, noting that the Yankees "have talked financial concepts with Machado, but have yet to make [an] official offer." It is worth highlighting, though, that Nightengale went on to say while the Yankees "have not backed out of [the] Machado sweepstakes," the White Sox and Phillies are "leading the way."

 

Tweet from @BNightengale: The #Yankees��� stance has not changed one iota in Manny Machado talks. They have talked financial concepts with Machado, but have yet to make official offer. Certainly, they have not backed out of Machado sweepstakes with #WhiteSox and #Phillies leading the way.

Manny Machado

D-backs acquire Locastro from Yankees

MLB.com

The D-backs and Yankees announced a trade Wednesday that will send outfielder Tim Locastro to Arizona in exchange for left-hander Ronald Roman and cash considerations.

Locastro, 26, is known for his speed and earned two cups of coffee with the Dodgers in 2017 and '18. The Auburn, N.Y., native is 2-for-12 as a Major Leaguer with a double, two walks, five steals and six runs scored. The Yankees acquired Locastro in a trade from the Dodgers in November before designating him for assignment Monday to make room for free-agent signing, DJ LeMahieu.

The D-backs and Yankees announced a trade Wednesday that will send outfielder Tim Locastro to Arizona in exchange for left-hander Ronald Roman and cash considerations.

Locastro, 26, is known for his speed and earned two cups of coffee with the Dodgers in 2017 and '18. The Auburn, N.Y., native is 2-for-12 as a Major Leaguer with a double, two walks, five steals and six runs scored. The Yankees acquired Locastro in a trade from the Dodgers in November before designating him for assignment Monday to make room for free-agent signing, DJ LeMahieu.

The D-backs signed Roman, 17, out of the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2018. The southpaw is set to make his professional debut this upcoming season.

Arizona is also close to completing a deal with free-agent infielder Wilmer Flores, per multiple reports, but Locastro's acquisition makes the D-backs' roster full at 40 players. That means Arizona will need to make another move to clear a roster spot for Flores.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Tim Locastro

Key 2018-19 free agents for all 30 MLB teams

MLB.com

An impressive collection of talent has hit the open market, and players are now eligible to sign with any team. Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the key free agents for all 30 Major League clubs.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

An impressive collection of talent has hit the open market, and players are now eligible to sign with any team. Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the key free agents for all 30 Major League clubs.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Atlanta Braves
Key free agents: RHP Brad Brach, 1B Lucas Duda, 3B Ryan Flaherty, OF Nick Markakis, C Rene Rivera, RHP Peter Moylan

Markakis was a valuable member of a youthful Braves club in 2018, providing veteran leadership and making the All-Star team for the first time in his career. Atlanta has a stellar farm system that is loaded with pitching prospects, but without an obvious replacement for Markakis in right field, the door remains open for the soon-to-be 35-year-old to return. Kurt Suzuki formed a productive catching tandem with Tyler Flowers across 2017-18, but the 35-year-old signed a two-year deal with the Nationals.

Miami Marlins
Key free agents: INF/OF Derek Dietrich

The Marlins' roster is replete with players who are at the early stages of their big league careers, putting them years away from free agency. After trading multiple big-name players last offseason, Miami will likely now look to deal veterans Starlin Castro and Martin Prado, as they are owed nearly $27 million combined in 2019. Meanwhile, Dietrich elected free agency after being designated for assignment and clearing waivers.

New York Mets
Key free agents: LHP Jerry Blevins, OF Austin Jackson, C Devin Mesoraco, RHP AJ Ramos, INF Jose Reyes

With Travis d'Arnaud, T.J. Rivera and Juan Lagares returning from injuries, the Mets have obvious replacements for Mesoraco, Reyes and Jackson next year. Blevins is more likely to be back than Ramos, whose recovery from right shoulder surgery is expected to extend into next June and possibly longer.

Philadelphia Phillies
Key free agents: 3B/OF Jose Bautista, INF Asdrubal Cabrera, LHP Aaron Loup

All four players on Philadelphia's list were acquired late in the 2018 campaign as the Phillies made a playoff push that ultimately fell short. Wilson Ramos signed with the division-rival Mets, leaving Jorge Alfaro as the likely starter behind the plate for the Phils in 2019. Cabrera could be a fallback option if the Phillies are unable to land Manny Machado in free agency.

Washington Nationals
Key free agents: OF Bryce Harper, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP Greg Holland, 1B Mark Reynolds, C Matt Wieters, LHP Tim Collins, RHP Joaquin Benoit

Harper is one of the top free agents on the market, and the Nats are making a major push to keep him in Washington. The club might also be interested in bringing back Holland and Hellickson, but the two righties are sure to draw interest from other clubs after boosting their value with the Nats. Washington traded for Yan Gomes and signed Kurt Suzuki this offseason, leaving Wieters looking for a new home. Left-hander Sean Doolittle will be back, as the Nats exercised his option for 2019.

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs
Key free agents: LHP Jorge De La Rosa, LHP Justin Wilson, C Bobby Wilson

The Cubs exercised their $20 million club option for Cole Hamels, who was acquired from the Rangers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, picked up Pedro Strop's $6.25 million option and tendered contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players, so they didn't have any major free-agent departures.

Cincinnati Reds
Key free agents: None

Outside of Matt Harvey, who joined the Angels on a one-year deal, the Reds didn't have any key departures or options to worry about this winter, though Scooter Gennett is due for free agency following the 2019 season and has been mentioned in trade rumors.

Milwaukee Brewers
Key free agents: LHP Xavier Cedeno, LHP Dan Jennings, LHP Gio Gonzalez, OF Curtis Granderson, LHP Wade Miley, 3B Mike Moustakas

The Brewers have most of their pitching depth locked up, with Gonzalez, an in-season acquisition, and Miley, who was initially signed to a Minor League contract before last season, the only two starters hitting free agency. Moustakas and Joakim Soria declined player options, making them free agents, and Soria signed with the A's. The club picked up Jeremy Jeffress' $3.175 million team option.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Key free agents: INF/OF Josh Harrison

The Pirates appear to be mostly set with their pitching staff but will be looking for a bat in the offseason -- likely at shortstop, after Jordy Mercer signed with the Tigers. Even if they don't make a Manny Machado-sized splash at that position, the market is deep this offseason, with Jose Iglesias, Freddy Galvis and Adeiny Hechavarria among the names in play. The Pirates opened up some payroll flexibility and a roster spot by declining Harrison's $10.5 million option.

St. Louis Cardinals
Key free agents:
RHP Bud Norris

Adam Wainwright agreed to a one-year deal to return for his 15th season with the Cardinals. Improving the bullpen to build around Jordan Hicks was a priority for St. Louis, especially with the departure of Norris, who provided stability at closer for much of the season. As a result, the Cards signed Andrew Miller in December.

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks
Key free agents: RHP Clay Buchholz, RHP Randall Delgado, LHP Jake Diekman, OF A.J. Pollock, C Chris Stewart, RHP Brad Boxberger

The D-backs made one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offers to Patrick Corbin and Pollock, both of which were rejected, and Corbin went on to sign with the Nationals. Pollock remains unsigned but is not expected back with Arizona.

Colorado Rockies
Key free agents: C Drew Butera, OF Carlos Gonzalez, OF Matt Holliday, RHP Adam Ottavino, OF Gerardo Parra

With DJ LeMahieu joining the Yankees and new acquisition Daniel Murphy expected to move to first base, the Rockies may be set to turn the reins at second base over to one of their middle-infield prospects, Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers. They also face decisions in the outfield and in the bullpen, with a number of key players entering free agency. That includes Parra, whose $12 million option was declined.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Key free agents: RHP John Axford, RHP Daniel Hudson, SS Manny Machado, RHP Ryan Madson

Clayton Kershaw, who had an opt-out clause that would have voided the final two years of his deal, signed a three-year, $93 million contract to stay with the Dodgers, but Machado is not expected back. Meanwhile, Los Angeles made qualifying offers to Yasmani Grandal (who signed a one-year deal with the Brewers) and the oft-injured Hyun-Jin Ryu, with the latter accepting.

San Diego Padres
Key free agents: C A.J. Ellis, SS Freddy Galvis

The Padres' 2018 roster will remain mostly intact with only Galvis and Ellis entering free agency. San Diego may let both walk, with young catchers Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia in the mix, top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. (San Diego's No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) nearing big league readiness and veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler joining on a two-year deal.

San Francisco Giants
Key free agents: C Nick Hundley, OF Hunter Pence, RHP Hunter Strickland

San Francisco exercised its options on Madison Bumgarner and Pablo Sandoval, bringing them back for 2019, and re-signed Derek Holland, who enjoyed a bounceback campaign and anchored an injury-riddled Giants rotation in 2018. The team could look to re-sign Hundley, who capably backed up Buster Posey, but they will likely part ways with Pence.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Baltimore Orioles
Key free agents: OF Adam Jones, C Caleb Joseph

The O's traded nearly every player on an expiring contract, including Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Brad Brach, during their 2018 roster purge. Baltimore would have dealt Jones as well, but he was unwilling to waive his 10-and-5 rights. Jones may be interested in returning, but he would likely need to accept a reduced role as the Orioles look to the future. The O's non-tendered Beckham and Joseph in November.

Boston Red Sox
Key free agents: RHP Craig Kimbrel, 2B Brandon Phillips, LHP Drew Pomeranz

The Red Sox have retained most of their roster after winning the World Series in 2018, re-signing postseason heroes Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce and picking up Chris Sale's $15 million option for '19. Eduardo Nunez exercised his $5 million player option for '19, and David Price decided not to opt out of the remaining four years and $127 million on his contract. Kimbrel could end up being the only key player Boston loses, as he rejected the club's qualifying offer.

New York Yankees
Key free agents: SS Adeiny Hechavarria, 2B/OF Neil Walker

Pitching has been the main focus for the Yankees this offseason. They re-signed CC Sabathia to a one-year deal and reliever Zach Britton to a three-year pact, and traded for James Paxton. Meanwhile, David Robertson moved onto the Phillies. The club declined a $12.5 million club option for 35-year-old outfielder Brett Gardner, New York's longest-tenured player, but re-signed him to a one-year deal worth $7.5 million.

Tampa Bay Rays
Key free agents: OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Sergio Romo

Romo was an integral member of the Rays' pitching staff for much of the 2018 season, racking up 25 saves and making five appearances as an "opener." However, he recorded a 10.00 ERA in September and will be 36 years old on Opening Day in '19. The cost-conscious Rays may opt to move on and give an opportunity to a younger alternative. As for Gomez, the veteran outfielder is unlikely to be back after posting a .634 OPS over 118 games in 2018.

Toronto Blue Jays
Key free agents: RHP Tyler Clippard, RHP Marco Estrada, INF Yangervis Solarte

Much like Baltimore, Toronto dealt many impending free agents during the 2018 season, including Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, Steve Pearce, Curtis Granderson and John Axford. The Jays picked up Justin Smoak's reasonable $8 million club option, but are unlikely to bring back Estrada after adding Matt Shoemaker and Clayton Richard to the rotation.

AL CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox
Key free agents: 1B/DH Matt Davidson, OF Avisail Garcia, RHP Miguel Gonzalez, RHP James Shields

The White Sox are close to emerging from their rebuild, and the club could look for more pitching help this offseason, since Michael Kopech is sidelined for 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Chicago picked up Nate Jones' $4.65 million option, but declined Shields' option for $16 million, opting instead for a $2 million buyout, and decided not to tender contracts to Davidson or Garcia.

Cleveland Indians
Key free agents: RHP Cody Allen, OF Melky Cabrera, OF Brandon Guyer, LHP Oliver Perez, INF Adam Rosales, RHP Josh Tomlin

The Indians have some security in the bullpen with midseason acquisitions Brad Hand and Adam Cimber both controllable for several more seasons, but bolstering the relief corps will be an offseason priority for the Tribe, who got a subpar season from Allen in 2018 and watched Andrew Miller sign with the Cardinals. Outfield is also an area of need, especially with Michael Brantley joining the Astros and Lonnie Chisenhall signing with the Pirates. The Tribe picked up Carlos Carrasco's $9.75 million club option for '19 but opted to buy out Guyer for $250,000 instead of exercising his $3 million option. Third baseman Josh Donaldson's stay in Cleveland was brief, as he inked a one-year, $23 million deal with the Braves.

Detroit Tigers
Key free agents: SS Jose Iglesias, LHP Francisco Liriano, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Iglesias, Liriano and the retiring Victor Martinez are the key departures for the rebuilding Tigers, who signed Jordy Mercer to replace Iglesias and added Matt Moore and Tyson Ross to their rotation.

Kansas City Royals
Key free agents: SS Alcides Escobar, RHP Jason Hammel

After trading Jon Jay, Lucas Duda, Kelvin Herrera and Mike Moustakas last season, the Royals figure to let Escobar walk, as Adalberto Mondesi is now their starting shortstop. The Royals will pay a $2 million buyout to get Hammel off the books instead of exercising his $12 million mutual option for 2019, but they'll bring back Wily Peralta, who emerged as their closer last season, on arestructured contract.

Minnesota Twins
Key free agents: RHP Matt Belisle, 2B Logan Forsythe, 1B/DH Logan Morrison, RHP Ervin Santana, OF Robbie Grossman

With Joe Mauer retiring and the Twins declining to pick up Morrison's $8 million option for 2019, Minnesota had a need at first base and designated hitter, leading to the additions of C.J. Cron and Nelson Cruz. Minnesota also signed Jonathan Schoop to replace the departed Brian Dozier (traded to the Dodgers in July) and Forsythe. Santana's $14 million option was declined after the righty missed nearly all of '18 with finger issues.

AL WEST
Los Angeles Angels
Key free agents: RHP Jim Johnson, RHP Junichi Tazawa, OF Chris Young, OF Eric Young Jr., RHP Blake Wood

The Angels will retain much of their core. Johnson will likely draw interest on the open market for clubs in need of dependable bullpen arms. Young suffered a season-ending injury (labral tears in both hips) but is expected to be ready for Spring Training.

Houston Astros
Key free agents: DH Evan Gattis, UTIL Marwin Gonzalez, LHP Dallas Keuchel, C Martin Maldonado, LHP Tony Sipp

Keuchel figures to be one of the most sought-after starting pitchers on the market this winter. The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner has spent his entire career with the Astros, but could anchor another team's staff in 2019. Brian McCann returned to Atlanta on a one-year deal, and Maldonado is not expected back after the team signed Robinson Chirinos.

Oakland A's
Key free agents: LHP Brett Anderson, RHP Edwin Jackson, OF Matt Joyce, RHP Shawn Kelley

Jed Lowrie, who signed a two-year deal with the Mets, was the biggest name among A's free agents, but Oakland let the veteran walk after acquiring Jurickson Profar to handle second base. Joyce is likely the odd man out in a crowded A's outfield. The A's also lost Jeurys Familia to the Mets and Trevor Cahill to the Angels but added Joakim Soria and re-signed Mike Fiers.

Seattle Mariners
Key free agents: 2B Gordon Beckham, LHP Zach Duke, OF Cameron Maybin, UTL Andrew Romine, OF Denard Span, RHP Adam Warren

Nelson Cruz has moved on to the Twins, and the rebuilding Mariners are unlikely to re-sign any of the other players on this list.

Texas Rangers
Key free agents: RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Doug Fister, RHP Yovani Gallardo, LHP Martin Perez, Tony Barnette

Adrian Beltre retired, and Texas declined its options on Fister, Perez and Matt Moore, making them free agents. Colon and Gallardo aren't expected to return after the Rangers signed Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and Edinson Volquez and traded for Drew Smyly.

Thomas Harrigan is a reporter and researcher for MLB.com.

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Cubs again claim Clarkin from White Sox

MLB.com

The Cubs and White Sox are doing their best to ensure that Chicago is Ian Clarkin's kind of town. On Wednesday, it was the Cubs' turn to acquire the left-hander in this offseason tug-of-war.

For the second time this winter, the North Siders claimed Clarkin off waivers from the South Siders, adding the lefty to the Spring Training mix. The White Sox had claimed Clarkin off waivers from the Cubs on Nov. 26, but designated him for assignment on Jan. 8 after signing reliever Kelvin Herrera.

The Cubs and White Sox are doing their best to ensure that Chicago is Ian Clarkin's kind of town. On Wednesday, it was the Cubs' turn to acquire the left-hander in this offseason tug-of-war.

For the second time this winter, the North Siders claimed Clarkin off waivers from the South Siders, adding the lefty to the Spring Training mix. The White Sox had claimed Clarkin off waivers from the Cubs on Nov. 26, but designated him for assignment on Jan. 8 after signing reliever Kelvin Herrera.

Clarkin -- originally claimed off waivers by the Cubs on Nov. 20 -- brings the team's 40-man roster to 39 players. The lefty landed with the White Sox in July 2017 as part of the blockbuster, seven-player swap that sent David Robertson, Todd Frazier and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees.

In 81 Minor League games (66 starts), the 23-year-old Clarkin has posted a 3.55 ERA with 6.8 strikeouts per nine innings. The lefty was selected with the 33rd overall pick (one slot after Yankees star Aaron Judge) in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft.

Last season, Clarkin turned in a 4.76 ERA in 25 appearances (12 starts) between three White Sox affiliates, topping out at Double-A Birmingham. In 85 innings, the left-hander had 50 strikeouts compared to 37 walks. Clarkin had a 6.29 ERA in his first 48 2/3 innings, but then missed time due to a groin issue. Following his return in July, the lefty had a 2.72 ERA in 36 1/3 innings over the remainder of his season.

Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 12 and are scheduled to hold their first official workout on Feb. 13 at the team's complex in Mesa, Ariz.

Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Chicago Cubs, Ian Clarkin

2018-19 free agents, position by position

MLB.com

In the thick of Hot Stove season, many members of this star-studded free-agent class remain available -- including Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrel, Dallas Keuchel and A.J. Pollock.

Keep track of the notable names on the open market with the list below, which will be updated throughout the offseason as new deals are agreed to.

In the thick of Hot Stove season, many members of this star-studded free-agent class remain available -- including Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrel, Dallas Keuchel and A.J. Pollock.

Keep track of the notable names on the open market with the list below, which will be updated throughout the offseason as new deals are agreed to.

Note: Players are grouped by position -- using a player's most-played position in 2018 -- and ranked by '18 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Each player's 2019 seasonal age and '18 regular-season WAR total are included in parentheses next to his name. (WAR totals are from FanGraphs.)

Catchers
Yasmani Grandal (30 years old, 3.6 WAR) -- Signed 1-year deal with MIL (1/14).
Wilson Ramos (31, 2.4) -- Signed 2-year deal with NYM (12/17).
Kurt Suzuki (35, 2.0) -- Signed 2-year deal with WSH (11/20).
Robinson Chirinos (35, 1.6) -- Signed 1-year deal with HOU (12/6).
Martin Maldonado (32, 0.9)
Nick Hundley (35, 0.9)
Matt Wieters (33, 0.9)
A.J. Ellis (38, 0.8)
Devin Mesoraco (31, 0.7)
Jonathan Lucroy (33, 0.6) -- Signed 1-year deal with LAA (12/29).
Chris Herrmann (31, 0.6) -- Signed 1-year deal with OAK (12/11).
Brian McCann (35, 0.5) -- Signed 1-year deal with ATL (11/26).
Rene Rivera (35, 0.3)
Juan Graterol, C (29, 0.1)
Caleb Joseph (32, 0.0)
James McCann (28, -0.1) -- Signed 1-year deal with CWS (12/19).
Chris Stewart (37, -0.1)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (34, -0.2)
Jose Lobaton (34, -0.3) -- Signed MiLB deal with SEA (12/10).
Drew Butera (35, -0.3)
Jeff Mathis (36, -0.5) -- Signed 2-year deal with TEX (11/19).
Bobby Wilson (36, -0.5) -- Signed MiLB deal with DET (12/5).
Stephen Vogt (34, N/A) -- Didn't appear in MLB in 2018.

First basemen
Steve Pearce (36 years old, 1.6 WAR) -- Signed 1-year deal with BOS (11/16).
Matt Adams (30, 0.8) -- Signed 1-year deal with WSH (12/18).
Wilmer Flores (27, 0.5) -- Agreed to 1-year deal with ARI (1/16).
Justin Bour (30, 0.5) -- Signed 1-year deal with LAA (12/15).
Mark Reynolds (35, 0.1)
Lucas Duda (32, 0.0)
Adam Rosales (36, -0.1)
Hanley Ramirez (35, -0.2)
Logan Morrison (31, -0.7)

Second basemen
Jed Lowrie (35 years old, 4.9 WAR) -- Signed 2-year deal with NYM (1/16).
Asdrubal Cabrera (33, 2.7)
Ian Kinsler (37, 2.3) -- Signed 2-year deal with SD (12/20).
DJ LeMahieu (30, 2.0) -- Signed 2-year deal with NYY (1/14).
Daniel Descalso (32, 1.6) -- Signed 2-year deal with CHC (12/18).
Brian Dozier (32, 0.8) -- Signed 1-year deal with WSH (1/13).
Daniel Murphy (34, 0.8) -- Signed 2-year deal with COL (12/21).
Cory Spangenberg (28, 0.6) -- Signed 1-year deal with MIL (1/4).
Jonathan Schoop (27, 0.5) -- Signed 1-year deal with MIN (12/6).
Ronald Torreyes (26, 0.4) -- Signed 1-year deal with MIN (12/6).
Josh Harrison (31, 0.3)
Andrew Romine (33, 0.1)
Neil Walker (33, 0.1)
Sean Rodriguez (34, 0.0)
Gordon Beckham (32, -0.1)
Logan Forsythe (32, -0.2)
Brandon Phillips (38, -0.3)

Third basemen
Eduardo Escobar (30 years old, 3.5 WAR) -- Signed 3-year deal with ARI (10/22).
Mike Moustakas (30, 2.4)
Josh Donaldson (33, 1.3) -- Signed 1-year deal with ATL (11/26).
Jung Ho Kang (32, 0.0) -- Signed 1-year deal with PIT (11/8).
Chase Headley (35, -0.4)
Ryan Flaherty (32, -0.4)
Danny Valencia (34, -0.4)
Jose Reyes (36, -0.9)
Yangervis Solarte (31, -1.3)

Shortstops
Manny Machado (26 years old, 6.2 WAR)
Jose Iglesias (29, 2.5)
Freddy Galvis (29, 1.2)
Jordy Mercer (32, 1.0) -- Signed 1-year deal with DET (12/14).
Adeiny Hechavarria (30, 0.4)
Alcides Escobar (32, -0.3)
Tim Beckham (28, -0.5) -- Signed 1-year deal with SEA (1/10).
Eric Sogard (33, -0.8) -- Signed MiLB deal with TOR (12/21).
Troy Tulowitzki (34, N/A) -- Signed 1-year deal with NYY (1/4).

Left fielders
Michael Brantley (32 years old, 3.5 WAR) -- Signed 2-year deal with HOU (12/19).
Marwin Gonzalez (30, 1.6)
Denard Span (35, 1.5)
Curtis Granderson (38, 0.9)
Derek Dietrich (29, 0.8)
Craig Gentry (35, 0.6)
Cameron Maybin (32, 0.5)
Matt Joyce (34, 0.2)
Matt Holliday (39, 0.1)
Danny Santana (28, 0.1) -- Signed MiLB deal with TEX (1/9).
Gerardo Parra (32, 0.0)
Gregor Blanco (35, -0.7) -- Signed MiLB deal with NYM (12/21).
Hunter Pence (36, -0.9)

Center fielders
A.J. Pollock (31 years old, 2.5 WAR)
Adam Jones (33, 0.5)
Billy Hamilton (28, 1.3) -- Signed 1-year deal with KC (12/10).
Gorkys Hernandez (31, 0.1) -- Signed MiLB deal with BOS (12/11).
Eric Young Jr. (34, -0.3)
Rajai Davis (38, -0.2) -- Signed MiLB deal with NYM (12/17).
Austin Jackson (32, -1.0)

Right fielders
Bryce Harper (26 years old, 3.5 WAR)
Andrew McCutchen (32, 2.6) -- Signed 3-year deal with PHI (12/12).
Nick Markakis (35, 2.6)
Carlos Gonzalez (33, 1.7)
Jose Bautista (38, 1.0)
Jon Jay (33, 0.8) -- Signed 1-year deal with CWS (1/10).
Lonnie Chisenhall (30, 0.8) -- Signed 1-year deal with PIT (11/27).
Robbie Grossman (29, 0.7)
Melky Cabrera (34, 0.4)
Brandon Guyer (33, 0.1)
Avisail Garcia (28, 0.0) 
Aristides Aquino (24, -0.1)
Carlos Gomez (33, -0.5)
Chris Young (35, -0.5)
Chris Owings (27, -0.8) -- Signed 1-year deal with KC (12/5).

Designated hitters
Nelson Cruz (38 years old, 2.5 WAR) -- Signed 1-year deal with MIN (1/2).
Matt Davidson (28, 0.8)
Evan Gattis (32, 0.0)
Pedro Alvarez (32, -0.2) -- Signed MiLB deal with MIA (12/3).

Starting pitchers
Patrick Corbin (29 years old, 6.3 WAR) -- Signed 6-year deal with WSH (12/7).
Dallas Keuchel (31, 3.6)
J.A. Happ (36, 3.2) -- Signed 2-year deal with NYY (12/12).
Charlie Morton (35, 3.1) -- Signed 2-year deal with TB (12/21).
Lance Lynn (32, 2.9) -- Signed 3-year deal with TEX (12/18).
CC Sabathia (38, 2.5) -- Signed 1-year deal with NYY (11/7).
Anibal Sanchez (35, 2.4) -- Signed 2-year deal with WSH (12/27).
Nathan Eovaldi (29, 2.2) -- Signed 4-year deal with BOS (12/6).
Gio Gonzalez (33, 2.0)
Hyun-Jin Ryu (32, 2.0) -- Accepted qualifying offer from LAD (11/12).
Trevor Cahill (31, 2.0) -- Signed 1-year deal with LAA (12/20).
Derek Holland (32, 2.0) -- Signed 1-year deal with SF (1/14).
Clay Buchholz (34, 1.9)
Wade Miley (32, 1.5)
Matt Harvey (30, 1.4) -- Signed 1-year deal with LAA (12/21).
Mike Fiers (33, 1.4) -- Signed 2-year deal with OAK (12/22).
Jeremy Hellickson (32, 1.2)
Garrett Richards (32, 1.0) -- Signed 2-year deal with SD (12/7).
Tyson Ross (32, 1.0) -- Signed 1-year deal with DET (12/10).
Brett Anderson (31, 0.9)
James Shields (37, 0.8)
Jason Hammel (36, 0.8)
Edwin Jackson (35, 0.7)
Matt Shoemaker (32, 0.6) -- Signed 1-year deal with TOR (12/28).
Adam Wainwright (37, 0.5) -- Signed 1-year deal with STL (10/11).
Marco Estrada (35, 0.5)
Francisco Liriano (35, 0.3)
Doug Fister (35, 0.3)
Bartolo Colon (46, 0.2)
Yovani Gallardo (33, 0.1)
Matt Moore (30, 0.0) -- Signed 1-year deal with DET (12/4).
Sam Howard (25, 0.0)
Martin Perez (28, -0.2)
Shelby Miller (28, -0.2) -- Signed 1-year deal with TEX (1/9).
Drew Pomeranz (30, -0.3)
Miguel Gonzalez (35, -0.3)
Kendall Graveman (27, -0.4) -- Signed 1-year deal with CHC (12/23).
Chris Tillman (31, -0.4)
Ervin Santana (36, -0.5)
Yusei Kikuchi (28, N/A) -- Signed 4-year deal with SEA (1/2).
Nate Karns (31, N/A) -- Didn't appear in MLB in 2018.

Relief pitchers
Adam Ottavino (33 years old, 2.0 WAR)
Jeurys Familia (29, 1.8) -- Signed 3-year deal with NYM (12/14).
Joakim Soria (35, 1.8) -- Signed 2-year deal with OAK (12/21).
David Robertson (34, 1.5) -- Signed 2-year deal with PHI (1/3).
Craig Kimbrel (31, 1.5)
Jesse Chavez (35, 1.2) -- Signed 2-year deal with TEX (11/30).
Oliver Perez (37, 1.1)
Luis Avilan (29, 0.9) -- Signed MiLB deal with NYM (1/10).
Tony Sipp (35, 0.9)
Zach Duke (36, 0.9)
Brad Brach (33, 0.7)
Nick Vincent (32, 0.7)
Joe Kelly (31, 0.7) -- Signed 3-year deal with LAD (12/21).
Jordan Lyles (28, 0.6) -- Signed 1-year deal with PIT (12/17).
Sergio Romo (36, 0.5)
Jake Diekman (32, 0.5)
Justin Wilson (31, 0.5)
Tyler Clippard (34, 0.5)
Shawn Kelley (35, 0.5)
Xavier Cedeno (32, 0.5)
Andrew Miller (34, 0.4) -- Signed 2-year deal with STL (12/21).
Kelvin Herrera (29, 0.4) -- Signed 2-year deal with CWS (1/8).
Greg Holland (33, 0.3)
Tony Barnette (35, 0.3)
Aaron Loup (31, 0.3)
Adam Warren (31, 0.3)
John Axford (36, 0.2)
Bud Norris (34, 0.2)
Ryan Madson (38, 0.2)
Dan Jennings (31, 0.2)
Jeanmar Gomez (31, 0.2) -- Signed MiLB deal with TEX (1/9). 
Alex Wilson (32, 0.2)
Zach Britton (31, 0.1) -- Signed 3-year deal with NYY (1/11).
Santiago Casilla (38, 0.1)
Carson Smith (29, 0.1)
Cory Gearrin (32, 0.1) -- Signed 1-year deal with SEA (1/10).
Ricardo Rodriguez (26, 0.1)
Cody Allen (30, 0.0)
Jorge De La Rosa (38, 0.0)
Justin Hancock (28, 0.0)
Fernando Salas (34, 0.0)
Zach McAllister (31, 0.0)
Jake Petricka (31, 0.0) -- Signed 1-year deal with MIL (1/12).
Blake Parker (31, 0.0) -- Signed 1-year deal with MIN (1/14).
Zac Rosscup (31, 0.0) -- Signed 1-year deal with SEA (12/20).
Blake Wood (33, 0.0)
Daniel Hudson (32, -0.1)
Jerry Blevins (35, -0.1)
Brad Boxberger (30, -0.1)
Matt Bush (32, -0.1) -- Signed MiLB deal with TEX (12/17).
Adrian Sampson (27, -0.1)
Allen Webster (28, -0.1)
Zac Curtis (26, -0.1) -- Signed MiLB deal with TEX (12/17).
Hunter Strickland (30, -0.2)
Matt Belisle (39, -0.2)
AJ Ramos (32, -0.2)
Hector Santiago (31, -0.2) -- Signed MiLB deal with NYM (1/8).
Jim Johnson (36, -0.3)
Randall Delgado (29, -0.3)
Boone Logan (34, -0.3)
Peter Moylan (40, -0.4)
Tim Collins (29, -0.4)
Jason Adam (27, -0.4) -- Signed MiLB deal with KC (12/17).
Junichi Tazawa (33, -0.5)
Brandon Maurer (28, -0.8)
Blaine Boyer (37, -0.9)
Josh Tomlin (34, -1.3)
David Phelps (32, N/A) -- Signed 1-year deal with TOR (1/11).
Joaquin Benoit (41, N/A) -- Didn't appear in MLB in 2018.
Jandel Gustave (26, N/A) -- Didn't appear in MLB in 2018.
Andres Machado (25, N/A) -- Didn't appear in MLB in 2018.
Samir Duenez (22, N/A) -- Signed MiLB deal with KC (12/17).

Thomas Harrigan is a reporter and researcher for MLB.com.