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Tigers agree to deal with shortstop Mercer

MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- A day after Tigers general manager Al Avila joked about finding a shortstop some time before Spring Training, he found one before the end of the Winter Meetings.

Jordy Mercer is poised to take over at shortstop for the Tigers, who spent Wednesday closing in on a one-year contract for the former Pirates infielder. The Tigers announced the signing on Friday.

LAS VEGAS -- A day after Tigers general manager Al Avila joked about finding a shortstop some time before Spring Training, he found one before the end of the Winter Meetings.

Jordy Mercer is poised to take over at shortstop for the Tigers, who spent Wednesday closing in on a one-year contract for the former Pirates infielder. The Tigers announced the signing on Friday.

"Obviously, somebody put something out there," Avila said Wednesday, "but obviously, I can't acknowledge that at this point. … I would say that our intention is to have a shortstop pretty soon."

MLB Network insiders Jon Paul Morosi and Jon Heyman first reported the deal, reportedly worth $5.25 million. Mercer is represented by agent Scott Boras, who has a history of bigger deals with the Tigers from Winter Meetings past.

The Tigers entered the offseason searching for a veteran defensive shortstop to replace free agent Jose Iglesias. Their preference was a short-term deal to serve as a stopgap until prospects Willi Castro and Sergio Alcantara are ready to compete for the big league position.

Video: Tigers reportedly sign Jordy Mercer to 1-year deal

Mercer was one of the candidates the Tigers identified from the start of the offseason, along with Adeiny Hechavarria and Freddy Galvis. The 31-year-old was Pittsburgh's primary shortstop for the past six seasons, including postseason berths from 2013-15. His Defensive Runs Saved ranged from nine in '14 to -9 in '16 and '18. He has posted a -0.3 Ultimate Zone Rating in each of the past two seasons.

Offensively, Mercer owns a .256 career average and a .699 OPS. He hit .251 (99-for-394) with 29 doubles, six home runs, 39 RBIs and a .696 OPS this past season.

A day earlier, Avila said the free-agent shortstop market had been moving slowly, and he sounded fine waiting out the market until closer to Spring Training if need be.

"That's just the nature of being here [at the Winter Meetings]," Avila said Wednesday, without acknowledging the deal. "Things change."

Whenever a deal is announced, the Tigers will likely lay low for a while. Though Detroit remains interested in signing a second baseman, presumably putting Niko Goodrum back into a super-utility role, Avila said such a deal will probably wait.

"I think we're going to sit back and wait a little bit to see how the market develops," Avila said.

As for trade talk, while Avila acknowledged interest from clubs in right fielder Nicholas Castellanos as he prepares for his contract year, no deal is close. The Tigers are receiving trade interest in a couple of other players as well, Avila said. One is believed to be closer Shane Greene.

"But it seems like a lot needs to happen, whether it be free agents out there, whether it be other bigger deals, that have to kind of fall in," Avila said. "And then, at that point, we'll see where we fit into the big picture of the other 29 clubs."

In other words, Avila said, a trade at the Winter Meetings is "highly unlikely."

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

Detroit Tigers, Jordy Mercer

2018-19 free agents, position by position

MLB.com

By now, you probably know this year's big-name free agents.

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the headliners. There's also Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel and A.J. Pollock. But what about the rest?

By now, you probably know this year's big-name free agents.

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the headliners. There's also Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel and A.J. Pollock. But what about the rest?

Below is a list of notable free agents, 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)
Wilson Ramos (31, 2.4)
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)
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) -- non-tendered
Caleb Joseph (32, 0.0) -- non-tendered
James McCann (28, -0.1) -- non-tendered
Chris Stewart (37, -0.1)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (34, -0.2)
Jose Lobaton (34, -0.3) -- Agreed to 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)
Wilmer Flores (27, 0.5) -- non-tendered
Justin Bour (30, 0.5) -- Agreed to 1-year deal with LAA (12/12).
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)
Asdrubal Cabrera (33, 2.7)
Ian Kinsler (37, 2.3)
DJ LeMahieu (30, 2.0)
Daniel Descalso (32, 1.6)
Brian Dozier (32, 0.8)
Daniel Murphy (34, 0.8)
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) -- non-tendered

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) -- non-tendered
Eric Sogard (33, -0.8)
Troy Tulowitzki (34, N/A) -- Didn't appear in MLB in 2018.

Left fielders
Michael Brantley (32 years old, 3.5 WAR)
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)
Gerardo Parra (32, 0.0)
Gregor Blanco (35, -0.7)
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 mutual option for 2020 with KC (12/10).
Gorkys Hernandez (31, 0.1) -- Agreed to MiLB deal with BOS (12/11).
Eric Young Jr. (34, -0.3)
Rajai Davis (38, -0.2)
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)
Lonnie Chisenhall (30, 0.8) -- Signed 1-year deal with PIT (11/27).
Robbie Grossman (29, 0.7) -- non-tendered
Melky Cabrera (34, 0.4)
Brandon Guyer (33, 0.1)
Avisail Garcia (28, 0.0) -- non-tendered
Aristides Aquino (24, -0.1) -- non-tendered
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)
Matt Davidson (28, 0.8) -- non-tendered
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) -- Agreed to 2-year deal with NYY (12/12).
Charlie Morton (35, 3.1) -- Agreed to 2-year deal with TB (12/12).
Lance Lynn (32, 2.9) -- Agreed to 3-year deal with TEX (12/12).
CC Sabathia (38, 2.5) -- Signed 1-year deal with NYY (11/7).
Anibal Sanchez (35, 2.4)
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)
Derek Holland (32, 2.0)
Clay Buchholz (34, 1.9)
Wade Miley (32, 1.5)
Matt Harvey (30, 1.4)
Mike Fiers (33, 1.4) -- non-tendered
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) -- non-tendered
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)
Jaime Garcia (32, 0.0)
Matt Moore (30, 0.0) -- Signed 1-year deal with DET (12/4).
Sam Howard (25, 0.0) -- non-tendered
Martin Perez (28, -0.2)
Shelby Miller (28, -0.2) -- non-tendered
Drew Pomeranz (30, -0.3)
Miguel Gonzalez (35, -0.3)
Kendall Graveman (27, -0.4) -- non-tendered
Chris Tillman (31, -0.4)
Ervin Santana (36, -0.5)
Yusei Kikuchi (28, N/A) -- Posted by Japan's Seibu Lions (12/3).
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) -- Agreed to 3-year deal with NYM (12/13).
Joakim Soria (35, 1.8)
David Robertson (34, 1.5)
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) -- non-tendered
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) -- Agreed to 3-year deal with LAD (12/13).
Jordan Lyles (28, 0.6) -- Agreed to deal with PIT (12/11).
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) -- non-tendered
Andrew Miller (34, 0.4)
Kelvin Herrera (29, 0.4)
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) -- non-tendered
Jeanmar Gomez (31, 0.2)
Alex Wilson (32, 0.2) -- non-tendered
Zach Britton (31, 0.1)
Santiago Casilla (38, 0.1)
Carson Smith (29, 0.1)
Cory Gearrin (32, 0.1) -- non-tendered
Ricardo Rodriguez (26, 0.1) -- non-tendered
Cody Allen (30, 0.0)
Jorge De La Rosa (38, 0.0)
Justin Hancock (28, 0.0) -- non-tendered
Fernando Salas (34, 0.0)
Zach McAllister (31, 0.0)
Blake Parker (31, 0.0) -- non-tendered
Blake Wood (33, 0.0)
Daniel Hudson (32, -0.1)
Jerry Blevins (35, -0.1)
Brad Boxberger (30, -0.1) -- non-tendered
Matt Bush (32, -0.1) -- non-tendered
Adrian Sampson (27, -0.1) -- non-tendered
Allen Webster (28, -0.1) -- non-tendered
Zac Curtis (26, -0.1) -- non-tendered
Hunter Strickland (30, -0.2) -- non-tendered
Matt Belisle (39, -0.2)
AJ Ramos (32, -0.2)
Hector Santiago (31, -0.2)
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)
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) -- Didn't appear in MLB in 2018.
Joaquin Benoit (41, N/A) -- Didn't appear in MLB in 2018.
Jandel Gustave (26, N/A) -- Didn't appear in MLB in 2018.
Jason Adam (27, -0.4) -- Non-tendered, didn't appear in MLB in 2018.
Andres Machado (25, N/A) -- Non-tendered, didn't appear in MLB in 2018.
Samir Duenez (22, N/A) -- Non-tendered, didn't appear in MLB in 2018.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

From hospital bed, Dipoto adds vet bat in Edwin

Seattle also receives key Draft pick, shipping Santana to Indians
MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- Though Jerry Dipoto closed out the Winter Meetings in a Las Vegas hospital dealing with severe chest pains from blood clots in his lungs, he still managed to pull off a deal before everyone else headed home.

The Mariners traded recently acquired first baseman Carlos Santana to the Indians on Thursday for veteran slugger Edwin Encarnacion and a Competitive Balance Round B pick in the 2019 Draft.

LAS VEGAS -- Though Jerry Dipoto closed out the Winter Meetings in a Las Vegas hospital dealing with severe chest pains from blood clots in his lungs, he still managed to pull off a deal before everyone else headed home.

The Mariners traded recently acquired first baseman Carlos Santana to the Indians on Thursday for veteran slugger Edwin Encarnacion and a Competitive Balance Round B pick in the 2019 Draft.

Assistant general manager Justin Hollander said Dipoto was feeling better after being driven to the hospital on Wednesday. Dipoto was released from the hospital on Thursday to rest in his Las Vegas hotel and was cleared to fly home to Seattle on Friday.

"We were texting back and forth," Hollander said. "Some of the ground work had been laid. He basically handed me the keys and said, 'You know what I want to do, roughly. Just check in when you have questions, but go run with it.'"

Video: Encarnacion, Santana, Bauers traded in 3-team deal

Encarnacion could fill Seattle's designated hitter role for 2019 with Nelson Cruz on the free-agent market, but the Mariners are willing to flip Encarnacion in another deal if possible.

"If we have an opportunity to speed up the timeline on our stepback, we'll do what is best for the Mariners in the long run," Hollander said. "And we're trying to make the long run shorter. Trying to condense that timeline of when we're ready to contend. So if we can pick up an asset that helps us going forward, we'll do that."

Encarnacion has one year and $21.6 million remaining on his contract, plus a $20 million option or a $5 million buyout for 2020, while Santana has two years at $40 million remaining. So assuming Seattle takes Encarnacion's buyout, the rebuilding club gains about $13 million in payroll flexibility for 2020, in addition to adding a high Draft pick.

The Competitive Balance Round B pick is the 77th overall selection in the 2019 Draft next June. That gives the Mariners three picks in the top 100 for the Draft as they have rights to the 20th selection in the first round and the 59th overall selection in the second round.

"We're excited to add a proven offensive performer in Edwin Encarnacion," Dipoto said. "In addition, by adding another Draft pick for 2019, we have another opportunity to add to the talent in our Minor League system."

Hollander said the added roster and payroll flexibility was the key, along with the Draft pick. And if the club winds up keeping Encarnacion, they've added an outstanding player.

Video: CLE@CWS: Encarnacion swats 3-run homer to left-center

"I know people have said you're tearing it down, but we want to have good players on our team and be representative and try to create a positive environment," Hollander said. "Edwin Encarnacion is a really good offensive player. It creates flexibility for us, and also it gets the comp pick for us. We wouldn't have done the deal without the Draft pick."

Encarnacion, who turns 36 in January, has been one of MLB's top sluggers over the past seven seasons while earning three All-Star berths in that span. He hit .246/.336/.474 with 32 home runs and 107 RBIs last year in 137 games, with 115 of those at designated hitter and the rest at first base.

Since 2012, the Dominican Republic native leads MLB in home runs with 263 and RBIs at 764. Cruz is second in both those categories in the same span at 254 and 688. Encarnacion was third in the AL in RBIs last season and tied for ninth in home runs.

Santana was acquired from the Phillies on Dec. 3 along with young shortstop J.P. Crawford in a deal for shortstop Jean Segura and relievers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos, with Santana's addition primarily to help offset the four years and $59 million remaining on Segura's contract.

Dipoto's goal is to free the club from the burden of the long-term salaries that figured to limit his payroll flexibility in 2020 and beyond, when he's looking to bring on the new young core of talent being acquired in deals like the Segura and Robinson Cano trades in recent weeks.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Edwin Encarnacion

Santana returns to Cleveland in 3-team deal

Indians send Encarnacion to Seattle, swap Diaz for Rays' Bauers
MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti and general manager Mike Chernoff had their hands full at the airport in Las Vegas, waiting to board their flight back to Cleveland. They sat at their gate, working on a blockbuster trade, but not one that involved their starting pitchers.

The Indians acquired Carlos Santana from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Edwin Encarnacion and cash considerations and sent Yandy Diaz and Cole Sulser to Tampa Bay for Jake Bauers in part of the three-way deal that was finalized as Antonetti and Chernoff were stepping onto the plane.

LAS VEGAS -- Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti and general manager Mike Chernoff had their hands full at the airport in Las Vegas, waiting to board their flight back to Cleveland. They sat at their gate, working on a blockbuster trade, but not one that involved their starting pitchers.

The Indians acquired Carlos Santana from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Edwin Encarnacion and cash considerations and sent Yandy Diaz and Cole Sulser to Tampa Bay for Jake Bauers in part of the three-way deal that was finalized as Antonetti and Chernoff were stepping onto the plane.

"We needed Commissioner's approval on the cash component, and that was the last thing we got," Antonetti said. "That was this morning right before we got on the plane. Or as we were getting on the plane."

Video: Justice discusses Tribe trading for Bauers, Santana

After donning an Indians uniform for his first eight years in the Majors, Santana will have a homecoming in 2019. The 32-year-old spent his '18 season in Philadelphia after being signed as a free agent last December. The infielder slashed .229/.352/.414 last year with 24 homers and 86 RBIs. He was traded by the Phillies to the Mariners on Dec. 3 for shortstop Jean Segura, right-hander Juan Nicasio and lefty James Pazos. Because he was in the air, Antonetti had to wait until after the flight to call Santana, though the two communicated via text throughout the flight.

"I mean, we have a long history with him," Antonetti said. "We know what makes him tick, we know all of the things he brings to a team and a clubhouse, so that does help."

The Indians have multiple decisions to make at first base. Bauers played mainly first and some outfield for the Rays last season. After getting the callup to the big leagues in June, Bauers, 23, hit .201 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs in 388 plate appearances. The rookie could take first, but could also be a much-needed option in the Indians outfield to fill the vacancies left after the team lost multiple key outfielders to free agency.

Video: Must C Catch: Bauers lays out for great catch

"Jake's pretty special to us," Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom said. "Our high opinion of him doesn't change. He's a competitor who can hit, and he's a pretty good defensive first baseman. We like him a lot. The Indians are getting a hell of a player, and it's going to be fun to watch his career progress."

"We like the fact that [Bauers] can play both [first and the outfield]," Antonetti said. "We feel he's an above-average defender at first, but also has some experience in the outfield and can also play out there if that's where we have an opportunity. So that versatility was an attractive element for us in addition to what we think he has the ability to develop into offensively."

Tweet from @JakeBauers11: Going to #TheLand https://t.co/IYAN3RleGu

Another option for the Tribe would be to split time between Yonder Alonso and Santana at first and designated hitter with Bauers in the outfield. Dealing Diaz to the Rays opens third base for Jose Ramirez, with Jason Kipnis settling back in at second base. Santana, who made 19 appearances at third last season, could also fill at times. However, the final roster is anything but set, and Kipnis also has gotten starts in the outfield and could again. The Indians also could use Alonso in a trade to help fill the vacancies in the rest of the roster, especially the bullpen.

"A lot of it depends upon what the final construction of our roster might be, but both Carlos and Jake do have some versatility," Antonetti said of Alonso's role in 2019. "So we could configure the roster in a variety of different ways. But there's still a lot of offseason left. I'm not sure this will be the final roster that we have going into Spring Training."

Diaz, 27, appeared in 39 games for Cleveland in 2018, hitting .312 with 15 RBIs. Antonetti said earlier this week that the team would feel comfortable with the young infielder getting over 500 plate appearances next year, but now the acquisitions of Santana and Bauers bring both experience and flexibility to the roster, respectively.

"First off, I think we're acquiring two players that we feel will help us next year," Antonetti said. "Both Carlos and Jake are productive Major League players that not only contribute but enhance the versatility of our roster. Beyond that, it adds some payroll flexibility for us in 2019."

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: Money exchanged in the three-team trade, per source:$5M from #Rays to #Mariners.$6M from #Mariners to #Indians.Encarnacion owed $25M for one year, including $5M buyout.Santana, headed to #Indians, owed $35M for two years, including $500K buyout.

The Indians' payroll has been one of the most discussed topics this offseason. Dealing Encarnacion erases the team's largest contract with the designated hitter to make $21.67 million in 2019 with Santana receiving $17 million.

According to a report by MLB Network Insider Ken Rosenthal, the Indians will receive $6 million from the Mariners to help with Santana's two-year contract of $35 million (including a $500,000 buyout in 2021). With Santana's '19 earnings and the extra cash considerations, the Indians will have a little more wiggle room with their payroll for next season.

Seattle will also receive Cleveland's 77th pick of the 2019 Competitive Balance Draft.

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com.

Cleveland Indians, Jake Bauers, Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Santana

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.

Would Machado return to 3B if price is right?
Dec. 13: Manny Machado spent the past year making it abundantly clear that he prefers playing shortstop. It's why he moved last offseason from third base, where he played the vast majority of the first six seasons in the Major Leagues, to short -- his natural position, the one at which he was drafted back in 2010.

But now that he's a free agent and various teams courting him have different needs on the left side of their infields, would Machado consider moving back to the hot corner? Is it a matter of finding the right fit? The right team? The most amount of money?

"Manny's mindset is to be a shortstop," Machado's longtime coach and baseball mentor Bobby Dickerson told Scott Lauber of Philly.com. "He really wants to play short. But I do think for the correct team in the correct situation and the right contract, all those things, he'd be willing to play third. I don't know this, but I believe it."

After emerging as one of the elite defensive third basemen in the sport early in his career, Machado's performance at short came into question at times in 2018, particularly before he was traded to the Dodgers from the Orioles.

That could mean certain suitors might be wary of how he'd handle the position going forward, especially as the 26-year-old heads toward his late 20s and into his 30s. Given their current rosters, it's possible the Phillies, Yankees and White Sox -- the three known clubs with which Machado is expected to meet, among other mystery teams -- would prefer to deploy him at third.

Asked specifically about whether he thinks Machado would play third base for the Phillies in the wake of their recent acquisition of shortstop Jean Segura, Dickerson offered: "I think if the contract is right, he would. It may have to go an extra five million, or more, or whatever to get him out of [shortstop]. But if the contract is right, I think he would go to third."

Does Machado have a preferred landing spot?
Dec. 13: There's been no shortage of speculation about which teams are in on free-agent star Manny Machado. It's been reported he's due to meet with the Phillies, the White Sox and the Yankees. Oh, and at least three mystery clubs, too.

While teams continue to woo Machado, perhaps it's worth considering this process from his point of view, too. Does Machado have a preference for where he winds up?

"Manny Machado's first choice is the New York Yankees," CBS Sports Network analyst and former big league general manager Jim Bowden said Wednesday evening. "So if the Yankees come to the table ... and are willing to compete financially for his services, they will be the team that gets Manny Machado."

Tweet from @CBSSportsNet: ���Manny Machado���s first choice is the New York Yankees.���If the Yankees are willing to meet Machado���s price tag, @JimBowdenGM tells @AdamSchein he will be wearing pinstripes. #T2S pic.twitter.com/rLwUfByWj5

The Yankees certainly have the resources to go after Machado, who is expected to score a contract that could rival that of Bryce Harper's this offseason (read: north of $300 million over 10 years). The question, then, might be how badly general manager Brian Cashman and the rest of the club's front office and ownership want Machado.

While owner Hal Steinbrenner said last month he took issue with Machado's lack of hustle in the postseason, Cashman has said he's discussed Machado with agent Dan Lozano and multiple reports have indicated Cashman indeed is interested in finding a way to make this fit. There are ways to make that happen, between the immediate need for a shortstop with Didi Gregorius due to miss a chunk of 2019 after Tommy John surgery and the possibility the Yankees could dangle young third baseman Miguel Andujar.

Tweet from @JackCurryYES: Cashman said Yankees haven���t met w/ Machado or any free agents yet. But if they advance to having serious discussions w/ Machado, Cashman noted how Hal Steinbrenner has already said he���d want to have a sit down w/ the player and discuss what was said in October.

Machado just might be envisioning himself in pinstripes? But do the Yankees see that, as well?

Do Phillies prefer Harper or Machado?
Dec. 12: Bryce Harper or Manny Machado? Manny Machado or Bryce Harper? The Phillies, with all the money they have to spend this offseason, are in on one or the other -- maybe even both. But if forced to choose between the two superstars of this free-agent market, does the club have a preference? MLB Network insider Joel Sherman gets the sense that it's Machado, adding that Philadelphia could look to sign the 26-year-old infielder and Michael Brantley.

Tweet from @Joelsherman1: #Phillies chose McCutchen over Brantley but if Philly signs Machado over Harper (which appears preference), it���s posssible double back to Brantley for needed LH bat. But Brantley has alternatives could move on b4 that.

MLB.com's Todd Zolecki also hears Machado is first on the team's wish list

"There are indications Philadelphia prefers [Machado] over Harper," Zolecki writes. "Now, Machado is not an iconic player like Harper. He is not as accomplished a hitter as Harper. But he is one of the game's greatest talents and he also plays a premium position."

That said, with new acquisiton Jean Segura locked in at shortstop, the Phillies will need to convince Machado to move back to third base. Philadelphia may also need to outbid the Yankees by a notable margin, as New York is believed to be Machado's preference.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harper and Machado negotiations could drag beyond Winter Meetings
Dec. 9: Those hoping the free-agent odysseys of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will reach their respective conclusions during the Winter Meetings may be disappointed.

According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an article for The Athletic (subscription required), the history between agents Scott Boras and Dan Lozano could be a major factor in negotiations stretching well beyond this week.

Boras, who represents Harper, used to rep Machado as well before losing him to Lozano in 2011 -- the same year Alex Rodriguez, another former Boras client, joined Lozano. As a result, Boras may have extra motivation to get Harper the bigger deal between this offseason's top two free agents.

"The prevailing assumption in the industry is that Boras wants to set new benchmarks with Harper's free-agent deal, whether in total guaranteed salary, average annual value or -- preferably -- both," Rosenthal writes. "Therefore, he will want Machado to sign first, securing the negotiating equivalent of 'last licks,' in which he would step to the plate knowing the number to beat. Boras' track record also indicates he would be willing to go to extra innings, moving at his own pace, stretching talks into January, if necessary."

But as Rosenthal points out, Machado isn't necessarily going to sign quickly. While Lozano isn't the same type of showman as Boras, outdueling his counterpart has to at least be on his mind in some capacity, and Machado is reportedly receiving interest from at least six teams, including the Yankees, Phillies and White Sox.

Meanwhile, Rosenthal notes that some rival agents and club executives think the market for Harper will be limited, given the bar Boras is believed to be setting. "It's Philly bidding against Philly," one agent said of the Harper sweepstakes.

White Sox selling Harper and Machado on a bright future
Dec. 8: The White Sox are willing to break the bank to land Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, but it may take more than cash to get one of those players to sign on the dotted line. Chicago also offers one of the biggest media markets in sports, but even that might not be enough.

As a 10-season postseason drought hangs over the franchise, the White Sox will need to sell Harper and Machado on the idea that World Series championship contention is right around the corner as their talent-rich farm system -- led by top prospect Eloy Jimenez (No. 3 overall, per MLB Pipeline) -- continues to bear fruit.

Granted, adding Harper or Machado might not make the White Sox instant contenders, even in the underwhelming American League Central.

The club has major needs on the pitching staff, especially with No. 2 prospect Michael Kopech (No. 19 overall) set to miss all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery, and it's unclear when No. 3 prospect Dylan Cease (No. 25 overall) and No. 6 prospect Dane Dunning (No. 59 overall) will be ready to contribute to the Major League rotation.

But general manager Rick Hahn thinks other players are clued-in enough to understand what the White Sox are building toward.

"You have to understand these guys are professionals, and they understand deep nuances about each individual franchise," Hahn said, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin. "From a macro standpoint, the idea of potentially being part of a winner in Chicago has very broad appeal.

"From a nuanced standpoint, the chance to be part of the White Sox organization based upon what our future looks like, futures that these players are familiar with and understand having either seen personally some of these young players play or video or talked to other players about them, it's something that they buy into."

With Tim Anderson at shortstop, Machado would fit better at third base for the White Sox. But if the 26-year-old insists on playing short, it's unlikely the club will let Anderson's presence get in the way. The 25-year-old Anderson is a potentially dynamic player -- he produced 20 homers with 26 steals in 2018 -- but he has major strides to make in the plate-discipline department. Anderson has recorded 428 strikeouts with just 56 walks in 1,643 career plate appearances, contributing to a .286 on-base percentage. 

Superstar or bust for Phillies?
Dec. 5: The Phillies could have used left-hander Patrick Corbin just as much as the Nationals, but now that he's reportedly agreed to a contract with Washington, Philly.com's Scott Lauber writes that Philadelphia needs to make signing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado its main priority. While Phillies owner John Middleton has said that his club could be "a little stupid" in how it spends its considerable financial resources this offseason, Lauber argues that giving Corbin the sixth year he desired on his contract would have been ill-advised if it hurt the Phillies' chances for Harper or Machado. Philadelphia's starting rotation, led by Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta while also featuring improving youngsters including Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez, was one of the club's stronger areas in 2018, but its offense finished with the fewest hits in the Major Leagues. Philly's lineup is desperate for an impact bat, argues Lauber, meaning the club "can't afford to miss out" on at least one of the big two superstars atop the free-agent board.

The Nationals can't completely be ruled out of the Harper sweepstakes, and the Dodgers have sent some Harper-related signals this week, too. And the Yankees are looming, of course, with perhaps the Cubs lurking as well. It's up to the Phillies to convince either Harper or Machado to come to the City of Brotherly Love, and Lauber argues that Middleton's money is their best argument.

Rival exec on Yanks and Machado: 'Cash is on him, believe me'
Dec. 3: Regardless of ownership's apprehensions of Machado's work ethic and perceived character concerns, all signs have pointed to the Yankees at least exploring the possibility of adding the star shortstop this offseason. They were reportedly interested in him last winter, tried to acquire him ahead of the Trade Deadline in July and now have at least have an immediate positional need with Didi Gregorius slated to miss a chunk of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery. 

General manager Brian Cashman has played his free-agent strategy close to the vest, but at least one rival executive suggested recently that the club will certainly pursue Machado. 

"Cash is on him, believe me," the executive told Andy Martino of SNY.tv in New York. 

Video: Cashman discusses how to evaluate free agent Machado

Last month, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner called Machado's now-infamous "Johnny Hustle" comments "troubling" and said he was hoping to conduct a sit-down meeting with Machado to glean clarification to Machado's remarks. Martino reported after the postseason that the club was "lukewarm" on Machado given his postseason antics, though that approach appears to have altered. 

Video: Feinsand on Machado clarifying 'Johnny Hustle' remark

The Machado market, like most this offseason, has been slow to develop, and it could remain stalled for the Yankees in the immediate given that they have gained serious momentum in their pursuit of Patrick Corbin. Martino writes that the Yanks "are more squarely focused on pitching" this week, even after acquiring Mariners No. 1 starter James Paxton two weeks ago. 

Machado has been rumored to be in the market for one of the richest contracts in baseball history, potentially in the neighborhood of $300 million, and the Yankees are among only a small handful of clubs with the financial bandwidth to offer such a deal. Gregorius will be back at some time in 2019, but he will become a free agent at season's end, which could create a long-term spot for Machado. 

With the Winter Meetings beginning on Sunday in Las Vegas, the market could accelerate across the board -- for everyone, including Machado. 

Manny Machado

Edwin to M's, Santana to Tribe in 3-team deal

Rays send Bauers to Cleveland for corner infielder Diaz to complete trade
MLB.com

The Indians, Mariners and Rays on Thursday finalized the following three-team deal:

• Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and a Competitive Balance Round B Draft pick (77th overall in 2019) go from the Indians to the Mariners.

The Indians, Mariners and Rays on Thursday finalized the following three-team deal:

• Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and a Competitive Balance Round B Draft pick (77th overall in 2019) go from the Indians to the Mariners.

• First baseman Carlos Santana and cash go from the Mariners to the Indians.

• Infielder Yandy Diaz and Minor League righty Cole Sulser go from the Indians to the Rays.

• First baseman Jake Bauers and cash go from the Rays to the Indians.

Video: Edwin to Mariners, Santana to Tribe in 3-team deal

The Rays are also sending the Mariners $5 million as part of the deal, which was first reported by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. Interestingly, the Rays have interest in Encarnacion, who could be dealt by the Mariners. Rays officials say there's no secondary deal in place to acquire Encarnacion, who has one year and $21.6 million remaining on his contract, plus a $20 million option or a $5 million buyout for 2020.

Video: Santana returns to Indians following pair of trades

After donning an Indians uniform for his first eight seasons in the Majors, Santana will have a homecoming in 2019. The 32-year-old spent his '18 season in Philadelphia after being signed as a free agent last December. The infielder slashed .229/.352/.414 last year with 24 homers and 86 RBIs. He was traded by the Phillies to the Mariners on Dec. 3 for shortstop Jean Segura, right-hander Juan Nicasio and lefty James Pazos. Santana is under contract for $34.5 million over the next two seasons and is reportedly "thrilled" to return to Cleveland, where he still has a home, according to Heyman.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto completed the trade from a hospital bed a day after being admitted for blood clots, although he was hopeful to head home to Seattle on Thursday.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: Money exchanged in the three-team trade, per source:$5M from #Rays to #Mariners.$6M from #Mariners to #Indians.Encarnacion owed $25M for one year, including $5M buyout.Santana, headed to #Indians, owed $35M for two years, including $500K buyout.

"We were texting back and forth," Mariners assistant general manager Justin Hollander said. "Some of the ground work had been laid. [Dipoto] basically handed me the keys and said, 'You know what I want to do, roughly. Just check in when you have questions, but go run with it.'"

Encarnacion, who turns 36 in January, has been one of MLB's top sluggers over the past seven seasons while earning three All-Star berths in that span. He hit .246/.336/.474 with 32 home runs and 107 RBIs last year in 137 games, with 115 of those at designated hitter and the rest at first base.

Since 2012, the Dominican Republic native leads MLB in home runs with 263 and RBIs at 764. Cruz is second in both those categories in the same span at 254 and 688. Encarnacion was third in the AL in RBIs last season and tied for ninth in home runs.

Tweet from @JakeBauers11: Going to #TheLand https://t.co/IYAN3RleGu

In Cleveland, Diaz was blocked by veteran stars. Now, the Rays get a full look at a player who hit the baseball hard more consistently than almost anyone, according to Statcast™.

Of 504 players over the last two seasons -- those who've made contact at least 100 times -- Aaron Judge's 54.6-percent hard-hit rate is No. 1. Diaz ranks 19th at 47.6 percent.

So why has Diaz hit one home run in 265 at-bats? Because he has the eighth-lowest launch angle and 25th-highest ground-ball rate. If the Rays can get him to elevate the ball, they could have a star.

"We like him as is," Rays senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom said, "but any time you get a guy who hits the ball really hard, there's always additional upside, to the extent they can drive the ball a little bit. Even if he doesn't do that, we think he's a very polished hitter."

Video: Justice discusses Tribe trading for Bauers, Santana

Here's more from Statcast™ on Diaz's hard-hit rate:

2017: 50.0 percent (MLB average 33.3 percent)

2018: 44.4 percent (MLB average 35.3 percent)

2017-18: 47.6 percent (MLB average 34.3 percent)

And there's this: Of the 504 players with 100-plus batted balls, three of the top 26 have been acquired by the Rays in the last six months:

• Diaz (19th), 47.6 percent

Tommy Pham (23rd), 46.6 percent

Mike Zunino (26th), 45.9 percent

Video: Bloom on trade for Yandy Diaz, losing Jake Bauers

"We're excited about his ability," Bloom said. "He fits in to what we have been doing, in terms of taking a player who we think is really talented, has a lot of ability and giving him a chance to establish himself."

Bauers played both first base and outfield for the Rays last season. After getting the callup to the big leagues in June, Bauers, 23, hit .201 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs in 388 plate appearances. The rookie would be used in the Indians' outfield after the team lost multiple outfielders to free agency at the end of the season.

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com. Richard Justice, Greg Johns and Chad Thornburg contributed to this report.

Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, Edwin Encarnacion

Brewers acquire lefty Claudio from Rangers

MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- Brewers general manager David Stearns didn't board his flight home from the Winter Meetings before making the team's first big league acquisition of the offseason.

Milwaukee sent its Competitive Balance Round A pick in next year's Draft -- No. 40 overall -- to the Rangers for 26-year-old left-handed reliever Alex Claudio, who offers multi-inning flexibility and comes with three years of club control, plus at least one Minor League option. He filled a need after Milwaukee opted to non-tender lefties Dan Jennings and Xavier Cedeno last month.

LAS VEGAS -- Brewers general manager David Stearns didn't board his flight home from the Winter Meetings before making the team's first big league acquisition of the offseason.

Milwaukee sent its Competitive Balance Round A pick in next year's Draft -- No. 40 overall -- to the Rangers for 26-year-old left-handed reliever Alex Claudio, who offers multi-inning flexibility and comes with three years of club control, plus at least one Minor League option. He filled a need after Milwaukee opted to non-tender lefties Dan Jennings and Xavier Cedeno last month.

Hot Stove Tracker

"If possible, we wanted to add someone in this space," Stearns said. "The most important thing as we look at our bullpen going forward, complementing the group that we have, is finding pitchers that have the ability to go multiple innings, finding pitchers who have some flexibility in terms of their role. And options, that's something that's important for us to look at. Claudio checks all of those boxes. We think he'll fit very nicely in our 'pen."

Video: TEX@OAK: Claudio fans Olson to strand a pair in 7th

Claudio, who turns 27 on Jan. 31, owns a 3.20 ERA and 12 saves in 208 career appearances, including a pair of spot starts over five Major League seasons. Claudio led the Rangers in appearances each of the past two seasons, but he was not as effective in 2018 (4.48 ERA, 1.52 WHIP in 66 outings) as he was the year before, when Claudio posted a 2.50 ERA and a sparkling 1.04 WHIP in 82 2/3 innings spanning 70 games.

"The underlying metrics were all very similar last year [to Claudio's more successful seasons in the past]," Stearns said. "He's a guy who puts a ton of balls on the ground. He has huge ground-ball rates. And every now and then, you have years when you're a ground-ball pitcher that the ground balls find holes. That's what happened to him last year."

Said Texas GM Jon Daniels: "I love Alex. He has been a great pitcher for us. Last year was an aberration of luck more than anything else. He is going to be a really good pitcher in the league, but you couldn't acquire a prospect at the level we'll hopefully be able to select in the Draft there. The chance to obtain high-end talent made too much sense for us."

Teams typically cannot trade Draft picks, but Competitive Balance selections are the exception. The Brewers were in Round A this year, which is why the pick headed to Texas was so high.

"The opportunity provided by that Draft pick is pretty significant," Daniels said. "Obviously, you have a chance to take one of the top players in the country."

Video: Stearns expects stable rotation in 2019

The Brewers, meanwhile, were happy to augment a relief corps that was the strength of a team that made it within one win of the World Series, but Stearns said they plan to continue to blur the lines between the starting rotation and bullpen, so it's more helpful to look at the staff as a whole.

At the moment, the in-house options to start games include Jhoulys Chacin, Chase Anderson, Zach Davies and prospects Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta, who figure to make significant starts next season but could always begin the year in the bullpen or at Triple-A depending on how the pieces fit. Jimmy Nelson is a potential boost if he proves healthy after losing all of last year to injury. Junior Guerra and Adrian Houser are among the big arms who could fit as starters or relievers depending on need. And the back end of the bullpen is returning 2018 stalwarts Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress and Corey Knebel, plus Taylor Williams, Matt Albers, Jacob Barnes and others who logged innings last season.

Video: Stearns discusses Nelson's road to recovery

Claudio is eligible for arbitration for the first time, so his 2019 salary remains to be determined. The Brewers still have seven players in that category.

What's next
A lot. The Brewers still need a second baseman and remain "pretty much open," Stearns said, to upgrades anywhere else on the roster. That could mean catcher, potentially third base if they find a great option there and shift Travis Shaw to second, and of course a pitching staff sure to be augmented before the start of Spring Training.

Stearns has been espousing a message of patience, but was it satisfying to pick up a player before the Meetings concluded?

"It really doesn't matter to us. I know it seems strange, but it really doesn't," Stearns said. "I'm happy we're adding a good player to our Major League team, but it really doesn't matter to me if it happens now or Jan. 15 or Feb. 15. Our goal is to build a team that's ready for Opening Day."

Video: Counsell on adding infielder before offseason ends

Rule 5 Draft
Milwaukee didn't select or lose any players in the Major League phase of the annual event, so the trio of MLB Pipeline's Top 30 Brewers prospects left unprotected (No. 10 Jake Gatewood, No. 17 Cody Ponce and No. 28 Carlos Herrera) is all safe.

The Brewers did make two picks in the Minor League phases of the Draft, plucking shortstop Julio Garcia from the Angels and catcher Alexander Alvarez from the Rays in the Triple-A phase.

GM's bottom line
"Simmering, maybe. We have a number of ongoing conversations. Frankly, similar to how we entered this week. I imagine we will keep those going in the coming weeks." -- Stearns, asked whether he left Las Vegas with any boiling pots on the proverbial Hot Stove

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Alex Claudio

Giants select Bergen, Ferguson in Rule 5 Draft

MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- Earlier this week, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi joked that the team had enough vacancies on its 40-man roster to "take four or five guys" during the Rule 5 Draft.

The Giants were certainly more active than expected on Thursday, selecting left-handed reliever Travis Bergen from the Blue Jays and outfielder Drew Ferguson from the Astros during the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Assistant general manager Jeremy Shelley, who has worked for the Giants since 1994, said he couldn't personally recall another instance in which the club made more than one pick during the Rule 5 Draft.

LAS VEGAS -- Earlier this week, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi joked that the team had enough vacancies on its 40-man roster to "take four or five guys" during the Rule 5 Draft.

The Giants were certainly more active than expected on Thursday, selecting left-handed reliever Travis Bergen from the Blue Jays and outfielder Drew Ferguson from the Astros during the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Assistant general manager Jeremy Shelley, who has worked for the Giants since 1994, said he couldn't personally recall another instance in which the club made more than one pick during the Rule 5 Draft.

"We feel like between the center fielder and the left-handed reliever, you got two premium position-type guys," Shelley said before departing the Winter Meetings. "You're just looking to improve the overall depth of the roster. I think that's the biggest thing. With two picks, I think we accomplished that here in the draft."

Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000. Bergen and Ferguson will both be in big league camp during Spring Training and will be given the opportunity to compete for jobs.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: Curious about the players picked in the Rule 5 Draft? @jimcallisMLB provides scouting reports on all 14 players selected in the @MLB phase: https://t.co/37xiuRkGAR pic.twitter.com/8z7xWM9zHJ

Bergen, 25, was a seventh-round Draft pick of the Blue Jays in 2015 out of Kennesaw State University. He mixes a low- to mid-90s fastball with a curveball and posted an 0.95 ERA over 56 2/3 innings in 43 appearances between Class A Advanced Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire. Bergen could help give the Giants' bullpen some coverage from the left side if they end up dealing Will Smith or Tony Watson, both of whom have been the subject of trade rumors this week.

"He's a two-pitch guy, swing-and-miss stuff," Shelley said of Bergen. "I think we got a potential bullpen guy from the left side. … He has even splits in his career. He can get both lefties and righties out. He punched out, I want to say, 11.8 per nine. Low walk rate. His fastball, the swing-and-miss [rate] was double the Major League average."

History of the Rule 5 Draft

A 19th-round Draft pick of the Astros in 2015 out of Belmont University, Ferguson is a career .297 hitter with a .393 on-base percentage in the Minors. In 2018, he batted .305 with an .866 OPS and four home runs in 65 games with Triple-A Fresno. The right-handed hitter appeared in nine games in the Arizona Fall League and is now accumulating more reps by playing winter ball in Puerto Rico.

"His plate discipline is very attractive," Shelley said. "His defensive versatility is very attractive. He can play three spots. We're light on outfielders. We'll bring him into camp, let him compete and see how he does. I think he'll be an attractive piece for [manager Bruce Bochy] to evaluate in camp."

Ferguson, 26, was the second outfielder acquired by the Giants this week, as they also claimed Mike Gerber from the Tigers on Monday. They both share two traits that Zaidi has made clear he will value as he works to construct the Giants' roster: defensive versatility and the ability to get on base. The club's outfield mix now includes Steven Duggar, Austin Slater, Mac Williamson, Chris Shaw, Gerber and Ferguson, though Zaidi is hoping to add more experienced options this offseason.

In the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the Giants selected third baseman Peter Maris from the Rays and left-hander Sam Moll from the Blue Jays. They also lost relievers Ian Gardeck and Dusten Knight and outfielder Jeffrey Baez.

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

San Francisco Giants, Travis Bergen, Drew Ferguson, Ian Gardeck, Dusten Knight, Peter Maris, Sam Moll

Texas closes busy Meetings with Claudio trade

Rangers gain Competitive Balance pick, make splash with Wisdom, Lynn
MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers made a potential impact move for the future when they traded pitcher Alex Claudio to the Brewers for their Competitive Balance Round A Draft pick.

The Rangers are expecting to draft a top prospect with the pick. The Competitive Balance Round A takes place immediately after the first round and certain compensation selections of the Major League Baseball Draft.

LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers made a potential impact move for the future when they traded pitcher Alex Claudio to the Brewers for their Competitive Balance Round A Draft pick.

The Rangers are expecting to draft a top prospect with the pick. The Competitive Balance Round A takes place immediately after the first round and certain compensation selections of the Major League Baseball Draft.

Right now, it would be the 40th overall pick but could drop to 41 if the D-backs get compensation for free-agent outfielder A.J. Pollock. The D-backs would get a compensation pick if Pollock signs for more than $50 million.

Either way, the pick could still be a significant acquisition. The Rangers took Joey Gallo with the 39th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft.

"It is hard to acquire premium young talent," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "The opportunity provided by that Draft pick is pretty significant. Obviously, you have a chance to take one of the top players in the country. I love Alex. He has been a great pitcher for us … but you couldn't acquire a prospect at the level we'll hopefully be able to select in the Draft there. The chance to obtain high-end talent made too much sense for us."

Claudio was the Rangers' Pitcher of the Year in 2017 when he went 4-2 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. That production slipped this past season when he went 4-2 with a 4.48 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in 66 games. But that didn't deter the Brewers' interest.

Video: Chris Woodward on important Rangers issues to address

"Claudio is a pitcher that we've had our eye on for some time," Brewers general manager David Stearns said. "He's been one of the more consistent and durable left-handed pitchers in baseball over the past couple of years. He still has plenty of team control remaining, and so it was a logical fit.

"He's a guy who puts a ton of balls on the ground. He has huge ground-ball rates. And every now and then, you have years when you're a ground-ball pitcher that the ground balls find holes. That's what happened to him last year."

The trade was the fourth significant move for the Rangers at the Winter Meetings. On Wednesday, they reached an agreement with free-agent pitcher Lance Lynn on a three-year, $30 million contract, according to sources, although the deal is still pending a physical.

Earlier in the Meetings, the Rangers claimed infielder Carlos Asuaje off waivers from the Padres and acquired third baseman Patrick Wisdom from the Cardinals in exchange for utility player Drew Robinson.

Video: Sullivan on Rangers reportedly adding Lynn to staff

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