It’s Hot Stove season, and MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.
Will Moose’s signing ignite Machado sweepstakes?
Feb. 17: Mike Moustakas‘ reported deal with the Brewers means another prominent free-agent infielder is off the board. It also means there’s one less backup plan at third base for those in the sweepstakes for Manny Machado. With that in mind, will Machado’s suitors shift gears and ramp up their offers?
The White Sox and Padres are considered by many to be the frontrunners for Machado, and both of those clubs are rumored to want him to play the hot corner rather than shortstop. Chicago has Tim Anderson entrenched at short but could use an upgrade over Yolmer Sanchez at third base; San Diego has youngster Fernando Tatis Jr. — the No. 2 overall prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline — nearly ready to take over shortstop but lacks a short- or long-term answer at third.
Which other teams could be in play for Machado now that Moustakas is no longer an option? More >
Moustakas’ return to Milwaukee has ripple effects
Feb. 17: Moustakas looks to be headed back to the Brewers, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, who reports it will be a one-year contract.
Milwaukee acquired Moustakas, 30, at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last summer, and he went on to hit .256/.326/.441 with eight home runs over 54 games while helping the Crew reach the postseason and make it all the way to the National League Championship Series.
With Moustakas back with the Brewers, here’s a look at some of the ripple effects for Milwaukee, as well as other clubs that had been linked to the third baseman.
Signing Kimbrel could help Astros rival Yanks for bullpen supremacy
Feb. 17: Which team has the best bullpen in baseball?
Most would answer that it’s the Yankees, especially after they brought back lefty Zack Britton and brought in righty Adam Ottavino to a group that also includes elite setup relievers Dellin Betances and Chad Green plus closer Aroldis Chapman. In fact, New York’s bullpen is projected for the most WAR of all teams in 2019, ahead of the Brewers and Mets.
But what about the Astros, who check in fourth on that list? Sure, they added two key arms at the Trade Deadline last summer in Roberto Osuna and Ryan Pressly. But is there a chance they could make a play for the one remaining high-end reliever on the open market — Craig Kimbrel — to complete a super bullpen to rival that of the Yankees? More >
Could Keuchel be missing piece for Braves?
Feb. 17: First, the Braves signed slugger Josh Donaldson to be their third baseman and brought back Brian McCann, who last played for Atlanta in 2013, to help at catcher. Most recently, the club re-signed outfielder Nick Markakis. That checks off three boxes on general manager Alex Anthopoulos’ offseason to-do list.
Is Marwin to Minneapolis the perfect match?
Feb. 17: Why would Marwin Gonzalez to the Twins be the right fit? According to MLB.com’s Richard Justice, while it’s true Minnesota has made some offensive upgrades, particularly by signing veteran slugger Nelson Cruz, Gonzalez would be “an insurance policy for the things that don’t go right.”
Since Gonzalez is the ultimate super-utility player, having played every position but pitcher and catcher, and the Twins could use more depth pretty much all over the diamond, such a signing would make a lot of sense.
Gonzalez had a breakout 2017 campaign for the World Series champion Astros, hitting .303/.377/.530 with 23 homers in 515 plate appearances. He took a step back last year, slashing .247/.324/.409 with 16 homers in 552 plate appearances. Nevertheless, he’s 29 years old and has proven his ability to hit in addition to his added value from his versatility.
The Twins are looking up at the Indians in what could very well be a competitive American League Central in ’19. Not to mention, bringing in Gonzalez also could take away a possible target for Cleveland, which has been looking to upgrade and add depth to its outfield.
Heyman: ‘Intensified’ Harper talks are ‘heating up’
Feb. 17: There’s been plenty of buzz around Bryce Harper over the past 48 hours or so. Could a resolution to the superstar slugger’s free agency be coming soon?
“Things are heating up” for Harper, with the Phillies being seen as the favorite, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, who describes the discussions as “intensified” but also cautions that “nothing is done yet,” although it would be a long-term deal.
This comes two days after a report started circulating and gaining some steam Friday afternoon that Harper just might be on the verge of finding a new home. More >
Examining potential of Machado to White Sox
Feb. 17: The White Sox still look like one of the favorites to land Manny Machado. But just how big is their offer to him, and what other factors could be at play to help the star infielder land with Chicago?
Several numbers have been floated throughout the offseason, including a recent report from Dominican radio station Z101’s Hector Gomez of an eight-year, $250 million offer, as well as an earlier report of a $175 million offer. But MLB Network insider Jon Heyman thinks the real offer from Chicago to Machado could be somewhere in between those two figures.
As for how Machado would fit with the White Sox — a rebuilding team coming off six straight losing seasons but with a crop of young, up-and-coming prospects — MLB.com’s Richard Justice writes that they “feel like an ideal fit.” Here’s why.
How could a Harper or Machado signing impact Kimbrel?
Feb. 16: Craig Kimbrel entered the offseason as the best closer on the market, but while most other back-of-the-bullpen relievers have come off the board, the All-Star right-hander remains unsigned. That may be due, in part, to the type of contract he’s been rumored to be asking for: a six-year deal, which would be unprecedented for a relief pitcher. But Kimbrel isn’t the only big-name free agent still out there, of course. So what could happen with Kimbrel if Bryce Harper or Manny Machado signs before he does?
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand goes through multiple scenarios in which one of the two superstars secure a contract, and what impact it would have on other top free agents. In the case of Kimbrel, Feinsand writes that the closer likely would end up reuniting with either the Red Sox or Braves in the event Harper or Machado signs with the Phillies. He adds that if Harper signs with the Nationals or Giants, the Phillies may become a more likely destination for Kimbrel. Philadelphia’s level of interest, of course, would also depend on its continued pursuit of Machado in that case.
What if Machado signs with the White Sox and Harper is still out there? Feinsand surmises Philly could then become a more likely landing spot for Kimbrel, but that would also depend on how serious the club is about inking Harper. If the Phillies aren’t able to sign either superstar, “it could spark a chain reaction that could land Dallas Keuchel or Kimbrel — or both — in Philly.” More >
Don’t count Yanks out on Harper or Machado
Feb. 16: Even as Spring Training has begun and the Yankees already have made several moves to upgrade a roster that won 100 games last year, don’t count New York out when it comes to the two premier free agents remaining on the market, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
“I wouldn’t say specifically, but I would reinforce, I’m doing my job,” general manager Brian Cashman said Saturday. “Whether that’s those two players or other players that aren’t as significant name value, the job at hand is to constantly be open-minded to ways to make this work the best it can possibly work. … We like what we’ve done to this point, but we’re never a finished product.”
The Yankees already have a full outfield with Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and an injured Jacoby Ellsbury. Signing Harper could necessitate some reshuffling and adjusting. With respect to Machado, the Yankees have added multiple infielders, signing free agents Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu. Tulowitzki is expected to open the season at shortstop as Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery, and LeMahieu is expected to play a super-utility role.
Then again, this is the Yankees, a team that can never be counted out on big free agents, regardless of the situation.
Is Keuchel still waiting on Harper and Machado?
Feb. 16: Dallas Keuchel has been the top available starting pitcher for several weeks now, but his market appears to be at something of a standstill. Why? Perhaps in large part due to the two bigger names still available in free agency: Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
In an in-depth rundown of how the dominoes could fall once Harper or Machado signs, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand explains how many of Keuchel’s scenarios depend on where the slugging outfielder and/or star infielder wind up. More >
After meeting with Padres GM, here’s how Machado could fit in San Diego
Feb. 16: After SNY’s Andy Martino reported that the Padres were being “very aggressive” with their offer to Manny Machado, a source confirmed to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand that general manager A.J. Preller actually flew to Miami to meet with Machado and his wife sometime in the past week.
Machado is the Friars’ first choice to fill their vacancy at the hot corner, but it is not believed that the 26-year-old is close to choosing a team at this time, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell provides a look at how Machado would fit with the Padres in both the short and long term, while Feinsand breaks down how the dominoes could fall for Bryce Harper (as well as Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel) if Machado goes to San Diego. More >
Latest on extension talks between Mets, deGrom
Feb. 15: Jacob deGrom‘s representatives have set an Opening Day deadline for the Mets to complete a contract extension with the right-hander, and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said that deGrom’s reps will be in Port St. Lucie soon to ramp up discussions.
deGrom, 30, took part in a press conference after being announced as the Mets’ 2019 Opening Day starter and reaffirmed his desire to remain with the club on a long-term basis.
“I would like to be a part of this team’s future,” deGrom said. “I would like the feeling to be mutual, but that’s just something that we’re going to have to see.”
The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, who can become a free agent after the 2020 season, also said he would consult with his agents about a self-imposed restriction on his workload if the two sides can’t reach an agreement. More >
Keuchel still could be a fit for Astros in 2019 — and beyond
Feb. 15: When the Astros inked left-hander Wade Miley in late January, the initial thought was that transaction decreased the chances of free agent Dallas Keuchel returning to Houston. And yet, the club may be keeping the door open to the possibility, as USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported.
Here’s why a reunion with Keuchel still could work. It’s true that the Astros have excellent rotation depth for this season, as Justin Verlander , Gerrit Cole , Collin McHugh and Miley are backed up by Brad Peacock , and a host of youngsters like Forrest Whitley (MLB Pipeline’s No. 7 overall prospect), Josh James (the No. 62 overall prospect), Framber Valdez , Cionel Perez and J.B. Bukauskas .
But with Miley in the fold on a one-year pact, the Astros now have (count ’em) four starters who can hit the open market after the 2019 season; McHugh and co-aces Verlander and Cole are the others. And the looming free agency of the latter two is something Houston’s front office is going to have to face soon enough. More >
Are Phillies still front-runners for Harper or Machado?
Feb. 15: Even if the Phillies aren’t necessarily the first choice for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, will one of the superstar free agents ultimately accept Philadelphia’s offer?
Buster Olney predicted as much in an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up!,” saying the feeling is that the White Sox are a “safety net” for both players.
With both Harper and Machado reportedly seeking contracts in the range of 10 years for more than $300 million, the two have lingered on the free-agent market. But Olney thinks both player will eventually land deals between 8 and 10 years.
Meanwhile, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak indicated that he is still monitoring the open market but also feels like the team accomplished its offseason goals by adding Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto and David Robertson. More >
Arenado won’t set hard deadline on contract extension negotiations
Feb. 14: The Rockies are hoping to work out a long-term contract extension with Nolan Arenado before the third baseman becomes a free agent next offseason, and they’ll have some time to do so.
Arenado said Thursday that he won’t make Opening Day a hard deadline for negotiations, giving his agent, Joel Wolfe, a chance to continue talks with Colorado during the season, if needed.
The 27-year-old recently came to an agreement with the Rockies on a one-year deal for 2019 that will pay him $26 million, a record for an arbitration-eligible player. More >