MLB Rumors, Trades, And Signings (twitter.com)

MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

Could Reds trade a slugger?

Jan. 11:

this offseason have indicated that the Reds would consider trading one of their top starting pitchers, Sonny Gray or Luis Castillo, as the team looks to trim payroll. The same might be true of one of the team’s middle-of-the-order bats.

MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman reported Monday that Cincinnati is “open to listening” to offers for Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas and Eugenio Suárez, with Suárez drawing the most interest among that trio. If the Reds did trade the third baseman, it would then open up the hot corner for Moustakas, who primarily played second base after joining the club last season.

Heyman notes that the Reds discussed Suárez with the Nationals, but that a trade remains “pretty unlikely.” The Nats currently have Carter Kieboom penciled in at third, but the 23-year-old has struggled in his limited Major League chances thus far. Suárez, meanwhile, has launched 98 home runs since 2018, second in MLB behind only Mike Trout.

Report: Turner is Dodgers’ first choice for third base

Jan. 11: While the Dodgers have DJ LeMahieu on their radar to fill their hole at third base, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reports that the club’s first choice is a reunion with Justin Turner.

Turner spent that past seven seasons with the Dodgers, hitting .302/.382/.503 (139 OPS+) with 116 homers and 28.9 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference, in 796 games.

There remains a sizable gap between the two sides, however. The Los Angeles Times previously reported that Turner was looking for a four-year deal, but Heyman notes that the Dodgers prefer a two-year pact. A four-year deal would take Turner through his age-39 season.

Josh Donaldson landed a four-year, $92 million contract from the Twins last offseason, but that was pre-pandemic. Donaldson was also coming off his age-33 season when he signed it, while Turner played his age-35 campaign in 2020.

Report: LeMahieu ‘dismayed’ at Yanks’ slow pace, is engaging with other clubs

Jan. 10: He was the most valuable Yankee in each of his two seasons in their pinstripes, and now that he’s into his third month as a free agent and the club with which he’s stated he prefers to stay is “slow-playing” his market, LeMahieu is “dismayed” and has told his agent to engage with other clubs, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.

“Teams that have engaged with the LeMahieu camp say LeMahieu expects more than Josh Donaldson’s four-year, $92 million deal with the Minnesota Twins and at least on par with J.D. Martinez’s five years and $110 million with the Boston Red Sox,” Brown writes. “The Yankees, LeMahieu’s preferred club after two successful seasons in the Bronx, have not met those terms.”

The Yankees lost a potential backup plan for LeMahieu when the Mets acquired Francisco Lindor in a blockbuster trade on Thursday, but the team doesn’t appear to be operating with a greater sense of urgency in its pursuit of the free-agent second baseman. So according to Brown, he’s looking to other clubs who have shown interest, including the Blue Jays, Dodgers and those very same Mets. Brown’s source also told him LeMahieu expects to meet with several clubs virtually over the next week.

According to a report from Dan Martin of the New York Post, the Yankees’ timeline regarding LeMahieu hasn’t changed. The two sides still aren’t close to a deal, though New York continues to have optimism it will find common ground with the 32-year-old. It’s unclear if they’ve made any progress since mid-December, when multiple reports put them at least $25 million apart. More >

What is Bauer looking for in free agency?

Jan. 10: Being the top pitcher on the free-agent market generates a lot of buzz, and Bauer wanted to address what are important factors in his upcoming free agency decision and what aren’t. He did so in his latest vlog post, outlining what will drive his thinking. By far, the word he repeated the most in the video was “partnership.”

“I want it to be a partnership, first and foremost,” Bauer said. “That’s how I’m approaching this whole process and this whole decision. I want this to be a partnership with the team I choose.” More >

The latest on Tatis extension talks

Jan. 9: Multiple reports emerged Saturday saying that the Padres were working toward an extension with Fernando Tatis Jr., including one that stated San Diego put an offer north of $300 million on the table. However, sources told MLB.com that talks haven’t progressed to that level.

One of the brightest young stars in the game, Tatis celebrated his 22nd birthday on Jan. 2. The shortstop has hit .301/.374/.582 with 39 homers and 27 steals over 143 games in his first two seasons. While Tatis is under team control for four more years, general manager A.J. Preller told MLB Network Radio on Jan. 3 that he was hopeful the team could find common ground with Tatis on a new deal before the 2021 season begins.

Report: Cubs still listening to offers for Bryant, Contreras

Jan. 9: The trade sending Yu Darvish from the Cubs to the Padres cleared $21 million from Chicago’s 2021 payroll, but the club might not be done cutting costs and reshaping its roster.

According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the Cubs are continuing to field offers for third baseman Kris Bryant and catcher Willson Contreras.

Bryant can become a free agent next offseason, while Contreras is under control for two more years.

MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported Tuesday in an article for The Athletic (subscription required) that the Angels have shown interest in acquiring Contreras. According to Rosenthal, current Angels manager Joe Maddon “was a strong advocate” for Contreras when he was the backstop’s skipper in Chicago.

Meanwhile, SNY’s Andy Martino reports that a Bryant trade could happen as soon as this weekend, citing “increasing industry chatter.” However, Martino notes that the Mets and Cubs haven’t talked in several weeks. Mike Puma of the New York Post reported Friday that New York discussed Bryant with Chicago before trading for Francisco Lindor.

Report: Red Sox in ‘serious trade talks’ involving Benintendi

Jan. 9: Andrew Benintendi looked like a cornerstone piece for the Red Sox from 2016-18, recording a .282/.359/.447 slash line with 38 homers, 78 doubles and 42 steals over 333 games in that span. But after taking a step back in 2019 and then playing just 14 games in ’20 due to injuries, Benintendi may be on his way out of Boston.

The Athletic’s Jim Bowden reports that the Red Sox are having “serious trade talks” involving Benintendi with multiple teams. Rob Bradford of WEEI hears the same.

Per Bowden, Boston is looking for one or more prospects in exchange for the 26-year-old, with an emphasis on outfielders and pitchers. Benintendi has two seasons remaining before he can become a free agent, and he’s due to earn $6.6 million in 2021.

Sources: Astros looking for veteran closer, eyeing Hendriks, Hand, Colomé

Jan. 9: The Astros are in pursuit of a veteran closer and are eyeing pitchers at the top of the market, including Liam Hendriks, Brad Hand and Alex Colomé, sources told MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.

That echoes a report from FanSided’s Robert Murray, who wrote Friday that Houston has been the “most aggressive” club in pursuit of high-leverage relievers. More >

How much is Springer looking for in a contract?

Jan. 9: What will it take to land Springer this offseason? According to SNY’s Andy Martino, around $175 million. More >

Does Mets’ blockbuster lessen odds of Realmuto returning to Phils?

Jan. 9: The Mets’ blockbuster move to acquire Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from Cleveland on Thursday had a ripple effect across baseball, especially in the NL East. The Braves have some competition as they seek their fourth straight division title, but what about the Phillies? The big question in Philadelphia this offseason has been whether or not the club will be able to re-sign star catcher J.T. Realmuto. But according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Corey Seidman, it might all be moot if the Phils aren’t going to have a decent chance at making the postseason in 2021. More >

Where could Jays turn after missing out on Lindor?

Jan. 8: The Blue Jays’ biggest move this offseason has been re-signing Robbie Ray to a one-year, $8 million contract in November, but the club remains on the lookout for impact players. MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince hears that Toronto was the runner-up for Francisco Lindor, who was traded to the Mets along with right-hander Carlos Carrasco on Thursday.

After missing out on Lindor, it will be interesting to see where the Blue Jays turn next. They’ve been connected to George Springer, but his reported asking price of $175 million (per SNY’s Andy Martino) may be well out of their price range. Perhaps Springer will soften his demands if the Mets back off their pursuit following Thursday’s trade, which could add more than $30 million to the 2021 payroll.

We could also see the Blue Jays ramp up their efforts to sign DJ LeMahieu away from the Yankees. The Bronx Bombers have made it clear that re-signing LeMahieu is their top priority, but the two sides haven’t been able to come to an agreement yet.

A potential dark-horse option for Toronto? Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. Like Lindor, Story can become a free agent next offseason. Colorado is coming off a 26-34 season. The Dodgers are the reigning World Series champions, meanwhile, and the Rockies have watched the Padres improve considerably with the additions of Blake Snell, Yu Darvish and Ha-Seong Kim.

They’d surely prefer to trade Nolan Arenado, who has $199 million remaining on his contract and can opt out of his deal after 2021, but Story will undoubtedly fetch a better return.

According to Castrovince, the Blue Jays’ offer for Lindor may have had a higher ceiling, but Cleveland chose New York’s package — infielders Andrés Giménez and Amed Rosario, right-hander Josh Wolf and outfielder Isaiah Greene — because it balanced short- and long-term help. Could the Blue Jays make the Rockies the same offer they put on the table for Lindor?

With Cleveland trading Lindor and Carrasco, is it time for White Sox to ink Bauer?

Jan. 8: With the news of the blockbuster trade that sent Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the Mets from Cleveland on Thursday, Trevor Bauer’s agent, Rachel Luba, posted a few tweets implying the White Sox are now in position to make a big move, as it’s clearly become a two-team race with the Twins in the AL Central. More >

Report: Yadi-Cards reunion is nearing ‘inevitable’ status, Wainwright ‘less clear’

Jan. 7: It was always hard to picture catcher Yadier Molina in any uniform besides that of the Cardinals, and indications are trending toward Yadi staying in red and white. In a recent mailbag for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold speculates that the idea of Molina re-signing with the Cardinals is “approaching inevitable” territory — though he notes that there is still an opportunity for another club to come in with a higher bid and steal Molina away.

“The Cardinals still have that trump card that he wants two years and he wants to return to the Cardinals,” Goold writes, “and those stances haven’t changed from what I can tell talking to people.”

Meanwhile, Goold guesses that the prospects of fellow Cardinals legend Adam Wainwright re-signing with St. Louis are “less clear,” and notes that the club notified local media outlets weeks ago that it is “keeping the door ajar” for a reunion with second baseman Kolten Wong, whose option it declined after the 2020 season.

What could Mets’ blockbuster mean for Springer pursuit?

Jan. 7: Led by new owner Steve Cohen, the Mets have been one of the more aggressive teams this offseason, retaining starter Marcus Stroman with the $18.9 million qualifying offer and signing catcher James McCann (four years, $40 million) and reliever Trevor May (two years, $15.5 million) before pulling off Thursday’s blockbuster trade with the Indians for shortstop Francisco Lindor and starter Carlos Carrasco.

There might be more to come. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reports that the team hasn’t ruled out George Springer, even with the acquisitions of Lindor and Carrasco. More >

White Sox eyeing Hand

Jan. 6: With Alex Colomé a free agent this offseason after two years as the closer on the South Side, the White Sox are in on a few free-agent relief options. According to a report from MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the White Sox are among the teams interested in former Indians closer Brad Hand. Heyman reports that the team seeks a “top closer,” and is in on Liam Hendriks as well.

Smoak joining Yomiuri Giants
Jan. 6: Veteran first baseman Justin Smoak has agreed to terms with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The deal is for $6 million guaranteed plus incentives, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. ESPN’s Jeff Passan initially reported the deal.

Smoak signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Brewers last offseason, though he was designated for assignment on Sept. 3 after hitting .186 with five homers in 33 games. The San Francisco Giants signed him to a Minor League deal less than a week later, though they also designated Smoak for assignment after he went 0-for-6 over three games down the stretch.

Smoak, who turned 34 on Dec. 5, was an All-Star with the Blue Jays in 2017 en route to hitting a career-high 38 home runs. He averaged 23.5 homers from 2018-19 before struggling to a career-low .611 OPS in the shortened ’20 season. He has 196 career home runs over 11 seasons with the Mariners, Blue Jays, Rangers, Brewers and Giants.

Red Sox have ‘serious interest’ in Odorizzi

Jan. 5: The Red Sox have “serious interest” in free-agent starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi, a source told MLB.com executive reporter Mark Feinsand on Tuesday.

Odorizzi falls into the solid middle tier of starting-pitching options, below Trevor Bauer and the likes of Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton on lists of the top free agents available this offseason.

The 30-year-old right-hander dealt with several injuries in 2020 — a right intercostal strain, then a chest contusion, then a right middle finger blister — and was limited to four starts for the Twins, but he was a good middle-of-the-rotation starter from 2018-19. Odorizzi was an All-Star in 2019, when he went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 30 starts for Minnesota, with a career-high 178 strikeouts in 159 innings. He also had a solid start against the Yankees in the American League Division Series that year, allowing only two runs in five innings in his postseason debut.

As Feinsand notes, Odorizzi also goes way back with Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, who was working in the Rays’ front office when Tampa Bay traded for Odorizzi before the 2013 season. Odorizzi turned into a productive starter with the Rays and pitched five seasons for them with a 3.82 ERA before signing with the Twins.

Agent: Bauer to give updates soon on YouTube

Jan. 5: In a post somewhat short of definitive details, Trevor Bauer’s agent, Rachel Luba, hinted that the star pitcher will he hopping on his YouTube page over the coming days to provide updates on his free agency decision. More >

Could trade market heat up?

Jan. 5: MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand took a look at an “All Trade Rumor” team for this offseason and heading into the 2021 season’s Trade Deadline. One position where he notes there is a lot of buzz is starting pitcher trade candidates — specifically two on the Reds: Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo. Feinsand says the ‘buzz factor’ surrounding those two arms is ‘medium to high.’ He writes: “Castillo and Gray have each drawn interest from clubs around the Majors, and while the Reds might not trade both starters this year, it seems inevitable that at least one will be moved.”

Kluber to throw for teams on Jan. 13

Jan. 5: Veteran free-agent starter Corey Kluber will throw for MLB teams on Jan. 13 in Florida — and the Red Sox and Mets are already interested, sources told MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi and Anthony DiComo.

Kluber missed almost all of the 2019 and ’20 seasons due to injuries, making only eight total starts. Last season, after being traded from the Indians to the Rangers, he made only one start before tearing the right teres muscle in his pitching shoulder, which forced him to miss the rest of the year.

But the 34-year-old right-hander is an interesting free agent because of how good he was before his injuries. Over the five seasons from 2014-18, Kluber went 83-45 with a 2.85 ERA for the Indians, averaged 218 innings and 246 strikeouts per season and won two AL Cy Young Awards.

Dodgers’ 3B options include Turner, LeMahieu, Bryant, Suárez

Jan. 4: The Dodgers have a lot of options to consider for their third-base job in 2021. Will they bring back Justin Turner? Will they go out and sign DJ LeMahieu? Or will they trade for a third baseman like Kris Bryant or Eugenio Suárez?

The Los Angeles Times’ Jorge Castillo breaks down L.A.’s options here. The Dodgers would like to re-sign Turner, according to the report, but Turner is seeking a four-year deal, while the Dodgers only want to give the 36-year-old a two-year deal.

If the Dodgers can’t find common ground with Turner, they might have to bring in a new third baseman from outside the organization, and if that’s the case, Castillo writes that LeMahieu “sits atop the list of external options.” LeMahieu’s versatility in the infield would allow him to step in at third base for L.A.

However, whatever contract he signed would likely push the Dodgers over the competitive balance tax for 2021, and the Dodgers might not be able to beat out competing teams to sign LeMahieu like the Yankees and Blue Jays. So Los Angeles could also try to trade for a third baseman like Bryant from the Cubs or Suárez from the Reds.

The Dodgers are looking for right-handed bats, which makes Bryant and Suárez better third-base trade targets than, say, Mike Moustakas or Kyle Seager.



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