Quick Hits: Sugano’s Deadline, Free Agent Market, Training Facilities (www.mlbtraderumors.com)

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The posting period for Tomoyuki Sugano ends today at 5pm ET. He’s reportedly seeking more than the four-year, $56MM deal that Yusei Kikuchi signed to join the Mariners, writes Chris Cotillo of Masslive.com. That’s a hefty sum, and with a four-year contract in-hand to return to the Yomiuri Giants – a deal that includes three opt-outs – it begins to feel less likely that the Japanese legend will find the deal he desires. Still, he’s an absolute star in Japan and could be the best free agent starter not named Trevor Bauer. The Red Sox are still interested, as are the Blue Jays. The Mets are out. While we wait for Sugano’s decision, let’s check in on some other league news…

  • It was an omen of the winter to come when the Cleveland Indians waived their closer Brad Hand. When he went unclaimed, panic reached new heights. If Hand at $10MM went unclaimed by all 30 teams, free agent spending figured to be at an all-time low. Interest appears to be picking up on Hand, but on the whole, the market remains cold. Perhaps to an unprecedented degree, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Agents fear GMs are being intentionally obtuse about their payrolls in order to delay signings and inspire an ecosystem of desperation among players. The lack of face-to-face meetings might also be making the frigid environment easier to teams to maintain, suggests Nightengale. Elsewhere…
  • Upon hearing that some teams were planning on opening up their facilities to allow players to come train, MLB sent a memo to all thirty clubs setting clear guidelines for the opening of training facilities, per Nightengale. The only players who will be allowed in their team facilities prior to spring training, Nightengale writes, are those who live near the facilities, those with specific health needs, and those approved in the CBA to attend club mini-camps. Violations will be subject to severe punishment. Of course, what that means is all relative. MLB is trying to get ahead of any potential outbreaks in January or February that would complicate initial protocols.

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