The calendar has changed over to 2015, yet there are still several noticeable names remaining in the MLB free-agent pool.

High-profile pitchers and potentially impactful position players can be had for the right price, and it’s shocking to see names like Max Scherzer and James Shields generating relatively little interest. Jon Lester’s signing should have accelerated the free-agent pitching market, but only the mid- and low-tier arms got scooped up.

In terms of bats, the most intriguing option left is probably Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada. He’s just 19 years old and has an extraordinarily high ceiling. He’ll command a large contract, one certainly out of the ballpark for most teams.

The latest MLB rumors have much to do with Shields and Moncada, as well as a big-name pitcher who hasn’t done much in the bigs over the past several years. Read on to find out more.


James Shields

Shields is the No. 2 pitcher available behind Scherzer, but there should be more of a market for a guy capable of delivering over 200 innings and a sub-4.00 ERA. There’s at least one team with an interest in his right arm, reports Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal:

The Miami Marlins have acquired Mat Latos, Dan Haren and David Phelps this offseason, but Rosenthal notes that there are legitimate reasons for their interest:

Miami’s rotation has the potential to be lethal with Jose Fernandez, Henderson Alvarez and Latos headlining the rotation when all three are healthy together, but adding Shields into the mix would make this one of the deepest rotations in baseball.

Throw in the fact that offensive upgrades Martin Prado, Dee Gordon and Mike Morse will drastically change the production of the lineup, and the Marlins are poised to compete in the National League East—even without Shields.

There’s a significant financial commitment to be made, though, as there’s a strong chance the 33-year-old will earn a five-year contract in the $100 million range.

Demands like these are likely why interest hasn’t picked up, as not many teams have the resources or philosophy to give that type of money to someone Shields’ age.

One would have to think he’ll sign soon. Spring training begins in mid- to late February, and a player of his caliber likely won’t remain on the sidelines while his colleagues are beginning serious preseason workouts.


Yoan Moncada

Moncada likely won’t make an impact in the bigs right away considering his young age, but that will not stop big spenders from throwing money his way.’s Jesse Sanchez reports that one notoriously lavish organization will be in the running:

The Los Angeles Dodgers won’t be alone in their pursuit. Baseball America‘s Ben Badler expects eight teams to join them in the hunt. Interesting options include the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, all of which have already gone over the international spending bonus pool. They’re already at max penalty, so signing another player to a large deal won’t result in a more severe consequence.

For teams that have yet to incur penalties, Moncada might be out of their price range. That said,’s Jonathan Mayo spoke to a scouting director who said that it’s a small price to pay for his absurd talents: “He’s worth going way over your international spending pool, in my opinion. This game is about talent and Moncada is the kind of talent worth the investment.”

A potential five-tool talent, Moncada has good speed, power and contact skills. He has plus arm strength and decent technique in the outfield. It’s only a matter of time before he takes the minors by storm and begins his climb to the majors.

Los Angeles seems like a strange fit given its wealth of outfielders. The Red Sox are in a similar situation. This could become a rare bidding war between the Yankees and Rays, both of which will have holes in the outfield in two years or so—about when Moncada should be ready.

Of course, anything can happen when bidding on international studs. Take Yoan Lopez, for example. Not many expected him to sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks, yet the organization loved him enough to make a competitive offer.

Anything can happen with Moncada, but rest assured that he’ll be paid handsomely.


Johan Santana

Remember Johan Santana? He has fallen off the face of the baseball earth; he last pitched for the New York Mets in 2012.

Injuries have prevented him from reaching the majors since that point, yet he is still working on a comeback after suffering an Achilles injury with the Baltimore Orioles last season.

The two-time Cy Young winner is probably nothing more than a lefty reliever at this point in his career, but that hasn’t stopped the Yankees from showing interest, according to Dan Martin of the New York Post: “Scouts who saw him said he was relying more on guile than power. Nevertheless, the Yankees remain intrigued by the possibility of bringing in Santana and will ‘keep an eye on him,’ according to a source.”

During Santana’s last stint with the Mets, low velocity resulted in ineffectiveness. He made 21 starts but produced a 4.85 ERA (4.09 FIP) and a WHIP of 1.333—a career high for a season in which he logged at least 100 innings.

He’s an ideal buy-low candidate, however. Santana didn’t forget how to pitch, even if his velocity isn’t what it used to be. The worst-case scenario is that he either gets injured or performs poorly in the minors and gets released. The best-case scenario is that he joins a bullpen and pitches well, perhaps making a spot start here or there.

The Yankees have left-handed depth in Andrew Miller, Justin Wilson and Chasen Shreve, so Santana would strictly provide depth if signed.


Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @kennydejohn

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