Tag: MLB Rumors

2017 MLB Free Agents: Rumors and Predictions for Hottest Available Players

Now that MLB teams drew first blood in the offseason’s free-agency market, expect the floodgates to soon open.

The Toronto Blue Jays started the party by officially signing Kendrys Morales, a clear sign of them fearing the end of their relationship with star sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. The Houston Astros also acted early by signing Josh Reddick, as first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan. They continued to bolster their offense by acquiring catcher Brian McCann from the New York Yankees.

Two days later, the St. Louis Cardinals set the table for an expensive bullpen market by signing southpaw Brett Cecil to a four-year deal, also first reported by Passan. Upon seeing the early transaction, available closers Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon probably laughed maniacally and envisioned record-setting paydays for relief pitchers.

In the aftermath of these early moves, the American League East is particularly gearing up to land marquee free agents. Let’s take a look at the latest buzz around the league.


Bidding War for Carlos Beltran?

In a hitter-heavy free-agent crop, a slugger set to turn 40 in April is attracting the most suitors.

According to the Boston Herald‘s Evan Drellich, designated hitter Carlos Beltran has a “more robust” market than Encarnacion, who will command a larger salary after belting 42 home runs in 2016. Beltran, who has played for five teams in the past six seasons, proved he has more power to offer after hitting .295/.337/.513 with 29 long balls for the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers last season.

Drellich said the Bronx Bombers are looking to reacquire the man they dealt in July, but a bitter rival is also eyeing his services. Seen as an ideal David Ortiz replacement, one source identified Beltran to Drellich as the Boston Red Sox’s “top priority” this offseason.

Before setting up another one-on-one battle between the big-market behemoths, the Rangers and Astros are still in play. Although Reddick and McCann give Houston a crowded lineup, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal confirmed Drellich‘s claim that the Astros are not backing out of the Beltran sweepstakes:

Unfortunately for them, the McCann trade makes a Yankees reunion far more realistic. They cleared a bloated contract off the books and reopened up the designated-hitter slot. Loaded with young talent after last year’s deadline haul, a short-term upgrade would work perfectly for the Evil Empire.

The smooth-swinging switch-hitter also took a liking to Yankee Stadium, where he hit .302/.363/.598 with 14 homers in 201 plate appearances last season. Don’t be surprised if the Yankees and Beltran press the reset button and reunite for a one- or two-year contract.

Prediction: Beltran signs two-year deal with Yankees. 


Blue Jays Targeting Dexter Fowler

The Blue Jays already purchased insurance for their worst fears by bringing aboard Morales, who should slide into Encarnacion‘s DH role. An offensive specialist with a .795 OPS, however, will not maintain their lineup’s luster.

If both stars indeed sign elsewhere, Toronto won’t replicate their elite production. Knowing their power will take a major hit, the franchise is looking to instead locate a strong leadoff hitter with keen on-base abilities, per Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi:

If that’s what they want, Dexter Fowler is the perfect candidate. The center fielder, who will turn 31 before Opening Day, notched a .393 on-base percentage atop the Chicago Cubs’ batting order due to a stellar 14.3 walk percentage. Over his career, he has reached base at a .366 clip.

He would also need to move positions with defensive stalwart Kevin Pillar occupying center. The Blue Jays would certainly delight their pitching staff by instead complementing him with Adam Eaton, who accrued 22 defensive runs saved, per FanGraphs, after moving from center to right field for the Chicago White Sox.

Although Eaton’s career .357 on-base percentage fits the bill, there’s little reason to believe the White Sox would trade him. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the 27-year-old will make $18.4 million over the next three years before the team can evoke club options in both 2020 and 2021.

Fowler is the more realistic target, but he should draw major interest following a career year. Expect him to get more money from another contender, which may compel the Blue Jays to bring back Michael Saunders instead.

Predictions: Fowler signs four-year deal elsewhere; Eaton stays put.


Yankees Gear Up for Big Moves

Before setting up a Beltran press conference, the Yankees are reportedly also aiming their sights much higher.

According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Yankees are pursuing Encarnacion as well as Beltran following the McCann trade. In an MLB Network Radio interview, ESPN’s Jim Bowden expressed confidence in them attaining either Encarnacion or outfielder Yoenis Cespedes:

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman traded several key pieces last summer, but he’s now open to quickly replenishing the roster rather than patiently restocking. As he told MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, he’s willing to explore all avenues:

I’m going to be open-minded to all of it. I’m going to be open-minded to what’s available. We now will pursue bats, but we’ll see if it takes us anywhere. It could be a DH-only situation; obviously the preference always is going to be someone that can provide positional ability so you have more flexibility on your roster. We’ll see where it takes us.

Burned by splashy signings in the past, it seems strange for the Yankees to dip their feet back in the expensive free-agent pool this winter. They finally shed McCann, Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez off the payroll and got significantly younger, so why give another veteran a hefty contract two years before Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Clayton Kershaw can hit the open market?

It’s a new era in the Big Apple, so expect Cashman and Co. to stay patient and settle for Beltran. If anything, they’ll make a splash by bringing back Chapman or another premier reliever.

As the Yankees gradually build their next superteam, the Red Sox will roll the dice now by signing Encarnacion. Having lost Reddick and facing the possibility of watching Justin Turner leave as well, the Los Angeles Dodgers clear their deep pockets to pry Cespedes from the New York Mets.

Predictions: Encarnacion signs four-year deal with Red Sox; Cespedes joins Dodgers on five-year contract; Chapman goes back to Yankees for four-year deal.

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MLB Free Agents 2017: Rumors, Predictions for Josh Reddick, Carlos Beltran, More

Major League Baseball’s signing season hasn’t ramped up just yet, but there’s plenty of chatter floating around that could serve as a good indicator of where several of the market’s most coveted players will land.

From corner outfielders to relievers on the comeback trail and ageless designated hitters, there are free agents aplenty who can help contenders make leaps in 2017.

So as the hot stove heats up, here’s a rundown of the latest buzz from around MLB


Orioles Pursuing Reddick 

The Baltimore Orioles are in need of corner outfield reinforcements, so it makes sense that they’re getting in on the Josh Reddick sweepstakes.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Orioles are pursuing the 29-year-old after he batted a career-high .281 during a 2016 season that saw him split his time between the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Dodgers.

On both sides of the ball, Reddick makes sense for the Orioles. 

He’s historically crushed the ball at Camden Yards and owns a lifetime OPS of 1.167 in Baltimore, according to Morosi. That mark is his highest at any MLB park, per Baseball-Reference.com, and it complements some other outrageous stats at the hitter-friendly park. 

All told, Reddick has compiled five home runs, 12 RBI and a .400 batting average in 24 career games at Camden Yards. 

Defensively, Reddick would also add value next to center fielder Adam Jones. 

According to FanGraphs, Reddick ranked sixth among all MLB right fielders last season (minimum 300 innings played) with six defensive runs saved. Only Mookie Betts, Adam Eaton, Jason Heyward, Nick Markakis and Ezequiel Carrera posted superior totals. 

Morosi also noted the Toronto Blue Jays have interest in Reddick since Jose Bautista, according to Today’s Knuckleball’s Jon Heyman, will reportedly decline the team’s $17.2 million qualifying offer. 

And while Reddick makes sense for both American League East contenders, his history of hitting the cover off the ball in Baltimore should make the Orioles the leader in the clubhouse for the time being. 

Prediction: Reddick signs three-year deal with the Orioles


Red Sox Interested in Beltran

Age evidently isn’t going to slow Carlos Beltran down. 

During his age-39 season, which was split between the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, Beltran clobbered 29 home runs and tallied 93 RBI—his highest totals in both categories since he was named an All-Star during the 2012 campaign. 

Beyond his impressive power, Beltran also batted .295 with a .337 on-base percentage. Not surprisingly, those numbers have at least one pennant contender interested in his services. 

According to ESPN.com’s Scott Lauber, a league source disclosed the Boston Red Sox want Beltran “badly.”

Might boil down to whether Beltran wants more than a one-year guarantee,” Lauber wrote. “Unclear at this point. Regardless, Beltran wasn’t subjected to qualifying offer by virtue of getting traded during season, so signing team won’t have to cough up first-round pick.

The Red Sox are in need of a new full-time designated hitter following David Ortiz’s retirement, and the soon-to-be 40-year-old Beltran would seem to be a perfect fit.

However, the Red Sox will likely have to compete with at least one other AL club in order to land the aged slugger. 

The New York Daily News‘ Mark Feinsand reported the Houston Astros are “hot” for Beltran, and the rising AL West squad could have appeal to Beltran after he spent 2004 in H-Town. 

When it comes time to make a decision, the chance to win a World Series should steer Beltran toward the Red Sox—who already have the pieces and pitching staff necessary to help him capture that elusive championship ring. 

Prediction: Beltran signs two-year deal including club option with Boston


Boston Hoping to Lock Down Holland? 

Greg Holland missed the 2016 season after he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery, but that hasn’t prevented a slew of clubs from kicking the tires on him in free agency.

According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, “the Red Sox are among the most aggressive suitors for the free agent relievers. There are, however, ‘several teams’ that are showing a similar level of interest.”

A two-time All-Star, Holland was one of MLB’s most consistent closers during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He recorded 93 saves during that span and posted sub-1.50 ERAs over the course of those two stellar years. 

However, a recent post-surgery showcase left lingering questions regarding his future effectiveness. 

According to the New York Post‘s Joel Sherman, Holland’s fastball clocked in between 89 and 90 mph during the audition. That was concerning, namely because his career fastball average before hitting the shelf was 95.5 mph, per FanGraphs

“He had good extension, which suggests he is healthy,” a scout told Sherman. “This is his fastball in November, 13 months after surgery—it will be something else in spring training. But this is the key now: What does he look like in four months? That is really what you are trying to figure out.”

If there’s good news for Holland, it’s that he doesn’t necessarily need an overpowering fastball thanks to his reliable slider. 

“The Greg Holland slider was front and center,” Holland’s agent, Scott Boras, said, per Sherman. “The reaction should be pretty positive after that. He just had to illustrate that he was healthy because when he has been healthy, he has been elite.”

Bradford cited the Yankees, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals as other teams that could chase Holland, but he noted “it is unclear which clubs have the same level of intent as the Red Sox.”

And after closer Craig Kimbrel struggled throughout the second half of the season, adding a contingency plan like Holland makes all the sense in the world for the Red Sox. 

Prediction: Holland signs two-year deal with the Red Sox


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless noted otherwise. 

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Chris Sale Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation Surrounding White Sox SP

Chris Sale’s 2016 season was turbulent at times, and the Chicago White Sox are reportedly receiving trade interest in the five-time All-Star from a number of clubs.

Continue for updates.

Braves In on Sale

Tuesday, Nov. 15

According to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball, the Atlanta Braves are among the teams showing “strong interest” in acquiring Sale.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports confirmed Sale is among the pitchers the Braves are considering making a move for.

Nationals Inquire About Sale

Tuesday, Nov. 15

On Monday, USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale reported the Washington Nationals had asked about Sale’s availability. However, he noted the White Sox had not had “serious talks with anyone yet.”

Sale Remains Intriguing Trade Target

Sale’s 2016 season was marred by a team-imposed suspension on the heels of his decision to reportedly cut up the team’s throwback jerseys before a game in late July, per Tommy Stokke of Today’s Knuckleball.

But aside from the clubhouse incident, Sale was plenty effective on the bump.

The 27-year-old tied his career high with 17 wins, and he hit that mark by recording a 3.34 ERA, a league-best six complete games, a 1.037 WHIP and 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings.

Sale’s 5.2 wins above replacement also ranked tied for tops among all American League pitchers along with Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander and Boston Red Sox hurler Rick Porcello.

Sale’s production alone makes him a compelling trade target, but a reasonable, team-controlled contract should bolster his trade value if the White Sox do make him available.

Sale is slated to earn $12 million in 2017, and he owns a pair of club options for the final two seasons on his deal. Specifically, Sale will make $12.5 million in 2018 and $15 million in 2019, if his employer exercises the options.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. Salary information courtesy of Spotrac.com.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Andrew McCutchen, Miguel Cabrera, More

Hot-stove season is upon us, which means trade rumors are starting to fly at a fast and furious pace as teams across Major League Baseball seek to retool their rosters and gear up for title runs in 2017. 

And with big names like Andrew McCutchen and Miguel Cabrera surfacing in advance of this year’s winter meetings, the rumor mill shouldn’t stop churning anytime soon. 

Here’s a rundown of the latest buzz from across MLB


Pirates Entertaining Offers for McCutchen

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals were reportedly engaged in trade talks centered around McCutchen at the non-waiver trade deadline, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, but the discussions didn’t yield a completed deal.

However, those trade talks may have been indicative of the Pirates’ larger desire to move McCutchen at some point in the near future. 

“The talks, while unlikely to revive because of differences in McCutchen‘s perceived value, amount to the strongest indication yet that the Pirates are willing to move their five-time All-Star and franchise player,” Rosenthal wrote. 

A day after Rosenthal‘s news broke, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington disclosed the Pirates have been open to hearing proposals regarding their star center fielder, according to the Associated Press’ Ronald Blum

They recognize that we haven’t been adverse to moving guys as their contract nears expiration. It’s a part of how we believe we need to do things to continue to be competitive and continue to give ourselves a shot to win. If they see his name out there, they do what we do. If a really good player’s name gets popped out there, we make a call just to make sure we do our due diligence and to see if there might be a fit.

The five-time All-Star is coming off a down year at the plate that saw him bat .256 with a .336 on-base percentage, 24 home runs and 79 RBI, and based on his contractual status, it would make sense for the Pirates to shop the 30-year-old. 

McCutchen is owed $14 million in 2017 and has a club option for $14.5 million in 2018, so if Pittsburgh doesn’t want to invest more money in the aging outfielder long term, dealing him now for younger, cost-controlled pieces would be a prudent move. 

When it comes to potential buyers, contenders in win-now mode could do much worse than McCutchen

Although he could be starting to decline following a year that saw him finish with minus-0.7 wins above replacement, the 2013 NL MVP would be an upgrade in center for a load of prospective title hopefuls, and he could help shift the league’s balance of power. 


Astros Eyeing Cabrera? 

The Houston Astros are reportedly looking for a superstar addition, and they’re not afraid to pay for one. 

According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, that could mean making offers to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Cabrera: 

However, the Astros’ history suggests that dealing for Cabrera doesn’t align with their standard operating procedure. 

“Cabrera, 33, is guaranteed $212 million over the next seven seasons,” the Houston Chronicle‘s Jake Kaplan wrote. “The Astros under Jim Crane’s ownership group have not spent more than $47.5 million on a single player (Yulieski Gurriel).” 

Kaplan also noted that Cabrera would need to approve any trade to the Astros, which would also complicate matters for the AL West hopefuls. 

Furthermore, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow pumped the breaks on rumors that Cabrera could be Houston-bound. 

“I was asked, ‘Would we consider a trade for a Hall of Fame-caliber first baseman,’ and we’re considering everything,” he said, per Kaplan. “I think the media kind of ran with that.”

In other words, don’t bank on Cabrera suiting up for the Astros anytime soon. 


Rays Reportedly Intent on Dealing Pitching

The Tampa Bay Rays have a surplus of starting pitchers, and they appear intent on making a deal to take advantage of that as the offseason progresses.

The New York Post‘s Joel Sherman provided the details:  

“The demand is there,” Rays general manager Erik Neander said, according to the Tampa Bay TimesMarc Topkin. “When you have really good players, especially in an area where there is need across the league, I think it certainly plays that way.”

Topkin noted Chris Archer logically garners the most interest, but the 28-year-old told reporters he has “very good insight” he won’t be traded this offseason. 

That leaves the cost-controlled likes of Jake Odorizzi and Drew Smyly as the Rays’ most compelling potential trade chips for the time being. 

Among those two, Odorizzi would appear to be the more appealing pitcher to prospective buyers. 

The 26-year-old went 10-6 during the 2016 season, and he was steady to the tune of a 3.69 ERA, 1.194 WHIP and a mark of eight strikeouts per nine inningsSmyly, on the other hand, went 7-12 with a career-worst 4.88 ERA. 

Now, those numbers aren’t necessarily indicative of Smyly‘s overall skill set, but considering Odorizzi is younger and has more upside, the Rays could likely net a more lucrative haul if they deal him to try to reinforce other areas of their lineup. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com. Contract information courtesy of Spotrac.com

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MLB Rumors: Early Offseason Trade Buzz Surrounding Veteran Hitters

As the Chicago Cubs’ celebration over a century in the making wraps up, MLB has quickly shifted to offseason mode.

All 30 teams will waste no time mapping out their winter blueprints in preparation for 2017. Birds have started chirping about baseball’s hottest free agents, but not everyone has enough cash to spend. Even those who do would still like to pawn off recent signings for newer models.

Two of the league’s wealthiest clubs are each reportedly shopping a veteran hitter. Another team is looking to follow the Cubs’ breakout formula and transform a promising assortment of talent into a title fixture.

More than one week removed from Game 7’s final World Series out, the hot stove is officially flaming. The rumor mill is open for business, so let’s take a look at some early trade chatter percolating around the league.


Astros Targeting Marquee Sluggers

After years of losing, the Houston Astros have built up a contender bolstered by a crop of young position players. With a World Series run now possible, they are open to more rigorous spending.

This should sound familiar, as the Cubs were in a similar spot last year. They fortified their team through free agency, adding Ben Zobrist, John Lackey and Jason Heyward to the mix. If Houston can land some key upgrades, it could enjoy a comparable rise to dominance.

Per Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi, ownership senses the opportunity and is now willing to pay for top talent. Along with eyeing a premier free-agent slugger, the Astros also have another All-Star in sight:

Don’t bank on anything happening with Miguel Cabrera, who hit .316/.393/.563 with 38 home runs for the Detroit Tigers. As Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told the Houston Chronicle‘s Jake Kaplan, the speculation has been blown out of proportion.

“I was asked, ‘Would we consider a trade for a Hall of Fame-caliber first baseman,’ and we’re considering everything. I think the media kind of ran with that,” Luhnow said Wednesday. “Whoever started that rumor, it wasn’t us.”

Even if they agreed on a blockbuster, the two-time MVP could exercise his full no-trade clause to block the deal. No matter how improbable, the Astros’ potential interest highlights a willingness to spend big to win now, as the first baseman—who turns 34 next April—has seven years and $212 million remaining on his contract.

Edwin Encarnacion, who has hit 193 home runs over the last five years, would also require a hefty, long-term investment. Look for the Astros to settle on mid-tier targets such as Carlos Beltran, who they are “hot” for, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.


Dodgers Examining Market for Howie Kendrick

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Los Angeles Dodgers are open to moving Howie Kendrick, who would prefer a change of scenery.

Although he racked up 543 plate appearances over 146 games in 2016, the veteran wants a full-time role at a set position. Kendrick, a second baseman for most of his career, spent most of his time in left field in addition to second and first base.

Whether or not the instability affected him at the plate, he delivered substandard offensive production. Having previously never batted below .279, he hit .255 with a career-worst .303 weighted on-base average (wOBA). 

The 33-year-old is due $10 million during the second and final year of his contract. Despite his struggles in 2016, teams will be hard-pressed to locate a more affordable major league starter of his caliber in free agency.

Rosenthal mentioned the Philadelphia Phillies and a Los Angeles Angels reunion as possibilities. His former team especially needs help at second base after its options netted a .268 wOBA in 2016.

Kendrick makes a decent short-term replacement for either squad, especially if the Dodgers deal him at a marked-down price. 


Yankees Exploring Deals for Brian McCann

With the offseason underway, the New York Yankees will resume trade talks regarding Brian McCann.

According to the New York Post‘s Joel Sherman, the Yankees already have offers involving the 32-year-old catcher:

Brian Cashman has deals he can make for Brian McCann right now. But some were from teams the Yankees general manager dismissed because he does not believe the catcher would waive his no-trade clause (think West Coast and/or non-contenders) and others have yet to offer a return that Cashman finds satisfactory.

Sherman cited the Astros, Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves as interested teams. The Astros and Nationals both have holes behind the plate with their starters (Jason Castro for Houston, Wilson Ramos for Washington) on the open market. The Braves, meanwhile, were tied to their old catcher before the summer’s trade deadline.

McCann wields a full no-trade clause, but his agent, B.B. Abbott, told Sherman that his client would consider accepting a move back to Atlanta.

“He calls that home and loves it in the offseason,” Abbott said. “He would look hypothetically at them very seriously if Cash is able to do it. If it is a team a little closer to home that has a chance to contend that fits X, Y and Z, Mac will look at it and determine if it is a fit.”

After Gary Sanchez’s Herculean debut, the Bronx Bombers can afford to trade their pricier veteran and let the newcomer handle the full-time catching duties. They would especially benefit by receiving pitching in any exchange.


All advanced stats courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. Contract information courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

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Ian Kinsler Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation on Tigers 2B

If the Detroit Tigers start to tear down their aging roster and build for the future, second baseman Ian Kinsler will be an attractive piece for an opposing team.

Continue for updates. 

Dodgers Look at Kinsler

Thursday, Nov. 10

Per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Los Angeles Dodgers believe Kinsler is a potential fit for their roster but did not have any substantial talks with the Tigers during the general manager meetings this past week. 

The Dodgers do have an opening at second base with Chase Utley entering free agency this offseason and Howie Kendrick being shopped as a potential trade candidate, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. 

Tigers general manager Al Avila previously said the team would likely be taking a different approach this offseason by trying to add more young talent and create more financial flexibility, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press:

I can’t call it a rebuild, because we haven’t really broken anything down. I’m not comfortable with the word ‘rebuild.’ I don’t think that’s the right term. I’ve read ‘retool,’ but I don’t know if that’s the right term. I don’t know if there’s a term for what I want to do here. I really don’t. If you guys can come up with a slogan, let me know, and we’ll go with it.

Per Evan Woodbery of MLive.com, Avila said Tuesday the Tigers were willing to hear offers for players like Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera but were not actively shopping them. 

The Tigers do have an aging and expensive nucleus heading into 2017. Cabrera, Verlander, Kinsler, Victor Martinez, Anibal Sanchez and Jordan Zimmermann are all 30 or older. 

Per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the Tigers currently have $179 million in payroll obligations for 2017 before factoring in players who are eligible for arbitration.

Kinsler has an affordable $11 million salary with a team option for 2018 at $10 million, per Spotrac. He did have a strong 2016 season with an .831 OPS, but at 34 years old, it’s fair to wonder how many more peak years he has left. 

Because Kinsler’s contract falls closer to team-friendly territory than the longer-term deals for Cabrera or Verlander, it would make sense for the Tigers to dangle him in a deal to see if it brings back any significant bites from a team. 


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J.D. Martinez Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Tigers OF

Detroit Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez has become the subject of trade rumors this offseason.

Continue for updates.

Martinez Reportedly Most Likely Tiger to Be Dealt

Thursday, Nov. 10

A rival executive told Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports that outfielder J.D. Martinez is the Tigers star most likely to be dealt this offseason, citing his status as a free agent following the 2017 season and Detroit’s collection of right-handed power in the lineup. 

With Miguel Cabrera, Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez (switch-hitter) and Nick Castellanos, the Tigers are loaded from the right side of the plate.

Certainly, Martinez’s pending free agency makes him expendable. And Buster Olney of ESPN Insider reported in October that the Tigers would listen to offers on all of their players this offseason, even guys like Cabrera and Justin Verlander, franchise staples.

While Olney acknowledged that hardly meant the Tigers were about to embark on a fire sale, it was an indication that the front office was at least considering a mild makeover after the team failed to reach the postseason in 2016.

And general manager Al Avila already suggested the Tigers were interested in lowering their payroll and weren’t, at the time, interested in offering Martinez a long-term extension, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press:

I don’t foresee any talks of a long-term contract at this point. In saying that, we’re going to keep an open mind in what possibilities come across this winter, this coming summer. I’m not going to rule out that we wouldn’t consider a long-term deal, but sitting here today, we’re not thinking that way right now. Can’t say we wouldn’t be thinking about that down the road.

Martinez, 29, is an appealing trade chip.

He hit .307 with 22 home runs, 68 RBI and 69 runs scored in 2016. He was amazing in 2015, ripping 38 homers and 102 RBI. He’s sandwiched that breakout campaign with seasons where he hit at least 22 home runs but also played 123 games or fewer.

And based on Avila’s comments, it’s hard to imagine the Tigers won’t at least entertain the notion of dealing Martinez.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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Brian McCann Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Yankees C

New York Yankees catcher and designated hitter Brian McCann has continued to be the subject of trade rumors this offseason.

Continue for updates.

Yankees Deny That Trade for McCann is “Imminent”

Thursday, Nov. 10

Yankees general manager and senior vice president Brian Cashman indicated Thursday that “A McCann trade does not appear imminent,” according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. On Friday, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan noted the Yankees are willing to pay half of McCann’s $34 million salary, but they want multiple young players in return.  

McCann, 32, has been the subject of trade rumors this week, with Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reporting Wednesday the Houston Astros were “pursuing” a trade for the veteran designated hitter and catcher.

Also on Wednesday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the Yankees were in talks regarding McCann with the Astros, Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals. So a trade for McCann might not be “imminent,” but it certainly feels like there is a healthy market developing for his services.

McCann Trade Won’t Be Easy for Yankees 

Trading him won’t necessarily be easy, however.

McCann has a full no-trade clause in his contract, is due $34 million over the next two years and reportedly “no longer wants to catch 125 to 130 games,” according to Rosenthal (it’s worth noting Sherman reported McCann still wanted to be a regular catcher). Gary Sanchez is locked into the starting role in New York, so McCann would remain the backup and the primary designated hitter if he remained in New York.

And indeed, those are three pretty tricky factors to navigate for the Yankees, and if McCann indeed would prefer a designated hitter role, it could make any National League team unfavorable. 

Well, any team outside of Atlanta.

“He calls that home and loves it in the offseason,” McCann’s agent, B.B. Abbott, said of the city, per Sherman. “He would look hypothetically at them very seriously if Cash is able to do it. If it is a team a little closer to home that has a chance to contend that fits X, Y and Z, Mac will look at it and determine if it is a fit.”

While McCann had a solid offensive season, hitting .242 with 20 home runs and 58 RBI, the Yankees certainly could upgrade at designated hitter. But McCann also seems happy in New York and would be content remaining with the club.

“He has always approached this as I am a New York Yankee until they ask his permission otherwise,” Abbott noted. “I don’t think this is a slam dunk that it happens, I really don’t. He made a choice to be in New York because that is where he wants to be and he got a full no-trade clause because of that.”


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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Yoenis Cespedes: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on Free-Agent OF

Yoenis Cespedes is looking to cash in this winter as a free agent after a huge 2016 season as a member of the New York Mets.

Continue for updates.

Mets Meet with Cespedes’ Agent

Thursday, Nov. 10

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson confirmed he has met with Cespedes’ agent, per James Wagner of the New York Times, adding Alderson believes a resolution this month is “possible.”

Per Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com, Alderson would like to have a Cespedes deal done by January.

Giants Could Enter Cespedes Mix

Wednesday, Nov. 9

Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the San Francisco Giants are seen as “one of the more likely pursuers” of Cespedes during the offseason.

Heyman did note the Giants are also considering using prospects Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker in the outfield next year, with general manager Bobby Evans noting the team likes both players.

The Giants really need to find an impact hitter for their lineup. They finished 19th in runs scored and 28th in home runs. Seven players hit at least 10 homers for the team last season, but Brandon Belt led the way with 17.

Left field is currently open in San Francisco with Angel Pagan entering free agency. Cespedes is coming off a terrific offensive season. The 31-year-old hit .280/.354/.530 with 31 homers in 132 games. His 51 walks and walk percentage of 9.4 marked career highs, per FanGraphs.

The Giants finished the season in dreadful fashion. They went 30-42 in the second half after having an MLB-best 57-33 record before the All-Star break.

However, they aren’t far from returning to their pre-All-Star level with a few tweaks. Their starting rotation is still strong with Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore. Belt and Buster Posey are terrific hitters, and a full healthy season from Hunter Pence will help.

Finding a bat for the middle of the order and an arm or two in the bullpen will make the Giants the team to beat in the National League West.

Cespedes won’t come cheaply wherever he goes, but the Giants have the means and the motivation to make something happen if they decide to focus their attention on him this offseason.

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Mike Napoli: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation on Free-Agent 1B

First baseman Mike Napoli is among the best power hitters available in free agency, and he already has a reported suitor.

Continue for updates.

Latest on Napoli’s Free-Agent Interest

Tuesday, Nov. 8 

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Seattle Mariners are showing interest in the 35-year-old veteran.

Napoli enjoyed one of the most productive seasons of his 11-year career in 2016, as he hit .239 with a personal-best 34 home runs, 101 RBI and 92 runs scored in the heart of the Cleveland Indians’ batting order.

He also had one homer and three RBI during the Tribe’s surprising run to the World Series.

The Indians declined to give Napoli a qualifying offer Monday, per Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com, but Tom Withers of the Associated Press reported last Friday they have interest in potentially re-signing him.

Napoli is a versatile player who was used exclusively at first base and as a designated hitter last season, but he has previous experience in the outfield and at catcher.

He also has 66 career postseason games to his credit and won a championship with the Boston Red Sox in 2013.

The Mariners ranked third in Major League Baseball in home runs last season and sixth in runs scored due largely to the play of Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano’s uptick in power, and the arrival of Napoli would make Seattle an even bigger power threat.

The lefty-hitting Dan Vogelbach is the Mariners’ current first baseman, and he tore up minor league pitching, so adding a righty such as Napoli could make for a dangerous platoon.

This contract may be the last significant deal for Napoli since his age suggests he is reaching the twilight of his career, but he proved in 2016 he is still capable of anchoring a lineup.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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