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01/11/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/11/2019 14:17

Dodgers reuniting with catcher Martin

It's Hot Stove season, and MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

Free agents, by position
Free agents, by team

Reds' rotation options include Keuchel, Gray
Jan. 11: Although they've already added Tanner Roarkand Alex Woodin trades this offseason, the Reds are still in the hunt for another starting pitcher, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.

The ground-ball-heavy Dallas Keuchelis an especially good fit for Cincinnati's hitter-friendly home park, but he is reportedly seeking a five-year deal, something that may cause the Reds to look in another direction.

Per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the club is still in the mix for Sonny Gray, who pitched under the tutelage of new Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson at Vanderbilt. Now that CC Sabathiahas been cleared for baseball activities after undergoing an angioplasty procedure in December, the Yanks may be stepping up their efforts to trade Gray.

Gray was one of five pitchers who threw at least 100 innings and posted both a 50 percent ground-ball rate and a 20 percent strikeout rate in 2018, making him another strong fit for the Reds' ballpark.

'It makes sense to suppress contact as much as possible,' Johnson said, regarding the type of pitcher the Reds are seeking. 'If you can find guys that have high whiff [rates] on one or two pitches, it makes a lot of sense. I think extreme ground-ball [pitchers] make a lot of sense and extreme popup makes a lot of sense too in our park. That's a tall order. If you can find pitchers with one of those or two of those, I think it would fit.'

However, Heyman reports that the Yankees want multiple high-level pitching prospects in return for Gray. In the case of the Reds organization, that could include right-handers Tony Santillan (Reds' No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline), Vladimir Gutierrez (No. 8) and Keury Mella (No. 11). That might be too steep of a price for a pitcher who posted a 4.90 ERA in 30 appearances (23 starts) this past season and is under control for just one more year.

Per Sheldon, Wade Miley, Clay Buchholzand Gio Gonzalezare three others the Reds could consider.

Should teams be worried about giving a 10-year deal to Harper?
Jan. 11: As the free-agent market continues to thin out, the two biggest names out there -- Bryce Harperand Manny Machado, but you probably already knew that -- remain available. Dallas Keuchel, A.J. Pollockand Craig Kimbrelare still unsigned as well. What do these players have in common? They are all reportedly seeking long-term deals, something teams have been hesitant to give out in the past two offseasons.

While many of the longest contracts in MLB history have later turned out to be albatrosses, Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post arguesthat the risks that applied to many of the players who signed those deals don't apply to Harper or Machado because of their relative youth. More >

Are Brewers gearing up for another big move?
Jan. 11: With Brian Dozierheaded to D.C. on a one-year deal with the Nationals, Jed Lowriejoining the Metson a two-year deal and DJ LeMahieujumping to the Yankees on a two-year contract, there could be more movement on the way in what is a deep free-agent market for second basemen that includes Asdrubal Cabrera, Josh Harrisonand Marwin Gonzalez, arguably one of the most versatile players in baseball.

The action is likely to pick up, as clubs seek out the player they like most of that bunch, depending on the cost of acquisition. The Brewers might be at the forefront, as ESPN's Jeff Passan reported they are 'in heavy pursuit of an infielder to play second or third base.'

MLB.com's Adam McCalvy mentioned the Crew could be a possible fit for Gonzalez and Harrison, as well as Wilmer Flores.

Is Milwaukee getting ready to make another big move after working out a one-year dealwith Yasmani Grandalto upgrade behind the plate? More >

Phillies hire Manny's mentor for coaching staff
Jan. 10: The Phillies are one of three teams seen as the favorites to sign superstar free agent Manny Machado, along with the White Sox and Yankees. And they may have just taken a step that could help them bring Machado to Philadelphia. According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, the club has hired former Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson as infield coach. Dickerson's mentorship of Machado dates back to before Machado made his MLB debut in 2012.

According to a story by Dan Connolly for The Athleticlast October, Machado referred to Dickerson as 'one of his most important mentors.' The hiring of Dickerson by the Phillies isn't the first personnel move made by a potential Machado suitor that involves people close to the infielder. In December, the White Sox traded for Machado's brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso. And on Wednesday, Chicago reportedly agreed to terms with free-agent outfielder Jon Jay, a close friend of Machado's.

Along with Bryce Harper, Machado is one of the two premier free agents on the market this offseason. At the outset, it was thought that both could command a long-term contract of more than $300 million. Although it has been reported in recent days that Machado is seeking a contract north of Giancarlo Stanton's record $325 million deal with the Marlins in 2014, it has also been reported that no team has made an offer that high to this point.

Machado, 26, had his best offensive season in '18, slashing .297/.367/.538 (146 OPS+) with 37 home runs and 14 steals between the Orioles and Dodgers, helping Los Angeles reach the World Series for a second consecutive year. Phillies owner John Middleton said earlier this offseason that the organization has money to spend and might be 'a little bit stupid' about it, raising expectations that Philadelphia would make a giant splash in the free-agent market. It is also rumored to be one of the frontrunners for Harper, and Phillies representatives will be meeting with Harper in Las Vegas on Saturday.

What would Braves look like with Pollock?
Jan. 10: The Braves need a corner outfielder to replace free agent Nick Markakis. How do you explain, then, that they have been mentioned as a suitor for A.J. Pollock-- the top center fielder on the open market -- for much of the offseason?

Atlanta 'continues to be in discussions' on the 31-year-old, as well as other free-agent outfielders, according to ESPN's Buster Olney, who runs down what the Braves' lineup could look like if they landed Pollock. More >

Do Phillies have another reason to meet with Harper?
Jan. 10: The Phillies are set to send a sizable contingent of their decision-makers to visit with Bryce Harper in his hometown of Las Vegas on Saturday, according to multiple reports. On the surface, the club is doing so because of legitimate interest in the free-agent superstar. But is there perhaps another reason -- an ulterior motive, if you will -- for this cross-country trek? More >

Reds still in the mix for Gray
Jan. 10: When it became known the Yankees were shopping right-hander Sonny Gray, one of the clubs that immediately stood out as a potential suitor was the Reds, as Cincinnati entered the offseason looking to upgrade its rotation and went on to hire Gray's former pitching coach at Vanderbilt, Derek Johnson, as their new pitching coach. According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, Cincinnati's interest in Gray remains despite the club adding starters Tanner Roarkand Alex Woodvia trade.

Heyman notes that while the Yankees are indeed looking to trade Gray, they want multiple high-level pitching prospects in return. In the case of the Reds organization, that could include right-handers Tony Santillan (Reds' No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline), Vladimir Gutierrez (No. 8) and Keury Mella(No. 11).

Gray, 29, struggled in his first full season with the Yankees last year, posting a 4.90 ERA in 30 appearances (23 starts). His home/road splits, however, may be some cause for optimism for a team looking to acquire him: his ERA in outings at Yankee Stadium in 2018 was 6.98, whereas it was 3.17 away from the Bronx.

Crew has one-year deal with Grandal
Jan. 10: The Brewers and free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal have agreed to a one-year, $18.25 million deal, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi. The agreement is pending a physical, and the club has not confirmed. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal was first to report the deal, and Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown was first to report the salary figure.

Grandal, 30, had been considered one of the best catchers on the free-agent market following three seasons with the Padres and the last four with the Dodgers. From 2016-18, he posted a 113 OPS+ for Los Angeles, with 22 or more homers in each of those years. Defensively, he is considered a solid backstop, though he had struggles behind the plate during the last postseason. He reportedly declined a four-year, $60 million offer from the Mets earlier this offseason, and declined the Dodgers' one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer to become a free agent.

The Brewers fell a game shy of the World Series last year, losing to Grandal's former club, the Dodgers. Over the past two offseasons, Milwaukee has added a pair of star outfielders in reigning National League Most Valuable Player Christian Yelichand Lorenzo Cain, and now reportedly has upgraded at the catcher position. The latest move will cost the organization Draft pick compensation, as Grandal rejected a qualifying offer from Los Angeles.

An area of need for the Brewers that remains is the starting rotation, which performed solidly in helping Milwaukee nearly capture the NL pennant, but remains without a proven ace at the top. Another is second base, a position for which the free-agent market is loaded with candidates, most of whom have yet to find a landing spot. More >

Why White Sox could be 'perfect' for Machado or Harper
Jan. 10: The White Sox are in on both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. But will the franchise's front office, which has overseen a lengthy rebuild that still holds tons of promise -- but hasn't brought results ... yet -- be able to persuade either superstar free agent to sign on the dotted line?

For the latest on Machado buzz, go here. Harper rumors? They're right here.

Here's why Realmuto rumors are gaining steam again
Jan. 10: Get ready, because the J.T. Realmutorumors are about to pick up again. That's only natural now that Yasmani Grandal -- the top free-agent catcher this offseason -- is moving to Milwaukee on a one-year deal, thus changing the circumstances in the catcher market.

In the wake of that news, the Marlins are 'engaged in substantive discussions with six clubs' about Realmuto, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reported. Those six? More >

Should Phillies wait for Trout instead of signing Harper or Machado?
Jan. 9: While the Phillies remain in the mix for free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, it's certainly possible that they won't come away with either player. The club's fan base might be disappointed with that outcome, but former Phils great Ryan Howard arguedTuesday on MLB Network that it could open the door for other, and perhaps better, pursuits.

'If you miss out, that's not the worst thing,' Howard said. 'Because there's a guy named Mike Trout, who I believe has season Eagles tickets, who's there every week. The fans love him, they know he's right there from right outside of Philly.'

Trout, a native of Millville, N.J., is under contract with the Angels for two more seasons. His Philadelphia Eagles fandom has been much publicized, especially during the team's run to a Super Bowl championship last season.

Trout is on a Hall of Fame trajectory, but the Angels have had trouble building a contender around him. The 27-year-old has played just three postseason games in his career, and it's conceivable he'll want to pursue a better chance to compete in two years unless Los Angeles does something drastic in that time to improve its standing. The Angels have a middling farm system, and their biggest additions this offseason are Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahilland Jonathan Lucroy, leaving plenty of work to be done.

While waiting for Trout to hit free agency, the Phillies could spend money in the interim to boost the overall quality of their roster. As Ken Rosenthal notedon MLB Network's 'Hot Stove' program Wednesday, Craig Kimbrel, Dallas Keuchel, A.J. Pollock and DJ LeMahieu could all be considered by the Phils if they strike out on Harper and Machado.

Video: Howard suggests Phils be cautious, wait for Trout

Breaking down a potential Giants, Brewers blockbuster for Bumgarner
Jan. 9: If the Giants do trade Madison Bumgarnerthis winter -- and that's still a big 'if' -- the most likely destination is Milwaukee, sources have told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi. Morosi reports that the Brewers and Giants have had 'substantive communication' this offseason regarding a Bumgarner trade.

A deal would make sense for both sides. The Brewers are looking to make a second straight trip to the postseason, but the front end of their starting rotation is thin and Bumgarner would be an immediate boost. Per Morosi, the Brewers are 'continuing their internal deliberations' about how much they'd be willing to give up for the Giants ace, who will be a free agent after this season. It remains to be seen whether such deliberations will be impacted by Milwaukee's reported one-year deal with catcher Yasmani Grandal.

Morosi reports that in the teams' initial talks, the Giants have indicated that they'd need to get back at least one young starting pitcher from Milwaukee -- either Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruffor Freddy Peralta.

'This would be a much different trade for [Brewers general manager] David Stearns,' MLB.com's Adam McCalvy said. 'In the other deals he's made in the offseason since he's been in charge ... in almost all of those, he's acquiring a player with multiple years of club control. Madison Bumgarner would be a one-year deal.'

Two such trades that come to mind: Milwaukee getting slugger Travis Shawas part of a package in which the club sent reliever Tyler Thornburgto the Red Sox in December 2016; and of course, last offseason's blockbusteracquisition of outfielder Christian Yelich from the Marlins in exchange for four prospects.

San Francisco is trying to quickly rebuild into a contender under new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. Trading Bumgarner could be the club's best chance to get the type of high-end young player they need to make that happen.

Morosi writes that the Brewers might be a more likely trade destination than, say, the Phillies -- who also are interested in Bumgarner -- because Milwaukee is more focused on the trade market, while the Phillies are focusing on free agency.

MLB Network Radio's Steve Phillips argues that the Brewers need to make a big splash and views a Bumgarner trade as a move they should make. 'There's a time to go for it, and they're in it,' Phillips said. 'This is it. This is your window right now. And there's a real opportunity because the Cubs are up against it with their payroll. So take advantage of this.'

As Phillips points out, if the Brewers trade for Bumgarner and then fall out of the race, they could always shop him close to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline to regain some of what they would have given up for the left-hander.

Will Machado and Harper make their decisions soon?
Jan. 9: Although the Phillies are preparing to meet with Bryce Harper in Las Vegas on Saturday, per a report from USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Nationals appear to be the favorites to land the superstar outfielder.

A source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsandthat momentum is building toward Harper's return to Washington, causing Philadelphia to step up its pursuit of Manny Machado. More >

Nevertheless, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, in an interview on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, said he doesn't think Harper will sign before February.

Meanwhile, sources told Bruce Levine of 670 The Scorein Chicago that Machado is expected to decide on a team within a week. More >

Video: Phillies in pursuit of both Harper, Machado

Considering why Keuchel hasn't signed yet
Jan. 9: There could be a reason why Dallas Keuchelhasn't signed yet, despite entering this offseason as one of the most accomplished free-agent pitchers and now standing as the clear No. 1 with names like Patrick Corbin, Nathan Eovaldi, J.A. Happ, Charlie Mortonand Yusei Kikuchioff the board.

MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal provides a possible explanation for Keuchel remaining on the open market. More >

Could Angels be eyeing second basemen?
Jan. 9: The Angels' window to win is right now, while they have Mike Troutin his prime and under control through 2020. They have added a few solid veterans who should help right away in right-handers Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill , as well as backstop Jonathan Lucroy. The Halos, however, still could do more to push toward contention, especially since they've missed out on the postseason the past four years -- and the clock is ticking down on Trout's tenure.

One big area of need is the bullpen, which is why the club went hard after Zach Britton, who would have helped as both a closer and a southpaw before he returned to the Yankees. But the Angels also could be seeking an upgrade at the keystone. More >

Are Phillies, White Sox ahead of Yankees in chase for Machado?
Jan. 9: For a brief period of time Wednesday, it appeared the three-team chase for Manny Machado between the Phillies, White Sox and Yankees might have been narrowed down to two -- with New York out of the picture -- based on a single report.

Further digging, however, has yet to support that. More >

Rangers showing interest in Harrison
Jan. 9: With Adrian Beltre opting to retire and Jurickson Profarbeing traded to the A's, the Rangers have a hole in the infield, and they are apparently looking at free agent Josh Harrison to fill it.

According to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, Texas continues to show interest in Harrison, who is one of many veteran infielders still on the market.

Harrison makes sense for the Rangers after the team moved Profar to Oakland earlier this offseason. Profar handled a utility role for the club in 2018, making at least 10 appearances at all four infield positions.

Harrison has proven to be an above-average defensive option at both second and third base, producing 20 Defensive Runs Saved at the keystone and 19 at the hot corner, per FanGraphs. While the 31-year-old would likely play third base most of the time if he signs with the Rangers, his versatility is an obvious bonus.

Harrison is coming off a down year at the plate (.656 OPS), so he may be cheaper than some of the other free-agent infielders. He might also be willing to accept a one-year deal, which could appeal to the rebuilding Rangers.

Is Kimbrel's desire to close actually limiting his market?
Jan. 9: When the offseason opened, Craig Kimbrelwas the No. 1 name among free-agent relievers by a large margin. That's even more true at this stage, which isn't necessarily great for his market. So many clubs already have inked late-inning help that they either no longer have the need or the money to target Kimbrel, who may be running out of teams that fit when factoring in the contract he's been seeking.

Another factor impacting Kimbrel, oddly, may be his strict preference to pitch the ninth inning. More >