The MLB winter meetings are underway in Orlando.
Instead of making a clever Disney joke, we’ll skip straight to the purpose of this article — helping you keep up with the latest MLB trade rumors, free-agent signings and major news from baseball’s annual winter meetings. Most executives spent Monday reconnecting with their fellow front-office types and laying groundwork for what will happen the rest of the week.
As a result, Monday was pretty pedestrian. The Phillies signed free-agent reliever Pat Neshek . The Mets are reportedly open to trading Matt Harvey ( or not .) The Marlins were trying to trade an outfielder — one of the other ones — and everybody wondered if the Orioles would really consider trading Manny Machado .
Business picked up Tuesday and Wednesday with a number of moves.
Now, let’s dive into the latest MLB rumors and major news from the winter meetings.
The Orioles are doing more than listening on Manny Machado — they're taking trade offers. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported early Thursday that the White Sox were considered the most aggressive suitor for the third baseman/shortstop. USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported the Sox have made the best offer among a dozen received by the O's. The reported strength of Chicago's offer is no surprise; the White Sox have all kinds of trade chips, starting with the prospects they've obtained in trades over the past year. They also have major league pieces like outfielder Avisail Garcia and left-hander Carlos Rodon, as others have pointed out. The O's reportedly want two young pitchers, and Chicago has those in abundance: Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech, Carson Fulmer, Tyler Danish and Aaron Bummer, just to name a half-dozen. — Tom Gatto
A's acquire Piscotty from Cards
Oakland helps St. Louis ease its glut of outfielders by acquiring Stephen Piscotty in a trade late Wednesday. Jon Heyman of FanRag reports the A's will send the Redbirds two minor leaguers. The deal is agreed upon hours after the Cards acquire Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins for four prospects. Piscotty, 26, regressed at the plate in 2017 (.708 OPS) after a stellar 2016, and the emergence of Tommy Pham helped make him more vulnerable. Oakland figures to use Piscotty in one of the corner outfield spots. Another key element of the trade, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Piscotty is a Bay Area native, and the trade will allow him to be closer to his mother, who is suffering from ALS. — Tom Gatto
Angels not done
LA isn't finished making moves, it appears. After acquiring second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers on Wednesday, the Halos are looking to add a third baseman, too, and Chase Headley is one name being floated.
Headley has already been dealt once this week, going from the Yankees to the Padres in what was essentially a salary dump. Now the Padres are looking to flip Headley, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. The switch-hitting vet would be just an OK addition to the Halos' infield — he posted a 104 wRC+ and minus-7 defensive runs saved last season. — Tom Gatto
Todd Frazier has 67 home runs the past two seasons, with an on-base percentage (.322) and OPS (.770) right around his career averages (.321 and .779). The average, though, has dropped off the table, to .220, down from a career average of .257 heading into 2016. Does that drive down interest? Doesn't seem that way. Frazier isn't in line for a $100 million contract, of course, but plenty of teams would love to add the veteran third baseman to their mix in 2018. Frazier, who will be 32 in February, makes a lot of sense with the Giants. He makes a lot of sense with the Angels. And now that the Yankees have traded away Chase Headley, Frazier makes a lot of sense to return to the Yankees, where he was a big part of that franchise's second-half success.
Cardinals land Ozuna
The Cardinals' desire to land an impact bat was no secret. The Marlins' desire to trade anything not nailed down wasn't a secret, either. So, yes, this move — Ozuna for pitchers Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen and Daniel Castano and outfielder Magneuris Sierra — makes a lot of sense . Don't expect either of these teams to be finished dealing. The Cardinals have more areas of need to address, and the Marlins have apparently moved on to the challenge of finding the right return for Christian Yelich.
The rebuilding Tigers have found a new home for second baseman Ian Kinsler: Anaheim. The Angels acquired Kinsler for two minor leaguers Wednesday night after he waived his no-trade clause. Kinsler's a one-year rental (at $11 million), but LA badly needed a second baseman; Kaleb Cowart was previously listed at the position on MLB.com's depth chart. — Tom Gatto
The Tigers are rebuilding, which means they don't have much use for veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler. Other teams, though, do have use for the multiple-time All-Star second baseman. He will be dealt at some point this offseason, certainly. He'll have to approve any trade to 10 teams, though. Joel Sherman has his no-trade list.
Interestingly, the Angels and Mets are the teams reportedly pursuing him the hardest, and it appears the Angels have won the competition:
Well, not so fast . . .
Tigers do not have an Ian Kinsler deal with the Angels yet, according to sources.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 14, 2017
Rocky Mountain bullpen high
The Colorado front office has been busy. Bryan Shaw has joined the club. Jake McGee is back in the fold. And reports have the Rockies close to a deal with Greg Holland , who rescued his career with success in Colorado after Tommy John surgery.
Red Sox to meet with J.D. Martinez
In one of the least surprising stories of the winter meetings, Martinez, the top available free-agent slugger, will meet with Boston officials among other teams, ESPN.com and other outlets reported Tuesday. The outfielder was traveling to Florida for the meetings. Boston needs a major upgrade in the power department; enter Martinez, who hit 45 home runs for the Tigers and Diamondbacks last season. A signing by the Red Sox would also be a strong counter to the Yankees' obtaining Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. Again, all obvious stuff, but still noteworthy. — Tom Gatto
Cubs announce Morrow, Smyly contracts
Brandon Morrow's agreement with the Cubs is official. It's a two-year pact through 2019 with a vesting option for 2020. According to Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times , Morrow will make $9 million in 2018 and 2019, and he'll receive a $3 million buyout if the $12 milion option doesn't vest. Chicago also announced the signing of free-agent left-hander Drew Smyly to a two-year contract. Smyly is coming off Tommy John surgery and may not pitch at all in 2018, as general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters. — T.G., updated
#Cubs Hoyer on Smyly: "Anything we get out of him next year will be sort of gravy. He may be able to help us late in the season out of the bullpen. This is a move that's focused on 2019"— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) December 13, 2017
Phillies getting Tommy Hunter, not Addison Reed
UPDATE: The free-agent reliever dominoes keep falling, just different ones than first reported. Reed was close to heading to Philadelphia on a three-year contract , according to ESPN's Buster Olney, who later issued a retraction. Matt Gelb of Philly.com and other reporters say the Phillies are instead signing free-agent right-hander Tommy Hunter . The 31-year-old Hunter has been a middle reliever the past five years after making the switch from starting. He put together a 2.61 ERA in 58 2/3 innings for the Rays last season. Reed, 28, had 19 saves for the Mets last season while filling in for Jeurys Familia and has extensive ninth-inning experience. He finished the 2017 season with Red Sox, setting up for Craig Kimbrel. — T.G.
Rockies land Bryan Shaw
Colorado is turning to the former Indians reliever to fill one of its holes in the bullpen. ESPN's Buster Olney reports Shaw will receive a three-year deal worth about $9 million per year. Shaw, 30, was a durable and effective setup man during his time in Cleveland: He appeared in at least 70 games in each of his last five seasons with the Tribe. One potential red flag: He posted a career-high 3.52 ERA in 2017, although his 2.96 FIP indicates he might have pitched in bad luck. The Shaw signing still leaves the Rockies without a closer; a reunion with free agent Greg Holland remains possible. — T.G .
D-backs, Rangers talking Greinke?
Texas' search for starting pitching may have led it to one of the best (and most expensive) right-handers in the game: Zack Greinke. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports a deal isn't close but Rangers are talking to the D-backs about starting pitching and Zack Greinke could be in play. Any potential deal is not close but the two teams have been talking
Rangers are talking to the D-backs about starting pitching and Zack Greinke could be in play. Any potential deal is not close but the two teams have been talking— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) December 13, 2017 " target="_blank"> talks between the sides are "real and on-going." Greinke is coming off a strong 2017 season — a 3.20 ERA/3.31 FIP, 1.07 WHIP and 9.6 K/9 over 202 1/3 innings. On the negative side, he did all that in his Age 33 season and he turned 34 in October. He also has $126.5 million remaining on his contract, per Baseball Prospectus, although $42.5 million of that total is deferred. Further reports Tuesday said the Rangers are not on Greinke's 15-club no-trade list. — T.G., updated
Every GM loves to find a bargain. Carlos Gonzalez represents a potential bargain. After years of elite production — when he was healthy — for the Rockies, Gonzalez struggled at the plate for most of the 2017 season. He finished strong, though, batting .377 with six homers and a 1.250 OPS in the final month of the year, and could potentially use a one-year deal to reestablish his value and pursue a multiyear deal next offseason. Gonzalez, who turned 32 in October, has been connected to several teams , including the Rockies, Astros, Rays, Blue Jays and Giants, to name just a few.
Run Billy Run
The Giants have a need in center field, and the Reds have a center fielder they're willing to move. Great fit, right? Maybe. It's never quite that easy. The Giants reportedly are engaged in serious discussions with the Reds, and after missing out on both Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani, San Francisco is motivated to make something happen. Hamilton isn't a slugger, of course, but he's an outstanding defensive center fielder and an excellent runner. His issue, as always, is getting on base consistently. That .299 on-base percentage in 2017 probably means he's not the ideal leadoff hitter.
Look, we all know Manny Machado is a free agent after the 2018 season. And we all know that means the Orioles will have to either trade him at some point between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline or accept only a compensation draft pick in return when he leaves as a free agent. We all know, too, they haven’t said much publicly about what they’re going to do, whether they plan to move him or keep him and make one more playoff run.
The Orioles’ goal in a Machado trade is to acquire two young, controllable starting pitchers, sources say. The O’s might not meet that target with Machado under control for only one more season, but their willingness to trade their best player is a marked departure for an organization that historically has resisted rebuilding and tried to field the best team possible under owner Peter Angelos.
Club officials want to get immediate value for Machado rather than trade him for a lesser return at the non-waiver deadline or receive draft-pick compensation if he leaves as a free agent, sources say. The club does not expect to re-sign Machado, who will enter the free agent market at 26 and might command a contract of more than $300 million.
Yeah. Yikes. This should be fun to watch.
Yankees aren't finished
The Yankees sent reliever Bryan Mitchell and third baseman Chase Headley — and, most importantly, the $13 million Headley is owed in 2018 — to the Padres in exchange for Jabari Blash, a 28-year-old corner outfielder who doesn't have much chance of making the Yankees next spring. Headley, of course, came up with the Padres and had his best seasons in San Diego, including his fifth-place finish in the 2012 NL MVP race. Mainly, this is a move aimed to get the Yankees further under the luxury tax number, so they can pursue another addition to the rotation.
#Yankees approximately $30M under $197M luxury-tax threshold, sources tell The Athletic. Plenty of room to make other moves, and additional trades would create even more flexibility.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 12, 2017
The Yankees aren't just thinking about adding to the rotation via free agency. They've been connected to starters in the trade market , too. Maybe Michael Fulmer. Maybe Gerrit Cole. Maybe Patrick Corbin. But expect something to happen.
Jake Arrieta action
Arrieta’s agent, Scott Boras, reportedly distributed a 75-page binder to teams on the merits and magnificence of his starting pitcher. And he’s reportedly seeking a $200 million deal for the right-hander, who will turn 32 during spring training. Zero chance he gets anywhere near that number, but for a more reasonable price, Arrieta would be an outstanding top-of-the-rotation pitcher for an established contender, or a team looking to vault into contender status. On that note, the Phillies are reportedly interested .
Marcell Ozuna pep rally
Now that they’ve traded Giancarlo Stanton , the Marlins are said to be pushing Marcel Ozuna hard . The Gold Glove-winning outfielder popped 37 homers last year and hit .312 with a 5.8 rWAR, and he’s under club control for two more seasons. He’s arbitration-eligible both years, and figures to make roughly $25 million in those two seasons (that’s an informed but speculative guess). Every contender who needs power or has an outfield spot available is asking the Marlins about what Ozuna would cost — and rest assured, Ozuna will cost actual legitimate prospects, not like the salary dumps of Stanton and Dee Gordon.
Carlos Santana sales pitch
The first-base market is flooded this year, with high-price stars (Eric Hosmer), potential bargain pickups (Matt Adams) and lots of guys who fit somewhere in between. Carlos Santana is one of those ’tweeners, but he’s probably the most appealing of that bunch. His track record is solid, though his numbers did drop a bit last year, to a still-good 23 homers, .818 OPS and 3.4 rWAR. Several teams are interested in a shorter, multiyear deal (three years feels right) for Santana, who turns 32 next April. The Indians would love to bring him back, and the Rockies, Padres and Rangers are said to be interested, too.