The winter meetings are going strong, and speculation is heating up across baseball. Here is what you need to know:
Who is interested in Machado?The Diamondbacks have checked in on Machado conversations, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. Olney also says that the White Sox and Cardinals have made the best offers for Baltimore's star infielder so far.
Orioles GM Dan Duquette doesn't expect a Manny Machado trade to get done today. "We're going to leave here and then take a look at what are options are."
Brandon Kintzler's deal to return to the Nationals gives them the same solid 7-8-9 combo they had down the stretch last year (Kintzler/Madson/Doolittle), when Washington's pen was among the best in baseball. Even better, the Nats were able to retain the 2017 All-Star at a price (two years, $10M) that seems like a bargain relative to recent reliever deals.
Source confirms Ken Rosenthal report, Cubs close to signing righty reliever Steve Cishek. Cishek had 2.01 ERA in 49 games playing for Sea and TB last season. He gave up just 26 hits in 44 innings to go along with 41 strikeouts.
Angels GM Billy Eppler was already having a strong winter with Justin Upton's contract extension and the Shohei Ohtani acquisition. Now he's filled a major hole by acquiring second baseman Ian Kinsler from Detroit for two fringe prospects. Kinsler, 35, is still a very good defender and a threat to steal 15-20 bases. He also plays the game with a competitive edge that should make him a nice fit in a relatively serene Angels' clubhouse. The Angels are reportedly working on a trade to acquire a third baseman — possibly San Diego's Chase Headley — so Eppler might not be done yet.
Mariners reportedly reached agreement on a deal with reliever Juan Nicasio. The Mariners used 40 pitchers last season, tying an MLB record. Nicasio was durable. He tied for the NL lead with 76 appearances and pitched to a 2.61 ERA.
Scott Boras on the perception that he prefers to slow-play the free-agent market: "I don’t know the incentive for me to wait if you have a meeting of the minds as to value." Boras said 80 percent of the money in most deals is offered at the start of the negotiation, but it often takes time to agree upon the last 20 percent.
Eduardo Nunez is "still on our radar," according to Red Sox president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski. Playing time could be a problem. Red Sox unable to guarantee Nunez everyday at-bats once Dustin Pedroia returns.
Red Sox have "talked in generalities" but not yet made any actual offers to free agents, according to president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski. Like many teams, Sox are waiting for the free-agent hitting market to start moving. Maybe the Marcell Ozuna trade gets it started?
Angels manager Mike Scioscia pronounced himself optimistic about Shohei Ohtani's health after a Yahoo Sports report revealed that the team's new addition has a first-degree sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. "The understanding we have is that it's something that's behind him," Scioscia said. "There's no concern. There are no restrictions. He'll be full go in spring training." Scioscia reiterated that the Angels are thinking about using Ohtani as part of a six-man rotation in 2018.
Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon are gone and Marcell Ozuna is heading out the door, but the Marlins plan to hang onto Christian Yelich. He's owed $7 million this year and a guaranteed $44.5 million through 2021, and the Marlins shouldn't have any trouble handling that financial obligation now that three other big salaries are off the books. Yelich might not be thrilled playing in a lineup decimated by trades. But it's not as if he has any recourse.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman is in his "Bubba Crosby Mode," where he is acting as if the Yankees will possibly not add another infielder to fill at least one of the two openings at second and third. Cashman could go with top prospect Gleyber Torres or utilityman Ronald Torryes at one of the spots, but it is much more likely that Cashman adds some sort of infielder to the mix. There are some out there, including former Yankee Eduardo Nunez. In 2005, Cashman acted as if Crosby would be the team's center fielder before eventually landing Johnny Damon.
Days after being rebuffed on a Giancarlo Stanton trade, the St. Louis Cardinals have filled their middle-of-the-order void by acquiring outfielder Marcell Ozuna in a deal with Miami. Ozuna is a lot more than a consolation prize for St. Louis. He's a two-time All-Star who hit 37 homers and slugged .548 for the Marlins this season. He's eligible for free agency after the 2019 season, but he'll give the Cardinals two years of premium production — in a high-energy package — before he hits the open market.
The Cardinals have been searching for a middle of the order bat and they've reportedly acquired one from the Marlins in All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna, coming off a season in which he hit .312 with 37 home runs. In Ozuna, 2017 breakout star Tommy Pham and Dexter Fowler, the Cardinals now project to have one of the best outfields in the league. After finishing seventh in the NL in runs in 2017, that total should climb if Ozuna matches his 2017 numbers.
From Buster Olney: The Diamondbacks are willing to listen to offers for Zack Greinke, rival evaluators say, because while Greinke continues to be one of the best pitchers in the NL, his salary is strangling Arizona's payroll. Before the 2016 season, he signed a six-year, $206 million deal with Arizona, and is set to make $138 million in salary over the next four seasons -- an enormous portion of the Diamondbacks' budget. But sources say the Diamondbacks have no interest in simply dumping the salary in a Giancarlo Stanton-type of deal. Rather, they would need to believe they got something good in return for a pitcher who finished fourth in the Cy Young Award voting in 2017.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said he was "excited" about his team's new direction after trading away the NL's MVP, Giancarlo Stanton. The old way was not working so it was time to "reset," mentioning what the current World Champs, the Houston Astros, did a few years ago when they tanked. In general, the manager who endures the tanking doesn't get to enjoy the fruits, but Mattingly said he is unworried about how he will be evaluated.
Could Angels add Ian Kinsler?: The Angels are "definitely interested" in Ian Kinsler, a source tells ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. There's a sense that Kinsler has emerged as GM Billy Eppler's prime target at second base, but the Tigers have also talked to the Mets, Brewers and Giants about Kinsler and aren't close to a trade yet.
Twins skipper Paul Molitor talks about Michael Pineda, who inked a two-year deal with Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler underwent Tommy John surgery in July.
Rangers looking at Greinke to shore up their rotation: Texas could use a strong starter for the front end of the starting staff, and ESPN's Buster Olney notes that while Zack Greinke got a six-year, $206.5 million deal from Arizona two years ago, the Diamondbacks ace did not get a full no-trade clause, and the Rangers are not on his 15-team no-trade list. Finding a way to make the financial side of the deal work won't be easy for either team, but the potential for a blockbuster is there.
The Cubs signed lefty Drew Smyly to a 2 year deal. He had Tommy John surgery last summer and will rehab for most of 2018. Brandon Morrow's deal is official as well. Two years plus a club/vesting option for 2020.
Pirates adding an ace to the market: Industry evaluators are convinced that the Pirates are prepared to move right-hander Gerrit Cole if they can find the right match, Buster Olney reports. If Cole is being dangled in deals, he would arguably become the best starting pitcher available this winter.
Watch Cubs GM Jed Hoyer talk winter meetings timeline and how Chicago sells itself to free agents.
From Buster Olney: The Orioles have been talking with other teams about moving Manny Machado, and one of the teams that has expressed interest, according to sources: The Yankees, who currently have a need for a third baseman. The Orioles have not executed a major sell-off in the time that Peter Angelos has been owner of the team, but the circumstances could be right for that. Machado is a free agent at the end of the 2018 season and is expected to test the market, and the Orioles want access to the best prospects – and the Yankees have a very well-stocked farm system. Stay tuned.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway isn't ready to commit to Jeurys Familia or anyone else as the team's principal closer in 2018. When asked if a club can succeed over 162 games without a dedicated closer, Callaway said, "Yeah, I think it can if you're having pitchers face the guys they're supposed to face."
Brewers outfielder Domingo Santana, whose name has been mentioned in trade speculation, is attracting mixed reviews. Santana hit 30 home runs and slugged .505 this season. But he struck out 178 times, is a below average outfield defender and is about to get more expensive in salary arbitration. One competing executive said the Brewers are trying to "sell high" on Santana. They haven't gotten any bites yet.
It was an uneventful press conference for Astros manager A.J.Hinch, as you'd expect for the skipper of a title team returning its young core in its entirety. Team is looking for pitching of course, but beyond that he says Houston will likely allocate its DH at-bats between Evan Gattis and a rotation based on who needs rest. Playing time at that position was freed up by the retirement of Carlos Beltran.
Giants aren't the only team in pursuit of Billy Hamilton: The Giants are interested in the Reds' speedster to answer their need for a premium defender in center field, but according to Buster Olney, they aren't the only team making inquiries. Hamilton would be "the ultimate late-inning weapon" for a big-market team, Olney says, but he wouldn't help the Giants' hunt to add more power to their lineup.
Despite Giancarlo Stanton joining an already potent Yankees lineup, Orioles manager Buck Showalter isn't pushing the panic button: "If you make real good pitches to those guys, you get 'em out. If you make bad pitches, they go a little further than everybody else is hitting 'em."
Dave Roberts said he expects Kenta Maeda to be back in the Dodgers' rotation in 2018. Maeda shined after being shifted to a relief role for the 2017 postseason.
The #Orioles aren't shopping Manny Machado, according to a source, but they're getting a lot of calls and they're in "listening" mode at the moment. Like the Rays and Blue Jays, the Orioles need to decide if they're ready to sell off some big pieces and go young. Trading Machado is the type of bold move that owner Peter Angelos has typically been unwilling to make. But Machado would attract a mother lode of talent to help restock Baltimore's farm system, even as he approaches free agency at the end of the 2018 season.
Carlos Gonzalez's value has declined after a down year in Colorado, but he's quietly attracting interest as a free agent because he's likely to sign a short-term deal to reestablish his market value. The Blue Jays, Royals, Rays, Giants and Athletics are among the teams that have CarGo on their radar. "There will be a rush once we all realize we can't get what we want," said a personnel man for one of the clubs keeping an eye on Gonzalez.
In trading Chase Headley and his $13 million salary, along with Bryan Mitchell for the .200 hitting, 27-year-old Jabari Blash to the Padres, the Yankees are clearing room under the luxury tax threshold following the Giancarlo Stanton blockbuster. This move puts the Yankees in position to re-sign CC Sabathia, add another starter via trade or free agency and/or re-sign Todd Frazier to man third. The main question facing any Frazier deal is: How many years would they give him with Manny Machado a possible free agent target next winter and exciting prospect, Miguel Andujar, not far from the big leagues? All and all, Yankees GM Brian Cashman is not done yet.
Scott Boras has assembled a 75-page binder for client Jake Arrieta and sent it directly to MLB owners. One team on Boras' radar: The Washington Nationals. Boras already represents Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, who are signed to longterm deals for a total of $385 million. Now he's trying to engage the Nationals on Arrieta, according to sources. Will owner Ted Lerner bite?
It was a little bit of a throwaway line but this quote from Theo Epstein underscores what the team still thinks of Kyle Schwarber and/or his trade value: "He's always been someone teams have had interest in, I guess, but we probably have the most interest."
Brandon Kintzler, who saved 29 games for the Twins this year before going to Washington at the trade deadline and pitching in a setup role, is attracting a crowd on the free agent market. The Cubs, Twins, Diamondbacks, Nationals and Rangers are among the teams with interest. If the Cubs sign Kintzler on top of the Brandon Morrow deal, it will mean they've officially moved on from Wade Davis.
Why Pittsburgh could send Cole to New York: The Pirates are willing to listen to offers for Gerrit Cole, according to Buster Olney. The Yankees and Pirates match up well for potential deals at this juncture, as sources confirm to Olney, and Brian Cashman and Neal Huntington have an extensive trade history.
The Phillies are working toward a deal with reliever Pat Neshek, according to a source. Neshek made the All-Star team in Philly this season before general manager Matt Klentak flipped him to Colorado at the trade deadline. The Phillies like him as a reliable, veteran stabilizing influence for their young bullpen. And he gives teams a different look than Philadelphia's righty power relievers with his unorthodox sidearm motion.
“So little in return? You mean, in terms, of quantity?” Derek Jeter said when asked about receiving Starlin Castro and two Single-A players for Giancarlo Stanton. “We have people in place whose job is to know about talent and I think they would disagree with you. We think we got some good prospects in return and now it is up to us as an organization to help develop them. You are right, it is the National League Most Valuable player, I don’t care what prospects you get back, they won’t be household names for our fan base.”
Brewers listening on Santana: Milwaukee is dangling Domingo Santana in its search for an affordable impact starting pitcher but not getting much traction in trade talks, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The 25-year-old outfielder hit 30 home runs and made just $542,000 last season, so it won't be easy to find a team willing to give up as much as it would take to make a deal worth it for the Brewers.
Marlins COO Derek Jeter on how he handled the Giancarlo Stanton trade talks: “There is not anything I would’ve done differently throughout this process,” Jeter said. Jeter added the deal gives the Marlins "flexibility" and that he felt that Stanton did not want to be part of a rebuild.
The Yankees trade for Giancarlo Stanton is official. He will be introduced as a Yankee here in Orlando at the Winter Meetings at 2 p.m. The Yankees receive Stanton and $30 million for second baseman Starlin Castro and minor leaguers, pitcher Jorge Guzman and infielder Jose Devers.
Tampa Bay Rays Manager Kevin Cash on the trade rumors encompassing Evan Longoria and Chris Archer: "I know there is a lot of chatter about our players. I don't know what will take place."
Indians among teams interested in Adams: Cleveland and Kansas City have both inquired about Atlanta first baseman Matt Adams, according to Jerry Crasnick. In the Indians' case, Adams is a fallback option if they can't bring back free agent Carlos Santana.