MLB rumors roundup for Dec. 18

The Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds have agreed in principle to a trade that will send second baseman Brandon Phillips to the Nats for multiple minor league players, sources confirmed to ESPN.com's Jim Bowden.

There's one hold up, though: Phillips' no-trade clause.

As a veteran with 10-and-5 rights (10 years in the majors, five with the same team), Phillips needs to approve any trade that involves him. While it might seem like a slam dunk for the 34-year-old to want to leave the rebuilding Reds for the contending Nationals, Phillips bought a home in Cincinnati and is active in the community.

It's not yet known if Phillips will accept the trade, but he did hint in a series of tweets that he is in Washington D.C. today (202 is the city's area code). Papa Pope, a character from the TV show Scandal, is believed to be what Phillips calls Nats manager Dusty Baker, whom he played for in Cincinnati from 2008-13.

With that in mind, a decision from the veteran seems likely soon.

Here are a few other rumors making their way around the league today:

  • Jose Fernandez: As we mentioned here yesterday, the Miami Marlins right-hander has again been linked to the Los Angeles Dodgers since L.A. landed some intriguing prospects in Wednesday's Todd Frazier deal. However, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com believes the Marlins don't see the Dodgers as a fit for Fernandez. Miami's asking price for the ace is said to be massive, which Los Angeles might meet if it were willing to deal a top prospect like Julio Urias or Corey Seager. By all indications, that doesn't appear to be likely. Frisaro also notes that it's "highly doubtful" Fernandez will be traded anywhere this offseason. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are discussing right-hander Jake Odorizzi with the Tampa Bay Rays, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports, but a deal isn't imminent, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

  • Wei-Yin Chen: The free-agent left-hander is seeking a five-year, $100 million deal this offseason, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. That makes it all but certain that the Baltimore Orioles will not re-sign the 30-year-old despite an interest in doing so earlier this winter. While Chen has been a reliable pitcher during his four years in the majors, $20 million a year seems on the high side for his services. Then again, his agents might be putting that value out there given how much other teams have been spending on starters this offseason. Chen has a 3.72 ERA in 117 career starts.

  • Antonio Bastardo: Another left-hander that is looking to break the bank this winter is Bastardo. According to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, the free-agent reliever is seeking a deal similar to the one fellow lefty Tony Sipp signed with the Houston Astros -- three years, $18 million. While Bastardo's ERA (2.98) was nearly a full run higher than Sipp's (1.99) last season, the 30-year-old is two years younger than Sipp and has a higher rate of strikeouts. Given the amount of teams still looking for relief help, it isn't a stretch to think that Bastardo can get that kind of money.

  • Chicago Cubs: After finishing their heavy lifting with the signings of John Lackey, Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward, the Cubs are now focusing on trades for relievers, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. According to Rosenthal, Chicago isn't seeking a big name like the New York Yankees' Andrew Miller but instead looking for middle-inning options. Dealing for another starter remains a possibility for the Cubs, Rosenthal notes, but it appears the team might be content with its rotation as is if it isn't making trades for such a priority.

  • Philadelphia Phillies: With Ken Giles being traded to the Astros, who will close in Philly? The answer to that question remains undecided, but it looks as if the Phils are bringing in as many candidates as they can for the job, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com points out. The team signed former All-Star closers Edward Mujica and Andrew Bailey to minor league contracts with invites to spring training on Thursday and inked another former closer in Ernesto Frieri to the same kind of deal a couple of days ago. In addtion to that trio, the team also has David Hernandez and James Russell in tow -- two other relievers with late-game experience. A decision on who will close won't likely be determined until spring training, but it looks like the competition should be plenty interesting.

  • Brandon Morrow: The talented -- yet oft-injured -- right-hander re-signed with the San Diego Padres on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training, Corey Brock of MLB.com reports. Morrow posted a 2.73 ERA in five starts with the Padres last year before missing the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. If he's healthy, Morrow is a prime candidate to make the major league roster, however, that's a big if. The 31-year-old hasn't thrown more than 55 innings in a season since 2012.