Just two weeks away from the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, the free-agent and trade market has generated buzz in the baseball world.
From potential salary swaps to available starters and relievers, here are the latest MLB hot stove rumours…
Mariners engaged in Cano trade talks
The Seattle Mariners are actively shopping second baseman Robinson Cano and “briefly discussed” a trade involving Cano and Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury earlier in the off-season, Ken Rosenthal reported at the Athletic. Both players have no-trade clauses in their contracts.
Cano was limited to 80 games this year because he served an 80-game suspension for the use of banned performance enhancing drugs. The Mariners’ 36-year-old infielder has $120 million left on his deal over the next five seasons. He finished the year with a .303/.374/.471 slash line, along with 10 home runs and 50 RBI.
The potential trade would reunite Cano with his old team, but, according to Rosenthal, the deal didn’t move forward because of the infielder’s hefty contract. As for Ellsbury, he’s still recovering from hip surgery, which sidelined him for the entire 2018 season, and is owed $47.2 million in the next two years. He’s expected to be ready for Spring Training, according to agent Scott Boras.
Meanwhile, the New York Mets are another team the Mariners have contacted about a potential Cano deal, according to Rosenthal
Edwin Diaz drawing interest from Braves, Phillies
Although it doesn’t seem likely that the Mariners would trade a 24-year-old bona fide closer who had 57 saves in 73 games last season, he could be available, as general manager Jerry Dipoto continues to rethink Seattle’s roster.
Diaz finished the year with a 1.96 ERA, 0.791 WHIP and 15.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 73.1 frames, which means the Phillies or Braves would probably have to give up a lot in return for the closer. Both teams – especially the Braves – are known for their farm-system depth, which could interest the Mariners in a potential deal, as Seattle has a notably weak prospect pool.
Could Nationals’ pitching search include Stroman?
Chelsea Janes from the Washington Post writes that the Washington Nationals could seek pitching in the trade market, but suggests that they’re “aiming higher” than bounce-back candidates such as the Yankees’ Sonny Gray or Toronto Blue Jays‘ Marcus Stroman.
Janes suggests that the team might be looking for a long-term starter that could solidify the one-two punch of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and points out that general manager Mike Rizzo selected Stroman out of high school in the 18th round of the 2009 draft (the right-hander didn’t sign with the team, choosing instead to go to college).
The Nationals’ starting rotation finished the season with a 4.03 ERA and a 55-53 record.
Stroman was limited to just 19 starts in 2018 due to a shoulder injury and blister problems. He finished with a 4-9 record, a 5.54 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 102.1 innings pitched.
Gray had an 11-9 record with a 4.90 ERA in 130.1 innings, but Yankees manager Brian Cashman has indicated that Gray isn’t part of New York’s future plans.
Phillies, Cardinals and Mets interested in Miller
Miller has made $9 million in each of the past four seasons, but is coming off an injury-plagued year in which he had three different stints on the disabled list with knee, hamstring and shoulder injuries. He posted a 4.24 ERA in just 37 appearances and 34 innings pitched.
Still, his track record’s tough to match. The Mets’ relievers finished 2018 with a 4.96 ERA, the third-worst mark in the big leagues, and -0.6 WAR, also ranked third-worst league-wide, according to FanGraphs. The Cardinals finished the year with a 4.38 bullpen ERA and just 0.5 combined WAR. Philadelphia had a 4.19 ERA and 4.1 WAR from its relievers in 2018, with rookie Seranthony Dominguez standing out as a positive surprise.