MLB Rumour Roundup: Blue Jays among teams interested in Bellinger after non-tender

Los Angeles Dodgers centre fielder Cody Bellinger makes a leaping catch during Game 2 of the NL Division Series, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in Los Angeles. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

A little over a week has passed since MLB free agents officially got the green light to sign with any of the 30 teams across the majors.

Despite just one player signing with a new club since then – Tyler Anderson joined the Angels on a three-year, $39 million deal – the hot stove will be heating up over the next couple of weeks, leading into baseball’s annual Winter Meetings. 

The 2022 Winter Meetings run from Dec. 4 to Dec. 7 in San Diego and could be when we see some of the big names sign. In the meantime, here are the latest rumours from around MLB:

A sudden abundance of centre fielders

After being non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, former NL MVP Cody Bellinger has been drawing “significant” interest from multiple teams, per The Athletic’s Jim Bowden. 

Ken Rosenthal, also of The Athletic, reported that Bellinger’s agent, Scott Boras, said Sunday that the two-time all-star will “likely” be looking for a one-year deal. 

The Toronto Blue Jays are one of the teams that has reached out to Bellinger’s camp, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

While Bellinger may be the biggest name on the market, he’s far from the only outfielder available.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are stocked with young, versatile and for the most part left-handed hitting outfielders. They added another option to the mix by trading for Kyle Lewis on Nov. 17.

In Rosenthal’s report, he says that the Diamondbacks “are open to a trade.” He goes on to mention that Corbin Carroll is “off-limits” but the trio of Daulton Varsho, Alek Thomas and Jake McCarthy is available.

While he adds that it would take “significant major-league help” to acquire one of the three, Arizona being open to moving two former top prospects and the fourth-place finisher for NL Rookie of the Year provides intriguing alternatives to some of the options available in free agency.

Another option sure to be earning consideration from teams in the centre field market is Brandon Nimmo. The left-handed hitting 29-year-old free agent may be the most expensive option available but is projected for a 4.7 WAR-season by Steamer — which is the third highest of all MLB centre fielders in 2023.

Justin Verlander could be on the move

Rosenthal also reported on Sunday that the New York Mets and 2022 AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander spoke over Zoom last week.

Meanwhile, Morosi said in an appearance on MLB Network on Monday that “it would be quite surprising to see the Mets get Verlander and [Jacob] deGrom.”

When talking about the Astros, Morosi said that they “have other priorities,” citing the usage — or lack thereof — of pitchers Jose Urquidy and Hunter Brown.

He also tweeted on Monday morning that he believes the Dodgers are the best fit for the 39-year-old three-time Cy Young winner.

Other starters drawing interest

Verlander isn’t the only starting pitcher the Mets have been in contact with so far this offseason.

In Rosenthal’s report, he said the team has met with both Japanese right-hander Kodai Senga and former Yankee Jameson Taillon as New York tries to fill multiple rotation spots.

The Mets aren’t the only team to have reportedly met with Senga, however. According to this article shared by Padres pitcher Yu Darvish on Twitter, the 29-year-old visited six cities over the course of a nine-day trip to the United States.

The six cities he visited are Dallas, New York, Arizona, Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego. It is unclear which teams the former Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks starter spoke with during his visits.

Dennis Lin of The Athletic reported that the San Diego Padres met with Senga on Nov. 17, while Morosi reported that the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees have been in contact with Senga’s camp.

As for deGrom, the 34-year-old may have a new suitor, according to Andy Martino of SNY, who reported Monday that the Yankees have requested medicals for the former Mets’ ace.

What’s going on with the big four shortstops

Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported on Nov. 17 that there are 11 teams “possibly in the market” for the services of Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson.

Notably from his article, one “[Atlanta] Braves person expressed pessimism” about Swanson returning. Even though the team offered $100 million and received a counteroffer.

Heyman also said the Yankees “have been in talks with the top shortstops” and that they could “certainly afford to [sign] both Judge and [a] shortstop.”

Per Heyman, the other nine teams that could land one of the four are the Dodgers, Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Padres, and Seattle Mariners.

Quick hits

Oakland Athletics GM David Forst said the team is looking to add “a number of players this offseason,” according to The Athletic‘s Melissa Lockard. Regardless, the A’s are likely in for another tough year coming off an AL-worst 102-loss season in 2022 — with just the 17th-best farm system as ranked by MLB Pipeline.

• Outfielder Mitch Haniger has been receiving interest from the Dodgers and Angels per Morosi and the Texas Rangers per Rosenthal.

• Lastly, First baseman Jose Abreu is a “top priority” for the Padres, according to Morosi.

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