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It has been four days since the owner-imposed lockout has ended, and the trades and free-agent signings have not stopped since. Here are Monday’s hot stove rumors as full squad workouts begin at spring training camps across Florida and Arizona.
The Rockies are “serious” in their pursuit of free-agent slugger Kris Bryant, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com. Harding adds that Colorado has cast a wider net than just Bryant, however, with the Rockies also holding some degree of interest in other middle-of-the-order bats, like Kyle Schwarber and Michael Conforto.
Bryant, 30, is one of the top remaining free agents. He’s a career .278/.376/.504 (132 OPS+) hitter with 167 home runs and 44 stolen bases. Bryant is capable of playing either third base or in the outfield, which should make him more attractive to teams. The Rockies, of course, seem like an odd fit for him given their status as a rebuilding team. Still, perhaps Colorado envisions Bryant being the face of their franchise heading forward, ideally into a more competitive state.
The Blue Jays and Rays have remained aggressive in the Freddie Freeman sweepstakes in recent days, reports MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. Freeman has had discussions with the Dodgers in recent days, and the Yankees have been involved since before the lockout. With Matt Olson going to the Braves, Freeman’s days in Atlanta appear over.
It’s hard to see the Rays winning a free-agent bidding war for Freeman, who grew up rooting for the Dodgers in Southern California and has ties to Ontario (both his parents are from Canada and he holds dual citizenship). The Yankees, of course, could match or exceed any contract offer. Freeman would almost certainly have to leave money on the table to go to Tampa Bay.
The Blue Jays are also “making a push” for Kyle Schwarber, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Schwarber, 29, split last season between the Nationals and the Red Sox. He batted .266/.374/.554 (148 OPS+) with 32 home runs. He also took up a new position late in the season, picking up first base.
It’s unclear if the Blue Jays would continue to chase after Freeman if they landed Schwarber, or vice versa. What is evident is that Toronto intends to add another big bat to its lineup.
The Brewers are in talks with free-agent outfielder Andrew McCutchen, reports The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Milwaukee already has a full outfield with Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and Hunter Renfroe, though they lack a clear option at DH. McCutchen would fill that void and allow the Brewers to rotate the four outfielders through the DH spot to keep them rested.
McCutchen, 35, is no longer the MVP-caliber player he was in his prime, though he remains an on-base threat who grinds out at-bats and is a positive in the clubhouse. He also still has power, and the Brewers ranked 24th in baseball with a .396 team slugging percentage in 2021. McCutchen is a quality role player at this point of his career, and he can be had on a one-year deal.
The Twins are discussing starting pitcher trades with the Athletics, reports MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas are the most likely candidates to go to Minnesota now that Chris Bassitt and Matt Olson have been traded. The Twins brought in Sonny Gray in a trade with the Reds over the weekend, but still have needs in the rotation.
The A’s still have several top trade candidates on the roster, including Matt Chapman as well as Manaea and Montas. The Twins traded Josh Donaldson (and Isiah Kiner-Falefa) late Sunday night, a move that cleared substantial payroll room the next two seasons. They are poised to pivot and reallocate those dollars elsewhere.
The Guardians are exploring the trade market for bats and prefer players with long-term control, reports The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. They were among the teams to show interest in A’s first baseman Matt Olson before he was traded to the Braves. Cleveland could also use help in the outfield and behind the plate in addition to first base.
Oakland signaled its intention to sell when they traded away Chris Bassitt over the weekend, and Olson is arguably their top trade chip as an excellent two-way first baseman with two years to go until free agency. Cleveland always has strong pitching, though the Guardians have had a below-average offense in terms of runs scored per game each of the last three seasons.
Japanese slugger Seiya Suzuki worked out for the Padres at Petco Park over the weekend, according to The Athletic’s Dennis Lin. He also worked out at Nolan Arenado’s facility in Los Angeles in recent days. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune hears Suzuki’s free agent decision may not be far away.
Had the opportunity to workout at Nolan Arenado’s facility in LA. It was an amazing facility and I was able to get in a great training session. I would like to thank Nolan’s brother Jonah for his great hospitality and everyone who has supported me throughout this process. pic.twitter.com/eEMcCvwgjh
Suzuki’s 30-day negotiating period was put on hold during the lockout and he now has less than three weeks to agree to a contract. The 27-year-old outfielder hit .317/.433/.636 with 38 home runs for the Hiroshima Carp in 2021. He remains committed to play in MLB despite the lockout, and his batted ball data (exit velocity, etc.) is similar to that of Pete Alonso and Bryce Harper.
According to The Athletic’s Jayson Stark, the Phillies are “out” on Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, and it is unlikely he will be traded at this point. Phillies re-signed Odúbel Herrera over the weekend, but they still need another outfielder, preferably one capable of playing center field.
Kiermaier, 31, pops up in trade rumors every offseason, and he is now entering the final guarantee year of his contract. The Rays could trade him and replace him in center field with Brett Phillips, Manuel Margot, or top prospects Vidal Bruján or Joshua Lowe. The Phillies have about $36 million in spending room under the $230 million competitive balance tax threshold.
. The move is all but certain to end Freddie Freeman‘s time in Atlanta. and there’s now a clear path for Freeman to join his hometown team. The Yankees are also said to be in the mix for Freeman dating back to before the lockout.
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