It sure has been a fun baseball offseason so far with lots of signings for big bucks and trade rumors galore involving star players.
The latest gossip includes an update on the Yankees’ trade talks with the Chicago Cubs. Also, the Dodgers reportedly are willing to give up star shortstop Corey Seager in a trade with the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Mookie Betts or a deal with the Cleveland Indians for shortstop Francisco Lindor.
As for the remaining top free agents, we have the latest info on the likes of Nicholas Castellanos, Josh Donaldson, Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Meanwhile, free agents Maikel Franco, Justin Smoak, Julio Teheran and Gio Gonzalez have new homes.
Here is the latest baseball news:
NICHOLAS CASTELLANOS, OF
Status: Free agent.
Age: 27 (28 on March 4, 2020).
2019 stats: Detroit Tigers & Chicago Cubs, 289 average, 615 AB, 100 runs, 178 hits, 58 doubles, 27 HR, 73 RBI, 41 BB, 143 K, .863 OPS, 151 games.
The latest: The Giants and Rangers are possible landing sports for Castellanos as is a return to the Cubs, the team that he raked for last summer following a July trade. The Cubs are the best fit, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. “Someone close to Castellanos said he’s looking for a team where the culture is good, where he can contribute to that culture and elevate it,” Rosenthal said on Hot Stove. “Well, what have the Cubs been talking about for the better part of a year? Culture, urgency, all of these buzzwords. And he certainly elevated them in that regard when he came over in the trade. I suspect he is going to do well (in a contract). Maybe not crazy well because he’s not really much of a defender, but he’s is going to get a longer deal because of his age, and because of a longer deal, the money will be pretty big.”
MIKE CLEVINGER, RHP
Club: Cleveland Indians.
Age: 28 (29 on Dec. 21, 2019).
2019 stats: Indians, 13-4, 2.71 ERA, 21 starts, 126 IP, 96 hits, 37 BB, 169 K.
The latest: The Indians still are in a cost-cutting mode after trading ace Corey Kluber, and although shortstop Francisco Lindor has been in a lot of trade rumors, the next to go could be Clevinger, who was 38-18 with a 2.96 ERA over 80 outings from 2017-19. The Dodgers and Padres are showing interest, but the price is “crazy high,” baseball writer Robert Murray reported.
JOSH DONALDSON, 3B
Status: Free agent.
Age: 34 (35 on Dec. 8, 2020)
2019 stats: Atlanta Braves, .259 average, 549 AB, 96 runs, 142 hits, 33 doubles, 37 HR, 94 RBI, 100 BB, 155 K, .900 OPS, 155 games.
The latest: “I think the key number could be $100 million,” MLB Network insider Jon Heyman said. “(Donaldson) is in excellent, excellent position. The (Mike) Moustakas deal for $64 million not only took Moustakas off the board, but it put him on the Reds, who really didn’t need a third baseman. So it left a lot of options for Donaldson in play. It feels like it could be an NL East matchup. The Nats, I’ve heard, are trying hard. They seem to be the team that’s willing to do that fourth year. Whether there are other teams, I’m not sure. We’ve heard earlier on that the Braves probably wouldn’t go to a fourth year, but if push comes to shove and you’ve got the rival in there doing the fourth year … I’m not going to bet against the Nats and the Braves are still in there. The Dodgers have been looking at him, the Twins have been looking at him and the Rangers also, but it feels like an NL battle (between the Nationals and Braves) to me.”
MAIKEL FRANCO, 3B
Club: Kansas City Royals.
Age: 27 (28 on Aug. 26, 2020)
2019 stats: Philadelphia Phillies, .234 average, 389 AB, 48 runs, 91 hits, 17 doubles, 17 HR, 56 RBI, 36 BB, 61 K, .704 OPS 123 games.
The latest: The Royals and Franco have agreed on a one-year, $2.95-million contract that includes $1.05 million in performance bonuses. This signing is expected to lead to the Royals playing Hunter Rozier in right field next season after a 2019 campaign in which he started 99 games at third, 17 in right and seven at first base.
GIO GONZALEZ, LHP
Club: Chicago White Sox.
Age: 34 (36 on Sept. 19, 2020)
2019 MLB stats: Milwaukee Brewers, 3-2, 3.50 ERA, 19 games, 17 starts, 87.1 IP, 76 hits, 37 BB, 78 K.
2019 minor-league stats: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (AAA), San Antonio Missions (AAA), Carolina Mudcats (high A), 2-1, 5.40 ERA, 5 starts, 21.2 IP, 28 hits, 6 BB, 25 K.
The latest: The White Sox filled a rotation hole signing Gonzalez to a deal for undisclosed terms. Chicago’s other projected starters, at least for the time being, are ace Lucas Giolito (14-9, 3.41), Reynaldo Lopez (10-15, 5.38), Dylan Cease (4-7, 5.79) and Dylan Covey (1-8, 7.98)
DALLAS KEUCHEL, LHP
Status: Free agent.
Age: 31 (32 on Jan. 1, 2020)
2019 stats: Atlanta Braves, 8-8, 3.75 ERA, 19 starts, 112.2 IP, 115 hits, 39 BB, 91 K.
The latest: A return to the Braves or signing with the Angels or Cardinals are the top possibilities for Keuchel. “I wouldn’t be shocked if (the Braves) come back to Keuchel,” MLB Insider Jon Heyman said on Hot Stove. “I do think the Angels make sense. They do have some interest, I would not be shocked there. I’ve heard that he does like St. Louis very much, as a lot of ballplayers do. Great baseball town. So all of those are possibilities. I know the White Sox have been connected (but) I would say they’re on the fringe and less likely than the others.”
FRANCISCO LINDOR, SS
Club: Cleveland Indians.
Age: 26 (27 on Nov. 14, 2020)
2019 stats: Indians, .284 average, 598 AB, 101 runs, 170 hits, 40 doubles, 32 HR, 74 RBI, 46 BB, 98 K, .854 OPS, 143 games.
The latest: The Indians still are willing to deal Lindor after trading two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber in a cost-cutting deal, and according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, “the Reds are the latest team to engage about a potential trade,” Feinsand added, ”It’s unclear if there’s any traction, but Reds have been aggressive on (the) trade market before and have trade chips.” The Padres also have looked into dealing for Lindor, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal added. Lindor is two years away from free agency and reportedly unlikely to get a market-value, long-term offer from the Indians.
MARTIN PEREZ, LHP
Club: Boston Red Sox.
Age: 28 (29 on April 4, 2020)
2019 stats: Minnesota Twins, 10-7, 5.12 ERA, 32 games, 29 starts, 165.1 IP, 184 hits, 67 BB, 135 K.
The latest: Perez’s recent signing with the Red Sox was announced by the club on Thursday. Perez currently is listed as Boston’s No. 5 starter in a rotation that includes fellow lefties Chris Sale, David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez plus righty Nathan Eovaldi, but the club hopes to deal Price in a cost-cutting move this winter. Perez’ new deal is for one year and $6-million plus a $6.25 million club option or $500,000 buyout for 2021.
HYUN-JIN RYU, LHP
Status: Free agent.
Age: 32 (33 on March 25, 2020)
2019 stats: Los Angeles Dodgers, 14-5, 2.32 ERA, 29 starts, 182.2 IP, 160 hits, 24 BB, 163 K.
The latest: At least five clubs are the running for Ryu, and the Dodgers are the favorite to keep the 2019 NL Cy Young runner-up, MLB insider Jon Heyman said on Hot Stove. “It feels like the Dodgers still want him back,” Heyman said. “They played on the really big players in their primes (this winter in runs at free agents Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon) and have come up short to this point. But they are very good at keeping their own stars. Ryu had a fantastic year, so I think the Dodgers are an obvious favorite to keep Ryu. I know Toronto is in there strong, as well. I know the Twins have been connected. I know the Braves have checked in. The Angels are another team that would make sense. So we have at least five teams that are possibilities for Ryu. This one feels like it is heating up and I wouldn’t be shocked if something happens in a week or two. There are teams looking at four years for Ryu and he’s going to do quite well.”
COREY SEAGER, SS
Club: Los Angeles Dodgers.
Age: 25 (26 on April 27, 2020).
2019 stats: Dodgers, .272 average, 489 AB, 82 runs, 133 hits, 44 doubles, 19 HR, 87 RBI, 44 BB, 98 K, .817 OPS, 134 games.
The latest: The Dodgers are willing to part with Seager in a deal that brings them Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported. Betts can become a free agent after the 2020 season while Seager, a two-time All-Star, has two years of team control remaining. The Red Sox reportedly hope to trim payroll and Betts, according to MLB Trade Rumors, is projected to make $27.7 million next season as an arbitration-eligible player. Boston, however, appears “inclined to deal elsewhere on the roster” and keep Betts, according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. The Red Sox have been aggressively shopping left-hander David Price, who has three seasons and $96 million remaining on a seven-year, $217 million contract.
Club: Chicago Cubs.
Age: 26 (27 on March 5, 2020).
2019 stats: Cubs, .250 average, 529 AB, 82 runs, 132 hits, 29 doubles, 38 HR, 92 RBI, 70 BB, 156 K, .871 OPS, 121 games.
The latest: Although the Yankees recently have looked into trading for Schwarber, who has been on their radar since 2016, they aren’t close to completing a deal with the Cubs, MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal reported. Schwarber, who has averaged 31 homers in his three full seasons as a big leaguer from 2017-19, would be an upgrade in left field for the Yankees over Mike Tauchman and Brett Gardner.
JUSTIN SMOAK, 1B
Club: Milwaukee Brewers.
Age: 33 (34 on Dec. 5, 2020).
2019 stats: Toronto Blue Jays, .208 average, 414 AB, 54 runs, 86 hits, 16 doubles, 22 HR, 61 RBI 79 BB, 106 K, .748 OPS, 121 games.
The latest: The Brewers and Smoak came to terms on a one-year, $1 5M deal that includes a $5.5 million club option or $1 million buyout for 2021
Club: Los Angeles Angels.
Age: 28 (29 on Jan. 27, 2020)
2019 stats: Atlanta Braves, 10-11, 3.81 ERA, 33 starts, 174.2 IP, 148 hits, 83 BB, 162 K.
The latest: Outbid by the Yankees for Gerrit Cole, the Angels added a two-time All-Star and long-time workhouse signing Teheran to a one-year, $9-million contract, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reported. The Angels still may add another starter, but currently have a projected 2020 rotation that includes Andrew Heaney, Shohei Ohtani, Dylan Bundy and Griffin Canning. Only Heaney and Canning were in the Angels’ rotation last year, as Bundy was acquired in trade from Baltimore on Dec. 4 and Ohtani was limited to DH duties last season due to Oct. 1, 2018 Tommy John surgery.
EDINSON VOLQUEZ, RHP
Club: Texas Rangers.
Age: 36 (37 on July 3, 2020)
2019 stats: Rangers, 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 11 games, 4 starts, 16 IP, 20 hits, 12 BB, 10 K.
The latest: Volquez, who missed most of the 2019 season with a right shoulder strain, re-signed with the Rangers on a minor-league contract that includes an invite to big-league spring training. A 17-game winner and All-Star with Cincinnati in 2008, Volquez began this past season as the Rangers’ No. 2 starter. He landed on the DL after two starts with the shoulder and didn’t return until September.