Spring training games start Thursday and 2022 Opening Day is 22 days away, yet several huge names remain on the free agent market and the trade market has been just as active since the lockout was removed last week.
A flurry of headline-worthy activity happened Wednesday:
- Kris Bryant is heading to the Rockies on a massive, seven-year deal.
- The Cubs signed outfielder Seiya Suzuki. Full story here.
- The Phillies signed free agent OF/1B/DH Kyle Schwarber. Story here.
- All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman was traded to the Blue Jays. Full story and details here.
- NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario re-signed with the Braves. Full story here.
- Zack Greinke is heading back to Kansas City, per a report.
- Chris Sale was shut down with a rib cage fracture.
- Adley Rutschman was shut down with a triceps injury.
- The Reds swapped out reliever Amir Garrett for starter Mike Minor.
- Oh, and Anthony Rizzo agreed to terms with the Yankees late Tuesday night. Story here.
And we’re only getting started. Let’s round up the biggest rumors buzzing on Wednesday.
What’s the latest with Freeman?
Due to the Braves acquiring Matt Olson to play first base and, especially, subsequently signing him to a monster extension, they are out of the Freddie Freeman sweepstakes. The Blue Jays trading for Chapman seemingly takes them out of the mix in a bit of a musical chairs in the infield situation. The Yankees signed Rizzo, so they also appear to be out.
The remaining team that makes the most sense in the world for Freeman is the Dodgers. He grew up in the area (Orange County as an Angels fan, but it’s close enough, right?), they have perhaps the deepest pockets in baseball and their roster is built to absorb him rather easily.
The Rays have been rumored to have been monitoring, but they won’t match the Dodgers’ spending prowess. Jon Heyman of MLB Network throws in the Red Sox as another suitor, but we’ll believe anything but the Dodgers when we see it.
Freeman, for his part, posted an Instagram saying goodbye to the Braves and their fans Wednesday afternoon.
Jays also checking on J-Ram?
The Blue Jays “have spoken” with the Guardians about José Ramírez, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, though he notes the move is “unlikely.” Given that Ramírez is under team control through 2023 and the Guardians aren’t (yet?) in tank mode, the most probable outcome here is him staying put.
Still, it’s a juicy rumor. Ramírez hit .266/.355/.538 (141 OPS+) with 32 doubles, five triples, 36 homers, 103 RBI, 111 runs, 27 steals and 6.7 WAR last season. He’s mostly been a third baseman, but he could handle second and that’s where the Jays’ interest came in.
Yankees in discussion with A’s
In possibly-related news, Robert Murray of Fansided reports the Yankees and A’s are “talking.” He mentions Manaea and Montas, though doesn’t specifically say that’s what the Yankees are discussing with the A’s.
It would make sense. The Yankees have plenty of rotation question marks behind ace Gerrit Cole. Montas finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting last season while Manaea is a quality, mid-rotation lefty.
Royals looking at Montas?
On that note, in the trade that sent Minor and cash from the Royals to the Reds in exchange for Garrett, the Royals ended up saving $8.5 million. Rosenthal reports the Royals are now, with the money saved in the deal, are one of the teams pursuing Montas.
Of course, the Royals signed veteran free agent Zack Greinke, so we can’t be sure their level of interest in Montas after such a deal.
Marlins in on Laureano?
Center fielder Ramón Laureano could also be dealt from the A’s. On that note, the Marlins are “monitoring” the Laureano market, per Marlins writer Joe Frisaro.
Remember, Laureano is serving an 80-game suspension for a failed PED test from last season. There are 28 games remaining on it.
Laureano, 27, hit .246/.317/.443 (111 OPS+) with 21 doubles, 14 homers, 12 steals and 2.6 WAR in 88 games for the A’s last season. He’s a great defender in center field with nice power-speed upside. He’s under team control through 2024 and then is slated to hit free agency.
Chafin to Tigers; Wily Peralta, too
The Tigers have added pitching depth in lefty Andrew Chafin and right-hander Wily Peralta.
Chafin has agreed to a two-year, $13 million deal (per Joel Sherman of the New York Post). Chafin, 31, posted an outstanding season with the Cubs and A’s last year. In 71 outings (43 with the Cubs, 28 with the A’s), he pitched to a 1.83 ERA and 0.93 WHIP with 64 strikeouts against 18 unintentional walks in 68 2/3 innings. Lefty Gregory Soto remains the closer, so Chafin will be the top lefty setup man.
Peralta has agreed to a minor-league contract that would pay him $2.5 million if he makes the big-league club, reports Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free-Press. Peralta, 32, had a 3.07 ERA in 93 2/3 innings for the Tigers last year and figures to compete for the fifth starter spot.
The Tigers already signed free-agent starter Eduardo Rodriguez, all the way back in November, and have talented youngsters Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning to join him in the rotation. The fifth spot is up in the air right now and a veteran presence never hurts anything. Pineda, 33, was 9-8 with a 3.62 ERA (117 ERA+), 1.24 WHIP and 88 strikeouts in 109 1/3 innings for the Twins last season.
Rangers add lefty power in Miller
Miller, 32, hit .221/.321/.453 (107 OPS+) with 20 homers in 331 at-bats for the Phillies last season. He has good raw power and has long hit righties hard. He’s played all over the diamond and it’s feasible the Rangers could play him the majority of the time at third base.
If they don’t add anyone else, after this offseason facelift, the Rangers’ opening-day lineup could look something like this:
Dodgers add Greene for bullpen depth
The Dodgers have signed former All-Star closer Shane Greene to a minor-league deal, reports Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. The 33-year-old Greene was an All-Star with the Tigers in 2019 and then was traded to the Braves, where he was an important part of the bullpen in 2020. He fell out of favor in Atlanta last season and was released. The Dodgers then picked him up in late August before releasing him themselves in late September.
This is simply a depth signing for the Dodgers.