MLB’s offseason continues on Sunday, with just two weeks remaining until the annual winter meetings. The Brewers officially named Pat Murphy their new manager on Wednesday morning, leaving only the Padres with an opening. Past that, the rumor mill has started churning. Let’s get to it for Sunday.
Phillies, Nola agree on new deal — could Harper follow?
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan,, the Phillies have reached an agreement with right-hander Aaron Nola on a seven-year deal worth $172 million. Nola, then, will return to the only franchise he’s ever pitched for following a short foray into free agency. CBS Sports ranked Nola as the second best starting pitcher in the class, behind only Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Nightengale adds that the Phillies are expected to talk to star Bryce Harper about an extension that would keep him in town for the rest of his career. It’s unclear how many more years the Phillies would have to tack on to make that desire a reality — Harper’s current deal isn’t supposed to expire until winter 2031, when he’ll be 39 years old.
Trout not available
It appears that Mike Trout will remain with the Angels for at least another season. General manager Perry Minasian rebuffed inquiries from “several large market teams” that checked in on Trout’s availability, according to Nightengale.
The likelihood of Trout being traded this winter was always low. Our Mike Axisa recently detailed why: “Trout has missed a lot of time with injuries, he has nearly $250 million remaining on his contract, and he has a full no-trade clause.”
Check back next year when the topic is likely revisited.
Dodgers, White Sox talking Cease
Dylan Cease is one of the top starters available on the trade market. Predictably, the Dodgers are among the teams with serious interest in adding him to their rotation, according to Nightengale.
Cease, 27, finished second in Cy Young Award voting in 2022. He had a down season in 2023, posting a 97 ERA+ and the lowest full-season strikeout rate of his career. Even so, the Dodgers likely see him as someone they can help unlock a new sustained level of performance heading forward.
Cease is under team control through the 2025 season.
Braves plotting a big move?
The Braves raised eyebrows over the weekend when they cleared more than $12 million in projected arbitration prizes through trades and non-tenders. That, in turn, has rival executives suggesting that Atlanta is poised to make a splash this winter, per Nightengale and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal..
What, precisely, Alex Anthopoulos and crew have in mind is to be seen — though it’s probably fair to think they’ll at least check in with this winter’s top free agents, including Shohei Ohtani.
Anthopoulos has earned the reputation for being a bold, opportunistic executive. In recent years, he’s done a lot of his work through trades, acquiring Matt Olson and Sean Murphy in consecutive winters.
Mets interested in Severino
Count the Mets among the teams with interest in free-agent right-hander Luis Severino, according to The Athletic’s Will Sammon.
Severino, a two-time All-Star, posted a 65 ERA+ in 89 innings this season. Nonetheless, he’s an intriguing rebound candidate thanks in part to an arsenal that pitch models continued to grade well.
Woodruff drawing interest
Brandon Woodruff, non-tendered by the Brewers on Friday following shoulder surgery that could sideline him for most of the 2024 season, is drawing interest from a number of teams, according to Rosenthal. That includes the Brewers, who tried to sign him to a two-year pact that would have extended their team control by a season. Ultimately, those talks didn’t culminate in an agreement, and the Brewers opted to non-tender Woodruff rather than trade him for a trifling return.
Blue Jays open to moving Manoah?
The Blue Jays are open to trading right-hander Alek Manoah, according to what rival executives have told Rosenthal.
Manoah, 25, finished third in Cy Young Award voting in 2022. He had a horrific 2023, however, posting a 5.87 ERA (72 ERA+) and a 1.34 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 19 starts. Manoah was demoted to the minors in June and later had his season end prematurely due to physical issues.
In theory, Manoah would make for an interesting buy-low candidate. In practice, the Blue Jays may not want to trade him at what they perceive to be his lowest value.