One of the offseason’s top free agents came off the board Friday: Josh Hader agreed to a five-year, $95 million contract with the Astros. With any luck, the rest of the market will heat up and more signings will follow. Four of our top 10 free agents remain unsigned with spring training only a month away. Here are Sunday’s hot stove rumors.
Cubs viewed as favorites for Bellinger
The Cubs are still viewed as the favorite for free agent outfielder Cody Bellinger, according to MLB.com. Bellinger can play first base as well and he did for a big chunk of last season, which would give new manager Craig Counsell plenty of flexibility when building his lineups. We ranked Bellinger as the third-best free agent this offseason. He is the highest ranked unsigned player.
Bellinger will be only 28 on Opening Day and last season’s comeback went so well — and the roster fit is so perfect — that a reunion with the Cubs seems like the best thing for both sides. The Cubbies need his bat and glove, and Bellinger would stay with a team he knows and thrived with. To date, things have been fairly quiet around Bellinger, though that can change with one phone call.
Little trade interest in Jiménez
There is very little trade interest in White Sox DH Eloy Jiménez, reports 670 The Score. Injuries have limited Jiménez to 259 of 486 possible regular season games the last three years, or 53%. There is one season and $16 million guaranteed remaining on his contract, though it includes club options for 2025 ($16.5 million) and 2026 ($18.5 million).
Still only 27, Jiménez has premium ball-tracking data (exit velocity, etc.) and he’s steadily cut his strikeout rate to the point that is below the MLB average. He’s a terrible defender and limited to DH, but Jiménez’s power is legit. There are much worse rolls of the dice out there. That said, the ChiSox won’t give him away. I reckon the asking price plays a role in the lack of interest.
Giles will hold showcase for teams
Free agent reliever Ken Giles will hold a showcase for interest teams on Friday, Jan. 26, according to the New York Post. The 33-year-old Giles has appeared in nine MLB games the last four years — four in 2020 and five in 2022 — and he’s said to be healthy now. At his best, he was an elite bat-misser and a high-leverage option. Chances are he’ll sign a minor league contract this offseason, making it a zero risk move for any interested teams.
O’s getting calls about Basallo
The Orioles are receiving trade interest in catching prospect Samuel Basallo, reports MASN Sports. The 19-year-old does not rank among our top O’s prospects, though that’s because their system is stacked. Baseball America recently ranked Basallo the No. 10 prospect in baseball. O’s GM Mike Elias has been unwilling to trade top prospects, but with Adley Rutschman entrenched behind the plate, Basallo could be peddled for high-end pitching. He hit .313/.402/.551 and reached Double-A in 2023.