Even though we’re three weeks or so from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, a number of notable free agents and potential trade targets remain available. That, in turn, means an ongoing supply of daily rumors. Speaking of which, Wednesday’s supply is just below.
Reds not planning to bring back Votto
The Reds do not intend to bring back Joey Votto, GM Nick Krall told season ticket holders at the team’s caravan event Wednesday, according to MLB.com. Cincinnati has more talented young infielders than roster spots and earlier this offseason they signed Jeimer Candelario to essentially fill Votto’s role as a veteran bat. Candelario can also play third base, unlike Votto.
Votto, 40, slashed .203/.314/.433 with 14 home runs in 242 plate appearances around a shoulder issue and in a reduced role in 2023. He struggled against righties though (.196/.292/.411), so there are questions about his viability even as a platoon bat at this point in his career. Signing with his hometown Blue Jays would make for a storybook close to Votto’s career.
Mets interested in Stanek
The Mets have interest in free agent right-hander Ryne Stanek, reports MLB.com. The club is still looking at various second- and third-tier free agent relievers even after signing Austin Adams, Jorge López, and Michael Tonkin earlier this offseason. All-Star closer Edwin Díaz is expected back after missing last season with his World Baseball Classic knee injury as well.
Stanek, 32, had a down season with the Astros in 2023, though he has a fairly long track record as a bat-missing reliever who is versatile enough to handle just about any role. He’s started games as an opener, pitched in middle relief, gotten high leverage outs, you name it. He’ll drive you crazy with walks at times, though Stanek offers upside for a free-agent bullpen arm.
Marlins sign Mancini
The Marlins have signed first baseman Trey Mancini to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training, reports the New York Post. He’ll compete for the club’s DH job and could also serve as a right-handed caddy to switch-hitting first baseman Josh Bell, who has historically performed worse against lefties than righties. Mancini, 32 in March, slashed .234/.299/.336 with the Cubs last year and got released in August.