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MLB rumors: Dylan Cease trade talks continue, A’s sign potential trade candidate, Mets still eyeing relievers

Spring training camps across Arizona and Florida open in roughly two weeks. Despite that, 20 of our top 50 free agents remain unsigned, including four of the top 10. Teams and free agents are playing a high-stakes game of chicken. Here now are Sunday’s hot stove rumors.

Mets pursuing Peralta

Among the relievers the Mets are targeting is lefty Wandy Peralta, according to the New York Post. Peralta is New York battle tested after spending 2022-23, as well as most of 2021, with the crosstown Yankees. The Mets already have a shutdown lefty in Brooks Raley, though Peralta’s changeup makes his effective against righties. He’s not just a matchup option.

The Mets have been very active adding to their bullpen this offseason. In addition to re-signing Adam Ottavino, they’ve also inked Austin Adams, Jorge López, and Michael Tonkin to sensible one-year contracts. The big addition, of course, is closer Edwin Díaz. He’s expected to rejoin the bullpen this coming season after missing 2023 with his World Baseball Classic knee injury.

Mariners talking Cease trade

The Mariners have quietly entered trade talks with the White Sox about righty Dylan Cease, reports USA Today. Chicago seeks a package led by a young starter such as Bryce Miller or Bryan Woo. Seattle already has Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, and George Kirby. Adding Cease to that trio would give them a fearsome rotation and arguably the best starting staff in the league.

Understandably, the White Sox have set a high asking price for Cease — if you want a high-end starter, the alternative is giving Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell a long-term contract — though it would make sense to trade him now rather than at the deadline. Hanging onto him into the season carries injury and performance risk. Cease’s trade value may never be higher than it is right now.

Crawford open to position change

Free-agent shortstop Brandon Crawford is open to playing second or third base, according to The Athletic. Retirement is an option as well, though a return to the Giants seems unlikely. Crawford was preparing to move to second base last offseason when San Francisco had a contract agreement with Carlos Correa, though he slid back to short once Correa’s deal fell through.

Crawford, 37, had the worst season of his career in 2023, both offensively and defensively. It seems notable that the Giants do not have an established shortstop — top prospect Marco Luciano is in line for the job despite only 32 games above Double-A — and yet are uninterested in bringing Crawford back. The two-time World Series champ could be headed for a forced retirement.

A’s sign Wood

The Athletics have signed lefty Alex Wood, reports FanSided. Contract terms are unknown. The 33-year-old did some starting and some relieving with the Giants in 2023. Wood figures to join Paul Blackburn and JP Sears as the only locks for the A’s rotation, and joining a projected last place team like Oakland all but guarantees Wood will be mentioned as a trade candidate at the deadline. 

Tigers lock up Keith

The Tigers have signed infield prospect Colt Keith to a six-year extension worth $28.6425 million with three club options. The deal can max out nine years and $82 million. We ranked Keith, who has yet to make his MLB debut, the No. 23 prospect in baseball earlier this offseason. The contract all but guarantees he will open 2024 on Detroit’s roster at either second or third base. Keith, 22, slashed .306/.380/.52 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2023.

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