Wednesday, February 28, 2024

MLB rumors: Giants in talks with slugger, Zack Greinke eyeing milestone, Dodgers add relief help

In a little over one week, pitchers and catchers will begin reporting to spring training camps in Arizona and Florida. Seventeen of our top 50 free agents remain unsigned, however, including four of the top 10. There are still plenty of quality players available with the offseason winding down. Here now are Monday’s hot stove rumors.

Giants in talks with Soler

The Giants are in talks with free-agent slugger Jorge Soler, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. If a deal gets done, Soler will presumably step into the DH slot full-time. He’s a poor outfield defender and there is a lot of ground to cover at Oracle Park. He could give the Giants a much-needed power bat. They have not had a 30-homer player since Barry Bonds in 2004.

Soler, 32 later this month, declined a $13 million player option with the Marlins earlier this offseason and became a free agent. The Giants signed Korean star center fielder Jung-Hoo Lee earlier this offseason, though they struck out in their pursuits of Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Soler, a former World Series MVP, would certainly boost the lineup though.

Royals extend Witt

The Royals have signed star shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. to a massive 11-year, $288.8 million contract extension. The contract includes opt outs and club options that could push the total value to 14 years and $377.7 million. It is the largest contract in franchise history. Witt, 23, broke out with a .276/.319/.496 batting line in 2023. He hit 30 homers, stole 49 bases, and played very good defense. The result was a 4.4 WAR season. Will was still four years away from free agency.

Dodgers re-sign Brasier

The Dodgers have re-signed righty reliever Ryan Brasier to a two-year contract, reports The Athletic. The deal is worth $9 million, and incentives can push the total value to $13 million. He will essentially step into the bullpen spot vacated by lefty Caleb Ferguson. Los Angeles traded Ferguson to the Yankees for two pitchers earlier in the day Monday.

Brasier, 36, joined the Dodgers after getting released by the Red Sox last June, and he was a revelation after picking up a new cutter. He allowed three earned runs and allowed only 28 baserunners in 38 2/3 innings with Los Angeles. That was after pitching to a 7.29 ERA with the Red Sox. Brasier will join Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol in the Dodgers’ late-inning mix.

Greinke intends to continue playing

Free agent Zack Greinke intends to pitch in 2024, reports The Athletic. It would be his 21st season. A return to the Royals may not be possible after Kansas City added Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha to Cole Ragans, Brady Singer, and Jordan Lyles earlier this offseason. The Royals should also get Kris Bubic back from Tommy John surgery around midseason.

Greinke, 40, went an unsightly 2-15 with a 5.06 ERA in 2023. He is approaching a major career milestone, however: Greinke is sitting on 2,979 career strikeouts, so he is only 21 away from becoming the 20th member of the 3,000-strikeout club. At this point, Greinke’s Hall of Fame case has already been made. Getting to 3,000 strikeouts would be a great accomplishment though.

Five teams interested in Kemp

Five MLB teamsBlue Jays, Pirates, Reds, Red Sox, Yankees — have expressed interest in free agent Tony Kemp, according to FanSided. The former Athletics utility guy slashed .209/.303/.304 while playing second base and left field last season. He finished the season well though (.255/.346/.380 in his last 73 games) and he’s walked more than he’s struck out in three of the last four seasons, including 2023. There’s a place for Kemp on a contender’s bench as a high contact lefty hitting utility guy.

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