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- For the longest time this offseason, the chatter around superstar Mookie Betts getting traded centered a lot more around the “what if” rather than any concrete movements towards a deal getting done. Betts is in the last year of his deal, so it made sense to think about what Boston COULD get even though there were a lot of hurdles to jump over to make such a deal happen. However, the tenor has changed over the last couple of days as talks with the Padres and Dodgers has a lot of people thinking that a deal to move Betts has a lot of momentum right now.
- The Cubs’ brazen use of MLB’s service time rules in order to gain an extra year of service time from Kris Bryant was about as obvious of a case of service time manipulation as a team can do without outright saying that they were holding him down in the minors for that purpose. As a result, a decision on Bryant’s grievance regarding the matter took longer than expected, but he still was on the losing side as he lost that grievance yesterday.
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: The Red Sox are bringing back veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland, signing him to his third short-term deal in four years. This contract, which guarantees Moreland $3 million, is a one-year pact but includes a club option for 2021.
- The Astros are reportedly nearing a deal to make former Giants, Cubs, Reds, and Nationals skipper Dusty Baker their new manager. While the hiring has not yet been announced, USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman are both reporting that the team has settled on the 70-year-old as A.J. Hinch’s replacement.
- A couple rather high-profile minor-league deals were reported on Tuesday: Three-time All-Star reliever Greg Holland is returning to the Royals organization according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, while 2019 AL Gold Glove winner Yolmer Sánchez is joining the Giants and will compete for their starting second base job, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
- In itty-bitty deals you might have missed, the Brewers have re-signed Shelby Miller to a minor league deal, the team announced Monday. The 29-year-old had a tough go of it in 2019, struggling across 44 innings pitched with an 8.59 ERA for the Rangers. After being released by Texas midseason, he was picked up by the Brewers on a minor-league deal but never made it back up to the show.
- Trevor Story has signed a two-year, $27.5 million deal with the Rockies. There go Story’s final two years of arbitration, as he now he has guaranteed money going into this season and still gets to sow his wild oats come the 2021 offseason.
- The Diamondbacks have acquired Starling Marte from the Pirates. In exchange for the two-time Gold Glover, Pittsburgh will be receiving infield prospect Liover Peguero, right-handed pitching prospect Brennan Malone, and international bonus pool space. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, seem to be beyond determined this winter.
- Never accuse the San Diego Padres of not looking to make a splash during the offseason. After landing Manny Machado last offseason, the Padres look like a team that knows that their contention window is starting to open as they have been in talks with the Red Sox about possibly acquiring Mookie Betts. There are a lot of hurdles to such a deal considering how much Mookie is slated to make, the fact that he is in the last year of his deal, and the makeup of a potential trade (which may include San Diego having to take on David Price’s contract), but it is still a fun thing to think about.
- The Reds have become another odd but not confusing force of nature this offseason. Their latest endeavor is signing Nick Castellanos to a four-year deal. This powerhouse at the plate is set to make $64M for his time in Cincy. He joins Mike Moustaskas, Shogo Akiyama, and Wade Miley on the list of guys you’ll spend 2020 repeating, “Oh right, he’s on the Reds now” about.
- Mitch Haniger’s breakout 2018 season now feels like it was a long time ago. After a 2019 season that was, by most accounts, disappointing and punctuated by a truly painful injury, Haniger was hoping that 2020 was going to be better. Unfortunately, an abdominal injury while working out is now leading to surgery and will keep him out for at least most of spring training.
- The Kyler Murray buzz faded into the background when the young star decided on pursuing his NFL career over a baseball career with the Athletics (understandable). But could he pull the ol’ switcheroo and pivot back over to baseball and actually pull off a dual-sport career?Survey says: God, I hope so.
- The Mets’ managerial situation got thrown into chaos when Carlos Beltran, who they hired earlier this offseason to manage the club, was a prominent character in MLB’s report on the Astros stealing signs in the regular season and postseason. The fallout ultimately included Beltran and the Mets parting ways. New York decided to look internally for another candidate, and they found their man as Luis Rojas was tabbed for the job.
- Everyone was prepared for Derek Jeter to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot, and — everyone get your fake shocked faces ready — that’s exactly what happened. However, a couple more surprising twists were in store: Jeter missed out on being the second unanimously-selected player in Hall of Fame history by a single vote, while former Expos, Rockies, and Cardinals outfielder Larry Walker narrowly earned his way into the Hall (and very rightfully so) in his 10th and final year on the ballot.
- After losing Josh Donaldson to the Twins in free agency, the Braves added some punch back to their lineup last week, signing outfielder Marcell Ozuna to a one-year, $18 million deal. They’ll be hoping that Ozuna returns to the elite offensive form he displayed in his final season with the Marlins in 2017 — and so will Ozuna, who’s betting on himself in hopes of following Donaldson’s lead and earning a lucrative long-term deal next offseason.
- The Rockies’ Nolan Arenado has been at the top of a lot of teams’ wish lists this offseason even though it was very unclear as to how likely that ever was to happen. Rockies GM Jeff Bridich went on to say that he expected Nolan to be in Colorado for the 2020 season and that they are not talking about trades anymore. However, all is not well, as Arenado — whether it’s because he was being shopped in the first place, because the Rockies haven’t invested in a better core around him, or a combination of both — is very clearly not happy with the team and has voiced his displeasure. Maybe we’ll get an Arenado trade after all.
- The writing was on the wall for Red Sox manager Alex Cora after he was named as one of the primary orchestrators of the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing program in Rob Manfred’s report that was released Monday. Considering that the Sox are also being investigated for illegal sign-stealing in 2018 — Cora’s first season as manager — it seemed pretty obvious that Boston needed to part ways with the World Series-winning manager, and they indeed did so, announcing that they’d “mutually agreed to part ways” with the 44-year-old.
- In a rather unexpected twist, Josh Donaldson signed a four-year, $92 million deal with the Twins, padding Minnesota’s status as AL Central frontrunners and solidifying their lineup as one of the best in baseball. Donaldson’s deal is the second-richest ever for a player 33 or older, trailing only Kevin Brown’s seven-year, $105 million deal with the Dodgers.
- One of the bigger storylines from this offseason was what was going to happen at the end of MLB’s investigation into the accusations that the Astros were stealing signs during at least their 2017 World Series run if not longer. Well, we know now and it isn’t pretty. MLB suspended Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch (who were both subsequently fired) for one year and took the Astros’ first and second-round picks for the 2020 AND 2021 drafts.
- The Twins have signed Miguel Sanó to a three-year, $30 million extension with club option for 2023. The 26-year old slashed .247/.346/.576 with 34 home runs last season, after having an incredibly pathetic 2018 that saw him drop down to Single-A. In 2017, Sanó was accused of sexual misconduct but did not receive any form of punishment from Major League Baseball.
- While free agency has been the busiest and most productive it has been in three years this offseason, they hasn’t been much in the way of trades. As a result, it was nice to see a real trade with prospects and everything as St. Louis sent José Martínez and Randy Arozarena to Tampa in exchange for star pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore and a low-minors catching prospect. The teams also swapped comp-round picks in the deal.
- The Brewers have molded themselves into real contenders in the NL Central over the last couple of seasons, and one of the big reasons why has been the leadership of manager Craig Counsell during that time. It looks like the organization wanted to make sure that Counsell was going to stick around for the foreseeable future, as they inked Counsell to an extension through 2023.
- You wanted a big offseason, and the baseball gods have more than obliged. Mookie Betts has agreed to a record $27 million arbitration contract with the Red Sox. That’s a $7M raise for the 2018 AL World Series MVP. Now that the deal has been made, the next big milestone is seeing if the Red Sox try to cash out on the 27-year old’s fierce bat during the trade deadline.
- The White Sox have remade themselves into a real contender in the AL Central this offseason, primarily due to their flurry of free-agent additions. However, they are not forgetting their homegrown talent as they signed one of their best prospects, Luis Robert, to a contract extension that is worth at least $50 million with a chance for more if some lucrative team options are picked up. It is worth mentioning that Robert has yet to have an at-bat in the majors.
- Our Andersen Pickard has made the rest of the offseason so easy for you. He’s completed a list of what every MLB team’s biggest remaining need is. Thank you cards are appreciated and accepted.