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MLB Trade Rumors and News: The Astros have a new general manager, Seattle extends Gonzales

As spring training approaches, clubs are still tying up loose ends.

MLB: Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB Daily Dish is a daily feature we’re running here at MLBDD that rounds up roster-impacting news, rumors, and analysis. Have feedback or have something that should be the shared? Hit us up at @mlbdailydish on Twitter or @MLBDailyDish on Instagram.

  • The Astros have been dealing with a mess of their own making this offseason. After snagging Dusty Baker to fill in as their skipper in the wake of the sign stealing scandal that rocked the entire league, the organization made the move to bring on former Rays executive James Click to be their new general manager for what is going to be a very important time in the franchise’s history.
  • The Mariners are having to look long-term for their playoff aspirations, but things appear to be going well for them on that front as they have some exciting young talent on the way. To prepare themselves down the road, they locked up their durable young lefty Marco Gonzales to a four year contract extension.
  • 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.
  • Speeeeeaking of Mookie, all of this chatter could come to a clear conclusion very soon, reports Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. Speier reports that the extensive talks Boston has had with both the Dodgers and Padres have now reached “an advanced stage”, which sounds promising. While it doesn’t mean our push notifications will go off immediately as the sun rises, it feels like now more than ever a deal for Betts could be starting to take shape. No team has made a final offer yet, but keep checking back here for the moment they do. Now comes the part where we half speculate, half dream of what a trade package would look like between these teams.
  • 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.
  • The extraordinary life and times of George Nicolau in the era of collusion.
  • 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 Phillies have signed Logan Forsythe to a minor league deal, reports our favorite grown adult son Chris Cotillo, formerly of MLB Daily Dish, currently of MassLive.com, perpetually in our hearts. The 33-year old will be hitting Philadelphia’s Spring Training to compete for a bench spot in an already jam packed infield. The veteran slashed .227/.325/.353 with seven home runs last season with the Rangers.
  • 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.
  • Aaron Boone correctly picked the final score of the Super Bowl, and let me tell you, I am fantastically disturbed (but mostly perturbed that he didn’t use this apparent psychic gift to expose the Astros cheating you know, before everything went to hell).
  • 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.
  • The Yankees should be hopeful that DJ LeMahieu can stave off regression.
  • 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.
  • Minor league pay hasn’t changed much in 60 years and it’s getting gut-wrenchingly ridiculous.
  • 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.
  • The Cubs have signed Jeremy Jeffress, reports ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan. He’ll earn $850K with an extra $200K in available incentives based upon appearances for the 2020 season. Much like my ex-boyfriend thinking that pitching for a DIII college that barely had a full roster what the peak of athletic performance to attempt to climb back up to, Jeffress will hope to snap back into previous form in Chicago. But unlike my ex, Jeffress’ had a wicked sinker that while had lost some velocity, still dominated. This, much like my ex, was followed by a disappointing 2019 campaign that saw him released from the Brewers after posting a 5.02 ERA after 52 innings pitched. The move is cost effective for the Cubs—Jeffress is only a year and a half removed from an All-Star year, and stands a good chance of coming close to that considering he doesn’t have a history of lingering injuries.
  • 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.
  • 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.