The Hot Stove season is underway, and we’re keeping you up to date with the latest free-agent news, trade buzz, rumors and more.
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Astros interested in Napoli
The Astros are interested in free agent first baseman/designated hitter Mike Napoli, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Napoli, who turned 35 at the end of October, hit .239/.335/.465 with a career-high 34 home runs and 101 RBIs for the American League champion Indians in 2016.
Houston has already made some significant moves this offseason, signing free agent catcher Brian McCann and right fielder Josh Reddick.
Currently, the Astros’ depth chart has Yulieski Gurriel at first base, with A.J. Reed seen as the future at the position but perhaps not ready for everyday action at the big league level. Gurriel may also play left field, however, if George Springer plays center, with Reddick in right.
Other teams that have shown interest in Napoli are the Indians and Mariners.
Mariners asked about McCutchen
The Mariners inquired about Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen earlier in the offseason, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. The talks, however, “did not advance.”
The 30-year-old McCutchen is coming off the worst season of his Major League career, hitting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs and 79 RBIs in 2016. He’s owed $14 million in 2017 and has a team option of $14.75 million in 2018, with a $1 million buyout.
The Mariners’ outfield situation — in which left-handed-hitting Seth Smith, Leonys Martin and Ben Gamel are the likely starters but in a platoon arrangement with right-handed hitters Danny Valencia, Guillermo Heredia and designated hitter Nelson Cruz — remains fluid.
Adding McCutchen could solidify that to a large extent, as he could become the everyday starter in left or right field.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported a couple of weeks ago that the Nationals also discussed McCutchen with Pittsburgh last summer.
Dodgers interested in Forsythe
The Dodgers are interested in versatile Rays infielder Logan Forsythe, according to Morosi. Los Angeles has needs at second and third base after the departure of Howie Kendrick in free agency, and the pending free agency of Justin Turner.
Forsythe, who turns 30 in January, has played the majority of his career at second (456 games), but has also played at third (56 games), including nine games there for Tampa Bay last season. He hit .264/.333/.444 with 20 home runs (a career high) and 52 RBIs in 2016.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman traded for Forsythe while he was Rays general manager in 2014.
Blue Jays looking at Fowler, Eaton
The Blue Jays are now looking for a left-handed-hitting leadoff man with a high on-base percentage, and free agent center fielder Dexter Fowler is one possibility, according to a report from MLB Network’s Jon Morosi on Friday.
Signing Fowler would more likely serve the Blue Jays as a replacement for potentially departing free agent outfielder Michael Saunders, rather than Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion.
Toronto could also look into acquiring White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton via trade, Morosi reports, as a different option besides Fowler.
Fowler put together an All-Star season for the Cubs in 2016, helping them win their first World Series since 1908. He hit .276 with 13 home runs, 13 steals and a .393 on-base percentage during the regular season and had several key hits in the postseason, including a leadoff home run in Game 7 of the World Series.
Across town, Eaton batted .284 for the White Sox this season with a .362 on-base percentage, as well as 14 homers, 14 stolen bases and an American League-leading nine triples, and he was one of the top defensive outfielders in the game.
Rays looking into Pearce reunion
The Rays have expressed “serious interest” in a reunion with free-agent utility man Steve Pearce, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The Rays join at least two other clubs — the Blue Jays and Mets — in a bid for the 33-year-old Pearce, who signed a one-year, $4.75 million deal with Tampa Bay prior to the 2016 season, before being traded to the Orioles at the Trade Deadline.
Pearce hit .288/.374/.492 in 85 games last season, his 10th in the Majors. Before the trade to Baltimore, he hit .309/.388/.520 in 60 games for the Rays. Pearce had a career year with the Orioles in 2014, when he posted a .930 OPS with 21 home runs and 49 RBIs in 102 games.
Yankees looking at power hitters, including Encarnacion, Beltran
The Yankees are pursuing several of the top designated hitters on the free-agent market, including Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Beltran, sources told MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman on Thursday.
The Yankees saved $11.5 million per year after dealing Brian McCann to the Astros Thursday afternoon and are looking for candidates to fill the void.
Heyman reports the Yankees have checked in on Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo in addition to Encarnacion and Beltran, who was traded from the Yankees to the Rangers on Aug. 1.
Beltran hit 22 homers with New York before hitting seven more with Texas in 2016. Encarnacion (42) finished behind only the Mariners’ Nelson Cruz (43) and Trumbo (47) for the Major League lead in home runs in 2016.
Kinsler could be on the move
Kinsler could be on the move
The guys from MLB Tonight discuss the possibility of the Dodgers acquiring Ian Kinsler from Detroit and what he would bring to Los Angeles
Dodgers working on deal for Kinsler?
The Dodgers have emerged as a possible landing spot for Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler. MLB Network’s Jon Paul Morosi reported Wednesday that the Tigers have discussed the possibility of dealing the 34-year-old veteran to Los Angeles.
While the Dodgers have an opening at second base, Kinsler is seen as the second-most likely Tiger to be traded — J.D. Martinez being the most likely — as Detroit tries to trim its payroll. However, any deal would have complications beyond simply agreeing on a return package. Kinsler has a 10-team no-trade clause, with the Dodgers being one of the teams on the list. Kinsler will ask any team on that list to at least pick up his $12 million club option for 2018, and likely extend him beyond that, as agent Jay Franklin told MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. That’s a big reason why the Tigers’ front office has kept Kinsler in the loop on trade possibilities.
It’s unclear what the Tigers would receive in return, but Morosi noted Detroit has interest in Dodgers top prospect Cody Bellinger as a young left-handed power bat. Bellinger, 21, hit .271 with 26 home runs through 117 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City and Double-A Tulsa this year.
Kinsler would provide a much-needed boost for the Dodgers lineup against left-handed pitching, something they struggled with in 2016. The Dodgers hit just .213 against southpaws last season, while Kinsler is batting .306/.372/.507 vs. lefties for his career. He also won a Gold Glove in 2016.
Cespedes market narrows
The market for prized free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is down to the Mets and three other teams, according to the New York Post.
Cespedes and his advisors expect the slugger to sign with a club in early December, the Post reported.
Jason Castro drawing interest from multiple clubs
Free-agent catcher Jason Castro is drawing interest from five teams, and he has multiple offers on the table, according to a report Wednesday from SB Nation.
The Braves are among the most serious bidders for the catcher, according to ESPN.
Castro, 29, batted .210/.307/.377 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs in 113 games for the Astros in 2016.
Braves going big-ace hunting
After signing R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon, the Braves aren’t done solidifying their rotation. Atlanta has shown interest in White Sox ace Chris Sale, and it’s asked about right-handers Chris Archer of the Rays and Sonny Gray of the A’s.
The recent additions of Dickey and Colon give the Braves the ability to deal one or two of their young arms, if need be. The club would still have plenty of pitching depth, and those prospects would have yet another year to develop.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman is reporting that the Braves are showing strong interest in a deal for Sale, who is owed a reasonable $38 million over the next three seasons.
Mr. Sale goes to Washington?
The Nationals have inquired about White Sox left-hander Sale, according to a report by USA Today, and the Braves are also among the teams showing strong interest in him, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported.
The White Sox haven’t had any serious discussions about trading Sale, but Chicago is possibly headed for a rebuild this offseason. The five-time All-Star has three years and just $37.5 million remaining on his contract (a team option for the final two years).
Sale went 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA in 2016, racking up 233 strikeouts after leading the American League with 274 in ’15.
If the Nationals were to acquire the 27-year-old, he would be inserted into a starting rotation that currently includes National League Cy Young Award finalist Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark and Joe Ross.
Tigers, Giants discuss Martinez deal
The Tigers and Giants have discussed a possible trade involving Detroit outfielder J.D. Martinez, sources told MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.
Morosi reported that the talks occurred at the General Managers Meetings last week and have not advanced beyond the initial stage.
Martinez is signed for a reasonable $11.75 million for 2017 and can be a free agent following the season.
The 29-year-old hit .282 with 38 home runs and 102 RBIs in 2015 while being named to the American League All-Star team and earning a Silver Slugger Award.
Martinez missed a month an a half with a broken right elbow in 2016 but still managed to hit .307 with 22 homers and 68 RBIs in 120 games.
J.D. Martinez on the move?
J.D. Martinez on the move?
MLB Now discusses the possibility of the Giants acquiring outfielder J.D. Martinez from the Tigers
Nova has offers in hand
Right-hander Ivan Nova has received multiple offers for around three years and $36 million, his agent told MLB Network Radio on Sunday
Nova’s agent, Greg Genske, didn’t specify which teams have offered his client or if they’re waiting for a better deal.
Nova, who turns 30 in January, closed the season impressively after being traded from the Yankees to the Pirates. He was 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 11 starts for Pittsburgh, including three complete games. He was 12-8 with a 4.17 ERA in 32 games (26 starts) overall.
Nova is 58-41 with a 4.30 ERA in seven seasons with the Yankees and Pirates.
Both New York teams interested in Logan
The Mets and Yankees are two of a handful of teams interested in free-agent lefty Boone Logan, according to The New York Post.
Logan, 32, rebounded from two subpar years in Colorado to post a 3.69 ERA in 66 games for the Rockies this season.
Logan previously pitched for the Yankees from 2010-13, posting a 3.38 ERA with 202 strikeouts in 176 innings in that span.
Logan has a 4.45 career ERA in 11 seasons with the White Sox, Braves, Yankees and Rockies.
Logan ends 7th-inning threat
Logan ends 7th-inning threat
With runners on first and second base, Boone Logan strikes out Odubel Herrera swinging to preserve the lead and end the top of the 7th
Holland eyes turnaround with Pirates
Free-agent pitcher Derek Holland has expressed interest in signing with the Pirates, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, though the club has not extended a formal offer to the veteran left-hander.
Holland’s agent Michael Martini confirmed Saturday that Pittsburgh is “on our short list,” which makes sense given the way the Pirates (and specifically pitching coach Ray Searage) have been able to turn around the fortunes of veteran pitchers. Recent examples include A.J. Burnett, J.A. Happ and, most recently, Ivan Nova, who went 5-2 and saw his ERA drop nearly two full runs after he was traded to Pittsburgh by the Yankees at the 2016 Trade Deadline.
It’s unclear if the Pirates share a mutual interest in signing Holland, who has made only 35 starts over the last three seasons while battling various knee and shoulder injuries. The southpaw does share a connection with manager Clint Hurdle, who was the Rangers’ hitting coach in 2010 when Holland helped Texas reach the World Series.
Holland, who turned 30 in October, struggled to a 7-9 record and 4.95 ERA in 2016 — his highest rate since his 2009 rookie campaign — while starting only 20 games. His 38.3 percent ground-ball rate in ’16 was also a career low.
“We’d prefer a guaranteed spot,” Martini said, “but Derek is not afraid to compete for a job. We’ll see how the market develops, but we would be open to a one-year deal.”