Yankees To Acquire Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees have a deal in place to acquire NL MVP slugger Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins in exchange for a package including 2nd baseman Starlin Castro, according to many reports. While Stanton needs to approve of the trade, he is expected to do so according to reports.

This is a huge deal and could end up being one for the ages as Stanton will join a Yankees lineup that includes Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, which will make for quite a powerful lineup and tough outs for opposing teams.

Stanton has been the center of attention since the outset of the offseason due to the fact that Marlins ownership had been aggressively shopping him in an effort to get rid of his salary and drop payroll. Stanton has full control over where he goes due in part to the full no-trade clause in his contract, which was put to use yesterday when Stanton rejected trades to both the Giants and Cardinals, two teams that had been trying hard to acquire him.

While this puts a massive contract on the books for New York, it isn’t new to a team that has carried quite a lot of money on the books over the years, and Stanton’s performance over the coming years will be key to the risk of acquiring such a huge contract. Nonetheless, it’s a blockbuster none of us expected ending in the Yankees landing Stanton, but quite the deal to help a team that came within one game of the World Series last year.

Trading Manny Machado? Can The Orioles Make A Deal And Still Compete In 2018?

With Manny Machado one year away from free agency, it’s no surprise that we all question the fact that should the Orioles deal Machado to build up their farm system or acquire major league ready players to fill other needs on the team, or should they ride out the last year of his contract and go for a title with their franchise 3rd baseman? Indeed, the latter is just what option Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette is going for.

The Orioles are focused on adding pitching to a decimated rotation that was among the worst in baseball in 2017, so their focus right now is clearly elsewhere. But the Orioles nonetheless are still receiving calls regarding Machado, and those rumors will only heat up more as we approach the winter meetings. Duquette has continued to state that Machado will be in an Orioles uniform heading into next season, but if an offer too good to pass up comes along, Duquette should pull the trigger on a deal.

There are plenty of different routes the Orioles could take to still compete for a playoff spot in the 2018 season without Machado and among those could be signing a top free agent to replace Machado in the event he does get dealt.

One option would be to add Mike Moustakas to fill the hole that would be created in the event of a Machado deal. Now while the Orioles don’t want to take on a big salary on a long-term deal, Machado’s big salary being shipped out would create room for Moustakas, and the way the free agent market has been this offseason, maybe Moustakas could even be had on a not too long four-year deal.

Now trading Machado could fill the biggest need on this team overall, the rotation. There are plenty of spots open and any acquiring team would need to come up with major league ready starting pitching, among other pieces, if Baltimore is to consider a Machado deal. Some have said that the Yankees and Phillies could be fits in a Machado trade, but the Orioles will most likely not trade with a division rival in the Yankees, especially if they have intentions to compete for a playoff spot.

The Phillies do have some young starters that were pitching in the big leagues last year, but the Orioles may not be interested in their unproven starters. Then there’s the the St. Louis Cardinals, who have been connected to just about every third baseman on the trade market. They do have pitching to offer, however.

Teams are going to try to pry Machado away from the Orioles this offseason, but it will take a substantial offer to even get Dan Duquette to consider dealing the team’s franchise cornerstone.

Yankees, Red Sox Out On Shohei Ohtani, Finalists Include Mariners, Giants

Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani has informed the New York Yankees that he will not be signing with them, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. The Yankees were considered favorites to sign him from the outset of this offseason’s Ohtani sweepstakes.

Ohtani was just officially posted on Friday and teams have been lined up meeting with Ohtani and his agent since and with the highest international bonus pool in MLB, among other advantages, the Yankees were in a good position to be favorites to land the two-way star from Japan. However, that is no longer the case now that Ohtani has made the decision to not sign with the team.

In narrowing his decision to some of the finalists, Ohtani’s decision has reportedly come down to the Giants, Mariners, and a few other teams. It seems we may be seeing the final decision on where the phenom will finally play next season.

UPDATE AFTER ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN:

The Red Sox are also out on Ohtani.

MLB’s Future: Kolby Allard

Since being drafted 14th overall in the 2015 MLB draft, Left-hander Kolby Allard has made a name for himself in the Atlanta Braves farm system. He currently ranks 2nd among Braves prospects according to MLB.com and 21st in their top 100. Let’s take a further look at Allard.

Allard’s first taste of minor league action came after he was drafted in 2015, when he returned from a back injury and pitched 6 scoreless innings for the GCL Braves in the Gulf Coast League. His first full season of minor league ball came in 2016, when he pitched 93.2 innings across 3 levels.

The Braves continued to move him up, and this year seen Allard pitch at the Double-A level, throwing 150 innings of 3.18 ERA ball. Allard has clearly shown his upside in the 2 years since he was drafted, and sooner than later Allard will be major league ready. Let’s take a look at what evaluators have to say about Allard.

Baseball America:

Baseball America(subscription required and recommended) currently has Allard ranked as the team’s No. 7 prospect in their system, citing his changeup as one of his best pitches. Scouts say his ceiling is of a No. 3 or 4 starter, and he could make an impact in the big leagues as soon as next season.

“His lack of size limits his projection, but his preternatural polish and command give him a high likelihood of big league success.” (per Baseball America).

MLB.com:

MLB.com has him rated higher as the team’s No. 2 prospect, citing his fastball and curveball as 60-grade pitches on the 20-80 scouting scale.

“With the back issue in the rear view mirror, the gloves came off for this talented left-hander. He jumped on a faster track to a future as a top half of a rotation starter with a double-jump to Double-A in 2017.”

(per MLB.com)

He’ll start next season at either Double-A or Triple-A, but if he is to continue to be successful in his development, Braves fans can expect to see another one of their top prospects ascend to the MLB level in what looks to be a bright future for the talented 20-year old.

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Taking A Look At The Rays Top Trade Chips

The Tampa Bay Rays normally carry a small payroll every year, ranging anywhere from $60-70MM per year, with the team’s highest payroll coming in the end of the 2016 season at just over $81MM. Tampa’s owner Stuart Sternberg has called for a drop in payroll this offseason, which means another offseason of tough decisions are ahead for the Rays’ front office. With a strong farm system, the Rays don’t exactly need to have a fire sale and trade everyone, but they will have to market several veterans nonetheless. Let’s take a look at the players who may come up in discussions at the winter meetings.

-Jake Odorizzi/$7MM(arb projection)

Odorizzi enters his last season of club control next season before he hits free agency, and trading him and his projected salary is a no-brainer for a team that is cutting payroll. The Rays may not get as much in return as they would have in the past couple of years, but nonetheless Odorizzi and his 3.83 career ERA could fill a No. 3 or 4 spot in another team’s rotation.

-Corey Dickerson/$6.5MM(arb projection)

Dickerson was a 2.7 WAR player who hit a career high 27 homers and made the all-star team in the 2017 season but he struggled in the year prior and actually had his hot and cold streaks during this past season. Teams may not value him very highly despite the ability to hit 20+ homers per year. He’s not valued highly defensively, which is why the Rays use him as a DH often in the lineup. He can provide enough offense however that teams may have some interest.

-Alex Colome/$6MM(arb projection)

One of the top closers on the trade market, Colome is expected to receive plenty of interest, we’ve already heard the Cardinals are interested, and he should have a wide market for teams looking for back-end help that don’t want to pay the current free agent closers. The Rays will have a big asking price on Colome due to his club control, but with a reliable closer who saved 47 games in 2017, he should receive a big return.

-Evan Longoria/$13.6MM

He’s spent his entire 10-year career in a Rays uniform and has been a franchise cornerstone, but the Rays have been rumored to at least consider listening to teams if they call about Longoria in the past couple of years. The Rays have given no indication that they are shopping their longtime star 3rd baseman, but with his $13.6MM salary and the fact that his salary will rise in the years ahead, Tampa President of Baseball Operations Matthew Silverman may have to make a very tough call in considering trading the teams’ longtime franchise player. Despite his somewhat down 2017, Longoria has proved he is a strong offensive weapon and can help any major league lineup. The fact that he is 31 and is signed through his age 37 season could give teams some pause however.

-Wilson Ramos/$8.5MM

Ramos was added last winter with the hopes of him returning from his ACL injury to be the player he was prior to his injury, when he had a huge year with the Nationals in 2016 where he hit .307/.354/.496 in 523 PAs. He returned midseason to hit .260/.290/.447 with 11 homers, so perhaps the Rays may have to keep Ramos around and hope he can have a better year in 2018, where he’ll have a full year to prove his health and hopefully fully return to form to get some value at next year’s trade deadline.

-Chris Archer/$6.4MM

The clear top player in terms of trade value on the Rays, Archer is both very affordable and a top of the rotation starter. And as such, the Rays should have a massive asking price on the 28-year old right-hander. He is mentioned due to the fact that teams are always calling about Archer, but once again, unless if they are to receive a massive offer, don’t expect Archer to be traded.

Kevin Kiermaier/$5.6MM

Kiermaier was only recently extended last year, so he would be one of the last players the team would trade, but like Archer, unless the Rays receive a big offer, don’t expect a Kiermaier trade to happen.

Adeiny Hechavarria/$5MM(arb projection)

With the deadline to tender contracts to arb-eligible players, there’s the chance that Hechavarria may even be non-tendered. If he isn’t, the Rays are sure to aggressively shop the gifted defender at shortstop. His light bat works against the Rays and his projected $5MM salary in trade talks, and while he won’t receive much of a return in the event of a trade, the Rays getting out from his salary would be enough to make the team happy.

Brad Miller/$5MM(arb projection)

Perhaps the toughest player in terms of tendering a contract by tonight’s deadline, Miller looks like he’ll be tendered a contract despite those that say he may not. Miller had a really rough year in 2017, however his breakout 2016 in which he smacked 30 homers could help the Rays in at least keeping him around with the hopes of finding a taker in trade talks.

Special thanks to Cot’s Contracts for providing salaries.

Marlins, Giants Could Be Close To Giancarlo Stanton Trade?

In the latest development of the Giancarlo Stanton saga, the Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants discussions about the MVP Slugger could indeed turn into an official deal. According to a couple of tweets from Jon Morosi of MLB Network, while Stanton hasn’t given word to the Marlins front office that he would accept a trade to San Francisco, those involved in talks are confident that Stanton will indeed accept a deal to play for the Giants.

In the first of those tweets, a source told Morosi that the Marlins would likely accept a trade offer that would send second baseman Joe Panik and prospects Chris Shaw(1B/OF) and Tyler Beede(RHP) to the Marlins in exchange for Stanton alone, that is, if San Francisco pays down $250MM of the $295MM Stanton is owed on his contract.

While that’s a hefty sum to pay, it looks like that may be the likely trigger to pulling off a deal between the two sides. Stay tuned for more Stanton updates.

Quick Notes; Yasmani Grandal Trade?, Jonathan Schoop Extension Talks

A couple of key notes around baseball as the day wraps up..

-The Dodgers are reportedly going to shop Catcher Yasmani Grandal this offseason. Grandal, 29, put up a .247/.308/.459 slash line(2.2 WAR) in 482 PAs this past season.

-The Orioles are going to begin extension talks with second baseman Jonathan Schoop this offseason. Schoop broke out this year with a phenomenal .293/.338/.503 line and was valued at 5.1 WAR this past season. Schoop is due to hit free agency after the 2019 season.

Giancarlo Stanton Interested In Joining Dodgers

In the latest news of the Giancarlo Stanton saga, the MVP slugger has reportedly submitted a list of teams of which he would accept a trade to to the Miami Marlins front office. Among those teams are the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to a tweet from Jon Morosi of MLB Network. He goes on to mention that sources say the Dodgers may be his preferred destination in a trade.

The Dodgers have made contact with the Marlins about Stanton, but it’s not known how deep talks are. To this point, the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants are the two teams that are still showing the most interest.

Stay tuned for more as the Stanton situation continues to hold up the hot stove season.

2018-19 MLB Free Agent Class; Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu

We’ve already heard it plenty of times that next winter we will see one of the most star studded Free Agent classes of all-time, and among that class will be two prominent Colorado Rockies stars in Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu. While we still have this offseason and the 2018 MLB season ahead, it’s no doubt that next offseason will be on the minds of many, including Rockies fans who may end up losing these two franchise stars. That’s why we are going to take a look at what the Rockies may do with these two players.

Since his debut with the Rockies in 2011, Charlie Blackmon has gradually become a star in the Colorado lineup. He’s had a steady rise in just about every offensive category, and 2017 he put up the best numbers of his career. Despite nearly eclipsing the 30 homer mark in 2016, Blackmon had never had more than 19 homers in a season prior to 2016. This past year however, he crushed 37 long balls, easily a career high. 2016 saw him earn MVP votes for the first time in his career, but 2017 saw him finish 5th in the MVP voting overall. His total WAR output to this point in his career is valued at 15.2(6.0 in 2017). He’s a 2-time all-star, a winner of the batting title in 2017, and is a 2-time silver slugger winner. Another year like this in 2018 and he could be in for a massive payday next winter.

Meanwhile, DJ LeMahieu is no slouch himself. While he’s not nearly the type of star Blackmon is, he’s still been a big part of the Colorado Rockies for the better part of 6 seasons. A 2-time gold glove winner, LeMahieu won the batting title in 2016 with a whopping .348 BA in 635 plate appearances. That season saw him garner a few MVP votes, however not enough for him to finish in the top 10. He’s valued at 14.4 WAR in his career(2.9 in 2017), and he’s sure to aim high next winter in his age 29 season on a multi-year deal.

With this being said about the two Rockies stars, the team is currently slated to have just $23.5MM in guaranteed salary on the books for the 2019 season, which certainly has plenty of room for Colorado to add plenty of salary.

Extensions for Blackmon and LeMahieu are definitely a possibility, but aren’t a certainty due to the fact that the team will need to use a significant amount of money if they want to extend franchise star 3rd baseman Nolan Arenado, who will surely command a monster contract. That, on top of the fact that the Rockies have top prospects waiting in the wings in Ryan McMahon and Brendan Rodgers, could impact the future’s of both Blackmon and LeMahieu.

These next couple of winters will see the Rockies work with some payroll flexibility on top of the fact that they contain a few trade chips that they can use to fill some areas of need, if necessary. As for Blackmon and LeMahieu, their futures will depend upon how the Rockies view them going forward and the progress of some of their younger players who can fill those positions.

Trade Destinations For Gerrit Cole

Fresh off of a season in which he posted a 4.26 ERA, 2.8 WAR season, Pirates ace Gerrit Cole didn’t exactly post the numbers we would typically see out of him at the top of the Pittsburgh rotation. However, he still has plenty of trade value if the Pirates are to shop him this offseason. With his rising price tag through arbitration and dwindling team control, the cost conscious Pittsburgh Pirates would be wise to check out the market for Cole. Here’s who they can expect to at least take a look at trading for Cole and his career 3.50 ERA.

As they have been with just about everyone available this winter, the St. Louis Cardinals have been linked to Cole at one point but talks have not gotten serious between the two sides as of right now. The Cardinals are most likely to look at other options before they would consider Cole, but both their outfield and infield depth on the big league roster could be of interest to the Pirates, who don’t look likely to rebuild, instead more of a retool if they are to deal anyone on the big league roster.

You could say that maybe another division rival, the Milwaukee Brewers, could take a look into acquiring Cole, as they have a deep farm system and a need at the top of their rotation, but their likely route for filling that vacancy looks to be through free agency, plus the Pirates may not want to trade with a division rival(that goes the same for St. Louis) if they want to compete next year.

Much like the Brewers, the Minnesota Twins are going to be players at the top of the starting pitching market and could very well look into acquiring Cole if they lose out on Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, that is, if they truly do make a bid for either of the two. Cole would be a nice add to a Twins rotation that features Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios at the top.

Other speculative fits could be the Texas Rangers simply due in part to their desperate need for rotation pieces, but Pittsburgh isn’t going to give him away for nothing and the Rangers will have to come up with an offer that they may not be able to put together. The Orioles, Mariners, and Phillies could also benefit from adding Cole, but I don’t see any of those 3 for various reasons.

Trading Cole may or may not happen, but the Pirates should definitely check into trading their ace while his salary isn’t all that high. Of course, they could also wait until next season to see if he gain regain some more trade value then try and deal him.