Player Notes: Syndergaard To Padres?, Realmuto Trade Talks, Reds and Sonny Gray

A few notes from the hot stove:

-The Padres are interested in acquiring Mets starter Noah Syndergaard and have had talks with them about a deal. It’s not known if anything is anywhere near close, but acquiring Syndergaard would be just what the Padres want in trading for a top of the rotation starter this offseason. The Padres deep farm system works in their favor in attempting to acquire any top trade candidates in the months ahead.

-Reports have said that the Marlins are insisting the Astros give them either Forrest Whitley or Kyle Tucker as the headliner in any J.T. Realmuto trade. Realmuto is the top catcher available in both the trade and free agent markets, but despite the Astros need for a catcher and interest in the prized Marlins backstop, they are not willing to give up either top prospect in any trades.

-The Reds are reportedly interested in Yankees hurler Sonny Gray. Gray fits the need of a top starter for Cincinnati but it is curious to wonder if Gray would be a good fit being the Reds ballpark is very hitter friendly, much like Yankee stadium where Gray badly struggled last year.

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Teams That Would Be Interested In Zack Greinke

3 years/$104.5million. That’s how much money is left on Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke’s contract. Greinke is set to earn $34.5MM in the upcoming 2019 season, followed by salaries of $35MM in both 2020 and 2021. Most, if not all, teams would steer clear of acquiring a contract with that much money still left to be paid to a pitcher in his mid 30s. However, could it actually be realistic that the D-Backs can still trade the still strong performing Zack Greinke? It could be.

Despite the fact that he’s 35, he is still putting up very strong numbers atop of the Arizona starting rotation, including this season in which the right-hander posted a 15-11 record, a 3.21 ERA, and 4.8 WAR in 207.1 innings. Even his 3.70 FIP suggests he is a quality starter still. Despite those numbers, once again that massive contract still hampers his trade value big time. The Diamondbacks want to trim payroll and getting Greinke’s contract, or more realistically, at least some of his contract off the books would be a huge help for the Arizona front office. So who would still trade for Greinke despite the age factor and massive contract? Let’s take a look:

Houston Astros:

The Astros are set to lose both Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton in free agency this offseason, which leaves three holes to fill in the starting rotation. Collin McHugh will fill one of those holes as he has already been said to be moving back to a starting role next year. Another could be filled by top prospect Forrest Whitley as he makes his way to the majors for the first time. Which still leaves another spot that would still need to be filled. Brad Peacock, Josh James, and Cionel Perez are among the in-house options to fill that spot, plus there’s also a very real chance that the Astros just simply re-sign Morton to fill one of their rotation spots. However, acquiring Zack Greinke would easily slot another sure fire top-of-the-rotation starter into what’s already a big one-two punch in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Plus, acquiring Greinke won’t cost too much in the way of prospects(not that Houston is lacking in any way) as long as Houston eats a portion of that huge contract, which they can afford, especially since they have more money coming off the books after the 2019 season. They will want to use that money to extend players like Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman however.

-New York Yankees:

This is a fit for multiple reasons; they can acquire Greinke and perhaps even fill that first base need by having Arizona package Paul Goldschmidt into a deal. That would take a lot for the Arizona front office to think about but if they’re really hellbent on getting Greinke’s contract off their books, it’s one way that it will work. The Yankees also still have a solid farm system from which to trade from so pulling off a deal like this is more realistic that you may think.

Chicago White Sox:

Sox GM Rick Hahn has made it no secret that he is ready for his team to make another step forward closer to contention and the team wants to add a top flight arm to its young and talented pitching staff. Chicago has the open payroll to take on at least some of Greinke’s contract but if they’re so sure that they can compete as soon as next year or the 2020 season, Greinke would be a solid option. His age mixed with the fact that Chicago still doesn’t look like a playoff contending team yet however, may not work well.

Atlanta Braves

They want to add an impact starter to the mix this offseason, but it’s all about how far they’d be willing to go money wise to make a deal happen, whether it’s through free agency or through a trade for someone like Greinke.

Washington Nationals

Bryce Harper sweepstakes aside, the Nats could really use another starter behind Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, plus if they miss out on bringing back Harper, they can use some of that money to negotiate with the Diamondbacks about how much of Greinke’s contract they’d be willing to pay.

Other fits could include the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers(one of Greinke’s former teams), and San Diego Padres.

However it pans out, Greinke’s continued dominance has made it a realistic chance that the D-Backs could deal him and at least some of his contract, and if they want to do it, they better do it this offseason while Greinke is still putting up strong numbers.

Notes From MLB; Mariners Stadium Change, Marlins New Logo

A couple of news items from Seattle and Miami:

-T-Mobile has bought the naming rights to Seattle’s baseball stadium, which was previously named Safeco Field prior to this news. T-Mobile will reportedly pay the Mariners $3MM annually as part of acquiring the rights to change the stadium name.

-The Miami Marlins have revealed their new logo today and their new uniforms are expected to be revealed Friday. The team’s last logo change was in 2012, the same year the team changed their name from “Florida” to “Miami”.

Rookie Report: Anaheim Ducks

This post is apart of our series in which we will take a look at the performances of prospects that have made it to the NHL thus far this year. Our first look, the Anaheim Ducks:

Kiefer Sherwood/Forward

-Age: 23

-Undrafted Free Agent

-Current stats through 19 games:

2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points

Jacob Larsson/Defenseman

-Draft Year: 2015, Round 1 pick #27

-Current stats through 9 games:

0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point

Isac Lundestrom/Forward

-Draft Year: 2018, Round 1 pick #23

-Stats through 15 games:

0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points

Where Will James Paxton Go?

As the hot stove season begins to take shape, we’ve already heard tons of names thrown around the rumor mill, and that will only continue as teams get set for the upcoming winter meetings in December. One name that has been mentioned quite often already(due to the Seattle Mariners willingness to deal almost anyone), is Mariners ace James Paxton.

The left-hander had yet another fine season and will surely be of interest to almost any contending team looking for a front of the rotation starter. In 160.1 innings pitched, he posted an 11-6 record with a 3.76ERA and 208 strikeouts to go along with peripherals that say he was better than his bottom-line results(3.24FIP, 3.02xFIP). Baseball-reference pegged him at 2.9WAR while fangraphs had him higher at 3.8. Those numbers will surely get the Mariners a quality return in a trade with anyone.

The New York Yankees and Houston Astros are among the most notable teams to have expressed interest in Paxton and both have strong farm systems that can easily get a deal done. The Mariners have several needs on the roster with limited payroll space to use plus their farm system is among the worst in the entire league, which makes getting a solid return for Paxton all the more important.

It’s also worth mentioning hypothetically that a few other teams that could be interested in Paxton could be the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres, both of whom have expressed interest in acquiring a top starter and boast strong farm systems as well, the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics, two teams that badly need rotation help(although Seattle may not want to deal with division rivals), and perhaps even the Reds, another team that could use rotation help.

He is arguably the biggest trade chip Seattle has at the moment and Jerry Dipoto never stops dealing, so expect “dealin Dipoto” to get something for his ace at the winter meetings.

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.