Inside Baseball MLB Notes: Dodgers have look of legitimate bidders for Harper

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Taking our weekly trip around MLB as we prepare to head to Las Vegas for the Winter Meetings ...

RELATED: Diamondbacks got plenty back in Goldschmidt trade

Arizona Diamondbacks

— The Astros were the other main team in on Paul Goldschmidt. That's his hometown team. The Cardinals may want to try to lock him up,but it wouldn't surprise anyone if Goldy waited for free agency …

— In a potential trade of Zack Greinke, the D-Backs would need to pay down his near $35 million salary by $10 million, or more, especially if they expect a prospect back … 

— Some believe if they are going to go this far they may as well trade their other remaining rotation star Robbie Ray … 

— They have a draft pick coming to them after Patrick Corbin signed with the Nats. They will get another when A.J. Pollock signs … 

— Ketel Marte may be available, less than a year after he was extended, according to one rival … 

— Free agent reliever Joakim Soria is of interest, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

 

Atlanta Braves

— Dallas Keuchel is a potential fit, as the Braves would love a lefty to go toward their top of their rotation, alongside righthander Mike Foltyniewicz … 

— The Braves are looking for a corner outfielder, so a return for Nick Markakis remains possible … 

— The Braves keep getting connected to J.T. Realmuto. But since they have a catching tandem of Tyler Flowers and Brian McCann, who was just signed, that would be a little unusual. They “aren’t completely out,” one Marlins person suggests, but he doesn’t also suggest they are completely in, either … 

— Joakim Soria is among relievers they have considered, Jesse Sanchez reported …

— Jonny Venters, who agreed to a $2.25M deal, is quite a story. He has returned from three Tommy John surgeries, which is quite amazing in itself, but also a fourth elbow surgery. So call it 3 ½ TJs … 

— The Braves are expected to hire Rick Kranitz as their new pitching coach.

 

Baltimore Orioles

— Four managerial candidates are known: Chip Hale, Mike Bell, Pedro Grifol and Brandon Hyde.  That leaves one mystery candidate. It isn’t Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy, the longtime Notre Dame head coach who certainly has the personality to be a big-league manager but has only been in the league four years (his connection with the Brewers is that Craig Counsel starred for him with the Fighting Irish) … 

— The main trait needed by the new manager is obvious: patience … 

— Tim Beckham and Caleb Joseph were non-tendered … 

— A lot of turnover was expected but one rival said he believes it was “shortsighted” to let go the respected Brian Graham with a year to go on his contract since he knows the minor leaguers as well as anyone. Graham also played the role of GM in interview sessions at the GM meetings, though writers were perplexed as to what to ask him knowing that he wasn’t actually the GM, and wasn’t about to become the GM.

 

Boston Red Sox

— Nathan Eovaldi appears to be staying in Boston. Eovaldi’s legit John Wayne act certainly made an impression, and he had said it would be hard to leave after what they accomplished if he had a chance to stay …

— Eovaldi's deal is believed to be for four years and around $17 million per year,  

— The Red Sox wouldn’t mind bringing back Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly. But as one Red Sox honcho pointed out, there a lot of relievers available. A lot. 

 

Chicago Cubs

— The Cubs were interested in getting someone to replace David Ross, which is why they tried for Brian McCann. But McCann told MLB Network he was focused on his hometown Braves, who also happen to be his former team, from the start. The Cubs’ interest in McCann was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic … 

— Addison Russell made a terrible mistake. But at least his statement was appropriately strong. Theo Epstein’s statement also was very candid … 

— The Theo Watch is on, according to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic.

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Chicago White Sox

— The White Sox were named as a team to have met with Bryce Harper in Las Vegas by Yahoo, and one source says “they are going big” this winter. They also are believed to have interest in Manny Machado, who has intrigued them in the past. It’s surprising they are also in on Harper based on their past lack of history with Scott Boras, but Harper is a very popular player, it seems … 

— Marwin Gonalez is believed of interest to the White Sox, as well … 

— No surprise that Avisail Garcia wasn’t tendered a contract following his year of injury … 

— Matt Davidson, who looked good on the mound last year, also wasn’t tendered a contract … 

— The Chisox need outfielders.

RELATED: Reds 'all over' Dallas Keuchel in free agency

Cincinnati Reds

— The Reds have shown interest in Corey Kluber and the other two top Indians pitchers, as was reported here a few weeks ago … 

— They have looked at Joakim Soria … 

— The Reds at one point sought top Giants OF prospect Heliot Ramos for Billy Hamilton, who wasn’t tendered a contract.

 

Cleveland Indians

— If the Indians are really thinking about trading former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, or even Trevor Bauer, the reported Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood package isn’t enough. They are very likely one of the teams that has requested Cody Bellinger, but the Dodgers are said to be “hesitant” to move him … 

— In any case, they do need outfielders.

 

Colorado Rockies

— A deeper look at the numbers reveals what a valuable player D.J. LeMahieu is. He leads a group of excellent veteran second baseman in BWARP over the last three years, topping even superstar Jose Altuve, 14.7 to 13.4. He’s also above average in DRC plus (Deserved Runs Created) each of the last three years despite an OPS plus that was barely better than average over the three years. He is also said to be a major clubhouse plus. One person goes to far as to say he has a Chase Utley thing going …

— The Rockies are one of three NL West team to check in on J.T. Realmuto.

 

Detroit Tigers

— Matt Moore could be a potential bargain at $2.5M plus incentives, though the incentives weren’t small.

 

Kansas City Royals

— Chris Owings helps their infield situation. He will get $3M plus 500K incentives. The deal was first reported by Robert Murray of The Athletic.


RELATED: Astros, Dodgers, Yankees all have interest in Realmuto  

Houston Astros

— The Astros seemed like a potential landing spot for J.T. Realmuto but they just added Robinson Chirinos, so they clearly don’t feel like the need is quite as great now … 

— The Astros were the second team in on Paul Goldschmidt but never made a good enough offer … 

— The Astros have considered Josh Harrison, who could be a decent replacement for Marwin Gonzalez, at a much lower cost, if they can’t sign Gonzalez.

 

Los Angeles Angels

— The Angels are believed to have interest in Marwin Gonzalez … 

— They have considered Joakim Soria, as well.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

— The Dodgers traveled to Las Vegas to meet with Bryce Harper, as reported by Jeff Passan and Tim Brown of Yahoo, and while the story doesn’t suggest just how involved the Dodgers are, it is interesting that they are in at all since they haven’t spent big on any one outside player since the new regime came in, and previous reports had suggested the Dodgers intended to stay under the luxury-tax threshold, which would seem like an impossibility with Harper on the team. (Some believe the Dodgers may want to stay under the threshold but that it isn’t an absolute.) … 

— It was interesting to see that Magic Johnson, who runs the Lakers but is a part-owner with the Dodgers, altered one aspect of the story, which originally said that Magic was in Las Vegas for the meeting. That was changed after Johnson later claimed he was not there. Johnson even provided a quote, saying the “only time I met Bryce Harper was on the field two years ago when Dusty Baker introduced me.” It may seem a bit odd that Johnson would go out of there way to make such a change, but the Lakers aren’t doing so hot I am told, and he may not want to be seen as shirking his main responsibility. Whether Johnson was there or not, the Dodgers would seem to be interested. And that after all is the point …

— The Dodgers did make a nice move to get themselves under the luxury-tax threshold to reset their tax, they have a hunger to win the World Series after reaching it two straight years but not winning it 30 straight years and they do have a nice connection in that team president Stan Kasten held that job in Washington when Harper was picked No. 1 overall by the Nats. If they are on, and serious, they would seem to have a good shot, as L.A. is the closest team to Harper’s hometown of Las Vegas, Nev. That could make them among the more attractive possibilities, along with the Yankees and the incumbent Nats. It’s interesting that the former teams of both Harper and his free agent rival Manny Machado both are linked to Harper, while neither is linked to Machado … 

— Dave Roberts wanted back with the Dodgers badly enough that he took matters into his own hands and did a deal that was below his original asking price. The respected veteran agent John Boggs had been handling the talks with Kasten, but they were at an impasse and Kasten and baseball president Andrew Friedman each called Roberts on Tuesday to try to work it out. The team previously had picked up his $1.1 million option for 2019 but gave him a four-year deal, which was the term he sought. The price wasn’t equal to the goal of matching A.J. Hinch’s contract, which was believed to be for $12 million (managerial contracts aren’t on file like player contracts, and the Dodgers actually believed the Hinch deal to be worth $10 million). In any case, Roberts’ final number isn’t known, but it is surely closer to the $10 million figure, if that high … 

— Meantime, Scott Miller of Bleacher Report wrote about Machado’s slightly sagging rep …  

— There’s been talk with the Indians about their star pitchers (Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco) and that they could ask for young Dodgers outfielders Alex Verdugo, Joc Pederson or Yasiel Puig. But none of them would seem to be a key piece for someone as accomplished as the former Cy Young winner Kluber. So why wouldn’t the Indians ask for Cody Bellinger? The Dodgers also have top prospects such as pitcher Dustin May, shortstop Gavin Lux and catchers Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith … 

— Word is that Bellinger indeed has been requested in multiple trades, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Indians were one of those teams. Alex Verdugo is another popular player (though not as popular as Bellinger). The Dodgers have been “hesitant” to move Bellinger, rivals say … 

— The Dodgers have considered Yusei Kikuchi … 

— Marwin Gonzalez is thought to be a candidate for both L.A. teams … 

— They are one of the 14 teams to have talked to the Marlins about J.T. Realmuto and would seem to have a potential match due to their glut in the outfield, especially lefthanded hitting glut. The Marlins are looking for players who have played some in the majors, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they tried for Bellinger, who manager Don Mattingly knew from his Dodgers days … 

— The Dodgers have to be thrilled to see Paul Goldschmidt leave the division. he was a consistent Dodgers killer; he has a 1.001 OPS at Dodger Stadium.

RELATED: 14 teams are in on J.T. Realmuto

Miami Marlins

— Dan Straily will definitely be on the block, but Jose Urena may have pitched well enough to be kept. They love his work ethic and “professionalism,” … 

— One Marlins person proclaimed at last year’s Winter Meeting that “This will be out last year selling.” And of course that turned out to be a bit strong. But at least they aren’t having the same sort of fire sale as they had last winter … 

— One thing bringing hope to the Marlins is the depth of decent young pitchers. Beyond Urena (who may stay) are Pablo Lopez. Sandy Alcantara, Nick Neidert, Zac Gallen, Caleb Smith and Jordan Yamamoto, who impressed in the Arizona fall League. GM Mike Hill calls him a “master craftsman.” … 

— The three new coaches – Mel Stottlemyre Jr., Trey Hillman and Jeff Livesey – all have Yankees connections. Which means not only does the front office like them but so does manager Don Mattingly, who enters the year as lame duck, which isn’t easy, especially for a rebuilding team. Hillman also is the only man to manage teams to titles in the Japanese and Korean leagues.

 

Milwaukee Brewers

— After non-tendering Jonathan Schoop, as everyone figured they would, GM David Stearns admitted the Schoop trade with Baltimore was “on me.” Schoop was a bench player for the Crew in October, so a small-market team couldn’t possibly justify a $10-million salary via arbitration (mlbtraderumors estimated $10.1 million, and one arb expert confirmed that seems about right). That was a generous admission by Stearns in that every other trade was a hit, including Mike Moustakas, Gio Gonzalez. Eric Kratz, Curtis Granderson and Joakim Soria (though owner Mark Attanasio probably gets an assist for Gio)… 

— Schoop is looking to reset with a “pillow contract,” which is one year, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

 

Minnesota Twins

— C.J. Cron agreed to a $4.8 million deal after he was claimed by the Twins. That seems like a bargain for a 30-homer hitter at The Trop. Of course the same was thought about Logan Morrison, who came for $6.5 million last winter/spring following a 38-homer season playing for the same Rays.


New York Mets

— The Mets have checked in on J.T. Realmuto, who appears to be their next big target. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since they have no definitive starting catcher. (Travis d’Arnaud needs to be taken along slowly after Tommy John surgery … 

— The Marlins are targeting Amed Rosario and Brandon Nimmo in talks. Michael Conforto may not be quite as interesting to them because he has two more years of service time. It’s hard to see the Mets giving up Rosario. They were pleased by his progress in his rookie year … 

— The Mets are prioritizing defense at catcher. So if they don’t get Realmuto, Martin Maldonado remains a viable option … 

— The Mets have talked about Marwin Gonzalez, as they consider infielders who can play multiple positions. Mike Moustakas could also be a fit as Todd Frazier had his first injury-plagued year last year and Peter Alonso is unproven. Moustakas is capable of playing first base as well as third  … 

— Alonso, according to one scout, is a “typical today player.” That means he has a nice launch angle and hits lots of homers but is not necessarily a great athlete … 

— The Mets have considered A.J. Pollock, GM Brodie Van Wagenen told Jim Bowden of The Athletic. One concern is that while talented, Pollock has been somewhat injury prone. The Mets have been decimated by injuries at times, including in center, where Juan Lagares has been out a lot. It’s easier to understand why they like Pollock, but he may not be a perfect fit for them for that reason … 

— Travis Sawchik noted that of the five biggest contracts in history, three of them have now been traded to New York, with Robinson Cano ($240 million, five years in) joining Alex Rodriguez ($252 million, three years in) and Giancarlo Stanton ($325 million, three years in) … 

— Someone could quibble about whether the Mets overpaid to add Cano and star closer Edwin Diaz, who Brodie Van Wagenen called “the best closer in the game,” but they deserve credit for following through on their promise to try to win in 2019. The Mets got $20 million in the deal, as first reported by Fancred, but some thought it could have been $30 million or $40 million considering that the Mets appeared to have leverage (Cano has a full no-trade, which Van Wagenen negotiated himself in quite a coincidence) and over-35 players (even good ones like Cano) have been devalued. In any case, give the Mets credit for spending to win … 

— The Mets also drew praise for keeping the versatile Jeff McNeil, who made quite an impression late, out of the deal … 

— Justin Dunn, a former No 1 pick from Freeport, L.I., was part of the deal, and Tim Healey of Newsday writes about the loss of the local product (who also recently hired Van Wagenen’s old agency, CAA) … 

— One scout said he believes Dunn is a reliever. He believes Jarred Kelenic is a big loss, however, and will be an “above average major league.” While that sounds like faint praise, in scout parlance that’s a compliment. Another scout said he is “super athletic,” which is praise we can all understand … 

— One issue: the whole NL East may be better, as well.


RELATED: Phillies, Yankees lead 10 contenders to sign Harper, Machado | Astros, Dodgers, Yankees all have interest in Realmuto 

New York Yankees

— The Yankees will turn to J.A. Happ after losing out on Patrick Corbin and, apparently Nathan Eovaldi, though it isn’t certain they were ever willing to go to the lengths that Eovaldi got in Boston … 

— The Yankees were outbid by the Nats by $40 million on Corbin, which doesn’t happen very often. The Yankees offered $100M over five years, though they probably would have gone to $105M or $110M if they were going to get him.  After being told that Corbin was seeking six years at Yu Darvish money (six years for $126 million) the Yankees responded that they weren’t going to go there. But after his visits to D.C. and Philly, Corbin asked if it would be ok if he came up to visit. The Yankees said they’d go 17-20 over 4/5 years, so $100 million was pretty much tops for their bid to land the onetime Yankees fan ...

— It’s unclear why the Yankees haven’t been linked to Dallas Keuchel, even after losing out on Corbin. Keuchel seems to like the big stage and word is he likes the idea of playing in a big city. Keuchel last year was 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA, and he's won a Cy Young ...

— They were named as a team to have a planned meeting with superstar free agent Bryce Harper in the Yahoo story by Jeff Passan and Tim Brown, even though they have suggested that Harper doesn’t fit them. Other teams remain skeptical, and believe the Yankees could be playing possum, as they have done in the past … 

— GM Brian Cashman denied rumors the Yankees are conferring or interested in trading Giancarlo Stanton. “He’s exceptional ... and he has a full no trade,” he said. Stanton was willing to accept his hometown Dodgers (and the Cubs and Astros) in addition to the Yankees a year ago, but he didn’t have the same type of season in 2018, which would further complicate any efforts to trade him (which, again, the Yankees insist they aren't) ...

— While there was a brief talk with the Marlins regarding Realmuto, Cashman said, “we have our catcher." Cashman further suggested that if anything were to involve Realmuto and the Yankees it would have to be a three-team trade. As said here last week, the Yankees love Sanchez. Two big factors for them: he grades high with analytics people and he follows the game plan to a tee ...

— The Yankees have shown interest in Josh Harrison. That could be a backup plan to Manny Machado … 

— Or perhaps Marwin Gonzalez is the backup plan to Machado. The Yankees have spoken about him, but any interest they have in adding Gonzalez could be dependent on whether Machado works out, as Machado and Hal Steinbrenner have yet to have their face-to-face talk ...

— They were linked to Joakim Soria … 

— New Yankee James Paxton won the Tip O’Neill award as Canada’s top player, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith. The award was named after a figure in Canada baseball, not the Boston lawmaker … Hear the book “Baseball Cop” by former MLB investigator Eddie Rodriguez is an easy read. (For the record MLB didn’t particularly like the book). There were several passages detailing misdeeds about the Levinsons, the proprietors of SCES, an agency being sued by former employee Juan Carlos Nunez. 

 

Oakland Athletics

— Trevor Cahill is drawing interest from “four or five” teams after putting up another nice season as a starter. He returned to starting in 2017, and he seems to be coming into his own now … 

— Kyler Murray may be a slight Heisman favorite after his big year as the University of Oklahoma QB (the kid from Alabama and Ohio State are pretty good, too I am told), but his baseball dream is still alive. Agent Scott Boras said, “He will be in spring training with the A’s." … 

Follow Ryan Thibodaux for hall of fame vote updates. Mine should be up soon.


RELATED: Phillies, Yankees lead 10 contenders to sign Harper, Machado 

Philadelphia Phillies

— The Phillies will take a look at Dallas Keuchel after losing out on Patrick Corbin. They offered good money for Corbin – five years at what is believed to have been a bit over $100 million – but apparently it wasn’t “stupid” money as owner John Middleton suggested they had … 

— They were linked to Madison Bumgarner, by Jon Morosi of MLB.com; however it’s still hard to see the Giants trading MadBum. One way or another Philly does need a lefty …

— The deal to bring in Jean Segura seemed to be quite a good deal (Mariners people suggested there was almost no market for Segura despite his productivity), as they were able to offload the Carlos Santana’s big contract while taking back the Mariners’ two set-up men Juan Nicasio and James Pazos, and only giving up shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford, who they seemed to have soured on, anyway … 

— One more thing the Segura deal did is lessen the need for Manny Machado. Phillies people say they could still sign Machado, and use either him or Segura at third base (or Segura at second, though they already have two second basemen). Machado has been pretty firm about his interest in playing shortstop, which could complicate things a bit, anyway … 

— The Phillies had previously talked about a deal for Edwin Diaz, which is one reason the Mets hustled to get their deal done. They didn’t want to see Diaz go to a rival …

— Bryce Harper is believed to be their top target. But one Harper confidant says he believes Harper is “lukewarm on Philly, as a city, anyway.” That’s easy to believe as Philly doesn’t overwhelm visiting players. It is beloved by players who play there a long time (i.e. Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins) but it is something short of glitzy. So if you come in nine games a year it isn’t going to wow many … 

— The Phillies seem to like a lot about Jorge Alfaro, especially the work ethic and hustle, but they are one of the NL East teams to check in on J.T. Realmuto.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates

— Neal Huntington was talked to by the Giants before they hired Farhan Zaidi … 

— Free agent Jordy Mercer, another who has left Legacy, hired Scott Boras to represent him.

RELATED: Cardinals gave up plenty to land noted Cubs killer Goldschmidt

St. Louis Cardinals

— The Cardinals seemed to be considering a run at Bryce Harper, and that may not have changed even after the acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt. Three straight years missing the playoffs has made them determined to improve the team. Should they accomplish that, that would be a superteam …

— In any case they are vastly improved. At some points this week, they were unconfident about acquiring Goldschmidt and started to consider Mike Moustakas more seriously. The one advantage to that would have been keeping Matt Carpenter at first base, where may be more comfortable than third … 

— One major advantage to Goldschmidt: he is a Cubs killer, with a lifetime 1.011 OPS at Wrigley Field …

— Prior to the trade, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com wrote about all the pros and cons of trading for Goldschmidt.

RELATED: Padres may be leader if Mets decide to trade Syndergaard

San Diego Padres

— The Mets want top prospect Fernando Tatis in Noah Syndergaard talks, and the Padres say he isn’t going anywhere – one reason Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen admitted the chances for a Syndergaard trade aren’t great now. There was a lot of speculation about a package of young players like pitchers Chris Paddack and Joey Lucchesi, catcher Austin Hedges and a spare outfielder. But the Mets believe they need to aim higher in any Syndergaard talks … 

— The Garrett Richards signing for $15.5 million seems at first thought a bit high. But know that Richards when healthy is seen as a top of the rotation starter. If he is healthy in 2020 as is the hope (and the target year for the Padres to contend, too) he could also be given a qualifying offer …  

— They have been linked to forthcoming Japanese import Yusei Kikuchi ...

— RHP Jay Jackson, one of the top relievers in Japan the past three years, is drawing interest from MLB teams. For Hiroshima the last three seasons, had 2.10 ERA, 92 holds, 192 SO in 176 IP. For perspective, that was better than Ryan Brasier, now with Red Sox, when they were teammates on 2017 Carp. While he is getting interest from MLB teamas, there's also interest in going back to Japan. Jackson previously pitched for the Padres in 2015 ... 

— That the Padres were in on Nathan Eovaldi wasn't much of a surprise; Padres exec Logan White was the man who originally drafted Eovaldi for the Dodgers.

RELATED: Trading Bumgarner is logical for Giants, but haul may not be enough

San Francisco Giants

— The Giants are one of the teams to check in on J.T. Realmuto, which is interesting since Buster Posey is still their catcher … 

— One Giants connected person said Madison Bumgarner “isn’t going anywhere.” There will be plenty of rumors this winter but it is well known the Giants don’t like to trades their iconic players. Or upset their fans … 

— Tim Lincecum hasn’t said yet whether he wants to try to pitch next year. So it is possible he may not … 

— Hunter Pence is in winter ball, so he will sign somewhere … 

— They are looking for versatility and have been in contact with Josh Harrison … 

— Joe Panik agreed to a fully guaranteed $3.85 million deal. He is looking for a bounce-back season following an off year … 

— The Giants are about to hire former A’s (and most recently Mets) exec J.P. Ricciardi, who has managed to work out of his Worcester, Mass. home for years.

RELATED: Making sense of the Mariners' sudden about face and shaky future

Seattle Mariners  

— The Mariners are interested in Japanese lefty starter Yusei Kikuchi. It could be a west coast battle to land the pitcher as the Padres, Dodgers and Giants also have interest …

— They are looking into free agent relievers after trading away their top three relievers – Edwin Diaz, Juan Nicasio and James Pazos … 

— Greg Johns of MLB.com wrote about Jerry Dipoto’s “manic Monday.” … 

— Ken Rosenthal wrote in The Athletic about whether the Mariners might trade Mitch Haniger, who was one of three pitchers deemed near to untouchable early this winter in internal talks (and external as well) … 

— Of course at the start Diaz was seen as untouchable. And he’s gone … 

— The Mariners also talked about signing James Paxton to an extension last summer but didn't get it done ...

— Jay Bruce did not have the Mariners on his no-trade list and is said to love the Pacific Northwest. Though, the Mariners look like they are going to be in for a long season or two … 

— It was a nice catch to get Perry Hill to coach their infielders, but for him, he moved after three years with the Marlins to the Mariners, who are looking like Marlins West. Joked one of his friends, “Perry’s the rebuild king.”

 

Tampa Bay Rays

— Nelson Cruz remains a possibility, and he’d make a big difference from here …

— The Rays pursued Paul Goldschmidt, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

 

Texas Rangers

— As it turns out Robinson Chirinos got more money after having his $4.5 million option turned down, as he is getting $5.75M from Houston (plus his 100K buyout), as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported.

 

Toronto Blue Jays

— Teams have called on Marcus Stroman, but this is not the time to sell him … 

— They have been connected to Dallas Keuchel, but he may be a bit pricey for them at this juncture.

 

Washington Nationals

— The Nats are not necessarily out on Bryce Harper after signing Patrick Corbin for $140 million over six years. Corbin $23M), Yan Gomes ($8M) and Kyle Barraclough ($600K est.) replace Matt Wieters ($11M) Gio Gonzalez ($12M) and Ryan Madson ($8M) so they are a wash so far on a per-year basis. The Harper call will be up to the club-owning Lerners (and of course Harper himself) …  

— The belief is that a Harper deal may take awhile, but agent Scott Boras pointed out that the Alex Rodriguez deal got done at the Winter Meetings. Considering this year’s Winter Meetings are in Las Vegas, Harper’s hometown, that would make for a very nice story … 

— Hard to criticize Rizzo on pitching calls, because he quite clearly knows his arms. And Corbin was seen as the top pitcher on the market. But consider how far he’s come. Entering the 2018 season, Patrick Corbin's career numbers featured a rather mundane 4.12 ERA, 7.9 K/9IP, .760 opponents OPS and 1.348 WHIP over 745.2 innings. Nobody thought that body of work would make him the highest-paid starter in this year's free agent market. Obviously, he was great in 2018 (he was also good in '13) and he's young compared to other free agents. The question going forward is will you get the 2018 Corbin or the 2012-17 version. Nats obviously are betting on the former and not latter … 

— The word is that the deferred money in Corbin's contract isn't very large and won't devalue the contract very much from it's $140 million sticker price ...

— GM Mike Rizzo who knows pitching as well as anyone explained to Jamal Collier of MLB.com that “pitching is king” in this piece …  

— The Nats are one of at least five teams in on Josh Harrison, as they are still thinking about shoring up second base. For now the job belongs to Wilmer Difo and a returning Howie Kendrick.

Jon Heyman is Fancred's baseball insider. He publishes his weekly Inside Baseball column each Thursday on the App and FancredSports.com. You can download the App here and interact with Jon by following him right here.

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