Inside Baseball MLB Notes: Yankees may be quietly shopping Miguel Andujar

WATCH JON HEYMAN LIVE ON-AIR ON THE FANCRED APP, 8 P.M. EST THURS., DEC. 20

Taking a final pre-Christmas run around the MLB hot stove bases ...

RELATED: Diamondbacks got plenty back in Goldschmidt trade

Arizona Diamondbacks

— Free agent star A.J. Pollock is thought to be seeking a six-year deal, but one executive opined that he sees him “settling” for a four-year deal. In any case, he made the right call to turn down the qualifying offer. And the D-Backs made the right call to extend the offer … 

— Matt Szczur, a terrific all-around guy – and that’s not BS or idle chatter, as he saved a 15-year-old Ukrainian girl’s life by donating his bone marrow, which cost him a year of baseball — came aboard in a minors deal. He gets 950K if in the majors, and also two outs and a minor-league invite … 

— No buzz lately on a potential Zack Greinke deal. Really good pitcher. But it could have something to do with the $104.5 million to go on his contract. Or the 15-team no-trade list that includes almost every big-market team (except Houston). H/t Zach Buchanan of The Athletic for the no-trade list.

 

Atlanta Braves

— The Braves tried for Michael Brantley but weren’t prepared to go to the $32 million deal he got from the Braves … 

— The Braves continue to have a very tight budget for a team with exploding revenues … 

— Craig Mish, a noted Florida radio guy, suggested the Braves were willing to trade top third base prospect Austin Riley for Marlins star catcher J.T. Realmuto. However, the Braves did not offer pitcher Mike Soroka in tandem with Riley, according to sources.

 

Baltimore Orioles

— Manny Machado has tried to take back his claim that hustling isn’t his “cup of tea,” as he originally told The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. But those who followed him in Baltimore say his hustling has been intermittent. “Buck’s pretty good, and Buck couldn’t get him to run hard to first,” one rival exec says. That may be true, but it went mostly unnoticed until he didn’t run balls out in the NLCS and World Series, where things are noticed … 

— The Orioles plan to do some serious bottom feeding late to fill out positions of need, including shortstop. They could be the spot for Freddy Galvis, Jose Iglesias or Adeiny Hechavarria … 

— Alex Cobb and Dylan Bundy could be in the block, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe … 

— The Orioles attended Try Tulowitzki’s showcase, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo. They do have that shortstop opening.

 

Boston Red Sox

— Craig Kimbrel is believed to have dropped his price tag slightly, from $96 million to $86 million – rivals say. But word is, that is still too rich for the Red Sox. They were thought more interested in a four-year deal , possibly for something in the $60 million to $70 million range, or perhaps a bit over that. Kimbrel’s price tag may seem high but there is logic to it; his pitching record is comparable to that of Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, who received deals for $86 million and $80 million, respectively … 

— Sources suggest David Robertson is of interest to the Red Sox, though it is believed they would prefer to keep any deal to two years (Robertson is said to be looking for three). One person who knows the situation suggests GM Dave Dombrowski “could still stay in house.” Ryan Brasier, the import from the Japan League, who was huge last year, could be a candidate to close if they don’t sign anyone … 

— There have been suggestions the Red Sox may have to cut salary, but word from people in the know is that they will likely wait until next winter to do so. With Chris Sale having a year to go (and J.D. Martinez potentially having a year to go; he has an opt out following 2019), it makes sense to play this year out at full strength and try to defend their title before trying to reset a year from now … 

— Insiders acknowledge they won’t be able to keep all their stars. Mookie Betts obviously is a priority. The Red Sox made an offer a couple years back that could have gotten him close to $200 million had it vested. As one person said, “he looks very smart,” to have turned it down now …  

— The Red Sox were one of at least a dozen teams to attend Troy Tulowitzki’s showcase in Long Beach.

 

Chicago Cubs

— Daniel Descalso is a nice signing, as he gives the Cubs yet another versatile player. They see him as an upgrade for added power and defense over Tommy La Stella …

— The Cubs went to see Troy Tulowitzki, as was reported in this space first, one of at least 11 teams to do so, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo. The Cubs don’t consider themselves favorites probably because they don’t see Tulo as a starter for them …

As Patrick Mooney reported, the Cubs continue to monitor the Addison Russell situation as more details about spousal allegations surface ...

— Some see them as a potential surprise landing spot for Bryce Harper, but there’s no evidence of any involvement yet.

 

Chicago White Sox

— Rivals see a risk in the White Sox signing Manny Machado. “If they struggle for two years, it could get bad,” one rival suggests. That said his type of talent upgrades any team … 

— They need a 3B but they may be interested enough in Machado to let him choose … 

— They were also at Troy Tulowitzki’s showcase.

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

Cincinnati Reds

— The Reds wanted Matt Harvey back. But while Harvey pitched well in Cincy, the belief is that he’d preferred not to return. The ballpark probably wasn’t the issue as much as the city; it may have been a bit slow for him … 

— The Reds tried for J.A. Happ, as well … 

— The Reds made an offer to Lance Lynn but didn’t come close to signing the relatively local (he’s from Indiana) Lynn … 

— Mark Zuckerman of MASN has a story about how productive new Red Tanner Roark was for the Nationals … 

— The Reds are not done acquiring pitchers … 

— The Reds continue to talk to the Dodgers about deals involving high-priced veterans. Homer Bailey would go to the Dodgers in these proposed deals, and likely some combo of Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood to the Reds … 

— The Reds have been the price for Sonny Gray high to this point. The Yankees don’t seek the very top prospects, but the ones just below, Double-A and Triple-A pitchers the Reds prefer not to trade … 

— The Marlins are focused on the very top prospects for J.T. Realmuto: Taylor Trammell, Nick Senzel, Hunter Greene and Jonathan India … 

— The Reds may give Senzel, who can run and throw, a shot in center field … 

— India, the SEC Player of the Year, is very popular. Other recent SEC Players of the Year: Alex Bregman, Andrew Benintendi … 

— The Reds inquired about original Red Yasmani Grandal at some point. It would be a curious fit since they have Tucker Barnhart, and it appears other teams are willing to go longer on deals. Grandal went to San Diego originally in the ill-fated deal for Mat Latos ...

— C. Trent Rosecrans wrote a story that got behind the lines with agent Jonathan Maurer at the Winter Meetings.

 

Cleveland Indians

— The Indians have done a terrific job of clearing payroll space with their trades of Yan Gomes and Yonder Alonso. Those deals are thought to have likely spared the Indians having to trade either co-ace, Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer … 

— They also traded Edwin Encarnacion and got back Carlos Santana, as was reported on Fancred first. Santana was thrilled to return. He never sold his house in Cleveland he loves it so much. The Indians for whatever reason seemed to prefer Santana, who was an Indian for six-plus years before signing with Philly.

 

Colorado Rockies

— The Rockies are still seeking offense. First base is one spot to look at, and they’ve been linked to Edwin Encarnacion if he were to be moved by the Mariners so soon after he landed there from Cleveland … 

— Mark Reynolds, who outplayed expectations for them two years ago, would make some sense again for them. Reynolds would love to get to 300 home runs. He has 294.

 

Detroit Tigers

— They were at Troy Tulowitzki’s showcase in California … 

— Happy birthday to Al Kaline, who turned 84 Wednesday. No doubt about it he is the nicest superstar ever. Also won a batting title in his age 20 season – not easy!!!

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

Houston Astros

— The Astros may have made mistakes not extending qualifying offers to either Marwin Gonzalez or Charlie Morton, who both probably benefited by those calls. Word from people close to both players is that they would have turned down the qualifying offers, anyway, which if true would have netted the Astros draft choices. (Fairly, it’s tough to know that but that was something heard recently.) Morton wound up doing better than the $17.9-million QO, getting a $30-million, two-year deal from the Rays. And folks suspect Gonzalez will get a longer deal than that for pretty big money. A draft-pick attachment would have limited their markets somewhat … 

— The Astros have resisted including talented lefthanded-hitting Kyle Tucker in trades to this point, but one rival said he suspects Tucker would be offered for J.T. Realmuto (though the Marlins apparently seek more than just Tucker). The Astros may be reluctant to use him at age 21 – scouts see him as unorthodox but talented – and one rival scout says, “He’s going to be an above average major leaguer.” … 

— Meantime, a rival exec says he believes pitcher Forrest Whitley is “untouchable,” and understandably so … 

— Alex Bregman predicted “big news” was coming in a tweet on Tuesday, but a friend suggested “it isn’t what you think,” presumably meaning an extension. Bregman is said to be the team’s top recruiter, so perhaps it has to do with a new player coming … — They are indeed signing Michael Brantley, and have been in talks with Nelson Cruz as well … 

— Michael Brantley’s $32-million, two-year deal is more evidence teams aren’t worrying so much about past injuries, and hoping for the best. Nathan Eovaldi got $68 million, a record for a pitcher with two Tommy John surgeries, Josh Donaldson got $23-million on a one-year deal, Wilson Ramos got a big deal and so did others with injuries in their past.

 

Kansas City Royals

— As pointed out in several places, the Royals will have one of the fastest team in baseball after signing Billy Hamilton to a free agent deal worth $5M and also fan favorite Terrance Gore. White Merrifield has led the league in steals the last two years, but he may only be the third or fourth fastest Royal, someone mentioned on Twitter. GM Dayton Moore said he was tired of being mediocre across the board, so they became elite for speed (and hopefully defense).


Los Angeles Angels

— There’s no word yet on any extension talks for Mike Trout. One rival said that while he’s heard Trout like the Angels very much, there’s industry speculation he could go to his hometown Phillies – he’s from southern New Jersey and still winters there – in two years as a free agent … 

— The Angels signed Matt Harvey 11 years after he spurned their offer of $1 million after taking him in the third round out of high school in Mystic, Conn. For his 11-year wait Harvey got $11M. The Reds wanted Harvey back, but Southern California is more his speed …

— The Angels offered J.A. Happ $28 million for two years before he went to the Yankees, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reported, and they also tried for Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi … 

— The Angels’ rotation was decimated by injuries last year, so they could still use starters … 

— They attended Troy Tulowitzki’s showcase.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

— The Dodgers’ have many, many outfielders on the block, basically all of them besides Cody Bellinger (presumably they’d like to keep Alex Verdugo, too, but for the right piece, they’d probably make an exception). Some wonder if they are clearing room for a run at Bryce Harper, or just to clear general payroll space … 

— Yasmani Grandal, who statistically is the best catcher in the game over the last four years, is said to have four years somewhere if he wants it. (One rival exec had predicted he’d get $60M for four years in this space, though I was way light with my own prediction, seeing a two-year deal for him off his rough postseason.) So his decision to turn down the qualifying offer apparently is going to turn out to be the right call. And while Jon Morosi of MLB.com suggested the Dodgers are open to bringing back Grandal on a one-year deal, assuming he does indeed have four years elsewhere, that would be unlikely … 

— The Angels and Brewers are among teams looking at catcher. The Dodgers prefer a catcher on a short-term deal since they have two top prospects behind the plate – Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith … 

— RIP, Penny Marshall, director of “League of Their Own.” Today there is crying in baseball.

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

Miami Marlins

— The total focus is on J.T. Realmuto trade talks. You hear a lot of complaints from interested teams. But Realmuto is the best catcher in the game and does have two years to go before free agency. So the price should be high … 

— The Marlins are said to like third baseman Jonathan India in talks with the Reds, as well as Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell and Hunter Greene. Those are top prospects but it shows they aren’t necessarily insisting on proven players, as some have suggested.

 

Milwaukee Brewers

— The Brewers have been in touch with free agent 2B Jed Lowrie, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic … 

— The Brewers talked to Ian Kinsler before he took a two-year deal with the Padres.

 

Minnesota Twins

— Congratulations to Joe Mauer, whose No, 7 will be retired, the Twins announced … 

— No word yet on whether Paul Molitor plans to stay in the organization.

DOWNLOAD THE FANCRED APP TO INTERACT WITH JON HEYMAN

New York Mets

— The Marlins sought either Amed Rosario or Michael Conforto in a package of young players for J.T. Realmuto. They didn’t seem as interested in Brandon Nimmo … 

— The Mets didn’t love trading Rosario because 1) he has five years service time, 2) they didn’t want to go with strictly a defender at short like Joe Iglesias, Adeiny Hechavarria or Freddy Galvis … 

— The Mets were Wilson Ramos’ first choice. They are the third NL East team he will play for, following the Nats and Phillies. His $19-million deal topped our predictions on our massive 131-player list. Good for him …

— The Mets apparently will use Travis d’Arnaud as the backup to Wilson Ramos, who came on the recommendation of Allard Baird, Omar Minaya and others … 

— Noah Syndergaard apparently isn’t going anywhere now. It’s a “safe assumption” he will stay, one person close to the situation said … 

— A.J. Pollock has been a target, but they are apart on the price … 

— The Mets signed former Mariners, Dodgers and LSU QB recruit Zach Lee to a minors deal. He was a bonus baby with the Dodgers … 

— Seth Lugo has hired Ballengee to represent him … 

— Neil Best of Newsday has a story about how Mets icon Jay Horwitz is adjusting to his new role.


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

New York Yankees 

— Miguel Andujar appears to be on the block, for the right price. Should the Yankees not sign Manny Machado, he’d play for shortstop, for now. But the Yankees would love to keep Didi Gregorius, a favorite, and that would necessitate moving Machado over to third base in a year. Machado has said he wanted to play shortstop for the next five years, or more, but he is thought to love the idea of going to the Yankees enough that that wouldn’t be a deal breaker (the White Sox might prefer him at third base, too, but they may not insist). A Yankees person said he sees Andujar eventually moving to first if Machado is brought in and eventually moved to third in the event of Gregorius re-signing … 

— David Robertson was always well-liked as a Yankee, but as George King of the New York Post first reported, there is some uneasiness after Robertson was seen as a leader in the meeting that limited shares to support staff this year. Word is Yankees GM Brian Cashman went to the trouble to investigate what went on there, as the Yankees pride themselves on treating staff members with the utmost care. Assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere was one of many beloved staff members not voted a full share … 

— Along the same lines, the Yankees paid CC Sabathia’s 500K bonus when he only came up short of the 155 inning incentive level because he plunked the Rays Jesus Sucre (French translation: Sweet Jesus) while defending a teammate. That sounds more like the Yankees.  They planned to keep their generosity quiet but Ron Blum of AP found out while going over luxury tax numbers. The Yankees did stay below, with only the rival Red Sox and the Nationals going over … 

— Parker Bridwell was designated for assignment to make room for Happ but he’d be a good pickup for someone … 

— David Lennon of Newsday had an interesting twist on his Hall of Fame ballot, becoming even more selective following the veteran’s committee’s election of Harold Baines(ink). Others are more likely to do the opposite – become more lenient to try to elect others they believe are as good (or better) than Baines. The Baines election won’t affect me as I have pledged to support the maximum 10 candidates for the foreseeable future due to the fact I have been convinced we have been too tough on this era. As for as Baines, while I didn’t vote for him when he was on the writer’s ballot and was somewhat surprised he was elected and generally see some other outfielders as more deserving (i.e. Berine Williams, Kenny Lofton, Jim Edmonds and probably also Larry Walker), it wouldn’t cause me to change my standards. I view it this way: the veteran’s committee is even more old-school than me, so they look at things differently and value the stats differently. It’s their chance to support their players, and Baines, with 2,800-plus hits and 1,600-plus RBI, works in their way of thinking; I’m fine with that. But that doesn’t mean the writers need to adjust out standards, whatever they may be. We wrote in this space last week about the feelings of Jack Morris and Dave Stewart on Baines and his inclusion, and they saw it like the veteran’s committee. And no, unlike what some readers suggested, they aren’t under any obligation to support players from their era (and in fact both mentioned guys to me they aren’t nearly as enthused about) … 

— Ryan Thibodaux @NotMrTibbs has a perfect Hall of Fame tracker on Twitter.

 

Oakland Athletics

— The A’s offered catcher Jonathan Lucroy a one-year deal for about $4M, but Lucroy has been hoping not to take a pay cut from the $6.5M he made last year. He did a nice job working with the A’s young pitchers last year, which is why they want him back …

— The A’s are looking for multiple starting pitchers. They showed some interest in Matt Harvey before he went to the rival Angels.


RELATED: Making sense of the Harper, Machado buzz from the Winter Meetings

Philadelphia Phillies

— Their tour date for Manny Machado was scheduled for Thursday … 

— Speaking of shortstops, they were at Troy Tulowitzki’s showcase … 

— The Phillies seek a lefty reliever, and they have ties to Zach Britton (all the top Phillies execs were in Baltimore when Britton was selected by them in the draft). Andrew Miller also makes sense.


Pittsburgh Pirates

— The Pirates could have a decent shot at Troy Tulowitzki, as they could offer him a chance to start at his preferred shortstop. Manager Clint Hurdle loves Tulo from their days together in Colorado. Of course they were at his showcase.



RELATED: Cardinals gave up plenty for a year of noted Cubs killer Goldschmidt 

St. Louis Cardinals

— The amazing Yadier Molina had spurs removed from his knee in a surgery, reported Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As mlbtraderumors pointed out, that could make their selection of a backup even more important. Following the trade if Carson Kelly. Kevin Plawecki is available in trade and several free agent catchers remain, including Devin Mesoraco and Matt Wieters … 

Goold wrote about Dexter Fowler’s bout with depression last year … 

— The Cardinals continue to seek an elite lefty out of the pen, so Zach Britton and Andrew Miller are options.

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

San Diego Padres

— The Padres were a surprise team for Eric Hosmer. But when asked whether they could be a “mystery team,” for one of the mega stars this winter, GM A.J. Preller said he’d love it if they were the mystery team – but if so, it’s a mystery to him to this point … 

— They have been linked to Dallas Keuchel. So there still might be some sort of surprise … 

— No, the Padres remain realistically shooting for 2020 … 

— They do seek a third baseman, and Miguel Andujar is on their target list. They love Andujar, and aren’t a team that worries to much about the walk rate … 

— It isn’t known whether they will make a run at Mike Moustakas, but if they do Moose could again team up with Hosmer, a powerful tandem for the Royals for years … 

— They will view him closely in spring training, but scouts say top shortstop prospect Fernando Tatis Jr., as great as he is, should get some more time in the minors. He hasn’t had an at-bat over Double-A yet. Plus, he is coming off a thumb injury. The Padres’ deal to get Tatis may turn out to be one of the best in decades; they seemed to know something others didn’t. He was still in extended spring for the ChiSox at the time, but Preller and other Padres people had seen him as an early teenager in the D.R. … 

— Ian Kinsler could begin the year as the second baseman with youngster Luis Urias at shortstop. But ultimately, the Padres see Kinsler as a veteran off the bench who’d provide quality defense and solid at-bats. He’s played only two innings at third so he isn’t a realistic option to fill the third base need … 

— Wil Myers is seen as a corner outfielder. While he showed flashness at third base, they’d like to keep him in the outfield … 

— They were at Troy Tulowitzki’s showcase, and he could fit them as they wait on Tatis Jr. … 

— Carlos Asuaje is talking to Lotte of the Korean League about a deal that’s expected to be for close to $1M but Asuaje/Lotte first needs to buy out his Rangers obligation.

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

San Francisco Giants

— No one senses Madison Bumgarner will be traded in the winter. But several people outside the organization see him as a prime July trade candidate … 

— The Giants had a big contingent at Troy Tulowitzki’s workout in Long Beach, Calif., as Jeff Passan of Yahoo first noted. That’s his hometown team, but it’s hard to see how they could offer him a starting job – at least not at shortstop … 

— If the Northern California native did go to the Giants he would team up again with Evan Longoria, his teammate at Long Beach State … 

— Folks are looking at Bruce Bochy as an icon with a year to go. Whatever, he is clearly a Hall of Famer. I’m not a big believer in numbers, but three World Series rings as a manager with an underdog team qualifies for me.

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

Seattle Mariners

— Edwin Encarnacion is believed on the block as soon as he arrived. It’ll be interesting to see if he stays as long as Carlos Santana, who didn’t stay long … 

— He’s been linked to the Rockies … 

— The guess here is: GM Jerry Dipoto isn’t through … 

— One of our favorite players, Tyler Danish, signed a minors deal with the Mariners … 

— Congratulations to Wade LeBlanc who went back and got his degree from the University of Alabama. #RollTide.

 

Tampa Bay Rays

— Charlie Morton lives in the Tampa Bay area so that deal really works for him. Also, $30M for two years is a nice bump after he out-pitched his contract in Houston … 

— One rival exec predicts: “Mike Zunino will turn out to be the best under the radar pickup of the winter.” That exec thinks he will benefit from the move home to Florida …  

— The inclusion of Jake Bauers in a deal was a surprise as Tampa Bay people were always thought to love him. 

 

Texas Rangers

— Lance Lynn’s deal, high to begin with at $30M for three years, includes an extra 100K if he’s traded to one of several West Coast teams (Dodgers, Angels, D-Backs, Mariners, Giants, Rockies, Padres and A’s). Arlington, Texas is about as far west as this Indianan apparently wanted to go … 

— Matt Bush, who resurrected his career in Texas, came back on a minors deal … 

— The Phillies talked to the Rangers about Mike Minor, Ken Rosenthal reported … 

— Tim Dillard, a social media star who’s been in the Brewers organization since 2002 after being a late-round draft pick, also was signed to a minors deal. 

 

Toronto Blue Jays

— There is thought to be some interest in Kevin Pillar. He’d fit teams that play in big parks, such as the Rockies or Giants – though it isn’t known whether those teams have interest.

 

Washington Nationals

— The Nats met twice on free agent Josh Harrison, who could be a fit, reported Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. Currently they have Howie Kendrick and Wilmer Difo at second base … 

— Dale Murphy, a writer now, penned a column for The Athletic about how every team needs interesting players like Bryce Harper.

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.

Trending