MLB teams shopping for starting pitching have some options on the trade market, including Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber and Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke.
But the free agent market remains flooded with quality arms, including Nathan Eovaldi, Patrick Corbin, and J.A. Happ.
Free agency is pretty quiet right now. It seems most everyone is waiting to see where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will sign, since their nine-figure contracts will set the market.
But MLB.com’s Jon Morosi says the Phillies aren’t content to wait for the big sluggers to sign, and could end up starting a run on free-agent pitchers.
The Phillies aren’t waiting on decisions from Harper and Machado as the team ambitiously pursues upgrades to its roster, people in the industry told MLB.com Monday. In fact, the sources said it’s possible the Phillies will sign multiple free agents before Harper or Machado agree to terms.
In practice, that approach means the Phillies could sign a starting pitcher, closer and an outfielder who costs less than Harper. Sources say the Phillies have interest in starters Patrick Corbin, Nathan Eovaldiand J.A. Happ; closers Craig Kimbrel and Zach Britton; and outfielders Michael Brantley and A.J. Pollock, among other free agents.
The Phillies carried payrolls in excess of $170 million during multiple seasons earlier this decade. They have less than $70 million committed to players for 2019. That leaves general manager Matt Klentak with ample capacity to add multiple big-name free agents this offseason.
“This is a franchise that’s carried big payrolls for a lot of years,” Klentak told MLB.com during the General Managers Meetings earlier this month. “It’s no secret to you, or to me, or to the fans, or to the agents. Everybody knows that. It’s always been a matter of when — and not if — the Phillies were going to spend again.”
Yankees add pitcher, designate Ronald Torreyes for assignment
The Yankees claimed pitcher Parker Bridwell (left) off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels on Monday and made room for the right-hander on their 40-man roster by designating utility infielder Ronald Torreyes for assignment. (Associated Press).
The Yankees added intriguing starting pitching depth on Monday by claiming right-hander Parker Bridwell off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels.
Although on the minor league disabled list for much of 2018 due to right elbow inflammation, Bridwell impressively was 10-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 21 games, 20 starts, as a rookie for the 2017 Angels.
So depending on what the Yankees do the rest of this offseason, Bridwell, 27, will report to spring training in February competing for a rotation spot or long reliever position. Either way, he’ll likely be an option to get some starts next season.
This addition came at the expense of a popular utility infielder Ronald Torreyes, who was designated for assignment to free up a 40-man roster spot for Bridwell.
The Yankees have seven days to dispose of Torreyes’ contract. He either can be traded or placed on irrevocable waivers in the next week.
Torreyes, 26, was a popular and productive utility infielder during his three seasons with the Yankees.
His fielding at shortstop, third base and second base was solid. The 5-foot-8 Venezuelan also proved that he can hit big-league pitching, as he’s a career .281 hitter.
He was beloved by his teammates and a fan favorite too.
Despite all that, Torreyes spent half of the 2018 season in the minors due in part to the Yankees often going with a 13-man pitching staff.
Torreyes hit .280 with seven RBI over 41 games in 2018 after batting .292 with three homers and 36 RBI in 108 games in 2017.
A 6-foot-4, 185-pound Texan, Bridwell was 1-0 with a 17.55 ERA last season for the Angels over five appearances, one as a starter. He also was 1-1 with an 8.68 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Salt Lake.
Bridwell was drafted by the Orioles in 2010 (ninth round) and debuted in the majors with Baltimore in 2016 (2 games, 3.1 IP, 5 ER). He was traded by Baltimore to the Angels for a player to be named or cash on April 17, 2017.
Bridwell is the third starting pitcher added to the Yankees’ roster so far this offseason, as they re-signed free agent left-hander CC Sabathia on Nov. 7 and acquired lefty James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners on Nov. 19 for three minor leaguers.
MLB rumors: Yankees face new bidder for Nathan Eovaldi, J.A. Happ
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is hunting the free agent pitching market, in the hopes of signing one or two more arms to add to the rotation for 2019.
That means looking at a list of players which includes Boston Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and left-hander J.A. Happ, who Cashman acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays before the 2018 non-waiver trade deadline.
If Cashman is serious about trying to sign either pitcher, he will face some competition from the west coast.
Per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi:
Sources: #Angels active in the market for both starters and relievers and have shown interest in free agents Nathan Eovaldi and J.A. Happ, although it’s not clear if they have a strong chance to sign either of them. @MLBNetwork @MLB
Angels general manager Billy Eppler, the former assistant general manager of the Yankees, wants to add “reliability” on the pitching staff:
The Angels were in the middle of the pack in ERA among American League rotations, with the seventh-best ERA in the Junior Circuit, but the 805 1/3 innings pitched by Angels starters were the lowest in the AL (among non-Tampa Bay teams), and they lose Garrett Richards to free agency and Shohei Ohtani’s pitching arm to Tommy John surgery in 2019. Given the relative youth and inexperience of their starting rotation, the Halos could use a steadying influence like Eovaldi or Happ to anchor the group.
But Eovaldi is one of the biggest names on the market after his successful second half in Boston and postseason heroics, with the Red Sox, Yankees, Giants and Nationals among the teams thought to be interested in the hard-throwing 28-year-old. As for the veteran Happ, the Yankees are reportedly interested in a reunion, with additional interest from at least five other teams, according to Morosi — including the Astros, Brewers and Phillies.
MLB trade rumors: Mariners, Yankees, Mets talk Robinson Cano deal
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman kick-started his offseason by trading with Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto for left-hander James Paxton.
Could another deal between the two executives be in the works?
Cashman needs to replace shortstop Didi Gregorius, who’s out after having Tommy John surgery.
The Mariners are willing to move former Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal connects the dots:
Cano will play next season at 36. He served an 80-game suspension last season for violating baseball’s joint drug policy. His contract includes a full no-trade clause. And — ahem! — he is owed $120 million over the next five seasons. But as Dipoto “reimagines” his roster, he isn’t simply mulling the idea of moving Cano. He’s actively trying to do it, and the Yankees and Mets are two of the teams he has contacted about a trade, according to major-league sources.
A return to New York almost certainly would appeal to Cano, who played for the Yankees from 2005 to ’13 before signing his 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract with the Mariners. Whether Cano would appeal to either New York team — or any team at all, for that matter — is another question entirely, hinging mostly on how much of his deal the Mariners would be willing to absorb.
Earlier this offseason, sources said, the Mariners and Yankees briefly discussed a contract swap involving Cano and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who is owed $47.2 million over the next two years and holds a full no-trade clause.
The Yankees wanted the Mariners to include significant cash in addition to taking Ellsbury, and the talks failed to gain traction, according to one source. Money was but one obstacle: Cano, who probably would need to be a first baseman-DH with his former team, has made just 10 career starts at first, all last season, and the Yankees do not want to tie up their DH spot.
Cano is signed for five more seasons at $24 million per season, according to Spotrac.
Keep in mind Cano missed 80 games last season for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement.
Cano made his big-league debut with the Yankees in 2005, when he was 22 years old.
In nine seasons in the Bronx, Cano hit .309 with 204 home runs. He was a five-time All-Star for the Yankees and helped New York win the 2009 World Series.