MLB hot stove tracker: Trade rumors, completed deals at the 2018 winter meetings

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The winter meetings are upon us, just a few weeks away from Christmas. 

This year’s season’s greetings among MLB front offices are happening in Vegas, baby, and there will be no shortage of big-time presents in Santa’s bag. 

Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are still on the market, and there are plenty of great players to be had after them. Both the free-agent market and the trade block are inundated with impact talent, from position players to pitching and all the way down.

Sporting News’ Ryan Fagan will be on site providing coverage and updates, and SN will have you covered here with all the latest trades, rumors, analysis and more below.

MLB trade rumors, signings, updates

Cardinals making Jose Martinez available

St. Louis is discussing the offense-first outfielder/first baseman with the Dodgers and Giants, according to separate reports. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports the Cards are talking with LA, which could play Martinez at first and keep Cody Bellinger in center field. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the Cards would like to use Martinez to acquire left-handed reliever Will Smith. Martinez’s options for playing time in St. Louis became limited after the club acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

M’s have listened on Haniger

No one is safe in Seattle, it appears. The Mariners have fielded offers for right fielder Mitch Haniger but haven’t heard one that’s worth considering, GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters Tuesday (per Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times). “There have been a handful of teams that have taken a handful of passes at Mitch,” Dipoto said, per Divish. “We’re just not willing to go there. We’ve had a handful try, but they haven’t quite gotten to where we would even consider it.” Haniger, 27, slugged 26 home runs and posted a 138 wRC+ during a breakout 2018 season.

Red Sox may deal JBJ, others as part of payroll shuffle

The world champs are reportedly looking to shed salaries and move closer to the luxury tax threshold. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., shortstop Xander Bogaerts and right-hander Rick Porcello are among the players being discussed in trade talks. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reports the Diamondbacks are interested in bringing in Bradley to replace free agent A.J. Pollock. Arizona GM Mike Hazen was the Red Sox’s vice president of amateur scouting when the club drafted Bradley 40th overall in 2011. (UPDATE: A source tells WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that the D-backs are “not targeting” Bradley to replace Pollock.)

Cleveland-Santana reunion?

The Mariners are reportedly looking to flip Carlos Santana after acquiring him from the Phillies in the Jean Segura trade, and one of Santana’s former clubs may be a suitor. The Athletic’s Robert Murray reported the Indians are among three clubs to have talked trade with Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto. Santana, 32, made his major league debut with Cleveland in 2010 and spent eight seasons with the Tribe before signing a three-year, $60 million contract with the Phils last offseason.

Cruz derby in home stretch?

Free-agent DH Nelson Cruz is down to the Rays and Twins in choosing his next club, reports Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital in the Dominican Republic. Tampa Bay’s interest seems improbable, even for just one season. Minnesota, sensing weakness at the top of the AL Central, is shifting into high gear to upgrade its roster. Cruz, 38, slugged 37 home runs for the Mariners last season, although his OPS sagged to its lowest level in five years, with drops across the board. 

Puig to Reds?

Yasiel Puig has been discussed in trade talks between Los Angeles and Cincinnati, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The clubs are a good fit: The Reds need help at two outfield spots after non-tendering center fielder Billy Hamilton and the Dodgers are deep in the outfield. Puig, 28, has one year of team control remaining. Interestingly, Rosenthal adds that the Dodgers are looking to deal an outfielder and perhaps left-hander Alex Wood to help “clear money for other pursuits.” That sounds like code for “top free agent.” (UPDATE: MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports the Dodgers are “actively” trying to deal Puig or Matt Kemp, who is scheduled to make $21.5 million in 2019.)

Cardinals, Rangers swap fringe players

St. Louis dealt corner infielder Patrick Wisdom to Texas in exchange for utility player Drew Robinson. The Rangers announced the move Tuesday afternoon. Wisdom, 27, made his major league debut last season with the Cardinals and showed promising power with four home runs in 58 plate appearances. Robinson, 26, played six positions for Texas in 2018 but struggled at the plate (.582 OPS, 45.6 strikeout rate in 125 PAs).

Andrew McCutchen signs with Phillies, per report

The Athletic’s Matt Gelb reports the veteran outfielder signed with the Phillies, pending a physical. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philly reports the contract is for three years and $50 million. Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reports the pact also includes a fourth-year option at $15 million with a $3 million buyout.

McCutchen, 32, finished last season with the Yankees after being traded from the Giants. He spent the majority of his career with the Pirates.

White Sox get rotation help

The Pirates agreed to send starter Ivan Nova to the White Sox for international pool money and Yordi Rosario, minor league pitcher. Nova has pitched to a 4.16 ERA over the last two seasons with Pittsburgh.

Astros speaking with Happ

The lefty free agent has been connected to the Yankees, Phillies and now the Astros during the offseason. Happ is reportedly looking for a three-year deal, and the 36-year-old may have to wait a while to get that.

Phillies looking for pitching help

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Phillies are in on both Dallas Keuchel and reliever Zach Britton in an attempt to “lure” a big-time free agent.

Britton is likely looking for closer money, and Keuchel turns 31 on New Year’s Day, and the former Cy Young winner is likely looking for a big payday given that number.

Mets looking to acquire Realmuto; three-way trade possible?

The juiciest rumor of the day comes from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who says that the Mets are interested in acquiring catcher J.T. Realmuto in a three-way deal with the Yankees and Marlins. Noah Syndergaard could potentially be involved as well, with him likely going to the Yankees in that trade scenario. Rosenthal adds the Mets would need more than just Realmuto in order to part with Syndergaard.

Realmuto has been one of the more underrated players in baseball for the last three years, He’s hit 49 home runs and posted a .792 OPS over that span at a position that has not produced a ton of talent recently.

Could the stove be getting hot late? Andy Martino of SNY adds that the Yankees are trying to complete a deal tonight.

Dodgers interested in Nick Castellanos

Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi says the Dodgers have interest in Tigers’ outfielder Nick Castellanos. Morosi adds that Castellanos is not at the top of Los Angeles’ list of priorities, so we will see if anything develops from this.

A new second baseman in Milwaukee?

After non-tendering Jonathan Schoop, the Brewers are looking for his replacement at second base. Robert Murray of the Athletic  reports that Milwaukee is interested in adding free agent Daniel Murphy, who most recently played for the NL Central rival Cubs. Murphy is just two years removed from finishing one point shy of a batting title and hit .299 between the Cubs and Nationals last season.

Murray adds that the Brewers are also interested in retaining free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas.

Down to three teams for Harper?

Michael Duarte of NBC Los Angeles says he was told by a rival executive that the Bryce Harper race is down to the Phillies, Dodgers, and White Sox.

He adds that the Dodgers are hesitant to meet Scott Boras’ asking price for the superstar outfielder.

Yankees reiterate that they are not interested in Harper

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said that Bryce Harper is not a fit, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com . Cashman cited the fact the team already has six outfielders and don’t see Harper playing first place. 

Phillies pursuing J.A. Happ

After falling short in their pursuit of Patrick Corbin, the Phillies have turned their sights towards fellow left-handed free agent starting pitcher J.A. Happ, per Jayson Stark of The Athletic . Happ, who is also believed to have garnered interest from the Yankees, was a midseason acquisition of New York from Toronto. He posted a 3.65 ERA (3.98 FIP) between the two teams in 2018. 

Tyson Ross signs with Tigers, per report

Date:  Dec. 10, 2018

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that Tyson Ross can earn up to $6 million in his pact with the Tigers. Ross pitched pretty well with the Cardinals after being traded from the Padres, with nine appearances (one start) in St. Louis, pitching to a 2.73 ERA (3.65 FIP).

Market for Corey Kluber heating up

Date:  Dec. 10, 2018

Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi says the Dodgers are players for the two-time Cy Young winner. Sounds like Kluber could be moved and soon.

Royals to sign Billy Hamilton says report

Date:  Dec. 10, 2018

And so it begins. Former MLB GM Jim Bowden reports that former Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton is set to sign with the Royals. 

Hamilton, 28, is known for his blazing speed and outfield defense. He spent his first six seasons as a major leaguer in Cincinnati

Yankees working to deal Sonny Gray

Date:  Dec. 9, 2018

The Yankees were very vocal about moving beleagured starter Sonny Gray just after the season. Needless to say, the trade for Gray wasn’t one that exactly worked out for the Bombers, as they dealt three top prospects to Oakland for the right-hander in 2017 and haven’t seen the top-of-the-rotation type stuff they were expecting.

The latest rumor says the Yankees and Padres are potential talking a Gray deal. Shipping Gray to sunny San Diego is one that makes sense for both sides: The Yankees would get to dip into the Padres’ deep farm system, while the Padres would get the California kid in a cavernous ballpark and a chance to remake himself. Sounds like a win-win, if the deal happens.