Hot Stove Rumor Roundup: Developments at the Hot Corner

Good morning, Mets fans! Today’s edition of the hot stove rumor roundup features a handful of updates on the trade market, particularly regarding available third basemen.

Phillies Interested in Moustakas

In other news, the Philadelphia Phillies have been lining up fallback options of their own should their efforts for superstar slugger Manny Machado fall short. Per Heyman, former Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Mike Moustakas is a consideration.

Moustakas followed up on a stellar contract year in 2017 with a respectable campaign on a shockingly lousy salary of just $5.5MM, swatting 28 homers and driving in 95 while slashing .251/.315/.459 in a career-high 152 games.

At just 30 years of age, Moustakas led all free agent third basemen (Machado aside) with a 2.5 bWAR, and his 41.2% hard-hit rate – an increase of nearly 10% from his 38-homer season the year before – could definitely translate well to a hitters’ park like Citizens Bank Park. For the moment, however, it does not appear as though the Phillies are turning away from the sweepstakes for Machado. Rather, Moustakas seems likeliest to be an alternative should they lose out.

Giants Shopping Longoria

Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports has reported that the San Francisco Giants are “gauging interest” in veteran third baseman Evan Longoria.

Longoria, 34, posted a career-low .694 OPS, 1.3 oWAR, and 85 wRC+ in his first season outside Tampa Bay, missing over a month of action with a hand fracture. Through the prior five seasons, he’d missed just 12 total games while compiling a .265/.325/.457 line with 131 homers and 436 RBI.

Though teams are already unlikely to roll the dice on the three-time Gold Glove winner on the heels of an alarming drop in production last year, the fact that Longoria is owed upwards of $72MM through 2022 raises plenty of red flags in itself.

In the original trade last winter, the organization parted with third baseman Christian Arroyo – their top-ranked prospect entering the year (per MLB Pipeline) – leaving them with no alternatives in the farm system to man the hot corner. Dealing Longoria would leave the Giants to either play Pablo Sandoval or pursue a cheaper free agent.

Yankees-Rockies Arenado Trade Unlikely

Heyman also provides an update on the New York Yankees’ speculated interest in a potential trade for elite third baseman Nolan Arenado – essentially refuting the possibility that such a trade be completed ahead of the 2019 season.

Andy Martino of SNY had previously discussed the existence of “smoke” between the Yankees and Colorado Rockies regarding a deal for Arenado, musing the chances that rookie Miguel Andújar wind up the centerpiece in the return package.

Acquiring Arenado would mean little in the long run unless the Yankees could work out a long-term extension given his looming free agency – a potentially dodgy enterprise given their current commitments to Giancarlo Stanton ($25MM AAV through 2026), Masahiro Tanaka ($22.1MM through 2022), and Jacoby Ellsbury ($21.9MM through 2021 with a club option).

Heyman does offer, however, that the Bombers’ brass “loves” Arenado, implying they could pursue him following the 2019 season. Rest assured, a trade is far from imminent at the moment.

White Sox, Dodgers Pushing Toward Pederson Trade

Fansided‘s own Jason Kinander has reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox have been in discussions about a trade involving outfielder Joc Pederson.

Pederson silently put together his most consistent season at the plate this past year, hitting .248/.321/.522 with a .354 wOBA, .253 BABIP, and .273 ISO. His 42% hard-hit rate made for a personal best as his soft-contact and strikeout rates fell to 15.6% and 19.2%, respectively (both career-lows). His .512 OPS against lefties remains a gray area, though establishing himself as a respected leadoff hitter and plus defender will almost certainly lend well to the Sox’ initiatives in what looks to be a competitive season.

Among potential talent headed to Hollywood, Kinander cites starter Carson Fulmer, lefty reliever Aaron Bummer, and 18-year old third baseman Bryce Bush as potential names to keep an eye on.

The eighth overall pick in the 2015 draft, Fulmer has perhaps the highest upside, though that is certainly pushing it, considering he’s combined for just 58 strikeouts against 44 walks in 67.1 big-league innings since 2016, and his 6.68 ERA and 6.50 FIP aren’t too pretty, either.

Bummer’s 4.2 BB/9 in 53.2 relief innings is slightly better, though right-handers’ career .804 OPS against him does little to separate Bummer from either Caleb FergusonTony Cingrani, and Scott Alexander – all of whom logged a handful of innings as left-handed options in the Dodgers’ pen the prior year.

About Jack Hendon 218 Articles
Jack Hendon (@jack_hendon99 on Twitter) is a sophomore at Haverford College, special assistant/statistician for the baseball team, prospective English major and psychology minor, and contributor to MetsMerized Online. He was seven when he saw Carlos Beltran take strike three in the 2006 NLCS, and since then has concentrated his love for the Mets through writing about particular fan memories, while also devoting time to recapping games, analyzing pitchers, and heckling (when appropriate) at Citi Field. LGM!