Hot Stove Rumor Roundup: Machado, Harper Markets Heating Up

Welcome to another Rumor Roundup, yesterday was a huge day for news, where the top free agent catcher took a one-year deal, the Heisman Trophy Winner is expected to declare for the NFL Draft, the market for the two biggest stars of free agency began to take shape, and Boston’s closer may be looking for a new home. Hope you enjoy!

Grandal Signs with the Brew Crew

The Milwaukee Brewers have signed top free agent catcher, Yasmani Grandal to a one year deal worth 18.25 Million pending a physical per Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic.

The deal comes as a bit of a surprise given his age (30) and position, after it was rumored that Grandal turned down a four year deal from the Mets last month. He also rejected a 17.9 million qualifying offer to remain with the Dodgers.

Grandal has been one of the best hitting catchers in baseball over the past three seasons, slugging a combined 73 home runs with L.A. In 135 games last season, he put up an impressive .241/.349/.466 stat line with 24 homer runs and 68 RBI and was solid in his 110 starts behind the plate with only 9 passed balls, while throwing out 20 base stealers in 52 attempts.

A’s Expect Murray to Enter NFL Draft

Oakland A’s expect top draft pick and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Kyler Murray to declare for the NFL Draft multiple sources told the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday night writes Susan Slusser.

Murray was picked ninth overall last June as an outfielder and signed a provision, which allowed him to play football for his junior season last fall, but also meant if he were to choose the NFL over MLB then the 21-year-old would have to return the signing bonus of his $4.66 million dollar contract. Despite having to return the bonus, the A’s would not receive a compensation pick if he does in fact choose football.

It can be assumed that Murray will have a decision by mid-February, due to the fact that A’s position players report to Mesa, Arizona on the 15th of the month, and 11 days later the NFL Scouting Combine begins on the 26th. Multiple sources agreed that the 5’10” QB’s draft stock will drop if he attempts to play both baseball and football, because of the demands of an NFL quarterback’s development.

Harper May Reunite with Nationals

Despite being set to meet with the Philadelphia Phillies in Las Vegas this Saturday, a reunion is starting to look more likely between Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals as momentum is building between the two sides per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.

The Nationals have already made Harper an opening offer of 10 years, $300 million, but Harper and agent, Scott Boras are reportedly seeking a record setting deal that would surpass Giancarlo Stanton’s contract of $325 million.

Phillies Pursuit of Machado Could Spell End for Yankees

The Phillies are said to be shifting their focus to shortstop, Manny Machado says Feinsand. While it is rumored that Machado was already the Phillies preferred top target, a Harper reunion in D.C would ultimately solidify these claims.

It was also said to be rumored yesterday that the New York Yankees are out on Machado and that the race is now down to only two teams, the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox per Héctor Gómez of Z101 Digital.

According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, he could not confirm that the Yankees are out, but he reported that they are the only team of the three to not have made an official offer to the shortstop and there have been no recent negotiations between the two sides.

Heyman also stated that the Yankees are not meeting Machado’s target price of $300 million plus, which would give them a major disadvantage unless he’s willing to settle for less years and dollars to play in pinstripes.

Dombrowski Says Team Unlikely to Spend on a Closer

Boston Red Sox team President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, tells USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that they do not plan on spending significant money on a closer, meaning Craig Kimbrel’s time in Boston is most likely up.

Dombrowski explained his reasoning for not wishing to spend a large amount in the bullpen as the team’s already high estimated payroll of $236.4 million.

Instead, the Red Sox will look to replace Kimbrel with internal options, relief pitchers, Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier according to Christopher Smith of MassLive.com. They could also look to add the arguably top remaining free agent reliever in Adam Ottavino, who posted a 2.6 WAR, 2.43 ERA, 6 saves, and 112 strikeouts in 77.2 innings in the Colorado Rockies bullpen. Ottavino would also cost less than Kimbrel being a non-closer.

Kimbrel was 42 of 47 on save opportunities with a 2.74 ERA in 63 appearances in 2018, but struggled mightily in the second half and postseason recording a 5.01 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 31 outings.

Rangers Sign Shelby Miller

The Texas Rangers have agreed to a one-year deal with pitcher, Shelby Miller per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Miller, who was non-tendered by the Arizona Diamondbacks, returned from 2017 Tommy John Surgery last June, where he struggled mightily. In just 4 starts, Miller went 0-4 with a 10.69 ERA and -1.1 WAR, before landing back on the disabled list for 10 weeks with elbow inflammation until the end of the season.

The Diamondbacks acquired Miller with high expectations, coming off an All-Star season in 2015. Arizona dealt three prospects for the pitcher, two of which included young standout position players, Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte. His tenure with the Diamondbacks would ultimately turn into a major disappointment, where he only made 28 starts in three seasons posting a combined record of 5-18, with a 6.97 ERA.

After appearing in nine games in the past two seasons, Miller, a Houston native, is returning to his home state “healthy and ready to pitch,” for the Rangers, according to Rosenthal.

 

About Pat Ragazzo 8 Articles
NJ kid, recent college graduate, die hard Mets Fan since the age of 10. Studied Communications at Salisbury University and currently pursuing a career in sports media and TV/Radio Production. Worked as a Production Assistant on several WFAN broadcasts live from New York Giants Training Camp last summer. Please check out my sports Twitter page @ragazzoreport for advanced and unique insight around the NFL & MLB.