With the Thanksgiving holiday in the rear-view mirror, teams and players are now free to get back to business ahead of next week's winter meetings. As such, don't be surprised if a few deals get done ahead of time so teams know where they stand entering the process.
Let's run down the latest from Tuesday's MLB rumor mill.
Yankees to meet with free-agent aces
The Yankees have been expected to pursue Gerrit Cole all year long, but it looks like they intend to hedge their bets in case Cole ends up elsewhere. As such, the Yankees intend to meet with Cole and with Stephen Strasburg over the coming days, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Strasburg is a relative new addition to the free-agent market, having opted out of his deal shortly after the postseason ended.
The Yankees have an obvious desire to add an impact-level starter to their rotation, and both Cole and Strasburg would fit the bill. It is worth noting that the Yankees are not viewed as the favorite for either pitcher at this point, as reported by the New York Post. Those around the game believe the Angels will land Cole, while the Nationals are still expected to retain Strasburg.
Still, these things are fluid until a deal gets done, and the Yankees are at least doing their due diligence.
Rendon could be first star off board
Third baseman Anthony Rendon could be the first major free agent to sign this winter, according to what ESPN's Buster Olney has heard from executives. Rendon is said to have already met with the Dodgers and Rangers, among others.
The Rangers were expected to show interest in Rendon, given their need for a third baseman and the opening of a new ballpark next spring. the Dodgers, however, are a slight surprise given Justin Turner is already in tow.
Obviously a meeting doesn't mean a deal is going to happen -- it does signify some interest, however.
Wheeler has offer worth more than $100 million
Entering the offseason, we ranked Zack Wheeler , writing "This may seem like an overrank given Wheeler has a career 100 ERA+ and has never thrown 200 innings in a season. But teams believe there's more chicken left on the bone, and it shouldn't surprise anyone if his contract reflects as much."
That seems close to coming to fruition now, as he has an offer worth nine figures, according to Ken Rosenthal. Predictably, there's a fair chance Wheeler signs within the coming week, per Jon Heyman. The White Sox and Rangers are just two of the teams linked to Wheeler -- with Wheeler being identified as the White Sox's top target -- so far this winter. It appears we'll find out soon enough who wins the bidding.
Giants interested in Castellanos
The Giants have interest in free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, reports MLB.com's Jon Morosi. San Francisco recently named Scott Harris their general manager. Harris was an assistant general manager with the Cubs this past season, when they acquired Castellanos at the trade deadline.
Even with Mike Yastrzemski entrenched in the outfield, the Giants still have two open outfield spots after non-tendering Kevin Pillar earlier this week. Castellanos cannot play center field, so he wouldn't replace Pillar, but he could fill the other corner spot. The Giants are short on outfielders and power in general. Castellanos would address both needs.
White Sox hope to add two starters
The White Sox hope to add two veteran starting pitchers this offseason, reports ESPN's Buster Olney. Chicago kicked off what is expected to by a busy offseason by signing Yasmani Grandal to a four-year contract last month. They also signed Jose Abreu to a three-year extension after he accepted the qualifying offer.
At the moment only Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are locks for Chicago's rotation. Top prospect Michael Kopech is due back from Tommy John surgery early next year, but the team won't push him aggressively. Dylan Cease and Carson Fulmer are depth options. Even if they don't land a big fish like Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, the free-agent class offers plenty of quality second tier starters.
Dodgers interested in starters
Strasburg is, of course, one of the top free-agent starters available. Gausman, meanwhile, has been a decent starter in the past. He spent the last part of this season in the Reds bullpen, where he reintroduced his slider. He could slot in as a back-end starter again.
Either way, it's clear the Dodgers want to upgrade their roster as they seek their first world title under Andrew Friedman's watch.
Phillies remain interested in infielders
On Monday, the Phillies non-tendered infielders Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez. Consider it a clearing of the brush more so than an indication that the Phillies are content with their infield situation.
Donaldson figures to be the higher-priced of the two, but Gregorius is perhaps more intriguing -- at least in the sense that the Phillies already have a shortstop, in Jean Segura. Segura had a down season last year, but won't turn 30 until March and has a track record of being an above-average talent. As such, a Gregorius signing would likely result in either a trade or a positional shuffling.
A's ink Diekman
The Athletics have signed left-handed reliever Jake Diekman to a two-year deal with a club option, per the team. Diekman, 33 in January, appeared in 28 games for the A's last season. In those appearances, he fanned a batter per inning, but also walked more than seven batters per nine. That combination of bat- and zone-missing ability has been evident in his game throughout his career.
Still, the A's like Diekman enough to guarantee him more than $7 million over the course of his deal. That's a fairly trifling amount so far as big-league contracts go, but it's notable given the A's tendency to spend as little as possible.