We've reached the final day of the (virtual) 2020 MLB Winter Meetings. Normally, this week would usually provide lots of rumor fodder and player movement. This time around, it's been mostly crickets aside from the White Sox trading for Lance Lynn and signing Adam Eaton. You can get fully up to speed on all the latest signings with our updated free agent tracker.
Now, let's take a look at what is buzzing around the baseball rumor mill.
Toronto showing interest in Turner
The Toronto Blue Jays are interested in free agent third baseman Justin Turner, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. Toronto has been in on various infielders and outfielders this winter, Heyman adds.
Turner, 36, has been a mainstay with the Los Angeles Dodgers since he signed with the club as a free agent in 2014. He fared well in the abbreviated 2020 season, slashing .307/.400/.460 with four home runs, nine doubles and 23 RBI in 175 plate appearances.
For what it's worth, here at CBS Sports, all of us predict that Turner will re-up with the Dodgers. But, as far as how he would fit in with the Blue Jays, Turner could file in nicely as the club's everyday third baseman. That'd make the Toronto infield for 2021 as follows: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first, Cavan Biggio at second, Bo Bichette at short, and Turner at third.
In 2020, Travis Shaw was the Blue Jays' primary third baseman, but he's a free agent after he was non-tendered by the Jays. Prior to Shaw, Vlad Jr. had been trying his hand at third base, but it doesn't appear that's going to be the case moving forward, despite Guerrero expressing interest in playing third in 2021.
Turner remaining unsigned could just be chalked up to what's been overall a very, slow winter. Or, it could be because the Dodgers have interest in a trade for Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado. In the unlikely scenario of Turner signing with another club, the Dodgers would need a new third baseman. And even if Turner does re-sign with L.A., the addition of Arenado could still work, with Turner moving over to first base. And, that brings us to our next rumor of the day...
Arenado remains a trade candidate for Rockies
Although there hasn't been much progress on moving third baseman Nolan Arenado, the Colorado Rockies are still interested in a possible trade. According to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, an Arenado trade "remains a realistic possibility." However, there are still a number of hurdles, including the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on the financial landscape in MLB, Saunders adds.
Arenado has six years and $199 million remaining on the eight-year, $260 million contract extension he signed in February of 2019. Arenado can also opt out of the deal after the 2021 season.
The Dodgers have been mentioned as a possible fit for a trade, but according to Saunders, Rockies owner Dick Monfort is "extremely hesitant to trade Arenado" to a fellow NL West team. Here at CBS Sports MLB, we shared our predictions on whether Arenado will in fact be traded at some point this winter.
Mets interested in top free agent reliever
The New York Mets have been active thus far this offseason, and that can be credited to the new ownership under Steve Cohen. After keeping starter Marcus Stroman with a qualifying offer, the Mets went on to sign reliever Trevor May to a two-year deal. It doesn't look like they want their bullpen improvements to stop there.
According to Andy Martino of SNY, the Mets are also interested in top free agent reliever Liam Hendriks. Hendriks ranks as the best reliever on the market this winter, and he's No. 20 on CBS Sports' Top 60 Free Agent Rankings. Here's what our own R.J. Anderson had to say about the hard-throwing righty:
The beauty of fastball-slider relievers is you never know which one is going to break out or when. Hendriks is a good example. Over the last two seasons, he's thrown 110 innings of 1.79 ERA ball, and has done so while striking out 161 and walking 24. Was there any real indication that this was coming? Not so much. In the preceding three years (all spent with the Athletics, mind you), he had a 4.01 ERA and a 3.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Anyway, here's hoping Hendriks receives the payday he deserves, especially after he followed in the footsteps of Nathan Eovaldi and Brandon Morrow this postseason, going above and beyond and risking injury despite his looming date with free agency. Selflessness ought to be rewarded, after all.
This latest rumor connecting the Mets to Hendriks comes shortly after the club was said to be going after outfielder George Springer and/or starting pitcher Trevor Bauer.
Musgrove, Frazier appear in Pirates trade talks
After the Pittsburgh Pirates were linked to trade conversations with the New York Yankees one that could send Josh Bell and Jameson Taillon, Heyman notes that Joe Musgrove and Adam Frazier are two more Pirates players whose names have frequented the trade talk circuit.
Musgrove, 28, ended the 2020 season with a 3.86 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 55:16 K:BB. Our own R.J. Anderson lists Musgrove as a starting pitcher who could be traded this winter. Here's what he said about the right-hander:
The Pirates don't have a ton of marketable pieces, but Joe Musgrove qualifies as one. He won't hit free agency until after the 2022 season, meaning an acquiring team would have him under control for another two years. Given his track record -- he has a 99 ERA+ and a 4.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio over the last three seasons -- he's a fine bet to be a No. 4 starter, and perhaps a smidge more if he can sustain some of the gains he made in 2020.
Frazier, who turns 29 next week, isn't an impact bat, but still is a productive player. Frazier's real interest likely stems from his potential to play a utilityman role. His natural position is second base, but he has played at every outfield spot for Pittsburgh as well as appearances at shortstop and third base.
The Tampa Bay Rays announced a trade Thursday afternoon that sent first baseman Nate Lowe to the Texas Rangers. In exchange, the Rangers sent catcher Heriberto Hernandez, infielder Osleivis Basabe and outfielder Alexander Ovalles to Tampa. The Rays also included minor-league first baseman Jake Guenther and a player to be named later in the package.
Lowe, 25, wasn't able to match his impressive 2019 rookie season in 2020. He spent the final month of the regular season in the majors, and hit .224/.316/.433 with four home runs and 11 RBI over 21 games. With Ji-Man Choi as the Rays primary first baseman, Lowe's 2020 role was limited.