MLB rumors: Braves targeting Madison Bumgarner; Red Sox yet to talk extension with Mookie Betts this offseason
Here are the latest rumors from the MLB hot stove
Major League Baseball is in its offseason and we've already seen the list of players who have key dates in this year's offseason, and our own RJ Anderson's ranked the top 50 free agents on the market.. Don't expect much movement in the near future, but there are plenty of rumors worth monitoring before the substantial deals happen. We also have a rundown of all of the
As for what else is out there on this Wednesday...
Atlanta after Mad Bum
Veteran lefty and Giants icon Madison Bumgarner is a free agent, and while the 30-year-old has been in a pattern of decline in terms of run prevention (career-worst 3.90 ERA this past season) he's going to have suitors on the open market. As sources tell NBC Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Braves are expected to among the most active of those suitors. The Braves are squarely in contending mode right now and have the need for stability in the rotation. Bumgarner, meantime, probably likes the idea of pitching near his North Carolina home.
Assuming Dallas Keuchel departs Atlanta via free agency, Bumgarner is a fit with the Braves on multiple levels. Yes, Bumgarner's ERA is trending in the wrong direction, but he re-established himself as a workhorse in 2019, and he enjoyed a nice bounceback at the command and control level.
No extension talks (yet?) for Betts
Red Sox superstar Mookie Betts is just one year away from free agency and the word continues to be that the Red Sox might have to trade him in order to stay under the luxury tax threshold, especially because J.D. Martinez did not opt out of his contract. Another option could be extending Betts and trimming payroll elsewhere. But no talks have happened yet this offseason on that front, per Chris Cotillo of Mass Live. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy told Cotillo that the two sides will "have conversations at the appropriate time."
"We love Mookie Betts," Kennedy said. "He's such a special player and such a special person. We'll continue to have conversations with him. He's under club control and we'll see what happens this offseason. We've engaged in discussions with him and his representatives in the past and we'll continue to engage with them. We'll see where it all takes us."
Betts is going to make more than $25 million in his final year of arbitration and the Red Sox are known to want to get under the luxury tax. With Martinez back, the most likely path to getting under it is to deal Betts and re-tool. They could also look to trade David Price, but that would probably require eating some money and getting a lesser return.
Playoff hero drawing interest
Kendrick, 36, hit .344/.395/.572 (142 OPS+) with 17 homers and 62 RBI in 370 plate appearances last season. He also hit .286/.328/.444 with four doubles, two (huge) home runs and 12 RBI in 67 postseason plate appearances. He's obviously past prime age, but he just keeps hitting as long as he can stay on the field. The latter part is a concern.
Kendrick would be a great fit with nearly any team. I'm not sure why he'd want to sign with the Marlins after winning the World Series, but I suppose if it's on a one-year deal he'd probably be guaranteed to be traded to a contender in July.
Prado likely retiring
Martin Prado "has told friends" that he's likely going to retire this offseason, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. If this comes to fruition, the utility man had a quality 14-year career. He played for the Braves, Diamondbacks, Yankees and, most recently, the Marlins for his final five seasons.
Prado hit .287/.335/.412 (103 OPS+) with 1542 hits, 316 doubles, 100 homers, 609 RBI, 664 runs and 28.1 WAR. He made the All-Star team in 2010 and finished ninth in NL MVP voting that year. Unfortunately, his only postseason experience was one Wild Card Game (the first one; also the "Infield Fly Rule" game in Atlanta). He'll get an appearance on a Hall of Fame ballot, in all likelihood, but probably won't get any traction, unless he's thrown a courtesy vote or two from reporters who liked him in the clubhouse.
Martin wants to keep playing
Veteran catcher Russell Martin wants to keep playing instead of retiring, reports Heyman. Martin, who will turn 37 in February, isn't much with the stick anymore (.220/.337/.330 last year), but he's still a quality defensive catcher and those guys always get jobs as backups. Look at how long Jeff Mathis has been able to hang on.
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