MLB spring training won't be delayed, so we're set to see on-field baseball in Florida and Arizona in a few weeks. Much of the offseason movement has happened thanks to a late-January mini-flurry, but there's still a decent amount of player movement to be settled. Let's jump into the latest news and rumors from the so-called hot stove here on Wednesday.
Twins re-sign Nelson Cruz, add Colome
The Twins added some beef to their bullpen on Wednesday, inking reliever Alex Colome to a one-year deal with an option. The contract guarantees him more than $6 million in total. You can read more about that signing here.
The other big Twins deal happened very late on Tuesday, but many baseball fans might've missed this one. The Twins have brought back seemingly ageless designated hitter Nelson Cruz on a one-year, $13 million deal. Full story here.
Rays kicking tires on Ozuna?
The Rays are, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, a "surprise entry in [the] Marcell Ozuna derby."
Ozuna bet on himself for 2020 and took a one-year deal in free agency. All he did in that one year with the Braves was hit .338/.431/.636 (175 OPS+) with and NL-best 18 homers and 56 RBI. He also led the league in total bases. The very-likely lack of a universal DH this season seems to be hurting Ozuna's market, but he's about 10 years younger than Cruz.
The Rays ending up with Ozuna would be one of the more shocking moves of the offseason. To see them spend on a big-time free agent like Ozuna would be big on its own, but they appear set in the area of left field and DH with the likes of Randy Arozarena, Austin Meadows and a host of others. It seems highly unlikely they'd use the resources necessary to land Ozuna on him, but hey, the rumor is out there.
Brewers sign Wong
Blue Jays involved in Molina bidding?
The Blue Jays "still have interest" and "have been in contact" with free agent catcher Yadier Molina, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Most signs point to Molina simply returning to the Cardinals at some point, as Heyman notes, but that doesn't mean they are bidding against themselves. It's possible a team with such a young core overall -- though they have added veterans George Springer and Marcus Semien recently -- would be interested in the type of leadership a catcher like Molina would add.
Molina, 38, hit .262/.303/.359 (81 OPS+) with two doubles, four homers and 16 RBI in 42 games last season. He threw out five of the 11 attempted base-stealers (45 percent), good for well above league average (24 percent) in that department.
Nationals bring back Parra
If you can think all the way back to the 2019 season, you might recall how veteran outfielder Gerardo Parra gained cult-like status with the Nationals thanks in part to his use of "Baby Shark" as a walk-up song. Parra spent last year overseas, but Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post tweeted on Wednesday the Nationals had signed him to a minor-league deal. Parra's days as a productive ballplayer seem behind him, yet it's possible he wins a bench spot for clubhouse purposes.
The Phillies have agreed to sign free agent pitcher Chase Anderson to a one-year, $4 million deal, reports Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The signing should only be viewed as depth at this point, whether that's to the bullpen or rotation remains to be seen.
Anderson had a 7.22 ERA in 10 appearances (seven starts) last season for the Blue Jays. He did strikeout 38 against 10 walks in his 33 2/3 innings, which is good, but he also coughed up 11 homers, allowing the opposition to hit .315 with a .622 slugging against him. He actually had a 3.20 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings through five outings, but completely melted down his next four outings (20 runs on 24 hits in 12 innings; including nine homers).
In 2018-19 with the Brewers as mostly a starter, Anderson went 17-12 with a 4.06 ERA (105 ERA+) and was 12-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 2017, so that's where the Phillies are hoping for a good return on investment with the buy-low move here.
The Phillies have a pair of aces in Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler with Zach Eflin a fine mid-rotation starter. Then there's Vince Velasquez, Matt Moore (yes, that Matt Moore; the Phillies just announced he was signed in a deal to bring him back from Japan after one year), Ivan Nova, Spencer Howard and Adonis Medina in the mix along with possibly Anderson to fill out the rotation.
Diamondbacks ink Soria
The Diamondbacks signed veteran reliever Joakim Soria to a one-year deal on Wednesday, their first major addition of the winter. Soria figures to compete for save opportunities with Arizona. You can read more about that here.
Blue Jays sign Liriano
The Blue Jays have agreed to sign lefty Francisco Liriano, reports Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun. Liriano, 37, is no stranger to changing teams, but he's already spent time with the Blue Jays, so it's a reunion. He last pitched in the majors in 2019 -- he opted out of last season due to COVID-19 -- when he appeared in 69 games in relief for the Pirates. He had a 3.47 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 63 strikeouts in 70 innings. Walks were an issue (34 unintentional free passes), but he held lefties to a .218/.296/.305 line on the season. The Jays only previously had one lefty, Ryan Borucki, in their bullpen.