The 2022 MLB Winter Meetings are over and more than $1 billion in free agent contracts were handed out this week. Spring training is still two months away, however, . There is still much work to be done this offseason. Here are Thursday's hot stove rumors.
Dodgers sign Heyward
The Dodgers have signed signed five-time Gold Glover Jason Heyward to a minor league contract, the team announced. He'll be a non-roster invitee to spring training. , the Cubs released Heyward earlier this offseason and still owe him $22 million in 2023. The Dodgers will pay him the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary if and when he's on their big league roster.
Heyward, 33, was limited to 48 games by knee trouble in 2022. He's hit only .211/.280/.326 the last two seasons and his defense, which was once among the very best in the sport, has regressed with age., but Heyward won't be asked to fill that void. The minor league deal amounts to a zero-risk spring training audition, even for a proven veteran.
Mets seeking another starter
Even after signing Justin Verlander and José Quintana, the Mets are looking for another starting pitcher, according to the New York Post. They have interest in Japanese star Kodai Senga as well as free agent righty Ross Stripling. Tylor Megill and David Peterson are the No. 5 starter candidates behind Verlander, Quintana, and incumbents Max Scherzer and Carlos Carrasco.
FanGraphs estimates New York's 2023 competitive balance tax payroll at $293.3 million. That is just over the $293 million fourth penalty tier -- the "Steve Cohen tax" level -- which comes with a 90 percent tax rate. Either the Mets will blow through that threshold and run the highest payroll in baseball history, or they'll trim payroll elsewhere on the roster to add another starter.
Rangers looking for left field help
Jacob deGrom and Andrew Heaney, GM Chris Young told MLB.com. "We want to continue to explore left field, see what the market is and see what the options are. We feel pretty good about our catching and our infield. So I think those are probably the biggest areas that we'll continue to monitor and look to improve and keep an open mind," Young told MLB.com., the Rangers are seeking left field help after signing starters
Texas started 13 different players in left field in 2022 and they hit an unfathomably terrible .186/.253/.256 in 604 plate appearances. It has been speculated the Rangers could reunite with Joey Gallo on a one-year prove yourself contract this offseason, but even if not, the bar has been set on the floor. It shouldn't be too difficult for the Rangers to meaningfully upgrade their left field situation at a reasonable price.
Braves trade for Jiménez
The Braves have acquired setup man Joe Jiménez from the Tigers for prospects Justyn-Henry Malloy and Jake Higginbotham, the team announced. Malloy, a third baseman, was arguably the best position player prospect in Atlanta's system. The 22-year-old hit .289/.408/.454 in 2022 and reached Triple-A. Higginbotham is a 26-year-old Double-A reliever.
Jiménez, 28 in January, quietly came into his own as a strikeout-heavy late-inning reliever in 2022. The Braves are locked into Raisel Iglesias at the closer position, so Jiménez will join a setup crew that includes fellow righties Collin McHugh and Kirby Yates, and lefties A.J. Minter and Dylan Lee. Atlanta will look for their sixth straight NL East title next season.