MLB rumors: Manny Machado market remains colder than expected; Bryce Harper sets meeting with Padres

The chore that has become the 2018-19 MLB offseason rolls on. We could once again go through a lengthy intro about how many free agents remain unsigned and how ridiculous that is on Jan. 31, but instead, let's just dive right in to the rumors. 

Talks for Realmuto in advanced stages

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J.T. Realmuto PHI • C • 10

Man, it seems like Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has been involved in trade rumors since the beginning of time, but we might well have seen the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Via, here's the latest

A source told on Thursday that trade talks for the Marlins' All-Star catcher are in "advanced stages," with four clubs still in the mix: the Padres, Reds, Dodgers and Braves.

MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi on Wednesday night reported that the Padres "are more of a factor" than the Dodgers.

Realmuto hit .277/.340/.484 with 30 doubles and 21 homers in 125 games last season and, at this point, is probably the best hitting catcher in baseball. He's in arbitration before hitting free agency after the 2020 season. He's obviously a big upgrade for any of the four clubs mentioned above. 

Padres to meet with Harper

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Bryce Harper WAS • LF • 34

We recently heard that the Padres had decided to start talking with free agent superstar Manny Machado and now it appears we can add the other huge name in free agency to the mix. 

Insert the "wide eyes" emoji! Rosenthal further reports that the meeting is Thursday night. 

I've already made the case for the Padres to pounce on Machado, but the entire piece could be pretty easily altered to feature Harper as the target as well. An argument could be made that an outfielder makes more sense than an infielder, too, given the prospects on the way. 

Maybe the Padres are a longshot to land either, but we'd be foolish at this point to write them off. They appear ready to be a player. 

As for the Harper market, Jon Morosi of reports it's the Padres, Nationals, Phillies and White Sox with "at least one other team" on the "periphery." 

Machado hoped to top Stanton

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Manny Machado LAD • 3B • 8

Manny Machado had hoped to reportedly top Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million contract and land with the Yankees, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred.

Now with spring training around the corner, it appears that both those scenarios are unlikely. This winter, teams are seemingly uninterested in pricey, long-term contracts for free agents, even for a player in his prime like Machado at 26-years-old. And players are getting frustrated... The specific details of Machado's offers have been on the low end of what he was looking for this winter, being closer to the $200 million range rather than $300 million. The Yankees have discussed "concepts" with Machado, but are still not going all out to sign him. Plus, they added Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu this winter as infield depth, though that doesn't necessarily completely put them out of the running for Machado.

Machado's dissatisfied with how his first bout of free agency has gone, Heyman adds. The teams in on the infielder seem to be about the same as Harper: the Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres.

Arenado sets record with $26 million arbitration settlement

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Nolan Arenado COL • 3B • 28

The Colorado Rockies have agreed to terms on a 2019 salary with third baseman Nolan Arenado, the club announced on Thursday. Arenado and the Rockies settled on $26 million, a MLB record for an arbitration salary, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. More on the meeting between the two sides here.

After Arenado reportedly requested $30 million and the Rockies offered up $24 million, the two sides managed to settle on $26 million as a compromise. Arenado's deal eclipses fellow third baseman Josh Donaldson's $23 million last year, the previous record for the highest arbitration salary.

Astros sign Wade Miley

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Wade Miley HOU • SP • 20

The Houston Astros have reportedly signed free agent left-hander Wade Miley to a one-year, $4.5 million contract, according to multiple reports. 

Miley's contract includes $500,000 in available incentives (earned either for starts or relief appearances), and he has reportedly already passed his physical. Miley, 32, is coming off a 2018 season that saw him finish with a 2.57 ERA and an 5-2 record in 16 starts with the Milwaukee Brewers. He had a 1.23 ERA in four postseason starts (14 2/3 innings pitched).

This winter, the Astros needed to fill the holes in their rotation. With Charlie Morton leaving for the RaysLance McCullers Jr. out for the season after Tommy John surgery and Dallas Keuchel still a free agent, the Miley signing gives the Astros a fourth starter after Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Collin McHugh

Indians unlikely to trade Kluber

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Corey Kluber CLE • SP • 28

Earlier in the offseason, the rumor mill was pointing toward the Indians trading either Trevor Bauer or two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, with the latter being more likely. Things just never really seemed to come to fruition on this front, so this report from Jon Morosi of isn't too much a surprise

While a Kluber trade remains possible, sources say the chances are diminishing by the day. It is now more likely than not that Kluber will remain with Cleveland as the new season begins.

Now, the only way a Kluber trade could come to fruition is if the Brewers or Dodgers improve their offers, adds Morosi. The Dodgers have enough prospect depth to make a major trade for the righty, while the Brewers have been involved in trade talks for a top starting pitcher all offseason. 

The Indians are still the best team in the AL Central on paper, but were looking to reduce payroll heading to the 2019 season. Thus far, they've succeeded, as it appears their opening day payroll (roughly $115M right now) will be almost $20 million less than last season. 

Yankees look for SP depth

The Yankees are looking to add a starting pitcher for depth, according to Jon Heyman. Note "depth" as a key word here. The Yankees are set in the rotation with Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia. The need for depth with that group seems obvious with the injury history and age -- on Happ and CC -- so it's not a huge surprise they'd look to add someone on the cheap who could also start. Heyman names Gio Gonzalez and Ervin Santana as possibilities. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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