MLB rumors: Manny Machado meets with unidentified team; Dodgers in talks with A.J. Pollock

In a little more than three weeks spring training camps will open across Arizona and Florida. Cactus League and Grapefruit League games are about five weeks away. Baseball is coming, sooner than you may realize.

At the moment 19 of our top 50 free agents are unsigned, including the top two and four of the top seven. Looks like we're again headed for big signings throughout February and March. With that in mind, we're going to keep track of the day's free agent and trade rumors right here in this handy post. Make sure you check back often for the latest hot stove rumblings.

Machado meets with unidentified team

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Manny Machado SD • 3B • 13
BA.297
R84
HR37
RBI107
SB14

Manny Machado recently met with an unidentified team, reports SNY's Andy Martino. Martino says there are at least two mystery teams in on Machado in addition to the Phillies, White Sox, and Yankees. Also, the Braves have checked in on Machado this offseason, according to Martino, but their interest is not believed to be serious. Sounds like due diligence for Atlanta more than anything.

Generally speaking, the "mystery team" is an attempt by the player's agent to create leverage and increase bidding. As a fun exercise, I looked at all 30 clubs and deduced the Padres make the most sense as a mystery team. Clearly, Machado has not yet received an offer to his liking, otherwise he would have signed already. It's possible the offers are nowhere close to his asking price and a decision is far from imminent. It has been a long team since the mystery team signed a player. I get the feeling it won't happen with Machado.

Dodgers in talks with Pollock

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A.J. Pollock LAD • CF • 11
BA.257
R61
HR21
RBI65
SB13

The Dodgers have interest in free agent center fielder A.J. Pollock and have entered discussions with him, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. 

Pollock would provide center field depth and also a right-handed bat to balance a lineup that currently includes at least four lefties (Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager) and potentially a fifth (Andrew Toles or Alex Verdugo).

Things have been relatively quiet for Pollock this offseason. He has been a reliable power-speed threat with good defense when healthy, though he's played only 469 of 810 possible games the last five years. The fact he is 31 and center field is a young man's position -- Lorenzo Cain and Charlie Blackmon were the only full-time center fielders age 31 or older in 2018 -- doesn't help his market either. The Dodgers are in position to limit Pollock's workload, however, perhaps keeping him healthy and effective.

Giants shopping Longoria

Evan Longoria 3B •
BA.244
R51
HR16
RBI54
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The Giants acquired third baseman Evan Longoria from the Rays prior to last season. Now, it looks like the Giants are considering moving on, per FanCred's Jon Heyman:

Longoria, 33, is coming off the worst statistical season of his career. He posted an 89 OPS+ in 125 games thanks to a near-unwillingness to walk (he finished with 22 all season). To his credit, Longoria remains a skilled defender. Still, any interested team would likely require the Giants to send significant cash back their way.

As such, we're going to file a Longoria deal under "unlikely." 

Yankees, Reds getting closer to Gray deal

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Sonny Gray CIN • SP • 54
ERA4.90
WHIP1.50
IP130.1
BB57
K123

According to Fancred's Jon Heyman, the Yankees and Reds continue to move closer to a Sonny Gray trade. The two teams are discussing two prospects and a draft pick going to New York in the deal. Catcher Tyler Stephenson and second baseman Shed Long could be among the prospects on the move. Other teams remain in the mix for Gray but a trade should get done this weekend, says Heyman.

The Reds have spent the offseason importing veteran one-year rentals like Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Tanner Roark, and Alex Wood. All four will become free agents next offseason. So too will Gray, so he fits what Cincinnati has been doing this offseason. The Yankees have been looking to trade Gray all winter. Shedding his $7.5 million salary would give them some breathing room under the $226 million second luxury tax tier.

Twins add Perez

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Martin Perez MIN • SP • 33
ERA6.22
WHIP1.78
IP85.1
BB36
K52

The Twins added a veteran starter to their pitching staff on Saturday, inking lefty Martin Perez to a one-year pact with a club option attached for the 2020 season:

Perez, 28 in April, is coming off a miserable season. He struggled with his command and control behind a new fastball-heavy approach. The Twins could ask Perez to revert to his old approach. If so -- and if he's able to return to his double-play-generating ways -- he could be an all right back-end option. Worst-case scenario: Perez could succeed in a left-handed specialist role in the bullpen.

Romero announces retirement

Left-hander Ricky Romero, the sixth overall pick in the 2005 MLB draft, announced his retirement in an Instagram post. He broke in with the Blue Jays in 2009 and had an All-Star season in 2011, going 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA in 225 innings. Romero lost the strike zone the following season and has not pitched in the big leagues since 2013. He was active as recently as 2017, however, spending time with the Giants' Triple-A affiliate and in the Mexican League. Romero retires with a career 51-45 record and a 4.16 ERA. Thanks to an early career extension he signed with Toronto, he banked nearly $30 million in his career.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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