Spring training is a month away and the hot stove is kinda sorta maybe starting to heat up., including six in January. , and here are the latest hot stove rumblings.
Three teams interested in Hand
The Astros, Blue Jays, and Mets have shown interest in free agent reliever Brad Hand, according to MLB.com's Jon Morosi. Reports last week indicated Hand had a two-year contract in place with the Mets, though those were premature. The two sides are talking but a deal is not done or believed to be close. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Hand the No. 21 free agent on the market.
Of course, any team could have claimed Hand and his $10 million club option on waivers in November, but they all passed (Cleveland waived him in an effort to avoid his $1 million buyout). Hand, 31 in March, was among the best relievers in baseball last season, though his velocity and spin rates took a step back, and he had a career worst swing-and-miss rate with his slider. Enough red flags exist that Hand may not cash in as well as his surface stats may suggest.
Yates considering offers from five teams
Free agent reliever Kirby Yates is in the "final stages" of considering offers from five teams, reports Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Acee adds the Padres, Yates' former team, are not among the finalists. The Blue Jays have interest in Yates but are not among the frontrunners to sign him, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Yates the No. 48 free agent on the market.
Yates, 34 in March, was arguably the best reliever in baseball from 2018-19, but bone chips in his elbow limited him to 4 1/3 ineffective innings in 2020, and he underwent season-ending surgery in August. He is expected to be ready for spring training. Yates is a tantalizing bounce-back candidate, and with the reliever market starting to heat up (Archie Bradley, Liam Hendriks, Blake Treinen, and others have signed recently), he could be next to come off the board.