Mets have interest in Marte
The Mets are among the teams with trade interest in Pirates center fielder Starling Marte, reports MLB Network's Jon Heyman. The Pirates named Ben Cherington their new general manager last week -- Pittsburgh still needs to pick a new manager -- and could be ready to begin trading away veterans for prospects. Marte is among their top trade chips.
Among other things, Michael Conforto out of position in center most of the last two years. Marte is no longer an elite defender, but he would represent a significant defensive upgrade for the Mets, plus he's a quality hitter (and baserunner) with two more years of contractual control. It's an obvious fit.. They've been playing
Cubs acquire Cotton
The Cubs have acquired right-hander Jharel Cotton from the Athletics for cash considerations, the team announced. He had been designated for assignment earlier this week to clear 40-man roster space prior to the Rule 5 Draft protection deadline. Cotton had Tommy John surgery two years ago and has not pitched in the big leagues since 2017.
Pitching depth is a priority for the Cubs this offseason -- that is true for many teams -- and Cotton does offer upside thanks to his knockout changeup. Also, he as a minor league option remaining for 2020, meaning the Cubs can send him to Triple-A next year without having to put him through waivers. It's a low-risk pickup with flexibility and some upside.
Braves expected to spend more money
Even after signing Will Smith and re-signing Tyler Flowers, Chris Martin, Darren O'Day, and Nick Markakis, the Braves still expect to spend more money this winter, Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei indicated during a CNBC segment Friday. Maffei's comments begin around the 6:40 mark. Here's what he said about Atlanta's spending plans:
"We're well set up with young talent, but, in addition, we just signed Will Smith, probably the best reliever in baseball. Yeah, we're going to spend some money, and we have relative freedom under the cap and in our payroll compared to most (teams)."
Maffei noted the Braves have several core players signed to team-friendly contracts (Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman), allowing the team to spend elsewhere. Atlanta finished 2019 with a $136 million payroll and they currently have about $107 million on the books for 2020, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. The Braves appear to have plenty of payroll space available to re-sign or replace Josh Donaldson, and add an impact starting pitcher.
D-Backs seem more open to trading Ray
Rival executives say the Diamondbacks seem more open to trading left-hander Robbie Ray this offseason than in the past, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic. Ray, 28, is projected to make around $11 million in his final season of arbitration-eligibility in 2020. He is scheduled to become a free agent next offseason.
Hard-throwing left-handers are always in demand and Ray's 31.9 percent strikeout rate is the fifth highest in baseball the last three years. He also has the third-highest walk rate (11.6 percent) and one of the 30 worst home run rates (1.4 HR/9), which is typically a bad combination. Still, there's enough bat-missing ability here that many teams figure to pursue him in a trade. Arizona could then redirect the $11 million in savings elsewhere on the roster.
Orioles open to trading Bundy
The Orioles are open to trading right-hander Dylan Bundy, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The 27-year-old right-hander is projected to make around $6 million through arbitration in 2020. He will remain under team control in 2021 as an arbitration-eligible player before qualifying for free agency in two years.
As poorly as he's pitched the last few season, Bundy is still relatively young and he has a deep arsenal with the spin rates teams love. Also, he has pedigree as a former high draft pick (fourth overall in 2011) and top prospect. You don't have to try real hard to see Bundy as a good change-of-scenery candidate. A fresh start in an organization with a knack for developing pitchers could do wonders for him.
Korean lefty to be posted for MLB teams
. The 31-year-old missed the entire 2017 season following Tommy John surgery, but he has been healthy the last two years, and has not missed a beat as one of the top pitchers in the league.
Kim boasts a wipeout slider and average fastball velocity. He figures to sign with a team that promises him a spot in their Opening Day rotation, though several clubs may try to convince him to sign as a reliever.