In about one week spring training camps will open across Arizona and Florida. Cactus League and Grapefruit League play is tentatively scheduled to begin in less than three weeks. Hooray for that. Here is our look at Justin Turner's market and here are the latest hot stove rumblings as the offseason winds down.
Mets add Villar to roster in utility role
The New York Mets and free-agent infielder Jonathan Villar agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. Villar, 29, is coming off a down year, but it could be chalked up to the difficulties of a season cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019 with the Baltimore Orioles, Villar looked solid, hitting .274/.339/.453. Villar, a switch hitter, will likely fill in as a super utility player for the Mets in 2021. He can play second, third, shortstop and the outfield as well as help on the basepaths thanks to his speed. Here's more on the signing.
Mets interested in Turner
The top remaining unsigned free agent in CBS Sports' rankings is third baseman Justin Turner. It was widely expected that Turner would re-sign with the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, but with just a few days until spring training, there's no deal in place. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Turner is garnering interest from the New York Mets. But the two sides are not agreeing on the number of years and the dollar amount, Rosenthal adds.
New York traded for All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor this winter, Jeff McNeil is expected to return to his natural position at second base, Pete Alonso appears to be a lock at first base (especially since there will not be a universal DH in 2021), but third base isn't a lock with Luis Guillorme and J.D. Davis expected to compete for the starting spot. Davis has been mentioned in trade rumors, but Rosenthal notes that the club is unsure of what Davis would get in a potential return.
The Milwaukee Brewers are also "intrigued" by Turner, Rosenthal adds. Our own Mike Axisa noted the Brewers as the top alternative to the Dodgers for Turner, citing that the club is in serious need of infield improvement, even after their Kolten Wong signing this winter.
Turner, 36, has been a mainstay with the Dodgers since he signed with the club as a free agent in 2014. He fared well in the abbreviated 2020 season, slashing .307/.400/.460 with four home runs, nine doubles and 23 RBI in 175 plate appearances.
Giants sign McGee to two-year deal
The Giants have signed left-handed reliever Jake McGee to a two-year contract worth $7 million, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. McGee was dominant with the defending World Series champion Dodgers last season, after the Rockies released him during summer camp. .
San Francisco has been one of the most active teams in baseball this season. McGee is their seventh major-league free agent signing, joining John Brebbia, Curt Casali, Anthony DeSclafani, Tommy La Stella, Matt Wisler, and Alex Wood. They also welcomed Kevin Gausman back via the qualifying offer.
Marlins sign Duvall to one-year deal
The Marlins have signed outfielder Adam Duvall to a one-year contract, reports MLB Network's Jon Heyman. The deal is believed to be worth $4.5 million. The Braves non-tendered Duvall earlier this winter rather than pay him a projected $4.7 million through arbitration in 2021. The Marlins can retain him as an under team control as an arbitration-eligible player in 2022.
Duvall, 32, quietly finished third in the National League with 16 home runs in 2020. He's a right-handed hitter who has historically done most of his damage against lefties, and he's a sneaky-excellent defender. Duvall has been worth plus-42 defensive runs saved in a little over 4,000 career innings in the outfield. He figures to share corner outfield time with Corey Dickerson and Garrett Cooper this summer.
Brewers sign Zimmermann to minor-league contract
The Milwaukee Brewers have signed veteran starter Jordan Zimmermann to a minor-league deal for the 2021 season, the team announced Tuesday. Zimmermann, 34, will receive an invitation to spring training. During the abbreviated 2020 season, Zimmermann was limited to just three appearances (5 2/3 IP) for the Detroit Tigers due to a forearm injury, none lasting longer than three innings.
Zimmerman spent the first seven seasons of his MLB career with the Washington Nationals and the last five seasons with the Tigers. His best years on the mound came with Washington where he posted a 3.32 ERA, but after signing a five-year, $110 million deal with the Tigers in 2015, he struggled to a 5.63 ERA. A two-time All-Star, Zimmerman has recorded a career 4.06 ERA (101 ERA+) in 275 starts.
The Wisconsin native had been a starter throughout his 12-year MLB career, but had begun a transition to the bullpen last season.
Cardinals bring back Molina
After months of free agency, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina will be returning to his longtime club. The Cards and Molina are reportedly finalizing a one-year deal, ending several months of ongoing rumors regarding the negotiations between the two sides. Molina, 38, is entering his 18th season with the Cardinals, who drafted him out of high school in the fourth round in 2000. He debuted at the big-league level in 2004 at age 21. You can read more on the signing here.