It's 2021, but we're still waiting for the first significant free agent signing of the offseason. Only 12 of our top 60 free agents have signed, including only five of the top 25. There have been some notable trades, however, including the offseason's biggest move to date on Thursday. Here's the latest hot stove buzz.
Mets acquire Lindor
The New York Mets made their biggest deal of the Steve Cohen era with a six-player blockbuster trade with Cleveland on Thursday afternoon. The Mets acquired All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and right-handed starter Carlos Carrasco, and sent major leaguers Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez to Cleveland.
Here are the full trade details:
- Mets acquire: SS Francisco Lindor, RHP Carlos Carrasco
- Cleveland acquired: SS Andres Gimenez, SS Amed Rosario, OF Isaiah Greene, RHP Josh Wolf
With Cleveland looking to cut down on payroll, a Lindor trade had been looming for some time. Lindor, 27, is set to earn $20 million this winter in his final year of arbitration. For more on this blockbuster trade, here are three things you need to know along with the winners and losers of the deal.
Mets still in on Springer, along with Jays
Even after adding Lindor and Carrasco, the Mets can't be counted out in the sweepstakes for free agent All-Star outfielder George Springer, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network. They aren't alone, however, as Heyman also mentions the Blue Jays are a prominent suitor of Springer.
Springer, 31, hit .265/.359/.540 (140 OPS+) with 13 homers in 222 plate appearances last season for the Astros. Though injury limited him to 122 games, 2019 was the best year of his career from several aspects, setting career highs in average, OBP, slugging, OPS+, WAR, home runs and RBI.
With Brandon Nimmo leading off and in center, flanked by Michael Conforto in right field and Dominic Smith in left, the Mets don't have to add Springer, though he's a clear upgrade over Nimmo. In moving Rosario in the Lindor trade, the Mets showed they aren't shy to move pieces around to make room for a better player.
The Blue Jays are in a similar spot with a full outfield and Randal Grichuk being the center fielder Springer would replace. They do, however, have a DH spot with which to play.
Sugano will remain in Japan
Tomoyuki Sugano, the 31-year-old right-hander from Japan, faced a Thursday 5 p.m. ET deadline to either sign with a MLB team or decide to return to Japan. Sugano, who was posted by the Yomiuri Giants a month ago, had already been offered a four-year deal with three opt-outs from the Yomiuri Giants. The pitcher had also reportedly received offers from MLB teams, however, with bigger price tags.
The deadline came and went with Sugano deciding to remain in NPB with Yomiuri. He is eligible to become a Major League Baseball free agent next offseason, however.
Sugano is coming off a dynamic season in the Japan Central League, where he had a 14-2 win-loss record, a 1.97 ERA, a 0.888 WHIP, and 131 strikeouts to 25 walks in 137 1/3 innings. He has been the most consistently excellent starting pitcher in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball since Masahiro Tanaka left for MLB in 2014.
He is a two-time Sawamura Award winner (Japan's Cy Young equivalent) and a former league MVP, and he has a postseason no-hitter to his credit.
Dodgers eye Yates
The Dodgers have already signed relievers Corey Knebel and Blake Treinen to bolster their bullpen for next season, but they might not be done adding. Though interest in top free agent closer Liam Hendriks has "recently dissipated," according to a report from the LA Times, the Dodgers have "significant interest" in free agent reliever Kirby Yates.
Yates' 2020 season was cut short due to bone chips in his right elbow. He had surgery in late August and the timetable for a return was said to be six-to-eight weeks, so there's no reason to believe he would be hindered at all in the 2021 season.
In 2019, Yates' last healthy season, he saved 41 games in 44 chances for the Padres with a 1.19 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 101 strikeouts against 12 unintentional walks in 60 2/3 innings.
The report indicated the Dodgers plan to go into the season with Kenley Jansen as their closer, but Blake Treinen is a nice fallback option and adding Yates would make the bullpen even more formidable.
Yankees pick up OF Allen in trade
The New York Yankees have traded for outfielder Greg Allen, the club announced Thursday. Allen, who turns 28 in March, was designated for assignment last week by the San Diego Padres. New York is sending left-handed relief pitcher James Reeves in exchange for Allen.
Allen didn't generate much production at the plate during the abbreviated 2020 season, finishing with a .154/.281/.308 slash line in 32 appearances but he has good speed, notching 32 stolen bases in 221 career games. Last year, Allen played just 16 games for Cleveland and San Diego, spending the majority of the 60-game stretch at the clubs' alternate sites. It's unlikely Allen will be in the lineup on a regular basis for the Yankees, so he'll serve as outfield depth for the ballclub in 2021.