The calendar is about to flip over to February and still 14 of our top 50 free agents remain unsigned, including the top two, three of the top seven, and six of the top 20. Last year big name free agents like Jake Arrieta, Eric Hosmer, and J.D. Martinez had to wait until February and in some cases even March to get a contract. Looks like that'll happen again this year.
As has been the case all offseason, we're going to keep track of the day's hot stove rumors and rumblings right here in this handy post. Make sure you check back often throughout the day for updates.
Yankees still laying low on Machado
Although they've discussed "concepts" with Manny Machado, the Yankees are still not yet going all out to sign the 26-year-old star free agent, reports Wallace Matthews of the New York Daily News. New York's offer is not particularly close to the best offer Machado has received this winter. From Matthews:
As of now, the Yankees still have not made a formal offer to Machado or his agent, Dan Lozano. "We've talked in concepts,'' said a source.
Apparently, those concepts do not include an offer more attractive than the one reportedly made by the Chicago White Sox, estimates of which range from $175 million for seven years to $250 million for eight years.
The Yankees will be without shortstop Didi Gregorius until midseason as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. They've signed Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu this winter as infield depth, though they could still fit Machado into their lineup. The easiest solution would be putting Machado at third, Miguel Andujar at DH, and Giancarlo Stanton in left field full-time. The Yankees could also cut ties with Tulowitzki, who they only owe the league minimum, and put Machado at his preferred shortstop. For now, the club does not seem inclined to make an aggressive bid.
Padres won't engage in a bidding war for Machado
Earlier this month when Will Myers confirmed that he would be moving back to the Padres' crowded outfield in 2019, the move indicated that San Diego is likely still in the market for a third baseman. Then once it became apparent that the cost for Manny Machado might not be astronomical, the Padres added their name to the list of teams interested in the 26-year-old. San Diego's interest in Machado is very real, but the team is uninterested in a significant bidding war for the free agent slugger, according to AJ Cassavell of MLB.com.
The concept of San Diego luring Machado really isn't so far fetched… CBS Sports' Mike Axisa predicted them as the mystery team, and Matt Snyder explained why the timing is perfect for the Padres to sign Machado. Assuming the price is reasonable, Machado would be a great fit at the hot corner and he'd be joining a team loaded with youth talent, such as prospects Fernanado Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias.
While Machado landing with the Padres still seems unlikely, it's far more likely than it did at the beginning of this year's offseason, writes Cassavell. In the meantime, the team's also been linked to another free agent in third baseman Mike Moustakas.
Source: Manny Machado’s free agent decision is not imminent. He has not met with #Padres officials yet. @MLBNetwork @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 30, 2019
Either way, we'll have to keep waiting for Machado's decision as Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that his choice is not imminent. Machado has not met with Padres officials yet, Morosi adds. This winter's slow moving free agency not only has players growing restless, but fans as well.
D-Backs sign Holland
The Diamondbacks have signed free-agent closer Greg Holland to a one-year contract, according to multiple reports. He receives a $3.25 million base salary with another $3.5 million available in incentives. Last year the Cardinals signed Holland to a one-year, $14 million contract shortly after opening day. He signed earlier this year but at a substantially lower price.
Holland, 33, pitched to a 7.92 ERA with the same number of walks as strikeouts (22 each) in 25 innings with St. Louis last year. After being released in August, Holland hooked on with the Nationals, and posted a 0.84 ERA with 25 strikeouts and 10 walks in 21 1/3 innings the rest of the way. He will presumably take over as Arizona's closer, allowing Archie Bradley to continue working as the team's high-leverage setup man.
Reynolds returning to Rockies
The Colorado Rockies and free-agent infielder Mark Reynolds have agreed on a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League spring training, Reynolds told Thomas Harding of MLB.com. The deal comes with a $1 million base salary and another $1 million of incentives, Jon Heyman reports.
Versatile Mark Reynolds, who batted .274 with a .354 OBP for the #Rockies in 2016 and 2017, tells me he is returning to Colorado on a Minor League contract with a Major League #SpringTraining invite.— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) January 30, 2019
The 35-year-old Reynolds played for the Rockies during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, proving to be a pretty valuable bat. In 2016, he hit 14 home runs and 53 RBI with a .282/.356/.450 slash line in 118 games. In 2017, he hit 30 home runs, 97 RBI, a .267/.352/.487 slash line, and an OPS+ of 103.
Reynolds spent last season with the Washington Nationals as a bench player, he started just 42 games with 36 of them at first base. With the Rockies' addition of the veteran slugger, they'll add some depth at nearly no cost.
Giants looking for outfield help
According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Giants are monitoring the market for outfield help, though financial flexibility under the $206 million luxury tax threshold may be limited. Cot's Baseball Contracts has San Francisco's luxury tax payroll at $171.6 million at the moment. That leaves them $34.4 million under the threshold, though keep in mind the club will need to set some money aside for the inevitable injury (and September) call-ups, plus any midseason trade additions.
The Giants currently have prospect Steven Duggar slated to play center field with Mac Williamson and Chris Shaw penciled into the corners. Rule 5 Draft pick Drew Ferguson and utility man Austin Slater are also outfield candidates. Barring a surprise pursuit of Bryce Harper, the Giants could look at one-year contract candidates like Carlos Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson, Brandon Guyer, and Adam Jones as low-cost stopgap outfielders.
At least six teams looking for bullpen help
No fewer than six teams are still looking to add to their bullpen, reports Fancred's Jon Heyman. Heyman lists the Angels, Braves, Cubs, Reds, Red Sox, and White Sox as clubs known to be looking for relief help. The Angels (Cody Allen), Cubs (Brad Brach), and White Sox (Alex Colome, Kelvin Herrera) have all made at least one notable bullpen addition already this winter. There is no such thing as too many good relievers though, even for rebuilding teams.
Craig Kimbrel is the only reliever among our unsigned top 50 prospects. Most second- and third-tier relievers have signed at this point, meaning the best available free agent bullpen arms other than Kimbrel are guys like Jerry Blevins, Brad Boxberger, Jake Diekman, Jim Johnson, Bud Norris, Tony Sipp, Adam Warren, and Alex Wilson. Orioles righty Mychal Givens stands out at the best (likely) available reliever on the trade market.