We're winding our way toward February, and that of course is the month during which pitchers and catchers report. Fittingly, almost all the name free agents have been spoken for -- Yasiel Puig is the biggest fish left in that particular stocked pond -- which means our focus is gradually shifting toward the 2020 season and how it will unfold. All that said, we've still got rumors, trade rumors in particular, to sustain us through the rest of the winter. Speaking of which, let's jump into Monday's crop.
Money could be issue in Betts trade
The Red Sox are -- in defiance of common sense and a basic obligation to winning baseball -- willing to listen to trade offers for Mookie Betts, who at age 27 is already one of the top players in franchise history. The Padres and Dodgers are known to be interested, and talks with the Padres in particular seem to be reasonably advanced. On that front, here's the Monday update from Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Myers is owed $61 million over the next three seasons, and the Red Sox are offering to assume about half that. Sources said the Padres would prefer to eat only about a quarter of the money owed Myers in order to take on Betts' salary.
That's in reference to outfielder Wil Myers, whom the Padres are hoping to ship off the Boston as part of any deal for Betts. Do the math that Agee lays out above, and there's roughly a $15 million gap in such such discussions. That's of course in addition to the young talent that the Padres would send to the Red Sox. As for specifics, Agee's story has a handful of possible names.
Betts is going into his walk year, so for the Padres the risk is that they'd be unable to sign him to an extension and thus lose him to free agency after only one season. It's left to question whether San Diego would profile as a contender even with Betts on the 2020 roster, but GM A.J. Preller may need to achieve significant progress in the standings in order to keep his job. Betts thanks to his stellar defense in right and his base-running adds big value even when he's not hitting at the top of his ceiling, as he did in his MVP season of 2018. Few players move the needle like he does, and he's still at a peak age. The prevailing question, of course, is why Boston would consider such a thing in the first place.
Mets come up short on Marte
The Mets were one of the teams most consistently linked to Starling Marte, . In the end, the Mets hesitated to part with two of their five best prospects, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. The Mets, it should be noted, do not have a good farm system, meaning two of their top five could've included a fair spread of prospect quality. .
Reds shopping Senzel
Senzel is still just 24 years of age, and despite an injury history and no established position he's still got a fairly high ceiling. It would take more than Senzel to land Lindor and his two years of control, but it's at least a starting point.
Cubs pursuing Gennett
It's been a quiet offseason for the Cubs, but they may be closing in on a veteran infielder. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports that the Cubs continue to be interested in free agent second baseman Scooter Gennett. Gennett, 29, is coming off a disappointing 2019 in which he batted just .226/.245/.323 while being limited to just 42 games for the Reds and Giants because of a serious groin strain. That said, Gennett isn't far removed from an impressive run from 2017-18, when he had an OPS+ of 124 with 50 home runs in 295 games for Cincinnati. Given that he's still on the right side of age 30, the Cubs or whoever signs him can plausibly hope for a rebound season in 2020.