With the Winter Meetings and non-tender deadline behind us, we're moving deeper into MLB's offseason calendar. The biggest free agents and trade targets remain on the board, and it may be some time before the markets for each of those players fully develop. That said, the buzz never stops, and we're here to round it up for Tuesday. Let us proceed with the boldness of an invading horde.
Jackie Bradley Jr. market heating up
Veteran fly-catcher Jackie Bradley Jr. is on the market after a strong performance in the abbreviated 2020 season. As Jon Morosi of MLB Network notes, he's beginning to garner interest:
New Phillies honcho Dave Dombrowski ran things in Boston for a good chunk of Bradley's career, so there's some familiarity there. He'd also be a fit with the Cubs, as Bradley's presence would allow Ian Happ to slide over and replace the non-tendered Kyle Schwarber in left. Suffice it to say, a Happ-Bradley-Jason Heyward alignment would give the Cubs an especially strong defensive outfield.
As Morosi notes, Bradley put up strong numbers at the plate last season, but there's some cause to treat those numbers with skepticism. First and most notably, there's the smaller sample size -- 217 plate appearances in Bradley's case. As well, the batted-ball metrics don't quite back up those surface-level numbers, and Bradley hasn't produced at a similar level across a full season since 2016.
That said, the 30-year-old Bradley has long been at least a solid hitter by positional standards, and he still profiles as a defensive plus in center. Even if you don't fully buy into his 2020 outburst at the plate, he remains a useful addition for a number of teams.
Padres hope to go long with Fernando Tatis Jr.
Given the brilliance of Fernando Tatis Jr.'s MLB career to date, it's not surprise that the Padres would like to sign their franchise shortstop to a long-term contract. GM A.J. Preller acknowledged the obvious when he spoke to reporters this week. Here's the telling quote regarding Tatis, via Dennis Lin of The Athletic:
"He's a priority, I think his situation is a priority and I think we're in a position to try to line up on a deal," Preller said. "I think we'll see what happens here over the course of the rest of the offseason, to see if we can do that."
Tatis, who turns 22 early in January, has authored a slash line of .301/.374/.582 (154 OPS+) in 143 games at the highest level spread across two seasons. Obviously, that's exceptional production for a shortstop who's still so young, and it's in keeping with his status coming in as the consensus top prospect in all of baseball. Tatis isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2024 season, but the Padres -- to their credit -- resisted the urge to manipulate Tatis' service time during his rookie season. Doing so could've afforded them an extra year of control. This also adds to the urgency to get something done, ideally from the Padres' standpoint before Tatis hits his arbitration years.
Any extension of meaningful length will no doubt stretch well into nine figures, but the will and willingness on both sides seems to be there. As the Padres get deeper into what they hope is a long run of contention, securing Tatis' services for that long run should be a priority. Maybe it even happens this winter.
Mariners acquire Montero from Rangers
ESPN's Jeff Passan tweets that the Rangers have traded right-handed reliever Rafael Montero to the Mariners. Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds the Rangers will get right-hander Jose Corniell and a player to be named later in return. As you see above, Montero in his age-29 season pitched to a 4.08 ERA. That was across 17 2/3 innings for Texas, and over that span he had a 3.17 K/BB ratio. For his career, he owns an ERA+ of 84, but that figure includes his stint as a primary starting pitcher early in his career. Over the last two seasons, Montero has an ERA+ of 162 in 39 relief appearances for the Rangers.