The 2020 Winter Meetings -- which will be held remotely -- are less than a week away and that should really fire up the hot stove, as nine of our top 10 free agents remain unsigned. In the meantime, the expectation is that things will start to pick up later this week, as the non-tender deadline (Wednesday night) ought to encourage a flurry of activity.
Let's dive in to Tuesday's hot stove rumors.
Red Sox eyeing Kluber
The Red Sox, fresh off sabotaging their roster in order to get under the luxury tax threshold, are ready to matter again, and one essential step is fortifying the rotation. On that front, here's a scoop from Jon Morosi of MLB.com:
Source: #RedSox showing interest in free agent Corey Kluber, who makes his home in Greater Boston. Kluber, 34, said to be progressing well from the teres major muscle strain that shortened his 2020 season; he is expected to throw bullpen sessions this month. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 1, 2020
As you can see above, Kluber barely pitched at all in his one and likely only season with the Rangers. As Morosi indicates, that was owing to shoulder problems. The prior season, a broken forearm limited Kluber to just 35 2/3 largely ineffective innings with Cleveland. All that said, Kluber isn't far removed from pitching at a Cy Young level, and assuming he's healthy again he should have a solid market this offseason. If Kluber looks good in those aforementioned bullpen sessions, then Boston will surely have company in pursuit of the veteran right-hander.
Bryant won't be non-tendered
Wednesday's non-tender deadline is quickly approaching, and Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won't be one of the players non-tendered, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. The Cubs will consider trades for Bryant, Heyman notes.
Our own Mike Axisa included Bryant as part of his non-tender deadline preview, writing the following:
Wouldn't it be something if the Cubs non-tendered Bryant after all the service time shenanigans (and the grievance that took nearly five years to resolve)? It's insane Bryant, a 28-year-old former MVP who played at an All-Star level as recently as 2019, is being discussed as a non-tender candidate -- teams that are trying to contend don't even entertain such ideas -- but such is the state of Chicago's finances, or so owner Tom Ricketts claims. Bryant had a miserable 2020 season while playing hurt and, if the Cubs are unable to find a suitable trade prior to Wednesday's deadline, they very well might cut him loose. I think it's far more likely they keep him and hope he rebuilds value next year so they can flip him at the trade deadline (or, gasp, contend), but it is not set in stone. Chicago has several non-tender candidates and Bryant is easily the most notable.
Bryant, who is a year away from free agency, still appears more likely than not to have played in his final game with the Cubs. Heyman also notes that the Cubs -- who are set on shedding salary this winter -- could non-tender Kyle Schwarber.
Mets sign reliever Trevor May
The New York Mets have reached a two-year deal Trevor May, according to multiple reports. May, 31, finished the 2020 season with a 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 38 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings (24 games) for the Twins. May's 14.66 K/9 in 2020 ranked as seventh-best among all relievers. He's ranked as the 37th-best free agent on CBS Sports' top 60 free agent list.
May didn't have a set role with the Twins bullpen, filling in as at the middle, set up and closer spots. Since undergoing Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss the 2017 season, May has notched a 3.19 ERA mark and shown improved velocity. May did not allow a single earned run in his final eight appearances (7 2/3 IP) of the 2020 season.
The Mets could certainly use some bullpen help after finishing in the bottom half of the league for ERA (4.60) and FIP (4.74) last season. Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, and Edwin Diaz all struggled at times for the Mets last season. The club blew seven saves during last year's abbreviated season, and had 27 blown saves during the 2019 season.
Red Sox agree to deal with E-Rod
The Boston Red Sox and starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez have agreed to a salary of $8.3 million for the 2021 season ahead of the non-tender deadline, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The deal is worth the same amount as his 2020 salary.
Rodriguez, a 27-year-old left hander, did not play in the 2020 season because of complications following his bout with the coronavirus. He was diagnosed with myocarditis, or "an inflammation of the heart muscle," per the Mayo Clinic definition. He did not opt-out of the abbreviated season. Rather, he was shut down by the team.
In 2019, Rodriguez had a 3.81 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 213 strikeouts in 203 1/3 innings in 34 games started.