Generally speaking, there's a bit of a lull with baseball transactions between Christmas and the new year, but the offseason rumors never truly stop. With that in mind, let's round up the latest on the MLB hot stove on the penultimate day of 2019.
Betts not being shopped
The Red Sox are still possibly going to trade superstar outfielder Mookie Betts this offseason, but WEEI reports that they are not "actively shopping" Betts. The Red Sox will still listen to offers regarding Betts, the report says. There are some semantics involved here, but it sounds like the Red Sox aren't calling other teams with Betts offers and instead are taking calls and listening to offers from other teams.
Betts is set to hit free agency after the 2020 season, unless he signs an extension, and the Red Sox are said to be looking to shed payroll. Betts took a step back last season from his MVP season in 2018, but he still hit .295/.391/.524 (135 OPS+) with 6.8 WAR and led the majors with 135 runs scored.
White Sox can still add
The White Sox have been among the busiest teams this offseason, adding Nomar Mazara via trade while signing Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel, Edwin Encarnacion and Gio Gonzalez in free agency. They might not be done, either. Here's what general manager Rick Hahn said on a conference call with local reporters:
White Sox still have flexibility to add to payroll. Will keep 'powder dry' for July as well, Hahn said.— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) December 30, 2019
Obviously, it's unclear how much more money the club is willing to take on, but the payroll is at $117 million and change right now (per Cot's) and that's low for a large-market ballclub. The highest they've gone was nearly $128 million in 2011 and that ranked seventh in baseball at the time.
Reds sign Shogo Akiyama
The Reds have agreed to a three-year deal with Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama. He's spent his entire professional career in Japan's NPB..