We're less than a month from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, and we've still got plenty of big free agent names left on the board (including Bryce Harper and Manny Machado). That means we've still got a healthy supply of buzz even as we get into the back half of January. To give you an idea of what's out there on Friday, we're here to round up all the notable trade and free agency rumors. As always, our Free Agent Tracker is a great way to catch up on what's already happened on that front. Now let's jump in ...
Marlins want to add payroll, but trades come first
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins intend to plug some holes by spending on the free-agent market, but first they want some clarity on the trade front.
All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto has been on the block for some time, but thus far no team has met Miami's reportedly high asking price. In related matters, a number of teams -- the Mets, Nationals, Brewers, Angels, Rays and perhaps Braves among them -- have met their needs at catcher. Thus the Marlins are left with a thinner crop of potential trading partners. At the same time, though, those remaining clubs have many fewer options available to them. Since contenders are sometimes hesitant to acquire a new starting catcher during the season, and Marlins may be best suited to get something done before Opening Day.
Jackson also names Dan Straily as a potential trade chip. That's certainly plausible. Teams are always pining for starting pitching, and Straily has a history of being reasonably effective when healthy. No, you're not going to get any kind of a haul for Dan Straily, but his $5 million salary should be easy enough to clear.
Should one or both of those names get moved, then you might see the Marlins in play for some mid-tier guys left on the market. No, the Marlins aren't going to contend anytime soon, but there's something to be said -- especially these days -- for fielding a vaguely respectable roster.
Yanks angling for Arenado
So here's a juicy one: SNY's Andy Martino reports that the Yankees want to land Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, either by trading for him or signing him when he hits the free agent market next offseason. You can read more on this story here.
Reds closing in on trade for Yanks' Gray
The Yankees have added a great deal of pitching depth this offseason, and now they're looking to move right-hander Sonny Gray, who's coming off a disappointing 2018. They'll be able to do that since Gray's still not 30 and has in the past pitched at a near-ace level. For a long time, the Reds have been mentioned in connection with Gray, and now it appears they're moving closer to a deal ...
#Reds making progress in pursuit of #Yankees’ Sonny Gray, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 18, 2019
In Sonny Gray talks, Yankees have shown interest in 2B prospect Shed Long and C prospect Tyler Stephenson from Reds, among others, who have a nice prospect list. A draft pick could also factor into a potential Sonny deal.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 18, 2019
The Reds have already added Alex Wood and Tanner Roark this winter, so they're committed to improving the rotation heading into 2019.
Machado's dad says his son has offers
The Manny Machado market has been a bit slow to develop this offseason (the same goes for Bryce Harper, of course). Perhaps that's why on Friday, Machado's dad went public with some scoops about who's made contract offers to his son and who may be the frontrunner. Not all are buying what Mr. Machado is selling, but his revelations are certainly worth noting. Get the details here.
Machado's dad hinted about a mystery team in his interview, and Jon Heyman of Fancred confirmed that there is indeed a mystery team in the Machado race. According to Heyman, the mystery team was not necessarily Machado's preferred landing spot but the team had the highest bid.
Have heard there is indeed a mystery team in Manny derby, and also recently heard that team had the high bid (impression also was that the surprise team wasn’t necessarily his preferred landing spot but maybe $ will decide) https://t.co/Im9JgVyPWQ— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 19, 2019
Oh, and let it also be noted that Machado was possibly spotted wearing a White Sox hat.
Kapler hits it off with Harper
The Phillies recently met with free agent Bryce Harper, and by all accounts it went swimmingly. Philly manager Gabe Kapler was part of the contingent, and to hear him tell it he and Harper got on quite well. So are the Phillies the Harper frontrunners? Maybe. Read more here.
Angels find their closer
The Angels early Friday reportedly agreed to terms with former Indians closer Cody Allen on a contract for 2019. Read more here on the financial details and Allen's likely motivation for taking a one-year pact.