Spring training games are now fully underway and we're past the first of March, looking at less than a month until regular-season baseball is back with us. Still, there are some worthwhile players in free agency, and it's always possible trades will be made and players sign extensions. That means the rumor mill can churn, on occasion.
Let's round up the latest.
No extension with Rockies, Story?
The Rockies have already traded franchise centerpiece Nolan Arenado this year. They even sent money with him. Next on the list could well be star shortstop Trevor Story. He's been one of the best, even if underrated, shortstops in the game these last three seasons. He's also a free agent after the 2021 season unless the two sides come an agreement on a contract extension.
Let's not hold our breath on that one. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Tuesday that, "the Rockies are said not to have the budget for any big signing at the moment, so barring some big change there won't be an extension coming anytime soon for [Story]."
If the Rockies are as bad as expected this season, it's much more likely Story is involved in trade rumors than extension rumors moving forward.
Phillies possibly done spending on this season
The Phillies are set with a payroll in the ballpark of where last season's full-year figure would've been. This is assuming bullpen additions Brandon Kintzler and Tony Watson make the team. If that's the case, reports Matt Gelb of The Athletic, the team is done spending on player payroll for this season, "for now." They are close to being up against the luxury-tax threshold and ownership has never spent to that level before.
Remaining free agents include center fielder Jackie Bradley, starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi, starter/reliever Trevor Cahill and reliever Shane Greene. We can probably cross the Phillies off the list for any of these guys, but the bigger impact will be possibly trying to beef up the roster around the trade deadline. Any big-ticket acquisition would push the Phillies over the luxury tax.
Then again, note the "for now" in the report. Things can always change in the heat of the pennant race.
Odorizzi willing to wait
As noted, the top starting pitcher left on the market is Odorizzi. He was an All-Star in 2019 when he was 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA (129 ERA+), 1.21 WHIP and 178 strikeouts in 159 innings. He was held to just four starts in 2020 due to a blister and an abdominal injury. His numbers were bad, but, again, it was four starts. There's a track record here of a mid-rotation starter.
It appears he'll continue to wait out the market instead of settling, too. Heyman reports Odorizzi is "willing to wait" for the "right offer."
It might last a bit. Former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel didn't sign until June of 2019, though there are other examples of pitchers agreeing to terms late in spring training.