MLB rumors: Rockies, Trevor Story agree to two-year contract; Starling Marte trade rumors heating up

Almost all notable free agents have signed, and we're gradually shifting our focus toward spring training and the approaching hoof-beats thereof. That said, rumors still lurk among us, and we're here to keep you updated on them. Speaking of which, here's Friday's crop of MLB buzz. 

Rockies, Story agree to extension

Shortstop Trevor Story and the Colorado Rockies have reportedly agreed to a two-year, $27.5 million contract extension. Story's deal will cover the final two years of arbitration eligibility, and he is now set to reach free agency at 29 years-old, after the 2021 season. You can read more about the deal here.

Marte trade talk still going

Jon Heyman reports that trade talks regarding Pirates outfielder Starling Marte are "heating up" and that the Mets and Padres are heavily involved. The Pirates, who appear to be headed for a full teardown, are surely willing to part with Marte, and he's of interest to certain aspiring contenders. 

Marte, 31, isn't best deployed in center any longer, but he can still be a defensive asset at an outfield corner. He still adds value on the bases, and this past season at the plate he produced right in line with career norms (120 OPS+). Marte's under contract for $11.5 million in 2020, and his pact includes a $12.5 million club option/$1 million buyout for 2021. That's control with some flexibility from the team standpoint, and it adds to Marte's trade value.

As for fits, the Mets have a fairly crowded outfield situation at the moment, so they're not particularly desperate for Marte. The Padres have already added Tommy Pham to the fold this winter, and they've recently been connected in trade talks to Mookie Betts of the Red Sox. Betts is the better player, but as fallback options go Marte isn't a bad one. 

Cubs, Souza close to deal

The Cubs are close to fortifying their outfield situation by signing veteran outfielder Steven Souza, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

Souza, 30, missed all of last season after tearing multiple knee ligaments late in spring training. In 2018, Souza struggled across 72 games in large measure because of a pectoral injury. In 2017, he enjoyed his last healthy and productive season, as he put up an OPS+ of 119 with 30 home runs and 16 stolen bases in 148 games. As a right-handed hitter, Souza could fit well as an occasional platoon partner for Kyle Schwarber or Jason Heyward in the outfield corners. 

Rosenthal goes on to note that Souza's deal would be a major league contract. If finalized, it would be the Cubs' first major league free agent signing of the offseason. 

Pence wants to keep playing

According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, veteran outfielder Hunter Pence wants to play again in 2020. Following the 2018 season, it looked like Pence's career might be over, but last season in his age-36 campaign he bounced back in a big way. In 83 games for the Rangers, Pence batted .297/.358/.552 with 18 home runs. As well, those strides came after some swing changes that gave Pence more loft and significantly higher exit velocity. That raises hopes that Pence's gains may be sustainable, at least in the near-term. Don't be surprised if he finds his way to at least an NRI before the offseason is over. 

Marlins chasing two former Cub relievers

According to Craig Mish, the Marlins are pursuing a pair of right-handed relievers who played for the Cubs last season: Pedro Strop and Brandon Kintzler

Strop, 34, pitched to a disappointing 4.97 ERA in 2019, but he was borderline dominant as recently as 2018. As for Kintzler, 35, he registered a 2.68 ERA in 57 innings last season with some of the strongest command-and-control numbers of his career. Given that Miami ranked 25th in bullpen ERA last season, they can use the help. 

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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