The MLB offseason of 2019-20 is ongoing but hasn't yet hit full stride, which means most of the action has yet to transpire. That said, rumors regarding free agent player and team pairings and potential trades are already circulating, and we're here to get you up to speed on all the scuttle. We also have a rundown of all of the key dates in this year's offseason and our ranking of the top 50 free agents on the market, and here's an explainer on the "luxury tax" and its implications for the winter. Now here's what's buzzing for Sunday.
Not much movement on Sox-Betts talks
Red Sox star outfielder Mookie Betts is heading into his walk year in 2020. With the Sox looking to cut payroll and get under the luxury tax threshold and with J.D. Martinez not using his opt-out, it's been speculated that Boston might look to trade Betts in order to unload salary. Betts numbers among the very best players in baseball and is still just 27 years of age, but he's due for a big raise in arbitration over his 2019 salary of $20 million. Suffice it to say, Betts with his broad base of skills -- he produces at the plate while also adding big value in the field and on the bases -- would make any team better. That includes, of course, the Red Sox.
Sox CEO Sam Kennedy has said the team hopes to sign Betts to an extension. However, as Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com points out, Kennedy also says that the two sides haven't had serious talks to that end. To some extent, that's understandable, as new GM Chaim Bloom is likely still becoming acquainted with the particulars of his position. That said, December looms.
The Red Sox should absolutely keep Betts. He's an elite performer, and he's got the makings of a franchise legend. Boston should be building around that core of Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, and Rafael Devers, not seeking to lessen it in the name of lower labor costs. The franchise is awash in cash, and operating with an eye toward the luxury tax is wholly unnecessary. That, in turn, means that the Sox's wisest move is to make a good-faith effort to retain Betts beyond 2020. That effort has yet to materialize.
Rays were interested in re-signing d'Arnaud, but ...
Catcher Travis d'Arnaud is coming off a 2019 season for the Rays in which he batted .263/.323/.459 with 16 home runs in 92 games. He also stayed healthy over that span, and health has been a major concern for d'Arnaud throughout his career. He was a free agent, and with Yasmani Grandal already off the board, d'Arnaud was arguably the best catcher remaining. Marc Topkin reported that the Rays were in talks with d'Arnaud about a contract that would have kept him in Tampa Bay.
Just a few hours later, however, the Braves announced that they had signed d'Arnaud to a two-year, $16 million deal.
Twins looking for third base help
It's interesting to note that the Twins have Miguel Sano at third base, but he's a poor defender at third and has gotten some work at first base the last few years. He could move to first permanently -- let's face it, that's where he's going to end up eventually -- so adding someone like Donaldson while putting Sano at first would give the Twins quite the powerful lineup.
Such a move likely dooms the chances of C.J. Cron staying put. He's set to make around $7.7 million in arbitration (per MLB Trade Rumors) next year before hitting free agency, so if the Twins add a third baseman, it seems likely Cron will be non-tendered to make room.