MLB rumors, trades and free agency updates: Crawford could be key to Segura trade for Phillies

The calendar has flipped to December and we are now in what is traditionally the busiest month of the offseason. The 2018 Winter Meetings begin one week from Monday and it's possible we'll see a major signing or trade before then. Already James Paxton has been traded and Josh Donaldson has signed. A Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz blockbuster is in the works as well.

Friday was the deadline for teams to tender their pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players contracts for the 2019 season, and a whopping 40 players hit the free agent market. Those players did not receive 2019 contract offers and were thus non-tendered. Jonathan Schoop, Mike Fiers, and Billy Hamilton are among those 40 new free agents. Here's the full list.

With the 2018-19 MLB offseason in full swing, we here at CBS Sports will keep you apprised of the latest hot stove developments with our daily roundup post. Make sure you check back throughout the day for updates. Here's the latest from the hot stove.

Crawford-for-Segura swap may be in the works

Before the Mariners' blockbuster with the Mets became almost official (see below), the Phillies had interest in trading for Edwin Diaz and Jean Segura. Since Diaz is likely to be part of that Mets trade, he won't be going to Philly. The Phillies, however, do retain a reported interest in Segura. Here are the latest details from The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal ... 

The veteran shortstop Segura has developed into one of the most consistent offensive producers at the position, and he's under contract through 2022 (with an option for 2023). In that sense, he fits the Phillies' window. Assuming Manny Machado is willing move back to third (he's indicated a preference to stay at shortstop), adding Segura won't affect the Phillies' pursuit of Machado, as Rosenthal notes. 

On the other side, J.P. Crawford doesn't turn 24 until next month, and although he hasn't hit at the highest level across a limited sample, he still has upside. The infielder and former 16th overall pick was at one point a consensus top-10 overall prospect. A fresh start and consistent playing time at the highest level would likely be good for his development. For Seattle, Crawford would be a solid return in a Segura trade. 

Braves like Keuchel

The Braves have already had an active offseason, what the recent signings of Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann, and now they may be looking to add rotation help. Atlanta has a great deal of pitching depth, but they're reportedly looking for a veteran known quantity to offset the likely departure of Anibal Sanchez. 

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, lefty Dallas Keuchel may be a Braves target on the free agent market. Keuchel, who soon turns 31, is coming off a 2018 season for the Astros in which he pitched to a 108 ERA+ in 204 2/3 innings. Keuchel previously won the AL Cy Young award in 2015. He doesn't throw hard, but he keeps the ball on the ground and fields his position very well. He's also capable of a frontline workload. Keuchel will have plenty of suitors, and the Braves appear to be among them.

Cano, Diaz trade may be on hold until Monday

The blockbuster trade sending Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets for a five-player package is unlikely to be finalized before Monday. Part of that is on the commissioner's office. The Mariners are sending the Mets a significant chunk of change to defray Cano's contract and the commissioner's office must approve all trades that involve $1 million or more changing hands, and Monday is the next business day.

And also: 

As a reminder, the Mariners are sending Cano and Diaz to the Mets for Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, reliever Gerson Bautista, and top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn. Between the Mets receiving $20 million and Bruce and Swarzak going the other way, the Mets are essentially acquiring Cano on a five-year, $60 million contract. He is owed $120 million through 2023. 

One the Cano/Diaz trade is finalized, the Mariners are expected to continue unloading veteran pieces, including Jean Segura and possibly Mitch Haniger.

Mets interested in Kluber

In addition to agreeing to acquire Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, the Mets also have reportedly engaged the Indians in trade talks regarding ace right-hander Corey Kluber. Get the details here.

Nationals expected to pursue Rendon extension

The Nationals are facing the very real possibility of losing Bryce Harper to free agency this offseason. They don't want to risk losing their other superstar, Anthony Rendon, to free agency next offseason. GM Mike Rizzo confirmed he expects to discuss a long-term contract extension with Rendon this offseason.

Rendon, 28, has been one of the best players in baseball the last two seasons, hitting .305/.389/.534 (138 OPS+) with 85 doubles and 49 home runs from 2017-18. Add in strong third base defense and you get 10.2 WAR the last two years, which puts Rendon among the game's 20 most productive players.

MLB Trade Rumors projects Rendon to earn $17.6 million in his final season of arbitration eligibility in 2019. Historically, players who sign an extension one year before free agency get free agent dollars. There is no discount. Rendon could be in line for a five- or six-year deal worth more than $25 million annually. Also, he is a Scott Boras client, and Boras is known for driving a hard bargain.

Royals willing to listen on Merrifield, not Perez

The Royals have no plans to trade catcher Salvador Perez, according to Rustin Dodd of The Athletic. Kansas City went 58-104 in 2018 and they are relatively early in their rebuild, so it stands to reason they'd be open to moving anyone, but not Perez apparently. From Dodd:

The Royals do not plan to trade Salvador Perez, who is under contract through 2021, or even entertain offers for his services. This was true last year, and this is true this winter. General manager Dayton Moore has been consistent about this for the past two offseasons. The club views Perez as an organizational pillar whose value extends beyond the field. The price is believed to be so exorbitant that no team would meet it. 

Perez, 28, hit .235/.274/.439 (92 OPS+) with 27 home runs this past season and, once again, Baseball Prospectus rated him as one of the worst defensive catchers in the game. Perez is owed $39.6 million from 2019-21 and the Royals consider him a linchpin moving forward.

As for second baseman Whit Merrifield, Dodd says the Royals are willing to listen to trade offers, but are unlikely to deal him. The soon-to-be 30-year-old hit .304/.367/.438 (121 OPS+) with 43 doubles and 12 home runs this past season, and he's won back-to-back American League stolen base titles. Merrifield has emerged as one of the top second basemen in the game and he is under team control through 2022.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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