MLB rumors: White Sox planning to keep Abreu; Giants have interest in Pillar
We're on the other side of the winter meetings, but there's plenty of offseason action ahead
To give you an idea of the buzz that's out there on Saturday, we're here to round up all the notable trade and free agency rumors. As always,. Now let's jump into Saturday.
White Sox won't trade Abreu
The White Sox have no intentions of trading Jose Abreu following , reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The duo will split their time at first base and DH, with Daniel Palka, who quietly hit 27 home runs as a rookie this past season, likely moving into a corner outfield spot full-time. Rumors of course continue to connect Chicago to Machado and/or Harper.
Abreu, 32 in January, set new career lows in batting average (.265), on-base percentage (.325), OPS (.798), OPS+ (118), and home runs (22) in 2018. MLB Trade Rumors projects him to make $16 million in 2019, his final season of team control before becoming a free agent. The ChiSox have resisted trade overtures in recent years, and while trading Abreu at the deadline is always possible, the club values his leadership and may sign him to an extension.
Giants have interest in Pillar
Pillar, 30 in January, hit .252/.282/.426 with 40 doubles and 15 home runs in 2018. He has a career .298 on-base percentage but is regarded as an excellent defensive center fielder. In fact, Pillar ranks fifth among all outfielders with 56 Defensive Runs Saved since 2015.
San Francisco has a promising young center fielder in Steven Duggar, who hit .255/.303/.390 with two homers and five steals in 41 games in his MLB debut in 2018. Pillar has experience playing the corners, however, and having two center field caliber defenders roaming the spacious AT&T Park outfield is an obvious advantage. Also, the righty hitting Pillar would allow the Giants to sit the left-handed hitting Duggar against all those tough NL West lefties (Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kyle Freeland, Tyler Anderson, Robbie Ray, etc), at least at first until he really settles in.
Kluber, Bauer trade less likely
Cleveland has been busy these past few weeks, trading away Yan Gomes, Edwin Encarnacion, and most recently Yonder Alonso. All that moving and shaking has enabled Cleveland to knock nearly $20 million off its 2019 payroll. In turn, it's lessened the odds of a trade involving Corey Kluber and/or Trevor Bauer, per Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports:
Of course, Cleveland could still listen to offers on both with an eye on moving one if too good of an opportunity presents itself -- particularly since Cleveland could stand to add a new backstop and needs to build an entirely new bullpen. But for now, it seems more likely than it did a week ago that Kluber and Bauer will remain in place.
Astros could add two hitters
The Astros haven't done much this winter, but it seems like that could change in due time.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Astros remain intent on adding a hitter -- be it Nelson Cruz or Michael Brantley, who offers more defensive versatility thanks to his willingness to play first base. Rosenthal added that the Astros are also open to trading Josh Reddick, which in turn could allow them to sign both Cruz and Brantley -- though that scenario seems unlikely.
Reddick, 31, is coming off a disappointing season. He posted a 99 OPS+, his worst output since 2013. Historically, he's been an above-average hitter who can go get it in the outfield. Reddick is owed $13 million in each of the next two seasons.
Brewers seeking second baseman
Rosenthal also reported that the Brewers are showing interest in second basemen Daniel Murphy and Jed Lowrie -- with Lowrie having shared history with general manager David Stearns from their time together in the Astros organization.
The Brewers are seeking a second baseman after non-tendering Jonathan Schoop earlier in the offseason. Presumably their interest signals they'd prefer to move Travis Shaw back to third base rather than keep him at second and find a new third baseman.
Cubs interested in Tulo
The Blue Jays released Troy Tulowitzki earlier this week, opting to pay him $38 million over the next two seasons rather than bring him to camp. Predictably, the five-time All-Star is drawing interest now that he's available for a league-minimum salary.
Tulowitzki, 34, appeared in just 66 games in 2017 and missed all of last season. From 2015-17, he hit .263/.322/.429 (97 OPS+) while averaging 16 homers and 108 games. There's no telling if he can return to even that level of production, but at least six teams want to find out.
The Cubs are reportedly among those teams. Chicago is known to be seeking a new utility infielder, and doesn't seem interested in spending more than it needs to in order to lock one down. It's unknown whether Tulowitzki would be willing to accept a bench role -- or if he'll have a choice.
Nats pursuing veteran starters
Fiers was recently non-tendered by the Athletics after a strong season. The A's didn't seem interested in tying up around $10 million for his services -- not when he continued to show homer-prone tendencies despite an otherwise shiny 3.56 ERA. Sanchez, meanwhile, had a resurgent year with the Braves, posting a 2.83 ERA. He previously appeared on his way out of the majors entirely.
Nationals sign Adams
Cardinals in an August trade waiver salary dump claim. He hit .239/.309/.477 with 21 home runs in 337 total plate appearances in 2018 and will serve as a bench bat and platoon option for Ryan Zimmerman at first base.. Adams started this past season with Washington before being sent to the
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