The time between the Winter Meetings and Christmas was, once upon a time, a slow period for Major League Baseball news. We've had quite the week, though, with the Yankees announcing the Aaron Judge signing and naming him captain as the appetizer for the Carlos Correa fiasco -- and coup, from the Mets' perspective.
As we near the end of the week, expect things to be slow while leaving open the possibility that some really cool stuff happens. Here are the latest news and rumors from MLB.
Yankees in on Reynolds
Pirates center fielder Bryan Reynolds has reportedly been a trade candidate this offseason after asking to get out of town, though the Pirates are said to want such a big return that it's possible nothing happens. Still, a name like this moves the needle. The Yankees have shown interest in Reynolds, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, who he notes that the Pirates mostly wanted starting pitching in a prospect return for Reynolds, while the Yankees are best suited to give up position players.
Reynolds, 27, hit .262/.345/.461 (126 OPS+) with 19 doubles, four triples, 27 homers, 62 RBI, 74 runs, seven steals and 2.9 WAR last season, but he put up 6.0 WAR with a 145 OPS+ in 2021. He's capable of being a star.
Reds sign Myers; DFA Moose
The Reds have signed outfielder/first baseman Wil Myers to a one-year deal with the mutual option for 2024. Full story here.
They've also designated Mike Moustakas for assignment. The infielder is owed $22 million ($18 million for 2023 plus a $4 million buyout of his club option in 2024) from the deal he signed with the Reds prior to the 2020 season. He played in 44 of the 60 games in 2020 and just 120 games the following two seasons combined. In total, Moustakas hit .216/.300/.383 (80 OPS+) with 21 home runs and 74 RBI in his 654 plate appearances with the Reds, good for -1.8 WAR. Needless to say, it was a disaster of a signing by the Reds.
Moustakas is heading toward his age-34 season and any team could sign him for the league minimum with the Reds footing the rest of the bill on his $22 million. He swings left-handed and hit 35 home runs in 2019, so it's very likely he'll get a look somewhere.
Cubs close to signing Barnhart
The Cubs are "closing in on a deal" with catcher Tucker Barnhart, reports Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic. The deal includes a player option for 2024 and could get Barnhart up to $9.5 million with escalators, according to the New York Post. Willson Contreras had been the Cubs' primary catcher for years, but the Cubs let him walk in free agency. It looks like it'll be the duo of Yan Gomes and Barnhart behind the plate for the club in 2023.
Gomes hit .235/.260/.365, but was worth 1.0 defensive WAR last year. Barnhart swings left-handed, so he and Gomes could be a straight platoon.
Barnhart, 31, hit .221/.287/.267 last season, but accrued 0.5 defensive WAR behind the plate. He's said to be a good receiver and it appears the Cubs are focusing solely on defense behind the plate.
Red Sox looking for another shortstop?
The Red Sox lost out on the bidding for shortstop Xander Bogaerts and the seemingly obvious answer for his replacement was to move Trevor Story back to where he cut his teeth in the bigs with the Rockies. The Athletic Boston reports, however, that Story at short is "not a foregone conclusion" and that the club is open to other options, which would leave Story at second. Interestingly, the report indicates "one name that's come up in trade talks" is Joey Wendle of the Marlins.
Wendle actually has far less experience (only 89 career appearances) at shortstop than Story; the 32-year-old has mostly played second or third. In 101 games for the Marlins last season, he hit .259/.297/.360 (86 OPS+).
Mets ink Mendick
The Mets have agreed to a deal with infielder Danny Mendick for one year and $1 million, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. Mendick, 29, is a backup utility infielder who was nontendered by the White Sox at the end of the season. He's a career .251/.309/.366 hitter in 446 plate appearances, but he swung the bat well last season for Chicago, slashing .289/.343/.443 in 106 plate appearances.
Don't expect to see a ton of Mendick, barring injury issues. The Mets have Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa in the infield with Eduardo Escobar as a utility backup option.