The non-tender deadline for Major League Baseball was Wednesday and here's a full list of the players who were clipped. We also covered the 10 most intriguing names that have joined the free agency pool as a result. One would think the so-called hot stove would actually heat up now, but there are several reasons things will remain slow, one of them being the feet-dragging by MLB when it comes to whether or not the DH will be used in the NL next season.
Regardless, we trudge forward in gathering the rumors we can here on the third day of December.
Yankees in contact with Brantley
According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Yankees have made contact with free agent outfielder Michael Brantley. The qualifier is that the Yanks would likely move forward with a serious pursuit of Brantley in the event that free agent second baseman DJ LeMahieu signs elsewhere. The ensuing need for more left-handed pop in the absence of LeMahieu could lead Brian Cashman and the Yanks to Brantley.
As for Brantley, the 33-year-old four-time All-Star has revived his career quite nicely. After the 2017 season, it seemed that Brantley's career might effectively be over because of a long run of serious injuries. Since the start of the 2018 season, however, Brantley has put up a line of .309/.368/.484 (125 OPS+) while staying generally healthy and averaging 22 home runs and 44 doubles per 162 games played. Needless to say, the Yankees could use a bat like that, and plucking him from the Astros' clutches would be mere gravy.
By all accounts, the Yankees' priority will be re-signing LeMahieu, and there seems to be mutual interest in getting something done. The uncertain market, however, can lead to uncertain outcomes, and the Yankees are wisely prepping for the possibility that they get outbid for LeMahieu.
For more MLB Hot Stove talk, check out Fantasy Baseball Today, where the crew breaks down the ideal destinations for the top free agents.
Mets zero in on McCann
The Mets are in "active talks" with free agent catcher James McCann, according to Robert Murray of Fansided, who mentions it is "increasingly likely" McCann gets a four-year deal. Multiple reports in previous weeks have said the Mets are targeting McCann over top free agent catcher J.T. Realmuto.
The previous assumption was that this would be a very tough market for free agents aside from the elite names like Realmuto and George Springer. McCann getting a four-year deal would seem like a coup for the 30-year-old backstop. Through 2018, McCann was mostly just a no-hit catcher, but he broke through with a big first half in 2019 and then hit well in his part-time action in 2020 with the White Sox.
In 2019-20 combined, McCann hit .276/.334/.474 (114 OPS+) with 29 doubles, 25 homers and 75 RBI in 149 games. If he were to do something like this in each season moving forward, he'd be an excellent signing. It's just that in 601 career games he's a .249/.300/.394 hitter. Perhaps he's really tapped into something the last two seasons, though.
Red Sox interested in Rosario
The Twins non-tendered power bat Eddie Rosario on Wednesday and Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports there's interest from the Red Sox. Now, as Morosi notes in a subsequent tweet, having lost elite defenders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley from the outfield in recent years, this might require multiple moves to make it feasible. Someone (Andrew Benintendi) would need to handle Fenway Park's tough right field which would also mean moving Alex Verdugo to the everyday center field job.
Perhaps an addition of Rosario would be part of multiple Red Sox moves in reshuffling the roster.
Regardless, Rosario in Fenway would be nice. In the last four seasons, he's slugged .493 with a 162-game average of 34 doubles and 33 homers.
Marlins looking for bullpen help
The top priority for the Marlins this offseason, according to new general manager Kim Ng, is adding bullpen help (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald). Closer Brandon Kintzler along with Brad Boxberger and Nick Vincent are among the Marlins who threw meaningful bullpen innings this past season and have since hit free agency.
The first trade made by Ng since taking over was to get righty Adam Cimber from Cleveland, but the work is far from done for Ng and her front office. Yimi Garcia looks the part of closer while it's possible James Hoyt and Richard Bleier hold down late-inning roles, but the depth certainly needs to be addressed if the Marlins want to return to the playoffs.