As we continue to march through a busy day in the rumor mill, here’s the latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com:
- Pirates closer Mark Melancon has been made available, per Heyman. Pittsburgh seems interested in the possibility of cashing him in and re-deploying an arbitration salary that MLBTR projects to land at a cool $10MM. Melancon joins a loaded trade market that is fronted by appealing potential chips such as Aroldis Chapman (Reds) and Craig Kimbrel (Padres) and which could also include Andrew Miller of the Yankees.
- And that’s not all, as Shawn Tolleson of the Rangers has drawn interest, with Texas said to be willing to listen but not planning to shop the righty. The Phillies seem willing to part with Ken Giles at the right price. Then, of course, there are Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen of the Nationals, either of whom could theoretically be dealt.
- With teams such as the Yankees and Nationals potentially factoring as both buyers and sellers of late-inning arms, says Heyman, it could end up being a “wild closer’s market.” There are a host of teams with interest in Chapman and Kimbrel. The former is said to be “eminently available” from the Reds, while the latter may not be dealt by the Padres, who Heyman says will not enter a rebuilding phase. As for Miller, New York GM Brian Cashman’s openness to creativity doesn’t mean a deal is likely, with Heyman suggesting a significant player — he suggests the involvement of Stephen Strasburg — would be necessary to pry Miller loose.
- While he’s only likely to get a make-good deal at this point, Joe Nathan is working his way back and could be ready to throw by May of 2016, Heyman writes. The Tigers would be glad to bring back the soon-to-be 41-year-old on a minor league pact, per the report.
- While the Astros say they don’t need to do much beside adding left-handed arms to the pen, Heyman says that the club does have a shopping list. If Colby Rasmus departs, a left fielder could be added, while additional relief arms, a starter, and an addition at first base might also be pursued.
- Heyman also provides a few notes on some players of interest. Free agent second baseman Howie Kendrick is looking for four years. The Pirates are taking offers on first baseman (and DH candidate) Pedro Alvarez. And reliever Steve Cishek will soon become a free agent, as the Cardinals do not intend to tender him a contract.
- The Mariners still have some work to do after striking an early trade, Heyman writes, with a center fielder and starting pitcher among the needs. Adding to the pen and bolstering the catching corps will also be among the priorities of GM Jerry Dipoto and his staff. Seattle will try to solve its rotation needs by retaining Hisashi Iwakuma, as has widely been reported, with Heyman adding that the club will try to do so with a two-year offer.