There’s a flurry of offseason rumors flying about Twitter in the early stages of free agency and with the General Managers Meetings taking place in Arizona at the moment. Much of the talk is preliminary at this juncture, and many of the names connected to teams in the early-going won’t ultimately be targets in the long run. That said, the GM Meetings can certainly provide a forum to lay the groundwork for future free-agent deals and trades, and we even see the occasional big-name signing there (as was the case with Victor Martinez re-signing with the Tigers prior to the 2015 season). Here’s a rundown of all the latest free-agent chatter…
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters that he plans to reach out to the representatives for free agent left-hander Rich Hill (Twitter link via NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty). Cashman stressed that he’s planning to meet with the reps for a large number of free agents, but the Yankees have been an oft-speculated landing spot for Hill, who seems likely to cash in on a significant free agent deal this winter less than 18 months removed from a stint pitching for the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. MLBTR ranked Hill 14th among free agents and pegged him for a three-year, $50MM deal.
- The Dodgers will also be in the mix for Hill, tweets Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times, and they’re having dialogue with his representatives as well as those for free agents Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner. The Dodgers already made qualifying offers to both Jansen and Turner, though it’s a no-brainer for each to reject in search of a more lucrative deal. It’d be somewhat of a surprise if the Dodgers let all three of their big-name free agents sign elsewhere this winter, although re-signing all three doesn’t seem to be an especially likely outcome, either.
- Mike Napoli is drawing early interest from the Mariners, tweets Jon Morosi of the MLB Network. As Morosi points out, Napoli has a good history with Seattle manager Scott Servais dating back to his Rangers days. Napoli would be a logical fit for the M’s, who project to have the unproven Dan Vogelbach as their starting first baseman next year. However, the possibility of an eventual timeshare situation developing between the two may not be palatable from Napoli’s vantage point, I wouldn’t think. And it would seem strange for the Mariners to part with a controllable lefty like Mike Montgomery to acquire Vogelbach only to block him a few months later by giving Napoli the everyday first base gig.
- Morosi also tweets that left-hander Boone Logan is generating some early interest, and FanRag’s Jon Heyman hears the same. Morosi notes that the Blue Jays and Giants both had interest in Logan at the non-waiver trade deadline this summer, though the Rockies elected not to trade him. Toronto, in particular, could probably use some left-handed relief help, as it was an area of weakness for them for much of the 2016 and they now stand to lose Brett Cecil to the open market. The 32-year-old Logan is probably best deployed as a lefty specialist, which may limit his market a bit, but he excels in that area. Logan held lefties to a putrid .142/.222/.255 slash in 2016 and a .225/.349/.254 slash in 2015.
- MLB.com’s Mark Bowman writes that if the Braves are to sign a new catcher this winter, the likeliest targets are Jason Castro and Nick Hundley. Bowman tabs Wilson Ramos as a long shot and says he’d only land in Atlanta if his asking price declined significantly. Also per Bowman, Atlanta has never seemed all that interested in pursuing former Georgia Tech star Matt Wieters. Castro would give the Braves another strong defender and a left-handed bat to complement the right-handed bat of Tyler Flowers. Hundley, meanwhile, would be more of an offensive-minded backstop for the Braves.
- Korean third-baseman Jae-gyun Hwang will host a showcase for interested teams in Florida on Nov. 21, tweets Morosi. The 29-year-old didn’t draw a bid when posted last offseason but delivered another very strong season in the KBO this year. Hwang hit a career-best 27 homers and posted a .335/.394/.570 line with dramatically improved K/BB numbers in 2016 and could be a relatively low-cost option at the hot corner this winter.