The Braves weren’t willing to go beyond a three-year contract for Madison Bumgarner, and “it seems highly doubtful” they would go to four years for Hyun-Jin Ryu, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman writes. Atlanta’s interest in Ryu is something of a new development, but Bowman feels it could be more due diligence on the Braves’ part than anything else, in case Ryu’s market shifts within the two- to three-year range. Multiple teams have been linked to Ryu this offseason, though it remains unclear whether any club will be willing to stretch to four years for a hurler who will be 33 years old on Opening Day and possesses a lengthy injury history.
The latest from around the NL East…
- Could Yoenis Cespedes be a trade chip? A deal seems unlikely, but MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports that the Mets have received some trade interest in the outfielder in the wake of last week’s news that Cespedes’ salary has been reduced to less than $10MM, though with significant incentives that could make it worth $20MM (assuming Cespedes gets on the field at all in 2020, of course). Cespedes has a full no-trade clause, though DiComo speculates that Cespedes might welcome a change of scenery to a team that could offer him DH at-bats, or just to get away from “a team that successfully filed a grievance against him.” It could be that rival teams are open to absorbing Cespedes’ contract as a method of acquiring some younger talent from New York, similar to how the Giants recently took Zack Cozart’s salary off the Angels’ hands in order to land shortstop prospect Will Wilson, or how the Mets themselves are trying to attach a younger player to Jeurys Familia or Jed Lowrie in a trade.
- The Nationals’ fifth starter competition is examined by Sam Fortier of the Washington Post, who reports that Erick Fedde has a minor league option remaining. This might not bode well for Fedde’s chances, as the Nats could send him down to Triple-A in favor of Austin Voth or Joe Ross, who are both out of options. That’s assuming, of course, that D.C. ends up going forward with one of these three in-house arms as the fifth starter. Fortier notes that the team was seemingly satisfied with this same trio last winter before signing Jeremy Hellickson prior to Spring Training, so it isn’t out of the question that the World Series champs could pursue another low-cost veteran before the offseason is out.
- We haven’t heard much about David Phelps about this offseason, but Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer feels the right-hander would be a good (and relatively inexpensive) addition to the Phillies bullpen. After missing all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery, Phelps had a solid comeback year in 2019, posting a 3.41 ERA, 2.12 K/BB rate, and 9.4 K/9 over 34 1/3 innings for the Cubs and Blue Jays. Phelps pitched under Phils manager Joe Girardi with the Yankees in 2012-14, and when asked about the reliever at the Winter Meetings, Girardi praised Phelps’ versatility, game preparation skills, and good numbers against both right-handed and left-handed batters.