Here are three things we’re keeping an eye on throughout baseball today…
1. Two weeks left for Imanaga:
Left-hander Shota Imanaga’s posting window is open until January 11, meaning there’s now just two weeks left for him to arrange a deal with an MLB club. If no deal is reached by then, he will return to the Yokohama BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball, but all indications point to his market being robust. He has a 3.18 earned run average in his eight NPB seasons and is coming off a 2023 season that saw him finish with a 2.80 ERA and 29.2% strikeout rate. MLBTR predicted he could secure a five-year, $85MM deal but there have been reports of his market pushing to the $100MM range. The signing team would owe the BayStars a posting fee on top of the money they guarantee to Imanaga.
2. White Sox need roster spot for Maldy:
The White Sox agreed to a deal with catcher Martín Maldonado earlier this week. They currently have a full 40-man roster and will need to make some kind of move in order to open a spot before making the Maldy signing official. Perhaps the club will look to make some kind of trade in the coming days or simply designate someone for assignment.
3. What’s next for the Jays?
The Blue Jays have been connected to a lot of big names this winter, including Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Once those players landed elsewhere, the Jays pivoted to smaller moves, recently agreeing to terms with Kevin Kiermaier and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. There’s still time for a bigger splash, with players like Cody Bellinger and Matt Chapman available in free agency. The Kiner-Falefa deal could also be a precursor to a trade, as he now joins a crowded group of depth or part-time players on the roster. With Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. lined up at shortstop and first base respectively, candidates for the third base and second base positions include Kiner-Falefa, Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal, Davis Schneider, Ernie Clement, Otto López, Orelvis Martinez, Addison Barger and Leo Jimenez.