1. The market for corner bats has begun to heat up:
In an offseason that started out with a relative dearth of offensive talent, a surprising amount of corner bats remain available with just three weeks until Spring Training. That’s begun to change, however, as a pair of deals from that side of the market came together yesterday: first baseman Rhys Hoskins is finalizing a two-year deal with the Brewers, while outfielder/first baseman Joey Gallo landed a one-year pact with the Nationals. Even with that pair of sluggers off the market, plenty of options remain for clubs looking to add a corner bat or DH this winter with Jorge Soler, J.D. Martinez, Justin Turner, and Joc Pederson among the best bats remaining. With teams like the Blue Jays, Padres, and Diamondbacks still in the hunt for a bat in this vein, will the recent signings spur further activity?
2. Angels making moves:
After being among the league’s quieter teams early in the offseason as they watched franchise face and two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani depart for Chavez Ravine, the Angels have begun to show signs of life on the free agent market. After landing Robert Stephenson on a three-year deal last week, the club further bolstered their bullpen by reuniting with veteran southpaw Matt Moore on a one-year pact. Adding Stephenson and Moore to the late-inning mix alongside Carlos Estevez creates a strong back-end trio for the Halos, but the club still has plenty of work to do upgrading the starting rotation and lineup if the club hopes to be competitive in its first post-Ohtani season. Fortunately, the club has payroll space to work with. Roster Resource projects the club for a payroll of $172MM in 2024, more than $40MM below the figure they posted last year.
3. Gonzalez DFA resolution:
The Yankees designated outfielder Oscar Gonzalez for assignment last week in a move that cleared space on the 40-man roster for veteran right-hander Marcus Stroman. In doing so, they set off a one-week window to either trade Gonzalez, pass him through waivers or release him. That clock runs out today for Gonzalez, meaning a resolution will be announced shortly. Since waivers are a 48-hour process themselves and today is the final day of his window, it stands to reason that the Yankees placed him on waivers two days ago and will today learn whether he’ll be claimed or clear. Gonzalez slashed a strong .296/.327/.461 in 91 games during his rookie season in 2022 before limping to a paltry .214/.239/.312 line in 180 trips to the plate in 2023. Still, at just 26 years old and only one season removed from quality production, a team in need of help at the outfield corners could look to claim him. Gonzalez has not yet been outrighted during his career, so if he passes through waivers successfully, the Yankees will be able to stash him in the minors as non-roster depth without Gonzalez being able to reject the assignment in favor of free agency.