The latest from Jon Heyman of Fancred…
- Along with the previously reported Mike Foltynewicz, the Braves don’t plan to trade center fielder Ender Inciarte or shortstop Dansby Swanson this winter, Heyman hears. Both Inciarte and Swanson have come up in trade rumors this offseason. Moving Inciarte would free up center field for Ronald Acuna Jr., but it would also take a capable starting outfielder away from a team which already needs help in that area as it is. The Braves are better situated in the middle infield, where a Swanson-less version of the club could deploy a combination of Ozzie Albies and Johan Camargo as its starters. Still, there’s reportedly hesitation on the Braves’ part to move Swanson. While Swanson hasn’t lived up to the hype that came with going No. 1 overall in the 2015 draft, he’s still young (24), just one full season into his career and controllable through 2022.
- The Angels were reportedly in the mix for free-agent starters Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi before they signed elsewhere, and the team hasn’t done anything since then to bolster its rotation. The need for high-end starters remains obvious, then, though the Angels are shopping in the second tier of the market – not at the top – per Heyman. As of now, the Angels are neither willing to go big on a free-agent starter (the priciest one remaining figures to be Dallas Keuchel) nor take a significant chunk out of their farm system to improve their rotation, according to Heyman. General manager Billy Eppler noted the importance of building a strong system earlier in the week, and it doesn’t seem he’s willing to take any steps backward in that department.
- The belief is that the Phillies have “considered” free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas as a fallback if they’re unable to sign Manny Machado, Heyman writes. Needless to say, Moustakas is a far less exciting option than Machado. It’s also debatable whether Moustakas would serve as a substantial offensive upgrade over incumbent starting third baseman Maikel Franco, judging by the similar production the two posted in 2018. Of course, Moustakas certainly carries the more impressive track record of the two at the plate; further, unlike Franco, Moustakas hasn’t been a defensive liability over the course of his career.