Houston Astros – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-12-13T05:20:44Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On J.A. Happ, Lance Lynn]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140001 2018-12-12T01:42:23Z 2018-12-12T01:41:20Z 7:41pm: Both Happ and former teammate Lance Lynn are “engaged with” the Astros, Yankees, Reds, Rangers and Blue Jays, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com tweets. Happ’s also continuing to draw the attention of the Phillies, while Lynn has received interest from the White Sox, according to Feinsand.

9:53am: It has seemed for the past few days that veteran lefty J.A. Happ could be the next domino to fall in the starting pitching market, and there are signs this morning that talks are advancing. Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Happ’s market is “heating up,” while Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports on Twitter that Happ is sitting on multiple two-year offers.

The key question remains whether Happ will secure a guaranteed third season. Passan says that he has yet to receive such an offer. Happ’s representatives have “indicated he’ll sign with the first” team that meets that asking price, however, so it seems possible that something could come together swiftly.

Entering the offseason, MLBTR predicted that Happ would indeed secure that third season in a new deal, riding his solid recent track record to a $48MM guarantee. There certainly seems to be sufficient interest to support such an outcome, though organizations are understandably hesitant to commit to Happ through his age-38 campaign.

To this point, the Phillies, Braves, Yankees, Brewers, Reds, Angels, Astros, Twins, Blue Jays, and White Sox have all been connected to Happ. It’s certainly not impossible to imagine a few other organizations with possible interest as well, though at present it’s tough to gauge the likeliest landing spots.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Corner Outfield Market]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=140025 2018-12-11T19:31:42Z 2018-12-11T19:31:42Z The focus of the corner outfield market remains on Bryce Harper, of course, but there are a few other significant players available. Regarding Harper, there’s not much in the way of news, though Joel Sherman of the New York Post looks at how he could conceivably end up falling to the Dodgers, who are said to be pursuing high-end assets. Here, though, we’ll focus in on the next-best assets on the market.

The Phillies are “showing significant interest” in Andrew McCutchen, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philly, representing a new connection for the former superstar. Cutch is nowhere near the player he once was, but that easy characterization can tend to obscure how good he still is.

Meanwhile, the Astros are said to be in on another top corner piece. Per Jon Morosi of MLB.com, via Twitter, the Houston organization has interest in Michael Brantley. That’s a bit of a surprising match, if only because the team is still paying top dollar to another veteran lefty corner outfielder in Josh Reddick, but perhaps Brantley could also spend some time at first base to increase his versatility.

Earlier in the offseason, both McCutchen and Brantley were connected to the ’Stros — though mostly as part of a group of significant free agents. The Houston plans have remained hard to figure to this point, with the team’s intentions regarding top prospect Kyle Tucker potentially weighing in their assessment of new acquisition targets.

MLBTR predicted that both McCutchen and Brantley would secure three-year, $45MM pacts. There’s no real clarity as of yet as to whether the market will support those or greater values.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Payroll Notes: Astros, Indians, Cubs]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=139981 2018-12-11T14:09:27Z 2018-12-11T12:01:21Z The Astros began last season with a team-record $182MM payroll, the fifth-highest mark in the league, but after falling short of their bid to repeat as World Series champs, there’s a possibility that payroll could rise even higher by the start of 2019, according to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. They won’t extend beyond the luxury tax mark, but Owner Jim Crane is giving the green light to inch closer to the $206MM tax line should the right deals come along via trades or free agency. The Astros long-term financial ledger is fairly clear with only Jose Altuve signed beyond 2020, and yet, by this time next winter, Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Collin McHugh and Brad Peacock will be free agents, George Springer and Lance McCullers Jr. will be in their final year of arbitration, and young studs Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman should earn significant pay hikes in their second and first seasons of arb eligibility, respectively. Still, Houston appears staunch in their unwillingness to deal top prospect Forrest Whitley, and the offseason additions made thus far have been measured – infielder Aledmys Diaz is pre-arb and catcher Robinson Chirinos signed for one-year, $5.75MM. Expect GM Jeff Luhnow to continue to spend judiciously, as there does not appear to be a knee-jerk spending spree on the horizon, though the possibility for increased spending is there. Now, some other payroll notes from the 2016 pennant winners…

  • Rumors have not stopped swirling around the Cleveland Indians since the offseason began, but as evidenced by Carlos Carrasco’s journey from the trade block to signing a below-market extension, anything remains possible in Cleveland. In fact, there’s no set number for the team’s 2019 payroll, per Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal, as the team’s focus remains fixed on finding a balance between staying competitive with the American League’s upper echelon and maintaining a sustainable talent base beyond 2020. Cleveland’s payroll has risen to historic (for them) levels during this current competitive stretch, and there remains the mandate to shed payroll for 2019, but the priority, by far, is to add controllable assets for the future. While getting younger is an obvious side effect of increased controllability, youth is in-and-of-itself not the goal for ownership. Where the payroll for 2019 ends up is a flexible line, so long as the goal of adding controllable assets is achieved. This falls in line with current thinking that the Indians are less likely to attach one of their bulkier short-term contracts to Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer, as either pitcher on their own will net a far more controllable collection of assets. With movement on the free agent and trade markets relatively slow league-wide, the Indians have the prerogative of patience at the moment, but as major signings start to trickle in, it will be interested to track the level of urgency in Cleveland regarding these trade talks. That said, pitchers like Kluber and Bauer will never cease to attract interested trade partners, but the window for moving a package like the rumored Edwin Encarnacion/Yandy Diaz deal may have a smaller, or at least, shifting window of availability.
  • The Cubs continue to target late-inning bullpen additions, a backup catcher and potentially a middle infielder, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Any trades involving current players, such as Ben Zobrist, who is in the last year of his deal, or noted trade target Kyle Schwarber would have to improve the Cubs from an on-field standpoint, as despite their fiscal restraints, they do not appear motivated to move someone like Zobrist simply for the salary relief.
  • That said, the Cubs have a fairly specific wish list this winter after the departures of David Ross (after 2016) and Jon Jay (after 2017) led to a perceived leadership void in the Cubs clubhouse, per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. One solution may be to have Ross himself, still employed as a special assistant, spend more time around the team this season, but the Cubs front office remains on the lookout for a vocal veteran who can bring some accountability to the Chicago locker room. GM Jed Hoyer dubbed their lack of leadership in 2018 as a “miscalculation,” as they assumed certain issues would resolve themselves because so much of the Chicago core had been together for so long. It’s an interesting area of need for the Cubs considering they have no shortage of veterans who, to the outside eye, might step into that leadership void. Presumably, veterans like Jon Lester, Anthony Rizzo, Cole Hamels, Jason HeywardPedro Strop and Zobrist provide varying degrees of leadership, and the more youthful Javier Baez and Willson Contreras also seem capable of galvanizing the team at times, but the ability to take someone to task is indeed a rare trait, it seems, and one that Hoyer suggests is more likely to come from a reserve than a marquee player. 
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Astros Were Likely Finalist For Eovaldi]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=139828 2018-12-10T23:25:43Z 2018-12-10T23:25:43Z
  • Three other teams were finalists for Nathan Eovaldi before the right-hander re-signed with the Red Sox, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets.  The Angels were one of the finalists, and Eovaldi himself implied that the Astros were another, saying that he strongly considered pitching in his hometown of Houston.  It isn’t known who the fourth finalist was, though the Phillies also had interest in Eovaldi, but as a closer, reports The Athletic’s Jayson Stark (Twitter link).  Eovaldi’s desire to remain as a starting pitcher closed the door on that opportunity, however.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Astros Notes: Kikuchi, Abreu, Goldschmidt]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=139782 2018-12-10T04:17:45Z 2018-12-10T04:17:45Z Here’s the latest from Houston…

    • It doesn’t appear as if the Astros will make a push for Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, The Athletic’s Jake Kaplan reports (subscription required).  Such teams as the Phillies, Yankees, Giants, Dodgers, Rangers, Mariners, and Padres have been linked to Kikuchi’s services, though there has been speculation that the teams on the west coast may have a bit of an advantage due to geography.
    • Also from Kaplan’s piece, he details the Astros’ most notable needs heading into the Winter Meetings, namely another starting pitcher and another bat, preferably a left-handed hitter for lineup-balance purposes.  (Though GM Jeff Luhnow has said of his hitter search, “We’re not going to be wed to it having to be a lefty or a righty or having it be a specific position.“)  Listing a few speculative names who could be potential fits for the Astros, Kaplan opines that Robbie Ray, Michael Brantley, Jose Martinez, Daniel Murphy, or Nelson Cruz could all be possible trade or free agent targets.
    • The Astros have been in touch with the White Sox about Jose Abreu, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports.  Abreu has been on Houston’s radar before, including at last year’s trade deadline.  Latest reports suggest that the Sox may not part with Abreu in the offseason (if at all) since they’d be selling low in the wake of a somewhat disappointing season for the first baseman.  Abreu hit .265/.325/.473 with 22 homers over 553 PA for Chicago in 2018, a marked dropoff from the .883 OPS he posted over his first four Major League seasons.
    • Speaking of first base targets, Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link) that the Astros included pitching prospects Cionel Perez and J.B. Bukauskas in talks with the Diamondbacks about Paul Goldschmidt, before Arizona sent Goldschmidt to the Cardinals.  MLB.com ranks Perez and Bukauskas 5th and 8th, respectively, in their list of the top 30 prospects in Houston’s farm system, though it could be argued that neither were in the Astros’ true upper tier of young arms.  Forrest Whitley, for instance, is a consensus top-10 prospect in baseball, while MLB.com also had Josh James ahead of Perez and Bukauskas in their ranking.  Bukauskas cracked the preseason top-100 prospect lists from MLB.com and Baseball America, though an injury-shortened 2018 season dimmed his ranking and recent reports suggested that the Astros may be using Bukauskas as a trade chip.  Perez, a 22-year-old southpaw from Cuba, made his MLB debut last season, though between he and Bukauskas, they didn’t have the Major League readiness that St. Louis offered the D’Backs (namely Luke Weaver and Carson Kelly) for Goldschmidt.  Still, the Astros’ apparent willingness to give up two controllable young arms for premium talent is an interesting hint about how far they’ll go to make a significant hitting upgrade.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Astros Rumors: Catchers, Eovaldi]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=139726 2018-12-09T17:37:01Z 2018-12-09T17:37:01Z
  • The Dodgers are also “all in” on the catcher market, as are the Astros and Mets, Olney reports. Any of those teams could find its answer with Pittsburgh’s Francisco Cervelli, for whom the Pirates are willing to consider offers, according to Olney. Cervelli is coming off an impressive 2018, but as a soon-to-be 33-year-old who’s expensive ($11.5MM), down to his last season of team control and has a startling history of concussions, the low-budget Pirates may be willing to go in another direction.
  • Back to the Astros, who didn’t earnestly pursue righty Nathan Eovaldi in free agency, Olney relays. The two sides were a match on paper, Olney points out, as Eovaldi’s a Houston native and the Astros are seeking starting help. Eovaldi re-signed with the Red Sox this week on a four-year, $68MM deal, though, and the Astros continue to need a starter. There’s “one industry theory” that the Astros are more focused on upgrading via trade, which could point them to Syndergaard, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer or Zack Greinke, Olney notes.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[At Least 5 Teams Interested In Josh Harrison]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=139690 2018-12-09T05:28:07Z 2018-12-09T05:28:07Z Josh Harrison had a year to forget in 2018, leading the Pirates to buy out the veteran infielder after the season and end a relationship that began in 2009. Nevertheless, no fewer than five teams have shown interest in Harrison this offseason, according to Fancred’s Jon Heyman, who lists the Astros and Giants among clubs that have at least considered the 31-year-old. Heyman previously reported interest from the Yankees, Reds and Nationals.

    Harrison’s coming off an up-and-down tenure in Pittsburgh, where he debuted in 2011 and managed to reach the 2.0 fWAR in two individual seasons. He was at his best during a 4.8-fWAR showing in 2014, which led the Pirates to award him an extension worth a guaranteed $27.3MM early in 2015.

    Harrison went on to combine for an unspectacular 5.4 fWAR during the rest of his stint with the franchise. He was especially disappointing in 2018, when he totaled 0.3 fWAR and batted .250/.293/.363 (78 wRC+) with minimal power (eight home runs, .113 ISO) across 374 plate appearances. While Harrison only logged a .285 weighted on-base average in 2018, he posted an even less inspiring .275 xwOBA, per Statcast. Of course, it’s worth noting Harrison’s season began in terrible fashion when he suffered a fractured left hand – an injury that sidelined him from mid-April to mid-May and could have played a role in his drop in production.

    Harrison, to his credit, is just two years removed from a 2017 campaign in which he was among the Pirates’ most valuable players. He also comes with vast experience at second and third base, two positions where he has been a plus defender for the majority of his career. But it could be difficult for Harrison to garner playing time at either position in Houston, which boasts superstars Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman at those spots and also has Aledmys Diaz and Yuli Gurriel on hand as versatile options. Like the Astros, the Giants feature established players at second and third – Joe Panik and Evan Longoria – but those two joined Harrison in struggling last season. The Giants’ new president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi, seems to be looking for infield help as a result.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Astros Could Continue Adding At Catcher]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=139574 2018-12-07T19:37:04Z 2018-12-07T19:37:04Z The addition of Robinson Chirinos on a one-year, $5.75MM contract won’t stop the Astros from pursuing additional help behind the plate, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, but president of baseball ops Jeff Luhnow did suggest that the team is comfortable moving forward with Chirinos and Max Stassi in the event that a further opportunity doesn’t come along at a palatable price. “We certainly feel good about going into the season with Stassi and Chirinos as our catchers,” said Luhnow. “We’ve got [Garrett] Stubbs in the Minor Leagues and other players as well. It doesn’t mean we won’t take advantage of the opportunity if one presents itself as a way to get better, but right now we feel comfortable with the group we have.” Houston stands out as a logical fit for Marlins star J.T. Realmuto or the Pirates’ Francisco Cervelli on the trade market, while the reps for free agents Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos have presumably reached out to the ’Stros as well. The Astros have often carried three catching options in the past, so it shouldn’t be ruled out that they’d do so in 2019.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Astros Sign Robinson Chirinos]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=139307 2018-12-06T23:09:49Z 2018-12-06T23:08:45Z Dec.6: The Astros have now formally announced the signing, which brings their 40-man roster count to a total of 38 players.

    Dec. 5: The deal is for $5.75MM, Rosenthal tweets.

    Dec. 4, 4:31pm: Chirinos himself confirms to Mark Berman of FOX 26 that he has agreed to a one-year deal with the Astros and will be in Houston tomorrow to take a physical (Twitter link).

    3:02pm: The Astros are closing in on a contract with free agent backstop Robinson Chirinos, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link). A deal is “believed to be in place” and is pending a physical, he adds. Terms are not yet known. Chirinos is represented by MDR Sports Management.

    Robinson Chirinos | Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

    Chirinos will join Max Stassi atop the Astros’ depth chart behind the plate and bring an offensive-minded profile to the table. The 34-year-old somewhat surprisingly had a $4.5MM option declined by the Rangers despite hitting a combined .233/.337/.456 with 54 homers in 1178 plate appearances as a Ranger over the past four seasons. Chirinos’ production did dip substantially in 2018 from a career year in 2017, but he was still a roughly league-average bat per park-adjusted metrics like OPS+ (97) and wRC+ (103).

    That said, Chirinos doesn’t come with a strong defensive reputation. He’s thrown out 25 percent of opposing base thieves in his career but saw that mark fall to just 10 percent last season, and while he grades out well in terms of blocking pitches in the dirt, Baseball Prospectus has routinely graded him as a below-average framer — never more so than in 2018.

    With each of Brian McCann, Martin Maldonado and Evan Gattis hitting free agency, the Astros had a clear need to add some catching help to pair with Stassi, who has yet to fully establish himself as a big league regular. The 27-year-old Stassi (28 in March) batted .226/.316/.394 with eight homers and 13 doubles in 2018. He’s prevented stolen bases at a roughly league-average clip and graded out as a premium framer, but he’s also never topped the 250 plate appearances the Astros gave him last season. Adding Chirinos to the fold will give Houston at least one additional catching option with notable big league experience.

    Of course, it’s not out of the questions that the ’Stros further add behind the plate. Houston has often carried three catching options in the past, with McCann, Gattis, Stassi and Maldonado all occupying space on the 40-man roster in various combinations at times.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Bryce Harper]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=139251 2018-12-04T19:30:12Z 2018-12-04T19:30:57Z TODAY: Johnson has denied any recent meetings with Harper, leading to a significantly revised Yahoo report. It’s not entirely clear from the current version of the story whether the Dodgers have or will send a contingent to meet with Harper at all.

    YESTERDAY: The Dodgers have held a sit-down with free agent superstar Bryce Harper, according to a report from Tim Brown and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. It’s a must-read update on the still-developing market for one of the winter’s marquee free agents.

    Of particular note, the Los Angeles behemoth has now made a notable foray into the Harper market — a possibility that was never quite clear but always tantalized. Minority owner and NBA legend Magic Johnson led a delegation to Harper’s home town of Las Vegas, suggesting at a minimum that pursuing Harper is a serious consideration for an organization that has not generally chased top free agents under president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

    At the outset of the offseason, we did predict that Harper would land with the Dodgers, and score a massive contract in the process. But that was anything but a high-probability prediction, as the outfielder’s market was then and remains difficult to assess in the usual manner. Harper, after all, is a rather unique commodity. Like fellow free agent Manny Machado, he’s an established star who only recently turned 26 years of age. Both players also have their blemishes, to be sure, but the talent ceilings and volume of potentially prime seasons are, in both cases, immense.

    Thus it is that, as the Yahoo duo report, “upward of a dozen” organizations across the league have or likely will follow Magic in a Vegas road trip to chat with Harper. The Yankees are among them, despite a litany of reports suggesting they won’t pursue this particular opportunity, while the Phillies are an unsurprising club in the market as well.

    We’ve heard plenty about the White Sox to date, of course, but the seriousness of their pursuit has been tough to gauge. According to Yahoo, the South Siders have dispatched Jim Thome and others to help woo Harper to a rebuilding situation. Other possibilities abound, with the Cubs, Padres, Astros, and Cardinals all tabbed as teams with at least speculative potential interest. (That’s all in addition to the incumbent Nats, of course.)

    The report cautions that these early visits don’t necessarily signal an all-in commitment to chase the market on Harper. Certainly, it’s worth bearing in mind that the teams are still assessing their respective levels of interest. Still, it seems promising for Harper that he has drawn this much focus from nearly half the teams in baseball — particularly given that they’re all already aware that he reportedly turned down a $300MM offer to stay in DC.

    There was never any doubt, of course, that he’d be heavily pursued. But there are relatively few big-spending teams with clear-cut needs in the corner outfield, making it tough to guess at interest based upon team need and even historical spending patterns. It seems, though, that there are at least quite a few teams that are willing to assign significant resources to assess whether Harper is enough of an asset, on and off the field, to warrant not only an enormous outlay but also some roster maneuvering to fit.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[AL Notes: Royals, Astros, Bauer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=139006 2018-12-01T18:48:07Z 2018-12-01T16:23:30Z In light of yesterday’s Yan Gomes trade, those teams still in need of a backstop for 2019 will be surveying the market with renewed urgency. One guy not likely to be on the move is Salvador Perez. The story has not changed for Salvy and the Royals, whose price for Perez is “so exorbitant no team would meet it,” per the Athletic’s Rustin Dodd (subscription link). While teams around the league would certainly check in on Perez were he to become available, it is unlikely anyone values him as highly as the Royals. The 28-year-old catcher is owed $36MM through 2021 and hasn’t had an OBP over .300 since 2013. His power output has remained consistent, however, and his merits extend behind the field of play, as he is a key presence both for players and for fans, as a leader in the clubhouse and as the one of the last core position players from back-to-back American League pennants. More from the Royals and the rest of the American League…

    • As for other Royals targets, Whit Merrifield is a slightly more achievable trade target, but given his four years of team control, the Royals are unlikely to part with their second baseman either. Lefty Danny Duffy can likely be had, but given his down year (4.88 ERA, 4.1 BB/9) and the over $45MM still on his deal, the Royals are better off keeping him and letting him restore some value in 2019. A quiet offseason looms for the Royals and GM Dayton Moore, who has said previously he expects Kansas City will be better-positioned to be aggressive in the market by 2021.
    • The Astros tendered contracts to ten players before yesterday’s deadline, most of whom were fairly safe bets to return to Houston. Outfielder Jake Marisnick was one on-the-bubble candidate, but he returns for a third season of arbitration eligibility in Houston. Marisnick has struggled at the dish, carrying a career .226/.278/.374 line into 2019, but he is an elite defensive center fielder, a valuable asset for the Astros, who never seem wholly comfortable leaving George Springer full-time in center. Marisnick does have one option remaining*, so Houston can send him down to Triple A without exposing him to waivers. The Athletic’s Jake Kaplan (subscription link) also notes that fellow benchmates Tyler White and Tony Kemp are without options, limiting flexibility for GM Jeff Luhnow. None of the three would net much of a return on the trade market on their own, though all three are cheap and useful enough to be included as a complimentary piece to a larger deal. The Astros do have options in the minor leagues should they deal Marisnick, most notably Myles Straw, who could replace Marisnick as the speed and defense option in center off the bench.
    • Both Kaplan and Fancred’s Jon Heyman suggest the Astros are looking for a primary catching option to top the depth chart ahead of Max Stassi. The Marlins J.T. Realmuto is the dream get, but Houston has thus-far refused to surrender star pitching prospect Forrest Whitley. Heyman notes that they may be willing to part with outfielder Kyle Tucker, a likely must-have for Miami in any package for Realmuto.
    • Heyman also notes that in Cleveland, though most of the trade noise has focused on Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer is actually the most likely of the three to be shipped out. This makes sense with the recent rumblings of extension talks with Carrasco, though there’s nothing close as of yet regarding Bauer. The Indians would love to keep him, but of the three, Bauer’s arbitration eligibility makes him more fiscally volatile than either of Carrasco or Kluber, who are under multi-year contracts. The perfect trade package for the Indians would probably include controllable pieces to augment what they already have in either the outfield or the bullpen, two areas in need of securing this offseason.

    *Original post incorrectly listed Marisnick as having no options remaining (in referencing the Kaplan piece), but he does in fact have one option year left.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Market Notes: Eovaldi, Yankees, Happ, Kikuchi, Gray, MadBum]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=139004 2018-12-01T07:14:12Z 2018-12-01T07:14:12Z After a busy day of arbitration decisions, it’s worth taking stock of some recent developments in the broader market. We’ve already touched upon some major storylines today, with looks at Patrick Corbin (link), Zack Greinke (link), and Carlos Carrasco (link). Here’s more …

    • Though Corbin seems to be captivating the market at present, chatter on Nathan Eovaldi is also “heating up,” per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link). Unsurprisingly, the Red Sox and Astros are presently seen as prime contenders to land him. With the American League shaping up to be another clash of titans, those organizations are positioned t stake some dough on Eovaldi’s upside.
    • The Yankees are a major player on Corbin, of course, but also some other arms — and not just as a backup plan. Indeed, per Jayson Stark of The Athletic (via Twitter), the club could even add another significant starter if it does get Corbin. That’d be quite a surprise, given that the team would appear to have a clear starting five if Corbin signs, but perhaps there’s a way to pull something off that would still make sense and leave the club with immense rotation depth.
    • Meanwhile, southpaw J.A. Happ is said to have “ten teams chasing” him at this point, per Jon Heyman of Fancred. One of those is the Brewers, who’d presumably like to bolster their rotation but also don’t appear to have an immense amount of money to use. Of course, giving up on Jonathan Schoop clears a big piece of payroll, so long as the club finds a way to address its infield needs without using all the savings.
    • There’s also a “strong” market for Japanese hurler Yusei Kikuchi, Heyman tweets. Unsurprisingly, west coast clubs — the DodgersPadresGiants, and Mariners, at least — appear to be lining up for the 27-year-old. It’s still hard to know what kind of salary and duration he’ll be able to command. But as this particular list of clubs shows, Kikuchi’s unusual youth will play a major role in his market by opening the door to quite a few organizations to pursue him.
    • Elsewhere, the Yankees are still trying to offload an asset in Sonny Gray. Per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, with GM Brian Cashman saying he has discussed a multitude of different scenarios involving Gray, including some larger deals. That suggests that the Yanks are comfortable hanging onto Gray for a while as they sort through the possibilities, rather than putting him on the market and taking the best deal then available.
    • Gray is as good as gone from the team’s perspective, but that’s clearly not the same situation for Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. The burly southpaw is reportedly on the table. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be priced at a level that will lead to a deal. Indeed one organizational source tells Heyman (Twitter link) they “don’t see [Bumgarner] going anywhere this winter.” Certainly, the Giants have little need to dump Bumgarner if they aren’t getting something worthwhile in return. Teams with interest, though, will remain wary of a big price for one season of a player with recent shoulder woes and some performance questions.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Astros Non-Tender Chris Herrmann]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=138959 2018-12-01T02:30:19Z 2018-12-01T01:48:29Z The Astros have non-tendered catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle tweets. He was acquired only recently but never seemed like a certain part of the club’s plans.

    Clearly, the ’Stros were unwilling to commit even to paying a portion of his projected $1.5MM salary, though perhaps they’ll try to bring him back on another arrangement in free agency. Herrmann burst onto the scene with a solid (but brief) offensive showing in 2016, but ended up signing a minors deal last winter after a dreadful 2017. He went on to impress in limited MLB action last year, and drew the attention of the ’Stros on the waiver wire, so perhaps some team will see fit to offer him a 40-man spot.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Astros Among Teams Pursuing Nathan Eovaldi]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=138683 2018-11-29T01:48:45Z 2018-11-29T01:48:45Z The Astros are among the teams showing “continued interest” in righty Nathan Eovaldi, tweets MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Eovaldi has already been connected to a slew of interested parties, including the Phillies, Yankees, Brewers, Braves, Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays, Giants and Padres.

    The match between the two sides is obvious, and Houston’s interest was widely expected. The Astros lost Lance McCullers Jr. for the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery and could also lose both Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton to free agency. Though the ’Stros have a number of rotation alternatives already in the organization — Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock and top prospect Forrest Whitley among them — there’s little doubt that president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow and his staff will add some options from outside the organization. Eovaldi, a Houston-area native, is among the top starters in free agency.

    At present, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are slated to front the Houston rotation in 2019, though both right-handers will be free agents next offseason. The proximity of those contracts’ endpoints only furthers the Astros’ needs to add some rotation help that can be controlled beyond the 2019 campaign.

    Eovaldi, who won’t turn 29 until February, returned from his second Tommy John surgery in 2018 and turned in 111 innings of 3.81 ERA ball with 8.2 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9 in 22 appearances between the Rays and Red Sox. Eovaldi also thrived under the bright lights of the 2018 postseason, when he allowed four runs on 15 hits and three walks with 16 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings –good for a 1.61 ERA in the first playoff action of his career.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Astros Rumors: Goldschmidt, Pollock, McCutchen, Brantley]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=138319 2018-11-25T14:26:40Z 2018-11-25T14:26:40Z It’s unclear whether the Diamondbacks will trade their franchise player, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, though Buster Olney of ESPN (subscription required) hears from rival evaluators that they are “intent” on dealing the 31-year-old. While Goldschmidt has consistently been one of the majors’ best players during his career, it’s unlikely the Diamondbacks would receive a significant haul in exchange for his final year of team control, observes Olney, who notes that most contenders aren’t seeking a first baseman. But St. Louis and Houston continue to show a good amount of interest in Goldschmidt, per Olney, which jibes with a previous report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Olney adds that rival clubs believe the Astros have seemingly tried to move young right-hander J.B. Bukauskas, their eighth-ranked prospect at MLB.com, in trade talks. Similarly, the Yankees were “pushing”  left-handed pitching prospect Justus Sheffield in Goldschmidt discussions, Olney reports. Sheffield’s no longer in the picture for New York, though, as it traded him to Seattle this week in a deal for lefty James Paxton.

    • Back to Houston, which has been shopping near the top of the market for free-agent outfielders, according to Olney, who lists A.J. Pollock, Andrew McCutchen and Michael Brantley among their targets. Unless the Astros deem soon-to-be 22-year-old prospect Kyle Tucker ready for a full-time role, they have an opening in the outfield, where George Springer and Josh Reddick are their only obvious starters. Signing Pollock, a center fielder, would enable them to move Springer back to a corner after he spent the majority of 2017-18 in center. Pollock’s likely to rake in the biggest payday of the trio, though; further, given that Pollock comes with a qualifying offer attached, adding him would also cost the Astros their second-highest draft pick in 2019 and $500K in international pool space.