MLB Trade Rumors » » St. Louis Cardinals 2017-12-14T05:49:15Z Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics To Acquire Stephen Piscotty]]> 2017-12-14T05:49:03Z 2017-12-14T05:05:17Z The Athletics will acquire outfielder Stephen Piscotty from the Cardinals for two minor leaguers, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports (Twitter link). Piscotty had been on the A’s radar back in the summer, and negotiations between them and the Cardinals have continued in earnest during the Winter Meetings.

Piscotty, who seemed like a shoo-in to leave the Cardinals via trade entering the offseason, became especially superfluous to the Redbirds when they swung a blockbuster to acquire fellow outfielder Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins on Wednesday. That deal left the Cardinals with three highly qualified starting outfielders in Ozuna, Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham, thus leading to the end of Piscotty’s tenure with the club.

[RELATED: Updated Athletics Depth Chart]

Now 26, Piscotty joined the St. Louis organization as a first-round pick in 2012 and flashed moments of brilliance during his short major league stint there. Between his debut in 2015 and the end of the ’16 campign, the right-handed hitter slashed a terrific .282/.348/.467 with 29 home runs and a 3.9 fWAR in 905 plate appearances. The auspicious start to Piscotty’s career was enough to convince the Cardinals to award him a six-year extension worth a guaranteed $33.5MM prior to last season.

Unfortunately for St. Louis, early returns on the newly extended Piscotty weren’t positive in 2017. While Piscotty managed to significantly increase his walk rate to 13 percent (up from around 8 percent from 2015-16), his offensive production took an overall dive as he batted a disappointing .235/.342/.367 with nine homers and a subpar .132 ISO (down 53 points from the previous two seasons).

The Athletics will now hope for a bounce-back from Piscotty, a Northern California native and Stanford alumnus. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday that the Cards hoped a Piscotty trade would give him a chance to be closer to his mother, who’s battling ALS, and they were able to make good on that.

As Piscotty deals with a tragic situation off the field, he may be in line for a revival on it; his age, 2015-16 output and batted-ball misfortune are all encouraging signs. Piscotty finished 2017 with a .319 wOBA, but the number should have been closer to a solid .340, according to Statcast.

If Piscotty does return to something resembling his best form in Oakland, he’ll be an effective, affordable and young piece for the low-payroll club. The A’s saw other position player building blocks in first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman come to the fore in 2017, and, barring trades, have established hitters on hand in DH Khris Davis, corner outfielder Matt Joyce, second baseman Jed Lowrie and shortstop Marcus Semien. Piscotty, who’s likely to play opposite Joyce in one of the corners next year, is now in line to join a growing group of talent on a rebuilding club.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Several Teams Have Reportedly Made Offers For Manny Machado]]> 2017-12-14T01:53:29Z 2017-12-14T01:53:43Z WEDNESDAY, 7:53pm: It doesn’t appear that a Machado trade will come together during the Winter Meetings, Encina writes.

6:30pm: Several teams have made formal trade offers for Machado, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. The Yankees’ chances of landing him are near zero, a source told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. It seems the Yankees would want to include Jacoby Ellsbury in a a Machado deal to help them stay under the competitive-balance tax threshold, but Sherman doubts he’d waive his no-trade clause to go to Baltimore (Twitter link).

4:33pm: The Orioles are “making good progress” toward a Machado trade, Duquette told Brittany Ghiroli of and other reporters, though Dan Connolly of writes that a deal doesn’t appear imminent. There are more than five teams in the running for Machado, Ghiroli adds. The Orioles met with a “couple” of those teams Wednesday, per Encina. Notably, Duquette hasn’t dismissed trading Machado to another AL East team, Roch Kubatko of relays (all Twitter links here).

TUESDAY, 6:27pm: The Yankees and White Sox are also interested in Machado, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter link).  As mentioned below, Peter Angelos doesn’t want to deal Machado to New York, while the Sox are an interesting suitor that could be looking at Machado as the centerpiece of a return to contention.  Cardinals GM Michael Girsch told Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that giving up significant assets for a star player with just one year of control remaining is “not a path we are likely to go down.”  Interestingly, this description applies to both Machado and to another oft-mentioned Cards trade target in Josh Donaldson.

4:29pm: “Several clubs” asked the Orioles about Machado today, Dan Duquette told’s Brittany Ghiroli (Twitter links), Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links) and other media.  There’s at least a possibility a trade happens, and the Orioles have apparently not discussed an extension with Machado in years, though new negotiations are “under consideration.”  The O’s haven’t talked about giving any potential Machado trade partner a 72-hour window to try and negotiate their own extension with the infielder.

1:43pm: The Cardinals have interest in Machado, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. The Phillies are said to be enamored of Machado, too, and there are no doubt a wide variety of other teams lining up to check on in the asking price. Baltimore is receiving a “ton” of interest in Machado, Rob Bradford of tweets.

10:57am: While it’s been reported that the Orioles are at least willing to listen to offers on Manny Machado, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic takes things a step further, reporting that the O’s have asked interested parties to make them offers for the star infielder (subscription required and highly recommended). The term “infielder” is of particular note, as Rosenthal also writes that Machado’s desire is to return to shortstop in 2018 whether he’s in Baltimore or with a new club.

Machado, 25, has long stood out as an on-paper trade candidate given his proximity to free agency and the Orioles’ lack of starting pitching. The O’s, who have been looking to add as many as three starters to their rotation this winter, will be hard-pressed to contend for an AL East title in 2018 (even more so in the wake of the Bronx Bombers’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton). With Machado set to hit the open market next winter in position to land a record-setting contract — assuming a healthy year, anything south of Stanton’s $325MM guarantee would seem to be a nonstarter — it’s difficult to envision him remaining in Baltimore. For the time being, MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $17.3MM salary for Machado next year after his final trip through the arbitration process.

The Orioles, per Rosenthal, are aiming to acquire two controllable young starters in any trade for Machado. That’s a lofty ask for a lot of teams, but a win-now club with an ample supply of touted but unproven pitching could look at that as an acceptable price to pay for a player that has been worth better than five wins per season, on average, over the past half decade (despite missing 80 games due to injury in 2014). Notably, Rosenthal adds that owner Peter Angelos does not want to trade with the division-rival Yankees.

Machado didn’t have his best season in 2017, as he got off to a shockingly pedestrian start to the year. Through the season’s first three months, Machado was batting just .216/.289/.423 with an elevated (by his standards) 20.6 percent strikeout rate. Over the final three months, though, the Machado of old resurfaced, as he mashed at a .295/.329/.513 pace with a vastly improved 13.1 percent punchout rate.

Machado has two Gold Gloves and a Platinum Glove to his name at third base and has long graded out as an elite defender there, but there’s little doubt that he could still handle shortstop at an above-average level as well. He logged nearly 400 innings there in 2016, for instance, and drew generally positive marks from Ultimate Zone Rating (+1.9) and Defensive Runs Saved (+3).

From a broader perspective, Machado is one of several players entering his final year of team control in Baltimore. Zach Britton, Adam Jones and Brad Brach are all free agents following the 2018 season, while Jonathan Schoop is controlled for just one year beyond that. Depending on how aggressively the O’s are willing to sell off parts, they could quickly restock their farm with an ample supply of talent by marketing more than one of their soon-to-be free agents, though doing so would also mean largely punting on the 2018 campaign at the very least.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals To Acquire Marcell Ozuna]]> 2017-12-13T23:06:13Z 2017-12-13T23:05:26Z 5:05pm: The Marlins will also receive pitching prospects Zac Gallen and Daniel Castano, per Spencer (Twitter link). Gallen, a 22-year-old righty, ranks as the Cardinals’ 13th-best prospect at The outlet did not rank Castano among the Cardinals’ top 30 prospects, on the other hand. The 23-year-old left-hander, a 19th-round pick in 2016, spent last season at the low-A level and posted a 2.57 ERA, 8.01 K/9 against 1.29 BB/9 and a 51.9 percent groundball rate over 14 starts (91 innings).

4:35pm: Sierra is in the deal, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter.

1:54pm: There are three other prospects in the deal, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. But those are lesser assets and Alcantara is considered the centerpiece of the swap.

1:12: Young righty Sandy Alcantara is going to Miami in the deal, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. Goold had mentioned his possible inclusion; Alcantara was slated to join the Fish in the scuttled Stanton deal.

Alcantara, 22, reached the majors briefly in 2017 as a reliever, but he’s seen as a high-ceiling starting prospect. Over 125 1/3 Double-A innings in his first attempt at the upper minors, Alcantara posted a 4.31 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. We did not learn much from his first eight appearances in the majors, but Alcantara did show a 98+ mph fastball and generated swings and misses at a robust 17.4% rate.

12:49pm: It sounds as if young arms will make up a significant part of the return, with Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeting the package will include multiple pitchers and a position player. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch adds some more detail, saying the Cards “offered a pitching prospect as the centerpiece of a deal” and that an outfielder will be among the players changing hands.

12:06pm: The Cardinals have struck a deal to acquire outfielder Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins, according to Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio (via Twitter).’s Jesse Sanchez confirms the move on Twitter but notes it is pending a physical. Indications earlier today were that the deal was moving closer, and it has evidently now been completed.


Ozuna, who turned 27 earlier in the offseason, is projected by MLBTR to earn $10.9MM in his second-to-last season of arbitration eligibility. At his age and with his track record of productivity, that’s a bargain rate of pay — which, no doubt, will be reflected in the still-unknown trade return for Miami.

While the teams had attempted to line up on a deal for slugger Giancarlo Stanton, those efforts were nixed when Stanton declined to waive his no-trade clause to go to St. Louis. But the talks weren’t for naught: they also paved the way to today’s reported agreement on Ozuna, who has no trade protections.

The Cardinals have looked far and wide for bats this winter as they seek to consolidate a broad group of talent into a few more premium lineup pieces. Ozuna certainly represents the top-end bat they were in search of — at least, that is, so long as he can replicate something like his 2017 output.

In the just-finished campaign, Ozuna drove the ball out of the yard 37 times, carried a personal-high 9.4% walk rate, and ended with an appealing .312/.376/.548 slash line over 679 plate appearances. That’s a big step forward for a player who had hewed closer to league-average production over his prior two seasons.

Beyond the fact that Ozuna has not yet repeated that level of output, there are a few other slight red flags. He carried a .355 BABIP that’s unlikely to be replicated and was perhaps a bit fortunate to send 23.4% of the fly balls he hit out of the park. On the whole, though, Ozuna has always been considered a player with the talent for this sort of dominance, and his healthy 39.1% hard-hit rate shows he was rewarded for making good contact.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Cards plan to utilize Ozuna, who has previously spent time in center field but shifted to the corner in 2017. He graded quite well upon the move and has at times done the same up the middle. That leaves the team with a variety of players who could be described similarly in regard to their glovework.

Odds are, the Cardinals will plan to give primary time to Ozuna, Tommy Pham, and Dexter Fowler. Perhaps which player plays center is less important than the fact that the club will feel it has three useful defenders on the grass. Regardless, that would leave Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk among those looking at possible reserve duty.

More likely, one or both will be traded. Piscotty and Grichuk, after all, both hit from the right side — as do the three top outfielders (with Fowler representing switch-hitting option who fares better traditionally from the right side). Indeed, the Cards could move yet more pieces from a 40-man roster that is full of right-handed-hitting outfielders, some of whom could be included in this trade. The only southpaw-swinging outfield bat currently on hand is youngster Magneuris Sierra. He might be destined for some added seasoning, so perhaps it’s not inconceivable that St. Louis could end up seeking another reserve piece that hits from the left side or perhaps look for creative ways to boost the functionality of the team’s infielders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Sign Luke Gregerson]]> 2017-12-13T23:08:30Z 2017-12-13T23:00:12Z WEDNESDAY: The deal is now official, Jenifer Langosch of tweets.

SUNDAY: The Cardinals and free agent reliever Luke Gregerson have agreed to a two-year, $11MM contract with an option, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). It’ll be a $5MM club option or a $6MM vesting option (with a $1MM buyout), Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. The option will vest at 60 games in 2019 or 130 games from 2018-19, Nightengale adds. He’ll make $5MM in both guaranteed years of the pact, per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (Twitter link).

Luke Gregerson [RELATED: Updated Cardinals Depth Chart]

The deal is pending a physical, which Gregerson will take Tuesday, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link). Gregerson is an O’Connell Sports Management client.

This will be the second stint with the St. Louis organization for the right-handed Gregerson, whom the Cardinals selected in the 28th round of the 2006 draft. Gregerson never got past the Double-A level during his first go-around with the franchise, though, as the Redbirds traded him to the Padres in 2009 in a deal involving shortstop Khalil Greene.

Gregerson made his major league debut the same year of the trade and quickly became a highly effective member of the Padres’ bullpen. He stuck with the Friars through 2013 before pitching for the Athletics (2014) and Astros (2015-17). Although the 33-year-old Gregerson has never been a hard thrower, he has nonetheless registered excellent numbers across 599 innings, with a 3.02 ERA, 9.12 K/9, 2.55 BB/9 and a 50.9 percent groundball rate. Gregerson has been quite durable along the way, having never pitched fewer than 55 2/3 frames in any season, and he brings experience as a setup man and a closer.

Although Gregerson is coming off a season in which he recorded a career-worst 4.57 ERA as a member of the title-winning Astros, his year wasn’t devoid of positives. With 61 innings, he eclipsed the 60-frame mark for the sixth time. Gregerson also continued to put up appealing strikeout, walk and groundball numbers (10.33, 2.95 and 50.0 in those respective categories), and he notched the third-highest swinging-strike rate of his career (15.6 percent).

If the career-worst home run-to-fly ball rate (23.6 percent) Gregerson logged in 2017 proves to be an aberration, he should be a quality piece for a Cards bullpen in need of aid. With Trevor Rosenthal, Seung Hwan Oh, Juan Nicasio and Zach Duke currently on the open market, St. Louis has been on the lookout for relief help since last season concluded. Gregerson may be the first of multiple pickups this offseason for the club’s bullpen, and he’s clearly the most established member of a group that includes a few solid holdovers in Brett Cecil, Tyler Lyons, Matthew Bowman, Sam Tuivailala and John Brebbia.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics, Cardinals In Serious Talks On Stephen Piscotty Swap]]> 2017-12-13T20:29:53Z 2017-12-13T20:28:59Z 2:28pm: Slusser has added a few more conceivable players in conversations in an updated version of her story. It seems that the sides could be contemplating some of the A’s relief arms.

1:38pm: The dominoes from the Cardinals’ reported acquisition of Marcell Ozuna are beginning to fall, it seems. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics’ long-standing interest in Cards outfielder Stephen Piscotty could conceivably come to fruition with a deal before the Winter Meetings end.

Oakland is not willing to part with its best young assets, according to the report, but Slusser says the discussions have revolved around some of the A’s available 40-man assets. One name under consideration, she notes, is infielder Yairo Munoz, a 23-year-old who reached the top level of the minors in 2017.

Piscotty, who’ll soon turn 27, thrived in his first two seasons in the majors, posting a cumulative .282/.348/.467 slash and hitting 29 home runs in his first 905 MLB plate appearances. He ended up striking a six-year, $33.5MM extension at the start of the 2017 campaign.

Things haven’t progressed as hoped since that time, however. Piscotty missed some time due to injury and ended the year with 401 plate appearances of .235/.342/.367 output through 401 trips to the plate. On the positive side, Piscotty did neary double his walk rate to 13.0% even as his power dipped.

Piscotty continues to grade as a solid defender but subpar baserunner. If he can regain his form at the dish, there’s good reason to think he could be a quality regular in the corner — which is just what the A’s are in search of.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals & Marlins “Making Progress” On Marcell Ozuna Swap]]> 2017-12-13T17:57:55Z 2017-12-13T17:53:23Z 11:53am: It seems St. Louis is still not fully zeroed in on Ozuna — or, at least, not just Ozuna. In addition to some pitchers to whom the club has been tied previously, the Cards still seem to have some possible interest in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, Rosenthal tweets.

And Bob Nightengale tweets the team is “optimistic” of scoring at least one significant hitter with the possibility of another. He also cites Longoria and adds Blue Jays Josh Donaldson as a player who is “in play” for St. Louis, though certainly most indications to date have been that Toronto has little interest in trading him.

11:22am: The Cardinals and Marlins are “making progress” on a deal that would send outfielder Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). These organizations have been tied in chatter of one kind or another for much of the offseason.

We heard yesterday that the Cards were the favorites to land Ozuna. As of that time, though, there were multiple other suitors reportedly still involved and the Cardinals were also eyeing fellow Miami outfielder Christian Yelich.

It is still unclear just how things might come together, but there are quite a number of possible ways the sides could line up. The Cardinals have a host of young outfielders, potentially offering Miami a direct replacement with greater future contract control, along with the sort of youthful pitching that the Marlins covet.

As for Ozuna, he’d be the major stick the Cardinals have sought all winter. While he’s not at the level of former teammate Giancarlo Stanton, he did post an excellent .312/.376/.548 slash with 37 long balls in 2017. And Ozuna is also much friendlier to the checkbook, as he’s projected to earn $10.9MM in his second-to-last season of arbitration eligibility. That relatively light payroll hit might leave the Cards with capacity to make some other impact additions via free agency.

Kyle Downing <![CDATA[NL Central Notes: Reds, Cardinals, Pirates]]> 2017-12-13T09:30:05Z 2017-12-13T09:30:05Z Though the Reds didn’t ultimately make Shohei Ohtani’s list of seven finalists for his services, the team put together a detailed presentation in hopes of luring the two-way star to Cincinnati. Mark Sheldon of wrote an insightful article detailing the Reds’ pursuit of Ohtani; the team shared the contents of its presentation with and the Cincinnati Enquirer. Despite the fact that they could only offer him a maximum $300K signing bonus, GM Dick Williams and the entire Reds organization believed they could come up with a pitch attractive enough to sway Ohtani in their direction. “I’d like us to think that we might have a chance. I’ve followed this kid,” Williams said at the the beginning of the process. “I think he’s wired differently. He’s clearly shown he thinks out of the box.” The baseball operations, business, creative services, and marketing departments all worked together to tailor a presentation that included a 120-page book and 12-minute video. One of Cincinnati’s selling points was having Ohtani pitch in a six-man rotation (something he was used to doing in Japan), while playing the outfield and getting at-bats as a pinch-hitter. The Reds pulled out all the stops, including the addition of testimonials from Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and former MVP Joey Votto. Though they ultimately came up short, the release of the presentation’s contents to the media is generous to say the least, and provides a rare and fascinating insight into the player recruiting process.

More items from the National League’s Central Division…

  • Although he cautions that the club isn’t necessarily on the cusp of a big announcement, Cardinals GM Michael Girsch says that the club has “some sense of optimism” regarding their pursuit of a big bat (via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). The Redbirds seem to have a desired hitter in mind, and reportedly feel good about their chances of acquiring him. “We’re not at the goal line, but we’ve made progress,” says Girsch. While Girsch himself didn’t mention any specific names, Goold notes in the article that the Cardinals have been linked to Miami outfielder Marcell Ozuna, while the Marlins have shown interest in St. Louis pitchers Jack Flaherty and Sandy Alcantara.
  • A hitter isn’t the only thing the Cardinals are pursuing. Recently, they’ve been linked to Rays closer Alex Colome as a potential means to fill a clear need at the back end of their bullpen. Somewhat intriguingly, Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Colome began following four Cardinals-related accounts on his Instagram on Tuesday night (hat tip to NBC Sports’ Drew Silva). It could be nothing at all; social media activity certainly doesn’t have a strong correlation with transactional news. But while there are no reports of a deal in place, the flurry of follows has piqued curiosity and stirred the rumor mill. At the very least, it gives us another reason to closely monitor an interesting hypothetical.
  • Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates are exploring the idea of adding a fourth outfielder through trade or free agency, in order to allow Jordan Luplow to begin the season at the Triple-A level. GM Neal Huntington notes that Luplow “didn’t have a ton of at-bats down there a year ago.” Indeed, Luplow only has 87 career plate appearances at Triple-A, and his .205/.276/.385 major league slash line indicates that his bat could benefit from more development at the minors’ highest level. The 24-year-old Luplow was drafted out of California State University Fresno with the Pittsburgh’s third-round pick; the right-handed outfielder is 24 years old, according to Fangraphs.
Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cardinals Interested Wade Davis, Talked To Jays About Josh Donaldson]]> 2017-12-13T00:18:46Z 2017-12-13T00:13:56Z The Cardinals are one of the teams interested in free agent closer Wade Davis, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link).  With St. Louis focusing on bullpen additions this winter, it only makes sense that they would check in on top-of-the-market names like Davis who could immediately step into the vacant closer role.  In fact, Passan said the Cards are “prioritizing late-inning help” to go along with their other notable relief signing of Luke Gregerson.  The Cardinals have been heavy players in the offseason rumor mill, connected to several big names on both the free agent and trade fronts, and GM Michael Girsch is “optimistic” (per’s Jenifer Langosch) that the team is close to swinging a deal after progress was reportedly made in trade talks.

  • The Cardinals’ Winter Meetings activities have also included talks with the Blue Jays about a Josh Donaldson deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link).  St. Louis has been rumored to be interested in Donaldson for some time, though there is still no indication that the Jays are considering moving the former AL MVP.
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals “Favorites” For Marcell Ozuna; Multiple Teams Pursuing Christian Yelich]]> 2017-12-12T21:26:45Z 2017-12-12T19:12:40Z There’s plenty of interest in the Marlins outfield even now that it no longer features Giancarlo Stanton. We have heard lots of chatter surrounding Marcell Ozuna already, and there’s yet more intriguing news now emerging on him and teammate Christian Yelich.

The Cardinals are emerging as the favorites from a six to eight team field to land Ozuna, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). Word emerged earlier today that the Cards have interest in sending multiple, controllable outfielders in order to acquire one premium asset, though it’s not yet clear that’s what’s under contemplation. The teams are surely already quite familiar with one another’s feelings on prospects after negotiating over Stanton. And Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who has long noted the Cards’ interest in Ozuna and Yelich, reported earlier today that the sides might also line up on reliever Brad Ziegler.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals are also among ten or so teams that have inquired on Yelich, per’s Joe Frisaro (via Twitter), reflecting longstanding interest that has been covered in recent weeks. The Braves and Diamondbacks are also in that grouping, he notes. Both of those teams make for interesting potential trade partners; in both cases, the interest is likely driven more by their views on Yelich than need, per se.

Clearly, there’s an interesting interplay here between the markets of these two productive teammates. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes on Twitter, Yelich is considered the more desirable asset given his lengthy, team-friendly contract. His report suggests the Fish would prefer to make a deal for Ozuna first, as the organization has given indications it would like to try to find a way to retain Yelich. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out given the multi-faceted considerations at play.

While he only has two years of control remaining and will play at a projected $10.9MM in 2018, Ozuna is fresh off of a monster 2017 season in which he blasted 37 home runs and slashed .312/.376/.548 over 679 plate appearances. That handily outpaced Yelich, whose own .282/.369/.439 batting line represented a step back from an outstanding 2016 season. Still, many around the game are enamored of Yelich’s bat as well as his overall game, so he’s plainly the more valuable trade piece in light of the fact that he can be controlled through 2022. (His contract promises just $44.5MM, including a buyout on a $15MM club option for that ’22 campaign.)


Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Position Player Rumblings: Padres, Moose, Walker, Napoli, Cards, D-Backs]]> 2017-12-12T21:40:03Z 2017-12-12T18:49:37Z The Padres could play a major role in the market over the next few days, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes on Twitter. Indeed, the organization has already made one interesting move today. San Diego is looking around for a controllable shortstop and could conceivably match up with the Cubs, Passan suggests. (From an outside perspective, it seems ace reliever Brad Hand would be the most likely Padres piece to pique Chicago’s interest, but that’s just speculation.) Also, the team’s interest in free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer is seemingly increasingly serious. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets that the Friars are “strongly in [the] mix” for Hosmer, while Passan says the sides have gained “traction” in discussions.

Here’s more from the position-player side of the market:

  • At this point, at least, the Braves are not engaged on the market for third baseman Mike Moustakas, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio (via Twitter). Atlanta does have interest in improving at the hot corner, but it seems that new GM Alex Anthopoulos is not all that intrigued by the powerful but OBP-challenged Moustakas. Of course, there’s still time for the market to develop.
  • Free agent second baseman Neil Walker is still looking for a four-year deal, according to Heyman (via Twitter). That seems like a lofty ask, though, for a 32-year-old player on a market full of possibilities at second. Walker has been a steady producer, to be sure, and finished with a strong .267/.409/.433 run with the Brewers, but with so many other options out there it seems more likely he’ll end up settling for a two or three-year guarantee.
  • The Mets have some interest in free agent Mike Napoli, per the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. Indeed, the club’s new skipper, Mickey Callaway, has reached out to Napoli to discuss the possibility. (The two share a connection from the Indians.) Presumably, Napoli would share time with Dominic Smith at first base, with the organization arranging a natural platoon pairing and then allowing things to play out based upon performance.
  • As the Cardinals continue to seek ways to upgrade after missing on Giancarlo Stanton, they have been scanning the market for alternatives. The team’s preference, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, is to “turn two of their excess outfielders into one newcomer.” That would seemingly represent a fairly clean way to improve the roster, though of course it will likely also require a rather particular trade partner. It is not difficult to imagine such a team also wishing to receive a sweetener in exchange for giving up a premium asset for volume. There are plenty more details and quotes from the Cards front office in the post.
  • The Diamondbacks have been contacted by other organizations about the availability of their middle infielders, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Arizona certainly has quite some volume of MLB-level options up the middle, though it’s also not entirely clear at this point just which players (if any) have firmly secured places in the club’s long-term plans. It’s possible that market demand could help dictate the decisonmaking process, too, as the organization seeks ways to navigate a tricky payroll situation. Though none of the team’s top middle infielders are very costly, that very feature might allow the D-Backs to bring back equally affordable pieces that meet needs or perhaps structure a package deal to shed other salary. Chris Owings ($3.8MM arb projection) has only two years of control left, while Nick Ahmed ($1.1MM) has three and Daniel Descalso will hit the open market after earning $2MM in 2018. Ketel Marte and Brandon Drury are still shy of arbitration.
Connor Byrne <![CDATA[6 To 8 Teams Interested In Marcell Ozuna]]> 2017-12-12T20:27:46Z 2017-12-12T16:42:00Z TODAY: The Rockies and Blue Jays are also among the interested teams, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

YESTERDAY, 7:45pm: The Marlins are telling teams Ozuna would be easier to acquire than outfield mate Christian Yelich, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. That’s not surprising, as the 26-year-old Yelich is controllable by way of a team-friendly contract through 2022 and carries a more consistent track record than Ozuna.

7:01pm: Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna is drawing interest from six to eight clubs, Joe Frisaro of reports (on Twitter). Along with the Cardinals, whose interest was already known entering Monday, the Giants and Nationals are among the teams in on Ozuna, per Frisaro. The Athletics are also still considering Ozuna, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slussser first reported their interest in Ozuna in early November.

Two of these clubs – the Cardinals and Giants – have spent a large portion of the offseason engaging with the Marlins about right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, and they even had deals in place to land the 2017 NL MVP. But Stanton nixed those trades before accepting a deal to the Yankees over the weekend, sending the Cards and Giants scrambling for other options. Ozuna makes for an appealing Plan B, then, as he’s coming off a season in which he slashed a career-best .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs and a 4.8 fWAR over 679 plate appearances.

In terms of production, last year was an outlier for Ozuna relative to the rest of his career – which began when he debuted in 2013 – but he has still accounted for at least 2.5 fWAR in three of four full seasons. At worst, Ozuna seems to be a solid regular, and the 27-year-old doesn’t come with an onerous, Stanton-esque contract. He’s controllable for two more years via arbitration and will earn a projected $10.9MM in 2018. That’s certainly an affordable figure, though it should also help the Marlins land a quality return for him. They’re obviously educated on both the Cardinals’ and Giants’ farm systems thanks to the Stanton talks.

The Nationals, meanwhile, share a division with the Marlins, but that shouldn’t necessarily serve as a deterrent to a payroll-cutting Miami team whose primary goal in an Ozuna trade should be to bolster its weak system. Washington’s prospect pool is only the majors’ 18th best, per Baseball America (the outlet ranks the Cards’ 13th and the Giants’ 27th), but it seems that’s primarily because of a lack of depth. The top of the Nationals’ system is impressive, according to BA, and that could help pave the way for an Ozuna swap.

With the Nationals at risk of losing Bryce Harper to free agency in a year, Ozuna might somewhat help cover for his potential exit in 2019. In the meantime, the Nats could perhaps use a left fielder to complement Harper in right and Adam Eaton in center. They do, however, have other in-house options in Michael A. Taylor and Brian Goodwin. Taylor was particularly strong in 2017, yet the Nats may not be content with him functioning as a regular in 2018, if their interest in Ozuna is any indication.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Neshek, Mozeliak, Outfielders]]> 2017-12-12T08:04:40Z 2017-12-12T08:03:51Z
  • In another piece from Goold, Cardinals president of baseball ops John Mozeliak discussed his team’s first day at the Winter Meetings, saying that he mostly focused on trade talks, including in-person meetings with two unnamed teams.  The Cards are known to be shopping their outfield surplus, with Goold writing that the team is looking for a two-for-one outfielder swap to gain an everyday bat.
  • Before agreeing to a deal with the Cardinals, Luke Gregerson also received an offer from the Cubs, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.  Chicago has already landed Brandon Morrow and has been aggressively looking at several other relief options this winter, so it isn’t surprising that Gregerson was yet another name on their list of targets.  The Cardinals are also continuing to scour the reliever market, though Goold reports that they didn’t have interest in veteran Pat Neshek, who has agreed to a new deal with the Phillies.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Chris Archer Drawing Plenty Of Interest]]> 2017-12-12T05:17:24Z 2017-12-12T05:17:24Z Rays right-hander Chris Archer is drawing widespread interest early in the Winter Meetings, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The Braves, Brewers, Twins, Cardinals and Cubs are some of the teams eyeing Archer, according to Topkin.

    Given that Archer’s one of the most valuable trade chips in the game, his popularity around the majors isn’t a surprise. He’d surely bring back a significant haul in a deal, thereby helping the Rays improve an already strong farm system, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be among the veterans the payroll-cutting club parts with this offseason. If the long-struggling Rays opt for a rebuild, which they may have to strongly consider in the wake of the division-rival Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton, it could indeed bring about the end of the 29-year-old Archer’s tenure in Tampa Bay.

    Archer has been with the Rays since they acquired him from the Cubs – who, as mentioned, seem to want him back – in a 2011 trade centering on righty Matt Garza. He turned into a front-line starter in 2013, his first full major league season, and has pitched to a 3.63 ERA/3.46 FIP combination with 9.72 K/9 against 2.94 BB/9 in 967 career innings. Archer’s a workhorse, too, having made no fewer than 32 starts four years in a row.

    Archer’s now fresh off his third straight 200-inning season, in which he racked up 201 frames with an ERA (4.07) that doesn’t do justice to his performance. After all, the flamethrowing Archer finished behind only Chris Sale, Robbie Ray and the reigning Cy Young winners – Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber – in K/9 (11.15). He also walked a respectable 2.69 batters per nine and placed seventh among starters in swinging-strike rate (13.4 percent).

    Archer’s track record on the mound is clearly enticing, and the fact that his contract is among the league’s most team-friendly pacts significantly adds to his value. He’s controllable for the next four years for $34MM, including club options for 2020 and ’21. If the Rays do make an earnest bid to move him, then, it’s likely to spark a bidding war.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Athletics’ Pursuit Of Outfielders]]> 2017-12-12T01:23:30Z 2017-12-12T01:23:11Z 8:15pm: More on the A’s outfield from Slusser, who reports that they’re also interested in one of Piscotty’s teammates, Grichuk, as well as the Reds’ Adam Duvall and the Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. As 30-home run hitters in 2017, Duvall and Souza would provide right-handed punch to the A’s lineup if acquired. They’re also controllable for the next few seasons – Duvall’s under wraps through 2021, including one pre-arbitration year, while Souza’s set to play his first of three arb-eligible campaigns in 2018. He’s projected to earn a very affordable $3.6MM. Grichuk’s another powerful righty entering his first of three arb years, though he didn’t fare as well as Duvall or Souza in 2017.

    Meanwhile, the A’s seem uninterested in moving one of their top offensive players, left fielder/designated hitter Khris Davis, per Slusser. They’ve spurned the Red Sox and other teams that have inquired about Davis this winter.

    1:04am: The Athletics continue to have interest in the Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported and’s Jane Lee discusses in a video link. Oakland has been on the hunt this winter for right-handed hitting outfield help.

    A previous connection between Piscotty and the A’s surfaced in the aftermath of the trade deadline, as the Cardinals reportedly floated an offer of Piscotty and either Luke Weaver or Jack Flaherty to Oakland in exchange for Sonny Gray.  Those talks never really got off the ground, however, and the A’s subsequently dealt Gray to the Yankees.

    As Lee mentions in the video, “the A’s have interest in a ton of outfielders right now,” with the team particularly focused on right-handed bats who are controllable, so the A’s aren’t only looking at veteran options.  The Athletics are clearly willing to shop near the top of the trade market, however, as such names as Avisail Garcia of the White Sox and Marlins outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich (a left-handed hitter) have already been reported as landing on Oakland’s radar in talks.

    Piscotty wouldn’t cost as much in a deal as those aforementioned names, given how he struggled in 2017.  After signing a six-year, $33.5MM extension with the Cardinals in April, Piscotty went from building block to potentially expendable piece by hitting just .235/.342/.367 with nine homers over  401 plate appearances.  Groin and hamstring injuries didn’t help his cause, and Piscotty was even demoted to Triple-A in August for a brief spell.

    Still, Piscotty posted strong numbers in his first two big league seasons, he doesn’t turn 27 until January, and the Cards are less than a year removed from locking him up on what could still be a team-friendly extension.  Under normal circumstances, St. Louis wouldn’t be looking to deal a player like Piscotty (especially when his trade value has been lowered), though the club must create room within a crowded outfield picture.  Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham locked into everyday outfield spots next year, leaving just one corner spot for Piscotty, Randal Grichuk, and prospects Magneuris Sierra, Tyler O’Neill, and Harrison Bader.  The Cards may also add another everyday outfielder — they’ve also been linked to Ozuna and Yelich in trade speculation, and J.D. Martinez is a possibility for a Cardinals lineup looking for a big bat after missing out on Giancarlo Stanton.

    This surplus makes St. Louis a logical trade partner for an Oakland team that is short on established outfielders.  Boog Powell and top prospect Dustin Fowler are the top candidates for center field, while Matt Joyce, Jake Smolinski, Chad Pinder and Mark Canha will be in the mix for playing time in the corners.  Piscotty would step into one of those corner spots for everyday duty right away, and the $30.5MM owed to him over the next five years (counting a $1MM buyout of his $15MM club option for 2023) is a palatable price tag even for a smaller-market team like the A’s.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Cardinals' Possible Corner Options]]> 2017-12-11T17:26:06Z 2017-12-11T17:02:25Z
  • Having missed out on Giancarlo Stanton, the Cardinals are now scanning the rest of the market for offensive upgrades. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag looks at the team’s possible options, including free agents Eric Hosmer and J.D. Martinez. He notes that several upper-echelon third basemen might hold appeal on the trade market — which will come as little surprise to those that have followed the Cards’ trade rumblings for the last several months. Of course, it’s still unclear whether the Blue Jays (Josh Donaldson), Rays (Evan Longoria), or Orioles (Manny Machado) will make their stars available.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Cardinals, Rockies “Aggressively Pursuing” Alex Colome; Mets Also Have Interest]]> 2017-12-11T15:51:02Z 2017-12-11T15:49:38Z 9:49am: The Mets and possibly also the Cubs are engaged on Colome, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, it seems most teams with clear late-inning needs appear to have shown at least some level of interest in the youthful, controllable hurler.

    6:56am: The Cardinals and Rockies have their sights firmly set on Alex Colome. Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that both teams are “aggressively pursuing” the Rays closer.

    Though the Cardinals signed Luke Gregerson to a one-year pact only yesterday, it seems they’re not done adding to a bullpen that saw former closer Trevor Rosenthal tear the UCL in his throwing elbow this past season and then watched Zach Duke, Juan Nicasio and Seung-Hwan Oh depart in free agency. Earlier this offseason, Jeff Todd mentioned Alex Colome as a potential trade target when he examined the Cardinals’ search for a closer. Notably, the Rays have room for improvement in left field, whereas the Cardinals have an abundance of young outfield talent.

    The Rockies have plenty of young players to offer as well, though their strength comes mostly in the form of starters. They are, of course, looking to replace closer Greg Holland. Holland signed a one-year pact with Colorado last offseason and had a strong bounce back season, saving 41 games for the Rockies. Ultimately, he rejected both his player option and a qualifying offer, leaving Colorado with a hole to fill in the back end of their bullpen.

    Colome will enter the 2018 season at the age of 29. He’s spent his entire career with the Rays, and though he came up as a starter, he transitioned to a relief role during the 2015 season. Early in the 2016 season, Colome took over as Tampa Bay’s closer and has been solid for them ever since. The right-hander led all of baseball with 47 saves last season, and sports a 2.64 ERA to go with a 48.4% ground ball rate and 9.43 K/9 since taking over the closer role. Colome projects to earn $5.5MM in arbitration this year, and comes with two more years of team control beyond that.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Have Shown Interest In Addison Reed, Brandon Morrow]]> 2017-12-10T18:40:35Z 2017-12-10T18:40:35Z
  • The Cardinals have had talks with the agents for relievers Addison Reed and Brandon Morrow, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. At one point this offseason, there was “momentum” toward a deal between Reed and the Cardinals, a source told Goold, but it seems this winter’s slow-to-develop relief market has helped prevent an agreement from coming to fruition. Whether he signs with the Cardinals or another team, the soon-to-be 29-year-old Reed is in position to end up as one of this winter’s richest relievers.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Cardinals "Very Interested" In Jose Abreu]]> 2017-12-10T16:35:24Z 2017-12-10T16:35:24Z The Red Sox are “very interested” in White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, which runs contrary to previous reports. The Cardinals are also after Abreu, Cafardo adds, which isn’t surprising for a team that just lost out on Giancarlo Stanton and continues to seek a power bat. Abreu, who will turn 31 in January, slashed .304/.354/.552 with 33 home runs in 675 plate appearances last season. He comes with two years of arbitration eligibility and will earn a lofty sum – a projected $17.9MM – in 2018. The White Sox want “top prospects” for Abreu, per Cafardo.


    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals "Badly Desire" Marcell Ozuna]]> 2017-12-10T14:26:07Z 2017-12-10T14:23:55Z
  • There’s no desperation on the Marlins’ part to trade second baseman Starlin Castro, whom they’ll acquire from the Yankees when the teams’ Giancarlo Stanton trade becomes official, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. With a reasonable $22MM left on Castro’s contract over the next two years, the Marlins believe they’re in position to “wait for the right offer,” per Nightengale. Meanwhile, the Fish are entertaining offers for outfielder Marcell Ozuna, whom the Cardinals “badly desire,” Nightengale notes. Ozuna will make a projected $10.9MM in his penultimate arbitration-eligible season in 2018, and he’s coming off a career year, so moving him would help the Marlins further slash their payroll and improve their weak farm system in one fell swoop.
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[NL Central Notes: Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers]]> 2017-12-09T21:10:26Z 2017-12-09T21:10:26Z Though the Cardinals weren’t able to convince Giancarlo Stanton to waive his no-trade clause, they may yet be able to work out a trade with the Marlins. Specifically, rival execs say they expect the Redbirds to make a “legit pitch” for fellow outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets. Crasnick describes a deal for Ozuna or Yelich as more of a “pure baseball trade” than a deal for Stanton, adding that he believes that’s more in the confines of St. Louis GM John Mozeliak’s comfort zone. While it would require a lot more in terms of prospects to land one of the Marlins’ remaining outfielders, previous negotiations for Stanton could potentially expedite trade talks. It stands to reason that the two teams should already be quite familiar with each others’ valuations on several Cardinals prospects. Furthermore, the Cardinals may have already evaluated avenues for what to do with Randal Grichuk or Stephen Piscotty in the event they are able to acquire a new outfielder. It will be interesting to see if anything unfolds between these two teams during the winter meetings.

    • The Cubs have their sights set on Rays pitchers Alex Colome and Chris Archer, Phil Rogers of reports with a tweet, though he acknowledges that getting both in one swoop would require a “monster return.” From my point of view, it seems difficult to imagine that the Cubs could put together a package worthy of Archer alone; their farm system is devoid of top 100 prospects following several promotions over the past few seasons, coupled with trades for players such as Wade Davis, Aroldis Chapman and Jose Quintana. Archer alone would require at least some players from the major league club. It’s tough to know whether giving up one or more of Ian Happ, Javier Baez or Kyle Schwarber (to name just a few examples) in exchange for pitching would significantly improve the major league team. The top three names in the Cubs’ farm system (according to MLB Pipeline) are right-handed pitchers Oscar de la Cruz, Jose Albertos and Adbert Alzolay.
    • Tom Haudricort of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel details some of Brewers GM David Stearns’ comments about the upcoming winter meetings. Last year, Stearns had no idea he’d gain enough traction in talks for Travis Shaw to actually complete a trade during the meetings. “You’re never really sure which one will be the one you get a foothold on,” Stearns said. “Last year, we were able to get that foothold in the Shaw talks and get a deal done.” Haudricort describes adding to a thin starting rotation as a “major priority” for Stearns this winter, noting that Jimmy Nelson might not be healthy in time for Opening Day. Beyond Chase Anderson, Junior Guerra and Zach Davies, there aren’t any definite fixtures in the rotation. Josh Hader performed well in the bullpen last year, but the notion of transitioning him back to a starting role remains simply a “topic of discussion.” Stearns notes that Hader’s role with the team will depend on how the offseason shakes out, as well as continued internal dialogue about how he fits best on the team. The only thing Stearns would commit to is that Hader will be in a “position to accumulate innings.” On the notion of that the Brewers could pursue big-ticket names like Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish, Stearns had the following comment: “Our market and our history here probably is a better indicator of the types of moves we’re seeking than some of the external speculation.”
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Details On Cardinals' Offer For Stanton]]> 2017-12-09T07:27:43Z 2017-12-09T06:35:16Z
  • Both the Giants and Cardinals are now out of the running to land Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins, but their pursuits still carry some information worthy of note. In the case of San Francisco, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter links) that many of the players rumored to have been in the teams’ agreed-upon trade package were not, in fact, slated to be moved. None of Joe Panik, Tyler Beede, Chris Shaw, Heliot Ramos, and Christian Arroyo would have been dealt, per the report. Meanwhile, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets that the Cards would have absorbed about $250MM of the $295MM still owed to Stanton.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Informs Cardinals He Will Not Waive No-Trade Clause]]> 2017-12-08T22:06:11Z 2017-12-08T21:47:45Z The Cardinals have announced that they have been informed that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton will not waive his no-trade clause to approve a deal to St. Louis. Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted the full statement.

    Miami had put deals in place with both the Cards and the Giants, allowing Stanton to speak with both organizations before deciding whether to approve a deal. (With full no-trade rights, he controls the process.) It’s not certain at present whether a final decision has been issued with regard to the San Francisco organization, but we heard last night that there are indications the Marlins star is disinclined to go there, too.

    The Cardinals expressed disappointment that Stanton had decided against joining the organization, but surely have had backup plans on their mind from the get-go. That could even include pursuit of some other notable Marlins outfielders, though there are a wide variety of directions which St. Louis could take.

    As for Miami, this is a less-than-ideal development — unless, perhaps, Stanton is willing to go to the Giants. If both of those top suitors fall through, the Fish will need to go back to the drawing board. While yesterday’s news suggested the Dodgers and Yankees could still be brought into the hunt, indications are that those organizations won’t be willing to take on anything approaching all of Stanton’s sizable salary.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: 12/7/17]]> 2017-12-08T13:40:14Z 2017-12-08T04:38:17Z The market for Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton has been stagnant for a few days now. That could change at any moment, if Stanton green-lights one of the deal structures currently in place. And we’ve heard there’s some anticipation of some kind of resolution by the end of the week. But the longer things drag out, the more time and space there is for the existing top suitors to waver — and, perhaps, for others to enter the picture more clearly. It’s still not evident how this will all turn out, but there are some hints that the situation is not necessarily nearing resolution:

    • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic offers an updated look at the market in a subscription piece, with some interesting tweaks on what has become the status quo. It’s well worth a full read. There seems to be a split of opinion among Rosenthal’s sources as to just where things stand with regard to the Giants and Cardinals, with some saying Stanton is disinclined to approve a trade to either organization and others insisting his “thinking is fluid.” Regardless, those two clubs likely won’t linger around waiting forever, particularly if they come to believe they aren’t going to be able to convince the star to approve a deal. Should that come to pass, says Rosenthal, the Fish will be in a tough spot. If there’s a way out (beyond hoping Stanton says yes to one of the existing suitors), it may come from engaging both the Dodgers and — yes — the Yankees, each of whom Rosenthal says are still “on the periphery.” And Rosenthal adds that Stanton is open to a move to the Bronx. Of course, both of those mega-market clubs are in the process of reining in long-burdened balance sheets; Rosenthal writes that Miami would need to hang onto some significant cash (or take on pricey veterans in return) to get something done and perhaps entice real prospect value.
    • Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio hears similarly to Rosenthal regarding the Los Angeles and New York organizations (via Twitter). And his colleague Craig Mish even suggests (links to Twitter) that Stanton has now given the Marlins more clarity than had previously been known, with a list of four teams to which he’d approve a deal. The Astros and Cubs — neither of whom have been linked substantially to Stanton — are said to be on this list along with the Dodgers and Yankees. While the Giants and Cardinals are not on this “preferred list,” as Mish terms it, Stanton was at least willing to hear their pitches. Ultimately, this leaves it unknown whether Stanton has been swayed in his initial thinking and does not really conflict with prior reporting that has indicated Stanton would maintain an open mind entering the process.
    • Jon Heyman of Fan Rag painted at least a somewhat different picture earlier today, writing that the Dodgers are a “long shot” for Stanton if a move is to happen in the near future, as their limited engagement to date would leave them with quite a bit of work to do to sort out an agreement. With some indication that Stanton could make some kind of decision on interest from the Giants and Cardinals by the end of the week, it does not seem as if the Dodgers are likely to swoop in — but, perhaps, could still enter the picture if Stanton declines to go to San Francisco or St. Louis. It’s worth noting, too, that Heyman recently broached the topic of the Yankees’ ongoing interest in Stanton.
    • Speaking of the Giants’ interest in Stanton, Heyman writes that chief executive officer Larry Baer was among those to meet with the reigning MLB home run king. The CEO was previously reported to have met with Ohtani, too, so he’s clearly getting involved personally in these highly significant decisions for the organization. Baer “loves” the reigning NL MVP, according to Heyman, who adds that a free-agent pursuit of J.D. Martinez is viewed as the Giants’ primary alternative to Stanton.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Mikolas, Stanton, Longoria]]> 2017-12-07T04:23:52Z 2017-12-07T04:23:52Z The Cardinals’ signing of right-hander Miles Mikolas to a two-year, $15.5MM contract might not have been the splash that many St. Louis fans were hoping to see this week, but it nonetheless is a significant pickup for the club. GM Mike Girsch tells reporters, including’s Jenifer Langosch, that Mikolas will compete for a rotation spot after impressing Cardinals scouts for several years with his transformation in Japan. “Our scouts have watched him as he refined his repertoire, improved his velocity and became one of the most effective pitchers in Japan the last couple seasons,” says Girsch. “While Miles has always had good control back to his days with San Diego and Texas, he has been able to sharpen his pitches and improve his strikeout rate over the past three seasons.” The righty pitched to a 2.18 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 1.5 BB/9 in 424 2/3 innings for the Yomiuri Giants before making the leap back to MLB. Langosch also quotes Mikolas himself on a number of the adjustments he made and his decision to sign with the Cardinals, whose Spring Training facility is in Mikolas’ hometown of Jupiter, Fla.

    Some more Cardinals chatter as the Winter Meetings loom…

    • Adding Mikolas is also in many ways preparation for a potential trade, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goold reports that the Cards have made a “compelling” offer for Giancarlo Stanton and have discussed right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Jack Flaherty in various trade scenarios with the Marlins. (Notably, Goold does not specify whether either Alcantara or Flaherty is in the Cardinals’ final offer.) The Cardinals, he adds, are also willing to take on more of the contract than other teams.
    • Even if Stanton doesn’t approve a trade to the Cardinals, however, Goold points out that their negotiations with the Marlins won’t go to waste. Much of the talk that has gone on between the two clubs could serve as a framework for a deal involving Marcell Ozuna or Christian Yelich, if the Marlins are amenable to parting with them. The Cards have also talked to the Rays about closer Alex Colome, as Goold and others have previously reported, and Goold notes that those talks “could shift or expand” to include Evan Longoria. The longtime Rays cornerstone has come up as a speculative trade candidate on several occasions this winter. As Goold notes, Longoria gains 10-and-5 rights early in the 2018 season, so if the Rays do want to move the remaining five years and $86MM on his contract, this offseason is the time to do it before he gains the full no-trade power that comes with those 10-and-5 rights.
    • President of baseball operations John Mozeliak joined Chris Hrabe and Mike Claiborne of KMOX Sports Radio in St. Louis to discuss a host of topics, and the transcription of much of the conversation has been posted online by KMOX. Mozeliak didn’t delve into specifics on the Stanton rumors but did discuss the Mikolas signing, his surplus of young outfield options, some of the team’s new coaching hires (Mike Maddux, Willie McGee) and more. Notably, Mozeliak plainly stated that while some reports have pegged Mikolas as a potential fifth starter, the Cardinals “definitely see him with higher expectations than that.” Regarding the many upper-level outfield prospects the Cardinals have in their system, Mozeliak implies that the team will put that supply of talent to use in the near future. “When you envision the next couple of weeks, it’s how do we take that depth and put it towards finding a way to help the club…” Mozeliak states.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Expect Decision From Giancarlo Stanton By End Of Week]]> 2017-12-06T22:23:32Z 2017-12-06T22:05:28Z 4:05pm: John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke to Evans about the Giants’ recent meeting with Stanton. The GM states to Shea that Stanton “had a good feel for what he wanted to hear from us” and acknowledged that AT&T Park is one of his favorite places to play. Stanton was complimentary of the Giants’ fans and the way in which they support the team.

    Though the process has dragged on for quite some time now, Evans reminds of the human side of what is a life-altering decision for Stanton: “There’s a lot of personal factors people don’t know about. We don’t necessarily know those personal factors as well.” Evans also, once again, confirmed that the two sides did reach an agreement, with contingencies, one of which (of course) is Stanton waiving his no-trade clause.

    2:44pm: The Giants anticipate that Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton will decide whether to waive his no-trade clause by the end of the week, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area (via Twitter), who does also note that the timeline is hardly set in stone.

    Pavlovic also notes that San Francisco views the Dodgers as a bigger “threat” to land Stanton, not the Cardinals — the other team that has been most involved in trade talks to this point. Along those same lines,’s Jon Morosi tweets that the Dodgers and Marlins were in contact as recently as Tuesday, though their Stanton discussions are still not advanced.

    Giants GM Bobby Evans also acknowledged earlier today that the organization had a sit-down with Stanton, in an interview with KNBR (via John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). He also said that the team did put the terms of a deal in place with Miami in advance. Evans’ surprisingly candid comments run counter to yesterday’s comments from Marlins CEO Derek Jeter, who said in an appearance on WINZ-AM radio (link via the Associated Press) that his team is still “gathering information” and that “anything up to this point has been speculation.”

    Whether or not a deal will come together in that time frame remains to be seen, of course. It’s conceivable that Stanton could simply decide he is not interested in waiving his no-trade clause at this point. But the report does hint that we could see resolution on the situation before the Winter Meetings, potentially freeing up other market movement — including the Marlins’ potential efforts to market other players and subsequent pivots to other targets for the Giants and Cardinals.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Sign Miles Mikolas]]> 2017-12-05T18:43:04Z 2017-12-05T18:24:17Z The first significant move of the offseason is in the books for the Cardinals, but it’s hardly one that everyone has been expecting. St. Louis announced Tuesday that it has signed right-hander Miles Mikolas, to a two-year contract. The 29-year-old Mikolas, who was known to be seeking a return to the Majors after a dominant three-year run with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, will reportedly be guaranteed $15.5MM. He’s represented by Octagon.

    Miles Mikolas | Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Mikolas, a former Padres/Rangers farmhand, didn’t establish himself in parts of three seasons with those two teams earlier this decade. From 2012-14, he turned in 91 1/3 innings with a 5.32 ERA 6.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.18 HR/9 and a 44 percent ground-ball rate. However, Mikolas had a sharp track record in the minors, highlighted by excellent control in the upper levels, which piqued the interest of NPB’s Giants.

    In his three seasons in Japan, Mikolas registered a 2.18 ERA through 424 1/3 innings, capped off by a superlative 2017 season in which he spun 188 frames of 2.25 ERA ball over 27 starts. He not only struck out a batter per inning this past season but also dropped his walk rate to 1.1 BB/9.

    For the Cardinals, Mikolas will add to what was already a fairly solid mix of starting pitchers. He’ll join Carlos Martinez, Luke Weaver, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Jack Flaherty as a rotation option for manager Mike Matheny. Righties Sandy Alcantara, Mike Mayers and Alex Reyes are both on the 40-man roster as well, as is lefty Austin Gomber who was recently added as protection from the Rule 5 Draft. Reyes, though, is recovering from Tommy John surgery and may initially work out of the bullpen in his return from that procedure.

    [Related: Updated St. Louis Cardinals Depth Chart & Payroll Outlook]

    Adding Mikolas to their rotation will only further the speculation that the Cardinals are prepared to deal some arms as they look to bolster their lineup. St. Louis has been one of the two primary teams in pursuit of reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton on the trade market (joined by the Giants), and if that doesn’t pan out the Cards could also look to pry Marcell Ozuna or Christian Yelich out of Miami or turn to other bats on the market. (Jose Abreu would fit the Cardinals’ stated goal of adding an impact bat, for instance.)

    In terms of team payroll, the annual commitment of $7.75MM for Mikolas won’t be hard to fit onto the books. The Cards projected to have a payroll in the neighborhood of $128MM next season, though that figure includes projected arbitration salaries for both Wacha ($5.9MM) and Randal Grichuk ($2.8MM) — each of whom has seen his name surface in trade rumors this winter.

    The Cards are well-positioned to take on multiple multi-year commitments this offseason, as they’ll see Wainwright’s $19.5MM salary come off the books at the end of the year, and their only notable arbitration cases for the 2019 season are Wacha, Grichuk, Tyler Lyons and Tommy Pham. Adding Mikolas to the rotation mix will push their current payroll projection into the $135MM range (depending on how it is broken down), which will leave room to add further pieces. The Cards opened the 2017 season with a payroll of more than $148MM, and they’re set to enter the first season of a new television contract that is worth more than $1 billion next season, providing an immediate and significant boost to their 2018 revenue stream.

    Yahoo’s Jeff Passan first reported that an agreement was close (on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted that Mikolas had agreed to a two-year deal in the $14-16MM range. FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweeted the exact guarantee.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Cubs, Angels Among Teams To Meet With Shohei Ohtani]]> 2017-12-04T05:40:13Z 2017-12-04T05:40:33Z 11:40pm: The Angels are indeed one of the finalists, as per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter).

    10:39pm: The Angels are thought by “multiple sources” to be one of the finalists, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets.  The Tigers are out of the running, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

    8:59pm: The Rangers and Cubs will both meet with Ohtani, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports (Twitter link), and they’re also the only two non-West Coast teams who appear to still be alive in the candidate process.  The Rangers, Grant notes, have yet to comment on their status one way or the other.

    7:22pm: The Nationals won’t be receiving a meeting, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes reports (Twitter link).

    6:58pm: The Braves are out,’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter).

    6:50pm: The Padres will receive a meeting with Ohtani, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links).  The Dodgers are also thought to still be active in the Ohtani sweepstakes though Heyman doesn’t have confirmation; regardless, the Dodgers aren’t thought to be favorites to land Ohtani.

    6:38pm: The Rays, Cardinals and White Sox are out, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (all Twitter links).

    6:15pm: The Diamondbacks won’t receive a meeting, Ken Rosenthal tweets.

    6:12pm: The Blue Jays, Pirates, and Brewers are all out, as respectively reported by’s Shi Davidi,’s Adam Berry, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt (all Twitter links).

    5:48pm: The Mets are also out, as per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

    5:38pm: Ohtani’s list is “heavy” on West Coast teams, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, though the Cubs may still be involved.  Not every west-based team is included, however, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the A’s aren’t involved.

    5:28pm: The Red Sox are also out of the running, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  The Twins also won’t be getting a meeting with Ohtani, Heyman tweets.

    5:16pm: The Giants and Mariners are among the teams that will receive meetings with Shohei Ohtani and his representatives next week, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link).  It isn’t known who the other finalists are in the Ohtani sweepstakes, though the Yankees are one of the teams that didn’t make the cut, as Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including’s Brendan Kuty and’s Bryan Hoch).

    According to Cashman, Ohtani seems to be leaning towards West Coast teams in smaller markets.  This ties to a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman saying that Ohtani’s reps are informing teams that the two-way star would prefer to play in a smaller market.

    The news adds another fascinating layer to the Ohtani sweepstakes, which was already one of the more intriguing free agent pursuits in recent memory.  Given the seeming lack of immediate financial motive that inspired Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball, it opened the door for every team in baseball (regardless of market or payroll size) to make a push for the 23-year-old.  There had been speculation that Ohtani might look to avoid playing in a larger market, so this apparent confirmation creates a realistic possibility that he will land with a team that wouldn’t normally be considered a favorite to land such a coveted free agent.

    Of course, San Francisco isn’t exactly a small market, though Ohtani wouldn’t necessarily be the center of attention on a club with such established stars as Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner (and maybe even Giancarlo Stanton in the near future).  Playing for an NL team, however, would force Ohtani into a pinch-hitting or even a part-time outfield role for the at-bats he seeks in his attempt to be a two-way player in the big leagues.  The Mariners do have such a DH spot available (in a timeshare with Nelson Cruz), and were considered to be a contender for Ohtani given their long history of Japanese players.

    The Yankees also have had several significant Japanese players on their past and current rosters, and were widely seen as one of the major favorites for Ohtani’s services from a financial (in terms of available international bonus money) and positional (openings at DH and in the rotation) standpoint, not to mention their international fame and their young core of talent ready to make a World Series push.  With Ohtani now out of the picture, the Yankees could move to signing more pitching depth — a reunion with C.C. Sabathia has been widely speculated as a possibility — or a veteran bat to serve as designated hitter, if the club doesn’t just rotate its DH days to find plate appearances for everyone on the current roster.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Marlins Agree To Framework Of Giancarlo Stanton Deals With Cards, Giants]]> 2017-12-04T04:14:42Z 2017-12-04T04:14:35Z 10:14pm: The 2-3 day timeline is “quite a hopeful estimate,” sources tell Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

    5:47pm: The Stanton deal is expected to be wrapped up within the next 2-3 days, Craig Mish tweets.

    4:41pm: The Cardinals are offering to take on more of Stanton’s money than the Giants, according to Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link).

    3:17pm: Neither the Cardinals nor Giants have set timetables for Stanton to make a decision, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.

    1:58pm: The Marlins have agreed to the “general framework” of Giancarlo Stanton trades with both the Cardinals and the Giants, Jon Morosi of reports (Twitter links). Buster Olney of ESPN suggested earlier this week that was the case when the Stanton camp (him and agent Joel Wolfe) met with those clubs.

    Whether a deal ultimately occurs with the Cardinals or Giants will depend on Stanton’s willingness to waive his no-trade clause to join either club, which looks far from certain. In fact, Jim Bowden of SiriusXM tweets that the Dodgers are the only team he’d agree to waive his no-trade rights for as of now. Bowden adds that the Giants would have a better chance than the “long shot” Cardinals of landing the right fielder if the Dodgers were to pass on acquiring him. A Stanton trade is not expected to come together Sunday, per Mark Feinsand of (Twitter link).

    The 27-year-old Stanton is a Los Angeles native who grew up rooting for the Dodgers, so his desire to join them more than anyone else isn’t surprising, especially when you consider their on-field success. Having never even played for a .500 team, let alone gone to the playoffs, since making his major league debut in 2010, Stanton made it clear during this past season that he’s tired of losing and wants to compete for championships. Stanton would likely get his wish to play meaningful baseball into the fall with the Dodgers, who are fresh off a National League-winning campaign, but Morosi reported earlier Sunday that the big-spending club is wary of the luxury-tax implications that would come with reeling in the NL MVP.

    Stanton is due $295MM over the next decade, and while the Marlins could eat a large portion of that in order to maximize their return for the 59-home run man, Olney reported Saturday that Miami’s primary goal is to get Stanton’s money off the books. That would seemingly be a problem for the Dodgers, who will incur significant penalties if they run a mammoth payroll again in 2018. The Dodgers spent $237MM-plus in each of the past several seasons, and if it happens again next year, they’ll have to pay an extra 45 percent surcharge tax. Additionally, their top draft pick for 2018 (No. 30 overall) will drop 10 spots. Jason Martinez of MLBTR and Roster Resource currently estimates LA’s payroll for next season to open at $208MM-plus, but that’s obviously without factoring in Stanton or any other potential additions.

    Meanwhile, although the Giants are already near the $197MM luxury tax for 2018 (they have upward of $190MM in payroll commitments), they’re reportedly willing to take on the majority of Stanton’s money if he’d waive his NTC to go to San Francisco. The Cardinals have far less money on the books for next year ($127MM-plus), but it’s unclear how much of Stanton’s money they’d add in a trade. Of course, along with the cash left on his deal, Stanton’s ability to opt out of the pact after the 2020 season has added another complication to trade talks between the Marlins and other teams. Despite the roadblocks, though,  the cost-cutting Marlins are seemingly in position to ship out Stanton if he green lights a move to St. Louis or San Francisco.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Could Cardinals Explore An Evan Longoria Trade?]]> 2017-12-04T02:33:13Z 2017-12-04T02:33:13Z
  • Evan Longoria’s name hasn’t been “seriously involved” in any trade discussions between the Rays and Cardinals, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweets, though Morosi says to “stay tuned” should the Cards fail to land Giancarlo Stanton.  St. Louis has been known to be looking for an impact bat this winter and will likely explore several alternatives if they come up short in their pursuit of Stanton, so it makes sense that the Cardinals could expand their talks with the Rays about Alex Colome to also include Longoria.  Obstacles to a deal, however, include the $86MM Longoria is owed through the 2022 season, his age (32), and the fact that he is coming off his worst offensive season (.312 wOBA, 96 wRC+).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Sunday]]> 2017-12-03T19:27:00Z 2017-12-03T18:08:06Z In case you were unaware, Giancarlo Stanton is still on the Marlins. We’ll keep track of today’s rumblings on the National League MVP and trade candidate here…

    • The Red Sox are no longer involved in the Stanton race, per Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link). A report on Wednesday indicated that Boston and Miami hadn’t discussed Stanton since the general managers meetings in mid-November, so the Red Sox’s apparent exit from the sweepstakes doesn’t come as a surprise.
    • While Stanton has personally met with the GMs for the Giants and Cardinals, the Los Angeles-born slugger is still waiting to see how serious the Dodgers’ interest is before he’s willing to completely embrace going to another team, according to Jon Morosi of (Twitter links). However, the Dodgers and Marlins haven’t made any “substantial progress” in talks, Morosi adds, as LA is wary of the luxury-tax implications that would come with acquiring him. Meanwhile, both the Giants and Cardinals are still “in the dark” about whether Stanton would waive his no-trade clause to join them, Mish relays on Twitter.
    • San Francisco and Miami have reportedly discussed Giants outfield prospect Heliot Ramos; however, there’s “no indication” the Giants have actually offered Ramos to the Marlins, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Saturday]]> 2017-12-03T03:04:30Z 2017-12-03T03:04:54Z Both the Cardinals and the Giants have recently been given permission to speak with NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton’s representatives. As we get deeper and deeper into the Stanton Saga, we’ll keep track of today’s rumors in this post.

    • Stanton was actually present with his lead representative, Joel Wolfe of Wasserman, at meetings with the Cardinals and Giants last week, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag. Both teams’ GMs attended those summits, adds Heyman, who suggests that Stanton’s presence shows he’s serious about joining either club. Indeed, neither the Cardinals nor Giants have been eliminated from the Stanton derby, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.


    • In a detailed piece, Heyman references a number of different anonymous sources in expressing skepticism that Stanton would approve a trade to St. Louis. Five different people close to Stanton apparently told Heyman that they believe he’d choose the Giants over the Cardinals if given a choice, and with a full no-trade clause on his side, Stanton has a big say in the matter. One of Heyman’s sources states that the West Coast would be the outfielder’s first choice, the East Coast would be his second choice, and the Midwest would be his last choice. Of course, as Heyman also notes, it’s worth mentioning that talks with St. Louis have progressed to a point at which their front office reps were invited to meet with Stanton’s camp; it seems unlikely that would happen if a trade to the Cardinals was a firm “no” from the reigning home run champ. According to another one of Heyman’s sources, the Marlins believe a trade agreement can be reached with the Giants. However, the Dodgers (who are reportedly Stanton’s first choice) are “not disinterested”. If that’s indeed the case, he could simply choose to wait out the trade process and hope L.A. and Miami can work out an agreement.
    • Buster Olney of ESPN reports via Twitter that the Marlins are more focused on moving as much of Stanton’s salary as possible than they are on maximizing their prospect return. As Derrick Gould of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel both point out in their own tweets, this news is considerably in the Giants’ favor. The Cardinals have far more to offer in terms of prospects, but they don’t have a history of doling out enormous contracts to free agents. The Giants, on the other hand, are payroll juggernauts, and although they have nearly $190MM in payroll guarantees for 2018 already, that number could drop considerably next year with the potential departures of Hunter Pence and Denard Span. This doesn’t mean a deal with the Giants is imminent, but it does seem to make them a better trade partner for the Marlins.
    • Giants manager Bruce Bochy was apparently not present at the meeting between the San Francisco brass and Stanton’s representatives on Thursday, according to a tweet from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s a fairly minor detail, but it does seem to decrease the likelihood that a trade is truly on the brink of taking place.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays Acquire Aledmys Diaz]]> 2017-12-02T15:34:17Z 2017-12-02T01:43:42Z The Blue Jays have struck a trade to acquire shortstop Aledmys Diaz from the Cardinals, per an announcement from the Toronto organization (h/t Shi Davidi of, on Twitter). Outfield prospect J.B. Woodman is heading back to St. Louis in return.

    [RELATED: Updated Blue Jays Depth Chart]

    This time last year, such a deal would not have seemed possible. In 2016, Diaz turned in a sparkling rookie campaign. Over 460 plate appearances, he slashed .300/.369/.510 with 17 home runs. Diaz went down on strikes just sixty times while drawing 41 walks.

    Alas, he was not able to sustain that surprising outbreak in his sophomore season. Diaz limped to a .259/.290/.392 batting line in 301 trips to the plate. He was ultimately demoted to Triple-A, where he watched as Paul DeJong took off and dashed any hopes of a near-term return.

    Beyond the questions at the plate, there are also some questions regarding Diaz’s defensive work, at least at short. He has drawn mixed reviews from UZR and DRS which, in the aggregate, paint him as at least a somewhat below-average defender at that challenging spot.

    For the Jays, Diaz represents a possible solution to the team’s depth issues up the middle. While Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis will likely enter camp as presumptive starters, they have each struggled with significant injury issues in recent years. Diaz, then, not only adds another option but also represents a potential buy-low candidate.

    In exchange, Toronto parted with its second-round pick from the 2016 draft. Woodman, a left-handed-hitting outfielder who’ll soon turn 23, had a solid debut season at the low A level but struggled upon reaching Class A in 2017. In 414 plate appearances, he slashed just .240/.320/.378 while striking out 157 times. Needless to say, his offensive game will require quite a bit of polishing, but the Cards can certainly afford to be patient with him.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Will Meet With Giancarlo Stanton’s Representatives]]> 2017-12-02T00:45:26Z 2017-12-01T23:50:29Z The Cardinals have a meeting scheduled with representatives of star Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, according to Jon Morosi of (Twitter links). The 2017 NL MVP, who is being shopped as the Marlins seek to trim payroll, has the ability to block any trade by virtue of his full no-trade rights.

    Yesterday, Stanton’s reps sat down with the Giants’ brass, so it seems that at least these two organizations have obtained authorization from Miami to discuss their pursuit of Stanton directly with his camp. Tonight’s news rather clearly indicates that there is no deal in place with San Francisco, so it seems there’s still time for the situation to develop before Stanton ends up changing hands. (Of course, it’s also still possible that won’t come to pass.)

    With respect to the Giants, there’s also no reason to believe they are out of the race. To the contrary, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweets that Miami is still eyeing some of San Francisco’s young talent. He says the Marlins are looking specifically at top Giants prospect Heliot Ramos as well as righty Tyler Beede, first baseman Chris Shaw, and catcher Aramis Garcia — along with major league second bagger Joe Panik. That’s not to say that all of those players would be included in any prospective deal, of course; rather, it seems those are the names in play at the moment.

    While it’s within the Marlins’ rights to allow other teams to speak with Stanton, it seems there are at least some parameters to be minded. Per’s Buster Olney, via Twitter, MLB rules require that the team “have a general understanding on trade terms.”

    All things considered, this is rather an unusual state of affairs for a trade candidate. But in a year in which Shohei Otani has been recruited like a five-star high school athlete, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising to see anther unique situation arise.

    Certainly, Stanton is a fairly unique asset. Beyond the fact that there’s an opportunity to grab a 28-year-old player who is arguably the game’s preeminent power hitter, his contract creates quite some opportunity and risk. Stanton is owed another $295MM on his long-term deal but also has the right to opt out after three seasons.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Remain In Mix For Alex Colome]]> 2017-11-30T04:51:21Z 2017-11-29T20:41:44Z
  • It seems the Rays are at least entertaining the possibility of dealing closer Alex Colome, per Morosi (Twitter link), with “active discussions” said to be ongoing with multiple rival organizations. The Cardinals have “sustained interest” in Colome — a connection we first heard about two weeks back. Colome’s less-than-dominant 2017 campaign has likely cabined his trade value somewhat, though teams will still no doubt see significant value in the hard-throwing, high-leverage reliever. MLBTR projects that Colome will earn $5.5MM in his first of three potential trips through arbitration.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Market Notes: Darvish, Donaldson, Frazier]]> 2017-11-29T17:10:40Z 2017-11-29T14:39:22Z There has been no shortage of chatter on Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani over the past few weeks. We gathered up more news and rumors on each of these significant players yesterday — here and here, respectively. It’s fair to wonder whether their still-unsettled situations could be to blame for a notably sluggish start to the free agent market. The former, in particular, is a potential cause given that his massive contract and complicated trade situation might be hindering the development of the markets of premium free agents — though certainly other structural factors may be playing a far greater role, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports argues in a must-read piece.

    • Free agent righty Yu Darvish evidently still has a broad class of suitors, according to a report from Jim Bowden of Sirius XM (via Twitter). Six (unidentified) clubs have engaged on the veteran hurler, with about as many others seemingly having shown some degree of interest. That’s not surprising for a pitcher of Darvish’s stature — he entered the offseason atop MLBTR’s list of the top fifty free agents — but it does suggest that the back-and-forth is only just getting underway.
    • Over at Fangraphs, Dave Cameron has explored the hypothetical possibility of the Blue Jays dangling star third baseman Josh Donaldson in trade. He first posited that Toronto could match up with the Cardinals in a swap that might allow both teams to maximize their resources and stay in contention. (Of course, this is presented as analysis, not a report of actual discussions.) And yesterday, Cameron argued that Donaldson might not bring maximum value if he’s ultimately shopped at the deadline (supposing, of course, that the Jays end up in a selling posture). Other premium hot corner rentals could also be available this summer, Cameron notes, and it seems unlikely that there’ll be a whole lot of demand.
    • Third baseman Todd Frazier is likely to plug a gap for one of the few contenders that does need a new option there. But he’s also still interested in returning to the Yankees, he tells MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). Of course, that’s an organization that may well decide not to add at that position; we covered just that subject in some detail about a month back. Frazier says it’d be “great” to remain in the Bronx, but also suggests he may be resigned to finding a new home, noting that he “understand[s] the business” side of things.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Trade Rumors: Monday]]> 2017-11-28T00:04:29Z 2017-11-27T20:49:58Z The Giancarlo Stanton trade saga has been one of the top storylines of the offseason, and there’s no end in sight at the time being. To date, the Cardinals and Giants have reportedly submitted formal offers, while the Dodgers and Red Sox have also been linked to the slugger.

    We’ll track today’s developments on the Stanton front right here:

    • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that other clubs have gotten the sense that there’ll be resolution on the Stanton talks one way or another by the time the Winter Meetings kick off on Dec. 10 (all Twitter links). That is to say, the Marlins will either have traded him by that point or interested parties will have exhausted their patience and begun to explore other possibilities on the trade and free-agent markets. Crasnick also notes that while the Cardinals and Giants are the most-cited suitors, there are other clubs that are in active pursuit of Stanton.

    Earlier Updates

    • Jon Morosi of reports that Stanton has given the Marlins a list of teams to which he’d accept a trade, and the Dodgers are among those teams (all links to Twitter). Per Morosi, the Dodgers and Marlins have discussed some Stanton trade scenarios, but the Giants and Cardinals have shown more focused interest in Stanton. Some teams interested in Stanton feel the Dodgers are his top choice, which could slow negotiations as Stanton could veto any deal until knowing for certain that the Dodgers don’t plan on making a move for him. At this point, however, Stanton has not rejected any trades, according to Morosi.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[What We Know About The Giancarlo Stanton Situation]]> 2017-11-25T03:37:39Z 2017-11-25T03:36:29Z As of Black Friday, the 2017 offseason has been astonishingly quiet. The trade and free agent market seems as though it’s being held up in large part by the situation surrounding NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Once that massive domino falls, it’s possible we’ll see a flurry of free agent activity follow. In the meantime, however, Stanton rumors are a heavy focus of the baseball media cycle, and as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd pointed out in an in-depth piece earlier this month, his market is wide and complex. As we approach the weekend, here’s an overview of what we know about the Marlins’ attempt to deal their All-Star outfielder.

    He’s the best player available on the market- This may be redundant considering I already mentioned his brand new MVP award, but the subject is well worth its own spotlight. His .281/.376/.631 batting line is other worldly, and his 59 homers paced all of baseball in 2017. While his 6.9 fWAR only tied for fifth among all players in the majors, the rest of the top seven (Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve, Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout) won’t be available for teams to acquire in a trade. The top three free agents (Yu Darvish, J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer) aren’t anywhere near as valuable in terms of expected WAR output as Stanton.

    Teams perceive his remaining contract as close to market value- According to these three tweets from Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, multiple teams told the Marlins that the remaining 10 years and $295MM left on Stanton’s contract are a pretty good estimate of what he’d earn on the open market, were he a free agent this offseason.

    He has a lot of power over his own fate- Not only does Stanton have a full no-trade clause in his contract, but he also has the ability to opt out after the 2020 season, at which point he’d leave 7 years and $218MM on the table in search of a new deal. The opt-out makes trading him even more complicated, as it caps the contract value upside for his would-be new team. Meanwhile, the full no-trade protection gives him enormous leverage in the process. Many teams would love to add Stanton to their lineup, and the Marlins are looking to shed payroll. Ultimately, this means the Fish may not end up being able to accept the best offer, and could have to simply settle for the proposal from the city Stanton wishes to play for most.

    The Marlins’ leverage over him is nonzero- While Stanton is a coveted asset and enjoys no-trade protection, he’s made it well-known that he isn’t interested in being around for a rebuild. The slugger’s desire to leave Miami could result in him approving a trade he’s not thrilled about just to play for a contender. On the other hand, it could also result in a tense game of chicken between Stanton and the Marlins to see who will bend first. Although the Marlins have a firm mission to shed payroll, they can do so in other ways; they don’t actually have to trade Stanton at all. And as much as Stanton wants to be traded, he might be willing to hold out for a team of his choice and risk staying put. The case is fascinating.

    Some evaluators believe the Marlins’ asking price is unrealistic- While Miami’s asking price isn’t entirely clear, it seems as though they’re looking for a team to pay all (or nearly all) of his salary while including prospects. This has led some to suggest that the Fish need a “reality check” in terms of their asking price. If the contract is indeed roughly market value, then it’s difficult to imagine that a team will give up good prospects for the privilege to pay Stanton his full dollar value over the course of the deal.

    He prefers to play near a coast- While this doesn’t seem to be a firm deal breaker, it complicates matters for teams like the Cardinals and Phillies, who have the payroll space and prospect depth to swing a trade for the prolific slugger.

    The Cardinals and Giants have made formal offers- The Giants were the first to officially submit a trade proposal, with the Cardinals following suit later that same week. This doesn’t mean the trade discussions are finished; those trades could still be tweaked or even scrapped entirely in favor of starting from scratch. But the fact that there are at least two offers on the table gives the Marlins some options to weigh for the time being. It’s not known what those offers are, however, though we do know that the Cardinals included Sandy Alcantara in their proposal. It’s equally uncertain whether Miami even takes those offers seriously.

    As many as eight teams are engaged in talks for him- While only six of those eight teams are thought to be serious pursuers, the fact that so many teams are showing strong interest bodes well for Miami and their power in negotiations. In addition to the Cardinals and Giants mentioned above, we know that the Dodgers, Phillies and Red Sox have had some level of dialogue with the Marlins. The Yankees, too, have reportedly done their due diligence, though it doesn’t sound as if they’re actively pursuing Stanton.


    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Hosmer, Marlins, Martinez]]> 2017-11-22T05:48:29Z 2017-11-22T05:48:29Z
  • The Cardinals’ search for an impact bat is expansive, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. President of baseball ops John Mozeliak and his staff have had discussions with virtually every impact bat on the market, including Eric Hosmer, and their trade talks with the Marlins have gone beyond Giancarlo Stanton and also touched on Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich (presumably not in the same deal). Two execs with other teams told Goold that the Cardinals have been aggressive in trade talks thus far. “We’ve got capacity to increase our payroll depending on the right situation,” owner Bill DeWitt Jr. tells Goold.
  • Jose Martinez is utilizing the Venezuelan Winter League to further familiarize himself with playing first base, writes’s Jenifer Langosch. The Cardinals gave Martinez, who has spent most of his career in the outfield, 29 starts at first last season and plan to use him there again in 2018 (though more in a backup role). Martinez has started nine of his 13 VWL games at first base and figures to continue to gain more exposure there over the course of the offseason. The 29-year-old hit .309/.379/.518 with 14 homers in 307 plate appearances with the Cardinals in 2017.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Added To The 40-Man Roster]]> 2017-11-21T01:48:28Z 2017-11-21T00:47:42Z As detailed earlier this morning at MLBTR, the deadline for Major League clubs to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from next month’s Rule 5 Draft is tonight. Because of that, there will be literally dozens of moves between now and 8pm ET as teams make final determinations on who to protect and who to risk losing in next month’s Rule 5 draft. This process will lead to smaller-scale trades, waiver claims and DFAs, but for some clubs the only necessary moves will simply be to select the contracts of the prospects they wish to place on the 40-man roster. We’ll track those such moves in this post…

    Click to check in on other teams that have selected players to their 40-man rosters …

    Read more

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Monday]]> 2017-11-20T17:15:29Z 2017-11-20T17:15:29Z Another day, another slew of rumors pertaining to the game’s top slugger. Reports over the weekend indicated that the Cardinals have submitted a formal offer to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton, but that doesn’t mean that there’s any indication a trade involving Stanton is any closer. Here’s the latest on the 2017 home run king…

    • Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM tweets that the Marlins and Giants have discussed second baseman Joe Panik, right-handed pitching prospect Tyler Beede and outfield prospect Chris Shaw. The Giants have also discussed the possibility of taking Dee Gordon back in the deal, which would make some sense with Panik possibly being of interest to Miami. It’s worth noting that Mish doesn’t specifically state that the two sides have talked about a Panik/Beede/Shaw for Stanton and Gordon package. To the contrary, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that he hears that is not the framework of a deal being discussed (nor is it close, according to Schulman). It seems, then, that the two sides are likely discussing multiple scenarios and those names have been involved (likely with others) in various permutations. The Giants reportedly made some type of trade proposal on Friday.
    • Mish also tweets that the Cardinals are willing to part with hard-throwing right-handed pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara, who was included in the aforementioned formal offer to Miami. Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of rank Alcantara ninth among Cardinals farmhands, noting he sits at 96 mph with a fastball that scrapes triple digits and also has the potential for a pair of average or better secondary offerings. Baseball America rated Alcantara fourth among Cardinals farmhands just two weeks ago (subscription required & recommended for their full scouting report).
    • Meanwhile, Schulman tweets that the Marlins haven’t reached the point where they’re asking interested teams for their best and final offers for Stanton, thus indicating that an actual trade involving Stanton is not especially close at this time.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Sunday]]> 2017-11-19T22:43:33Z 2017-11-19T22:43:01Z Rumors continue to swirl around Marlins right fielder and trade candidate Giancarlo Stanton early this offseason. Here’s the latest on the NL MVP:

    • The Cardinals “have made a formal offer” to acquire Stanton, according to Jon Morosi of (Twitter link). They’re at least the second team to make a pitch to the Marlins for Stanton, joining the previously reported Giants.
    • There are some evaluators around MLB who believe the Marlins need a “reality check” with regards to their asking price for the slugger, Buster Olney of ESPN writes. With $295MM left on his contract and an opt-out clause after 2020 on his deal, Stanton lacks surplus value, per Olney, which jibes with a Morosi report from earlier this week. One executive told Olney that the Marlins are “not going to find teams willing to give up both the money and the prospects, and that’s why [they’ll] probably have to choose: They can either take the talent and eat some of the money, or they’ll have to prioritize the [money] savings.”
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Interested In Brandon Kintzler]]> 2017-11-19T14:14:04Z 2017-11-19T14:14:04Z
  • The Cardinals and Rockies are among teams with interest in reliever Brandon Kintzler, whose experience as a closer has executives wondering if a club will sign him to handle that role, according to Morosi. Both the Cardinals and Rockies need more than ninth-inning help, as each team has seen multiple key relievers hit free agency this month. The 33-year-old Kintzler has overcome a paucity of strikeouts to ride a low-walk, high-grounder combination to success throughout his career, including in a 2017 campaign that saw the righty amass a career-high 29 saves between Minnesota and Washington (28 with the Twins).
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Friday]]> 2017-11-18T00:12:13Z 2017-11-17T23:32:03Z You didn’t think we were going to make it to the weekend without another look at the market for Giancarlo Stanton, surely? The Marlins slugger, fresh off of receiving the National League MVP Award yesterday, is still the biggest name to watch. Here’s the latest:

    • Offers are flowing in on Stanton now that the GM Meetings have wrapped up, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes. The Giants have submitted some kind of proposal, according to Rosenthal, with the Cardinals and Red Sox among the other teams believed to be lining up their own concepts for Miami to consider. Rosenthal adds that the San Francisco organization would be willing to take on much of Stanton’s contract, but may in turn need to shed salary elsewhere. It’s interesting to note the Sox’ active interest, since president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski had thrown some cold water on the idea of a major acquisition of late.
    • Stanton himself discussed the odd situation he faces — with his name splashed about headlines due both to his evident availability in trade and his MVP nod — as Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel reports. The Marlins star says he’d rather remain with the Fish, but thinks the team needs to “thoroughly address[]” its pitching with “a huge push” that, frankly, does not seem likely. (Stanton says he’s “not entirely sure” it’s realistic, but adds: “But I know all teams have plenty of money.”) Generally, Stanton called the situation “interesting,” but seems to be at peace with the process. “This is the only place I’ve known,” he said, “but I also understand the business part of it and the direction the new ownership wants to go.”
    • Super-agent Scott Boras sided with Stanton on the spending point in his recent comments to the media, chiding teams like the Marlins for drawing up plans to reduce payroll. But MLB commissioner Rob Manfred defended the rights of organizations — particularly, those with new owners — to modify payroll as part of their long-term strategies, as’s Mark Feinsand reports on Twitter“I think it’s unfair, really, to criticize a decision — if it turns out to be the decision — to move a player who has a contract that somebody else negotiated,” Manfred said in an oblique reference to Stanton’s situation. “… I hope that the fans of Miami — whatever decisions are made — give [new Marlins owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter] an opportunity to show what their plan for moving that franchise forward is.”

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[All 9 Recipients Reject Qualifying Offer]]> 2017-11-16T22:16:08Z 2017-11-16T22:16:03Z THURSDAY: Officially, all nine players have rejected their qualifying offers and become free agents, the MLBPA has announced (h/t Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, on Twitter).

    MONDAY: All nine of the free agents that received a one-year, $17.4MM qualifying offer will reject that offer in favor of free agency, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes. Each of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland and Carlos Santana will turn down that one-year opportunity in search of a multi-year pact in free agency.

    In doing so, that group of nine will also subject themselves to draft-pick compensation and position their former clubs to recoup some value in next year’s amateur draft should they sign elsewhere. Last offseason’s new collective bargaining agreement altered the specifics of that compensation, tying the draft picks received and surrendered largely to the luxury tax threshold, revenue sharing and the size of the contract signed by the free agent in question.

    MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes explained which draft picks each of the six teams that issued a qualifying offer would receive, should their free agents sign elsewhere, as well as which picks all 30 teams would be required to surrender if they are to sign a qualified free agent. Prior to that, MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk provided a more comprehensive and in-depth overview of the new QO system, for those that are unfamiliar or would like a refresher on the finer details.

    It’s been reported for quite some time that Kansas City will make a strong effort to retain Hosmer. Heyman added over the weekend that the Royals will also push to keep Moustakas but feel that Cain is almost certain to land elsewhere on the open market. The Rockies are known to have interest in re-upping with Holland on a multi-year deal, and Heyman notes within today’s column that the Rays “understand [Cobb] is out of their reach financially” and will sign elsewhere. He also adds that Davis seems to be likelier than Arrieta to return to Chicago.

    It’s unlikely that there will be any formal announcements just yet. Among the changes to the QO system under the 2017-21 CBA was that QO recipients would have 10 days, rather than seven, to determine whether to accept or reject the offer. The deadline to issue QOs was last Monday, so the recipients still technically have until this coming Thursday to formally declare their intention. But, barring a last-minute freak injury it seems that each of the nine will go the widely expected route and enter free agency in search of the most substantial contracts in their respective careers.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Wednesday]]> 2017-11-15T23:18:09Z 2017-11-15T23:17:56Z The Giancarlo Stanton rumor mill was churning yesterday as teams jockey for position with the Marlins — and, perhaps, with Stanton himself, who can veto any trade. At the end of the day, though, it seemed there was no greater clarity as to where he might be dealt and when a trade might go down.

    We’ll use this post to track any new developments today …

    •’s Jon Morosi reports that teams that have spoken to the Marlins have informed them that they feel the 10 years and $295MM on Stanton’s deal is a rough approximation of his market value (all Twitter links). In other words, other clubs don’t perceive there to be much, if any, surplus value on Stanton’s deal. As such, the Marlins will have to pay down a notable portion of the deal to also extract premium prospects from a potential trade partner. One exec suggested that Miami would need to pay as much as $5MM annually in order to receive good prospect value. Morosi notes that the Cardinals and Marlins once again discussed trade concepts today.
    • The Marlins initiated a brief conversation with the Yankees regarding Stanton, writes FanRag’s Jon Heyman. The Yankees aren’t considered a serious suitor, though, and the Yankees simply said they’d be open to hearing what the Marlins had in mind, perhaps as a matter of sheer due diligence. Both Yankees GM Brian Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner have publicly stated a desire to dip under the $197MM luxury tax barrier, and Stanton’s $25MM annual salary would obviously get in the way of that goal.

    Earlier Updates

    • Marlins CEO Derek Jeter says he has not yet spoken with Stanton, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald was among those to report on Twitter“If there’s a reason to call him, I’ll call him,” said Jeter. The new Marlins boss did not commit to dealing Stanton and noted that such a move would be complicated, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. But Jeter also suggested that the team cannot continue operating in the same manner financially as it did under prior ownership.
    • Of course, president of baseball operations Michael Hill sat down with Stanton and says he has a sense of what the slugger is interested in. He’s also running point on Stanton talks with other teams. Hill tells Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that he is putting the onus on suitors to come forward with some information on what they are willing to do to land Stanton. “Until I know where you’re at on the contract, the money, all that stuff, I can’t engage,” Hill said of his rival executives.
    • Rosenthal said that eight teams had engaged on Stanton to this point. Six of those are fairly serious pursuers, according to a report from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
    • There’s “little momentum” regarding Stanton between the Dodgers and Marlins, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports on Twitter. Of course, the most notable point at this stage seems to be that the Dodgers are involved at all. Los Angeles seems like a solid fit for Stanton, though it’s also not difficult to imagine the organization preferring not to tie up such a significant portion of its payroll in one contract.
    • John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle ran down the latest on Stanton from the Giants’ perspective. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did the same with regard to the Cardinals. And’s Rob Bradford explained why he still thinks the Red Sox could be in Stanton (or another superstar hitter) despite some indications to the contrary.