Spring training is about two months away and 15 of our top 50 free agents remain unsigned. We are still waiting for the commercial market to pick up as well.. Here are the rumors from Saturday’s hot stove as we await another round of signings and trades.
Red Sox interested in meeting with Martinez
The Red Sox have interest in a meeting with JD Martinez, according to the New York Post. They are among several teams after the five-team All-Star. The Red Six designated Eric Hosmer for assignment Friday and now I have a vacancy in DH. Martinez didn’t play an inning in the field in 2022, and at 35, he’ll likely remain a full-time designated hitter well into the future.
Our RJ Anderson ranked Martinez as the 29th best free agent this offseason. His underlying numbers (output velocity, etc.) remained strong, though Martinez hit just .223/.288/.368 with eight home runs in his last 84 games last season. That plus his age will surely limit him to a one-year contract. The Mariners, Orioles and Padres, in need of a designated hitter, could also be interested in Martinez.
Several teams chasing Conforto
The Astros, Marlins and Rangers are among the teams interested in free agent outfielder Michael Conforto, The Athletic reports. Agent Scott Boras told reporters: including MLB.comis seeking a “short-term (contract), probably a couple of years with an opt-out” for Conforto, who missed 2021 with a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery.
Texas has spent lavishly in the rotation this offseason, but they are in dire need of left field help (their left fielders hit .186/.253/.256 in 2022) and Houston is looking for a left fielder/DH to replace Michael Brantley. . Conforto, 29, slashed .232/.344/.384 with 14 home runs in 125 games in 2021, his last healthy season. He hurt his shoulder diving for a baseball during offseason practice last year.
Kepler attracts interest
After the signing of Joey GalloTwins outfielder Max Kepler is attracting a lot of commercial interest. according to the New York Post. Minnesota now has five left-handed outfielders for both corners and designated hitter: Gallo, Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach and Matt Wallner. Excluding Gallo, who just signed, Kepler is the oldest and most expensive of the bunch, making him the obvious trade candidate.
Kepler, 30 in February, is owed $8.5 million in 2023 with a $10 million club option for 2024. His bat has been stuck at league average since a 36-homer season in 2019. He’s an excellent defensive right fielder and it should be noted that he is one of the most traded hitters in the league. The new no-trade rules could give Kepler’s bat a boost. The Dodgers, Giants, Mariners and Yankees are among the teams looking for an outfielder.
Blue Jays can’t trade Jansen
The Blue Jays were open to trading catcher Danny Jansen for a starting pitcher, but after signing Chris Bassitt, they are unsure about trading Jansen, reports MLB.com. Toronto has a slew of receivers: Jansen joins All-Star Alejandro Kirk and top prospect Gabriel Moreno on the depth chart, which is why Jansen ranked among our top business candidates at the beginning of the off-season.
Free agency has been eliminated from quality receivers and the best trade candidate (Sean Murphy) Has been treated. If you want a viable everyday catcher, Jansen is your best (only?) option, even when the Mets are allegedly buying James McCann. The 27-year-old is a solid defender and 15-homer hitter, coming with two years of team control. The Diamondbacks, Rays and Red Sox are among the clubs that could use help behind the plate.