As we head into the MLB Winter Meetings – the marquee event of Major League Baseball’s offseason – rumors of free agent signings and blockbuster trades abound. Wednesday is no exception, so let’s dive into what’s happening around the sport now.
Negotiations over a trade halt intensify
Trade talks involving White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease are heating up, so much so that a trade deal Before the Winter Meetings are possible, according to MLB.com. The Braves and Dodgers have been connected to Cease this offseason, and many other clubs have undoubtedly checked in as well. .
Cease, 28 next month, is a year away from being an AL Cy Young finalist. He took a step back last season, pitching 177 innings with a 4.58 ERA, although Chicago’s worst defense didn’t help, and Cease still offers high-end stuff and two years of ball control. team. He is one of the most coveted starters on the trade market and for good reason.
Yankees talk details of potential Soto deal
The Yankees appear to be prioritizing improving a roster that was sorely lacking last season outside of Aaron Judge, and specifically, general manager Brian Cashman has indicated he wants to add several outfielders to the mix for 2024 and beyond. This is all a prelude to the continuing and entirely credible rumors that the Yankees are targeting Padres slugger Juan Soto in a trade.
On this front, SNY’s Andy Martino takes stock of the current situation:
“Talks between the Yankees and San Diego Padres about a Juan Soto trade have progressed to the point of exchanging player names, according to league sources. San Diego’s initial request was very high – “It’s understandable – and the teams are not close to an agreement.”
Getting to the stage of researching specific names certainly indicates momentum, but the “not close” part is also important and duly noted.
As far as fit goes, Soto is ideal for the flagging Yankees offense. The 25-year-old left-hander Masher is one of the best pure hitters in baseball thanks to his elite combination of power and patience/on-base skills. In an ideal world he would be DH, but the Yankees of course have Giancarlo Stanton primarily responsible for that role. The Padres are believed to be looking to reduce payroll this offseason, and Soto is likely in line for a salary in excess of $30 million in his final trip through the arbitration process. That salary commitment, coupled with the fact that 2024 will be Soto’s walk year, means the cost of the trade would be notable but probably not entirely prohibitive.
In an offseason in which Shohei Ohtani is a free agent, nothing will doubt his ability to make headlines, but a potential Yankees trade for Soto would be closer than anything else plausible.
Jays GM denies Bichette rumors
We recently explored speculation about a Bo Bichette trade while noting that such a thing was unlikely to happen. Bichette, 25, is a capable defensive shortstop who consistently posts excellent numbers at the plate, and he is under contract at modest rates through 2025. Needless to say, such a profile would demand a huge return on investment . The Blue Jays, however, are likely in competition mode, and no contender should have to trade a player like Bichette. Indeed, Jays general manager Ross Atkins says there’s nothing to speculate:
During the offseason, situations are always fluid, meaning even the strongest statements can be undermined, but the Jays certainly don’t appear to have any intention of selling their best player. Given their current aspirations, this should be the case.
Pagan Red Ink
The Reds have agreed to a two-year contract with right-handed reliever Emilio Pagán, Mark Feinsand reports. Feinsand adds that the deal is pending a medical review. According to Ken Rosenthalthe deal will guarantee Pagán $16 million and include a player option after the first year.
Pagán, 32, is coming off a 2023 season for the Twins in which he pitched to a 2.99 ERA and a 3.10 K/BB ratio in 69 1/3 innings. For his career, he has aof 112 over seven MLB seasons. In 2019, he recorded 20 saves as a member of the Rays.