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MLB rumors: Blockbuster trading seems likely this season; Zack Wheeler set to test free agency



We have just dipped our toes in the MLB season 2019-20, which means that almost all measures have not yet occurred. That said, rumors of free agent players and team connections and potential industries are circulating, and we're here to get you up to speed on all the shuttles. We also have an overview of all the important dates of the high season of the year and our ranking of the top 50 agents on the market, and here is an explanation of the "luxury tax" and its consequences for the winter . Now here is what buzzing for Monday.

This season will probably entail a blockbuster trade

Most of the focus seems to be on free agent arrivals and outings this time of year, but the trade market also disappears as we go deeper into the winter. Speaking of which, MLB Network 's Jon Morosi reports that according to several league execs he has spoken to, at least one in three star players will trade this offseasons. These three players are Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and Cubs third baseman / outfielder Kris Bryant. This is completely in line with what our own R.J. Anderson recently reported .

The Red Sox are fishing to get below the luxury tax threshold, and since DH J. D. Martinez refused to use his opt-out, they may need to move a large contract to meet this goal. Betts is among the very best baseball players and is still only 27 years old. He is entering this walking year, and he will receive a huge increase in arbitration over his 2019 salary of $ 20 million. Suffice it to say, Betts with his broad skills base – he produces at the plate while adding great value in the field and on the bases – would make any team better.

As for Lindor, the Cleveland shortstop is a rare blend of defensive excellence and power on the dish. He turns 26 years later this week, so his numbers are flashing with top skills for some time. Lindor is also not eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season, and the two years of law enforcement in tandem with his field in place means the price will be high.

Bryant, meanwhile, could be relocated as part of the kids' desire to shake things up that comes from disappointing third place in 2019. Bryant, who turns 28 in January, is a mixture of strength and patience on the top shelf with the bat, and he can man the third and the outer corners. Probably he is not eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season, but before we know that he must safely have to manage his tenure .

Phillies going hard for Cole

Hard throw, Gerrit-Cole will be the most sought after starter on the free agent market this season, and he is a candidate to sign the biggest contract for a pitcher ever. He is an elite warrior, he topped 200 innings in four of the last five seasons, and since joining the Astros before the 2018 season he has authored a star ERA + of 164.

No surprise then , that the Phillies are expected to be among Cole's most aggressive freers. Here's this from Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer :

Cole headlines an enticing class of freelance pitchers who will have Phillies attention. GM Matt Klentak, according to a source, is heading to Scottsdale with a season plan that centers around pitching. The Phillies neglected their starting rotation last winter, only to end it with a 4.64 ERA and a starter – Aaron Nola – who made at least 10 starts and posted an ERA better than 4.00.

The Phillies have a new manager in Joe Girardi, and last winter's big acquisitions – Bryce Harper, Jean Segura and Andrew McCutchen, among others – return to 2020. The club was already heavily involved in the 2019 competition, but despite their efforts, they ended on fourth place in the NL East. As Breen notes, the rotational improvements are in order, and Cole is clearly the best path to a better rotation. That said, the Phillies are likely to have a lot of competition for his services. The Angels and Yankees, for example, are also believed to have right-handed designs.

Kendrick draws interest

Despite being 36 years old, infielder / outfielder Howie Kendrick is having the best season of his career on the plate (142 OPS + with 17 home runs in 121 games). The free agent veteran can also play first, second, third and outfield corners. Throw in their weight for the champion of Nationals, and Kendrick will have a market. Speaking of, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the red figures are among those who keep tabs on Kendrick. Rosenthal, who cites reports from Brittany Ghiroli also from The Athletic names Rays and Marlins who are also interested in Kendrick.

Wheeler is likely to decline Met's eligible offer

Right-hander Zack Wheeler is eligible for free agency entering his age-30 campaign, and Jon Morosi writes for MLB.com that Wheeler is will likely reject their qualifying offer from the Mets and hit the market.

Wheelers is not on par with fellow agents Cole and Stephen Strasburg, but he makes it a mid-rotation alternative with the potential to be more than that. Over the past two seasons, he has made 60 starts with an ERA + of 107 and a K / BB ratio of 3.56 during that interval. Teams are also drawn to his 97-km / h fastball on the front of his four pitch repertoire. When it comes to specific hairdressers, Morosi's name-checks the Angels, Padres and White Sox as interest.

Tigers still willing to relocate Boyd

Detroit lefty Matthew Boyd was the subject of many a trade rumor leading up to the July 31 trade deadline this year. However, the Tigers chose to hang on to Boyd. Unfortunately for them, Boyd's performance in the second half collapsed across all levels. It is quite possible that the Tigers have missed the chance to get a healthy return for the 28-year-old starter. Despite this, Jon Morosi reports that the Tigers are expected to shop Boyd this winter in hopes of landing a hitter ready to contribute right now or near it. For that to happen, any pitch-starved team will need to find something sustainable in Boyd's first half. If this fails, the Tigers will probably close the window when it comes to getting a big return for Boyd.

Headed into Grandal

The Reds were surprisingly active last year and it seems likely that they will once again try to push their program list to warring status. As Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes, running on free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal seems very likely:

All signs point to a serious run at catcher Yasmani Grandal, the organization's first choice in the 2010 MLB draft and the top catcher in the free agent market.

Grandal, who recently turned 31, spent last season with the Brewers. With Milwaukee, he batted .246 / .380 / .468 with 28 home runs in 153 games. In addition to being a top defensive catcher, Grandal also has a career OPS + of 115. In 2019, the Reds got solid production from their two primary catchers, Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casali, but Grandal would still expect to provide a significant upgrade.


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