MLB rumors: Cubs pursuing several stars; Justin Verlander, Trea Turner start Winter Meetings with a bang


The annual Major League Baseball Winter Meetings kicked off Sunday with the news that Fred McGriff was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Modern Era Committee.. It is hoped that this was the start of several crazy days of baseball activity, chock-full of free agent signings and even a few high-profile deals. San Diego is a winter meeting place and we’ve already seen a lot of activity there. The last time he was there, we saw Steven Strasburg, Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole sign nine-figure deals amid a flurry of moves.

If history repeats itself here, it would be a great start when the biggest names in free agency come off the board this offseason. We got off to a good start too.

Let’s round up Monday’s news and rumors right here. We’ll be updating this throughout the day, so be sure to check back.

The Cubs chase Murphy; can sign two short stops

The newcomers were expected to be active this winter. Looks like they’re trying to keep that promise. You can add Chicago to the list of teams that are chasing track and field catcher Shaun Murphy. according to John Morosi. What’s more, the Cubs, who were aware of interest in Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson, could very well follow the Rangers’ plan last winter and sign two of the three. per brand fine sand. Feinsand adds that Swanson and Bogaerts will be a likely pair, with Bogarts going shortstop. It’s unclear how likely the Cubs are to add Murphy and/or two fielders, but they have to be credited for their creativity.

Verlander signed with the Metz

Ace and AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander signed a two-year, $86 million contract with Metz. Full story here.

The Mets lost Jacob de Grom as a free agent to the Rangers, so replacing him with Verlander was the logical move for a team with such deep pockets after a 101-win season. Verlander reunites with Max Scherzer since they were teammates with the Tigers from 2010 to 2014.

The Phillies sign Turner

The Phillies landed their star shortstop. Trea Turner joins the defending NL champions major 11-year, $300 million contract. He reunites with buddy Bryce Harper, who was his teammate all those years with the Nationals.

The 11-year term brings Turner’s average annual value down to $27.3 million, the 17th highest in baseball in 2023 (among players currently under contract). This gives the Phillies a little more wiggle room for a competitive balance tax in the near future. They’re still looking to add a starting pitcher this offseason.

Kershaw’s deal is finally official

All the way back November 10, the messages indicate The Dodgers and left-hander legend Clayton Kershaw were in the process of finalizing a one-year deal worth approximately $17 million. Generally speaking, when reporters hear about such things, it takes only a few days, and sometimes less, before the deal becomes official, unless there are obstacles. However, there has been absolutely nothing about the reported deal since then, so what happened?

Now it’s hard to say. The Dodgers officially announced a one-year contract worth $20 million.

With Walker Buehler likely to miss all of 2023 due to Tommy John surgery, the Dodgers’ rotation currently includes Kershaw, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May, and possibly Ryan Pepiot as well. They probably haven’t finished yet and will add another veteran rotation this off-season, possibly as early as these winter meetings.

Kershaw was 12-3 with a 2.28 ERA (184 ERA+), 0.94 WHIP and 137 strikeouts against 23 walks in 126 1/3 innings last season. He is approaching his 35th season and has played all 15 MLB seasons with the Dodgers.

It’s just that continuing the marriage here is of the utmost importance to both parties.

Hot Market Tailion

Right-handed pitcher Jameson Tylon is one of the mid-range players in the free-agent market, and he’s not tied to draft compensation because the Yankees didn’t make him a qualifying offer. While the market is “deep” for him, according to MLB.comwith the Mets, Phillies, Cubs and Orioles among the suitors.

Tylon, 31, was 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA (100 ERA+), 1.13 BOOK and 151 strikeouts against 32 walks in 177 1/3 innings last season. He posted 1.3 WAR.

The Mets have Verlander, Max Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco and possibly Tylor Megill and David Peterson in their current rotation. They were probably targeting Tylon as the lower rotation guy anyway, so we’re guessing that signing Verlander won’t affect their interest here.

Speaking of teams targeting Tylon as the lower rotation guy, the Phillies have Zach Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Ranger Suarez in the top three. Stud prospect Andrew Painter could also expect to see results by the end of the year, but they’ll still need a smaller rotation depth – along with Bailey Falter – to get through the regular season.

The Cubs have Marcus Stroman, Kyle Hendrix, Justin Steele, and then maybe young Hayden Vesnesky in the rotation. They have depth (Adrian Sampson, Javier Assad, Keegan Thompson as a swinger), but they could use more room to grow. The Orioles are missing ace John Means, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. They have already signed Kyle Gibson to the team with Dean Kremer, Kyle Bradish and prospect Grayson Rodriguez. If they want to fight again, they will need more in the rotation.

The Twins make the batting champion accessible

Will the Gemini trade utility worker Luis Arraez? Reporting from The Athletic says it’s possible if it’s the “right deal” with the Twins looking for help with the kickoff pitch.

Arráez, 25, led the AL with a .316 batting average last season, at the same time he made his first All-Star team and won the Silver Slugger. He had 31 doubles, eight homers, 49 RBIs, 88 runs, 130 OPS+ and 4.4 VAR last season. He walked 50 times compared to 43 strikeouts in 603 plate appearances. He played most at first base, but also saw significant time at second and dabbled a bit at third.

Arráez will enter arbitration for the first time this winter and he is not eligible for free rein until the end of the 2025 season.

The Twins rotation right now will be Sonny Grey, Joe Ryan, Tyler Male, Kent Maeda and Bailey Ober.

Mets after Benintendi

This could be a busy week for the Mets. They have signed Verlander and are pursuing Tylon as well as trading Andrew Benintendi. informs New York Post. Former center fielder Brandon Nimmo is a free agent, though the Mets could move Starling Marte to center with Benintendi and Mark Cagna in the corners.

Benintendi, 28, hit .304/.373/.399 while hitting five home runs in 126 games for the Royals and Yankees last season. He did not play after September 2 due to knee surgery, although the Yankees hoped he could play in the World Series if they pulled out of the ALCS. Our RJ Anderson ranked Benintendi 18th among free agents this offseason..

Big market for Vasquez

Free agent catcher Christian Vazquez was traded from the Red Sox to the Astros last season and now has no shortage of fans. Teams showing interest so far Ken Rosenthal, they are the Cubs, Cardinals, Padres, Keepers and Twins. Diamondbacks and Giants are also interested according to Pete Abraham.

The 32-year-old Vasquez hit .274/.315/.399 (99 OPS+) with 23 doubles, 9 homers, 52 RBI and 2.1 WAR last season.

Angels sign Estevez

The team announced that the Angels had signed right hand pitcher Carlos Estevez to a two-year contract. The deal is guaranteed for $14 million. informs New York Post. Estevez was an inconspicuous free agent during the offseason:

Last season, the 29-year-old had 57 innings with a 3.47 ERA and 54 strikeouts with the Rockies. As is always the case with former Rockies pitchers, the Angels hope leaving Coors Field will help Estevez find consistency and improve his game.

The Blue Jays proposed to Heaney

The Blue Jays made an offer to free agent left-hander Andrew Heaney. according to Sportsnet. Heaney has hit 35.5% of the batters he faced in 2022 and has one of the highest hits in baseball, although he has always been very prone to homers, which has kept him from climbing to the top of the MLB rotation.

Alec Manoa, Kevin Gausman and Jose Berrios are the only locks for Toronto’s rotation at the moment. Yusei Kikuchi, last year’s left-hander who signed a failed contract, may return to the rotation after being moved to the bullpen this summer. The Blue Jays are expected to add at least one starting pitcher during the offseason.

Race is interested in Dahlbeck

The Rays are among the clubs interested in Red Sox baseman Bobby Dalbeck. according to Sean McAdam. Dahlbeck, 27, is a former top prospect with 101 OPS+ in almost 900 trips to the plate in the Majors. He has tremendous brute strength, but he struggled to make consistent contact, with his strikeout rate at almost 35 percent.