[D’backs.com] D-backs, Guerra agree on 1-year deal (reports) - The D-backs have an agreement with free-agent pitcher Junior Guerra, according to multiple reports. The deal is for one year, with a club option for 2021. Guerra, who was in his first year of arbitration eligibility, was non-tendered by the Brewers on Monday. The 35-year-old has three years of arbitration eligibility remaining. The club has not confirmed the deal, which was first reported by Kyle Lesniewski of Brew Crew Ball. Guerra had a 3.55 ERA in 83 2/3 innings out of the bullpen for the Brewers this past season. The relief role seemed to suit him, after he posted a 4.43 ERA across 2017-18, pitching predominantly as a starter. The D-backs had a 4.26 bullpen ERA in 2019, which ranked 12th in the Majors.
Zach Buchanan: With that space, do you think you could go after a higher caliber of free agent? The last couple years, you’ve signed mostly role players to modest deals.
Derrick Hall: I think Mike Hazen and his staff prefer that. They like to get creative and find multiple players who would help us. They like creating competition as well. I think we’ll look at everything. We’ll look at all the free agents on the market. We’ll look at trades. We’ll get very creative. But I think when it comes to holes we have to fill, it’s in multiple areas. Depending on what we do with certain players, we may have two to three positions in the outfield, one or two utility guys in the infield. We want to work on the bullpen. There’s a lot of areas we still need to address. Would we put it all in on one big free agent? Doubtful. We’re probably going to look at multiple guys we’re going to bring in to compete and figure into this Opening Day roster.
[ESPN] Mookie Betts to the Reds (or White Sox) and more winter meetings trades we want to see - The Pittsburgh Pirates should trade Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Levi Kelly, RHP Taylor Widener and RHP Matt Peacock. Marte to the Mets seemed like a good fit until the Mets acquired Jake Marisnick from the Astros to help fill their center-field needs. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks have just three outfielders on their 40-man roster: Ketel Marte, David Peralta and Tim Locastro. Ketel Marte shuffled between second base and center field in 2019 and although he has said he prefers the infield, Arizona has more options there at the moment, so Marte likely returns to the outfield in 2020. Starling Marte has two seasons remaining on his contract at $11.5 million and $12.5 million and is coming off a .295/.342/.503, 2.9-WAR season. His defensive metrics in center field were below average, so maybe he moves back to left field, where he was a Gold Glove winner in 2015 and 2016. Peralta has played mostly left field the past two seasons, but he has played right in the past and has a strong arm.
[AZ Central] Diamondbacks’ payroll space creates ‘different conversations’ as winter meetings loom - As he enters his fourth winter meetings with the Diamondbacks, General Manager Mike Hazen says this offseason already has had a different feel. With money to spend, new possibilities have emerged. “I think we’re definitely in different parts of the market that we haven’t been in in the past, which is great,” Hazen said. “We’re having different conversations than we’ve had in the past. I don’t know if that’s going to result in anything, but that part of it is more interesting.” After decisions last week to nontender three players, including right-hander Taijuan Walker and outfielder Steven Souza Jr., the Diamondbacks’ payroll for 2020 sits in the $90-95 million range. With CEO Derrick Hall saying he expects the club to spend about as much as it did this past season, that leaves upwards of $30 million-plus to put toward addressing various holes on the roster.
Around the League
[MLB.com] Winter Meetings forecast: 11 bold predictions - Unlike a year ago, when Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto literally had to make a trade from his hospital bed in order to spice up the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, the Hot Stove market is hopping as the baseball industry convenes in San Diego on Monday. So, we could see the oft-romanticized-but-too-rarely-realized scenario in which there are a bevy of blockbuster deals going down within the walls of the Manchester Grand Hyatt at the 2019 Winter Meetings. What follows is an admittedly ambitious batch of predictions for the Winter Meetings. If even a few of the deals listed here were to actually go down, it would still qualify as a busy week. If none of them happen, well, at least the fish tacos are good.
[MLB Trade Rumors] Cubs Reportedly Signaling Need To Clear Payroll - President Theo Epstein and his cohort have been decidedly mum on the Cubs’ payroll outlook this offseason, with the trade market looking like the club’s likeliest route toward improving a roster that went 84-78 last season. Now, a report is indicating the Cubs are rebuking even “low-budget” free agents due to payroll concerns, with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic pouring cold water on the free agency hopes of north side fans.
[The Athletic] MLB’s all-free-agent team: Let’s form a squad with the best players on the market - In an attempt to put the remaining market into context, here’s a 26-man roster of current free agents (with MLB expected to extend rosters by one player next season). Players are listed at their actual positions — no forcing someone into an unusual spot just to make the “best” team. The point of this exercise is to see which positions still have star power and which positions are already offering only second- and third-tier options.
- Shogo Akiyama, CF
- Anthony Rendon, 3B
- Nicholas Castellanos, RF
- Marcell Ozuna, LF
- Didi Gregorius, SS
- Edwin Encarnación, DH
- Jonathan Schoop, 2B
- Eric Thames, 1B
- Robinson Chirinos, C
[FanGraphs] Howie Kendrick and Nationals Aim for a Repeat - Howie Kendrick can hit. Since joining the Nationals in the middle of the 2017 season, Kendrick has put up a .322/.367/.529 batting line with a 130 wRC+ that trails only Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto and Bryce Harper among Nationals with at least 500 plate appearances during that time. Kendrick put on a good show in the postseason as well, winning the NLCS MVP and then hitting a two-run homer in Game 7 of the World Series that gave the Nationals a lead they would not surrender. There appears to be a mutual interest in hoping for a repeat performance, as Kendrick and the Nationals have agreed to a one-year deal for a guaranteed $6.25 million with a mutual option, with Jesse Dougherty reporting the deal first and Bob Nightengale offering the terms.
[CBS Sports] MLB rumors: Rangers focused on Anthony Rendon; Gerrit Cole offers coming soon - The Rangers have already signed Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles to fill out their rotation behind Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. It’s possible they could add someone like Dallas Keuchel or Hyun-Jin Ryu to give them five veterans, but there’s enough depth to head to the season with their rotation as is. The focus for Texas is “squarely on [Anthony] Rendon for the time being,” according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The Rangers move into a new ballpark next season and have a hole at third base. They also have the resources to land a huge free agent, as we’ve seen them do from time to time. Also, it might not matter but it’s worth mention that Rendon is a Texas product. Granted, it’s Houston -- he went to both high school and college (Rice) there -- not the Dallas area, but it might make a difference if the money is right. We know it did with Zack Wheeler signing with the Phillies over the White Sox.
[ESPN] Royals sign former All-Star Trevor Rosenthal to minor league deal - The Kansas City Royals signed former All-Star reliever Trevor Rosenthal to a $2 million minor league contract that includes an invitation to big league spring training and up to $2.25 million in bonuses if he makes the major league roster. The 29-year-old Rosenthal was dismal with the Detroit Tigers and Washington Nationals last season, going 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA in 22 appearances. It was a far cry from his 2015 form, when Rosenthal had a 2.10 ERA and 48 saves while helping the St. Louis Cardinals to a 100-win season and the NL Central title.