I wanted to do a Lukewarm Stove yesterday, but it felt silly given how active the day figured to be. Around the league, we saw deals for Javy Baez, Alex Cobb, Raisel Igelsias, James Paxton, Daniel Hudson, Cesar Hernandez, Leury Garcia, Trevor Megill, Rex Brothers, and others. And here at home, the Cubs signed catcher Yan Gomes and former Yankee top prospect Clint Frazier. According to the latest rumors, there could still be some activity today, especially on the trade market, but there’s also a chance some completed free agent deals just haven’t been reported yet.
So let’s sneak one final Lukewarm Stove in today before the league shuts down at midnight.
To start, let’s actually see who’s left among the top-50 free agents in MLB using MLB Trade Rumors rankings from early last month.
1. Carlos Correa, SS
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Kris Bryant, 3B (or wherever)
8. Trevor Story, SS
10. Nick Castellanos, OF/DH
11. Marcus Stroman, P
15. Kyle Schwarber, OF/DH/1B
16. Chris Taylor, UT
18. Carlos Rodon, P
20. Seiya Suzuki, OF
21. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
25. Jorge Soler, OF/DH
29. Kenley Jansen, RP
31. Kyle Seager, 3B
32. Michael Conforto, OF
33. Clayton Kershaw, P
34. Yusei Kikuchi, P
38. Corey Knebel, RP
40. Zack Greinke, P
41. Eddie Rosario, OF
43. Jonathan Villar, IF
44. Mark Melancon, RP
45. Ryan Tepera, RP
47. Nelson Cruz, DH
48. Danny Duffy, P
Isn’t that convenient? Exactly half (25) of the MLB Trade Rumors top-50 free agents have signed, leaving five of the top-10 free agents and 10 of the top-20. By my count, there are still six top-50 free agent starting pitchers (an area of great need for the 2022 Cubs), including Marcus Stroman, Carlos Rodon, Clayton Kershaw, Yusei Kikuchi, Zack Greinke, and Danny Duffy, though a few of those come with some obvious reasons they won’t fit the Cubs.
Rangers Aren’t Done
The Texas Rangers have made some huge splashes already this winter, signing not one, but TWO of the big free agent infielders (Corey Seager and Marcus Semien), plus starter Jon Gray, but they’re reportedly not done yet. They’re still looking to add starting pitching, and they may tap into the Reds desire to shed payroll this offseason to get it done.
Sources: #Rangers still working to upgrade their starting rotation after the big signings of Semien and Seager. They've inquired to the #Reds about trading for one of their starting pitchers (Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, or Tyler Mahle). @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 1, 2021
That particular Reds trio of Luis Castillo (28, RHP, 97 MPH fastball), Sonny Gray (32, RHP, five pitches, elite ground ball rate), and Tyler Mahle (27, RHP, 33 starts in 2021, excellent contact management) is a nice variety of choices. You can go young, old, hard-throwing, soft-tossing, strikeout-heavy, contract-management oriented, higher risk, higher floor, and anything in between.
Reds are still fielding interest in Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle and Sonny Gray. Chance for a trade today.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 1, 2021
It seems likely that the Reds will part with at least one of them this offseason, our only hope now is that they don’t land any stud prospects in return. Oh, and on a related note, remember that the A’s and maybe the Marlins have some starting pitchers they’d consider trading, but that’s about it for the starter trade market. So hopefully the Cubs get what they need in free agency, because there aren’t many fallback plans.
Watch Freddie Freeman Today
Freddie Freeman in anything other than a Braves jersey would surprise me, but when the other two teams chasing a free agent are the Yankees and Dodgers (both of whom notably missed out on the also-left-handed hitting Corey Seager, mind you), it’s a little easier to imagine.
So keep an eye on him today.
Freddie Freeman is the superstar free agent to watch today. While many have expected him to return to Atlanta, the Yankees and Dodgers are among the teams with interest, as @JonHeyman has noted. Freeman also could fit the Red Sox. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 1, 2021
If the Yankees miss out on Freeman, you might expect them to pivot quickly back to Anthony Rizzo, who’s left-handed bat fits in their lineup nicely. That would force them to keep DJ LeMahieu at second and Gleyber Torres at short, which they reportedly don’t want to do, but … forgive me if I don’t feel too bad for that particular set-up.
Third Base Signing in the Works?
The Mariners are another one of those busy teams this winter, and they might have saved a big move for the deadline today.
There were rumblings among agents last night that the Mariners were working on a 3B signing. The best available left-side infielders are Correa, Story, Bryant.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 1, 2021
If they’re looking for a third baseman, Carlos Correa doesn’t make a ton of sense, but I can see Trevor Story moving over there eventually (or now, if they wanted it). Kris Bryant has been in the most rumors for Seattle, however, so that’s where I’d put my money.
With that said, Bryant was reportedly definitely not signing before the deadline, so we’re at a bit of an impasse here.