MLB

MLB rumors: Angels unlikely to sign Trevor Bauer; Cardinals bring back Adam Wainwright on one-year deal

Major League Baseball spring training is set to begin in less than three weeks. Due to the pandemic, it remains to be seen if that will happen or not, but things have really picked up in baseball transactions over the last few weeks. Still, some big names remain in free agency and possibly also on the trade market. 

Let’s round up the latest from the MLB hot stove here on this final Thursday in January. 

Angels out on Bauer? Mets remain in 

The chances of the Angels signing a frontline starting pitcher, specifically top free agent Trevor Bauer, is “practically zero,” reports Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times. Finances are cited as one reason why, but another is pitching coach Mickey Callaway. He was Bauer’s pitching coach in Cleveland from 2013-17 and this report indicates that the relationship between the two “is believed to be eroded beyond repair.” 

Something that sticks out here early in the article is the phrase, “unless there is a significant philosophical shift.” 

One can’t help but remember hearing how the Angels didn’t have any money to spend — under Arte Moreno’s ownership and he remains the owner of the team — back in the 2011-12 (Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson) and 2012-13 (Josh Hamilton) offseasons. 

Knowing this, leave the door slightly cracked for Bauer-to-the-Angels being a remote possibility. If the club wants him enough, it could find a way to work with both the money and the pitching coach situation. 

Realistically, though, move the Angels down the list of likely suitors for Bauer, at the very least putting them well below the Mets and then the Dodgers. 

Speaking of which, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that the Mets offer for Bauer iis “thought” to be three-to-four yeas with opt-out clauses and less than $36 million in average annual value. He adds that other teams believe Bauer wants something in the range of Stephen Strasburg (7 years, $245M) or even Gerrit Cole (9 years, $324M) deals. 

Cardinals reunite with Wainwright

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Free-agent pitcher Adam Wainwright appears to have landed back with his longtime franchise, the St. Louis Cardinals, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. The deal is worth $8 million, Heyman adds. The veteran righty — who has spent his entire 15-year career in St. Louis — reportedly had several offers for the 2021 season, including ones from the Padres, Braves and Royals. 

Wainwright, 39, had an excellent 2020 season with a 3.15 ERA across 65 2/3 frames. Over the span of his career, Wainwright has won 167 games; topped 2,000 career innings; and put up an ERA+ of 119 and a WAR of 36.9. Wainwright is also a three-time All-Star, and on four occasions he’s finished in the top three of the NL Cy Young balloting. He’ll turn 40 this August, and of course, will be susceptible to sudden decline. However, as a curveball heavy starter, he’s managed to withstand velocity loss over the years. He’ll likely be penciled into the backend of the Cardinals’ rotation, behind Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, and Kwang Hyun Kim.

It remains unclear whether the Cardinals will re-sign Wainwright’s frequent battery-mate and stalwart catcher Yadier Molina. The 38-year-old Molina joined Wainwright and second baseman Kolten Wong in free agency this winter. The Cardinals would like to re-sign both Molina and Wong, according to Heyman. Aside from seemingly getting this Wainwright deal done, the Cardinals have been inactive this offseason and haven’t done much to upgrade their roster. As our own Dayn Perry writes, the Cards still have significant upgrades to make before the 2021 MLB season.

Gregorius seeks $15M; Phillies to pay up? 

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Free-agent shortstop Didi Gregorius should see increased attention now that both Marcus Semien (Blue Jays) and Andrelton Simmons (Twins) are off the market. He’s the lone remaining surefire starter at shortstop left. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Gregorius is seeking a $15 million deal, presumably just for 2021 before hitting free agency again. 

The best fit is a reunion with the Phillies, as mentioned Wednesday in a piece about what they need to do after bringing back J.T. Realmuto, and Heyman notes it’s possible ownership would let the front office stretch the Philly payroll to make it happen. 

Reds discussing Rosario

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Shortstop Amed Rosario went to Cleveland in the deal that sent Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco the Mets. However, it appears the Reds aren’t sure he’ll definitely stay put this offseason. The Reds have discussed the possibility of trading for Rosario, according to Heyman, who also notes the Reds have discussed Gregorius (though he’s likely outside their price range for this offseason). 

Rosario, 25, had a very rough 2020 season, but he hit .287 with 30 doubles, seven triples, 15 homers and 19 steals in 2019. 

As things stand for the Reds, it looks like rookie Jose Garcia is the favorite to be the Opening Day shortstop. He hit .194 with 26 strikeouts in 67 at-bats last season and previously had never played above High-A. 

Mets discussing JBJ

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While the Mets wait on Bauer’s decision, they “could look toward” center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post

Bradley is an exceptional defender in center and would cause the Mets to do some reshuffling of the furniture when it comes to current center fielder Brandon Nimmo, possible left fielder Dom Smith, third baseman J.D. Davis and/or first baseman Pete Alonso. It could be argued the Mets have plenty of offense and focusing on the run prevention end by signing Bradley is worth the “nice problem to have” in terms of trying to get all of the above players a full slate of at-bats. 

Some Cardinals (or former Cardinals) updates 

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did a nice roundup of some Cardinals-related offseason updates: 

  • Free-agent catcher Yadier Molina “continues to weigh” an offer from the Cardinals to return and seems to be hoping for an “improved offer.” 
  • After surprisingly declining the option for second baseman Kolten Wong for 2021, the Cardinals “have not actively pursued” re-upping with him. 
  • Coming off a season shortened due to an oblique injury, pitcher Carlos Martinez seems to be feeling great. 

Arrieta showcasing himself

Free-agent pitcher Jake Arrieta will be throwing a bullpen session for possibly interested ball clubs on Friday in Texas, according to Robert Murray of Fansided. The Plano, Texas native who attended TCU is coming off a three-year, $75 million deal with the Phillies that didn’t work out too well. In his time there, he was 22-23 with a 4.36 ERA (99 ERA+) and 1.39 WHIP. He regressed each year, pitching to a 5.08 ERA last season. Still, there’s no doubting the talent that won Arrieta the 2015 NL Cy Young and sent him to the 2016 All-Star Game. He heads to his age-35 season likely seeking a rotation spot from whoever will give it. 

Pirates ready to deal Frazier? 

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Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic cryptically notes that it seems possible the Pirates could trade utility man Adam Frazier. The 29-year-old Frazier is a career .273 hitter with a 100 OPS+ and he’s played every position but pitcher, catcher and first base in a major-league game, though he’s mostly played second base and left field. He’s under team control through 2022. His best season came in 2018, when he hit .277/.342/.456 (118 OPS+) with 23 doubles, 10 homers and 2.6 WAR in just 352 plate appearances. 

Nats add Avila

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The Washington Nationals have signed free-agent catcher Alex Avila to a one-year deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. Avila, who is entering his age-34 season, spent the abbreviated 2020 season with the Minnesota Twins. He hit .184/.355/.286 with one home run and two RBI in 23 games. Avila records a low batting average, but high on-base percentage, managing to draw an impressive amount of walks. He has drawn 509 walks in his 1,018 career games, including notching 11 during his 2020 campaign.

The veteran backstop will likely serve as catching depth for the Nats in 2021, with Yan Gomes set to shoulder the load behind the plate following the departure of Kurt Suzuki via free agency. Washington will be Avila’s sixth team after spending the first half of his MLB career with the Detroit Tigers.



 

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