MLB rumors: Yankees nearing deal with Justin Wilson; Padres make another move

We are fast approaching the start of spring training, and almost all of the big-name free agents are spoken for. That said, it’s still the offseason, and that means rumors can be found. We have found them and rounded them up for Monday. Here they are:

Yankees moving toward deal with Wilson

The Yankees are making progress on a contract with left-handed reliever Justin Wilson, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Wilson, 33, spent the last two seasons with the Mets. In 68 appearances in Queens, he posted a 2.91 ERA (143 ERA+) and a 2.39 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Wilson relies primarily on two pitches: a mid-90s fastball and a cutter, a combination that has allowed him to suppress quality contact the past few years.

Wilson would be the second notable addition the Yankees have made to their bullpen recently, joining right-hander Darren O’Day, whom the Yankees signed after moving Adam Ottavino in a trade with the Red Sox.

The Padres have one of the busiest offseasons in the majors. That continued on Monday, with San Diego inking veteran reliever Keone Kela to a one-year deal, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Kela, 28 in mid-April, did not rank among CBS Sports’ top 60 free agents in the majors entering the winter. The reasons for his exclusion were straightforward: he had been limited by COVID-19 and injury to just two innings in 2020, and had been involved in too many off-the-field incidents in 2019 to merit inclusion.

Nonetheless, Kela has been an effective reliever when he’s been hearty and hale. In 231 career big-league appearances, he’s posted a 139 ERA+ and a 3.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Kela’s arsenal has largely consisted of just two pitches: a mid-90s fastball and a swing-and-miss breaking ball.

Kela is the second veteran reliever the Padres have added in the past week, joining former Braves closer Mark Melancon

The Brewers made a potential addition to their bullpen on Sunday, signing former All-Star closer Brad Boxberger to a minor-league deal, per ESPN

Boxberger, 33 in May, appeared in 23 games with the Marlins last season, accumulating a 151 ERA+ and a 2.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 18 innings. Time hasn’t been too kind to Boxberger since he made the 2015 All-Star Game: even including his success in 2020, he’s compiled a 4.27 ERA and more than five walks per nine in his last 151 innings.

The Brewers have a largely flexible bullpen, as only Ray Black lacks options. That said, Milwaukee is certain to carry Josh Hader, Devin Williams, Brent Suter, and Freddy Peralta if healthy. Boxberger might be competing, then, with Justin Topa and/or J.P. Feyereisen for a spot in the Opening Day ‘pen.

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