MLB Rumors: Christian Yelich, Zack Greinke, and other news
Christian Yelich might be on the move, as could Zack Greinke, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
As we awaken from a deep holiday nap, a slow MLB offseason has offered little nuggets since Christmas. The free agency market is moving slower than molasses, likely due to teams wanting to save cash for next season’s stacked class headlined by Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, and everyone is waiting with bated breath for a shoe to drop at any point.
But the last 24 hours have produced plenty in one department: trade talks. Nothing official is on the cusp of happening, but there has been enough chatter on the trade and free agency fronts that it warrants an article of this kind for the first time in a few days.
Merry late Christmas, baseball fans. This is the Rumor Roundup.
Christian Yelich moving?
The Miami Marlins have already sold off their best players in trading Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners, Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals, and reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees. Catcher JT Realmuto has since requested a trade, and outfielder Christian Yelich was reported earlier this month as being “unhappy” with the moves made by new owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman.
The Marlins have no reason to trade either player, especially since they are the two main guys who could sell tickets in what will be a long 2018 season, but things could be changing. Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweeted yesterday afternoon that Miami was in “active trade discussions” involving Yelich and Realmuto, though nothing was close. MLB.com’s Jamal Collier added that the Washington Nationals had asked about Realmuto during the Winter Meetings, but were told there were no plans to deal him.
Now, it’s important to note that though Yelich and Realmuto would surely be happier (and probably better) on other teams, Miami has no incentive to trade either player. Realmuto is about to go to arbitration for the first time and has three years of team control attached, while Yelich has four years and $43.25m guaranteed remaining on his deal.
By the same token, trading both players wouldn’t be offloading salary as the others were, with Ozuna’s rising price in arbitration playing a factor in his going to St. Louis. Yelich and Realmuto are both 26 and both play at a high enough level that the Marlins won’t expect small potatoes in return. Nothing is imminent here, but keep an eye on their names anyway.
Greinke’s heavy salary
Zack Greinke had an excellent bounce-back year in 2017, going 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA and posting a 5.1 WAR as he helped lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to the playoffs. Arizona would love to have him back next year, except there’s a catch. The veteran righty has $138.5m due to him through 2021, $126.5m of which is in base salary, and that figures to be an eventual albatross around the Diamondbacks payroll’s neck.
Nick Pecoro of The Arizona Republic penned an article suggesting that this winter was Arizona’s “last, best chance to get real value” for the former Cy Young winner. Let’s not forget Greinke struggled his first year in Arizona to the tune of going 13-7 with a 4.37 ERA in 2016, and that was after posting a 2.30 ERA in three years with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It’s also worth noting that while Arizona has a strong young core, losing power-hitting outfielder JD Martinez in free agency could be a big loss. This means selling high on Greinke could be the right move on GM Mike Hazen’s part, especially if a hot-hitting prospect can be gotten in return. The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers checked in on Greinke earlier this month, but nothing major came from those small talks.
It’s more than likely that Greinke will be traded by Arizona at some point but at this stage of the offseason, it’s pure speculation.
New York Mets standing pat
New York Mets fans would love the team to make even the smallest of moves this offseason, but it’s not looking like anything will happen at this point. Marc Carig of Newsday appeared on Mets talk show “The 7 Line” yesterday and reported that both outfielder Jay Bruce and infielder Neil Walker were “unlikely” to return to Queens in 2018.
This isn’t entirely a surprise as the Mets’ outfield and infield are fairly set and adding Bruce and his weak defense would only serve to push 24-year-old Brandon Nimmo further down the depth chart. The team is also loaded with infielders, namely Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores, and adding Walker would only crowd things further if David Wright finds his way back to the field.
That said, though the Mets are not without their fair share of issues, not spending money on Bruce and/or Walker is for the best. New York needs to get younger, and that goal cannot be achieved by adding streaky veterans.