Baseball's offseason is slowing down as Christmas approaches, as teams get their last-minute letters to Santa ready in hopes of landing the ultimate gift. That could be a big bat, top arm, or even financial relief.
The Kansas City Royals, for example, just want the core that won them a championship in 2015 to come back. The Pittsburgh Pirates, on the other hand, just want top prospects as they appear ready to start from scratch.
Put the cookies down, baseball fans. Here's the Rumor Roundup.
Hosmer headed for homecoming?
Gold Glove first baseman Eric Hosmer was expected to be the biggest name on this year's free agent market, so it's quite a shock he hasn't signed a new contract yet. The left-handed bat was linked to the Boston Red Sox at one point, but they opted to re-sign Mitch Moreland. That left the San Diego Padres as the front-runners, as the Friars held notable face-to-face meetings with Hosmer during the Winter Meetings, but now they might have some competition.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, that competition could be none other than the Kansas City Royals with whom Hosmer has become a household name. He has been the hands-down leader in the KC clubhouse over the past few years and if he's feeling sentimental, perhaps he would take a hometown discount to remain with the Royals. Hosmer hit a career-best .318 in 2017 with 25 home runs and 94 RBI as he took home his fourth Gold Glove.
Details on this rumor are otherwise scant, but the Padres have more money to spend on Hosmer than Kansas City does. Neither squad is looking like a particularly strong contender in 2018 either, so this means it could just come down to which team's pitch sways Hosmer more.
Gerrit Cole to the Yankees?
The New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates had extensive talks about righty Gerrit Cole during the Winter Meetings and, unfortunately, no trade came to be. New York re-signed veteran lefty CC Sabathia last weekend, thus providing the Bronx Bombers with five solid arms for next year's starting rotation.
However, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported last night, talks between the Yankees and Pirates regarding Cole were suddenly back on and a deal was imminent. Fans hopes seemed dash early this morning when Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports tweeted talks had stalled over disagreements on the Pirates' return package. It was reported back during the Winter Meetings that Pittsburgh wanted a package built around top infield prospect Gleyber Torres while New York was only willing to offer a deal centered on outfielder Clint Frazier.
Now Jim Bowden of The Athletic is reporting that a deal between both teams is "close" and that Torres is not involved.
What could the Yankees' motivation for acquiring Cole be? Does new manager Aaron Boone want to use a six-man rotation? Could young lefty Jordan Montgomery be headed to Pittsburgh? All that can be done now is play the waiting game as more details emerge, so stay tuned!
Diamondbacks add an arm
The Arizona Diamondbacks want to get back to the playoffs and have strengthened their bullpen to achieve that goal. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported late last night the Snakes were adding Japanese righty reliever Yoshihisa Hirano on a two-year contract, with Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic later confirming the contract.
Hirano is 34 years old and spent his entire career with the Orix Blue Wave of Nippon Professional Baseball. He was a dominant reliever in Japan and has 156 saves to go with a 3.10 ERA. Arizona adding him could mean the team is moving on from Fernando Rodney as Hirano could easily step in as the team's closer should he compete for and win the job in Spring Training.
It's a low-key signing, but one that works tremendously for Arizona.