The MLB offseason kicked into high gear yesterday when righty Tyler Chatwood signed a multiyear deal with the Chicago Cubs, only to be pushed out of the spotlight a few hours later when the Seattle Mariners made an unusual trade and acquired Dee Gordon from the Miami Marlins.
The Gordon deal could wind up being a precursor to one involving a bigger name: his former Miami teammate Giancarlo Stanton. The reigning NL MVP has been the subject of major talks with the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, but a new twist unveiled itself last night that could further complicate matters and potentially delay free agent signings even more.
Thankfully, veteran lefty Jaime Garcia's market is taking shape, so all is not lost today.
Happy Friday, folks, now let's hit the Rumor Roundup!
Giancarlo Stanton prefers Yankees, Dodgers
My oh my, how the twists and turns keep on coming with Stanton. Just when we thought he would go to San Francisco, St. Louis, or stay in Miami, new details have come to light that could change the game entirely. If these rumors hold any water, then new Marlins owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter's jobs just got a lot more difficult.
Craig Mish of SiriusXM tweeted late last night that Stanton would immediately approve trades to the following teams: the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and Chicago Cubs, but followed that up with a tweet that implied the Giants and Cardinals weren't quite out of the mix yet after meeting with Stanton himself. Jim Bowden, also of SiriusXM, also confirmed this by saying the Dodgers and Yankees, rumored to be Stanton's top two choices, were "kicking the tires" on a potential deal and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports confirmed New York's interest in the slugger a week ago.
Stanton just can't seem to get out of his own way regarding his future. He wants to play on a contender, which is understandable, but only a select few. Moreover, both the Yankees and Dodgers would like to get under the luxury tax and taking on the $295m remaining on Stanton's deal would not allow them to do that. With the Cubs and Astros, neither team really needs to add a big bat to its lineup as both have each won the World Series in the past two seasons.
Despite all that, Stanton's decision could come as soon as today, so keep your ear to the ground on this one.
Mike Fiers signs with Tigers
Another small free agency domino fell last night as veteran righty Mike Fiers, formerly of the Astros, signed a one-year, $6m contract with the Detroit Tigers. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported the deal, as did Anthony Fenech of The Detroit Free Press. Fiers was 8-10 with a 5.22 ERA in 28 starts last season and left off of Houston's postseason roster.
Fiers should be a candidate for a bounce-back season playing in cavernous Comerica Park, and another interesting twist is he turned down a two-year contract from the Baltimore Orioles to play in the Motor City. He joins a rotation amid a rebuilding year, so here's hoping he can rebuild his own value as he prepares to turn 33 in June.
Pirates interested in Jaime Garcia
One free agent who has flown under the radar this year is veteran lefty Jaime Garcia, who went 5-10 with a 4.41 ERA in 27 starts in 2017 for the Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins, and New York Yankees. Those numbers are kind of forgettable but according to Juan Manuel Morena of the Mexican newspaper La Prensa, the Pittsburgh Pirates are interested in adding him to help shore up the back end of the rotation.
Garcia isn't a perfect signing by any means, especially with his history of elbow and shoulder problems, but his familiarity with the NL Central could make him a great value signing in the Steel City. He cut his teeth with the St. Louis Cardinals and went 62-45 with a 3.57 ERA in eight years with them, so his knowing the divisional competition well could wind up being a boon for the Pirates.
Garcia's market is still taking shape, but keep an eye on Pittsburgh as it develops.