The MLB offseason is on the verge of being in full swing and today's roundup provides quite the Manic Monday, so much that one shouldn't wish it was Sunday. Between the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes going toe to toe with that of Shohei Ohtani in terms of which gets more attention, plus Ken Rosenthal reporting free agent catcher Welington Castillo's signing a two-year, $15m deal with the Chicago White Sox, it's been an interesting couple of days.
The questions present themselves. Where will Ohtani sign now that the New York Yankees are out of the mix? Speaking of the Yankees, does being out of the race for Ohtani increase the team's chances of re-signing a familiar face? More important of all, with his representatives now having met with two different teams, is Stanton about to be on the move?
We're hitting the ground running to start this week, folks. This is the Rumor Roundup!
Ohtani sets his schedule
The biggest surprise of the last 24 hours has been Shohei Ohtani almost immediately ruling out the New York Yankees. Team beat writer Bryan Hoch spoke to GM Brian Cashman and tweeted that though Ohtani's reps were impressed with what New York offered in its "presentation," the 23-year-old Nippon Ham Fighters star preferred to play for a West Coast or smaller market team.
Ohtani's story further developed this morning with Sirius XM's Jim Bowden tweeting that seven teams have emerged as finalists. Those seven are the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, and San Diego Padres. Bowden also reported that the Giants are meeting with Ohtani's people in Los Angeles today.
Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, Ohtani is all but certain to sign with an MLB team this week. It's odd he and his group would publicly say he wants to play in a small market, but then take meetings with fairly big market teams in the Dodgers and Cubs, not to mention the Angels. Regardless of reasoning, Ohtani's reasons are his own and no matter which team he signs with, he is in a prime position to revolutionize baseball as a two-way player.
Is Sabathia staying put?
In a move comes as no surprise, the Yankees are turning to a familiar face now that they are out on Ohtani. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports has reported the Bronx Bombers have reached out to veteran lefty CC Sabathia about returning in 2017. Sabathia himself said back in October on his podcast with broadcaster Ryan Ruocco, R2C2, that he plans on playing in 2018 and really doesn't want to play anywhere else unless he feels he has a strong chance of winning a World Series.
Sabathia will turn 38 in July and went 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA last season. Knee and hamstring injuries limited him to 148.2 innings, but the big lefty overcame them to still pitch well and post a 2.37 ERA across four postseason starts. In fact, the only real bad postseason appearance Sabathia had was in Game 7 of the ALCS against the eventual champion Houston Astros.
That all being said, Sabathia has been in pinstripes since 2009 and his love for the Yankees is clear. He lives in the New York area year-round and turned an opt-out clause in his original seven-year, $161m deal into what was basically a one-year extension with a vesting option. He will earn nothing close to the $25m he made in 2017, but a one-year deal at a reduced price plus incentives is certainly not out of the question.
Stanton trade talks speed up
If what SiriusXM's Craig Mish tweeted yesterday is true, the Miami Marlins could trade Giancarlo Stanton this week. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that there are deals for Stanton in place with both the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants and that is just a matter of Stanton informing the Marlins if he will approve a trade to either team, with Mish also reporting the Cardinals included pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara along with more cash than San Francisco has in its respective deal.
Though the Cardinals may have the better overall offer, the Giants must be considered the favorite solely because of Stanton's rumored preference to play on the West Coast. Moreover, though Mish said a trade was set to be completed in a few days, it is important to remember Stanton holds the cards. He has a full no-trade clause and will not waive it unless he feels it's in his best interests.
Make no mistake, Stanton's name is second only to Shohei Ohtani's in ones to watch this week, so stay tuned.