We’re now almost two weeks removed from the Rangers’ World Series win, and we’re still waiting for the first offseason domino to fall. With the non-tender deadline coming up on Friday, Nov. 17, and Winter Meetings the first weekend in December, it shouldn’t be too much longer until the Hot Stove starts really warming up.
Each weekday, we’ll be bringing you the latest news, rumors and reports from around MLB. Friday’s edition features plenty of interesting items, from the Brewers shopping Brandon Woodruff ahead of the non-tender deadline to the Giants having interest in former NL West rival Cody Bellinger. (As a reminder, here are our top 25 free agents as well as the 10 most interesting trade candidates this winter.)
MLB Hot Stove rumors: Friday, Nov. 17
Brewers discussing Woodruff deal
With the deadline to non-tender players looming, Jon Morosi reports that the Brewers are shopping Brandon Woodruff in the hopes of getting something in return for the injured righty. If Milwaukee doesn’t find a deal, they’re likely to non-tender Woodruff rather than pay a likely hefty arbitration sum for a pitcher who’s set to miss most if not all of 2024 while rehabbing from shoulder surgery. (An alternative is signing him to a multiyear contract with a low base salary in 2024, though shoulder surgery obviously carries significant risk.) A retooling Brewers team is understandably looking to shed that salary, and the hope is that a pitching-needy contender might take a flier in the hope that Woodruff returns at some point during the stretch run.
Giants in on Bellinger
Bellinger was at the top of the list when we broke down San Francisco’s free-agent targets this winter, and sure enough, ESPN has the Giants — along with the Yankees and others — as among the most interested suitors in the former MVP. It’s not hard to understand why: The team has a need both in center field and in the middle of its lineup, and Bellinger knows president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi from their time together with the Dodgers.
Red Sox want multiple starters
This hardly qualifies as news to anyone who watched the Red Sox rotation down the stretch last season, but new chief baseball officer Craig Breslow is reportedly in the market for not one but multiple starting pitchers this winter. The only locks at the moment are Chris Sale and Brayan Bello, and Sale’s injury history gets longer with each passing year. Garrett Whitlock, Kutter Crawford, Tanner Houck and Nick Pivetta are also options, but the team seems more comfortable with them in relief roles — and a team that asked more of its bullpen than just about anyone else in baseball in 2023 likely hopes to land arms that have a better chance of going five or six innings with regularity.
Blue Jays, Nationals among teams interested in Candelario
ESPN also reports that the Blue Jays and Nationals are in on corner man Jeimer Candelario, along with the Angels, Diamondbacks and Reds. The Nats are familiar with Candelario from his half-season with the team last year, while the Blue Jays and D-backs have big needs at third base and the Reds are eying a Joey Votto upgrade at DH/first base alongside Spencer Steer. (As for the Angels, well, GM Perry Minasian still insists they’re not entering a rebuild, so there’s that.)