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. Despite the Thanksgiving holiday looming, Monday’s edition features plenty of interesting items, from the Phillies’ interest in another top starting pitcher despite resigning Aaron Nola to the Angels shutting down any talks of a Mike Trout trade. (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: Monday, Nov. 20
Phillies still after Yamamoto
If you thought the Phils were done adding to their rotation after bringing back Aaron Nola, clearly you’re not very familiar with GM Dave Dombrowski. The offseason plan in Philly has always been 1) resign Nola and then 2) add another impact arm, and sure enough, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Phillies are “still in the market” for newly-posted Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Philly’s offensive core is just about set, to bolstering its rotation is the main way it can try to get over the hump after consecutive close calls in the postseason. The 25-year-old Yamamoto — who’s been dominant over seven years in NPB — would do just that, not only giving the Phils another high-end option behind Nola and Zack Wheeler but also giving them a future building block as Nola and Wheeler age into their 30s.
Mike Trout not available?
With the Angels stripping their roster for parts down the stretch of the 2023 season and about to lose Shohei Ohtani, it was natural to wonder whether the team might finally consider at least listening to trade offers for Mike Trout — who’s on a massive deal, isn’t getting any younger and likely won’t be part of the next competitive Halos team. And early on this offseason, there seemed to be some reporting to support that idea. But GM Perry Minasian has reportedly shut that speculation down, with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reporting that Los Angeles has rebuffed “several large-market teams” in recent days. Of course, Trout would also need to waive his no-trade clause, something we have no idea whether he’d be willing to do. But it really does seem like Minasian is going to try and retool this depleted roster on the fly, despite a subpar farm system. Good luck.
Dodgers, White Sox talking Cease
Nola going off the board means the Dodgers are even more motivated to add some desperately needed starting pitching, and while they certainly remain in play for Yamamoto and other free agents, Nightengale names L.A. as one of the teams most involved in preliminary trade talks around White Sox ace Dylan Cease. New Sox head man Chris Getz seems ready to turbocharge Chicago’s rebuild, and Cease is his No. 1 trade chip given his age (28 in December), two more years of team control and sky-high upside. If anyone could get Cease’s command issues under control, it’s the Los Angeles pitching factory, and dealing from their stockpile of young talent for a younger ace seems more in line with Andrew Friedman’s M.O. than paying market value for a guy on the wrong side of 30 like Blake Snell.
Mets interested in Severino
Another team that needs starting pitching: The Mets, whose trade deadline firesale left a rotation is full of question marks behind Kodai Senga (and Jose Quintana, though he’s about to turn 35). One option that new GM David Stearns is considering, per The Athletic’s Will Sammon, is former crosstown rival Luis Severino, coming off a disastrous contract year with the Yankees. What exactly went wrong for Severino in 2023, when he was torched for a 6.65 ERA across 19 starts, remains something of a mystery. The righty’s injury history is well-known, but he’d always been a borderline-elite option when healthy, and he didn’t suffer any dramatic fall-off in his arsenal that would explain the lack of production. He’ll likely come fairly cheap, and as he enters his age-30 season, he could be a nice buy-low candidate for a Mets team that will more likely be retooling than contending in 2024.
Braves gearing up for something big?
Cue the Brian Windhorst meme. The Braves have been the busiest team in the league in the offseason’s early days, clearing both roster and payroll space with a flurry of consolidation trades and non-tender decisions. What, precisely, does Alex Anthopoulos have in mind this winter? That remains to be seen, but The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal thinks that it’s something big — especially given Anthopoulos’ reputation for being aggressive after landing Matt Olson and Sean Murphy in consecutive winters. The Braves will certainly check in on Shohei Ohtani, but they’ll also be among the most active teams on the free-agent and trade market for a starting pitcher — potentially someone like Snell, Yamamoto or Georgia native Cease.