We’re now past Thanksgiving, and the big free-agent dominos are beginning to fall — with Sonny Gray heading to the St. Louis Cardinals earlier on Monday morning. Each weekday, we’ll be bringing you the latest news, rumors and reports from around MLB. Monday’s edition features plenty of interesting items, the Braves considering yet another rotation upgrade to a reliever who’s drawing interest from lots of contenders. (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. 27
Braves in on Dylan Cease
With Gray and Aaron Nola officially off the board, options are dwindling if the Atlanta Braves hope to find the major rotation boost they’re looking for after consecutive disappointing postseasons. So it’s no surprise that, per Bob Nightengale, Atlanta is one of the teams most heavily interested in White Sox righty (and metro Atlanta native) Dylan Cease. Cease is coming off a down year (4.58 ERA with 79 walks in just 177 innings), but he was the runner-up in AL Cy Young voting in 2022 — and with two years of team control remaining, he could be an excellent buy-low candidate if the rebuilding Sox do indeed decide to move him. It’s perhaps worth noting that Chicago and the Braves have already linked up to make one trade this winter, with Atlanta acquiring lefty reliever Aaron Bummer earlier in November.
Robert Stephenson drawing interest from contenders
The Bummer deal notwithstanding, the reliever market has been a bit slow to warm up, with few names finding teams just yet and hardly any rumors on top names like Josh Hader, Aroldis Chapman and Hector Neris. One name that is drawing plenty of interest — and could be signing soon — is former Rays setup man Robert Stephenson, who’s hoping to parlay a career year into a multi-year contract this offseason. Tampa acquired Stephenson from the Pirates in a June trade that no one paid attention to at the time, but the introduction of a wicked cutter with his new team unlocked a deadly relief weapon: Over 42 appearances with the Rays, he posted a 2.35 ERA and 14.1 K/9. No surprise, then, that Jon Morosi reports just about every contender having interest in Stephenson, particularly the Dodgers and Cubs.
Rangers interested in Jordan Montgomery reunion
This will come as no surprise to anyone who watched Montgomery help lead the Rangers to a World Series title in October, but Texas is indeed interested in bringing the lefty back long-term per a report in the New York Post. Montgomery was excellent after joining Texas in a trade-deadline deal with the Cardinals, throwing 67.2 innings with a 2.79 ERA in the regular season and 31 innings with a 2.90 ERA in the postseason, and the Rangers could certainly use him in the rotatoin with Jacob deGrom expected to miss most of next season (and Max Scherzer and Nathan Eovaldi not exactly paragons of health themselves). Montgomery’s other former teams, St. Louis and the Yankees, have also been rumored to have interest, and the lefty’s market only figures to grow the more frontline pitchers sign.