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MLB rumor roundup: Dodgers in on Lucas Giolito, Reds chasing frontline starter

We’ve got all the latest Hot Stove rumors from around the Majors on Tuesday, including the Dodgers’ interest in a SoCal native and the Reds getting aggressive in their pursuit of a rotation upgrade.

Lucas Giolito of the Cleveland Guardians pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the third inning at Comerica Park on October 1, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

We’re now past Thanksgiving, and the big free-agent dominos are beginning to fall — including Sonny Gray signing with the St. Louis Cardinals 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, from a starter potentially high on the Dodgers’ wish list to the Reds pursuing every potential avenue to upgrade their rotation. (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: Tuesday, Nov. 28

Dodgers show interest in Lucas Giolito

With Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin out for at least a chunk of 2024, Julio Urias on administrative leave, Clayton Kershaw technically a free agent (and showing signs of wear as he enters his age-36 season) and Walker Buehler yet to return from Tommy John surgery, it’s safe to say the Dodgers have a need — or needs, plural — in the rotation this offseason. One potential target to fill that need, at least according to Robert Murray? Southern California native Lucas Giolito.

You can certainly see the logic here. Andrew Friedman and Co. have never been ones to play at the very top of the free-agent pitching market; Trevor Bauer remains the only arm they’ve handed more than $50 million to, which would likely rule out a run at, say, Blake Snell. L.A. will almost certainly be in on Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto given his age (just 25) and upside, but so will every other contender in the league, and the Dodgers need multiple arms this winter anyway. Giolito is slightly younger than the rest of the free-agent market — he won’t turn 30 until next July — and he’ll likely come much cheaper after struggling mightily in 2023. The righty was getting down-ballot Cy Young votes as recently as two years ago, and was pitching well for the White Sox last year before getting dealt not once but twice — it’s not hard to see him as a nice buy-low candidate, especially for an organization with the pitching development track record that Los Angeles has.

Reds active in trade market for Tyler Glasnow, Shane Bieber

Cincinnati certainly won’t be playing at the top end of the free-agent pitching market, at least from everything we know about owner Bob Castellini’s reluctance to spend. Still, the Reds have an enticing young core of position players that’s just a functional rotation away from contention, so it’s no surprise that Jon Morosi reports they’re involved in the trade markets for just about every starter who might be available this winter. Per Morosi, Cincinnati is particularly in on Rays righty Tyler Glasnow and Guardians righty (and former Cy Young winner) Shane Bieber.

Both Glasnow and Bieber have long been assumed to be on the trading block; both are entering walk years, and both of these organizations have a long history of flipping established stars for young talent rather than letting them leave in free agency. (Plus, Cleveland’s pitching depth makes Bieber a bit more expendable as they look to revamp their moribund offense.) The Reds have plenty of young talent to pull from, both in the Majors and Minors, and would seem to be in position to win just about any bidding war they want.

Don’t buy rumors around Alex Bregman, Bo Bichette

You can just about set your watch by it: Every year before Winter Meetings gets the Hot Stove really burning, the Thanksgiving void gets filled with increasingly wild trade rumors. This year’s version? Recent reports that the Blue Jays might be taking calls on star shortstop Bo Bichette and the Astros might consider dealing Alex Bregman a year before he’s set to hit free agency.

On the surface, you can understand the logic. Houston likely won’t be able to afford long-term extensions for both Bregman and Jose Altuve, and the veteran third baseman figures to have substantially more trade value should he become available. Toronto, meanwhile, needs a vibes reset after another disappointing Wild Card exit, and free agency now looms just two years away for both Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. If you’re a fan of a rival AL contender, though, don’t get your hopes up: Ken Rosenthal is here to pour cold water on that kind of talk, saying that Bregman and Bichette rumors are “seemingly more a reflection of the lack of quality hitters available than the potential foundations of deals”.

Unlike a lot of teams, the Astros have shown a willingness to ride out the final year of a player’s deal rather than flip them a year early — they did just that with past stars like Carlos Correa and George Springer — and it’s difficult to imagine Houston taking a step back coming off their seventh straight appearance in the ALCS. The Jays are also under a lot of pressure to take the next step; there’s a reason they’ve been consistently listed as a dark horse to make a serious run at Shohei Ohtani. There’s virtually no way they’d be able to replace Bichette’s production in 2024, and it still feels too early to considering blowing up this core.