We’re less than a week out from Christmas, which means things are about to go fairly quiet on the Hot Stove front. But if this offseason has taught us anything so far, it’s that plenty can change over the span of seven days, so expect plenty of action between now and this weekend.
Who’s heading where? Each weekday, we’ll be bringing you the latest news, rumors and reports from around MLB. Tuesday’s edition features plenty of interesting items, from the Angels becoming a surprising bidder in the Blake Snell sweepstakes to the Mets formulating a backup plan in case they don’t land Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto. (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, Dec. 19
Angels have had ‘recent dialogue’ with Snell
With Yamamoto taking up all the oxygen on the pitching market, things have been curiously quiet around the other top arm available: Blake Snell, coming off his second Cy Young win. While the market for Snell likely won’t get rolling until Yamamoto makes his choice — and a ton of big-market teams who missed out pivot their money cannons in his direction — at least one team is hoping to jump the line, and it’s a surprising one. Per MLB.com, Snell and the Angels have had “recent dialogue,” a sign of real interest on L.A.’s part even if talks were just preliminary. This would seem to confirm that GM Perry Minasian doesn’t intend on diving into a rebuild in a post-Shohei Ohtani world, but it’s hard to make the case for diving into another huge contract — especially for someone like Snell, who’s had durability and command issues in his past and is on the wrong side of 30. When he’s on, Snell is as good as anyone in the game, though he does come with the red flags. Then again, the Angels have needs up and down the roster, rotation included. It’s easy to see how Snell fits if Arte Moreno is hell-bent on contending in 2024.
The Mets’ plan if they miss on Yamamoto
Speaking of Yamamoto: Teams have made their pitches, and now it’s largely on the 25-year-old to decide where he’d like to pitch. That team could very well be the Mets, widely thought to be among his top choices along with the Yankees and Dodgers. If it’s not, though, MLB.com reports that new president David Stearns is likely to spread Steve Cohen’s money around rather than go after another big name. Which makes sense: Yamamoto’s age makes him a uniquely good fit for New York, but this isn’t a roster that’s one or two moves away from contending in the rugged NL East; Stearns seems more likely to build out the team’s rotation with fliers like the one he gave Luis Severino, in hopes that one or two of them pop — or return a haul at the trade deadline. A right-handed hitting outfielder who could platoon with D.J. Stewart and spell Brandon Nimmo in center also feels like a must.
Giants seeking a shortstop
With stalwart Brandon Crawford coming off a poor and injury-plagued season at age 37 and top prospect Marco Luciano still wet behind the ears, the Giants are exploring the trade market for a shortstop according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Elvis Andrus, Tim Anderson, and Amed Rosario are the top shortstops on the free agent market. Willy Adames (Brewers) and Ha-Seong Kim (Padres) could be available in trades, ditto youngster Oswald Peraza (Yankees). San Francisco signed backup catcher Tom Murphy to a two-year contract Monday, which pushes 2018 No. 2 pick Joey Bart out of the picture — and makes him a potential trade candidate.