MLB Free Agents 2022: Latest and Predictions for Trey Mancini, Chris Bassitt, More
Trey Mancini has had colon cancer, left a city in which his connection to the fanbase was undeniable, headed south to Houston and won a World Series, so it is safe to say the free-agency process and a potential move north to Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs will not rattle the outfielder.
The report on the veteran is just one at the forefront of the latest rumors and innuendo surrounding top free agents and the teams looking to acquire them.
What is the latest on free-agent starter Chris Bassitt and which team may be interested in bringing him aboard? What else are the San Diego Padres looking for this offseason?
Find out with the latest from the most trusted baseball insiders.
Cubs Interested in Trey Mancini
Trey Mancini wrapped up an emotional season in which he left Baltimore via trade to Houston and won a World Series championship. Now, the outfielder is looking for a new team and may be close to finding it in the form of the Chicago Cubs.
Bruce Levine of 670theScore.com reported the team is interested in Mancini, not only for his versatility but also for his character.
The on-the-field versatility should make Mancini a potential target for any team. Not only can he patrol the outfield, he can also play first base.
Offensively, this past year was not among his best. With only 18 home runs, 63 RBI and an OPS of .710, it was hardly his most dynamic at the plate.
Defensively, though, he proved his value to any potential suitors with a perfect 1.00 fielding percentage when playing left field and first base, and just slightly less when in right (.967).
The Cubs got similar numbers out of left fielder Ian Happ on both sides of the ball in 2022 but likely want Mancini's intangibles. Chicago is looking to return to playoff glory for the first time in three seasons and compete in what looks to be a loaded National League.
The 30-year-old should get other offers and will likely have to decide what is most important to him at this point in his career. Is it another championship? Maybe it is a large payday? Perhaps he wants an opportunity to be a locker room leader.
Whatever the case may be, he will not be returning to Houston, which declined his mutual contract offer in October.
Prediction: Mancini joins the Cubs.
Giants Are Considering Chris Bassitt
The San Francisco Giants have had a tumultuous offseason, failing to lure Aaron Judge out of New York. The team is viewed as a leading candidate to acquire free-agent shortstop Carlos Correa but until pen is on paper, that is uncertain.
What is not, though, is the team's desire to bring in starting pitchers, and it appears they are considering former New York Met Chris Bassitt, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Overshadowed by higher-profile free agents this offseason, Bassitt has not heard his name in many rumors or reports, despite being one of the better available starters. The Giants have been linked to Carlos Rodón and were in the chase for Japanese star Koudai Senga before the Mets reportedly inked him to a deal early Sunday.
Bassitt is a more-than-serviceable starter who compiled a 3.42 ERA and 49.1 percent grounder rate while pitching 181.2 innings for one of the best teams in baseball.
Whether it is the Giants or the Blue Jays, who have also expressed interest, he will sign on and become a key part of a team's attempt to build on their 2022 seasons.
Prediction: Considering the trend this offseason of players spurning the Giants and heading elsewhere, expect Bassitt to sign with Toronto.
Padres Not Finished Acquiring Talent This Offseason
The San Diego Padres may have landed star shortstop Xander Bogaerts in free agency, but the NL runners-up are not done spending money this offseason.
The New York Post's Jon Heyman reported that the team is still looking for a starter and a corner bat.
Jon Heyman @JonHeyman
Xander Bogaerts/Padres press conference on <a href="https://twitter.com/MLBNetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLBNetwork</a> now. Pods are still working (seek starting pitcher and perhaps corner bat). As for Bogaerts, he made $150M plus extra after declining Boston's best spring offer (about $120M) and landing $280M deal following opt-out.
Mike Clevinger and Sean Manaea left in free agency. MacKenzie Gore was part of the Juan Soto trade to Washington. The Padres' depth has taken a considerable hit since the Phillies eliminated them from the postseason in the NL Championship Series, so it makes sense that the Padres would be seeking to bolster a bullpen that needs help in order to contend in 2023.
The team met with Senga, who reportedly signed with the Mets on Sunday, and could be in the hunt for Bassitt or even Nathan Eovaldi, though this would not be the first time the team has kicked tires on the World Series champion and former All-Star.
The team is in luxury-tax hell, ranked fifth in the majors with a payroll north of $176 million, so the idea of them actually signing Carlos Rodón seems relatively unlikely. However even last season's late playoff run appeared out of the question, so it is best not to doubt anything the Padres do at this point.
With Fernando Tatis Jr. returning from a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs in April, the team will have offensive firepower with him and Manny Machado leading the way. It needs to bolster the other half of the roster to ensure the team does not have to rely on a lot of runs to stay in games.
If that does not happen, the Padres' magical run in 2022 will feel more like an exception rather than the rule.
As far as a corner bat goes, Justin Turner or Evan Longoria are viable options, but the team will likely have to battle the Arizona Diamondbacks (among other teams) for the services of those veteran players.
Prediction: The Padres sign a second-level starter like Eovaldi, unwilling to risk driving the luxury tax up any further than it already is (Tier 2), and pluck Turner away from opposing teams competing for his services.