Fact or Fiction on All the Biggest MLB Offseason Rumors

Ben Berkon@benberkonContributor IJanuary 4, 2014

Fact or Fiction on All the Biggest MLB Offseason Rumors

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    With the ability to follow beat writers and insider sources on Twitter, rumors have been swirling at faster rates than ever before. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the rumors are more real.

    For instance, Jhonny Peralta seemed on his way to either New York team, per The Star-Ledger’s Andy McCullough, until the St. Louis Cardinals swooped in at the last moment to ink the shortstop to a four-year, $53 million contract.

    On the other end of the spectrum, current free-agent Stephen Drew has continually been rumored to re-sign with the Boston Red Sox. And while his agent Scott Boras might want to involve other parties, it’s likely Drew will return to Boston given the dry shortstop market.

    Read on to see whether the biggest MLB offseason rumors are fact or fiction.

    All statistics sourced from Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com.

Angels Might Prefer Signing Cheap SP

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    There’s no shortage of available, free-agent starting pitchers. With Masahiro Tanaka, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Bronson Arroyo still looking for jobs, any team in need would have the pick of the litter.

    But despite already acquiring Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs this offseason, the Los Angeles Angels are interested in adding another rotation arm. And per MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez, the Angels might prefer inking a lower-end option than a top free agent. 

    Gonzalez suggests the Angels could pursue the likes of Chris Capuano, Jason Hammel or Paul Maholm. Maholm has the highest ceiling of the group, as the left-hander actually owns four-year averages on par with some of the highest-paid free agents of the offseason.



    Total Contract $

    ERA+ (2010-13)

    K/BB (2010-13)

    Ricky Nolasco





    Tim Lincecum





    Jason Vargas





    Scott Feldman





    Phil Hughes





    Paul Maholm





    Fact or Fiction: Fact

A Matt Garza/Twins Reunion

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    The Minnesota Twins haven’t been shy this offseason. Despite already signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to multi-year deals, the Twins might not be done addressing their rotation. 

    According to ESPN’s Darren Wolfson, a Matt Garza/Twins reunion could potentially happen. And unlike the team’s decision to bring back Jason Kubel, inking Garza would actually be a prudent decision. 

    Garza churned out yet another solid season in 2013. Between the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers last season, the 30-year-old combined for a 3.82 ERA (versus a park-adjusted 106 ERA+), 1.23 WHIP and 3.24-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

    But even though the right-hander would be a tremendous upgrade over fifth starter Vance Worley, the reunion is still highly unlikely. Seeing as the Twins have already shelled out $84 million on Nolasco, Hughes and Mike Pelfrey, Garza appears to be too rich for the Twins’ blood.

    Fact or Fiction: Fiction

Stephen Drew Re-Signs with Red Sox

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    The Boston Red Sox rarely tip their hand when it comes to interest in free agents. And the silent war between Stephen Drew’s agent Scott Boras and the Red Sox this offseason is no different.

    But as Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson recalls, the Red Sox’s insistence on using Xander Bogaerts at shortstop in 2014 mirrors the team’s outlook in 2013. Despite all but handing the starting shortstop gig to youngster Jose Iglesias last offseason, the Red Sox instead surprisingly inked Drew to a one-year deal. 

    Even though Peter Gammons believes the New York Mets are just playing coy with their faith in Ruben Tejada, the Red Sox might still be the most logical landing place for Stephen Drew in 2014.

    Fact or Fiction: Fact

Kendrys Morales Bumps Billy Butler out of Town

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    Kendrys Morales’ decision to reject his qualifying offer from the Seattle Mariners was one of the biggest head-scratchers of the offseason. Yet, there has still been some legitimate interest in the switch-hitting slugger. 

    Per MLB.com’s Jim Duquette, his sources indicate that the Kansas City Royals could emerge as a player for Morales’ services. But considering the Royals already have Billy Butler at designated hitter, there doesn’t appear to be an open slot for the free agent.

    To this point, Duquette suggested in a follow-up Tweet that if the Royals sign Morales, Butler could then become trade bait to acquire a starting pitcher (perhaps to replace free agent Ervin Santana).

    If the Royals dangled Butler, Morales could certainly fill the offensive void. But it still might make more sense for the Royals to just sign another starting pitcher instead of adding Morales and subsequently losing their 18th overall pick in the process.

    Fact or Fiction: Fiction

Mariners Favorites for Masahiro Tanaka

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    Masahiro Tanaka is unequivocally the remaining crown jewel of the offseason. Even though Tanaka has yet to throw a single pitch in the major leagues, it’s possible his post-fee contract could eclipse deals Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez will eventually receive. 

    And while the list of suitors for the Japanese native is endless, Baseball Americas Ben Badler believes the Seattle Mariners are the favorites to win Tanaka’s services.

    Badler points to the Mariners’ new television revenue ($2 billion over 17 years) and signing of Robinson Cano as legitimate reasons to take the Mariners seriously.

    In addition to his potential on-the-field production as well as his marketability in Seattle, inking Tanaka would also prevent the Mariners from denting their farm system in a possible trade for David Price. Keeping Taijuan Walker, Mike Zunino and any other prospects the Tampa Bay Rays could demand in return for Price would be a tremendous win for the Mariners.

    Fact or Fiction: Fact


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