Buying or Selling the Latest MLB Free-Agent and Trade Rumors

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2022

Buying or Selling the Latest MLB Free-Agent and Trade Rumors

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    As expected, the end of the MLB lockout has brought a flurry of activity on the free-agent and trade markets, and for every major move that has been made there's a handful of rumors pointing toward what might be next.

    Shortstops Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are joined by Freddie Freeman and Kris Bryant as the headliners of what remains of the free-agent class, while power bats Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler figure to garner an uptick in interest thanks to the implementation of the universal designated hitter.

    In an effort to take stock of the latest rumblings from around the league, we put together a round of buy or sell with the latest free-agency and trade rumors.

Quick Hits

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    Kyle Schwarber
    Kyle SchwarberDavid J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Kyle Schwarber to the Toronto Blue Jays?

    The Blue Jays are making a "big push" for Kyle Schwarber, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. With Lourdes Gurriel Jr., George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez and Randal Grichuk in the mix for playing time in the outfield and at DH, it's not clear how Schwarber would fit, but his left-handed bat would help balance an extremely right-handed lineup.

    Buy or Sell: Buy

                

    Gary Sanchez on the move again?

    According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Twins "have no interest in keeping" Gary Sanchez, whom they acquired with Gio Urshela from the New York Yankees for Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt. The 29-year-old has hit .187 with a 90 OPS+ and 0.4 WAR in 166 games over the past two seasons, and with a $7.9 million projected arbitration salary, it won't be easy to find a taker.

    Buy or Sell: Sell

Freddie Freeman to the Los Angeles Dodgers?

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    After the Atlanta Braves swung a blockbuster deal to acquire Matt Olson from the Oakland Athletics for Cristian Pache, Shea Langeliers, Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes on Monday afternoon, the writing was on the wall that Freddie Freeman will suit up elsewhere in 2022.

    Couple that with a report from Jon Heyman of MLB Network that the New York Yankees were "pessimistic" on their chances of signing him, and all signs point to the 2020 NL MVP landing with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    While Heyman reported Friday that the Braves and Dodgers were the most likely landing spots for Freeman, the Yankees were always lurking, so their trade to acquire Josh Donaldson and news of their pessimism pushed Los Angeles to the front of the pack.

    The question is whether the Dodgers will be willing to give Freeman the sixth year Atlanta wasn't willing to offer—and if he's lost enough leverage with his market shrinking that he'll have to accept a shorter deal.

    Either way, the Dodgers are in the driver's seat.

    Buy or Sell: Buy

Jorge Soler to the Los Angeles Dodgers?

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Few free agents stand to benefit more from the implementation of the universal DH than Jorge Soler, especially since veteran Nelson Cruz is off the market after signing a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals.

    Soler, 30, hit just .192 with a 76 OPS+ in 94 games with the Kansas City Royals last season before he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. The change of scenery provided an immediate spark, and he logged a 128 OPS+ with 14 home runs and 33 RBI in 55 games following the deal. He then capped the season by winning World Series MVP honors, going 6-for-20 with three home runs.

    There is no doubt he has elite power, as he's not far removed from leading the American League with 48 long balls in 2019, though he also tied for the league lead with 178 strikeouts that year.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly intensified their pursuit of Soler since Cruz signed, according to Univision's Mike Rodriguez (via MLB insider Hector Gomez).

    However, following the news that Matt Olson is headed to Atlanta, Los Angeles might be more focused on reeling in the bigger fish and signing Freddie Freeman, which would push Max Muncy to the DH role and make Soler less of a priority.

    Buy or Sell: Sell

Chicago Cubs Poised to Make a Splash?

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    Jed Hoyer
    Jed HoyerCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    There's nothing quite like getting a fanbase's hopes up.

    "Certainly we're going to add a lot more players," Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer told reporters Monday.

    However, he also said the team is happy with its middle infield after signing Andrelton Simmons to a one-year deal, so that seemed to eliminate Carlos Correa and Trevor Story from the conversation.

    In truth, the Cubs probably will add "a lot" more players.

    But then again, every team does that as the offseason is winding to a close, bringing in a variety of minor league free agents as non-roster invitees to spring training in hopes of finding low-cost value.

    Just don't expect any needle-moving additions from a team that sold aggressively last summer and then added one of the market's top pitchers in Marcus Stroman just ahead of the lockout.

    Buy or Sell: Sell

Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers on the Move?

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    Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers
    Eric Hosmer and Wil MyersThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    The Minnesota Twins found a way to shed the salary of third baseman Josh Donaldson over the weekend, flipping him to the New York Yankees in a five-player blockbuster deal for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela.

    Can the San Diego Padres do the same with Eric Hosmer or Wil Myers?

    According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Padres are "aggressively shopping" the overpaid veterans, and it will likely take some creativity on their part to get a deal done.

    Hosmer, 32, has four years and $60 million left on his contract. He has produced just 2.7 WAR through the first four seasons of his eight-year, $144 million deal, and he had a 104 OPS+ with 12 home runs and 65 RBI in 151 games last year.

    There were rumblings at last year's trade deadline that the Padres would consider packaging top prospect Robert Hassell III with Hosmer to facilitate a deal.

    Myers, 31, had a more productive season at the plate last year with a 113 OPS+ in 500 plate appearances, but he was still just a 0.8 WAR player. He is set to earn $20 million in 2022 with a matching club option for 2023 that carries a $1 million buyout.

    Good luck dealing either of them.

    Buy or Sell: Sell

Kris Bryant to the Colorado Rockies?

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    Kris Bryant
    Kris BryantThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    A year after trading homegrown superstar Nolan Arenado for pennies on the dollar, and with another homegrown star in Trevor Story poised to walk via free agency, the Colorado Rockies seem to be in prime position for a full-scale rebuild.

    Or not.

    According to Nick Groke of The Athletic, the club is showing interest in free agent Kris Bryant, and it's "not being shy" as it looks to make a splash.

    It's hard to see how Bryant would help reverse the fortunes of a team that ranked 25th in the majors with a 4.82 ERA last year and has long struggled to field a viable pitching staff.

    The Rockies have been working on the margins, signing shortstop Jose Iglesias, reliever Alex Colome and back-end starter Chad Kuhl and giving extensions to first baseman C.J. Cron and starter Antonio Senzatela.

    That didn't come close to bridging the gap in the NL West, and adding Bryant wouldn't accomplish that either.

    Since the Rockies just traded their best player, it's hard to imagine that their interest in Bryant is anything more than posturing.

    Buy or Sell: Sell

Nick Castellanos to the Philadelphia Phillies?

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    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Nick Castellanos opted out of the final two years and $34 million of his previous contract at the beginning of the offseason, and after a long wait during his last foray into free agency, he is once again among the top players still searching for a new home.

    Working in his favor this time around is broader appeal thanks to the universal DH and the fact that he's coming off a career year in which he hit .309/.362/.576 with 38 doubles, 34 home runs and 100 RBI to win Silver Slugger honors and finish 12th in NL MVP voting.

    The Philadelphia Phillies are the latest team to show interest in the right-handed Castellanos, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. He could be a fit in left field while slotting in nicely alongside Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins in the middle of the lineup.

    Despite his appeal as a power bat and his defensive shortcomings, Castellanos has been adamant in the past about not wanting to be a full-time DH.

    If the Phillies are willing to play him in the fieldand there's a clear path to playing time with Adam Haseley, Mickey Moniak and Luke Williams the leading candidates to handle left fieldthat could give them a leg up in their pursuit.

    Buy or Sell: Buy

Trevor Story to the Minnesota Twins?

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    It's been a busy couple days for the Minnesota Twins, and they might just be getting started.

    Along with their trade of Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the New York Yankees, they also swung a deal to acquire Sonny Gray and Francis Peguero from the Cincinnati Reds for 2021 first-round pick Chase Petty.

    That second deal was a good indication they're not in fire sale mode but are instead reallocating resources in an effort to reshape the roster for contention.

    To that point, the team has been in contact with free-agent shortstop Trevor Story, according to Dan Hayes of The Athletic.

    With Jorge Polanco staying at second base, veteran Andrelton Simmons gone via free agency and top prospect Royce Lewis perhaps not MLB-ready, the Twins have a clear need at one of the most important positions on the diamond. That could work in their favor in their pursuit of Story.

    According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Story has already turned down multiple nine-figure offers from teams that wanted him to change positions. There's no question where he would play if he signed with Minnesota.

    Buy or Sell: Buy

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