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Offseason Lowdown

Lowdown: Blockbuster Coming?

by D.J. Short
Updated On: November 30, 2018, 5:41 am ET

Follow @djshort and @Rotoworld_BB on Twitter.

Rumors of a blockbuster deal between the Mariners and Mets have dominated the week and it appears that we are finally getting close to the finish line.

It’s important to note that nothing is confirmed yet, but a general framework has been reported through various outlets. Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz are expected to head to New York, with Seattle covering a portion of the five years and $120 million remaining on Cano’s contract. The Mets will dump the contracts of veteran slugger Jay Bruce (owed $28 million over the next two seasons) and reliever Anthony Swarzak (owed $8 million in 2019) in the deal, but the key for the Mariners is the package of prospects they’ll receive.

We don’t know the exact combination of prospects just yet, but 2018 first-round pick outfielder Jarred Kelenic, right-hander Justin Dunn, and infielder Jeff McNeil have been mentioned most prominently over the past 24 hours. Andy Martino of SNY.tv reported late Thursday night that right-handed reliever Gerson Bautista was substituted in talks after the Mets expressed hesitation about including McNeil, but it’s always possible that things will change again. That hasn't stopped both fanbases from freaking out, of course.

The 36-year-old Cano will have to waive his full no-trade clause for this blockbuster to go down as reported, but all signs point to him welcoming a return to New York. Mike Puma of the New York Post reported late Thursday night that the Mets have begun informing players they are in a deal with the Mariners, pending final details. This thing could become official as soon as Friday.

In case it wasn’t already clear after the recent James Paxton trade with the Yankees, the Mariners are shifting into a reload, if not a rebuild. And the names mentioned in connection with the Mets should help on that end. While we know what direction the Mariners are headed in, it’s unclear where new GM Brodie Van Wagenen and the Mets go from here. Does this deal make it less likely or more likely that Noah Syndergaard is traded? While it would certainly replenish the farm system, it would be a strange signal to send for a team which expects to contend in 2019. Diaz isn’t going to fix the bullpen by himself and the club still has holes to consider at catcher and possibly in center field. Simply put, if the Mets want to win in 2019, they need to keep going.   

Padres Reportedly Sign Richards

The Padres are making a move that isn’t necessarily about 2019, as the club has reportedly agreed to a two-year, $15.5 million deal with free agent starter Garrett Richards. Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported the details involved, including $2.5 million worth of incentives which could bring the total to $18 million.

Richards, who turns 31 in May, made 16 starts with the Angels this past season before undergoing Tommy John surgery in mid-July. He’ll likely be in rehab mode for most of the 2019 season, but there’s a chance he contributes down the stretch. However, this move is mostly about 2020 for the Padres. It’s very possible the club will be in contention by then, so he could be quite the addition if all goes well.

There’s no doubting Richards’ ability when healthy. The hard-throwing right-hander owns a 3.54 ERA over 115 starts and 55 relief appearances in the majors. He showed legitimate top-of-the-rotation ability before his arm problems began in 2016. We’re not talking about a small guarantee here, so the Padres are banking on him getting back to that level.

Brewers Cutting Ties with Schoop?

MLB teams have some interesting decisions to make before Friday’s non-tender deadline. One notable player to watch is second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic hears is a “strong possibility” to be non-tendered.

Such a scenario would have been unthinkable after his breakout 2017 campaign with the Orioles, but Schoop cratered by hitting just .233/.266/.416 with 17 homers over 131 games this past season. The Brewers gave up right-hander Luis Ortiz and infielders Jonathan Villar and Jean Carmona in order to acquire Schoop at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but he struggled with a .202/.246/.331 batting line over 46 games down the stretch and saw just eight plate appearances during the postseason.

Schoop earned $8.5 million in 2018 and projects to receive a raise in his final year of arbitration, so that’s a big chunk of change for a team with other areas of need. Meanwhile, there's a number of interesting infielders on the free agent market. The Brewers will surely field any last-minute trade offers, but it sounds like Schoop will hit free agency on Friday if there aren’t any takers.

Quick Hits: Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Indians have discussed a Corey Kluber trade with the Dodgers … According to Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports, the Reds are “all over” Dallas Keuchel in hopes to add him to their starting rotation … Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers have been contacted by multiple teams in regard to closer Jose Leclerc … The Angels acquired infielder Tommy La Stella from the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations … Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports hears that the Astros, Dodgers, and Yankees are among many teams who have expressed interest in Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto … The Rangers signed right-hander Edinson Volquez to a one-year, $2 million contract … The Angels released outfielder Jabari Blash … The Mets signed infielder Dilson Herrera to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … The Reds claimed first baseman/outfielder Jordan Patterson off waivers from the Mets …