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Heating Up: Interest Growing in Carlos Rodón

Carlos Rodon

Carlos Rodon

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest move of the offseason happened on Friday with Jacob deGrom signing his five-year, $185 million megadeal with the Rangers. As expected, that signing appears to be having ripples among the rest of the free agent market for starting pitchers.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported on Saturday that the market for Carlos Rodón – the top left-handed starting pitcher available – is heating up. The Mets are one of the big market teams that is known to have serious interest in Rodón – and that interest appears to have been amplified due to the departure of deGrom. The Mets are also chasing Justin Verlander – the top starting pitcher remaining on the free agent market – but they have three holes to fill in their rotation so there’s no reason to believe that it’s an either/or type of situation.

The other usual suspects – the Yankees and the Dodgers – are believed to be in the mix as well. The Giants are still interested in bringing Rodón back after his brilliant 2022 campaign – where posted a 2.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 237/52 K/BB ratio across 178 innings (31 starts) in his lone season with the Giants. The Giants would get draft pick compensation if he eventually signs elsewhere though, after Rodón rejected the team’s $19.65 million qualifying offer.

The Orioles and Twins are also known to be among the 8-9 teams that are interested in signing Rodón. The real interesting team in the mix though – is the Rangers. Even after inking deGrom to that massive contract on Friday, the club is still pushing forward in their attempt to bring the 29-year-old southpaw to Arlington. That would certainly give the club a tremendous 1-2 punch atop their starting rotation and would go a long way toward making them a playoff contender heading into the 2023 season.

In late November, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic had reported that the Rangers were “more confident” in their chances of signing Rodón or Kodai Senga than they were at landing either deGrom or Verlander. It seems to reason that with deGrom already in tow, and their focus now placed entirely on adding another top arm, that bringing Rodón into the fold as well looks like an increasingly realistic possibility. MLBTradeRumors projects that Rodón will wind up signing a contract in the neighborhood of five years and $140 million.

Mariners Acquire Kolten Wong

Mariners President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto loves nothing more than making trades, so it wasn’t surprising to see him hit the trade market to upgrade his club at second base on Friday. Dipoto acquired Kolten Wong from the Brewers in exchange for outfielder Jesse Winker and infielder Abraham Toro. The Brewers are also sending $1.75M to the Mariners in the deal.

Wong has been a popular name in trade rumblings as the Brewers were looking to cut some salary and didn’t necessarily want to commit $10 million to him after exercising his club option following the 2022 season. That trade interest was amplified after the Brewers shed some cost by dealing Hunter Renfroe to the Angels last week.

The 32-year-old second baseman is coming off of another solid all-around season in which he slashed .251/.339/.430 with 15 homers, 47 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 497 plate appearances. He also plays tremendous defense at second base – his 2022 season not-withstanding – and is a two-time Gold Glove award winner. Unless the Mariners negotiate a contract extension though, they’ll only have him for one season before he hits free agency.

Going back to the Brewers, Jesse Winker struggled on and off the field in his lone season with the Mariners. The 29-year-old slugger missed time due to injury and never seemed to really fit in with the Mariners. He slashed a disappointing .219/.344/.344 with 14 homers and 53 RBI in 547 plate appearances. The move to Milwaukee and their extremely hitter-friendly environment at American Family Field – should be a nice boon to Winker’s fantasy value. His addition will help offset the power that they lost when shipping Renfroe to the Angels.

The Brewers also land Abraham Toro in the deal, and unlike Winker and Wong, he is not a free agent after the 2023 season. The versatile 25-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and will be under Brewers team control through the 2026 season. He had a miserable season at the plate in 2022 – slashing a cringe-inducing .185/.239/.324 with 10 homers, 35 RBI, two stolen bases and a 65/22 K/BB ratio in 352 plate appearances. He’ll likely compete with prospect Brice Turang for the club’s starting gig at second base to begin the season, and if he loses out he’ll function in a super-utility role for the Brewers.

Trade Me, Pirates

Bryan Reynolds has established himself as one of the premiere outfielders in the National League over the past few seasons. In 2021, he made his first National League All-Star squad and finished 11th in the MVP voting in the N.L. His production fell off a bit in 2022, but he still slashed .262/.345/.461 with a career-high 27 homers, 62 RBI and a career-best seven stolen bases.

The Pirates and Reynolds had been discussing a long-term contract extension, but Reynolds was apparently very displeased with the offers that the notoriously-thrifty Pirates organization had made to him. As a result of that frustration, the 27-year-old outfielder formally requested a trade over the weekend.

The Pirates are willing to listen to trade offers on Reynolds – and they are currently doing so – but they have no urgency to move him. He’s under team control through the 2025 season and even though he’s arbitration-eligible in 2024 and 2025, he’ll still be very affordable relative to his level of production. The Pirates would have to be blown away by an offer in order to move him – and that’s the impression that rival general managers around the league have received when they’ve inquired..

In terms of Reynolds’ fantasy value – a move away from the Pirates and to a better supporting cast would do wonders for his counting stats. There’s no real reason to believe that it’s actually going to happen though – at least not anytime soon. In early NFBC Draft Champions drafts, Reynolds currently sports an average draft position just inside the top-100 players overall.

Don’t expect the sale to continue in Milwaukee though. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Friday that the club has no intention of trading Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff of Willy Adames.

MLB Quick Hits: The White Sox officially signed Mike Clevinger to his one-year, $8 million deal… Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic notes that the expectation around the league is that Aaron Judge will ultimately sign a nine-year contract… Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Cubs and Phillies are among the teams that have expressed interest in shortstop Dansby Swanson… The Orioles signed free agent right-hander Kyle Gibson to a one-year contract… Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Mets have spoken to free agent southpaw Andrew Heaney… Pat Razaggo of reports that the Dodgers have expressed interest in free agent slugger J.D. Martinez… Jon Heyman notes that the Yankees, Giants, Rays, Blue Jays and Mets are all in the running to sign outfielder Brandon Nimmo… Heyman also reports that the Mets and Rangers are among the “many teams” pursuing free agent right-hander Jameson Taillon… Mark Feinsand of reports that the Athletics are getting closer to trading catcher Sean Murphy… The Angels re-signed soft-tossing right-hander Cesar Valdez to a minor league deal… The Brewers brought in Eddy Alvarez on a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp… The Orioles met with free agent hurler Noah Syndergaard via Zoom on Friday… The Padres have already had two in-person meetings with superstar shortstop Trea Turner… The Diamondbacks signed right-hander Miguel Castro to a one-year, $3.5 million contract… Catcher Jason Castro announced his retirement from professional baseball after 12 big league seasons… Jon Heyman notes that the Marlins aren’t listening to trade offers on Sandy Alcantara – but will listen on “almost anyone” else… According to Shadev Sharma of The Athletic, the Cubs have checked in on veteran right-hander Corey KluberFred McGriff was the lone player elected to the Hall of Fame by the Contemporary Era committee on Sunday… Shin-Soo Choo re-signed with the SSG Landers of the Korea Baseball Organization for the 2023 season.