We are less than two weeks away from spring training, baseball fans. Here is each team's spring training reporting date. Now here are Sunday's hot stove rumors as you await baseball's return in a few weeks.
Giants, Webb have had extension talks
The Giants and ace righty Logan Webb have had discussions about a long-term contract extension, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told the San Francisco Chronicle. Zaidi declined to reveal whether a deal is close. Last month we identified Webb as one of the 10 extension candidates. The 26-year-old ground ball specialist will become a free agent after 2025.
The best contract benchmark at Webb's service time level (between three and four years) is Sandy Alcantara's five-year, $56M deal with the Marlins. Alcantara signed that extension last offseason, before his Cy Young win, and it is the largest contract ever given to a pitcher at that service time level. Alcantara then is very comparable to Webb now. That's a reasonable contract neighborhood.
Angels seeking bullpen help
The Angels are still looking to add to their bullpen, GM Perry Minasian told the Associated Press on Saturday. The Halos signed hard-throwing righty Carlos Estévez to a two-year contract earlier this winter and that's about it for bullpen additions. Estévez, Jimmy Herget, Ryan Tepera, and José Quijada are in line to be the club's late-inning relief unit.
There are several quality relievers sitting in free agency, most notably righties Michael Fulmer and Ken Giles, and lefties Andrew Chafin and Matt Moore. Others like Zack Britton, Corey Knebel, and Trevor Rosenthal have closer pedigree but are coming off major injuries. Depending on their health, they could be sneaky good buy-low options for Anaheim's bullpen.
Royals hope to lock up young players
At Saturday's fan fest event at Kauffman Stadium, Royals owner John Sherman said the club hopes to sign several young players to long-term contract extensions, according to MLB.com. First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, right-hander Brady Singer, and shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. figure to be the top priorities. From MLB.com:
"We think that's a really important thing for a small-market thing to do," owner John Sherman said. "I'd love to know we'll have some of these guys beyond their arbitration years. It becomes very valuable, because you have cost certainty. Plus, if you're going to lose them in five years, you've got to think about, how do you get a return on a really talented guy in their fourth or fifth year?
"I'm going to be down in Surprise with the front-office group, and we're going to spend a lot of time on that, talking about key guys."
Singer, 26, enjoyed a breakout season in 2023 and is four years away from free agency. Witt is five years from free agency and Pasquantino is a full six years away from hitting the open market. None of these players are going anywhere anytime soon, but the sooner the Royals lock them up, the better the chance at a team-friendly discount, and the sooner they know they'll be able to keep them more than a few years.