Major League Baseball's hot stove has been relit since the owner-imposed lockout was lifted last week. On Wednesday alone, we saw Matt Chapman traded and Freddie Freeman, Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Seiya Suzuki signed. What will Thursday bring? Keep your browser locked in here for all the latest news, notes, and rumors.
Castellanos market includes Phillies and Marlins
The biggest bats left on the free agent market now would be the two shortstops (Carlos Correa and Trevor Story) along with outfielder Nick Castellanos. Per Jon Morosi of MLB Network, Castellanos "continues to draw interest" from the Phillies and Marlins.
Castellanos, 30, hit .309/.362/.576 (136 OPS+) with 38 doubles, 34 homers, 100 RBI, 95 runs and 3.2 WAR for the Reds last season. In some respects, it was a career year and he made his first All-Star team. His poor defense does a number on his WAR and that's where the addition of the full-time DH to the NL helps his market.
The Phillies signed lefty slugger Kyle Schwarber earlier this week, but thanks to a DH spot, there's still room for Castellanos. If Schwarber is slotted at DH, the Phillies currently have someone from the Adam Haseley, Matt Vierling and Luke Williams group for left field. Adding Castellanos would move Schwarber to left field, and it's always possible Castellanos gets thrown out there, though his time in the outfield has nearly exclusively been in right.
As for the Marlins, they could certainly use a big bat as their centerpiece in the middle of the order. It currently looks like Avisaíl García and Jesús Aguilar are slotted in the 3-4 holes.
Braves, Padres in on Soler
Free agent outfielder/DH Jorge Soler is in talks with both the Braves and Padres, per David O'Brien of The Athletic.
Soler, 30, flashed his immense upside in winning the World Series MVP last fall, clubbing three homers and driving home six runs in six games. In 602 regular-season plate appearances, he hit .223/.316/.432 (97 OPS+) with 27 doubles, 27 homers and 70 RBI. Back in 2019, he led with AL with 48 homers while also driving in 117 runs and posting a 137 OPS+. He's dealt with injuries and inconsistency throughout his career, but when he's on, he's one of baseball's most capable power threats.
Right now, the Braves have Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall and Marcell Ozuna as surefire outfielders with the DH spot also an option. Ronald Acuña, Jr. will miss a few weeks, but upon his return they'd appear to have a full starting lineup. Still, Soler would provide depth and a wealth or outfield/DH options for Brian Snitker. Plus, there are several injury question marks among the group anyway.
As for the Padres, the Fernando Tatis, Jr. injury certainly leaves a void in the lineup that could've used Soler's upside anyway. It's an easy and obvious fit.
Giants add Boyd
The Giants added some rotation depth on Thursday, signing former Tigers southpaw Matthew Boyd to a one-year deal worth $5.2 million, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
Boyd, 31, is expected to miss the first couple months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon last fall. When healthy, he's proven himself to be an above-average big-league starter. Over the last three years, he's posted a 96 ERA+ and a 3.84 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 324 innings. He has been prone to the home run ball, so it'll be interesting to see if the Giants can help him curb that issue.
Boyd is the third free-agent addition the Giants have made who could impact their rotation, joining Carlos Rodón and Alex Cobb. (The Giants also signed Jakob Junis, but he seems more likely to pitch out of the bullpen.) San Francisco kicked off the offseason by re-signing Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani. They did lose Kevin Gausman to the Blue Jays, however.
Royals continuing pursuit of Montas
The Royals signed old friend Zack Greinke on Wednesday, but that might not be the last recognizable face they add to their rotation. According to Alec Lewis of The Athletic, Kansas City remains interested in obtaining Frankie Montas from Oakland.
Montas, who will turn 29 in a few days, has two seasons of team control remaining. Since 2019, he's amassed a 119 ERA+ and a 3.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 59 starts. It is worth noting that he was suspended 80 games in 2019 after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug. That, plus a shaky 2020 may have caused some concerns in front offices around the league, but Montas responded well last season by pitching so well as to finish sixth in American League Cy Young Award voting.
The Athletics have already traded Chris Bassitt, Matt Olson, and Matt Chapman this week. Montas, as well as fellow starter Sean Manaea, would appear to be next up.
Bradley and Tepera joining the Angels
Free-agent reliever Archie Bradley tweeted out a GIF on Thursday morning from the movie "Angels in the Outfield" that suggested he might be on the verge of joining the actual Angels bullpen. Sure enough, he's reached a one-year deal worth $3.75 million with Los Angeles, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
Later in the day, the Angels also added right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera on a two-year, $14 million deal (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network).
Last season, Bradley posted a 3.71 ERA (113 ERA+) and a 1.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 51 innings with the Phillies. Tepera appeared in 65 games for the Cubs and White Sox, pitching to a 2.79 ERA and 0.88 WHIP with 74 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings.
Tepera likely slots in as the primary setup man for stud closer Raisel Iglesias while Bradley is also a decent bet to see late-inning action in Joe Maddon's bullpen.
Cardinals nearing deal with Dickerson
The Cardinals are closing in on an agreement with free-agent outfielder Corey Dickerson, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Dickerson split last season between the Marlins and the Blue Jays, hitting .271/.326/.408 (99 OPS+) with six home runs and 23 other extra-base hits in 365 trips to the plate.
Cubs add Villar, bullpen help
The Cubs have reportedly reached an agreement with infielder Jonathan Villar, according to Robert Murray of Fansided. Villar, 30, spent last season with the Mets. He hit .249/.322/.416 (102 OPS+) with 18 home runs and 14 stolen bases (albeit on 21 tries). Villar saw action at three defensive positions, and he seems likely to serve in a bench capacity for Chicago. The one-year deal is for $6 million in 2022 with a mutual option for 2023, per Feinsand.
Further, the Cubs continued to add pitching depth. After grabbing lefties Steven Brault (a possible starter) and Daniel Norris on Wednesday, right-hander Mychal Givens signed a one-year, $5 million deal (via Jesse Rogers of ESPN) and fellow righty Robert Gsellman (via Jordan Bastian of cubs.com) has also been added as a non-roster invite to camp.
Givens, 31, has a shot to join the back-end mix for the Cubs, along with presumed closer Rowan Wick, David Robertson and Chris Martin. Givens had a 3.35 ERA (144 ERA+), 1.37 WHIP and 54 strikeouts in 51 innings for the Reds and Rockies last year.
Gsellman, like Norris, is a bit of a lottery ticket.
Reds add Moran
The Reds have signed left-handed hitting corner infielder Colin Moran, the club announced. Moran spent the previous four seasons with the Pirates after heading to Pittsburgh as part of the trade that sent Gerrit Cole to Houston.
Moran, 29, hit .258/.334/.390 (97 OPS+) with 12 doubles, 10 homers and 50 RBI in 99 games last season. With lefty Joey Votto firmly entrenched at first and lefty Mike Moustakas likely getting most of the time at third, perhaps the DH spot is the best home for Moran, at least as a regular starter.
Mets add Jankowski
The Mets had been rumored to be on the hunt to find a new reserve outfielder. They added a candidate for a bench spot on Thursday, inking veteran Travis Jankowski to a minor-league deal, per a club announcement.
Jankowski, 30, spent last season with the Phillies. He batted .252/.364/.351 (96 OPS+) with a home run and five steals. For his career, he's hit .239/.322/.318 (77 OPS+) in more than 1,100 plate appearances.
Jankowski, a left-handed hitter, could provide the Mets with speed and defense off the bench if he finds his way onto the roster.