While most of the big names are off the board, we still have several weeks of offseason left in Major League Baseball. That means the daily supplies of rumors shall continue apace. Speaking of which, you can find Monday's supply just below.
Red Sox, Devers far apart in extension talks
Will third baseman Rafael Devers be the latest homegrown star to depart the Red Sox? The increasingly hapless Boston front office of course dealt Mookie Betts to the Dodgers in what's looking like a completely disastrous trade, and this offseason they failed to retain the services of infielder Xander Bogaerts, who wound up inking a free-agent contract with the Padres. Next on the list is Devers, the 26-year-old elite batsman who boasts a career OPS+ of 124 and who has averaged 79 extra-base hits per 162 games played across six MLB seasons. Devers is slated for free agency after the upcoming season, which means time is running short to secure his services beyond 2023.
On that front, things may not be going swimmingly from the club's standpoint. Here's this from ESPN's Joon Lee:
"According to multiple league sources, the Red Sox and Devers are 'galaxies apart' in their contract negotiations. The current expectation from Devers and his camp is that the third baseman will be a free agent at the end of 2023, given the current state of contract talks."
Given recent history, it would be less than shocking if Devers does indeed wind up hitting the market on time. As for that uncertain road toward a possible Devers extension, GM Chaim Bloom said this to reporters:
"We will probably, I think, go beyond reason to try to get this done. Hopefully we can get this done. There are always going to be limitations, like people can just put something plain out of reach. Some people love to bet on themselves and I hope he hits 63 homers if he does that."
If you have the resources of the Boston Red Sox, then any notions of "out of reach" when it comes to signing one of your stars to an extension are entirely self-inflicted. See also: Betts, Mookie; Bogaerts, Xander.
Conforto market becoming clearer?
Free agent outfielder Michael Conforto had to miss the 2022 season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery last year. The former first-round pick and 2017 All-Star heads to his age-30 season likely looking for a one-year deal to prove he's worthy of a longer-term deal next offseason.
Previously said to be in the mix were the Astros, Cubs, Rangers and Marlins. Monday, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reported that the Rockies have had discussions on Conforto, though the report also mentions that the Cubs, Marlins and Rangers are stronger on Conforto. In addition, the Astros have signed lefty-swinging outfielder Michael Brantley since they were first connected in rumors, so they are likely out.
That means it looks like the Cubs, Rangers, Marlins and the Rockies are in on Conforto, though the Rockies appear to be a bit behind the others.
Conforto hit .232/.344/.384 (100 OPS+) in 2021 with the Mets, but he is a career .255/.356/.468 (124 OPS+) hitter and has three seasons with at least 27 home runs, topping out at 33 in 2019.
Orioles bring back familiar arm
Right-handed reliever Mychal Givens spent the first 5 1/2 seasons of his big-league career with the Orioles before he was traded to the Rockies in 2020. He's back, as the Orioles have agreed to sign Givens to a one-year, $5 million deal, reports MLB.com.
Givens has been quite the journeyman since his 2020 trade, as he's spent time with the Rockies, Reds, Cubs and Mets in the last two seasons. In 59 outings between Chicago and New York last season, he had a 3.38 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 71 strikeouts against 21 unintentional walks in 61 1/3 innings.
The Orioles have been pretty quiet this offseason after a shocking 83-win 2022 season. They've added Adam Frazier to the offense, Kyle Gibson to the rotation and now Givens to the bullpen.
Pirates acquire Joe from Rockies
The Pirates and Rockies swung a minor trade Sunday night. Colorado sent outfielder/first baseman Connor Joe to Pittsburgh for righty pitching prospect Nick Garcia, both teams announced. Joe, 30, struggled badly in the second half this past season. As a right-handed hitter, he figures to platoon with the many lefty hitters the Pirates employ. The 23-year-old Garcia had a 3.66 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 113 Single-A innings in 2022. The Pirates selected him in the third round of the 2021 draft.