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MLB rumors: Nats submit latest offer to Bryce Harper; Yankees could hang on to Sonny Gray

It’s January and we have plenty of big names on the board with half of our top 50 free agents still unsigned. We’re going to keep track of the day’s hot stove rumors and rumblings right here in this handy post, so make sure you check back for updates. Here’s the latest from Friday.

Marlins prepared to keep Realmuto?

According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, Marlins manager Don Mattingly indicated the team is prepared to carry catcher J.T. Realmuto into spring training during an MLB Network interview on Friday. From Frisaro:

“For me, I’m ecstatic right now, because I feel like we’re walking into camp with J.T. again,” Mattingly said during his phone interview. “He gives us a better chance to win and grow as an organization.” 

Realmuto has of course been the subject of trade rumors all offseason, but thus far the Marlins have not found a team willing to meet their reportedly high asking price. Spring training is six weeks away and that means there’s still plenty of time to work out a trade. But, if nothing come along, they could revisit the trade market at the deadline or even next offseason.

Yankees may keep Gray

Despite public trade declarations all offseason, the Yankees could keep Sonny Gray, GM Brian Cashman told reporters on Friday, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “Our intention is to move Sonny Gray and relocate him when we get the proper return, in our estimation. It’ll happen this winter, it’ll happen in the spring or it’ll happen sometime during the season,” Cashman said.

Cashman acknowledged uncertainty surrounding CC SabathiaSabathia underwent an angioplasty last month — has the team rethinking their stance on Gray. Unless they get a good return, they’d rather hold onto him as rotation depth than trade him for the sake of trading him. Several teams have reportedly expressed interest in Gray this winter, including the Padres, Athletics, Braves, Twins, Reds, and Padres.

Nats up their offer for Harper

After plenty of back-and-forth between the Washington Nationals and Bryce Harper this offseason, it appears that the Nationals are back in the Harper sweepstakes. Jim Bowden reported on Friday that the Nationals’ last offer to Harper was actually “much more than the $300 million being reported by the media.”

The latest offer refers to the meeting that Harper and Boras had with Nationals owner Ted Lerner for five hours on the weekend before Christmas. It was reported Harper rejected a 10-year, $300 million offer from Washington at the end of the 2018 regular season in September. 

In an already murky market for Harper, things have gotten a bit more complex. We do know that the Dodgers seemingly cleared payroll and have an outfield spot open (more on that here) after sending Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, as well as Alex Wood, to Cincinnati on Dec. 21. The Philadelphia Phillies have stuck around, and are planning to meet with Harper in his hometown of Las VegasPhillies officials met with Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, at the winter meetings in Las Vegas last month. The Chicago White Sox have been linked to Harper and Manny Machado this offseason, but may no longer be in the running since the team is not willing to offer more than seven years for either superstar free agent, per Bruce Levine.

Brewers, Nats interested in Dozier

Free-agent second baseman Brian Dozier is drawing interest from a pair of teams that do not necessarily have an everyday second baseman. The Nationals have had discussions with Dozier, and the Brewers also like him, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The Brewers did not tender Jonathan Schoop a contract in November, making him a free agent, and Travis Shaw is expected to be a full-time third baseman in 2019 following Mike Moustakas‘ departure as a free agent. The Nationals traded Daniel Murphy to the Cubs last season (now with Colorado) and after losing out to the Padres for Ian Kinsler, they would like a one-year stopgap while they groom their No. 2 prospect Carter Kieboom in the minors.

After three consecutive finishes in the American League MVP voting, Dozier had a down 2018 season in which he split between the Minnesota Twins and the Dodgers. He slashed .215/.305/.391 with 21 homers and 71 RBI last year. His 95 home runs since the 2016 is the most of any second baseman in the majors, so he still has the power.

Phils need to thin crowded pen

After signing David Robertson to a two-year, $23 million deal, the next priority for the Phillies may be thinning a now-crowded bullpen, according to The Athletic’s Matt Gelb. If the Phillies can find a trade partner, veterans Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter could be the odd men out next season.

Here’s more from Gelb:

The Phillies have seven relievers on the 40-man roster who are out of options, and it is clear more transactions will happen. The Robertson signing could force them to jettison either Hunter or Neshek — or both. They are available. Hunter was acquired, in part, because of his effectiveness against lefty hitters. Those key spots could now fall to Robertson. Hunter and Neshek signed front-loaded contracts, which could aid the Phillies in finding a trade match.



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