With the start of spring training now less than a month away and the free-agent market picked clean, it’s no wonder Major League Baseball’s rumor mill has slowed down.
But since it hasn’t yet stopped spinning, let’s dive in to the latest.
We spotted seven rumors that are deserving of analysis, ranging from whether the proposed fit makes sense to whether a certain party might be bluffing with its stance in negotiations.
For the heck of it, we also made predictions about what, if anything, will come of these whispers. This is where we mostly went with our gut.
Now then, what’s say we start with Boston?
Can the Red Sox Add Multiple Up-the-Middle Players?
In the wake of Xander Bogaerts’ departure and, more recently, Trevor Story’s elbow surgery, Boston Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom indicated the club is looking to add multiple up-the-middle regulars.
Boston presently has Enrique Hernández at shortstop, Christian Arroyo at second base and Jarren Duran in center field. Or: someone who belongs in center field, a utility player with durability issues and a light-hitting speedster whose defense was too often comically bad in 2022.
But as much as Bloom rightfully wants to rectify this situation, what can he really do about it?
On the free-agent market, there’s Elvis Andrus, José Iglesias, Josh Harrison and not much else. On the trade market, the Red Sox have been connected to Joey Wendle of the Miami Marlins as well as Adalberto Mondesi of the Kansas City Royals. Neither moves the needle, as the former is a utility type and the latter would be an upside play.
Other speculative possibilities include Trent Grisham and Ha-Seong Kim of the San Diego Padres, Jorge Mateo of the Baltimore Orioles, Brendan Rodgers of the Colorado Rockies and, best of all, Bryan Reynolds of the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, their price tags aren’t exactly conducive to the Red Sox’s acquiring more than one of them.
The Red Sox already look like long-shot contenders for 2023, so it’s hard to imagine Bloom will make all-in plays on any of the players from that last group. The low-risk plays seem more likely, whether it’s Andrus, Wendle, Mondesi or whomever.
Could the Giants Add a First Baseman After Brandon Belt’s Departure?
With Brandon Belt having signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, the San Francisco Giants are without a clear starter at first base. According to Maria Guardado of MLB.com, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has left open the possibility of an outside addition.
Sans Belt, the Giants’ in-house options at first base include LaMonte Wade Jr., J.D. Davis and Wilmer Flores. There might be a solid platoon to mine from that trio, but whether any of them is fit to be a regular at the cold corner is questionable.
It thus wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if the Giants indeed brought in an outsider to shake things up, though their free-agent options are basically an array of lottery tickets.
Sans Trey Mancini, who signed with the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, there’s Yuli Gurriel, Luke Voit and Miguel Sanó. The last two were fearsome sluggers in the best of times, while the first isn’t far removed from winning the American League batting title in 2021.
As trade options go, the Giants might consider Bobby Dalbec, who is reportedly on Boston’s chopping block. The Giants might also take a cue from Anthony Franco of MLB Trade Rumors and call their cross-bay rivals, the Oakland Athletics, about overlooked slugger Seth Brown.