Pitchers and catchers report next week, and the free-agent market remains relatively cold. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are still unsigned as are a handful of other big names. But that means, as free agency heads into the second week of February, there are still plenty of free agent and trade rumors buzzing around. 

Follow all of the day’s hot stove activity below:

Phillies hoping Realmuto trade helps lure Harper, Machado

As of Thursday afternoon, the Phillies were closing in on one of the biggest moves of the offseason. Philadelphia was nearing the finish line in a deal with the Marlins for catcher J.T. Realmuto — the most valuable backstop in baseball. All reports indicate the trade will include top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez. While the deal will drain the Phillies farm system, the team still has deep pockets and it won’t change the pursuits of Harper or Machado.

In fact, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Phillies are hoping the Realmuto addition makes Philly an even more appealing landing spot for either of the 26-year-old superstars.

And to give Phillies fans even more to dream about …

As Rosenthal notes, the Phillies still have the most-enticing factor of all: money. While some more teams have entered the Harper sweepstakes in recent weeks, the Phillies remain confident that either Harper or Machado will be playing his home games at Citizens Bank Park this summer.

Mets bring back Mesoraco

Elsewhere in NL East catching news, the Mets have reached a minor-league deal with Devin Mesoraco, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.

Mesoraco was acquired by the Mets last season in a trade that sent Matt Harvey to the Reds. In 66 games with the Mets last year, the 30-year-old Mesoraco hit .222/.306/.409 with a 107 OPS+.



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