Spring training has arrived. The first set of pitchers and catchers reported Sunday and throughout this week teams will open their spring camps across Arizona and Florida. Hooray for that..
Even with spring training opening,, including the top two and three of the top seven. We should begin to see some signings very soon, maybe even significant ones. We’re going to keep track of the day’s hot stove rumblings right here in this handy post, so make sure you check back often for updates.
Kluber unlikely to be traded
The Indians are unlikely to trade ace Corey Kluber at this point, reports MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Cleveland discussed Kluber with several teams this offseason (Brewers, Dodgers, Padres, Reds, Yankees) but talks have quieted down considerably. No team is willing to meet their asking price and Kluber is expected to remain with the Indians at least until the start of spring training, and more than likely until opening day.
Kluber, 32, finished third in the Cy Young voting last season and is working on one of the most team friendly contracts in baseball. He has already maxed out his awards based salary escalators and will still earn only $17 million in 2019 with a $17.5 million club option for 2020 and an $18 million club option for 2021. A pitcher of this caliber at that price is a steal. It’s no wonder so many teams wanted him and it’s no wonder why the Indians will happily hang on to him.
Indians not pursuing Jones, Gonzalez
According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, the Indians are not aggressively pursuing veteran free agent outfielders Adam Jones and Carlos Gonzalez. Cleveland is keeping an eye out for outfield help, however. Right now they have Leonys Martin penciled into center field, with guys like Greg Allen, Tyler Naquin, Jordan Luplow, and Matt Joyce set to compete for corner spots. Jake Bauers could also be in the corner outfield mix.
Neither Jones nor CarGo, both 33, are the players they were in their prime. Jones hit .281/.313/.419 with 0.2 WAR last season. Gonzalez authored a .276/.329/.467 line and 0.4 WAR. Fellow mid-30s outfielder Curtis Granderson recently signed a minor league contract and it’s possible both Jones and Gonzalez will have to do the same. If that is indeed the case, the Indians (or any other team) could sign them and assume zero risk since they won’t be on the 40-man roster.
Royals looking for bullpen bargains, have interest in Storen
The Royals are bargain shopping for bullpen help and have interest in free agent righty Drew Storen, reports Jayson Stark of The Athletic. Storen has not pitched since September 2017, when he tore his ulnar collateral ligament and required Tommy John surgery. The 31-year-old threw 54 2/3 innings with a 4.45 ERA and 48 strikeouts for the Reds that season before getting hurt. Storen is nearing the end of his rehab and is expected to be ready for opening day.
John Axford, Xavier Cedeno, Tyler Clippard, Dan Jennings, Jim Johnson, Bud Norris, Tony Sipp, and Adam Warren, among others, though that is only my speculation. The Royals recently signed Brad Boxberger to a low-cost one-year contract.. He is certainly not what Kansas City has in mind for a bargain signing. Possible free agent targets include
A’s sign Hundley
The Athletics have signed veteran catcher Nick Hundley to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, the team announced. Oakland lost Jonathan Lucroy to free agency this offseason and Hundley joins Josh Phegley and Chris Herrmann in the team’s backstop mix. They’re all just biding time until top catcher prospect Sean Murphy reaches the big leagues. MLB.com recently ranked Murphy as the 45th best prospect in baseball.
Hundley, 35, spent the last two seasons with the Giants, so at least he’ll be already familiar with the Bay Area should he make the A’s roster. He hit .241/.298/.408 with 10 home runs last season and took over as San Francisco’s starting catcher and regular cleanup hitter in September after Buster Posey had season-ending hip surgery. The minor league deal means Hundley is not on Oakland’s 40-man roster at the moment.