Now that MLB players have filed for free agency and teams have elected to make a few qualifying offers — or not — some developments are starting to take shape as the offseason kicks into high gear. Teams are making plans, and from there, trades and transactions are sure to follow.
With baseball’s front-office chieftains headed to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the general managers meetings next week, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan is starting to find that some teams are already getting active in their pursuit of deals with free agents and considering trades among themselves.
Here’s what he’s hearing:
First, one team is already in pursuit of free agent Josh Donaldson, with the Rangers making inquiries:
The Texas Rangers have expressed interest in Josh Donaldson as they head into an offseason in which they have money to spend. The Rangers are making third base and starting pitching a priority, and Donaldson is coming off a phenomenal season with Atlanta.
Coming off a season in which they missed the postseason entirely, the Cubs might be willing to make a move with their starting catcher, Willson Contreras:
Multiple teams in search of catching help believe Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will be available this winter. The Cubs will get creative this winter, and with a deep catching free agent market, they could trade Contreras and begin retooling under new manager David Ross.
Meanwhile, on Chicago’s South Side, the White Sox and Jose Abreu both might try to work something out now that the team has made a qualifying offer:
The White Sox and Jose Abreu have discussed a long-term deal. Abreu, 32, is facing a tough market for aging first basemen — and has a qualifying offer attached to him. Teams already are loath to go in big at that age and position. The QO could make it even tougher.
… while Drew Pomeranz might have some upside for teams looking to invest in bullpen reinforcements:
A hot name in the relief market: Drew Pomeranz. After the Brewers dealt for him and moved him full-time to the bullpen, he was incredible: 26.1 IP, 45 Ks, 2.39 ERA. With a paucity of left-handed relievers available, he’s going to get a multiyear deal at a strong AAV.
Finally, the Yankees might strike as quickly as they did last year to keep a veteran player in the fold:
Brett Gardner and the Yankees have engaged in talks to bring him back to New York for a 13th season, though no deal is close. Worth remembering: New York last year brought another longtime Yankee, CC Sabathia, back in the fold during the GM Meetings.