Tuesday was a big day at the Winter Meetings with the New York Yankees landing the biggest free agent prize on the market in Gerrit Cole. While there was no major player acquisitions for the Braves on Tuesday, there was plenty of chatter in regards to their pursuit for a third baseman and a middle of the order bat.
Josh Donaldson has long been thought to be Atlanta’s top target as he would fill the need at third along with the power option they are looking for. However, Donaldson has seen a ton of interest and may command a three or four year deal which may be more than Atlanta is willing to spend. Reports on Tuesday suggested that the Nationals were ready to pivot to Donaldson and the Angels were another team that was interested.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is another option that is thought to be available. Reports around Chicago on Tuesday suggested that the Cubs are willing to listen to offers for Bryant but teams will be reluctant until they know the outcome of the grievance that Bryant filed in regards to his allegation of service time manipulation. Chicago’s front office is confident that they will win that ruling and think that teams that miss out on Anthony Rendon or Josh Donaldson in free agency may be ready to deal for Bryant. There was a report on Tuesday that the Braves were out on Bryant but as we have seen in the past, they could revisit those discussions.
If Atlanta is unable to fill its middle of the order need with a third baseman, then they may be forced to pivot and seek help in the outfield. One option would be free agent Marcell Ozuna and will reportedly make an effort to sign him if they miss out on Donaldson.
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The Braves reportedly checked in on free agent Anthony Rendon but the price tag is expected to be more than they are willing to spend. The team may also still be interested in starter Madison Bumgarner but it likely depends on how his market develops. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that there are still at least seven teams pursuing Bumgarner.
Atlanta had three players voted to the first ever all-MLB team. Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Mike Soroka all were second-team selections. Fan voting accounted for one-half of the selection process while a panel of experts accounted for the other half of the vote.
The Braves are also reportedly adding Ben Sestanovich as Assistant General Manager. Sestanovich previously served as assistant head of player development with the Padres and is well regarded within the industry.
Atlanta has re-signed outfielder Rafael Ortega to a minor league deal. Ortega was dropped from the 40-man roster earlier this month.
Hot Stove News
The biggest news of the day and probably the biggest news of the offseason. Gerrit Cole has agreed to a nine-year, $324 million deal with the New York Yankees. The deal includes an opt-out after five years and a full no-trade clause. The deal surpasses Stephen Strasburg’s deal with Washington as the most lucrative ever for a pitcher.
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told reporters on Tuesday that his team may have to clear out salary if they want to acquire a top end starting pitcher to replace Gerrit Cole this offseason. To do so, the team has reportedly considered trading shortstop Carlos Correa.
The Philadelphia Phillies agreed to a one-year deal with shortstop Didi Gregorus. The deal is worth a reported $14 million. Gregorius is expected to supplant Jean Segura at shortstop with Segura moving to second or third.
The Los Angeles Angels traded veteran infielder Zack Cozart to the Giants in a salary dump. San Francisco will also receive infielder Will Wilson who was the 15th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. Cozart is owed $12.67 million in 2020.
Former Braves right-hander Kevin Gausman has agreed to a one-year, $9 million deal with the San Francisco Giants. The deal also reportedly includes up to $1 million in performance bonuses.
Veteran outfielder Adam Jones is headed to Japan after agreeing to a two-year deal with the Orix Buffaloes. Jones’ deal is reportedly worth $8 million and includes a club option for a third season.
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The Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres will play regular season games in Mexico City on April 18 and 19 next season. The games will take place at the new Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium.
Boston Globe sportswriter Nick Cafardo to be honored as the winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award. Cafardo died suddenly during spring training in February.
Major League Baseball will reportedly move its amateur draft from Secaucus, New Jersey to Omaha, Nebraska. It is also expected to take place sometime before the College World Series.