MLB Rumors: Justin Verlander Matches Yankees, Dodgers, Mets; Astros after Anthony Rizzo in free agency

The Major League Baseball outdoor season is in full swing. We are now more than a week away from the end of the World Series, the General Manager Meetings took place last week and free agency has officially started. Now it can be quite slow for a few more weeks. First, the players who received extended qualifying offers have until Tuesday to accept or decline them. Overall it’s going slow anyway, but that’s the slowdown here for the foreseeable future.

Be sure to check out Mike Axisa’s handy list of important off-season dates for more information. Being here too RJ Anderson’s Top 50 Free Agents.

As for Monday’s rumors, let’s see.

Verlander considers it suitable for large lenders

Free agent and likely AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander may be moving elsewhere after winning his second ring with the Houston Astros. Ken Rosenthal reports that the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer may be open to a bigger deal with a big-spending contender like the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees or New York Mets. The Mets can be hit hard by free agency during the rotation, which explains their potential interest. As for the Yankees, they could use an extra frontline starter, and the Dodgers have a rich recent history of adding superstar depth to a roster that has been a behemoth for some time. Yes, Verlander is pushing 40, but the skills seem to be very much intact. It’s a perfect fit for a win-now club with World Series designs.

Astros target Rizzo

Rosenthal also reports that the world champion Houston Astros have listed Anthony Rizzo as “their No. 1 target at first base.” Incumbent first baseman Yuli Gurriel is also a free agent and he showed signs of a strong decline at the plate last season. However, Rosenthal notes that retaking with Gurriel remains a possibility, as does a pursuit of José Abreu.

As for Rizzo, 33, he is coming off a productive 2022 campaign with the New York Yankees. In 130 games, Rizzo hit .224/.338/.480 (131 OPS+) with 32 home runs. The Yankees probably have some interest in getting Rizzo back, and that interest could be mutual. If that’s the case, maybe the Astros should rank higher than New York.

Pérez is likely to accept eligible offer

Left-hander Martín Pérez comes out of his career year. On the All-Star team for the first time, he was 12-8 with a 2.89 ERA (136 ERA+), 1.26 WHIP, and 169 strikeouts against 69 walks in 196 1/3 innings for the Rangers. He compiled 5.0 WAR and his previous career high was 2.3, in 2017. At 31 years old, it looks like this is the chance for the biggest payday of his life.

Instead of, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports this that Pérez will likely accept Texas’ qualifying offer. It’s a one-year deal for $19.65 million, so it’s not pennies or anything, but it sure looks like he could get a multi-year deal in a free agency.

Several teams interested in Lugo as a starter

To illustrate just how much teams are willing to pay for pitch starting, the market for former Mets starter Seth Lugo is “robust,” according to The Athletic, with multiple teams considering Lugo as a rotation option.

In 38 career starts, Lugo is 15-10 with a 4.35 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 174 strikeouts in 194 2/3 innings.

In 237 relief appearances, Lugo has a 2.91 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 334 strikeouts in 300 innings.

Rays continue to explore 40-man trades

The Rays have already traded Ji-Man Choi and declined the option on Kevin Kiermaier’s contract. Let’s go back a week…

Sure, the Rays have been actively tweaking their roster ever since and will continue to do so. Morosi reported on Sunday that the Rays are in “advanced trade talks” and that we should expect multiple trades before Tuesday’s deadline to add players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. That is, they want to divest veterans of the 40-man to avoid losing younger players to the Rule 5.

Sure, there are plenty of teams staring in the direction of Tyler Glasnow and Randy Arozarena, but in all likelihood here – with the deadline looming and scrambling – the roster will be adjusted to margins rather than broken up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *