Around the Horn: Notes and MLB trade rumors for 11 teams

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming out of the annual GM meetings, Around the Horn takes a spin around the league looking at MLB trade rumors and offseason buzz for 10 teams.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, in the industry expect the owners to lock out the players once the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at midnight Dec. 1.

The general consensus is that it will not last long enough to jeopardize the 2022 season. Both the owners and players have one thing in common — they want to make money — and as one prominent agent put it, “deadlines spur action,” especially after each side lost significant money in a COVID-shortened 2021 season.

But MLB and the Players’ Association are nowhere close to a deal, with one source familiar with the talks saying that there is “almost no chance” that a deal is reached before Dec. 1. In the meantime, teams and agents laid the foundation for future transactions at the GM Meetings, and multiple sources describe talks throughout the league as “active.” But the bulk of signings and trades will come after the next CBA is completed — and when that happens is anyone’s guess.

Here are free agent and trade notes on 10 teams:

Atlanta Braves rumors:

The expectation remains that the Braves will eventually re-sign Freddie Freeman, but in letting him test the free-agent market, they risked losing him to another team. They also risked a deal becoming more expensive with the other 29 teams able to get involved in the bidding.

The floor for Freeman’s new deal has always been Paul Goldschmidt’s five-year, $130 million contract. Among the potential fits include the Yankees and Angels, with one evaluator believing the Dodgers are a logical landing spot if they move Max Muncy to second base. But with five high-profile free agents of their own, such a scenario feels unlikely.

One additional item on the Braves: While Freeman is clearly their No. 1 priority, sources say that general manager Alex Anthopoulos has been aggressively working the phones. Something to keep an eye on in the coming days and weeks.

Boston Red Sox rumors:

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said that he will try to re-sign Kyle Schwarber, but there are “a lot of teams” showing interest in the free-agent outfielder/first baseman, according to a source familiar with the situation.

A few notes on Schwarber:

  • Schwarber has more 30+ home run seasons than fellow free agents Nick Castellanos, Michael Conforto and Carlos Correa combined.
  • Schwarber has four seasons with an 800+ OPS. Semien has two.
  • Schwarber, Conforto comparison: Home runs since 2018: Schwarber 107, Conforto 84; career OPS: Schwarber .836, Conforto .824.
  • Schwarber has led all MLB left fielders in assists twice: 2018 (11), 2019 (7).

Detroit Tigers rumors:

The Tigers met with the representatives for free-agent shortstop Carlos Correa at the GM Meetings.

The fit between Correa, 27, and the Tigers is obvious. He played for five seasons under manager A.J. Hinch with the Houston Astros. The Tigers need a new face of the franchise and general manager Al Avila acknowledged that the team has been connected to the available shortstops because “we actually need a shortstop.”

“Obviously, we’d like to improve in that area,” Avila said. “I wouldn’t say it’s the absolute No. 1. It’s not all about one player or one position, but we have identified shortstop as a need for us.”

One additional item: The Tigers are interested in discussing a contract extension with catcher Tucker Barnhart, sources said. The front office met with Barnhart’s representatives and while no deal is close, it could be used as a solid recruiting tool to attract high-end pitchers to Detroit.

Los Angeles Angels rumors:

The theme of the Angels’ offseason has been pitching, pitching and pitching.

Alex Wood and Noah Syndergaard are among the players on the Angels’ radar, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported. Max Scherzer is another possibility and considering their desire to significantly improve the rotation, as well as their trade deadline pursuit of the star right-hander, it would not be a surprise if they once again expressed interest.

“I wouldn’t rule us out of anything,” general manager Perry Minasian said when asked about the team’s 2022 payroll.

The expectation is that the Angels sign one, perhaps two, starting pitchers.

Los Angeles Dodgers rumors:

One American League GM was “very surprised” that the Dodgers signed Andrew Heaney for $8.5 million.

“We liked him — he has a lot of traits that you like — but not at that price,” he said.

Here’s the Dodgers’ logic: Heaney possesses a fastball that has good run and consistently misses bats. His downfall was hard contact, and a lot of it — 29 homers in 129.2 innings, 18.1 percent home run/fly ball rate — and the Dodgers are hopeful that a few small tweaks, both mechanically and with his pitches, could make him this year’s version of Robbie Ray.

At the GM Meetings, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said that, “in a vacuum,” he’d like to re-sign Max Scherzer, Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Chris Taylor, but admitted that it may not be realistic. The 2021 season was not their Last Dance, but it’s increasingly clear that they will look a lot different in 2022.

Miami Marlins rumors:

The Marlins are looking for outfield upgrades and among the names on their radar include Starling Marte, Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia. There is also a thought that the Marlins could deal from their extensive pitching depth and, as Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported, match up well on such a deal with the Blue Jays, who could offer catcher Alejandro Kirk.

Milwaukee Brewers rumors:

There are mixed opinions on the likelihood of a Josh Hader trade. While one NL executive in contact with the Brewers says there is “a lot of chatter” about a potential trade, others believe they hold onto him unless blown away with an offer.

But there is once again trade interest in Hader, according to sources familiar with the situation. The Brewers intend to listen to inquiries, as they always do, but are not looking to trade Hader, who is coming off arguably his best season in the majors.

“Any time we have a player who is very good and progressing through arbitration and getting expensive, there are going to be trade rumors,” president of baseball operations David Stearns said. “That’s going to be true again this year. We expect it.”

Added Stearns: “I think the call volume this year — not with any one specific player — mirrors the last couple of years.”

New York Yankees rumors:

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman mentioned that shortstop and center field are his two top priorities to address this offseason — and one rival executive in contact with Cashman gets “the vibe” that they spend “the big bucks on one of the top shortstops.”

The expectation is that the Yankees will talk to the agents for all five free-agent shortstops. Cashman said that he is comfortable with Correa, the consensus top shortstop available, despite his ties to the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. But it remains to be seen how Aaron Judge, their star outfielder, would feel about Correa ending up in the Bronx, considering he was among the most vocal players about the scandal.

One additional item: The Yankees are getting a lot of calls about their bullpen pieces.

Oakland A’s rumors:

The A’s intend to listen to trade inquiries on their veteran players, including Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea. Another player on the radar of contending teams is first baseman Matt Olson, with the Yankees among interested teams, as reported by Brendan Kuty of

“This is the cycle for the A’s,” general manager David Forst said. “We have to listen and be open to whatever comes out of this. This is our lot in Oakland until it’s not.”

San Francisco Giants rumors:

The Giants have indicated that they have money to spend. They have stayed in touch with left-hander Alex Wood, but with four openings in the rotation, have been aggressive in talking with other free-agent starters. Look for them to target players similar to last season — undervalued players on 1-2 year deals that they believe can take the next step with adjustments — while keeping an eye on some of the higher-end players.

Pittsburgh Pirates rumors:

In addition to drawing interest from multiple MLB clubs, free-agent reliever Kyle Keller has five teams in Japan expressing strong interest in him, per source.

Oakland A’s and Cincinnati Reds rumors:

Outfielder Mark Canha and pitcher Michael Lorenzen’s free-agent markets are both strong, according to sources familiar with the situation. Lorenzen, who has been effective as a multi-inning reliever, is drawing interest as a starting pitcher, and his five-pitch repertoire could help him successfully make the jump back to the rotation.

Around the Horn. What's next for these World Series stars?. light