Nick Nelson

Offseason Lowdown

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Lowdown: Darvish Derby

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


The top end of the free agent starting pitching market has been slow to develop this winter. It figures to get going in a hurry once the biggest prize settles on a team, and we are moving closer to that point. The Yu Darvish Sweepstakes look to be heating up.


On Monday the right-hander met with members of the Cubs front office. On Tuesday he met with the Astros. Either destination would be logical for Darvish -- and favorable from a fantasy perspective, given the quality defenses and lineups that would be supporting him -- but it doesn't seem as though a decision is imminent.


In fact, Minneapolis reporter La Velle E. Neal III, who insists the traditionally risk-averse Twins are serious in their pursuit of the free agent, hears it could be another month before Darvish signs.


Machado Mystery


Is Manny Machado going to be traded during this offseason? It has felt that way, with rumors continuing to swirl -- most recently we heard that both Chicago clubs are "still in conversations" regarding the star infielder -- but according to Jim Bowden, there is some doubt as to whether Orioles owner Peter Angelos would even approve a deal. Jon Heyman is getting the same vibe, and reports that Machado could be pulled off the trade block within the next few days.


Unless Angelos actually believes he can re-sign Machado, who's due for free agency after next season, it's tough to understand why he would stand in the way. With at least eight teams reportedly showing interest, they'd almost have to be able to reel in a serious haul even for one year of Machado's services.


As the reigning last-place finisher in a division that's only getting stronger at the top, Baltimore could use some new long-term building blocks. Maybe this is a late gambit to build urgency among interested parties.


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Moreland Returns to Boston


After a solid first season with the Red Sox, Mitch Moreland is ready to come back for a couple more. He inked a two-year deal worth $13 million on Tuesday. It's a perfectly reasonable move for Boston, though not the thunderous response that Sawx fans are looking for after the rival Yankees added Giancarlo Stanton.


Moreland slashed .246/.326/.443 with 22 home runs and 79 RBI in 149 games for the Red Sox this year, bolstering his all-around value with exceptional defense at first. The lefty swinger posted a .684 OPS against southpaws, in line with his .675 career mark, so we'd be surprised if Boston didn't acquire a platoon mate of sorts. A reunion with Mike Napoli could make sense.


Quick Hits: The Mets have reportedly reached out to free agent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (woof), who's available at the veteran minimum following his release from Atlanta ... The Giants re-signed Nick Hundley to a one-year, $2.5 million contract to continue serving as Buster Posey's backup ... Martin Perez will get a late start to his 2018 season after suffering an off-the-field injury to his non-throwing elbow, but is expected to be ready by early May ... Tim Lincecum, on the comeback trail after not pitching in 2017, has been working out at the Driveline Baseball facility and will have a showcase for teams soon ... The Phillies finalized their three-year, $60 million deal with Carlos Santana.



Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to Rotoworld's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter @NickNelsonMN.
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