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According to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Twins players and front office members "are speaking more optimistically" about Yu Darvish "than they ever have" about top free-agent targets.

The Twins don't typically spend big money on free agents, but general manager Thad Levine (who has a history with the free agent starter from Texas) has previously called Darvish "a priority" while manager Paul Molitor said at the Winter Meetings last week that the club has "tremendous interest" in him. It's easy to see why, as the Twins have an excellent young core of position players and need a pitcher like Darvish to take them to the next level. The question is whether they'll be able to compete with the sort of offers he's likely to receive. No resolution appears imminent, as one Twins official believes that it could be another month before Darvish signs.
Dec 18 - 1:35 PM

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Giants "have keen interest" in acquiring Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.

Nightengale adds that the Rays would have to take one of the Giants' high-salary veterans like Denard Span or Hunter Pence (who has a full no-trade clause) in order for a deal to work. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Meanwhile, Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract. It might seem odd that the Rays would be bringing back salary in a trade, but they could consider it to get out under Longoria's contract while also bringing some prospects back. The Cardinals are among the other clubs who have been connected to Longoria, who is coming off a disappointing .737 OPS and is still owed $86 million through 2022.
Dec 18 - 1:09 PM

Royals released LHP Onelki Garcia.

Garcia is set to sign with the Chunichi Dragons in Japan's Central League. The 28-year-old has made five appearances in the majors in his career and posted a 4.75 ERA over 12 starts and 10 relief appearances between Double- and Triple-A in 2017.
Dec 18 - 1:04 PM

According to Craig Mish of Sirius XM, J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade from the Marlins.

The Marlins have already sold off a number of high-profile pieces and Realmuto would presumably prefer to go to a place where he has a better chance to win. Requesting a trade doesn't mean it will happen, but it could be the best outcome for both parties. Realmuto turns 27 in March and is under team control for three more seasons, so he could bring back an impressive haul. As opposed to some of the other deals, a trade involving Realmuto would be about bringing back top prospects rather than shedding salary. Realmuto batted .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI, and eight steals over 141 games this past season.
Dec 18 - 10:55 AM

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that trade offers for Manny Machado "improved over the weekend" and that a decision about a trade likely will come this week.

The idea of a Machado trade is moving closer to reality, with Buster Olney of ESPN reporting that the Diamondbacks and White Sox were showing the most interest in a deal as of Saturday morning. Of course, it's possible other teams have moved to the forefront since then. The Cardinals are a logical fit, but it's unclear whether they'd give up the pieces necessary for someone who is one year away from free agency. Either way, with this much interest, the Orioles should soon find something they are satisfied with here.
Dec 18 - 10:20 AM
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