As Baseball Twitter made sure to note while confetti rained down on Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, it's now -- officially -- baseball season.
And with attention turned to America's Pastime, all eyes are now on Mookie Betts.
The star Red Sox outfielder may be on the move as early as this week, sources tell Alex Speier of the Boston Globe.
Speier noted that resolution could come in the next few days, naming the Dodgers and Padres as the two teams to watch in a potential deal. Both teams are rumored to have heavy interest in the 2018 AL MVP, and both have the resources to get a deal done without compromising their future.
A Padres package would likely include embattled outfielder Wil Myers, though he wouldn't be enough to be the centerpiece of the deal. The Padres boast one of the best minor league systems in the game, and catching prospect Luis Campusano -- who has appeared on several outlets' top-100 lists in recent weeks -- is also rumored to have been discussed in a potential deal.
For the Dodgers, a trade would likely center around outfielder Alex Verdugo. Like the Padres, the Dodgers also have a very strong minor league system from which they could draw to get a deal done.
The teams are bidding to secure the services of Betts for at least the upcoming season, with the 27-year-old set to hit free agency following the 2020 season. He'll make a record $27 million in his final year of arbitration.
In that MVP season in 2018, Betts hit an absurd .346/.438/.640 with 32 homers, 80 RBI, 129 runs scored and 30 steals. Last season he took a step back from those gaudy numbers but was still terrific, hitting .295/.391/.524 with 29 homers, 80 RBI, 135 runs scored and 16 steals.
Whether the Sox choose to deal him to one of the suitors or keep him in hopes of contending or dealing him closer to the trade deadline, it sounds as though we'll have some clarity soon. Stay tuned.
Sox Split On Peddling Price
Some iterations of the Betts trade have included high-priced starter David Price, but the Sox are reportedly not sold on including Price in any Betts deal this winter.
ESPN's Buster Olney recently reported that the team is unsure whether they're better off trading Price now or holding onto him in hopes that he gets off to a fast start that increases his trade value. Price will make $96 million over the next three seasons.
The southpaw has struggled to stay healthy and live up to the lofty expectations set by the seven-year, $217 million contract he signed with the Sox ahead of the 2016 season. In four years with the Boston club, the 34-year-old owns a 3.84 ERA and 1.20 WHIP while logging just 588 innings of work over that stretch.
Those looking for hope for a better 2020 can take comfort in a 3.62 FIP and 3.73 xFIP that were more than half a run better than his 4.28 ERA in 22 starts last year. Price also posted a 28 percent strikeout percentage last season, the highest mark of his career -- even among his years with the Rays.
Even if he does bounce back, the Sox will likely have to eat some portion of his contract to move him for useful pieces. Assuming he doesn't go with Betts in a trade in the coming days, we'll see if -- and if so, to what extent -- he's able to rebuild some of that trade value this summer.
Granderson Hangs It Up
After 16 major league seasons, Curtis Granderson is hanging up his stirrups.
The 38-year-old announced on Friday that he's retiring, stepping away after a career that saw him don seven different major league uniforms over the greater part of two decades. Granderson announced his decision on Twitter.
"Thank you -- to the MLB, MLBPA, my teammates and coaches, front office staff, members of the media, partners, and the fans -- for the ride of a lifetime," he said in a statement.
Granderson did not have a Hall of Fame career but was regularly one of the game's most exciting players for a stretch of years in the late 2000s and early 2010s. He was a three-time All-Star and finished fourth in American League MVP voting in 2011, swatting 41 home runs with an AL-best 119 RBI, 25 steals and an MLB-leading 136 runs scored.
He finishes his career with 344 home runs over 2,057 games played, most of those coming with the Tigers, Mets and Yankees. Granderson also played for the Dodgers, Brewers, Blue Jays and most recently the Marlins, appearing in 138 games for the Miami club this past season.
"This journey would not be possible without those who came before me, breaking barriers to allow a young Curtis Granderson to live out his dream," he wrote, saying he knows his role in diversifying the game is just getting started. "It's been an honor to wear my socks high."
The pleasure was all ours, Grandy Man.
Quick Hits: The Angels announced Friday that top prospect Jo Adell was invited to major league spring training. Adell is one of 19 non-roster invitees that the Angels announced Friday. The 20-year-old phenom slashed .289/.359/.475 with 10 homers, 36 RBI and seven stolen bases in 76 games across three minor league levels in 2019. He should debut with the Halos at some point during the 2020 season. Adell is currently going off the board right around pick 200 in early NFBC drafts ... Cubs signed RHP Jeremy Jeffress to a one-year, $850,000 contract. The 32-year-old hurler also has the potential to earn another $200,000 in incentives. Jeffress struggled to a 5.02 ERA and 1.37 WHIP across 52 innings for the Brewers in 2019, but he's only a year removed from an All-Star season where he registered a stellar 1.29 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 89/27 K/BB ratio over 76 2/3 innings. If he can regain that form, he could function in a setup role in front of closer Craig Kimbrel and becomes a potential darkhorse option for those speculating on saves in the final rounds of deeper drafts ... The Mariners have interest in adding free agent right-hander Taijuan Walker. Walker was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks in December after missing the entire 2019 season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. Walker was drafted by the Mariners in the supplemental first round of the 2010 draft and spent a few seasons as an elite prospect. He debuted with the Mariners in 2013 and was eventually traded to Arizona along with Ketel Marte for Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Zac Curtis prior to the 2017 season. The simple fact that a former elite prospect like Walker is still a free agent nearly two months after being released is a good indication that teams do not believe he is healthy and ready to contribute in 2020. The 27-year-old will likely have to settle for a minor league deal somewhere. He has a career 31-31 record and 3.95 ERA in 94 starts and three relief outings ... Phillies signed INF Logan Forsythe to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Forsythe, 33, batted only .227/.325/.353 with seven home runs across 367 plate appearances for the Rangers last season. The veteran infielder hasn't hit much at all since 2016 but does offer some defensive versatility ... Twins signed RHP Jhoulys Chacin to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The 32-year-old hurler saw his performance fall off a cliff in 2019, posting a miserable 6.01 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and 101/46 K/BB ratio over 103 1/3 innings between the Brewers and Red Sox. Still, he held a 3.69 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over 373 innings the previous two seasons, so maybe there's something the Twins can salvage here. He'll compete for one of the final spots in the club's Opening Day rotation ... Angels signed RHP Michael Kohn to a minor league contract. Kohn, who has one of the best fastball spin rates in all of baseball, debuted with the Angels in 2010. The 33-year-old hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2015 and spent the 2019 season in the Diamondbacks organization ... According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Mets are not actively shopping Dominic Smith. After signing Matt Adams on Friday, the Mets would appear to be stacked at first base -- leading some to speculate that Smith could become a potential trade chip. As of now though, Brodie Van Wagenen and company seem content to keep all three, utilizing Smith in the outfield as well as the occasional start at first base ... Rockies signed SS Trevor Story to a two-year, $27.5 million contract. The deal, which was agreed upon last week, buys out Story's final two seasons of arbitration eligibility, but does not extend his stay in Colorado -- he's still set to hit free agency following the 2021 season. The dynamic shortstop is coming off of a phenomenal 2019 season where he slashed .294/.363/.554 with 35 homers, 85 homers and 23 stolen bases ... Diamondbacks signed OF Trayce Thompson to a minor-league contract. The deal includes an invite to spring training. Thompson was released by the Indians in August after hitting .219/.294/.482 with 24 home runs and eight steals in 89 games for the team's Triple-A affiliate in 2019. The 28-year-old was assigned to Triple-A Reno.