There has been little downtime for the Cincinnati Reds' front office this holiday season.
Closer Aroldis Chapman was dealt to the New York Yankees on Monday, a deal that picked up steam after the two teams reportedly held some very productive discussions on Christmas Eve. Once Chapman was officially sent to the Bronx, Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty confirmed that the franchise overhaul remains a work in progress.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports Jocketty, who already has traded away Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Todd Frazier in 2015, is still looking to deal outfielder Jay Bruce and has not given up on the idea of moving second baseman Brandon Phillips.
The Reds would love to find a taker for Bruce, who will make a reasonable $12.5 million next season with a club option for 2017. Bruce has averaged 26 homers per year over his first eight seasons, but has just a .222 batting average and .288 OBP over the past two years.
Jim Duquette of MLB.com recently suggested Kansas City as a possible landing spot for Bruce if the Royals are unable to re-sign Alex Gordon. Bruce would provide additional power to an outfield that currently has Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando penciled in at the corner spots.
Phillips invoked his no-trade clause to prevent a trade that would have sent him to Washington a few weeks ago, and the Nationals filled their second base vacancy by agreeing to a deal with free agent Daniel Murphy. Said Jocketty of Phillips on Monday: "It's not set that [he's with the Reds], but likely he might be, yeah." Perhaps Phillips will be more open to a deal in spring training when the reality of a very long season in Cincinnati stares him in the face.
Our rumors roundup continues with more fallout from the Chapman deal:
Andrew Miller: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said it was his “intent” to keep Miller and Dellin Betances as part of a bullpen that became dominant with the acquisition of Chapman. Keeping Miller around also gives the Yankees some insurance if Chapman were to face discipline from Major League Baseball for an alleged domestic violence incident, reports ESPN's Wallace Matthews.
Henderson Alvarez: The Oakland Athletics announced Monday they have agreed to a one-year deal with Alvarez, who will not be ready until May following shoulder surgery. While the back of their rotation remains a question mark, the A’s are done shopping for a starter and will fill the role from within, says Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. One option could be highly rated prospect Sean Manaea, whom the team acquired from Kansas City in the deadline deal for Ben Zobrist.
Yoenis Cespedes: A "perception throughout baseball remains" that the Detroit Tigers could make a play for the free-agent outfielder if the market drops to a more comfortable level, reports Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. Cespedes, who was traded from the Tigers to the Mets in July, is believed to be seeking a deal of at least six years in the $150 million range.
Chicago White Sox: The White Sox “remain active” in the free-agent outfield market with Cespedes and Gordon among the possibilities, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com. There was some speculation earlier this month that the White Sox might try to trade away Melky Cabrera or Adam LaRoche as a way to free up some cash for a higher-priced free agent.
Howie Kendrick: The market for free-agent second basemen was relatively stagnant this winter, with Murphy settling for a three-year, $37.5 million deal with the Nationals last week. That likely has lowered the price for Kendrick, and the Los Angeles Dodgers would be wise to consider bringing back the 10-year veteran, suggests Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers currently have Enrique Hernandez, Chase Utley and Micah Johnson as second base options.
Washington Nationals: After acquiring Murphy last week, the Nats are looking to add an outfielder, preferably one who can play center field, reports Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com. The Nats have a vacancy because free agent Denard Span, represented by agent Scott Boras, may have priced himself out of the Nats' market. One option could be 33-year-old Will Venable, who made $4.25 million last season while playing for the Padres and Rangers.