The MLB offseason is underway, and the rumor mill has been in overdrive since the GM meetings began earlier this week in Arizona.
Some of the top pitchers in the sport, including Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Madison Bumgarner will dominate free agency headlines in the coming weeks. Several good hitters are available, too, setting the stage for what should be an exciting winter of player movement.
And, of course, the trade market is always fun to monitor.
Here are the latest rumors from the GM meetings in Arizona.
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Donaldson rebounded from a disappointing 2018 to hit 37 home runs with 94 RBI and a .379 on-base percentage over 155 games for the Atlanta Braves in 2019. As you might suspect, he's drawing interest from several teams, per MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
Braves would like to retain Josh Donaldson but are allowing him to shop around before engaging on a multiyear deal. So far he's been linked to Rangers, Dodgers and Nats (though Washington's 1st choice obvs is Rendon). Phillies could also fit.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 13, 2019
USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale reports the Texas Rangers are in on Donaldson as well.
The Texas #Rangers are making an aggressive push to sign free agent Josh Donaldson— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 13, 2019
Madison Bumgarner, SP
Bumgarner should be one of the most sought after starting pitchers on the free-agent market, and one team keeping tabs on the veteran left-hander is the Philadelphia Phillies, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
"Yes, the Phils have checked in on Bumgarner, and likely are motivated to keep him away from the Braves, their NL East rivals. The Braves are the team closest to Bumgarner's hometown of Hickory, N.C., and seem a more natural fit for him than the Phillies."
Bumgarner did his best to help the Giants contend for a postseason berth with a 4-2 record, a 3.75 ERA and 88 strikeouts over 96 innings after the All-Star break. He's no longer a No. 1 ace, but Bumgarner is still a quality pitcher and should be pursued by World Series contenders. His postseason résumé, which includes two championships and 16 total appearances, is really impressive.
The Phillies ranked 11th out of 15 National League teams with a 4.64 starters ERA in 2019, so Bumgarner absolutely would be a quality addition to their rotation in 2020.
New York Yankees
Another team to watch in the Bumgarner sweepstakes is the Yankees. Acquiring another top-of-the-rotation pitcher should be a top priority for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman this offseason, and he recently confirmed the team's interest in Bumgarner to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
"I will definitely talk to Bumgarner's agency," Cashman told the Chronicle.
New York's lack of an ace was a problem in the 2019 playoffs, and the team's 4.51 ERA among starters ranked fourth among the five American League playoff teams during the regular season. The Yankees are interested in Gerrit Cole, too, but as the top free-agent starter on the market, he's going to receive a massive contract. Bumgarner would be a cheaper option for the reigning AL East champs.
Abreu is a great option for teams in need of more power in their lineup. He's averaged 29.8 home runs and 101.8 RBI over his six major league seasons, and at 32 years old, the veteran first baseman should still have a few really productive years remaining.
One team to keep in eye on with Abreu is the Miami Marlins, per Heyman.
The Marlins are said to like Jose Abreu very much. However, the loss of a draft pick that would come with an Abreu signing is a big consideration for a team like the Marlins. Easier to see Abreu winding up back with the White Sox.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 13, 2019
The Marlins certainly could use another big bat in their lineup. Miami hit the fewest homers (146) of any NL team, in addition to having the third-worst batting average of those 15 clubs.