MLB Rumors: Blue Jays, Dodgers, More in the Mix for Freddie Freeman; The Rockies are serious about pursuing Kris Bryant

It’s been four days since the owner-imposed lockout ended, and the trades and free agent signings haven’t stopped since. Here are Monday’s hot stove rumors as full team practices begin at spring training camps in Florida and Arizona.

Rockies interested in Bryant, others

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Rockies are ‘serious’ in pursuit of free hitter Kris Bryant, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com. Harding adds that Colorado has cast a wider net than Bryant, however, with the Rockies also looking at other mid-range bats, like Kyle Schwarber and Michael Conforto.

Bryant, 30, is one of the best remaining free agents. He is a career .278/.376/.504 (132 OPS+) hitter with 167 homers and 44 stolen bases. Bryant is capable of playing third base or in the outfield, which should make him more attractive to teams. The Rockies, of course, seem odd to him given their status as a rebuilding team. Still, Colorado may be considering Bryant to be the face of their franchise in the future, ideally in a more competitive state.

Blue Jays, Dodgers, more in the mix for Freeman

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The Blue Jays and Rays have remained aggressive in the Freddie Freeman draft in recent days, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com. Freeman has had talks with the Dodgers in recent days, and the Yankees have been involved since before the lockout. With Matt Olson going to the Braves, Freeman’s days in Atlanta seem to be over.

It’s hard to see the Rays winning a free agent bidding war for Freeman, who grew up with the Dodgers in Southern California and has ties to Ontario (both his parents are Canadian and he owns the Double nationality). The Yankees, of course, could match or exceed any contract offer. Freeman should almost certainly leave some cash on the table to go to Tampa Bay.

The Blue Jays are also suing Schwarber

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Blue Jays also ‘doing a push’ for Kyle Schwarber, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Schwarber, 29, split last season between the Nationals and Red Sox. He batted .266/.374/.554 (148 OPS+) with 32 home runs. He also took on a new position at the end of the season, taking first base.

It’s unclear if the Blue Jays would continue to chase Freeman if they landed Schwarber, or vice versa. What is evident is that Toronto intends to add another big stick to its lineup.

Brewers in talks with McCutchen

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The Brewers are in talks with free agent outfielder Andrew McCutchen, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Milwaukee already has a full outfield with Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Hunter Renfroe, though they lack a clear option at DH. McCutchen would fill that void and allow the Brewers to rotate all four outfielders through the DH spot to keep them rested.

McCutchen, 35, is no longer the MVP-caliber player he was in his prime, though he remains an on-base threat who smashes at bats and is a positive in the clubhouse. He also still has power, and the Brewers ranked 24th in baseball with a .396 team hitting percentage in 2021. McCutchen is a quality role player at this point in his career, and he can be hired on a one year contract.

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The Twins discuss starting pitching careers with Athletics, reports Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas are the most likely candidates to go to Minnesota now that Chris Bassitt and Matt Olson have been traded. The Twins brought in Sonny Gray in a trade with the Reds this weekend, but still have rotation needs.

The A’s still have several top trade candidates on the roster, including Matt Chapman as well as Manaea and Montas. The Twins traded Josh Donaldson (and Isiah Kiner-Falefa) late Sunday night, a move that freed up significant payroll over the next two seasons. They are ready to pivot and reallocate those dollars elsewhere.

Guardians explore the bat trade market and prefer players with long term control, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. They were among the teams to take an interest in A’s first baseman Matt Olson before he was traded to the Braves. Cleveland could also use help in the outfield and behind the plate in addition to first base.

Oakland signaled their intention to sell when they traded Chris Bassitt over the weekend, and Olson is arguably their best trade chip as an excellent two-way first baseman with two years left in free agency. Cleveland still has good pitching, although the Guardians have had a below-average offense in points scored per game each of the past three seasons.

Suzuki works for Padres

Japanese slugger Seiya Suzuki practiced for the Padres at Petco Park this weekend, according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic. He has also been working at Nolan Arenado’s premises in Los Angeles for the past few days. Kevin Acee from San Diego Union-Tribune hears Suzuki’s free agent decision may not be far off.

Suzuki’s 30-day bargaining period was put on hold during the lockout and he now has less than three weeks to accept a contract. The 27-year-old outfielder hit .317/.433/.636 with 38 home runs for the Hiroshima Carp in 2021. He remains determined to play in MLB despite the lockout, and his batted ball data (output speed , etc.) is similar to that of Pete Alonso and Bryce Harper.

Phillies on Kiermaier

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According to Jayson Stark of The Athletic, the Phillies are “out” of Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, and he’s unlikely to be traded at this point. The Phillies re-signed Odúbel Herrera this weekend, but they still need another outfielder, preferably one who can play center field.

Kiermaier, 31, appears in trade rumors every offseason, and he is now entering the final year of his contract guarantee. The Rays could trade him and replace him in center field with Brett Phillips, Manuel Margot or top prospects Vidal Bruján or Joshua Lowe. The Phillies have about $36 million of wiggle room below the $230 million competitive fiscal break-even point.

The brave land Olson

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The Braves acquired Matt Olson from the A’s for four prospects. The move is almost certain to end Freddie Freeman’s stay in Atlanta. The Dodgers have sued Freeman in recent days and there is now a clear path for Freeman to join his hometown team. The Yankees would also be in the mix for Freeman dating back to before the lockout.

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