MLB Rumors: Royals shop Hunter Dozier, Nicky Lopez after Red Sox trade; Marlins end pursuit of Yuli Gurriel

We’re less than a month away from spring training, baseball fans. Here is each team’s spring practice reporting date. Here are Monday’s hot stove rumors as you await the return of baseball in a few weeks.

Red Sox acquire Mondesi

The Red Sox acquired oft-injured infielder Adalberto Mondesi from the Royals for lefty Josh Taylor, according to MLB.com. Boston will also receive a player to be named later in the trade. Even with Enrique Hernandez moving from center field to shortstop, the Red Sox need depth in the outfield after the departure of Xander Bogaerts and Trevor Story’s elbow surgery.

Mondesi, 27, has played just 50 games over the past two seasons due to multiple injuries, including a torn ACL. He showed five-tool skills earlier in his career, including hitting .276/.306/.498 with 14 homers and 32 steals in 75 games in 2018, though injuries hampered his development. Mondesi will be a free agent after 2023. Taylor, 29, did not pitch in MLB last season and made only a handful of minor league appearances due to a back injury.

The royals are discussing other deals

But wait, there may be more movement from the Royals who have already given out Mondesi and outfielder Michael A. Taylor in the last 24 hours. According to ESPN, the Royals have also discussed trades that include reliever Hunter Dozier and infielder Nicky Lopez.

Dozier, a 31-year-old potentially signed through the 2025 season, failed to put together what appeared to be a breakout season in 2019. He posted an 89 OPS+ over the past three years while bouncing around behind the corner positions. Lopez, 27, is under team control through the 2025 season. He also failed to build on what was a banner season in 2021. His OPS+ dropped from 104 to 58. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic notes that the White Sox are one of the teams with interest in Lopez.

The Royals have an abundance of young position players either in the majors or on the way, making them an obvious candidate to send at least one more hitter between now and Opening Day.

The Athletics signed first baseman Jesus Aguilar to a one-year, $3 million contract. USA Today reports. Oakland spent nearly $30 million on six free agents this offseason (Aguilar, Aledmys Diaz, Shintaro Fujinami, Trevor May, Jace Peterson and Drew Ruczynski), even though their projected salary for 2023 is only $58.5 million, according to FanGraphs. That’s one of the lowest in baseball.

Aguilar, 32, hit .235/.281/.379 with 16 home runs in 129 games with the Marlins and Orioles in 2022. However, he was an above-average hitter in 2021 and is considered an excellent presence in the clubhouse. Aguilar can platoon with Seth Brown at first base and also take DH at bats. And if he performs well, the A’s might flip him for a prospect at the deadline.

Marlins end pursuit of Gurriel

The Marlins have suspended their pursuit of free agent first baseman Yuli Gurriel, the Miami Herald. Miami is currently scheduled to play Garrett Cooper at first base and Jorge Soler at DH, but if they are willing to live with either Cooper or Soler in the defensive outfield, there is still room in the lineup for Gurriel. Jazz Chisholm moves to center as a result of the Luis Araes trade.

Miami has been looking for high contact hitters all offseason and Gurriel will certainly fit the bill. He posted one of the lowest slugging percentages in baseball since arriving in 2016, though he had the worst season of his MLB career in 2022, and at age 38, his days as an above-average hitter may be over. level to have finished. For now, though, the Marlins have stopped their pursuit. It is unclear if they are focusing elsewhere.

Reyes is still looking for offense

The Rays are still looking to improve their offense, though GM Eric Nieder admitted that “there aren’t that many (difference-making bats) that are available,” reports Tampa Bay Times. Jurickson Profar is the best free agent position player still on the marketthough others like Miguel Sano, Franmil Reyes, Luke Voight and former Ray David Peralta also remain unsigned.

Last season, the Rays ranked 21st in runs scored and scored no more than 1 run in nine of their last 16 regular season games. Tampa was then held to one solo homer in 24 innings in its Wild Card Series loss to the Guardians. The Rays haven’t added any offense this offseason. If nothing else, they got out of their offense by trading Ji-Man Choi.

The Orioles are still looking for rotation help

Orioles GM Mike Elias hopes to add another starting pitcher before spring training, he said during an interview with 105.7 FM The Fan over the weekend (via Baltimore Sun). The O’s signed Kyle Gibson to a one-year deal earlier this winter. Kyle Bradish, Dean Kramer, Tyler Wells and Austin Vaught will round out the rotation until top prospect Grayson Rodriguez is called up.

Baltimore is linked to Michael Wacha, the best free agent starter available, the last few weeks. Other unsigned starters include Zack Greinke, Mike Minor and Michael Pineda. If nothing else, the O’s could use another veteran just to chew up the innings and spare the bullpen a bit, and avoid asking the kids to carry too much of a load too early.

The Reds are not expected to make any additional additions

The Reds are not expected to make any more additions before spring training and the roster is “almost done,” GM Nick Krall said at the team’s caravan event Monday (via Cincinnati Enquirer). “Obviously we knocked it off (after making the postseason in 2020). We traded some players last year. It’s something we had to go through. We’re trying to build it back up,” Kral added.

The offseason was pretty uneventful for the Reds. They traded Kyle Farmer, added Will Myers and Luke Weaver, and that’s it. Cincinnati started 2022 with a salary cap of $114.1 million. Their projected salary for 2023 currently stands at $81.5 million, according to FanGraphs. As a percentage of 2022 payroll, the Reds are projected to have the largest payroll cut in baseball this year.

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