It was another fairly quiet afternoon down in Nashville at the MLB winter meetings. Are things set up for a final day explosion, or will the hot stove remain at a simmer today after a bit of noise last night? It’s anyone’s guess, though major moves do seem to be on the way, even if they aren’t consummated at the meetings. Shohei Ohtani has been meeting with suitors, the Yankees are reportedly telling people they are in the lead for star NPB pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and New York still appears to be the obvious landing spot for Juan Soto — even with Alex Verdugo in tow.
Hopefully we’ll see some actual action today, beyond minor signings like the ones we saw the last couple days. In any event, whatever goes down, we’ll have you covered here. Be sure to check back throughout the day, as we’ll be keeping you up to date as the winter meetings come to a close.
Note: All listed times are in Eastern Standard Time.
Rumors of the Day (December 6)
9:10 PM: The latest update on Soto comes from a familiar source in Andy Martino of SNY. It sounds like this will still happen, but there are definitely still kinks to iron out. Let us hope it is that simple.
I’m hearing cautious optimism that issues can be worked out and Juan Soto to Yankees will proceed. A lot of work has gone into this from both sides . It was supposed to get done many hours ago, but it does not sound dead.— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 7, 2023
Back on the pitching rumor front, the Yankees and Astros are both apparently interested in righty reliever Robert Stephenson, and the selling White Sox might be holding back on dealing Dylan Cease until after the Yamamoto sweepstakes concludes.
6:30 PM: Hang on tight, folks. The Soto deal is not confirmed yet, as San Diego is looking very carefully at the medicals, per Bryan Hoch.
The delay on the Juan Soto trade is coming from San Diego's side as they review medicals/information. Stay tuned.— Bryan Hoch ⚾️ (@BryanHoch) December 6, 2023
6:00 PM: Bob Nightengale reports that Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman have left the winter meetings, and that no Soto deal has been agreed to. Hopefully, this just means the two sides are taking a break and catching their flights while the trade is all but finalized, but we’ll keep you updated as more info comes to light.
5:00 PM: The Soto talks are really, really, almost at the finish line. Jon Morosi is reporting that the deal is done, while the reported package consists of Michael King, Drew Thorpe, Randy Vásquez, Jhony Brito, and Kyle Higashioka in exchange for Soto and Trent Grisham. Should we get more concrete confirmation that the deal is set in stone, we’ll have more in-depth coverage for you.
3:00 PM: Jon Heyman reports that Eduardo Rodríguez is “down to two teams” and is expected to sign soon. The Yankees haven’t been in on E-Rod, but it’s worth monitoring the second tier of the pitching market for a variety of reasons. If the Yankees can consummate this Soto deal, they’re going to need to add pitching externally. Given the Mets’ intense rumored interest in Yoshinobu Yamamoto, we can’t assume the Yankees will be able to reel in their top pitching target. If they miss on Yamamoto despite their professed confidence, they’ll have to turn elsewhere, and we’ll have to hope that there remain pitchers of Rodríguez’s ilk still available.
2:50 PM: In something of a surprise, Joel Sherman reports that the Yankees are expected to also receive Trent Grisham in any Juan Soto deal. It had been rumored the Yankees were interested in Grisham over the weekend, but the acquisition of Alex Verdugo seemed to lessen the odds they’d push to include Grisham in a Soto trade. If the Yankees can swing a trade for both Soto and Grisham, that would make three mid-to-late-20s, lefty-swinging outfielders added to the mix in two fell swoops.
2:15 PM: By all accounts, the Yankees and Padres are at the doorstep of a trade. Or at the one-yard line (or half-yard line). Or, things are heating up, or momentum is gathering, or the talks have that... smell? MLB reporters are running out of metaphors to describe the state of the Juan Soto saga, as we’ve seemingly been on the precipice for many hours. Overall, the sentiment appears to be that we may have official word later today, with Jack Curry again saying that a deal is “very, very close”.
1:30 PM: Reports emerged today that Mets owner Steve Cohen flew to Japan to meet with NPB star Yoshinobu Yamamoto last week. This signals that the Mets are very serious about reeling in the top starting pitcher on the market. The Yankees are also interested in securing Yamamoto’s services, setting up a potentially epic bidding war between the two New York franchises.
12:30 PM: It looks like it’s crunch time in the Juan Soto talks. Jon Morosi reports that the deal is close to being finalized. By all accounts, the primary pieces going to San Diego would be Drew Thorpe and Michael King, with a couple other players likely heading to the Padres too.
12:00 PM: The Shohei Ohtani saga, shrouded in secrecy, could be nearing its conclusion. Jon Morosi reports Ohtani is expected to choose his new home by the end of this weekend. The most recent reports have Ohtani choosing between the Dodgers and Blue Jays, though other suitors like the Cubs, Giants, and Angels also lurk.
11:45 AM: As the Juan Soto rumor mill continues to turn, we’ve been getting more notes on what the Yankees are willing to offer. Last night, it sounded as though the Yankees had put prized right-handers Michael King and Drew Thorpe on the table. Brendan Kuty now reiterates that notion, stating that the Yankees are “softening” on the idea of including King in a Soto deal. Kuty does add that it’s still unclear whether the Yankees would surrender both King and Thorpe.
11:00 AM: Some notable rumors from the National League: Jon Heyman notes that the buzz around the winter meetings is that Corbin Burnes is liable to be moved this winter. The longtime Milwaukee ace is entering his age-30 season and his walk year, though he does so after a slightly disappointing 2023 (by his lofty standards). Heyman also reports that the Marlins are “listening” on their deep core of young starters. It’s unclear whether the Yankees would have any interest in dealing with either of these clubs, but it does seem like there will be a robust starting pitching trade market this winter.
10:30 AM: We’re still sorting through the aftermath of the Alex Verdugo trade. Once the deal was announced, speculation quickly arose that the outfielder could be getting spun forward in a Soto deal. Buster Olney tweets that’s not the case, stating that his sources tell him the Yankees intend to keep Verdugo to bolster their 2024 outfield.
9:00 AM: The Juan Soto saga appears to be reaching its climax. Jack Curry calls a trade likely, noting that the Yankees have “intensified” their efforts to land the superstar outfielder. Curry mentions Michael King and Drew Thorpe, and it certainly sounds like both right-handers are on the table.
12:00 AM: Most of the MLB headlines last night centered on Verdugo, but there were a couple other nuggets of note:
- With Dusty Baker gone and Martín Maldonado now a free agent, the Astros were likely to sign a different catcher to pair with Yainer Diaz. They will sign erstwhile Brewers catcher Victor Caratini to a two-year, $12M deal.
- Shortly after acquiring starting pitcher Marco Gonzales from Seattle in the recent Jarred Kelenic deal, it became evident that Atlanta was not intending on keeping Gonzales. He’s been traded to the Pirates for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
- Reliever contracts! Former Padres righty Luis García is signing a one-year deal with the Angels for $4 million. Meanwhile, Michael Tonkin will swap NL East teams, moving to the Mets on an split contract that could pay him $1 million after being non-tendered by Atlanta.
- How about a rumor? The Orioles might be looking to fill a Félix Bautista-sized hole in their bullpen by signing Craig Kimbrel. They do already have Yennier Cano, so it wouldn’t automatically be a closing situation for Kimbrel, which as Phillies fans can advise would probably be for the best.