MLB Rumors: Blake Snell, Sonny Gray Could Be Traded; Blue Jays interested in JT Realmuto, others

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Tuesday morning brought some relatively big news on the MLB Hot Stove, which has actually been very cold throughout the offseason so far. The Braves signed All-Star starting pitcher Charlie Morton to a one-year, $ 15 million contract. Perhaps rightly so, two of the biggest rumors here on the same day are at least indirectly related to the move. Let’s take a quick tour of rumors.

Rays open to Snell trading

The Rays turned down a $ 15 million option on Morton and they could stick to their ways to save money with another starting pitcher. While they don’t “actively buy” him, they’re open to trading from Blake Snell, the 2018 Cy Young winner, to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

The last one we saw of Snell, he was being controversially pulled out of Game 6 of the World Series, only to see the reliever box blow his head a few batters later. Will that be the lasting image of him in a Rays uniform?

Snell, a 27-year-old southpaw, was 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA (131 ERA +) and 63 strikeouts in 50 innings last season. He’s made six playoff starts, with a 3.03 ERA. In his 10 World Series innings, he allowed just four hits while striking out 18.

You could argue that now is the optimal time for the Rays to trade Snell. He’s set to make $ 11.1 million next season, $ 13.1 million in 2022, and $ 16.6 million in 2023 (there are also Cy Young voting escalators). While his advantage is huge, he hasn’t worked deeply into games since 2018 – and even then, that was mostly in the first half.

Expect every team with hopes of fighting in the near future to have at least one conversation with the Rays front office on Snell.

The Mets expect to be aggressive

Additionally, in light of Morton’s news, there’s this nugget about the Mets, NL East rivals of the Braves:

Several players from free agents George Springer, JT Realmuto, Trevor Bauer and business candidate Francisco Lindor? It must be music to the ears of Mets fans.

The Mets absolutely have needs behind the field and in the rotation behind ace Jacob deGrom, so maybe Realmuto and Bauer are the top priorities. But it would be extremely difficult to pass Springer on if the market and trading for Lindor also made sense.

Perhaps the main and overriding point here is getting used to this new normal under Steve Cohen as owner: The Mets are going to be involved in rumors for most of the big names in the game in the future. Not that they will be alone in pursuit of a certain receiver …

Blue Jays on Realmuto, more

The Blue Jays are among the (probably many) contenders for Realmuto’s services, by far the best receiver in the free agent market, MLB Network’s Craig Mish reports.

Realmuto, 29, is a two-time All-Star who hit .266 / .349 / .491 (123 OPS +) with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs in 47 games for the Phillies last season. He’s also one of baseball’s top coaches and recently led the majors in steal percentage. That is to say, he’s the best catcher in baseball.

The Blue Jays cut is pretty obvious. Right now they have Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire and Alejandro Kirk behind the plate. Teaming up Realmuto with their pitching team would be a boost, as would the thrilling attack that already has Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel and Vladimir Guerrero.

That’s not all. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Jays have also checked out free agents George Springer, Michael Brantley, Justin Turner and DJ LeMahieu.

Reds open to shifting gray

The Reds are open to negotiating starter Sonny Gray, although it doesn’t seem like they’re actively buying him or anything at all. Weighing their options would be more accurate, according to Rosenthal’s report:

Rival clubs report the Reds are open to moving Gray, whose recent performances and affordable contract make him more attractive than most of their players. As teams do with all trading opportunities, the Reds are weighing what they might get in return and weighing how they might reallocate their savings.

Gray, a 30-year-old right-hander, is a two-time All-Star who resurrected his career in Cincinnati after a sub-par with the Yankees. In his 11 starts last season, he was 5-3 with a 3.70 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 56 innings. He was 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA until August, then faced back problems and poor performance in September. He finished seventh in Cy Young’s vote in 2019.

Gray owes $ 10,166,667 in 2021 and 2022 ahead of a $ 12 million club option in 2023. Given the market to start pitching and Gray’s advantage while still in his prime, he This is a very affordable offer for teams who need help with rotation. It’s just a matter of sending the Reds back the pieces to close the deal. Presumably, with the Reds’ window of contention open, they would want immediate help from MLB and not prospects from the lower levels of the miners.

Giants after Lester?

The Giants had better add a starting pitcher, and left free agent Jon Lester appears to be on their radar, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Lester ended his six-year contract with the Cubs when they declined to take his seventh-year option earlier this offseason. The crafty southpaw is heading into his 37-year-old season with quite a CV – one that could put him in Hall of Fame arguments five years after his retirement. It is, however, clearly in its phase of age-related decline. He went 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 61 innings last season. He was an All-Star and got Cy Young votes in 2018, but there has been a steady decline since.

The Giants in recent years, however, have rocked something loose in pitchers like Drew Smyly, Drew Pomeranz and Kevin Gausman. Although the fences have been moved, Oracle Park still plays the role of a pitcher’s court. As such, it’s possible that a short-term deal will make sense for both parties.

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