Early MLB trade rumors: Teoscar Hernandez to Seattle, Red Sox still fighting for Bogaerts
With MLB’s free agency just heating up, the rumor mill is working overtime. We connect you with all of the daily news, trades, and reports in the league
The Seattle Mariners have done a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays that sees them get All-Star outfielder and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner Teoscar Hernández in return for right-handed reliever Erik Swanson and left-handed pitching prospect Adam Macko.
“For me, it feels like it’s a new chapter for myself,” says Hernández. “And I think I’m going to enjoy it the best that I can. I’m going to give everything that I’ve got to the Seattle Mariners.”
The Mariners managed to break out of the longest playoff drought in baseball, making the post season for the first time in over two decades, and the addition of Hernández gives their lineup an immediate power upgrade.
A free agent after 2023, Teoscar was worth the stretch, according to Mariners president of baseball operations and GM Justin Hollander. “We felt like the value was worth it because of the difference he can make, even if it’s just for a year,” Hollander said. “We hope it’s not, but even if it’s just for a year, we felt like it was too good an opportunity to pass up on.”
Elsewhere, the Boston Red Sox have renewed offers to both Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. Team president Sam Kennedy came under fire early in his tenure when he lost Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and has nodded to that in these new negotiations, saying, “We’ve been engaged with Xander since the end of this season, and Scott (Boras), his agent, and I’ll leave it at that. But we’ve had productive conversations.”
It has become widely reported that the focus for the Sox is Devers, and while the club would like to keep both players on the roster, if push comes to shove, Bogaerts seems to be the player most likely to go. If he does leave Boston, the offers around the league will be substantial, with the Dodgers, Twins, and Braves all potentially standing to lose their middle infield.
Mets, Yankees, Astros under investigation
The MLB has begun an investigation into possible collusion on the part of the Mets and Yankees over Aaron Judge, while Astros owner Jim Crane’s statements that Justin Verlander was looking for a “Max Scherzer-style contract” may have broken rules regarding publicly discussing contract negotiations.
At the request of the MLBPA, the league will set up an independent investigation to see whether Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and Mets owner Steve Cohen could have colluded to not bid against each other for Aaron Judge.
With the market heating up on Justin Verlander, there are reports that both the Dodgers and Mets are salivating at the thought of signing the AL Cy Young Winner.
The Mets are reportedly debating whether signing Verlander to a a high-salaried short-term contract would be preferable to re-signing Jacob deGrom. If they go down that road, they would have both Scherzer and Verlander, making their rotation the best in baseball by a country mile.
The Dodgers prodigious rotation could slot Verlander in without missing a beat as well, although it is uncertain how they will look at the end of free agency. Reports that they are very close to a deal with Clayton Kershaw have yet to bear fruit, and while Julio Urias is a formidable arm, the lack of Walker Buehler for most, if not all, of next season may blunt the blade on the Dodgers attack.
Teams on the prowl
With a new manager and a professed will to spend money, the Texas Rangers are on the hunt for a strong bullpen. Picking up Jake Odorizzi from Atlanta and then re-signing Martín Pérez have gone a long way toward that end, but they still have space for a high-value arm in their roster.
They are not currently in the hunt for Justin Verlander, but there could be a sniff around him at some point. And while everyone’s eyes are on him, a little sleight of hand could come into play. They are already covetous of Clayton Kershaw, and may be the biggest reason that he hasn’t finalized a deal with Los Angeles yet. Don’t be surprised if the Rangers make a last-minute move on Jacob deGrom.
Boston Red Sox
The biggest need for Boston is in the offense, with their outfield decidedly lacking in production. And while potentially losing Bogaerts will hurt them, they are likely to replace him with a like-for-like replacement, with most rumors centering on them picking up Dansby Swanson from Atlanta.
In the outfield, they are reportedly showing strong interest in nabbing Bryan Reynolds from the Pirates, despite reports coming out of Pittsburgh that there is little desire to let him go. The Sox are also reported to be interested in several of the Diamondbacks’ outfielders. As an organization, the Diamondbacks have outfielders in spades, all but one hitting from the left side, and giving up one or more would not seriously dent their productivity.
While the Braves would love to keep Dansby Swanson in the fold, they are reported to be in the race, if not the outright favorite, to pick up Trea Turner from the Dodgers. Their focus in these trades seems to be their bullpen rather than their bats, with Jesse Chavez being re-signed and Nick Anderson reportedly to follow suit. After swapping Jake Odorizzi for Kolby Allard from the Rangers, the Braves are likely to use some of that spare cash that they have laying around for making sure that they can stay competitive in the June trade window.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The fourth corner of this middle-infield swap-o-rama is the Dodgers, and while they are not at all happy at the prospect of losing Trea Turner, they are rumored to be in the race for picking up Carlos Correa. Some TrueBlue fans will not be happy at the thought, but management seems to feel that any ill feeling will be swept aside by the uber-talented shortstop’s productivity.
While the early reports that they were nearing a deal with Clayton Kershaw have yet to play out, the Dodgers are now reported to be very hot in the race for Justin Verlander. Adding him to their rotation could be just the medicine they need with Walker Buehler out for most of next season, especially if the Kershaw deal falls through.
The Astros are the strongest side in the game at the moment, and losing some of their players to free agency is unlikely to bother them much. It certainly never has in the past, where the club’s development has been shown to be as deep as any in baseball. Their biggest hole to fill is the same as back in June, when they picked up Christian Vazquez from Boston. Catcher.
Dusty Baker is keen on using Martín Maldonado for his knowledge and defensive ability. Let’s face it, there are few catchers in the game today who can come close to him behind the dish. But playing him means eating an almost automatic out with the bat, and while the Astros are productive enough to wear that most of the time, there are games when the offensive production outweighs the defense.
Reports are that the Astros are heavily interested in Willson Contreras and although the Cubs have issued him a QO, he has declined it indicating his willingness to test the waters elsewhere. The Astros offered José Urquidy for him straight up back in June but that deal was shut down by Cubs ownership. They could wind up with their man in the end anyway.