MLB Rumors: Twins like Carlos Rodón to fill rotation, Mets want Adam Ottavino back, but only in the short term

Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror and Winter Meetings, the busiest four days of MLB’s offseason each year, are less than two weeks away. Until then, here are Saturday’s hot pan rumors.

Mets hope to keep Ottavino

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Mets hope to retain trainer Adam Ottavino, reports New York Post. The 37-year-old Brooklyn native is reportedly seeking a multi-year contract while the Mets prefer to stick with a one-year deal. The Mets had seven relievers become free agents after the season, although they soon re-signed closer Edwin Díaz to a record five-year, $102 million contract.

Ottavino has been a go-to option for a postseason squad for the past five seasons. He dominates right-handers but has long struggled with left-handers, so he sometimes runs into trouble in the era of the three-batter minimum. That said, use Ottavino correctly and he can be a dynamic late-round weapon. The Mets have a need and Ottavino has indicated he enjoys playing at home, so a reunion makes sense for both parties.

Rangers infielders attract interest

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Rangers youngsters Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith are attracting commercial interest, according to the Dallas Morning News. Both players came from the Yankees in the trade of Joey Gallo and made their MLB debuts in 2022. Duran, 23, is primarily a second and third baseman, while Smith, 25, has played all over the infield and some left field as well.

Texas is placed all around the infield with Nate Lowe at the start, Marcus Semien at second, Corey Seager at court and former top prospect Josh Jung at third. Duran and Smith are obvious trade candidates — keeping Smith as a super utility guy would certainly make sense — and could be used to improve the outfield or the pitching staff, two areas the Rangers want to improve this winter.

Twins interested in Rodón

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Count the Twins among the teams interested in free agent left-hander Carlos Rodón, according to The Athletic. At this point, nearly every team in the league has vetted Rodón, although some are more likely to sign him than others for various reasons (wage bills, competitive window, etc.). Our RJ Anderson rated Rodón the eighth best free agent this winter.

The only locks for Minnesota’s rotation at the moment are Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan. Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda will be in the rotation if they are healthy, although Mahle finished 2022 on the injured list with a shoulder problem and Maeda missed 2022 recovering from Tommy John surgery . Bailey Ober, Louie Varland, Josh Winder and Simeon Woods Richardson are also candidates for the rotation. The Twins have inventory but are out of impact. Rodón would give the club a bonafide ace.

Rays are interested in Murphy

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Many teams are interested in athletic receiver Sean Murphy, including the Rays, reports MLB.com. Murphy is our No. 1 trade candidate this offseason. The A’s are in deep rebuilding, and Murphy’s salary is expected to climb into the $4 million range through arbitration in 2023. He has three seasons left in check and is expected to pick up a sizable prospect package.

The Rays have been looking for a quality receiver practically their entire existence. The WAR franchise leader among catchers is Toby Hall at 5.7, and that’s spanned seven seasons. Incumbents Christian Bethancourt and Francisco Mejía have both been bid for 2023, although Murphy would be a massive upgrade over either. He’s one of the best backstops in the game and he just turned 28, so he’s in the middle of his peak years.

Orioles want multiple starters, impact bats

The upstart Orioles want “several veteran starting pitchers and a few potentially hard-hitting bats,” according to MASN Sports. It’s a pretty long shopping list — veteran starters and impact bats aren’t usually easy to acquire — but after the jump the O’s made in 2022, they should be thinking about the playoffs in 2023. More pitch, more attack, more everything.

Last season, the Orioles ranked 30th with an opening day payroll of $43.7 million. FanGraphs estimates its current payroll for 2023 at $41.1 million, which includes arbitration projections. A payroll of some $40 million in 2023 would be embarrassing, period, and raise questions about the ownership’s commitment to earning. There’s no reason the O’s can’t raise their payroll — significantly — to get the guns and bats they need this winter. You can spend without sabotaging the long-term plan.

White Sox interested in Clevinger

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The White Sox have a strong interest in free right-hander Mike Clevinger, reports The Athletic. Chicago needs a No. 5 starter behind Cy Young finalist Dylan Cease and fellow right-handers Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Lance Lynn. Johnny Cueto filled that role admirably in 2022 after signing a minor league contract in April.

Our RJ Anderson didn’t include Clevinger among his top 50 free agents. The future 32-year-old has had his ups and downs in 2022, his first season following his second career Tommy John surgery. Clevinger threw at an ace level in spurts earlier in his career, and it’s reasonable to assume his performance will level off as he moves away from elbow reconstruction. And, of course, the White Sox know him well from his days with Cleveland in the AL Central.

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