The Braves broke the seal on baseball’s “Hot Stove” season when they signed reliever Will Smith on Thursday, but these three teams are expected to be the most active clubs throughout the winter.
The Rangers are opening a new park, Globe Life Field, in 2020 and are making no bones about getting fans in the seats.
“This year we are going to look at everything,” general manager Jon Daniels told the Dallas Morning News last week. “Our goal is to get better—period. There are a couple of spots more (available) than others. We have signed (top free agents) before, and at some point I have to suspect we will again.”
The Rangers have already been linked to several big names this offseason, most recently third baseman Josh Donaldson. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that Texas is making “an aggressive push” for Donaldson to occupy the hot corner next year.
The Texas #Rangers are making an aggressive push to sign free agent Josh Donaldson
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 13, 2019
Starting pitching is a glaring area of need, beyond Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, according to multiple reports, has asked the Rangers’ front office to pursue fellow South Korean countryman Hyun-Jin Ryu this offseason. Ryu addressed the rumors recently, when he said, “I think it’d be special to be playing with a fellow Korean on the same team.”
The Nationals will have to be active in free agency if they want to repeat as World Series champions, as lineup linchpin Anthony Rendon and top-flight starter Stephen Strasburg are both on the open market. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman has reported that the Nationals are seeking “quick resolutions” on the Rendon and Strasburg fronts, but since both players are represented by patient mega-agent Scott Boras, that seems unlikely.
Nats endeavor to get quick resolutions with Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon so there’s time to move to contingency plans, if necessary. Feels like they are slightly more confident in Strasburg case. GM Mike Rizzo met in Phoenix with Boras camp, tho no word of new offers yet.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 14, 2019
Washington has never been shy about spending in free agency, and they brought in Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin with colossal deals in recent years. Even if they lose both Strasburg and Rendon, expect the Nats to have contingency plans in place.
New York Yankees
The Yankees are seldom out of the running on any important free agent, and this winter is no exception. New York has been linked to Strasburg, Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler to address its lack of starting pitching. The Bombers are also interested in keeping incumbent outfielder Brett Gardner and shortstop Didi Gregorius, according to the New York Times, along with reliever Dellin Betances.
Brian Cashman said he’s had several conversations with the agents of Didi Gregorius and Brett Gardner. He also said the Yankees want to shore up their starting rotation and that they have interest in Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, among others.
— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) November 12, 2019