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in the books and the Boston Red Sox are World Series champions.With that comes the start of another busy MLB offseason Alex Wood Jersey , highlighted by a star-studded free-agent class that includes Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and potentially Clayton Kershaw if he decides to exercise his opt-out clause.That said, the trade market could be just as impactful, especially considering the shortage of impact starting pitching options available in free agency and the exorbitant price tag expected to be applied to the top available bats.With the rumor mill set to kick into high gear, we've taken a quick look at some of the latest trade buzz.The Yankees are receiving calls on Gary SanchezElsa/Getty ImagesIt was a tough 2018 season for New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez.After posting a 126 OPS+ with 33 home runs and 90 RBI in 2017, the 25-year-old was expected to be a crucial part of the team's offense once again this season.Instead, he hit just .186/.291/.406 for an 86 OPS+ and a groin injury limited him to just 89 games.With team control through the 2022 season and an impressive track record of success already on his resume, Sanchez will be a prime candidate for a bounce-back season in 2019.It should come as no surprise, then, that a few opportunistic teams have already inquired about potentially acquiring him in a buy-low trade."We know what he's capable of doing," general manager Brian Cashman said on Michael Kay鈥檚 radio show (h/t Mike Axisa ofRiver Ave. Blues). "And I'm already getting phone calls to be honest from clubs trying to knock on our door to see if he's available. And he's not 鈥?He will be our catcher."While a trade is unlikely, and Cashman was rather cut-and-dry in his comments, teams wouldn't be reaching out if they didn't think there was at least some chance of acquiring him.If a catcher-needy team like the Atlanta Braves or Washington Nationals comes along with an offer they can't refuse, stranger things have happened.The Blue Jays could decline their team option on Justin SmoakTom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesJon Heyman of FanCred offered up the following note in his latest roundup: "The Jays aren't a certainty to pick up Justin Smoak's $7 million option."Smoak, 31, has been a revelation for the Blue Jays the past two seasons after signing a two-year, $8.5 million extension at the end of the 2016 season that included a 2019option:2017:131 OPS+, 38 HR, 90 RBI, 3.2 WAR2018:122 OPS+ Zack Cozart Jersey , 25 HR, 77 RBI, 2.3 WARFor teams looking to add a reasonably priced power hitter without making a long-term commitment, acquiring Smoak as a one-year rental would appear to be an appealing option.It's a surprising to hear that his option is not a lock to be exercised.The Blue Jays are clearly rebuilding, and with the contracts of Josh Donaldson and Marco Estrada off the books, money shouldn't be a driving factor.Unless they've already canvassed the market and failed to get any promising nibbles, it's hard to envision a scenario where cutting ties with Smoak and paying his $250,000 buyout is the best option. The Starting Pitching MarketSonny GrayBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty ImagesThe starting pitching market in free agency features the likes of Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, Nathan Eovaldi, Charlie Morton and J.A. Happ. They are allsolid options but perhaps better fits as middle-of-the-rotation starters than staff headliners.As a result, it could be a busy winter on the starting pitching trade market.Jeff Todd of MLBTradeRumors recently took a quick run through what the market might look like, breaking the pitchers into three categories:Top Targets:Madison Bumgarner (SF), Jacob deGrom (NYM), Noah Syndergaard (NYM), Zack Wheeler (NYM), Zack Greinke (ARI)Mid-Rotation Targets:Sonny Gray (NYY), Andrew Cashner (BAL), Ivan Nova (PIT), Tanner Roark (WAS) http://www.angelsfanproshop.com/authentic-zack-cozart-jersey , Marcus Stroman (TOR), Robbie Ray (ARI), Zack Godley (ARI), Dylan Bundy (BAL), Danny Duffy (KC)Contract Dumps:Ian Kennedy (KC), Tyler Chatwood (CHC), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Alex Cobb (BAL), Jeff Samardzija (SF), Homer Bailey (CIN)Most of those names are speculative on Todd's part, though it does sound like Sonny Gray is a likely candidate to be dealt."We're entering the winter open-minded to relocation," Yankees GM Brian Cashman told David Lennon ofNewsday in regards of Gray. "It's probably best to try somewhere else."If nothing else, the list should serve as a useful resource of pitchers that might be available this winter.All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted. Examining the market’s top free agent reliever."With spring training officially underway, the Twins find themselves with a bit of an ambiguous bullpen. After shoring up various offensive positions in the wake of retirements/trades, Minnesota has been relatively quiet on the pitching front — unless you count Martin Perez and Blake Parker as big-name signings.With the starting rotation more-or-less decided, an inquisitive eye turns to the bullpen, where Target Field has welcomed a revolving door of 9th-inning arms for the last few seasons. The trusty tandem of Joe Nathan and Glen Perkins covered an impressive twelve years of baseball before giving way to guys like Kevin Jepsen, Brandon Kintzler, and Fernando Rodney.Which brings us to our man of the hour Albert Pujols Jersey , Craig Kimbrel. Does the simian-armed All-Star fit in with the roster? Let’s take a look.Kimbrel: A HistoryWhen Kimbrel debuted with the Braves in 2010, he entered a landscape where the legendary Mariano Rivera still laid claim to the title of “best closer in baseball.” But it didn’t take long for Kimbrel to usurp that honor. In his first five seasons, Kimbrel racked up 186 saves and 476 strikeouts, won Rookie of the Year, made four All-Star Games, routinely finished in the top five for Cy Young voting, and managed as low as an 1.01 ERA in his second complete season.Shortly after extending Kimbrel, the declining Braves shipped him to San Diego, who dumped him off to Boston a year later. With the newly-minted champion Red Sox, he made another three All-Star Games and became the active saves leader, with 333 to his credit.Which brings us to now: that original extension has run out and a 30-year-old Craig Kimbrel is hitting the open market for the first time in his career.The ProsAny team who signs Kimbrel will instantly add credibility to their bullpen. In Minnesota’s case, Kimbrel would enable guys like Trevor May and Blake Parker to rove around as late-inning firemen, preventing either of them from getting locked up in a pre-assigned inning. Granted, this assumes that Kimbrel himself would be limited to 9th-inning duties, but that’s not entirely a bad thing. It’s where Kimbrel’s most comfortable and surely expects to play, and last year’s team tied the major-league record for most walk-off losses, so maybe a Proven Closer鈩?wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.Craig is also a noted strikeout fiend. Last year’s 13.9 K/9 mark would have led the roster, and he’s surpassed 16 and even 17 in the past. With Ryan Pressly no longer on the team, Kimbrel would represent a valuable arm for those do-or-die, bases-loaded situations.With almost a full decade of ball under his belt Mike Trout Jersey , he’d also serve as a veteran presence for the younger guys in the pen, and he brings with him eight series’ worth of postseason experience.And the Twins have the funds this year for a splashy move, so why not?The ConsFor every reason to lock down Kimbrel, there is a compelling argument against it.Yes, Kimbrel is a Proven Closer鈩? But he’s proven himself over the course of 500+ innings, and that power arm is now on the wrong side of 30. Last season, Kimbrel saw career-lows in FIP (3.13) and HR/9 (1.01). His average fastball velocity dipped over a full mile per hour. His walk rate soared, from 1.83 BB/9 in 2017 to 4.48 BB/9 last season. And he struggled through the playoffs, walking eight hitters and allowing seven runs in nine games.Prior to the launch angle revolution, Kimbrel consistently induced grounders in about half of his battles. Last season, over two-thirds of his balls put in play were in the air. And while his strikeout rate would have led the Twins, it was his lowest mark since joining the Red Sox in 2016.And what about that aforementioned contract? Even in a tough market, Kimbrel has been driving a hard bargain, standing by an initial ask of 6 yrs/$100m, a deal that would break multiple records for a free-agent relief contract. (Rumors of Kimbrel threatening to sit out the 2019 season should these demands not be met have since been debunked by his agent.)The VerdictAt the end of the day, Craig Kimbrel has demonstrated the beginning signs of decline from an otherworldly reliever to — a really elite reliever. There’s no denying that whatever peripheral decrease might be happening, Kimbrel remains a stellar addition to 30 out of 30 major-league bullpens.But will his asking price come down to something more palatable? Or will another team pony up and comply with his demands? Would you even want the Twins to tie themselves down to a long-term closer? Is Kimbrel even interested in Minnesota after just winning the World Series on the [insert fanfare] East Coast?What’s your verdict?
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