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Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi is likely to be posted toward the end of November.

Kikuchi will travel to the United States next week for a physical, and then the posting process will begin a couple weeks later. Under the new rules, his former team in Japan, the Seibu Lions, will get a posting fee that is determined by the value of the MLB contract Kikuchi winds up signing. The 27-year-old southpaw should draw offers from a range of different clubs after registering a 3.08 ERA and 153/45 K/BB ratio over 163 2/3 innings in the Pacific League in 2018. He put up an even better 1.97 ERA and 217/49 K/BB ratio over 187 2/3 innings in 2017.
Nov 7 - 6:27 PM

Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin of The Athletic report that the Padres are selling Christian Villanueva to the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan.

Villanueva got off to a tremendous start in 2018, but he batted just .232/.292/.351 between June 1 and his final regular-season game on August 21. The early shutdown was due to a fractured right middle finger. San Diego will search for a more reliable third baseman on the free agent and trade markets this winter.
Nov 20 - 6:32 PM

Jim Hickey has stepped down as the Cubs' pitching coach.

The statement from team president Theo Epstein: "Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons. We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support and we all wish him well." The search for Hickey's replacement is underway.
Nov 20 - 5:48 PM

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Mariners have discussed a trade with the Padres involving Wil Myers.

Rosenthal says shortstop Jean Segura and starting pitcher Mike Leake would head to San Diego in the potential deal, but he notes that Leake "would need to waive his no-trade clause" for it to get done and adds that the veteran right-hander is currently "weighing" other options. Leake is more of a throw-in here anyway, so perhaps the M's and Friars can get a different player (or players) involved. But the money Leake is owed -- $27 million over the next two years -- is obviously a pretty big factor in his involvement.
Nov 20 - 5:36 PM

Rangers signed C Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $6.25 million contract.

The deal was agreed to last week and has now been made official. Mathis owns a wretched .198/.258/.306 career batting line in parts of 14 major league seasons, but the 35-year-old is among the most respected defensive catchers in the game. He'll ideally work as a backup the next two years in Texas.
Nov 20 - 5:17 PM

Nationals signed C Kurt Suzuki to a two-year, $10 million contract.

The agreement was reported on Monday and is now official. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the contract terms, including $4 million in 2019 and $6 million in 2020. Suzuki, 35, has surprised with an .825 OPS (117 OPS+) in 186 games over the past two seasons. He should be a nice upgrade at the plate from what the Nationals had in 2018, though he gives away some of his value with his framing.
Nov 20 - 12:39 PM

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Indians are "drawing significant trade interest" in Yan Gomes.

They're also getting trade interest in some of their starting pitchers, with one executive telling Rosenthal that the Indians are "scrambling to get young players" to clear payroll. Gomes is set to earn $7 million in 2019 and has a $9 million club option for 2020 and $11 million club option for 2021. The 31-year-old hit .266/.313/.449 with 16 homers this season and made his first All-Star team.
Nov 19 - 10:29 PM

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and Cardinals are the two teams "that have had the most meaningful discussions" with the Diamondbacks regarding a Paul Goldschmidt trade.

Rosenthal cautions that "no deal is close" and talks are "not yet advanced," but it looks like Houston and St. Louis could be the early favorites to land the six-time All-Star. Goldschmidt is slated to earn $14.5 million next season before entering free agency next winter. It's obviously going to take a big package to land him even though he's only under team control for one year. Goldy rebounded from a slow start to finish with a .290/.389/.533 and 33 home runs in 2018.
Nov 19 - 9:33 PM

Yankees acquired LHP James Paxton from the Mariners for LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Erik Swanson and OF Don Thompson-Williams.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports was first to report the deal and it is now official. Sheffield is the headliner for Seattle, as he will immediately become their top prospect and should spend ample time in the big league rotation in 2019. Paxton's health history is sketchy to say the least -- he's never thrown more than 160 1/3 innings in the majors -- but he's a legitimate ace when on the mound. The Yankees will have the left-hander under team control for two years.
Nov 19 - 5:42 PM

Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, and Andy Pettitte are among the first-time eligible players for the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot.

Todd Helton, Michael Young, and Miguel Tejada are among the other notable additions to the ballot. Rivera and the late Halladay should get in while Pettitte is a more complicated case. They'll join an impressive list of holdovers, including Edgar Martinez, who fell just 20 votes short last year. Results will be announced on January 22.
Source: BBWAA.com
Nov 19 - 12:19 PM

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Astros' have made an "initial offer" of one year with an option to free agent right-hander Charlie Morton.

Terms aren't known, but the guarantee would presumably be less than the one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer that the Astros declined to make earlier this month. Morton just turned 35 and will likely have short-term offers to choose from on the open market, but he'll surely keep trying for two guaranteed years from someone.
Nov 19 - 10:03 AM

Astros acquired INF Aledmys Diaz from the Blue Jays for RHP Trent Thornton.

He will likely serve in a utility role for his new team and can be viewed as a replacement for Marwin Gonzalez, who is likely to depart in free agency. Diaz played in 130 games for the Blue Jays this year, slashing .263/.303/.453 with 18 home runs and 55 RBI.
Nov 17 - 11:32 AM




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