MLB rumors: Bryce Harper meets with Giants; Nationals reach one-year deal with Jeremy Hellickson

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Baseball season is lurking. The Super Bowl is in the rear-view mirror and we’re starting to see teams post social media photos of moving trucks heading to either Florida or Arizona with pitchers and catchers reporting in roughly a week, and yet we’re still waiting on a certain catcher to be traded and more than a dozen needle-moving free agents to sign. 

Let’s round up the activity for the day here. 

Giants meet with Harper

Here’s a fun one to start the day with: The San Francisco Giants are reportedly entering the Bryce Harper. That nugget comes courtesy of Randy Miller of NJ.com:

Another club is vying for Harper, NJ Advance Media has learned. The San Francisco Giants are now in the mix and are expected to meet with the former MVP this week.   

That meeting has already happened, according to Fancred’s Jon Heyman.

There have been murmurs of a mystery team being involved for Harper for a few days now. The Giants would make some sense, at least on the grounds that they could use an outfield bat and have money to spend — provided, anyway, they’re willing to chance paying the luxury tax. Per Cot’s, the Giants are about $34 million below the threshold. That’s a projection and not an official figure, so things could change, but that would seem to be enough to fit Harper into their plans.

Harper would provide the Giants with the power bat they’ve long sought after. He’s also young enough to be a productive member if and when the Giants return to contention should they opt for a rebuild. In the interim, he’d help San Francisco pull a closer to the playoff picture. 

Nats, Hellickson reunite 

Jeremy Hellickson had a quietly competent season for the Washington Nationals last year, starting 19 times and recording a 123 ERA+ and 3.23 strikeout-to-walk ratio. No one seemed to notice — except, perhaps, the Nationals. Hence the two sides agreeing to a deal that will pay Hellickson at least $1.3 million this coming season:

Hellickson seems likely to open the season as the Nationals’ fifth starter, leapfrogging Joe Ross, Erick Fedde, and all their rowdy friends. The Nationals have already added two other veterans to the mix this winter, inking Patrick Corbin and later signing Anibal Sanchez. Tanner Roark, of course, was sent packing in a trade for reliever Tanner Rainey. 

Romo nearing deal with new team

Veteran reliever Sergio Romo will turn 36 the first week of March. It looks like he’ll be celebrating that birthday with his new teammates — we just don’t know who they are yet.

Per Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports, Romo is nearing an agreement with a new club:

Romo spent last season with the Tampa Bay Rays. He posted a 101 ERA+ and 3.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 73 appearances — that total includes five starts, or “opens,” if you will.

Romo has been homer-prone in recent seasons, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him land with a club whose ballpark is more spacious than the norm.

Gonzalez’s market heating up

Gio Gonzalez is undoubtedly one of the best starters remaining on the market. Teams are starting to treat him like that, too, with at least a handful showing interest in adding him to their roster, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today:

Gonzalez split last season between the Nationals and the Milwaukee Brewers. He accumulated more than 30 starts for the fourth year in a row. Along the way, Gonzalez notched a 100 ERA+ and 1.85 strikeouts per walk. He should fit in nicely as some team’s No. 3 or 4 starter.

It’s worth highlighting that Nightengale named three California-based teams as Gonzalez’s suitors: the San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants, and the Oakland Athletics. Gonzalez spent four seasons in Oakland earlier in his career.

Royals nearing deal with Boxberger

The Royals haven’t done much to address their bullpen this winter, but it appears they’re closing in on signing a veteran closer. Per Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com, Kansas City is nearing an agreement with Brad Boxberger:

Boxberger spent last season with the Diamondbacks. He saved 32 games but finished with a 99 ERA+ thanks to a bad combination of walks (5.4 per nine innings) and home runs (1.5). Still, Boxberger has shown to be an effective late-inning reliever in the past, and the Royals are presently expected to deploy Wily Peralta in the ninth.

In other words, don’t be shocked if Boxberger finds himself closing for the third time in his career.

(Excerpt) Read more Here | 2019-02-06 19:03:00
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