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American League

Finally: Where Will Keuchel & Kimbrel Sign?

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(Sporting News) Where will the MLB's two biggest remaining free agents wind up on Monday?

The 2019 MLB Draft will take place from tomorrow June 3 to Wednesday June 5. In addition to many teams drafting players that will go on to become superstars, it will be notable because the two most high-profile free agents from this past offseason may finally sign.

Former Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel and two-time Reliever of the Year Craig Kimbrel have been free agents since last season ended and are still without homes as the 2019 season gets closer and closer to the midway point. No team was willing to accept either man’s asking price after both turned down $17.9 million qualifying offers from their former teams (Houston and Boston, respectively).

Tomorrow will be the turning point for both men. Starting on the first day of draft proceedings, the team that signs either of them will not have to forego a compensatory draft pick. And since many teams could use the services of either/or, there’s no reason to believe both will not sign quickly.

Keuchel, 31, was the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner with the Astros after leading the the league with 20 wins and a 1.02 WHIP and placing second with a 2.48 ERA. 2018 wasn’t the best season of the lefty’s career but still solid overall (12-11, 3.74 ERA). The team that could use him the most at this point is the New York Yankees.

Duking it out with the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the AL East, the Yankees have gotten a monumental and unexpected pitching lift from the previously unknown Domingo German, who might just be the AL Cy Young winner if it was awarded today. However, Aaron Boone’s rotation still lacks both depth and reliability with the absence of Luis Severino.

Keuchel could fill that void and then some. CBS Sports reports that the Bombers are in on Keuchel and that the two-time All-Star is willing to sign a one-year deal. Will Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman make the move and give his manager a big boost?

The Rays could too be a logical landing spot for Keuchel. Though far less talented on paper than Eastern rivals New York and Boston, Tampa Bay has been one of the best teams in baseball this year and are right in the thick of it with the Yankees. Adding Keuchel might make even more sense for Rays GM Erik Neander.

25-year-old Tyler Glasnow got off to a terrific start this season but was placed on the DL with a forearm strain on May 11 and isn’t expected back until July. 35-year-old Charlie Morton has carried the slack admirably alongside ace Blake Snell, but they both would benefit from having their loads reduced. Keuchel’s agent Scott Boras confirmed that his client has been throwing simulated games every fifth day, so it may not take him very long to get game ready.

As for Kimbrel, also 31, the team that he walked away from appears to be his most-likely destination. The Boston Red Sox’ bullpen has been better than most people thought it would be this season, with journeyman Marcus Walden of all people being the biggest standout. However, it has still struggled, especially of late. Neither Ryan Brasier nor Matt Barnes have proven capable of truly shouldering the closer’s role.

Though he was still a large piece of Boston’s fourth World Championship since 2004, Kimbrel didn’t look his best at times throughout 2018, which is likely why Boston didn’t even consider the five-year deal he was asking for. The seven-time All-Star has reportedly acquiesced on that, however, and is now seeking three-years. Red Sox President Dave Dombrowski would be wise to accept this and bring his stud closer back. The Sox are 29-29 as of today and may struggle to keep pace with Tampa and New York if its relief core doesn’t improve.

Another former home of Kimbrel’s, Atlanta, has also been long rumored as a destination. The Braves were the surprise of the year in the MLB last season and earned Brian Snitker Manager of the Year honors, but the young team hasn’t been able to keep pace with rival Philadelphia after the latter’s offseason spending spree. If GM Alex Anthopolous were to bring the team’s 2011 Rookie of the Year back, it would give fans an instantly recognizable face and shore up a bullpen that, like Boston, has been rocky. It looks as if Kimbrel may have a reunion with a former team either way, but where does he end up?

Think Keuchel and Kimbrel will end up some place different? Be sure to let us know on Twitter at @HomeRunDaily!

American League

Rangers to Target Top Free Agents

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Jon Daniels

The Texas Rangers are entering the offseason with plans of targeting some of the top tier free agents that will be available.

Rangers’ general manager Jon Daniels made it clear that he was ready to bring the Rangers back as a major player in the free agent market.

“This year, we are going to look at everything,” Daniels said, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant. “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.”

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American League

Yankees’ Brian Cashman Talks Gerrit Cole, Offseason Plans

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Brian Cashman

The New York Yankees expect to be busy this offseason, as they usually are, and among the teams trying to lure Gerrit Cole to join their rotation.

Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman discussed Cole, as well as the upcoming offseason for the Bronx Bombers.

According to SNY’s Andy Martino, Cashman says that the Yankees will engage with both Houston Astros hurler Gerrit Cole and World Series Champion Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg.

However, Cashman added that the Yankees already have a significant amount of money on the books, according to Newsday’s Erik Boland.

Cashman added that the Yankees will also explore the trade market, much like they did last season when they acquired James Paxton from the Seattle Seahawks, according to the New York Times’ James Wagner.

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American League

Red Sox Dustin Pedroia Attempting Return in 2020

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Dustin Pedroia

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has reportedly given “every indication” that he intends to play in 2020 says new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, according to MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.

Pedroia, 36, underwent a mid-season knee procedure that had many questioning his career.

“Every indication I’ve gotten is he’s feeling good and intending on playing,” Bloom says of Pedroia. “I know he’s working really hard to make sure he’s in as good of shape as possible,” Bloom said.

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