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Hot Stove Rumor Roundup: Yanks Sign Britton, More Buzz

Aside from the New York Mets signing left-hander Hector Santiago to a minor-league deal and trading for defensive-minded center fielder Keon Broxton, there were a few other pots simmering on the hot stove on Saturday.

Bombers Bring Back Britton

As per Jeff Passan of ESPN, the New York Yankees have signed left-handed reliever Zach Britton to a three-year, $39 million deal, bringing the 31-year-old southpaw back to the Bronx after coming over in a trade before hitting free agency.

Britton pitched to a 2.88 earned-run average with a 4.08 fielding independent pitching rating, 1.160 WHIP, 7.4 strikeouts and 3.4 walks per nine innings, respectively, and a 153 ERA+ rating over 25 appearances (25 innings) after being traded to the Yanks on July 24.

Over the first seven-plus seasons of his career, all spent in Baltimore, the Weatherford, Texas native owned a 3.22 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 1.266 WHIP, and 2.19 strikeouts-to-walks ratio over 306 appearances (46 starts, which for the life of me I can’t remember ever happening).

Dan Connolly of The Athletic reports that “the Los Angeles Angels were the primary finalist” for Britton’s services, “but [the] Yanks delivered on the guaranteed [money]”.

Kimbrel’s Market Opening Up

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic ($) gave an update on right-handed closer Craig Kimbrel‘s market, confirming that the Boston Red Sox, Kimbrel’s most recent employer, are still very interested in bringing back the 30-year-old Alabama native.

“The Red Sox still want Kimbrel,” Rosenthal wrote. “But their desire to retain him is complicated bu luxury-tax concerns and the pending free agencies of several star players.”

He goes on to list a few National League East teams in the Nationals, Braves, and Phillies, as potential fits for Kimbrel — alluding to a race to keep up with our Metsies and their revamped bullpen that now includes Seth Lugo, Jeurys Familia, and Edwin Diaz.

Kimbrel has a 1.91 ERA, 1.96 FIP, 0.920 WHIP, and 14.7 strikeouts per nine innings over his nine-year MLB career. He spent his first five seasons with the Braves (2010 through 2014; 1.43 ERA, 1.52 FIP, 0.903 WHIP) before being traded to San Diego in 2015, then to Boston the following year.

Since arriving in Beantown, Kimbrel has only solidified his status as one of the premier closers in all of baseball. In 2018, the righty pitched to a 2.74 ERA with a 3.13 FIP rating, 0.995 WHIP, and 3.10 strikeouts-to-walks over 63 appearances (62.1 innings).

After making $13 million with Boston in 2018, Spotrac has Kimbrel’s value on the market pegged at $16.5 million per season over five years ($82.2 million total).

Quick Notes from Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic provided updates on a few notable free agents from around the league (link above; paywall), including Adam Ottavino, Dallas Keuchel, Yasmani Grandal, and many others.

One interesting note from the Long Island native’s diatribe of hot stove goodness gave an additional glimpse into the negotiations between Grandal and the Mets.

“While the Mets did not make Grandal a formal proposal, they talked to him about a deal in the $55 million range and indicated a willingness to go to $60 million,” Rosenthal wrote. “Grandal, however, wanted to be closer to $65 million.”

The Mets, of course, turned their attention to Wilson Ramos and that was that. But now Grandal finds his market to be altogether quiet and his former team, the Dodgers, are knee-deep in their search for a new backstop.

“The Dodgers continue to look for a catcher, and the Brewers, Astros, and Indians are among the teams that still might want to upgrade at the position,” Rosenthal wrote. “Martin Maldonado remains a free agent, and the Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto, the Pirates’ Francisco Cervelli, and the Blue Jays’ Russell Martin are available in trade.”

More Notes

Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports reports that “two uninvolved executives” see the justification in the Dodgers hypothetically giving up slugger Cody Bellinger in a trade for Realmuto, characterizing the return demand as “not a crazy request”.

Adam Ottavino is drawing interest from the Texas Rangers, as per Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports. The 33-year-old right-hander pitched to a 2.43 ERA, with a 2.74 FIP, and 0.991 WHIP over 75 relief appearances (77.2 innings) last season for Colorado.

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