The annual MLB Winter Meetings are just a few days away. The offseason has been pretty slow to date, but the Winter Meetings are typically the busiest days of the offseason, and this year will be no different. Until then, here are Thursday's hot stove rumors.
Guardians interested in Murphy
Murphy's availability is no surprise.:
Murphy is the top prize. He is one of the game's very best all-around catchers and he will remain under team control through 2025. The 28-year-old provides power and hard-hit ability without striking out excessively, and he rates exceptionally well as a pitch-framer. Murphy is not J.T. Realmuto but similarities exist. He's a really good player on both sides of the ball and a cornerstone type with long-term control. The Athletics will demand a haul for Murphy and they should get it.
The Athletics, who started a rebuild last offseason, have Shea Langeliers (part of the return on Matt Olson) ready to take over behind the plate. The Guardians, meanwhile, relied heavily on a tandem of Austin Hedges and Luke Maile. Hedges is a free agent while Maile has already signed with the Reds. Murphy would represent a huge offensive upgrade over both, all the while maintaining a high level of competence defensively.
Tigers bring back Boyd
The Tigers have reached an agreement with left-hander Matthew Boyd that will see him return to Detroit after a year spent in Seattle, according to Jeff Passan. Jon Heyman adds that Boyd will receive $10 million for the one-year deal.
Boyd, 31, made 10 appearances with the Mariners. He amassed a 1.35 ERA (282 ERA+) and a 1.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 13 innings. Boyd had spent the previous seven seasons with the Tigers, accumulating a 92 ERA+ and a 3.04 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
It's worth noting that the Tigers are under new management, having hired former Giants general manager Scott Harris as their top baseball executive this winter.
Estévez in demand
Estévez was recently named by CBS Sports as one of the top under-the-radar free agents available.:
It stands to reason if you can pitch well in Colorado, you can pitch even better elsewhere. Estévez is a big, broad righty with a delivery that looks like someone tried to recreate Ernesto Frieri's from memory. He generated more than 20 percent whiffs on all three of his pitches last season: an upper-90s fastball, a gyro slider, and a changeup. Even so, the Rockies had him chucking his heater more than 70 percent of the time. A different organization would likely ask that he spread the love to his offspeed pitches more frequently, a change that could lead to a performance uptick.
Estévez, 29, has a career 4.59 ERA (108 ERA+) and 2.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 321 appearances.
The Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league posted flamethrowing right-hander Shintaro Fujinami on Thursday. He'll have 30 days to find a MLB suitor if he's to make the leap next season..