Major League Baseball may be in the midst of its offseason, but that hasn't stopped the rumor mill from churning out hot rumors about some of the biggest stars in the sport.
With Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, New York Mets starting pitcher Dillon Gee and others reportedly on the market, the scuttlebutt has baseball fans excited about the changes that could occur this offseason.
Here are the latest trade rumors from around MLB.
Ryan Howard Accommodating Philadelphia’s Desire to Trade Him?
Howard is one of the highest-paid players in the league, earning $25 million in each of the next two seasons, but the team is looking to trade the veteran slugger while he still has value.
At 35 years old and after 11 years with the same team, even Howard may be ready for a change of scenery.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Howard has altered the list of teams he will accept a trade to in order to make a deal happen this offseason:
Howard, according to major-league sources, even revised his nine-team no-trade list at the end of the season to help facilitate a trade, choosing mostly teams that were either set at first base/DH, unlikely to add payroll or focused on other needs.
Considering the good faith that Howard showed in crafting his list, he probably would approve a deal to even to one of his restricted clubs. The Mariners, who began the season needing right-handed hitting, are one such team. The rest of the list, according to ESPN.com, consists of the Tigers, Royals, Angels, Yankees, Rangers, Rays, Orioles and Red Sox.
Howard is a double-edged sword for prospective teams. There is no questioning his power at the plate, as he has slugged 334 career home runs, but he is a strikeout machine. In his time with Philadelphia, he has amassed an incredible 1,591 strikeouts.
While his declining numbers should be a concern for any club thinking about making the move for Howard, he is as healthy as he has been since 2011. With a full offseason to get in optimal shape, he could be a force in the American League as a designated hitter.
The Phillies will inevitably have to contribute money to get a deal done, but any team looking for a designated hitter should be kicking the tires on a slugger with the track record of Howard.
New York Mets Actively Shopping Dillon Gee?
Gee has been a bright spot for the franchise over the last four seasons, but he has been buried by the lack of success around him. Gee may finally find his way to a contender this offseason.
According to a report from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets are actively shopping Gee:
While Gee isn't the ace of a rotation, he could easily be a back-end starter who would find more success on a better team. In 22 starts last season, he was 7-8 overall but amassed 94 strikeouts and a 4.00 ERA in 137.1 innings pitched.
Gee’s familiarity with the National League should have several playoff-caliber teams looking to acquire a player who would be able to fill the role of fourth or fifth in the rotation throughout the season.
At 28 years old, Gee is a long-term solution available via the trade market. While he wouldn't be the biggest trade acquisition of the year, the team that adds the depth and talent he brings would be instantly better. For a team on the cusp of contention, Gee could be a difference-maker.
Arizona Diamondbacks Looking for a Catcher?
After the Arizona Diamondbacks traded high-priced catcher Miguel Montero to the Chicago Cubs, the need for another player at the position became clear.
While freeing up salary space was a key to the deal, the need for another catcher is evident.
According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, Arizona has been working hard to acquire a catcher via trade:
Morosi also reported that the Diamondbacks have inquired about the Toronto Blue Jays' Dioner Navarro:
The trade market isn’t overwhelming for catchers, but the franchise must continue looking or risk starting the season with an unproven commodity behind the plate in Tuffy Gosewisch. The 31-year-old will be entering his third season in the majors and has a batting average of .213 over his first two years.
There is no doubt Arizona has the assets to get a deal done, but how much the franchise is willing to spend could limit the market for the Diamondbacks. In order to get a blockbuster deal done, Arizona will have to prove it’s willing to pay.
Stats via MLB.com.
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