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MLB Rumors: Indians sign Hanley Ramirez; Craig Kimbrel's agent disputes he'd be out in 2019 season



Exhibition season is here. Nonetheless, we still have plenty of big names left on the board in free agency, including superstar sluggers Bryce Harper and closer Craig Kimbrel. That means we've got a healthy supply of hot stove buzz in February. To give you an idea of ​​what's out there this Saturday, we're here to round up all the notable rumors. As always, our free agent tracker is a great way to catch up on what's already happening on that front.

Let's go round the activity for the day here.

Indians sign Hanley

In a surprising move, the Indians have signed Hanley Ramirez to a minor league contract, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic . The Red Sox released Ramirez last May after he hit and underwhelming .254 / .313 / .395 with six home runs in 44 games. His contract with Boston expired following the season, so they're off the hook financially. For the Indians, it's a low-risk signing. It's essentially a spring training session with no strings attached.

The Indians are essentially holding open auditions for their outfield right now, and while I doubt they'd put Hanley out there, first baseman Jake Bauers has outfield experience. That'd leave first base and DH to Ramirez and Carlos Santana. There was also some chatter Santana that could play the outfield, at least on occasion, which would further open up playing time for Ramirez. For now, Cleveland will bring Hanley to camp and see what the 35-year-old has left in the tank.

Kimbrel won't sit out

Despite reports to the contrary, free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel will not sit Out of the 2019 season, he should not receive a contract to his liking. His agent, David Meter, released a statement to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:

Sitting out 2019 doesn't make any sense for Kimbrel. He would re-enter the market next year when he was older and not pitched competitively in a year. There's no way his free agent stock would increase under those circumstances. China would be better off taking a one-year contract, making a million bucks, then re-entering the market.

Some teams have been lost to interest in Kimbrel, who has the most of anyone through their age -30 seasons. The Red Sox, his old team, has publicly ruled out a return. Meanwhile, the Braves and Twins had stated interest. It is unclear if anyone else is involved or will be involved in the coming weeks.

Phillies possible suitor for Keuchel

Much of the talk concerning the Philadelphia Phillies as of late has been about their pursuit of Bryce Harper. When it comes out, Harper isn't the only agent of the interest in.

Rather, the Phillies remain a potential fit for left-hander Dallas Keuchel:

has posted a 106 ERA + about the last three seasons while averaging 173 innings per pop. He doesn't have the mold teams look for in pitchers anymore – he has a low-spin fastball that doesn't impress on the radar gun – but he's been an effective starter who could lock into the middle of a contender's rotation without issue.

The Phillies have shown a willingness to spend money on their rotation. They signed Jake Arrieta, and more recently they extended ace Aaron Nola

Cardinals give Martinez raise

Jose Martinez is used to being the odd man out in St. Louis, where his inability to play defense has limited his starting opportunities with the Cardinals. Despite being served as a trading trade for most of the last seven months, Martinez remains with the Cardinals – and on Saturday received a pay bump after agreeing to a two-year deal worth more than $ 3 million:

It's not quite right to call this extension – the cardinals didn't gain any control over additional seasons, and Martinez will not qualify for free agency at the deal's conclusion – but it does serve the purpose of keeping him stateside rather than pursuing more lucrative opportunities overseas

Martinez has a career 128 OPS + and last season homered 17 times in 590 plate appearances.

Span gaining suitors

With harper still available, it's easy to overlook that there are still other free agent outfielders who merit contracts. One of those is Denard Span

Span, who turns 35 into a couple of days, is apparently drawing more interest now that spring training is underway:

        
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