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MLB rumors: Phillies unlikely to add outfielder after Brandon Marsh injury; Padres interested in starters

Spring training is fast approaching and still 15 of our top 50 free agents remain unsigned, including four of the top 10. Eventually a team will sign the reigning NL Cy Young winner, right? Right. Blake Snell won’t be forced into retirement. Here now are Saturday’s hot stove rumors.   

Phillies unlikely to add outfield help

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Even after losing Brandon Marsh to knee surgery, the Phillies are unlikely to add to their outfield, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Friday. Marsh will resume baseball activities in 3-4 weeks and the team expects him to be ready for Opening Day. Here’s what Dombrowski said Friday (via MLB.com):

“We still think we’re the same way we were beforehand, when it comes to Opening Day,” Dombrowski said. “[Free-agent outfielders] want guarantees, and we’re just not able to give them those guarantees. … We talk to people all the time. The reality is that we don’t have guaranteed playing time that some people want. We just don’t have that. It’s not really even a dollar issue as it is playing time.”

Philadelphia expects to have Marsh in left, Johan Rojas in center and Nick Castellanos in right with Cristian Pache and Jake Cave on the bench this coming season. Their most experienced Triple-A outfielder is journeyman Cal Stevenson. Given how many free agents remain unsigned, the Phillies can see how Marsh’s rehab goes, then pursue outfield help in a few weeks if needed.

Padres have interest in Lorenzen, Syndergaard

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Righties Michael Lorenzen and Noah Syndergaard are among the lower tier free agents the Padres have shown interest in, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. San Diego badly needs rotation depth after losing Seth Lugo, Nick Martinez and Michael Wacha to free agency. Incumbents Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove finished last year on the injured list as well.

The Padres are expected to run a payroll in the $200 million range this season and, at the moment, their estimated 2024 Opening Day payroll is approximately $165 million. It seems they have money to spend, though MLB will broadcast the team’s game this coming season after Bally Sports dropped them in 2023. Either way, the Padres need pitching, and they’re looking for bargains.

Twins not close to trading Vázquez

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The Twins have not yet gained any traction for a Christian Vázquez trade, reports The Athletic. The veteran backstop lost the starting job to Ryan Jeffers last season, and is owed $20 million over 2024-25. Shedding even part of that would allow the Twins to invest in their roster elsewhere, most likely the pitching staff. As things stands, Vázquez will be a well-paid backup.

It has been a fairly quiet offseason for the Twins, who face uncertainty with their local television contract given the Bally Sports situation. They swapped Jorge Polanco for pitching depth and signed Carlos Santana, and that’s about it. Minnesota’s estimated $119 million Opening Day payroll is well south of last season’s $154 million Opening Day payroll.

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