MLB rumors: Mets view Justin Verlander as Plan B for Jacob deGrom; Mariners eyeing Yankees’ Gleyber Torres

Major League Baseball’s offseason is here, and with it comes a delightful daily heaping of rumors, news, and notes. Below, you can find all of the most notable to surface on Sunday.

Mets see Verlander as backup plan to deGrom

The Mets view Justin Verlander as a “prominent possibility” if they fail in their efforts to re-sign ace Jacob deGrom, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Verlander just won his third career American League Cy Young Award.

It’s worth noting that Puma establishes elsewhere in his report that the Mets believe deGrom will stay with New York “provided there isn’t a significant discrepancy in offers.” One man’s significant discrepancy is another man’s insignificant discrepancy, so stay tuned on what, exactly, that means for deGrom.

Red Sox have had talks with the former Cy Young Award winner

The Red Sox are clearly pursuing starting pitchers from the second tier and down, including former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. Kluber confirmed to Speier that the two sides have talked in each of the past two offseasons, although he ended up signing with a different American League East team on both occasions. (First the Yankeesthen the Rays.)

Kluber, 36 years old, made 31 starts last season. He compiled a 4.34 ERA (84 ERA+) and a 6.62 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He did not rank among CBS Sports’ top 50 free agents because of his age, injury history, and recent track record. He did, however, pitch better than his bloated ERA indicates, suggesting he’s in for a better year in 2023.

Padres have Abreu high on wishlist

The Padres are currently without a first baseman, what with Josh Bell, Wil Myers, and Brandon Drury all qualifying for free agency themselves. One of the top names on San Diego’s shopping list is former White Sox slugger José Abreu. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweeted on Saturday that Abreu is regarded as a “top priority” for the Pads.

CBS Sports recently ranked Abreu as the 17th-best free agent available this winter, writing:

Abreu is getting old (he’ll turn 36 before spring training), but he keeps hitting. More than half of his batted balls last season had an exit velocity of 95 mph or higher; here’s a complete list of qualified batters who fared better in that area: Aaron Judge, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Schwarber, and Teoscar Hernández. His maximum exit velocity, meanwhile, was in line with the marks posted by the likes of Juan Soto and Lars Nootbaar. The market tends to be unkind to older right-handed first basemen, but Abreu, whose bat contains more pop than The 1975’s discography, may be an exception.

The Padres have already made a few notable moves this offseason, re-signing relievers Nick Martinez and Robert Suarez to multi-year contracts.

Mariners interested in Yankees infielder

Count the Mariners among the teams with interest in Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Torres, 25 years old, is coming off his best season since his sophomore effort. He posted a 114 OPS+ and homered 24 times en route to a four-WAR season. Nevertheless, it’s fair to write that Torres has, for the most part, failed to live up to the expectations that were established by his first two years in the majors. The Yankees have several young infielders on the cusp, including Anthony Volpe, which gives them the freedom to explore the market for both Torres and shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

The Mariners have already made one notable addition this offseason, acquiring Teoscar Hernández from the Blue Jays in exchange for two pitchers.

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