MLB rumors: Yankees were willing to make big Blake Snell offer, Mets sign hard-throwing reliever

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Major League Baseball kicked off February with a bang, as the Baltimore Orioles acquired ace Corbin Burnes from the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night in exchange for two prospects and a draft pick. What will the second day of the month bring? Remember, four of our top 10 free agents (Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery) remain unsigned. In theory, that could change at any given time. In practice, we’ll be keeping track of all the day’s latest news, notes, and rumors in the space below.
Yankees were willing to go above Rodón for Snell
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Yankees were willing to go “above Rodón” to land reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. Heyman speculates that means they were willing to top the $27 million AAV they handed to Carlos Rodón last winter as part of a six-year, $162 million agreement.
Heyman notes that Snell is believed to want more than $30 million annually.
The Yankees are now said to no longer be interested in Snell or other starters, having signed Marcus Stroman in January.
Cardinals sign Middleton
The Cardinals have reached an agreement with right-handed reliever Keynan Middleton, according to Robert Murray of FanSided.
Middleton, 30, split last season between the White Sox and Yankees. In 51 combined appearances he amassed a 3.38 ERA (133 ERA+) and a 2.78 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He threw his changeup and slider more than 72% of the time, marking the first occasion in his career where his fastball wasn’t his primary pitch.
Middleton is the second notable veteran addition the Cardinals have made to their bullpen this winter. They also obtained closer Andrew Kittredge from the Rays back in January.
Braves add Giles
The Braves have announced veteran reliever Ken Giles as one of their non-roster invitees.
Giles, 33, has not sparsely pitched in recent seasons due to injury. He made five appearances in 2022 and four in 2020, but hasn’t been a steady presence in a bullpen since 2019. For his career, he’s amassed a 150 ERA+ and a 4.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio, making him a potentially intriguing low-cost addition if he can stay healthy.
The Braves have had a busy offseason with respect to their bullpen. They’ve added Reynaldo López and Aaron Bummer and retained both Pierce Johnson and Joe Jiménez.
Mets sign Fujinami
The Mets have inked righty Shintaro Fujinami to a one-year deal worth $3.35 million plus incentives, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
Fujinami, 29, split last season between the Orioles and Athletics. He compiled a 7.18 ERA (57 ERA+) and a 1.84 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 64 appearances. Fujinami does have better stuff than those numbers indicate. His fastball averaged 98 mph last year and his splitter generated more than 35% whiffs.
The Mets are banking on being able to get more from Fujinami’s arsenal in 2024.

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