MLB rumors: News on free-agent contracts, trades and more
The MLB off-season is underway and Monday is the deadline for players to decide whether to accept or reject any qualifying offers extended to them by their teams.
Last week's initial moves saw veterans like Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey sign short-term deals with the Atlanta Braves. The big contracts have yet to be signed as Yoenis Cespedes, Aroldis Chapman, Edwin Encarnacion and Kenley Jansen will soon hit the market.
Keep up to date on the latest MLB news and rumors below:
• The Philadelphia Phillies have released left-handed pitcher Matt Harrison.
• Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has elected to keep his guaranteed contract for the next two years instead of opting into arbitration, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
• The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have strong interest in reliever Greg Holland.
• White Sox ace Chris Sale's name is starting to swirl in rumors involving the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals.
• Tampa Bay Rays catcher Bobby Wilson has cleared waivers but is hoping to stay with the team, according to Marc Tompkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
• Second baseman Neil Walker has accepted the Mets' $17.2 million qualifying offer for 2017, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. He underwent season-ending surgery on Sept. 8 to repair a herniated disk.
• White Sox star Jose Abreu has opted into arbitration and will remain under team control through 2019, according to Dan Hayes of Comcast SportsNetwork.
• Phillies right-handed pitcher Jeremy Hellickson will accept the team's $17.2 million qualifying offer, the team announced. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports that Hellickson was leaning toward declining the qualifying offer, but teams told Scott Boras that they were reluctant to give up draft pick.
"It's not the stability I wanted but it's a lot of money for 1 year," Hellickson told the News Journal. “I believe in myself to go out there and have another good year, even a better year and put myself in position to get the stability in the next offseason.”
• After winning the World Series, Dexter Fowler has noted that he will test free agency waters but will consider any offer from the Chicago Cubs. Fowler officially rejected the Cubs qualifying offer worth $17.2 million for one year. He will turn 31 in March.
• Los Angeles Dodgers stars Kenley Jansen and Justin Tuner will reject the team's qualifying offer, according to Heyman.
• Mark Trumbo will reject the Orioles' qualifying offer after a season in which he led the majors with 47 home runs, according to Heyman.
• Blue Jays sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista will reject their qualifying offers to test the free agency market, according to Heyman and SB Nation's Chris Cotillo.
• Yoenis Cespedes will reject the Mets' qualifying offer, according to Sherman. Last year, he signed a three-year deal worth $75 million. After earning $27.5 million in 2016, he used his opt-out clause.
• Rangers outfielder Ian Desmond has rejected his qualifying offer for one-year worth $17.2 million, according to Heyman.