Spring training is nigh, but there are still a few things to be settled here in the offseason, aren't there? We've got those Mookie Betts rumors that won't go away while we aren't sure if the Cubs are going to move Kris Bryant and/or Willson Contreras. The remaining free-agent pool is sparse but Yasiel Puig (No. 14 on CBS Sports' top 50), Ben Zobrist (24), Hunter Pence (36) and Scooter Gennett (42) remain from our top 50.
Let's take a look at Tuesday's rumor mill.
Betts talks slower?
Monday, it seemed that Red Sox star Mookie Beets would be imminently dealt, but there's a report Tuesday that makes it seem like the Red Sox will continue to take their time. Full story here.
Ozuna makes big bet on himself
Outfielder Marcell Ozuna signed a one-year, $18 million with the Braves earlier this offseason, helping to at least partially offset their loss of Josh Donaldson to free agency. It was a bit surprising Ozuna didn't sign for longer than one year, but apparently he just wanted the chance to reset everything and cash in the way Donaldson did (four years and $94 million with the Twins this winter after a one-year deal in Atlanta for 2019). Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Ozuna had a three-year, $50 million offer from the Reds and turned it down.
Ozuna, 29, hit .241/.328/.472 (107 OPS+) with 29 homers, 89 RBI, 80 runs and 12 steals last season for the Cardinals, posting 2.2 WAR. A player generally feels confident he'll find a way to return to previous levels -- especially before he turns 30 -- and Ozuna is surely eyeing that 37-homer, 124-RBI, 6.1-WAR season he had in 2017.
Among outfield free agents next offseason, Ozuna likely gets more attention than Michael Brantley (who will be 34), Ryan Braun (36), Yoenis Cespedes (35) and several other relatively big names, but he's far behind Betts (assuming no extension gets done) while George Springer is also set to be a free agent. Also, Nick Castellanos (who got four years and $64 million from the Reds after Ozuna turned them down) and Giancarlo Stanton could opt out of their deals.
Pence has offer from Astros
Veteran outfielder Hunter Pence is coming off a bounce-back season and is looking to continue playing. He has an offer from the Astros, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston.
One might recall that Pence was drafted and developed by the Astros, coming up as a rookie in 2007 and making his first All-Star team with the club in 2009. He was traded to the Phillies in 2011. He was traded to the Giants the next season and spent the rest of his time there until signing a minor-league deal with the Rangers last February.
Pence hit .297/.358/.552 (126 OPS+) with 17 doubles, 18 homers and 59 RBI in 83 games, making his fourth All-Star team. He was injured most of the second half, however. Still, Pence showed enough to believe he's a worthwhile addition at this point in the offseason.
Giants add Wilmer Flores
The Giants have agreed to sign infielder Wilmer Flores to a multi-year deal, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN.
Flores, 28, hit .317/.361/.487 (118 OPS+) with 18 doubles and nine homers in 285 plate appearances last season for the Diamondbacks. It was his first season away from the Mets. He could compete for the second base job with Mauricio Dubon or serve as a utility infielder option, and he's certainly a fit with the Giants' roster.
Bird signs minors deal with Rangers
Free-agent first baseman Greg Bird has signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers, reports George King of the New York Post.
Bird, 27, was impressive as a rookie for the Yankees in 2015 but suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder and missed all of the 2016 season. After that, he never really caught footing in the majors, save for some big home runs in the playoffs. He only appeared in 10 games last season, hitting .171/.293/.257 with one home run before a plantar fascia tear ended his season.
Still, if healthy -- and that's always a question with Bird -- there's potential upside here. We've seen flashes of it. Right now, the Rangers look to have a platoon of Sam Travis and Ronald Guzman at first base, so there's a chance here for Bird.
Marlins add utility man
Veteran utility player Sean Rodriguez has signed a minor-league deal with the Marlins, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. Rodriguez, 34, hit .223/.348/.375 (88 OPS+) in 139 plate appearances for the Phillies last season. He also played every single position except catcher (yes, even 1 1/3 innings on the mound). If he can run an OBP like he did last season, surely the Marlins will be able to find some way to use him effectively on occasion, but he shouldn't be getting regular at-bats at this point in his career.
Braves sign Alonso
The Braves have a pretty good first baseman already, in Freddie Freeman, but it never hurts to have a little depth. Hence Atlanta signed veteran Yonder Alonso to a minor-league deal on Tuesday, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Alonso split last season between the White Sox and Rockies, recording a 68 OPS+ in 335 plate appearances. To be fair, he was essentially a league-average hitter with the Rockies, albeit in a limited role. He'll compete for a bench spot in Atlanta.
Dunn is done
Left-handed reliever Mike Dunn has announced his retirement from baseball, via Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Dunn had an admirable career that included stops with four different big-league teams in parts of 11 seasons. He ends with a 4.00 ERA (103 ERA+), 1.41 WHIP and 473 strikeouts in 436 innings. He had some quality seasons -- namely with the Marlins -- but the writing was on the wall after an 8.05 ERA over the last two seasons with the Rockies.