MLB Winter Meetings Day 2 recap: What you missed from MLB Hot Stove

Day 2 of Major League Baseball's annual winter meetings is underway in Nashville, where the rumors of Shohei Ohtani's free agency are ramping up with the Toronto Blue Jays now in the mix.

Trade talks are always a focus of the winter meetings. On Monday, Astros general manager Dana Brown said Houston is not interested in trading third baseman Alex Bregman this offseason. But in San Diego and Tampa, outfielder Juan Soto and and pitcher Tyler Glasnow, respectively, could be moved ahead of the 2024 season.

Here's a look back at the news from Tuesday at the winter meetings:

Padres outfielder Juan Soto is expected to be moved by the 2024 season.
Padres outfielder Juan Soto is expected to be moved by the 2024 season.

Red Sox trade Alex Verdugo to Yankees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox swung a trade for only the eighth time in the last 54 years Tuesday night with the Yankees acquiring outfielder Alex Verdugo for three pitching prospects.

The trade not only gives the Yankees a veteran outfielder they badly need, but this could put the pressure on the San Diego Padres to lower their asking price for All-Star Juan Soto.

Yes, according to a high-ranking Yankees executive, the Yankees still want Soto. The executive spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the discussions.

The Yankees are sending right-handed pitchers Richard Fitts, Greg Weissert and Nicholas Judice to the Red Sox for Verdugo.

– Bob Nightengale

Cleveland Guardians win No. 1 pick in 2024 MLB draft

Cleveland Guardians, you are on the clock.

The 2024 MLB draft lottery was held at the annual winter meetings in Nashville on Tuesday, and even with one of the slimmest odds of all eligible teams, Cleveland was selected to have the No. 1 pick in next summer's draft.

Like the NBA draft, MLB decides the top half of its draft order through a lottery system, rather than basing it on the previous season's records.

Jordan Mendoza

Erick Fedde signs with White Sox

Pitcher Erick Fedde, who was named MVP of the Korea Baseball Organization this season, is signing a two-year, $15 million contract with the Chicago White Sox, Bob Nightengale reports. Fedde, 30, went 20-6 with a 2.00 ERA for the NC Dinos in the KBO this year and drew interest from multiple MLB teams at the winter meetings. Before his breakout season in South Korea, Fedde spent six seasons with the Washington Nationals after he was selected with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2014 amateur draft. The UNLV product was called up by the Nationals in 2017 and spent the next five seasons pitching in Washington. In 102 games, including 88 as a starter in D.C., Fedde went 21-33 with a 5.41 ERA, 352 strikeouts and 191 walks. He became a free agent following the 2022 season before signing a contract with the KBO.

Ellen J. Horrow

Yankees' Aaron Boone covets Juan Soto, Yamamoto

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Like a kid with a long holiday wish list, Yankees manager Aaron Boone is attracted to some popular items.

Asked if Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto would look good in pinstripes, a smiling Boone said: “I think he probably would, yeah."

Talking about San Diego Padres slugger Juan Soto, Boone said his combination of power and on-base acumen makes the lefty-hitting outfielder “as good an offensive player as there is’’ in today’s game.

“(He’s) accomplished a ton already at a young age, been a central figure on a world championship team,’’ with the 2019 Washington Nationals.

By next week, Yamamoto and his agent are expected to meet with the finalists for his services, a field speculated to include the Yankees, Mets, and Dodgers.

Boone anticipates being part of those discussions since he’s already had a previous chance meeting with Yamamoto.

“(We) met once before," said Boone, who plans to meet with Yamamoto again. “It’s hard to find a 25-year-old pitcher as decorated as he is,’’ which includes success at the World Baseball Classic.

– Pete Caldera,

Dodgers met with Shohei Ohtani, Dave Roberts says

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Dodgers manager Dave Roberts divulged that the club met with Shohei Ohtani at Dodger Stadium for a few hours late last week, becoming the first team to acknowledge their private meeting. Ohtani also met recently with the Blue Jays and Giants’ officials, but their team officials have declined to confirm.

“Clearly," Roberts said, “Shohei's our top priority.’’

Roberts spoke freely and relaxed for 20 minutes, but his face became serious as he spent several moments reading a text message on his phone after his session. He immediately huddled with Dodgers public relations officials.

“I would like to be honest, and so we met with Shohei," Roberts said. “I don’t feel like lying is something that I do. I was asked a question, and to be forthright in this situation, we kept it quiet. But I think that it’s going to come out at some point that we met."

– Bob Nightengale

Kirby Yates signing with Rangers

Free agent relief pitcher Kirby Yates has agreed to a one-year contract with the World Series champion Texas Rangers, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Yates had a 3.28 ERA in 61 games for the Braves in 2023. An All-Star for the Padres 2019 with a 1.19 ERA and 41 saves, Yates had only pitched 15 games over the previous three seasons due to injury and Tommy John surgery.

He will solidify the back end of the Rangers bullpen alongside Josh Sborz and José Leclerc. Texas is also considered a frontrunner to sign top free agent closer Josh Hader.

– Jesse Yomtov

Shohei Ohtani suitors dwindling?

While no one yet knows for sure which team will eventually end up signing Shohei Ohtani, the list of potential candidates is apparently down to a select few.

Now, one of the teams popularly mentioned in the Ohtani Sweepstakes may be close to folding its hand.

USA TODAY Sports' Bob Nightengale says the Chicago Cubs aren't optimistic they'll be able to sign Ohtani, leaving three West Coast teams and the Toronto Blue Jays as the leading contenders.

Ohtani has put a premium on secrecy throughout the entire free agent process, so perhaps the best way to figure out where he's heading is by eliminating the other challengers one by one.

– Steve Gardner

If not Cody Bellinger, Jung-Hoo Lee is option for Yankees

As desperate as the Yankees might seem to make a Juan Soto deal, or to spend lavishly on free agent Cody Bellinger, there’s enough cost risk involved to consider other alternatives.

Lefty-hitting, South Korean outfielder Jung-Hoo Lee will reportedly be posted by the KBO’s Kiwoom Heroes on Tuesday morning, starting a 30-day window for negotiations.

Of course, the Yankees are tied to interest in Lee, but so are several other clubs, including the Mets.

Lee, 25, is a .340-career hitter known for his low strikeout rate, with some developing power and the ability to play all three outfield spots.

But there’s some leap of faith required, hoping Lee’s star will keep rising at the MLB level.

Lee also wouldn’t be as expensive as Bellinger, or cost them any top prospects, etc., as a Soto deal requires, but the Yanks would still be expected to make at least another splashy winter move.

They’re also chasing Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, along with the Mets.

As with Yamamoto, Lee’s signing requires a posting fee be paid to his former club. Incidentally, Lee, Bellinger and Soto are all represented by Scott Boras.

– Pete Caldera,

When is MLB draft lottery? Odds for No. 1 overall pick in 2024

Major League Baseball's draft lottery will take place on Tuesday, airing at 5:30 p.m. ET on MLB Network.

Here's the full odds for each team to get the No. 1 overall pick.

  1. Oakland Athletics: 18.3%

  2. Kansas City Royals: 18.3%

  3. Colorado Rockies: 18.3%

  4. Chicago White Sox: 14.7%

  5. St. Louis Cardinals: 8.3%

  6. Los Angeles Angels: 6.1%

  7. New York Mets: 4.3%

  8. Pittsburgh Pirates: 3.0%

  9. Cleveland Guardians: 2.0%

  10. Detroit Tigers: 1.6%

  11. Boston Red Sox: 1.2%

  12. San Francisco Giants: 1.0%

  13. Cincinnati Reds: 0.9%

  14. San Diego Padres: 0.7%

  15. New York Yankees: 0.6%

  16. Chicago Cubs: 0.4%

  17. Seattle Mariners: 0.2%

The Washington Nationals had the fifth-worst record in baseball, but are ineligible as they had the No. 2 overall pick in 2023 – but teams that pay into revenue sharing aren't allowed to have top-10 picks in consecutive seasons.

Mets looking for outfield help

The uncertain health of Starling Marte, who played 86 games last season as he dealt with groin and neck injuries, along with migraines, has the New York Mets seeking outfield depth.

"I think our outfield situation, we could stand to add an outfielder there. There’s no question," Stearns said. "That can take different paths: it can be more defensive oriented, it can be someone who we view as a bat-first player.

"I do think there are options on free agency and trade that we're working through and we'll continue to evaluate that."

Stearns said he sees Jeff McNeil more in second base, but did not want to pencil him in to one specific position. Stearns added that Marte did not get the work in that he had hoped coming off double groin surgery ahead of 2023. Mendoza said he plans to visit Marte down in the Dominican Republic.

"I think he's in a much better spot now. He's eager to get going. He feels strong," Stearns said. "And so we're never going to know until we get into the season for players who are bouncing back from injury but everything I've heard so far is very positive."

– Andrew Treddinick,

Blue Jays meet with Shohei Ohtani: Report

The Toronto Blue Jays appear to be in the running for two-way star Shohei Ohtani, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. According to the report, Ohtani and Blue Jays officials met on Monday at the club's spring training complex in Dunedin, Florida. However, the Los Angeles Dodgers still seem to be the front-runners for Ohtani's services, as USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale told Jomboy Media's Jack Oliver at the Winter Meetings. The San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves are also considered in the mix.

Ranking MLB's top free agents

Major League Baseball awaits the dual impact of one player’s decision: Shohei Ohtani.

Check out the full breakdown of MLB's top 89 free agents for 2023-24:

  1. SP/DH Shohei Ohtani, Angels

  2. SP Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Orix Buffaloes, Japan

  3. SP Blake Snell, Padres

  4. OF/1B Cody Bellinger, Cubs

  5. SP Aaron Nola, Phillies – SIGNED with Phillies

  6. SP Sonny Gray, Twins – SIGNED with Cardinals

  7. RP Josh Hader, Padres

  8. 3B Matt Chapman, Blue Jays

  9. SP Jordan Montgomery, Cardinals

  10. SP Eduardo Rodriguez, Tigers

  11. SP Marcus Stroman, Cubs

  12. OF/DH Jorge Soler, Marlins

  13. OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Diamondbacks

  14. DH J.D. Martinez, Dodgers

  15. OF Teoscar Hernandez, Mariners

– Gabe Lacques

Ron Washington brings optimism to Angels as Shohei Ohtani rumors swirl

Ron Washington is back managing for the first time since 2014, and the two-time AL champion walks into a challenging situation with LA.

The man that led the Texas Rangers to back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010-11 plans to change the Angels fortunes, with or without Shohei Ohtani  (“I don’t have much to say about that yet because I don't want to let anything out the bag"), and will let his team know in his introductory speech in spring training that he could care less what has happened in the past.

The future is now.

“The way I would address that is let's not talk about the last five or six years when the Los Angeles Angels were struggling," Washington says. “ Let's talk past that when they were the team that everybody was trying to run down. That's what I want to think about because we do have the personnel to go out and compete every night."

– Bob Nightengale

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB Winter Meetings: Tuesday recap of baseball hot stove, free agency