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MLB off-season rumours blog: Soto talks with Yankees intensifying

Juan Soto San Diego Padres Juan Soto - The Canadian Press

The winter meetings are underway in Nashville as the MLB off-season gets set to kick into high-gear. Here is a roundup of all the latest moves and rumours from around the league.

TSN Blue Jays Reporter Scott Mitchell and TSN Baseball Insider Steve Phillips unveiled their Top 50 MLB Free Agents last month.

Yankees may be making progress on Soto trade

After Tuesday's big news featured the New York Yankees acquiring an outfielder in a trade - they got Alex Verdugo from the Boston Red Sox - they may be progressing toward acquiring another.

Trade talks between the San Diego Padres and Yankees had reportedly slowed to a halt, but MLB Network's Jon Morosi indicates that talks have intensified and a trade may be imminent. 

Soto is a three-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger award winner, as well as a World Series champion in 2019 with the Washington Nationals - all before the age of 25. 

Young pitchers Michael King and Drew Thorpe are expected to headline the return for the Padres, if the deal is completed. 

The Yankees are also reportedly expected to meet with Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto in the United States on Monday. New York Mets owner Steve Cohen met with Yamamoto, the top pitcher on the free agent market, in Japan earlier this week.  

Dodgers active in trade talks while hunting Ohtani

While the Los Angeles Dodgers are still in hot pursuit of top free-agent target Shohei Ohtani, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal indicates that they are also keeping trade talks open with some other teams.

Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers is a name Rosenthal mentioned, as he would fit a glaring need in their rotation. 

Willy Adames is also a trade target for the Dodgers, as he would provide an upgrade over shortstop Gavin Lux.  

Blue Jays among teams interested in CF Taylor

Michael A. Taylor, who hit a career-high 21 home runs with the Minnesota Twins in 2023 and is a former Gold Glove winner, is drawing interest from multiple teams, according to Jon Morosi.

Taylor hit .220 with 21 HR, 51 runs batted in and 48 runs scored in 129 games last season. 

Morosi indicates that the Cincinnati Reds, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox are the teams most interested in the 32-year-old. 

Boston traded away outfielder Alex Verdugo to the New York Yankees on Tuesday. 

Rodriguez deal may come Thursday

Free agent right-hander Eduardo Rodriguez met with multiple clubs at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, but his agent, Gene Mato, said Wednesday that the plan is to "take a breath" and consider all options before engaging further on a deal, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports.

The New York Post's Jon Heyman reports that Rodriguez is down to "two teams" and may come to an agreement by Thursday. 

Rodriguez had perhaps the best season of his career last year with the Detroit Tigers, pitching to a 3.30 earned runs average with 143 strikeouts in 152.2 innings.  

The native of Venezuela opted out of the final three years of his five-year, $77 million contract that was signed ahead of the 2021 season.

Padres may also look to deal infielder Cronenworth

While a trade involving superstar outfielder Soto seems imminent,'s Mark Feinsand reports that the Padres may also be open to dealing utilityman Jake Cronenworth as well.

Cronenworth was named an All-Star in 2021 and 22, but hit just .229 with 10 home runs in 127 games for the Padres in a down year in 2023.

The 29-year-old started primarily at first base last year (94 out of 124 starts were at first, with the remaining at second base), but has made starts at every infield spot in his career. In 491 career MLB games, Cronenworth has hit .249 with 52 HR and 227 RBI. 

Former Blue Jays pitcher Hicks drawing interest 

Right-handed pitcher Jordan Hicks, who was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays from the St. Louis Cardinals at the trade deadline this season, is drawing interest from multiple teams, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi.

The Houston Astros, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels are the frontrunners, with other teams in the running.

Hicks pitched to a 2.63 earned runs average in 25 games with the Blue Jays down the stretch, and finished with a 3.29 ERA on the season with 81 strikeouts in 65.2 innings pitched.

TSN Blue Jays insider Scott Mitchell reports that the Blue Jays are not in contact with Hicks; he's expected to sign with a new team.