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MLB Rumours: Yamamoto dines with Mets contingent

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Team Japan Yoshinobu Yamamoto - The Canadian Press

Here is a roundup of all the latest moves and rumours from around the league as teams focus on the offseason's other big names, following the signing of Shohei Ohtani and the trade of Juan Soto.

Click here for TSN Blue Jays Reporter Scott Mitchell and TSN Baseball Insider Steve Phillips' Top 50 MLB Free Agents of 2023.

D-Backs bring back Gurriel

The Arizona Diamondbacks are in agreement on a deal with outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

Gurriel, 30, hit .261 with 24 home runs and 82 runs batted in across 145 games with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2023, his first year with the team.

He spent the first five years of his MLB career with the Toronto Blue Jays before he was dealt to the Diamondbacks with catcher Gabriel Moreno in exchange for outfielder Daulton Varsho.

Padres could reduce payroll

The San Diego Padres opened 2023 with the third-highest payroll in baseball ($248.9 million) but it seems like that number will be a lot lower in 2024.

According to The Athletic's Dennis Lin, San Diego could see a payroll comfortably below $200 million in order to reset their luxury tax penalty. The Padres were charged $40 million last season. 

Earlier in the off-season, The Athletic reported the Padres took out a loan of about $50 million to help solve cash flow issues and meet obligations that include player payroll. 

They also traded outfielder Juan Soto to the New York Yankees earlier this month in a blockbuster seven-player deal. Soto is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2024 season and is widely expected to command one of the larger contracts in baseball history.

Giants open to Manaea reunion?

The San Francisco Giants have shown interest in bringing back left-hander Sean Manaea, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle

Manaea opted out of the final year ($12.5 million) of his deal to become a free agent.

He pitched in 37 games last season, posting a 4.44 ERA in 117.2 innings with 128 strikeouts.

Manaea has also spent six seasons with the Oakland Athletics (2016-2021) and one with the San Diego Padres (2022).

Yamamoto meets with Mets

Free agent pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto had dinner Saturday at owner Steve Cohen's house with a contingent from the New York Mets, reports The New York Post's Joel Sherman

Cohen hosted Yamamoto along with his wife, team president David Stearns, new manager Carlos Mendoza and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner. 

The New York Post's Jon Heyman notes this is a nice sign for the Mets' chances at signing the Japanese star, though there are at least six other teams still engaged.

He is the top free agent remaining according to TSN's Top 50 list after Shohei Ohtani's 10-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers came to light last week.

Yamamoto had a 1.42 ERA in 24 starts last season for the Orix Buffaloes, winning the NPB's pitching triple crown for the third consecutive year.