Andrew McCutchen moving into Philadelphia’s outfield, and J.T. Realmuto and veteran pitcher Ivan Nova on the go.
The winter meetings picked up a bit Tuesday in Las Vegas, but any big deals for the likes of Corey Kluber, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remained on deck.
There were reports the Baltimore Orioles, finally, were close to hiring a manager in Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde. But the O’s said those stories were premature and they wouldn’t make a decision before leaving winter meetings.
“We don’t have a manager,” newly hired general manager Mike Elias said.
The World Series champion Red Sox made a move, too — with their lineup. AL MVP Mookie Betts will shift out of the leadoff spot and bat behind Andrew Benintendi, manager Alex Cora said.
“I think we’re going to maximize Mookie in a different spot. Flip-flop them, Beni leading off and Mookie hitting second. Talked to him, it makes sense,” Cora said.
“And I know Beni’s OK with it. But if you play 162 games, you’re going to come up 162 at-bats with nobody on. And last year, what I wanted from him in the leadoff spot, we accomplished. It’s a different season and we have to make adjustments, and that’s where we’re going to go.”
Betts led the majors in batting (.346) and slugging percentage (.640) and was second in on-base average (.438) for the 108-win Red Sox. He also had 84 extra-base hits, including 32 home runs.
McCutchen, meanwhile, and the Phillies agreed to a $50 million, three-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The 32-year-old was the NL MVP in 2013, highlighting his long run in Pittsburgh. He split last season with San Francisco and the Yankees, hitting a combined .255 with 20 homers and 65 RBIs.
White Sox get Nova
Ivan Nova has been acquired by the Chicago White Sox from the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league pitcher Yordi Rosario and $500,000 in international signing bonus pool allocation.
Nova, 31, was 9-9 with a 4.19 ERA in 29 starts this season, striking out 114 in 161 innings. The righthander is 78-64 with a 4.26 ERA in nine seasons with the Yankees (2010-16) and Pirates (2016-18).
Nova has a $8.5 million base salary next year in the final season of a three-year, $26-million contract, then can become a free agent.
A 19-year-old right-hander, Rosario was 1-4 with a 2.57 ERA in 11 starts and three relief appearances last year in the Dominican Summer League and Arizona Rookie League. He struck out 70 in 56 innings.
Red Sox not cutting payroll
The champion Boston Red Sox aren’t looking to cut the biggest payroll in the big leagues.
After exceeding all three luxury tax thresholds paid off in a World Series title, the Red Sox anticipate going over the levels again next year even though they’re increasing.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski dismissed reports he is trying to trade some high-priced players, such as pitcher Rick Porcello.
“I’ve heard those tweets,” he said Tuesday at the winter meetings. “We’re not looking to move anybody. We’re not driven to move anybody.”
Boston had the highest payroll for the first time in the free agent era. The Red Sox luxury tax payroll as of Aug. 31 was nearly $239 million, and Dombrowski said he thinks the Red Sox will be over $246 million next season.
Troy Tulowitzki has been released by the Toronto Blue Jays, who owe the oft-injured shortstop $38 million for the remaining two years of his contract.
Now 34, Tulowitzki has not played in the major leagues since July 2017. He was limited that year to 66 games because of a hamstring and right ankle injury. The ankle required surgery last spring and he missed the entire season.
Tulowitzki was taken by Colorado with the seventh overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft and became a five-time All-Star. The Rockies agreed after the 2010 season to a $157.75 million, 10-year contract that added $132 million for seven seasons, then traded him in July 2015 to Toronto in a deal that brought shortstop Jose Reyes to Colorado.