UPDATE: Reds drawing “heavy interest” in Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto

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UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Reds are drawing “heavy interest” in Chapman and Johnny Cueto. It’s believed that the Reds are trying to drop around $17 million in payroll this offseason, so trade talks should continue. Jay Bruce, Mike Leake, Mat Latos, and Alfredo Simon are among the other potential candidates to be dealt.

12:19 p.m. ET: There hasn’t been a word about Aroldis Chapman during the hot stove season. Before now. From Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:

Since finding the ideal starter isn’t easy, perhaps the Marlins should consider building a super bullpen. If they are leaning that way, Aroldis Chapman would be a logical option.

We don’t know if the Marlins are thinking this way, but what is clear is the Reds are open to trading Chapman, their fireball-throwing lefty closer.

So I guess it’s clear.

The Reds are certainly looking to shed payroll and want to make deals to do it. They’ve been reported to be shopping Jay Bruce and any one of three starting pitchers. But before now no one suggested Chapman could be on the block.

It’s not like he makes a ton of money — he’s only owed $5 million in 2015 — so you’d figure he’d bring a big return. But at the same time, it’s not like moving him would solve the Reds’ alleged payroll concerns.

If they do trade Chapman, I figure it’s safe to say that the Reds are going all-in with a rebuild instead of a mere shuffling of top-end talent.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).