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The offseason remains relatively slow for Major League Baseball and we're entering the "holiday break" zone where generally not a lot of stuff happens around Christmas and the New Year. There is still plenty of unfinished business, however, so maybe this year will be different and the stove will actually get hot again. 

In the meantime, let's dive into the latest rumors, starting with the guy who could help jar things loose by signing. 

Latest on Yoshinobu Yamamoto

While it's not yet decision time for the coveted right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto -- the top free-agent starting pitcher on the market this offseason -- the time draws near. Per posting rules, he has 45 days to make his decision, and that comes to a deadline of Jan. 4. Jon Morosi reports that Yamamoto has at least one offer worth $300 million or more, which is in line with recent expectations for the scale of contract he'll fetch. 

As for the teams chasing him, Yamamoto took an important step on Thursday evening. According to Alex Pavlovic, Yamamoto has informed the San Francisco Giants that he'll not be signing with them. As well, Ben Nicholson-Smith adds that the Blue Jays are "not expected" to land Yamamoto. 

Elsewhere, the Phillies have made a formal offer to Yamamoto, per multiple reports (mlb.com). Reports indicate the Phillies feel like they made a strong offer, though they also aren't expected to be the high bidder and aren't the favorites to sign him. It's not known where the Phillies' offer is for $300 million or more. 

One of the few big free agent deals we've seen accepted so far this offseason came from the Phillies, as they re-signed starting pitcher Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 million deal. 

In looking at their current rotation, Yamamoto would make the Phillies utterly stacked. They already have Nola, Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suárez, Taijuan Walker and Christopher Sánchez. If they signed Yamamoto, Suárez put together a full season of which he looks capable and Nola returned to form after a down 2023, they'd have four frontline starters. Walker has been an All-Star before. 

The Phillies have stiff competition here, though. The Dodgers, Yankees and Mets are involved in the bidding and widely considered to be the frontrunners, as Mark Feinsaid notes,while teams like the Red Sox and Blue Jays have also been mentioned. As noted above, though, the Blue Jays are reportedly not in position to win the bidding. 

Speaking of the Dodgers, they still have eyes for Yamamoto even after signing Shohei Ohtani and trading for Tyler Glasnow. On the wooing front, Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times initially reported that Yamamoto was planning to attend Thursday nights' Rams-Saints NFL game at SoFi Stadium along with Shohei Ohtani. However, that report was later retracted despite the Rams originally "expecting" Yamamoto to be there.

The Dodgers have rotation questions for 2024, and Yamamoto as the top starting pitcher on the market would very directly address that shortcoming. The addition of Yamamoto would almost certainly make the Dodgers not only World Series favorites but about as heavy a favorite as one team can be during the offseason. 

Mariners, Guardians have discussed Naylor trade

The Seattle Mariners have discussed a trade with the Cleveland Guardians that would send first baseman Josh Naylor to Seattle, reports MLB Network. It appears the Mariners are looking to beef up their offense via trade instead of primarily free agency. 

Naylor, 26, is still under team control for two more years before free agency. In 121 games last season, he hit .308/.354/.489 (133 OPS+) with 31 doubles, 17 homers, 97 RBI, 52 runs, 10 steals and 2.5 WAR. 

If Naylor is traded, it would be difficult to view it as much more than a salary dump and Naylor isn't even expected to break the bank here in his second year of arbitration. It would likely be a precursor to a trade of Shane Bieber and possibly also Emmanuel Clase

Should the Mariners land Naylor, he would make for a quality 1B/DH combo with Ty France

Yankees add González on minor-league deal

The Yankees have signed outfielder Luis González to a minor-league contract, according to Ken Rosenthal

González, 28, was NL Rookie of the Month in May 2022. In 98 games for the Giants that season, he hit .254/.323/.360 (95 OPS+) with 17 doubles, two triples, four homers, 36 RBI, 31 runs and 10 stolen bases. He had back surgery last spring and returned to hit .248/.350/.352 in 31 minor-league games to conclude the season. He'll serve as organizational depth.

And no, this is not the same one who blooped a Mariano Rivera pitch into left field in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series to give the Diamondbacks their first franchise title.