The Winter Meetings are here and it is time for the rumors of big trades and big signings to swirl. Generally, the meetings offer quite a bit of information on the market for free agents and what teams are up to. It’s best to call it the Christmas for baseball fans. The meetings have been fruitful so far as it seems the market freeze isn’t in effect this year. With the signing of Anthony Rendon, Scott Boras has negotiated $814 million in contracts in three days for just three guys. It’s been exciting, and definitely a shift from years past. Here is a wrap up by team of rumors and deals from the third day of the meetings.
A report came out that the Diamondbacks had a meeting with Japanese centerfielder Shogo Akiyama. That would make sense for the team, given that they want to move Ketel Marte to second base permanently. The Dbacks also had discussions with free agent Madison Bumgarner on a significant contract. No formal offer was made.
Well, the Braves won’t be signing Anthony Rendon. The team has said there likely won’t be any moves completed at the Winter Meetings. However, now that Rendon is off the board, the market for Josh Donaldson becomes a little clearer. The a Braves are definitely in on that market, but are not the front runners for his services. Alex Anthopoulos also stated that he does not feel that his team needs any significant pitching upgrades. That likely puts them out on Madison Bumgarner or Hyun-Jin Ryu.
The Orioles will likely be a team that selects some players in the Rule 5 Draft. It seems that they will try to upgrade their rotation in the Rule 5 Draft, and could select two players. Mike Elias said that the team had conversations with free agent pitchers and middle infielders, but it doesn’t seem a deal will be struck this week. He also said the character and background of a player is something they look at. That likely means they will not be signing Addison Russell, as some have speculated.
Boston Red Sox
The club needs some bullpen help, but it seems they are not the most aggressive in pursuing Sergio Romo. The rumors of David Price being traded have swirled, but nothing seems imminent. Chaim Bloom said that there have been discussions but there likely won’t be a deal this week.
The Cubs reportedly had a meeting with centerfielder Shogo Akiyama. However, Theo Epstein isn’t confident that anything will get done this week. There has been groundwork laid for deals and it likely will spill to the rest of the offseason. A market for Kris Bryant is becoming clearer as the other options come off the board. Epstein also didn’t rule out a Rule 5 Draft choice.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox don’t seem to have anything imminent and they’re trying to stay true to the rebuild process that they underwent. Hahn spoke about the process and said they didn’t want to force anything. That doesn’t mean a move won’t be made, but it seems the team won’t make desperate moves in an attempt to improve.
The Reds were in on Zack Wheeler before he signed with the Phillies. It seems that the team is now trying to get creative with deals instead of throwing money at the problem. There has been a ton of smoke around the Reds at the meetings, but no real fire. There were reports of the Reds being in on Nicholas Castellanos, but it is tough to tell if those were founded in any sort of fact.
The Indians have engaged some teams regarding Corey Kluber. It would make sense for the budget-conscious Indians to try to move on from Kluber. It has also been reported that a team or two might actually meet their demands for shortstop Francisco Lindor. The Indians seem intent on shedding some payroll and maybe entering a time of rebuild.
Drew Butera has been added to the Rockies with a non-roster invite to Spring Training. The Rockies also continued their trend of spending big in their bullpen by signing Scott Oberg to a decent extension. Nolan Arenado has also come up in trade talks. It’s hard to imagine that they would pull the trigger, but given his opt out clause coming soon and a really disappointing 2019, they just might.
The Tigers are really trying to be patient with their rebuild process. The team is said to have discussions with the Rangers about Nomar Mazara before he was dealt, but it never went anywhere. There is a player they will be selecting in the Rule 5 Draft, as it makes sense for them to do. Travis Shaw looks to be a target of the Tigers as well. He could be a great bounce back candidate.
Jeff Luhnow has stated that the Astros will not be making any headlines at the Winter Meetings. He also refuted the sentiment that Carlos Correa was being shopped. Luhnow does not envision a scenario where he would trade from the team’s core. The Astros could use another pitcher, but with Lance McCullers Jr. expected back, they may not look to add.
Kansas City Royals
With Salvador Perez coming back from a significant injury, the team will really be exploring the backup catcher market. The team is expected to have Pérez work as a catcher, first baseman and a DH and ease him back into full time catching. The team has had no significant rumors swirling about.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels made the splash of the day yesterday but signing Anthony Rendon to a 7 year, $245 million contract. The team is now pivoting to the pitching market, as that is seen as an area that really needs an overhaul. There have been discussions with the Indians about Corey Kluber. The team could also be in on the next tier of free agent starting pitchers as they try to get back to winning.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers could have potentially found a decent deal for the offseason. They signed reliever Blake Treinen to a one year, $10 million deal. Treinen had been nontendered by the Athletics. The team says to be looking at Kris Bryant and would likely cost two pitching prospects and a position player. The Dodgers seem to have some money to spend, and they are willing to do it to try to get back to the World Series.
The Marlins have received calls about their starting pitching. Caleb Smith seems to be the target of most, but the Marlins don’t seem inclined to subtract from that group. The team is still looking for bullpen help and an impact bat.
The Brewers seem to be operating at a slower pace than one would expect. However, the team is in search of multiple starting pitchers. The team did add Josh Lindblom on a 3 year, $9.125 million deal to bolster their rotation. It does not seem that the Brewers will be making the splash that some people had hoped for.
Most interestingly, after blowing the home run record away, the Twins seem to be in on Josh Donaldson. He would be an upgrade over at third and could see time as a DH once Nelson Cruz departs via free agency. It definitely could be a fit. There are also rumblings of Eddie Rosario being shopped. The Twins should be focusing on pitching, but why not?
New York Mets
It seems the Mets are shopping for some bargain pitching. The team added Michael Wacha into the mix on a base of $3 million with plenty of incentives. Other than this signing, the team has remained in contact for the Pirates’ Starling Marte. The team has also been approached about Jed Lowrie.
New York Yankees
The Yankees are attempting to get some other things done now that Gerrit Cole is locked in. Brett Gardner seems to be a priority, especially given the situation with Aaron Hicks. The team is said to be pretty far down the line with it.
Oakland is definitely not moving Chad Pinder. The A’s want to upgrade their second base position and are looking at trades to do so. Adam Frazier of the Pirates and old friend Jed Lowrie seem to be logical fits for the A’s and there have been rumors about both.
The Phillies seem to want to stay under the luxury tax thresholds, but really haven’t acted like it. Scott Boras sees it a little different and thinks the Phillies really just want to spend. The team is still said to be in on Josh Donaldson and could look at the pitching market as well.
The Pirates have been in touch with Oakland about dealing Adam Frazier. They would like a catcher in return, reportedly. The team is also discussing pitching options as they do need to add some pitching this season. The Yankees have also spent more money on Gerrit Cole than the Pirates have on free agents in the past 25 years.
San Diego Padres
The Padres might be looking to explore an extension with closer Kirby Yates. Other than that, everything else has seemed to fizzle away into obscurity.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants’ new stadium dimensions have come to light. So that’s interesting. Final days of the Winter Meetings are fun!
It seems that Shed Long will be the starting second baseman. It seems to leave Dee a Gordon out in the cold, unless they want to play him in centerfield. Teams are interested in Mitch Haniger, but it doesn’t seem that the Mariners are interested in trading him.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are another team that have gone quiet as the Winter Meetings roll on.
Tampa Bay Rays
Nothing to see here except a new slapdick prospect. Move along.
The Rangers swung and missed at Anthony Rendon, but there are plenty of options. Josh Donaldson is one that comes to mind. They could also engage for Miguel Andujar of the Yankees or Kris Bryant. The team is also looking for a platoon or an upgrade over at first base.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays signed Tanner Roark to a 2 year $24 million deal. World Series back on!
The team has kicked the tires on Kris Bryant after missing out on Anthony Rendon. They need a third baseman at present, and could shift to a number of different options. Rizzo believes it will be done shortly after the Winter Meetings conclude.
Other Winter Meetings Notes
MLB has released their study on the baseballs. It’s said that it was 60% the ball and 40% offensive approach as to why there were so many home runs. The seam height was lower, but there still wasn’t anything quite conclusive.
Rule changes for 2020 seem to be set. A 15 day injured list minimum for pitchers is in place. It will likely lessen the phantom injuries and roster churning. There will be a three batter minimum in place as well. The 26th man will be added in and it seems that it may impact how the Rule 5 draft is viewed this year.
MLB will be extending the netting in all ballparks beyond the dugouts.