It is a small feat to say that this year’s Winter Meetings blew the last couple out of the water in terms of activity. It is no small feat to say that it was the busiest Winter Meetings that I can remember, and by quite some stretch.
For the Cubs, the week was extremely successful, locking down Jason Hammel to an incredible deal, picking up Miguel Montero in trade, and, of course, signing Jon Lester to a monster deal. If the Cubs entirely shut things down the rest of the way, you’d have to say that look like a .500ish team on paper, with a significant variance in possible outcomes due to the youth of the team. That is to say, this could be a 90-plus-win team, as constructed … or it could be a sub-75-win team.
But I don’t think they’re shutting things down just yet, what with quite a ways to go in the offseason. Odds are, the major moves are complete, with a bench bat to add, a bullpen arm, and possibly a roll-of-the-dice starter. There remains a chance that the Cubs will try to add another significant bat, and, frankly, I really think they should.
For the rest of the league, the week was bonanzas. From the White Sox making moves early to the A’s and Marlins doing strange things to the Dodgers and Red Sox doing everything late to the madness in between … it was a ride.
Some of the latest lingering bits …
- The Rangers have reportedly struck a deal with the Nationals – no, no roofs were harmed – acquiring lefty Ross Detwiler for a minor leaguer infielder and a minor league reliever, according to Jeff Passan (Evan Grant suggests the names here.) The obvious relevance here is that yesterday, the Rangers were rumored to have considered making a move for Travis Wood or Wade Miley, who went to the Red Sox. I’d guess that the acquisition of Detwiler probably takes the Rangers out of any realistic consideration of Wood.
- Speaking of Wood, Gordon Wittenmyer writes that he has “drawn interest from multiple teams,” and that may include the Giants and Phillies. On the Phillies, Wittenmyer also suggests that there could be a match involving Welington Castillo. I suppose that could make some sense, given Castillo’s three years of cost-control, but I’d think the Phillies would be all about picking up prospects right now. The names Wittenmyer mentions – outfielder Ben Revere and third base prospect Maikel Franco – are certainly interesting, but I’d think the Phillies would want to pick up prospects if they were moving Revere (and he’s not that interesting) and I can’t figure out why they would want to move a top 50ish prospect like Franco.
- Theo Epstein said earlier in the week that the Cubs will not be shopping Castillo, though they will listen. I still like the idea of a Montero/Castillo platoon, but if there’s a team out there that comes calling and wants to value Castillo very highly in trade, the Cubs might be best off pulling that trigger, and signing a back-up catcher like David Ross.
- The PTBNL deals the Cubs have to wrap up – a player going to the Red Sox, a player received from the A’s – may not come today as previously expected. Carrie Muskat writes that they should come by Monday, however, which is the deadline to complete the deals. Rules-related confession here so we can all learn together: I was not aware of a deadline for completing PTBNL transactions other than the six month deadline (i.e., PTBNLs must be selected within six months of the trade). Since that deadline for either deal wouldn’t come until next month, December 15 must be some kind of separate deadline to wrap up PTBNL deals. I don’t expect the players, coming or going, to be significant prospects (and still expect, most likely, that they will be Rule 5 eligible players who were not selected today). It’s possible that, with so much other activity going on, the teams simply want to take as much time as possible to finalize these things, since you never know what else could come up in the interim.
- The Royals have agreed with Kendrys Morales on a two-year, $17 million deal. Makes sense to me. Misread the market badly last year, sit out half the season, post a 72 wRC+ and -1.7 WAR, and then get an even bigger guarantee the next year.