I’ll tell you what guys. This is my first full-time coverage of the Winter Meetings, and it is genuinely crazy.
All day and night, rumors and reports and updates and more rumors are circulated around the internet and elsewhere (water coolers, I presume), so be sure to keep checking in.
I can hardly get through a single post before Brett gives me a more realistic version of “Hey, can you stop what you’re doing and jump on this ‘Cubs are signing Babe Ruth’ rumor?” [Brett: Are … are they?]
- Among the biggest done-deal updates since this morning’s Winter Meetings check-in, is that the Red Sox made a huge trade! You know, the one where they got together on a deal with the Brewers, sending closer Tyler Thornburg to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for corner infielder Travis Shaw, minor-league shortstop Mauricio Dubon, and minor-league right-hander Josh Pennington. Thornburg was quietly dominant with the Brewers last season, amassing just a 2.15 (2.83 FIP) through 67.0 innings (2.0 fWAR). At just 28 years old and three more years of control, this was a really solid pickup for Boston. (Oh, yeah yeah, the Red Sox also got Chris Sale, which we’re tracking in its own post because whoa.)
- The Brewers’ return, headlined by Major Leaguer Travis Shaw and top ten organizational prospect Mauricio Dubon isn’t “knock your socks off,” but was a healthy sum for a reliever. I don’t think this is much of a market mover, but it could be good for the Cubs. The Red Sox will now be less likely to target a reliever in trade or free agency (something we know the Cubs are interested in), but they didn’t necessarily take a reliever realistically available to the Cubs off the market either. Good stuff.
- The most exciting Cubs rumor this winter, in my opinion, is the potential targeting of a starting pitcher like the Rays’ Chris Archer. The problem is, reports have suggested that the Rays are not quite getting the offers they’d hoping for. The way the Rays see it, according to Jeff Passan, they could simply hold onto to Archer until this deadline, or next offseason, or even the next 2-3 winters after that (he’s under control for five more seasons at a bargain price), and still get a pretty significant return. So, if they’re not getting what they want now, they can wait and ask for more later.
- Makes superficial sense, but there are, of course, a lot of problems with that way of thinking. First of all, pitchers are always an injury risk. Full stop. Second, Archer is coming off a down season (for him), but is still considered to be very good. If, however, he pitches his second consecutive diminished season, it’ll be much harder to sell him as a top of the rotation starter. In addition, if you wait another year, let’s say, Archer will be one year older and have one less year of control. And finally, there’s the whole “no available free agent starting pitchers” thing going on right now. So, while I understand the principle of holding onto your trade pieces to maximize a return, I don’t think it’s as simple as “we’ll wait two years and get the same or more for him then.” (And, don’t forget, the big free agent class of the 2018-2019 season might provide a lot of alternatives/competition, driving down the price for Archer further.)
- The Phillies have made a move in the bullpen, inking former closer Joaquin Benoit to a one year/$7.5 million deal. Although Benoit is 39 years old, he’s actually been quite good for a few years now. He’s thrown at least 48.0 innings with an ERA under 2.81 for four straight seasons (ages 36-39). The Phillies made a healthy investment, yes, but if he keeps it up they’ll flip him at the deadline for a nice package. Another reliever whom the Cubs may not have been targeting off the board to a team that was clearly in the bullpen market – not a bad thing.
- According to T.R. Sullivan at MLB.com, the Texas Rangers are operating under some self-imposed restrictions these Winter Meetings, so as not to overspend (in money or prospects) on big ticket items like Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo, or Andrew McCutchen. That does square, then, with their recent targeting of less expensive (in acquisition cost) players on the Cubs like Jorge Soler and Matt Szczur. The Cubs, for what it’s worth, are thought to be interested in the Rangers’ bullpen depth, according to Sullivan.
- The Cardinals are expected to be competitive in 2017, and their signing of Brett Cecil indicates that they agree, but might they make a big trade from their Major League roster:
Teams looking for INF help are pursuing Cardinals 2B Kolten Wong, sources tell SBN. Rival exec with interest: "They want a lot for him."
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 6, 2016
- Wong, 26, took a big step backwards in 2016, but is young, cost-controlled, and usually a defensive positive at second base. Wanting a lot for him, though, better be a big example of relativism, because I wouldn’t pay it (and I hope the Cardinals don’t get it).
- In case you missed it, the Red Sox
been picking up steam (vis a vis the Nationals) on the Chris Sale trade ship, with Ken Rosenthal calling them the favorites at the moment. The Braves hang at the periphery … for some reasonhave traded top prospect Yoan Moncada, other high-ceiling prospect Michael Kopech, and two others (Luis Basabe and Victor Diaz) in exchange for ace Chris Sale. Brett has much more on the matter here.
- An interesting last bit on the trade:
Red Sox with Sale project at 90.30 wins. White Sox with Moncada/Kopech/+ now have the #15 farm system in the game, up from #25 pre-trade.
— NEIFI Analytics (@NEIFIco) December 6, 2016