With the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft, the 2016 MLB Winter Meetings have drawn to a close.
And although it wasn’t as crazy as last year’s event for the Cubs (where they traded Starlin Castro to the Yankees for Adam Warren, while signing Ben Zobrist, signing John Lackey just before the meetings, and signing Jason Heyward just after the meetings), it was still pretty eventful.
So let’s check in on the Winter Meetings, with one final cumulative update, and just take it rumor by rumor after that.
- According to Travis Sawchik, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now more likely to begin the 2017 season with Andrew McCutchen still in black and yellow, patrolling the outfield. Although it seemed quite likely that he’d be on the move earlier this week, the intent, for now, is to hold onto him. The reason for the sudden change of heart most likely has to do with the Nationals – the team with the most obvious need and pieces to get a deal done – acquiring Adam Eaton from the White Sox. And with Dexter Fowler still on the market, it’s not as though McCutchen is the only available out/center fielder.
- And for what it’s worth, there have been quite a bit of talk about moving McCutchen to right field, while shifting Starling Marte to center and Gregory Polanco over to left.
- The Cardinals are still trying to sign Dexter Fowler, and reports suggest that he may already have a four year/$60 million offer on the table from St. Louis. HOWEVA, there are rumors out there that Fowler may be reluctant to sign with the Cardinals for reasons that might best be collectively described as “clubhouse culture” stuff, potentially including manager Mike Matheny, in particular. Having just spent a year next to (former Cardinal) Jason Heyward in the outfield, I’m guessing Fowler has a pretty good understanding of what life as a Cardinals would look like on a day-to-day basis. But for what it’s worth, these are rumors of the un-confirmable variety. It’s very possibly that Fowler simply thinks he can do better than the 4 years and $60 million the Cardinals are offering. Something to follow.
- Speaking of the Cardinals and their search for an outfielder, Jon Heyman is hearing that they are still connected to the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon, who has been a rumored trade candidate all offseason. Indeed, before acquiring Eaton from the White Sox, the Nationals reportedly made a run at Blackmon themselves. It seems the trade-heavy offseason prediction of many (thanks to the empty free agent cupboard) has mostly come true.
- … And speaking of trades, the Nationals, and Adam Eaton, Bob Nightengale is reporting that the Nationals tried to get the White Sox to include closer David Robertson in their deal for Eaton, but the White Sox refused. They don’t plan on holding onto Robertson, per se, but the White Sox wanted to deal him separately – which is probably a smart move. If the White Sox can trade Robertson for the type of returns they’ve been getting so far (accounting for him obviously not quite being in the Chris Sale/Adam Eaton tier of total value), they’ll have set themselves up very nicely for the future, and potentially be a bigger source of impact on the 2017 season than much of the free agent market.
- As we discussed earlier today, the Dodgers and Marlins remain the most likely destinations for free agent closer Kenley Jansen. While news that the Marlins also made a big run at Aroldis Chapman, before he resigned with the Yankees, no such rumors were said about the Dodgers, until now:
Sources: The Dodgers talked about Chapman but never really got that involved.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 8, 2016
- But even with the report that they were talking to Chapman, Olney has heard that they were never really involved, which mostly squares with what we know of their pursuits. In all likelihood, they were simply doing their due diligence while (maybe) trying to create the illusion of alternative options for Jansen’s camp. Given how few teams this has come down to, I would tentatively expect the Jansen news to arrive shortly.
- Jon Morosi recently tweeted some news (presumably?) tied to the new Collective Bargaining agreement, which … doesn’t seem that good for amateur players:
In @MLB Draft, there’s a new program in which top 50 pitching prospects are asked to (voluntarily) undergo a pre-draft MRI on throwing arm.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 8, 2016
- I suppose the fact that it’s “voluntary,” is supposed to make it less of an issue, but let’s assume the world works as it does, and anyone who refuses might be considered a risk. I get how this can be beneficial to teams (and even in the favor of fans), but I’m not sure I like what it’ll do to the top 50 pitching prospects in the draft.
- And finally, Joel Sherman reports that, although Hal Steinbrenner doesn’t announce his team’s payroll limit, the Yankees might only be able to add a set-up man and not much else to fill out the roster. Assuming their in the $215 million range, as Sherman does, that sounds about right.