Winter Meetings Thursday Morning: Slowness Persists, Machado, Harper, McCutchen Details

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Winter Meetings Thursday Morning: Slowness Persists, Machado, Harper, McCutchen Details

Chicago Cubs

Well, with the Rule 5 Draft just a blink away (11 am CT) and nothing really all that major going down this week *for the second year in a row,* I think, perhaps, it’s time to officially change our expectations/definition of the Winter Meetings.

There’s no doubt the very legitimate rumors ramped WAY up over the past few days, but it wasn’t long ago when we’d be surprised or excited to see any one team make as many major moves as the entire league did this week.

Jed Hoyer sums it up nicely:

  • At least the reliever market started moving a little, as Brett noted this morning, with Joe Kelly (Dodgers) and Jeurys Familia (Mets) signed rather sizable free agent deals, and if Jeff Passan’s prediction is right, Adam Ottavino could come next and perhaps to the Yankees. The Cubs weren’t really tied to Kelly or Familia this winter, but we have speculated that someone like Ottavino could catch their eye if they were willing to spend a little more (lol). Of course, Ottavino is always mentioned third (for the Cubs) in that tier, behind Zach Britton and Andrew Miller. My guess on the Cubs’ preference (all things, including price, considered): Britton, Miller, Ottavino. It is not remotely clear that the Cubs will pay for any of them, though.
  • Moreover, it’s being reported that the Phillies are looking into both Miller and Britton and despite some early whiffs on J.A. Happ and Patrick Corbin, I’m worried that might make things difficult for the Cubs. Perhaps the Cubs really will limit their bullpen additions to a lesser tier – in this market, with how many arms there are (and how many arms the Cubs *need*) it’s not a terrible idea.
  • Meanwhile, Manny Machado is scheduled to meet with the Phillies next week, though the team is looking to pitch him on third base instead of shortstop (honestly, I don’t think it’ll be a problem). Machado just wanted to get paid, so he showed he could play short one last time to pump up his value. If someone pays him what he thinks he’s worth, he’ll play wherever (my guess). The Phillies are also apparently not out on Bryce Harper – and might want to add another outfielder even if he signs elsewhere – but I still think that’s besides the point. The headline after adding Andrew McCutchen is that they’ll have way less urgency on Harper now.
  • I still remain skeptical about Harper landing in White Sox country, but they’re trying:

  • Tanner Roark is not going to be it for the Reds, per team president Dick Williams: “This is a significant shift for us. We’ve been laying in the weeds for a couple of years and focused on rebuilding, and now it’s time to add to the team. We’re in that mode now. We fully expect to make more deals. This is the first of more to come.”
  • Interesting – Andrew McCutchen’s deal with the Phillies is EXTREMELY backloaded:

Brett Taylor contributed to this post.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami