Well, the Winter Meetings have come and gone and the Cubs shelled out the biggest contract of the week when they signed SP Tyler Chatwood. That was technically before the meetings ever started, but that was it as far as free-agency is concerned.
The Yankees traded for Giancarlo Stanton and the Angels signed Shohei Ohtani — also before the Winter meetings started — and a bunch of mediocre, middle-aged relief pitchers signed contracts, about a third of them with the Rockies. There were very few trades.
If you haven’t been keeping score at home, let me help you. Winners: Yankees, Rockies, Nationals, Cardinals, Angels, Cubs, and middle-aged relievers. Losers: The Marlins, baseball fans.
The Cardinals pulled off the second biggest trade of the offseason when they acquired OF Marcell Ozuna for the Cardinals’ Nos. 6, 9 and 13 rated minor league prospects. The Yankees traded for Stanton and cleared more payroll by trading Chase Headley to the Padres. They are reportedly trying to pry Gerrit Cole from the Pirates for a package that includes OF Clint Frazier.
As far as free agency is concerned, the $100 Million Club made no traction this week, That club includes Jake Arrieta, Eric Hosmer, and JD. Martinez, all of whom are represented by Scott Boras.
Honestly, every major topic and rumor has been beaten to death this week. So much so, that I really didn’t feel like authoring a post this morning. Sigh. But the pattern of inactivity may have some depth to it that we surface-dwellers are probably neglecting. Front offices are loath to distribute large contracts to players based on previous results, and, for the first time in maybe 4-5 years, prospects seem to be much more valuable to the teams that drafted them.
Thank the last three World Series champions. The Royals, Cubs, and Astros were built largely on homegrown talent and if baseball has taught us anything, it is that recent successes usually represent copycat blueprints for the general population. Still, it seems that every team is trying to stay financially fluid for the 2018-19 offseason.
Suffice to say, the top free agents will still sign contracts this winter and more trades are coming. All of this will happen sporadically over the eight or so remaining weeks before spring training starts. As far as Orlando is concerned however, nothing more to see here.
Cubs News & Notes
The Cubs signed submarining relief pitcher Steve Cishek yesterday morning. As things stand, the back end of the bullpen will be some combination of Cishek, Pedro Strop, Justin Wilson, and Brandon Morrow. The team’s latest addition may allow Dillon Maples to hone his skills as potential closer at AAA Iowa,
The Cubs lost Pedro Araujo in the Rule 5 Draft. Who? Exactly. The team did not make a selection in the major league portion of the draft and also lost Chris Nunn, Andrew Ely, and Alberto Mineo in the minor league portion, but secured left-handed bullpen depth for Iowa this season by selecting pitchers Dario Alvarez, Randy Rosario, and Alberto Baldanado.
Here’s a complete recap of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. (Ed note: we had the wrong link in here when post was initially published, but that has since been corrected.)
The Orioles are primed and poised to trade Manny Machado before the holidays, and 10 teams are in, but no one will get 72-hour window to open negotiations on long-term extension says GM Dan Duquette.
Speaking of the Orioles, Peter Angelos may be the dumbest owner outside of South Florida. Angelos has stated that he is willing to trade Machado, but not to the Yankees, and not to any team that could conceivably flip Machado to the Bronx Bombers. So, if a team like the White Sox met Baltimore’s demands of two cost-controlled players or elite minor league starters, the Orioles owner might still veto the trade if he feels ulterior motives are involved. In other words, he will hurt the team he owns just to prevent the Yankees from acquiring the star infielder, even though Machado is going into his walk year.
The rapidly decreasing free agent relief market is posing a potential issue for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Christian Yelich is likely to be traded.
The Padres are really digging on Eric Hosmer.
Danny Duffy really wants to remain with the Royals, and fans of the SP are in full agreement. #BuryHimARoyal
The Red Sox may have designs on free agents Hosmer and J.D. Martinez.
The Rangers may have interest in Royals RP Kelvin Herrera.
There’s more to the Stephen Piscotty trade than meets the eye, and this story shows that there is a genuine side to baseball that is often overlooked.
There may be as many as 10 teams interested in 3B Todd Frazier, including the Giants.
The Evil Empire is back, and we’re not talking about “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Here’s a list of this week’s winners and losers.
The Rockies haven’t yet received a response to the “nice” offer they made free agent righty Greg Holland.
Just a note: I won’t be posting a column tomorrow because I will be volunteering at a homeless shelter and baking cookies for inner-city kids, but I will be back on Sunday.
Friday Walk Up Song
It’s Over by Electric Light Orchestra