MLB Winter Meetings: Stanton and Ohtani Deals Clear Way For An Active Week
After the Houston Astros won the 2017 World Series, MLB fans immediately turned their attention to the offseason to come. But unfortunately for baseball fans, things got off to an extremely slow start. A big reason for that was two big names; Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani. Now that Ohtani has decided on the Los Angeles Angels and Stanton appears poised to end up in the Bronx, the floodgates are about to open. Just in time for the 2017 MLB Winter Meetings!
The meetings officially kick off today, Sunday, December 10th, 2017. They will run through Thursday the 14th. All of the festivities will take place down in Florida, with Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort playing host. So while most people associate Disney World with the Magic Kingdom and Mickey Mouse, baseball fans will be thinking of possible trades and free agent signings when they think about the Florida scene in the coming days.
As mentioned earlier, the offseason started off with a whimper. Then finally on November 28th, Doug Fister inked a deal with the Texas Rangers. Since then things have picked up a bit. Names like Tyler Chatwood, Mike Fiers, and Chris Iannetta all found new homes. The Seattle Mariners surprised the baseball world by swinging a deal for former Miami Marlins’ second baseman Dee Gordon, whom they plan to play in center field.
Then the two big names holding the market hostage found a resolution. The pitching market was slow to develop, as teams were pressing to sign international sensation Shohei Ohtani. After he narrowed his list to seven teams, he opted to join Mike Trout and the Angels.
But it was Stanton that was really holding things up, as so many teams were waiting to see how the situation would unfold before they could decide what plan of attack they would take this Winter. After refusing deals to both the Marlins and San Francisco Giants, the Marlins agreed to a deal with the New York Yankees. While the trade is pending physical, it is more than likely we will see Stanton and Judge in the same lineup in 2018.
That brings us to the next few days and the MLB Winter Meetings! The Hot Stove is about to heat up. Below are just a few things to look for in the coming days.
J.D. Martinez, the spotlight is yours
It seems that the Stanton market has a ripple effect on J.D. Martinez. In terms of free agents, Among power hitters, Martinez is a name on the top of the list. So it’s clear to see why teams who missed on Stanton might view Martinez as their plan B. That is the highly expected case with the Giants, who many are expecting to chase Martinez now.
While the Cardinals will make a pursue other avenues, their connection to Stanton means some will point to them as a suitor for Martinez. Then we have the Boston Red Sox. Given the Yankees just made what is likely the biggest move of the Winter, could Boston try to land their own big power bat? But point being, Martinez is going to get several offers and don’t be surprised if he inks a deal by Wednesday.
Starting pitching market begins to develop
To this point, Ohtani is really the only bigger name starting pitcher to get any love this offseason. Sure Fister and Chatwood are nice arms, but they were not at the top of this year’s class. The top four names on most people’s boards are Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn. As of this writing, there have been no known talks with anyone of them.
But that’s about to change. The Chicago Cubs are apparently going after Cobb. There’s a feeling that they may also look into Archer as well. Now if the Cubs land either man, that could change things for the other three. It simply needs that one of the four to sign before things start coming together quickly for the others.
The feeling is that the Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angles Dodgers are some teams who have interest in them. Expect more clarity before the end of Thursday, because these names are about to become a lot more popular.
Cardinals-Marlins talks continued
The Cardinals did not land Stanton, but that does not mean they can’t strike a deal with Miami. The team’s interest in Marcel Ozuna and Christian Yelich, two of the Marlins’ outfielders, is well documented. It is clear that St. Louis would like to shake things up in their outfield come 2018. Given the Marlins are familiar with the Cards’ minor league system, given the Stanton talks, a new deal could develop very fast.
If it’s not Ozuna or Yelich, don’t be surprised to see another young outfielder linked to the Red Birds.
Ian Kinsler on the move
On Thursday are the Rule 5 pick and the current team who holds the number one spot is the Tigers. As of now, they do not have an opening on their 40-man roster though. That means they need to trade someone away to clear a spot in the coming days. The most likely candidate, Ian Kinsler, their veteran second baseman.
Kinsler is no stranger to the trade market. There are certainly several teams who are in need of an upgrade at the place, including the New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels and Milwaukee Brewers. The Tigers might be willing to lower their price tag a little as they close in on Thursday. One way or another, it would be a bit surprising to see Ian Kinsler in a Tigers’ uni this time next week.
One side note, he is not the only second baseman who could be on the trading block. Don’t be surprised to hear names such as Jason Kipnis, Starlin Castro (would you really be surprised to see Miami flip him?) and Josh Harrison come up in talks.
A clearer picture of the Eric Hosmer market
Kansas City Royals’ fans are really hoping Hosmer finds his way back into a Royals uniform in 2018. Along with Martinez, Hosmer is clearly one of the top offensive free agents this Winter. The feeling is that he will command such a high price that the Royals wouldn’t be able to resign him.
Eric Hosmer already has some feelers. One of them happens that the San Diego Padres are linked. Then we have the Boston Red Sox. If the Sox miss Martinez, Hosmer makes plenty of sense. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to learn the Giants enter discussions if they miss out on J.D. The possibilities are endless. But given the lack of rumors to this point, fans simply need to wait it out until we learn more this week.
As mentioned, these are just a handful of what is sure to be hundreds of things you are bound to hear this week. Monday through Wednesday are all likely to see at least one big deal go down. You should keep your ears open as the rumor mill will be heading into overdrive.
What moves do you want to see at the 2017 MLB Winter Meetings? Tell us in the comments!