NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Now we’re getting somewhere. The Winter Meetings might have begun with a day more notable for a trade that didn’t happen (Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers) than anything that did happen, but Day 2 finished with the sort of flourish expected in an environment in which so much daily banter is taking place.
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We’re still not at quite the level of craziness that transpired in San Diego last year, but the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Conference Center is abuzz about the D-backs’ acquisition of Shelby Miller Jerseys and the continually flabbergasting acquisition cost — either in dollars or bodies — for high-upside arms this winter.
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And now, thanks to Ben Zobrist, we’ve finally got some movement near the top of the position-player market, too.
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Here’s a rundown of what went down on Day 2 and what could be coming Wednesday:
• We went into Tuesday thinking a Miller trade could be in the offing, and, sure enough, the D-backs made it happen with an offer to the Braves that was, in the estimation of many, every bit as aggressive as the gigantic financial commitment they had made to Zack Greinke. The D-backs gave up five years of control of Ender Inciarte Jerseys and Minor Leaguers Aaron Blair and Dansby Swanson (the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s Draft) for three seasons of control of Miller, as well as Minor Leaguer Gabe Speier. D-backs trade for Shelby Miller Jerseys D-backs get Miller from Braves in blockbuster dealMLB.com D-backs reporter Steve Gilbert discusses the club acquiring Shelby Miller Jerseys and Gabe Speier from the Braves
• Sources: Miller traded to D-backs
• The guy who can play multiple positions had multiple choices. Ultimately, Zobrist chose to reunite with Joe Maddon and sign a four-year, $56 million deal with the Cubs. The Mets had been the other finalist in the bidding for Zobrist.
• Zobrist signs with Cubs, rejoins Maddon
• Zobrist’s arrival to the Cubs would not have happened without a complementary transaction — the trade of Starlin Castro Jerseys to the Yankees for Adam Warren and a player to be named later. In the second half of 2015, the Cubs demoted Castro from the starting shortstop spot he had held since ’10, but he kept his head held high and made a satisfactory shift to second base, where the Yanks will now use him full-time. Castro arrives to the Bronx with nearly 1,000 hits to his name, with his 26th birthday coming in March. And Warren beefs up the Chicago bullpen and provides the Cubs with some cost savings. Cubs sign Zobrist, trade Castro Muskat on Cubs inking Zobrist, trading CastroMLB.com’s Tim McMaster and Cubs reporter Carrie Muskat discuss the Cubs signing Ben Zobrist and also trading Starlin Castro Jerseys to the Yankees
• Yankees solidify second base with Cubs’ Castro
• In a surprising twist, the Cardinals added Jedd Gyorko to their infield at a sizable salary, given that they’ve already got Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong in play. While the Cards, who sent Jon Jay to the Padres, were expected to land a utility type, Gyorko arrives having served as the full-time second baseman in San Diego, and he’s due $33 million over the next four years. In shedding the $6.85 million owed to Jay, who was an excess outfield piece for them, and receiving a reported $7.5 million from the Padres, the Cards did offset some of that sum. As for the Friars, they improved their lineup balance and their outfield defensive profile with the left-handed-hitting Jay.
• The Mariners continued to add to their bullpen depth with the acquisition of Evan Scribner from the A’s for Minor League right-hander Trey Cochran-Gill. Scribner had a strong first half of ’15 for the A’s before tearing his lat muscle.
• The Braves are reportedly in agreement with catcher Tyler Flowers on a two-year contract. Flowers had been non-tendered by the White Sox last week. Braves reportedly add Flowers Braves reportedly sign Flowers to two-year dealJim Duquette talks about the Braves reportedly signing catcher Tyler Flowers to a two-year contract
Jose might stay
In light of what the Braves reeled in for Miller, you can’t blame the Marlins for asking a high price – or make that, an otherworldly price for three years of the services of one Jose Fernandez. But you also can’t expect a deal to get done if that asking price is maintained.
Fernandez is very much valued in this sport, no question. But his big league track record is pretty limited as a result of his 2014 Tommy John surgery, and his 3.78 career road ERA (versus a 1.40 mark at Marlins Park) is worthy of scrutiny.
Anyway, the bottom line is that if the Marlins’ ask for Fernandez remains where it was Tuesday, he’s not going anywhere.
The Zobrist domino finally fell, but the sense at the Meetings is that the lack baseball jersey of clarity in the Jason Heyward market is still considerably gumming up the works, on the position-player side of things. The Cardinals and Cubs are among the teams very much in the market for Heyward, which adds an interesting wrinkle to their NL Central rivalry, though it’s not clear how much, if at all, the Zobrist addition affects the Cubs’ interest level.
There was some scuttlebutt Tuesday that the Angels could be heavily involved in the discussions for one of the premier corner outfield pieces available — Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton and Alex Gordon — but they’re not expected to set the market.
One that team that could set the market is the Giants, who made a play for David Price and Greinke before each signed elsewhere. The Giants could apply the cost difference between Price/Greinke and Jeff Samardzija (with whom they’ve agreed to a five-year, $90 million deal) in their bid for a bat. Bochy on Samardzija’s signing Bochy on Giants signing Samardzija, backup catcherBruce Bochy discusses what attracted the Giants to Jeff Samardzija and their plans at the backup catcher position
The price of power
The Orioles continue to try to retain Chris Davis Jerseys, having met with his agent, Scott Boras, on Tuesday. The O’s have never given out a contract larger than the six-year, $86.5 million extension to Adam Jones Jerseys. A Davis deal – wherever he lands — is likely to blow that one out of the water.
It’s still hard to gauge the market for Davis, who is the premier power bat available in free agency. Some teams are looking at the recently non-tendered Pedro Alvarez and Chris Carter as cheaper sources of power production. But we know for certain that the Orioles, including owner Peter Angelos, are very much enamored with Davis as a member of their lineup and their clubhouse.
Place your Brett
Five years ago, Brett Lawrie went from the Brewers to the Blue Jays in exchange for Shaun Marcum. One year ago, Lawrie went from the Blue Jays to the A’s in the deal involving Josh Donaldson.
So where’s Lawrie headed now?
Maybe the White Sox, if a San Francisco Chronicle report has any legs. The Sox and A’s, who worked out a Samardzija deal one year ago, have been in contact about Lawrie, who could help Chicago at third base or second — most likely third. The Sox didn’t have anybody assert themselves at the hot corner last year, and they don’t view Mike Olt as the answer. So Lawrie would bring some pop and energy to the position, though his ability to stay healthy is still very much in question.
The Indians are another American League Central team that has been tied to Lawrie.
Kenta forget about this guy
Kenta Maeda was formally posted by the Hiroshima Carp on Tuesday. The Carp have reportedly set the release fee for Maeda at $20 million, which means that’s how much it will cost to have an audience with the 27-year-old Japanese pitching star (teams that submit a bid but don’t work out a deal with Maeda will get their money back).
Maeda does not have the raw stuff of a Yu Darvish or Masahiro Tanaka, but his fastball-slider-changeup mix is well-regarded enough to make him a potential mid-rotation option, at the least. And in this pitcher-friendly spending environment, it would not be a shock for the total outlay for this arm still in what are considered “prime” years to rival that of, say, Samardzija’s total haul.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Share This Email Print + Hide Comments