The 2019 Winter Meetings: The Good, The Bad and The Unknown

By: Daniel Multz

The MLB Winter meetings of the 2018 offseason have officially wrapped up, and there was plenty of noise made by plenty of teams, but there remains plenty of noise to still be made. Let’s take a look at what went down at the Winter Meetings and what has yet to happen.

Monday 12/10

Not much actually came to fruition on Monday as everyone was getting settled in for what was to come, but there was one major move made on one of the market’s hottest targets

  • Nathan Eovaldi was inked to a 4-year, $68 million dollar contract on Monday, ensuring that the 2018 playoff hero would remain in Boston throughout the rest of his prime. After receiving a clean bill of health on his right elbow, Boston received the all-clear to go all-out to bring back the flamethrowing righty. It’s a lot of money, but IF he stays healthy, it will surely be worth it
  • Also worth noting
    • The signing of speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton by the Royals after he was on-tendered by Cincinnati
    • The signing of Righty Tyson Ross by the Tigers in the hope of finding another Mike Fiers to trade for prospects in 2019
    • The beginnings of the J.T Realmuto sweepstakes across the league

Tuesday 12/11

  • The Chicago White Sox made the first step towards eyeing a winning season in 2019 by acquiring starter Ivan Nova from the Pirates. Nova is a pretty average pitcher, but he is a control artist going to the team that walked the most batters in baseball in 2018
  • A sad day for both Blue Jays and Rockies fans as Troy Tulowitzki, now 35 and having not played for over a year, was released by Toronto. The once elite offensive and defensive shortstop has battled injuries over the last 6 seasons and unless someone takes a gamble on him, he may be retiring sooner rather than later.

Wednesday 12/12

Easily the busiest day of the Winter Meetings, multiple impact players were swept off the market

  • Outfielder Andrew McCutchen was inked to a 3-year, $50 million deal by Philadelphia to provide an impact bat for that lineup. The one big question now is will Philly still go after Bryce Harper after signing a surefire starter. We’ll just have to see!
  • Three key starting pitchers left the market:
    • Charlie Morton signed with Tampa Bay for 2 years and $30 million
    • Lance Lynn signed with Texas on a 3-year, $30 million deal
    • J.A Happ is very likely to agree to a 2-year, $34 million deal to return to the Yankees with a $17 million option for a third season if he pitches enough innings over the first two.
  • The Angels signed a potentially impactful bat in Justin Bour to a 1-year deal worth just $2.5 million. In a career-high 141 games, Bour hit just .227, but he’s got a ton of power, so there’s plenty of upside to this deal
  • Detroit signed a probable replacement for Jose Iglesias by signing former Pirate Jordy Mercer to a 1-year deal

Thursday 12/13

On the final day of the meetings, the relief pitching market finally kicked in, along with a major 3-team deal

  • The Dodgers snagged 30 year-old righty Joe Kelly to a 3-year, $25 million deal to be a potential setup man to Kenley Jansen. Kelly had massive peaks and valleys in his 2018 season, but the peaks were so great that L.A saw this investment as a wise one.
  • The Mets brought back righty Jeurys Familia to Queens on a 3-year $30 million deal. This time though, he won’t be closing as he’ll be setting up Edwin Diaz. The Mets  now just need a good lefty for that bullpen to be rock-solid.
  • The Mariners, Rays and Indians pulled off a 3-team deal involving lots of quality major-league talent. Seattle acquired DH Edwin Encarnacion from Cleveland, Cleveland acquired 1B/DH Carlos Santana from Seattle and acquired 1B/OF Jake Bauers from Tampa Bay, and The Rays acquired a minor league pitcher and infielder Yandy Diaz from Cleveland.
    • All in all, this deal is VERY confusing.
    • Cleveland now has 3 first basemen on their roster (Santana, Bauers and Yonder Alonso). 1 or 2 of them might be on the move because it’s flat-out strange what the Indians got out of this deal.
    • For Seattle (The only team that this trade makes sense for), all Encarnacion brings is another chip to trade to get more prospects. He may be 35 but can still produce 30 homer, 100 RBI seasons like the best of them and there’s a team or two out there that needs that, LIKE THE RAYS!
    • Tampa Bay gets Diaz, who is known for having HUGE power potential, but this means that Tampa Bay may be out on DH Nelson Cruz, that 30 homer, 100 RBI bat the team sorely needs. Tampa has plenty of young talent to ship off for Encarnacion, but given that they just spent $30 million on Charlie Morton, they may be out of money to spend or to take on and may have to stick with Diaz.

That’s everything that DID happen this past week, but here’s a mini-preview of what’s to come as we head into the new year.

  • The relief pitching market is VERY DEEP and has only just started to gain traction
    • Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, David Robertson, Andrew Miller, Adam Ottavino and LOADS MORE are still available.
  • Bryce and Manny remain relegated to rumors.
  • The catching and second base markets, both trades and free agents remain untapped.
    • At least 10 teams report interest in all-star J.T Realmuto, so he’s a hot target of the offseason.
  • The starting pitcher trade rumors haven’t gone away, and we still may see Kluber, Bauer, Syndergaard or someone totally out of the blue get moved

All this and more awaits us as we head into the holidays and 2019, so stay tuned because the hot stove is only starting to heat up!!


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