Winners, losers and trends at baseball’s winter meetings
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — All-Star closers Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon and Wade Davis moved to different bullpens. Chris Sale boosted a big rotation in Boston. And the Washington Nationals got their fans talking — a lot.
As teams packed up along the Potomac River and headed home Thursday, a look at what did and didn’t happen this week at the winter meetings:
Major league home run leader Mark Trumbo, fellow sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, and center fielder Dexter Fowler are available free agents. So is closer Kenley Jansen, who’s attracting serious interest from the Marlins. But Miami has a policy of not giving no-trade clauses, and that’s troubling to some players and agents.
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said there’s no reason to worry.
“The belief when you enter into these deals is that you’re going to be together for the length of the contract,” he said.
Try telling that to Jose Reyes — he signed a six-year deal with Miami before 2012, then got traded onto the artificial turf in Toronto after just one season.
Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen was all-but-gone at these meetings. That’s what most everyone thought, anyway.
But the former MVP is going to PirateFest this weekend, still on the team. General manager Neal Huntington says he plans to talk things over with McCutchen before the festivities.
“We took calls, we listened, we engaged,” Huntington said. “We felt the right move was to hold the player.”
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
The White Sox got quite a haul of prospects by trading Sale and Adam Eaton, and they’re far from done. Closer David Robertson, starter Jose Quintana or third baseman Todd Frazier could be next.
“We embrace the challenge that lies ahead of us,” GM Rick Hahn said. “We have for the last several months ... but it’s nowhere near completed.”
A year removed from winning the World Series, the Royals are in a different spot. Several of their stars are eligible for free agency after this season — first baseman Eric Hosmer, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitcher Danny Duffy, among them — and KC doesn’t want to lose them with nothing in return. They began revamping the roster by trading Davis to the champion Cubs for young, powerful Jorge Soler.
Extra emphasis is being put these days on guys who can handle more than one spot. With David Ortiz retiring, Boston wants someone who could DH and also play first base — Mitch Moreland is set to be that person. The Royals like Soler as a right fielder and DH. The Nationals are looking at Trea Turner in the outfield and at shortstop.
Houston might see whether Carlos Beltran can play first base. And Colorado might turn newly signed Ian Desmond into a first baseman — he was a shortstop in Washington and an outfielder in Texas.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Who did the best and who did the worst at these meetings? Fact is, the answer might not come for a few years.
The AL East champion Red Sox looked good getting Sale from the White Sox for a hefty package. The White Sox looked smart getting a trio of young, talented pitchers for outfielder Adam Eaton.
But until fans see how the prospects turn out, well, everyone will just have to wait.