By: Chris Larson
The Winter Meetings have been fairly quiet thus far, outside of the exception of, the Detroit Tigers signing Tyson Ross to a one-year deal, the Kansas City Royals inking Billy Hamilton to a one-year contract, and the Chicago White Sox trading for Ivan Nova, in an attempt to bolster their starting rotation. However, with that being said, while things have been quiet on the surface and while the free agent market seems to be in a standstill, there is plenty going on behind the scenes and murmurs that have come out since Sunday evening when the meetings first started.
Amid those rumblings and rumors, have been a couple of eye catching storylines and potential moves that could seriously alter the entire landscape of the league itself. Here are my thoughts regarding some of those rumblings and what could eventually become of what's already been reported about.
1. Dodgers Ready to Pounce in a Big Way - The Los Angeles Dodgers are like, a lion lying in the weeds right now, just waiting to pounce on it's pry. In baseball terms, that essentially means that the Los Angeles Dodgers are exploring, both the trade and free agent market, in an attempt to not only upgrade their 25-man roster, but make a serious splash or two. Thus far, we have heard the Dodgers being connected to names like Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Noah Syndergaard, J.T. Realmuto, and free agents like D.J. LeMahieu and the biggest fish of them all, Bryce Harper. Depending on how you interpret the possibility or the logistics currently being rumored about, depends on how seriously you take the Dodgers and their pursuit to upgrade in a big way.
It has been reported that the Dodgers are widely making outfielders, Yasiel Puig and Joe Peterson, available as well as starting pitchers, Alex Wood and Rich Hill. In addition, there was a report by Buster Olney of ESPN, that Los Angeles would be willing to move Cody Bellinger, but that seems pretty farfetched. However, never count anything out especially when you have 30 General Managers in the same building along with plenty of other baseball professionals, looking at every potential avenue to make their teams better. Regardless, the Dodgers are basically sitting back and are a serious threat to land someone like, Corey Kluber, to bolster their starting rotation and dump enough salary to make a splash free agent signing, in the form of, Bryce Harper.
2. Once Rebuilding Teams, Looking to Make Noise - Amid the rumblings so far, there have been many rumors connecting the San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox, and Cincinnati Reds to various players available in both the free agent and trade markets. All three of those teams are seemingly starting to come out of a deep, long rebuild process and as illustrated by the names they're looking at, each one is looking to upgrade in some form or fashion and do something big to energize their fanbase. For instance, the Chicago White Sox have been heavily connected to both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, the Cincinnati Reds are looking into Corey Kluber as well as free agent starting pitcher, Dallas Keuchel, and the San Diego Padres have made it widely known that they would be willing to deal from their farm system, for Marlins catcher, J.T. Realmuto.
One thing that many people tend to forget and immediately eliminate from their way of thinking, when looking at each of these clubs, is the amount of prospect depth that each one possesses and the strength of each farm system. Both the San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox, in particular, have Top 10 farm systems, putting them in a position to strike big and make a move or two that could change the geography of baseball as well as the look of the respective division that each team plays in. For the Cincinnati Reds, the organization has a lot of promising prospect depth, but seem a bit less likely, compared to the White Sox and Padres to deal from that depth, given what we have heard thus far.
Yesterday, it was reported that the Cincinnati Reds inquired about widely available New York Yankees starting pitcher, Sonny Gray, but were told that it would take the Reds number two prospect, outfielder Taylor Trammell. As anyone who watches baseball on a consistent basis knows, Sonny Gray is not worth that asking price, especially considering the season he is coming off of, which ultimately means that a deal is probably very unlikely, between the Yankees and Reds, if New York is adamant about receiving a return like that back.
3. New York Mets Potential Blockbuster Trade - Yesterday evening, it was heavily rumored on Twitter that the New York Mets were looking to partner with the New York Yankees AND Miami Marlins in a three-team, blockbuster type of trade. Rumblings of J.T. Realmuto heading to Queens and Noah Syndergaard heading across town to the Bronx, were being thrown out there, but cold water was later splashed on that rumor saying that it was very unlikely to happen, although, it has been something that has been discussed. At the present moment, it appears that the New York Mets have many different situations and potential trades that they are currently discussing internally and trying to potentially pursue. However, turning the attention back to the rumored Noah Syndergaard-J.T. Realmuto three team, swap, it's something that the New York Mets shouldn't even be considering at this point.
Yes, J.T. Realmuto is a terrific catcher, in fact arguably the best catcher in the game right now, but if they want to acquire a catcher of his caliber, they need to acquire him while keeping Noah Syndergaard in tow. After all, the Mets are in "win-now mode" meaning that they need to keep their entire starting rotation in tack and look to make additions to their current 25-man roster rather than substantial subtractions that cause a hole to be formed. In addition, just think about the public and media outcry and scrutiny that would overtake social media, if the Mets traded Noah Syndergaard across town to the New York Yankees. It would be something that would cause extreme chaos among both fan bases and the media would absolutely shred the Mets to pieces for doing such a deal.
If the New York Mets want to continue to upgrade, they should ideally turn to the free agent market and entertain the possibility of signing someone such as, A.J. Pollock, to man centerfield and look at all options available to upgrade behind the dish. J.T. Realmuto would be the perfect fit in Queens, but as we have seen thus far, the Marlins are asking for a lot in return and rightfully so. The Marlins need to make a perfect deal that puts their organization in a better state and brings back a nice haul in return for Marlins fans to wrap their arms around. The Mets could do a deal, but need to find a way to do it without including a combo of Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto, like the Marlins want.