What are each team’s interests entering the Winter Meetings?
Shohei Ohtani rejected them, but it’s likely that Giancarlo Stanton wants them.
If Stanton, the major league home run champion last season with 59, is dealt by the Marlins to the Yankees, New York will have an uber lineup with Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez in the middle of the order.
Stanton exercised his no-trade clause in vetoing deals to San Francisco and St. Louis, and had told the Marlins, according to major league sources, that the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, and Astros were his preferences.
A Marlins source said Saturday that Stanton was on his way to New York for a physical, a sign he had waived his no-trade clause.
The Yankees and Marlins had been discussing the structure of the trade for a few days, according to a major league source. Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has indicated he wants to stay under the $197 million competitive-balance tax threshold.
To do that, the Yankees wanted the Marlins to take on some of the remaining $290 million in Stanton’s contract, which they did ($35 million). In addition to Starlin Castro, the Yankees will send righthanded pitching prospect Jorge Guzman and shortstop Jose Devers (a cousin of Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers), to the Marlins.
With that big deal seemingly done, here’s a look at each team’s interests entering the Winter Meetings, which start Sunday in Orlando:
Boston — Look for the Red Sox to significantly add to their lineup. They will explore deals for White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and may ask about San Diego’s Wil Myers. They will discuss free agents Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez, and Mike Moustakas, all of whom are represented by Scott Boras. They will keep an eye on secondary options such as Logan Morrison, Carlos Santana, and Jay Bruce. The Sox may also dip into the rotation-depth market. They could make a bid to re-sign setup man Addison Reed or dive into the lefty reliever market (Jake McGee).
New York — Even with Stanton, the Yankees want to add a couple of starting pitchers, one of whom they hope is free agent CC Sabathia. Given their abundant minor league talent they could pursue a deal for Chris Archer, for instance, or sign Alex Cobb.
Toronto — With Rogers Communications reportedly looking to sell the team, would the Blue Jays entertain dealing Josh Donaldson, who can become a free agent after next season? The Jays will be in the market for a second baseman, a bullpen piece, a starting pitcher, and a power bat. Free agents Bruce and Carlos Gonzalez are often mentioned here.
Tampa Bay — The Rays always look for bargains. The likelihood is they won’t re-sign Morrison, so they will likely seek a cheaper option. Mitch Moreland would be the type of hitter/defender at first base that would interest them. We hear a lot about Jose Bautista landing here, as well. Archer and third baseman Evan Longoria can become 10-5 rights players midway through the 2018 season. Longoria has been the face of the franchise, but they may entertain a package for him. There would be no shortage of suitors.
Baltimore — The trick is acquiring impact starting pitching without spending a fortune. And there’s also how to handle Manny Machado, who can become a free agent after next season. First, the pitching. The Orioles need someone who can augment Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman in the rotation. It appears the disappointing Chris Tillman won’t be back. The Orioles have a few prospect chips to offer in a trade, but free agency could be the way to go. Darvish makes sense here if the Angelos family is willing to spend. They will offer up closer Zach Britton for a No. 1 or No. 2 starting pitcher. There will be great demand for setup man Mychal Givens.
Cleveland — The Indians will likely lose Santana, so a first base/DH type could be needed. The Indians like platoons, so we could envision Moreland making sense here. The Indians could also consider bringing back Mike Napoli. Matt Adams has been mentioned for a platoon at first with Edwin Encarnacion, who would also DH. Jason Kipnis and Danny Salazar are two players they could use as trade bait.
Minnesota — The Twins want a No. 1-type starter to go along with Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios, and Adalberto Mejia. They are engaging in talks on Jake Arrieta and Darvish and could pursue deals with the Rays on Archer or Jake Odorizzi. They’ll likely show interest in Cobb if they fail to get Arrieta or Darvish. Is this the offseason when they deal Brian Dozier?
Kansas City — The Royals haven’t fully acknowledged it, but this is a rebuild. The chances are great they lose Moustakas, Hosmer, and Lorenzo Cain, though there’s some slight hope about Hosmer returning. There’s also talk around the league that they’ll listen on veteran relievers Joakim Soria and Kelvin Herrera. This will be a young roster anchored by catcher Salvador Perez.
Chicago — There’s a good market for the two White Sox players most likely to be moved — Abreu and right fielder Avisail Garcia. But Chicago is asking for top prospects for both, especially for Abreu. The Red Sox and Cardinals are very interested in Abreu.
Detroit — The Tigers would love to deal Ian Kinsler, and the Angels, Blue Jays, and Mets are looking for a second baseman. The Tigers feel good about the progress made by righty Jordan Zimmermann, who started pitching better in September after taking injections for his balky neck. Zimmermann could be tradeable if the Tigers are willing to eat a good chunk of the remaining $74 million he’s owed. There’s also a possibility slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias is moved. The Tigers already signed righty Mike Fiers and center fielder Leonys Martin. They could use a lefty bat.
Houston — The World Series champs are in great position to do whatever they want. One thing is for sure, they need to come up with a closer, and plenty are available, from free agents Greg Holland and Wade Davis to trade opportunities for Britton and Herrera. They could seek to add a bat to offset the retirement of Carlos Beltran. But the Astros don’t need a whole lot.
Los Angeles — The Angels won the Ohtani sweepstakes and now must find a way to incorporate him into the starting rotation as well as their lineup. Ohtani could DH while Albert Pujols plays some first base, and it’s also likely he’ll join what could be a six-man rotation. The Angels are likely to be in the market for a reliever beyond Jim Johnson, whom they acquired from the Braves.
Seattle — General manager Jerry Dipoto made quite a pitch for Ohtani, only to lose out to the rival Angels. Dipoto acquired second baseman Dee Gordon from Miami and will shift him to center field. He also added Ryon Healy in a deal with the A’s, shoring up first base and the need for another power bat. The Mariners need some bullpen reinforcement and a starting pitcher. Archer makes sense here.
Texas — The Rangers made a good signing in lefty Mike Minor, who could also be a closer. They signed former Red Sox righty Doug Fister, but they need another front-end starter. They may try for a mid-priced center fielder such as Jon Jay. The Rangers want to get back to being a competitor in this division and may pursue the top pitchers available.
Oakland — The A’s ever-changing roster is showing some stability now with a nice, young core that’s not far from blossoming. The A’s would certainly be willing to deal infielder Jed Lowrie, a second base/third base bat. The A’s say they won’t trade Khris Davis, a 40-homer guy who’s moving from outfield to DH, but never say never with Billy Beane. The Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, and Giants, among others, would be interested in Davis.
Washington — The Nationals have a new manager in Dave Martinez and need to get to the next level after winning 95-plus games and bowing out in the Division Series the last two years. This could be the last season in Washington for free agent-to-be Bryce Harper, so the Nats will go all out. They need a back-end starter, a couple of solid bench players, and a righty middle reliever. They could go after someone such as Eduardo Nunez to fill a valuable bench role. They have an excess of outfielders — and would like to make room for top prospect Victor Robles at some point — so they could part with outfield prospects Rafael Bautista or Andrew Stevenson to land a pitcher.
Atlanta — New boss Alex Anthopoulos isn’t afraid to make big deals, as we saw from his time in Toronto. The Braves have plenty of prospects who could be flipped for veteran players. Are the Braves ready to do that? Anthopoulos once traded for Donaldson, so he could pursue him again. Atlanta could also try to flip some positional prospects for Archer.
New York — The Mets could use a power bat at third base, and Longoria or Moustakas could come into play. But if they go with Asdrubal Cabrera at third, they would need help at second base, perhaps Kinsler or free agents Nunez or Neil Walker. They also need bullpen help. Reed could return to the Mets for the right price, with Brandon Morrow or Bryan Shaw also possibilities. Moreland is an option at first base.
Miami — Stanton is the biggest domino. With Gordon dealt to Seattle, Marcell Ozuna and/or Christian Yelich could be the next to go as the new ownership group looks to get payroll south of $90 million. First baseman Justin Bour could be an interesting first base/DH piece for the Red Sox or Yankees.
Philadelphia — Comments made by GM Matt Klentak seem to indicate the Phillies are not quite ready to go after big-ticket players this offseason. With a new TV contract expected to bring in boatloads of money, the Phillies may be primed to hunt big after next season. For now, they have shortstop Freddy Galvis and second baseman Cesar Hernandez to deal, and they’re likely to pursue second-tier starters such as Lance Lynn, Cobb, and Andrew Cashner. They’re also in the market for a setup man such as Reed, Morrow, or Shaw.
Chicago — Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer always make something big happen. They could try to bring back Arrieta. They’ve already signed Tyler Chatwood, but he’s more the replacement for John Lackey than for Arrieta. They could also deal for Archer, a favorite of Joe Maddon, or Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole. It will be interesting to see whether they would deal Kyle Schwarber for pitching. If they don’t re-sign Wade Davis, they will need a closer. That could be anyone from Britton to Holland to Herrera.
St. Louis — The Cardinals made their bid for Stanton and now they’re also linked with Martinez, Bruce, Hosmer, Moustakas, and other big bats. We’ll see if the aggressiveness pays off.
Milwaukee — The Brewers have the offense, now they need pitching. They need that No. 1 guy and they’re expected to be in the hunt for Arrieta and Darvish or seek a deal for someone such as Archer. They would have to be willing to move top prospect Lewis Brinson to make any major deal. They would love another reliever, and they would entertain dealing Ryan Braun.
Pittsburgh — There are always Andrew McCutchen and/or Cole rumors circulating. The Giants have inquired about McCutchen. Cole would fit a lot of situations. The Pirates would likely consider trading All-Star infielder Josh Harrison, catcher Francisco Cervelli, and even veteran starter Ivan Nova if they can land a power bat and more starting pitching.
Cincinnati — This is the first year in a while that Joey Votto’s name hasn’t come up in trade rumors. The Reds are going young and therefore they would be open to offers for closer Raisel Iglesias and left fielder Adam Duvall, who has hit 30-plus homers the last two seasons.
Los Angeles — The Dodgers made it to the World Series, but they need to win it now. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez could be moved if the Dodgers pick up a great deal of the remaining $21.5 million on his contract, though Gonzalez has a full no-trade. They could re-sign Darvish, though his postseason performance was dreadful. One pitcher they’d like to have back is Morrow.
Arizona — General manager Mike Hazen likely can’t afford to retain Martinez. Outfielder Yasmany Tomas will return from injuries that limited him to 47 games in 2017, which is why they acquired Martinez from Detroit. They do have a surplus of middle infielders and could deal someone such as Brandon Drury. Hazen has already traded for Rays reliever Brad Boxberger and will likely add one more reliever.
Colorado — The Rockies have work to do. Their top relievers in 2017 — Holland, Pat Neshek, and McGee — are free agents. They’d like to re-sign at least two. If not, they have to hustle to go get Brandon Kintzler, Morrow, or Reed, or deal for Britton. They are also losing outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and first baseman Mark Reynolds in free agency. The Rockies have been looking into Bruce and Morrison. The Rockies had a good season in 2017 and they don’t want to backslide.
San Diego — The Padres will pursue free agent shortstops Zack Cozart and Alcides Escobar and could deal third baseman Yangervis Solarte and/or lefty reliever Brad Hand if they can land starting pitching. They have interest in Hosmer, but would have to be blown away to deal Myers.
San Francisco — Clearly, they could be the most active team at the meetings, but Giants management tells me they were disappointed at not being able to land Stanton. They will pursue Martinez, Moustakas, Todd Frazier, and possibly Cain. They could move righty Jeff Samardzija and save his $19.8 million. They could also move second baseman Joe Panik.