The annual Winter Meetings are upon us! So far the 2014-2015 MLB offseason has been a busy one with many top names in play. We have already seen a blockbuster with the Oakland Athletics sending All-Star 3B Josh Donaldson for 3B Brett Lawrie, Prospects: SS Franklin Barreto, P Kendall Graveman, and P Sean Nolin. A few quality bats have already signed with the Blue Jays picking up catcher Russell Martin, the Braves signing OF Nick Markakis, Boston grabbing the pair of Pablo Sandoval & Hanley Ramirez, with Seattle signing the best power bat in DH Nelson Cruz. The Yankees moved quickly to sign the best left-handed RP on the market in Andrew Miller before the winter meetings opened.
So far the pitching market has been very slow-moving with Jon Lester being the expected top Free Agent SP to sign. Rumours have indicated that Lester could sign very soon and perhaps during the Winter Meetings. Once Lester finds a home we could see the market for James Shields, Max Scherzer and the Tier 2 FA’s start to build traction.
We will keep updating this post to include any significant moves at the Winter Meetings.
Trade: Athletics send OF/1B Brandon Moss to the Cleveland Indians for minor league 2B Joe Wendle.
Quick Thoughts: The Athletics are continuing to overhaul their team by moving many key major league assets which are starting to get into their arbitration years. The A’s are building for the future and either clearing salary for their next big move or are looking to the future. Now for the Indians it will be interesting to see if Nick Swisher is the next guy they move.
FA: The Chicago White Sox sign closer David Robertson to a reported 4 year $46MM contract.
QT: The White Sox are making a very serious run at improving quickly, they are reportedly finalizing a Jeff Samardzija trade and have already added Adam LaRoche & Zach Duke. Robertson is getting a huge contract for only one year of closing experience. While he has been a solid reliever for several years the White Sox are paying big dollars to acquire his services.
Trade: The Athletics send SP Jeff Samardzija & minor league pitcher Michael Ynoa to the White Sox in exchange for four minor league players, Marcus Semien, Chris Bassitt, Josh Phegley and Rangel Ravelo
QT: Billy Beane is a smart guy and I will not question his roster moves and I mean changing his entire team Additionally the White Sox are quickly getting significantly better. The Shark will join ace Chris Sale & Jose Quintana as a very strong top 3 starting rotation for the White Sox.
FA: The Pittsburgh Pirates have resigned free agent SP Francisco Liriano to a 3 year $39MM contract
QT: Liriano has pitched well for the Pirates over the past 2 seasons and this signing comes as no surprise and is a great sign for the Pirates. He has been part of the success of the Pirates over the past two years and at $39MM/3 years it is probably about market value considering his 4.5f WAR over the past 2 seasons.
Trade: The Chicago Cubs have acquired catcher Miguel Montero from the Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league players Zack Godley and Jeferson Mejia.
QT: Montero still has 3yrs and $40MM on his contract who has not performed well over the past two seasons. Still he is seen as a strong defender and pitch framer, so Chicago is taking a little financial risk and could benefit if his offence returns. Either way we should expect more movex from the Cubs who are looking to take a step forward.
FA: The Chicago Cubs have signed free agent SP Jon Lester to a 6yr $155MM contract with a vesting 7th year $15MM option
QT: The Cubs are making noise and this is a huge get for them. Lester reportedly turned down a $135MM offer from the Red Sox and a $150M offer from the Giants. All offseason we have been waiting on Lester to move, we should see the fallout moves in short order as Boston now has to jump on plan B and the Tier 2 pitchers should start to sign.
FA: The Houston Astros signed free agent RP Luke Gregerson to a 3yr $18.5MM contract.
QT: Teams have been paying this offseason for quality relief pitching and Gregerson has been a very solid in relief over his 6 year career. Nice get for the Astros who have been rumored to be in on several of the top available relief pitchers this offseason.
FA: The Astros signed free agent RP Pat Neshek for 2yrs/$12.5MM with a 3rd year option
QT: The Astros managed to strengthen their pen with back to back signings of two of the better RP options on the free agent market. Neshek cashed in on a very strong 2014 season which saw him put up a 197 ERA+.
Trade: The Pirates acquire RP Antonio Bastardo from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for minor league pitcher Joely Rodriguez
QT: The Phillies long overdue sale has officially started and it will be interesting to see how many pieces start to fall into place. The Pirates have been quietly putting together a strong offseason despite not resigning Russell Martin.
Trade: The Miami Marlins acquire IF Dee Gordon & Dan Haren from the LA Dodgers in exchange for RP Andrew Heaney, 2B Enrique Hernandez, C Austin Barnes and RP Chris Hatcher.
QT: The Dodgers got a nice volume of players in exchange for Dee Gordon. Now the interesting part is that Dan Haren has suggested he would retire if traded. Some are speculating that another move could be lined up as Haren has requested to only pitch for the Dodgers or Angels. The Marlins get Gordon who had a breakout year in 2014 and is still controllable for 4 more years as he enters arbitration.
Trade: The Red Sox have acquired SP Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks in exchange for SP Rubby De La Rosa, P Allen Webster and one other minor league player.
QT: The Red Sox picked up their first piece in their Rotation upgrade and got a mid level starter in Miley, while Rubby De La Rosa has shown some potential he has yet to give the consistency the Red Sox need.
Trade: The Tigers acquired OF Yoenis Cespedes, RP Alex Wilson & pitching prospect Gabe Speier from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for SP Rick Porcello and RP C.J. Nitkowski.
QT: The Red Sox are moving to fill in their rotation holes and added a nice pitcher in Porcello while dealing from their outfield depth in Cespedes. This is a good move for the Tigers as they address their need for another OF bat and add some much needed bullpen depth.
Trade: The San Diego Padres have acquired OF Matt Kemp & C Tim Federowicz from the Dodgers in exchange for C Yasmani Grandal, P Joe Wieland and likely pitching prospect Zach Eflin. The deal is also expected to include around $30MM from the Dodgers to cover a portion of Kemp’s $107MM contract
QT: Kemp has been rumoured to be on the move all winter and the Padres have won the bidding. The Dodgers are getting a complete makeover under new GM Andrew Friedman giving the Dodgers a balance between expensive aging players and young talent.
Trade: The Marlins have acquired Mat Latos from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for SP Anthony DeSclafani & Catching prospect Chad Wallach
QT: The Reds have 3-4 starting pitchers on the block and Latos is the first to go. I had been believing that Alex Anthopoulos would try to acquire Latos as he has always coveted him but the Marlins have won the bidding and get a solid addition to their rotation for 2015.
Trade: The Tigers have acquired SP Alfredo Simon from the Reds in exchange for SS Eugenio Suarez and P Jonathan Crawford
QT: The Tigers needed to replace Porcello and wasted no time in acquiring Simon. As mentioned the Reds are in sell mode and picked up two young pieces in the process.
FA: The Minnesota Twins have signed free agent SP Ervin Santana to a 4yr/54MM contract with a 5th year vesting option
QT: Pretty amazing what 1 year made for Santana, he had to sign a 1yr deal with Atlanta due to his qualifying offer holding him back. However he gets a nice 4-5 year deal with the Twins and could put up decent numbers at Target Field. Santana was one of the better second tier SP in this years FA class.
FA: The Red Sox have signed FA SP Justin Masterson to a 1yr/$9.5MM contract
QT: Masterson is the 3rd SP the Red Sox have signed or acquired in the last 24 hours, I guess they moved quickly after losing out on Lester. Masterson has a lot of talent but has been inconsistent over the past few years. He had nice 2011 & 2013 seasons but has mixed in some poor showings. Really this could go either way for the Red Sox but it is worth the risk.
FA: The Royals sign Free agent DH Kendrys Morales for 2yr/$17MM
QT: Like Santanta & Stephen Drew, Morales got hurt by his qualifying offer but even after a poor shortened 2014 season he managed to get a decent offer. If he rebounds he will bring a lot of value for the Royals.