The baseball world will soon gather in Las Vegas this week to its yearly Winter Meetings, and like anybody else that heads into las vegas, all 30 clubs will hope to go home with a lot more than they ever had when they revealed.
There’ll be lots of talk from trade discussions to negotiations, throughout the inaugural function, concluding Thursday morning with all the Rule 5 Draft.
Exactly what would be the greatest stories to see? Here’s a primer of 10 stories Which Should control the headlines:
Manny and Bryce
for that past couple of decades, we’ve known that the 2018-19 off season could be defined by the free service of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. The two superstars are currently entering their seasons, also a rarity for free representatives in their own quality.
Which one is going to be the first to register? Which teams could make the financial commitment required to procure their services? How much will each player get? In this week’s Winter Meetings, will his decision be made by either player for our purposes here?
Harper is out of Las Vegas, so it would have been a storybook ending to arrive. But his agent is Scott Boras (more on him in a bit), with a inclination to pull negotiations so as to extract every possible dollar out of the industry.
The market for both players seems relatively constrained in terms of the variety of teams which can fork out $300 million or more using a single player, though provided there is multiple in the mixture to all these — which there appears to be — then a bidding war will make things interesting.
Aces for sale?
But several big-time arms have been supposed to be on the trade block, as clubs attempt to strengthen the top of their individual starting 30, introducing several hot scenarios.
The Mets are reportedly open to trading Noah Syndergaard, while the Indians have been fielding supplies for both Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer.
Acquiring one of these arms won’t be economical, though with two of the very best starters already signed off the freeagent market (Patrick Corbin and Nathan Eovaldi), a team in search of a front-line starter might be forced to show into the trade market.
Can the Phillies get stupid?
Only a couple of weeks ago, Phillies owner John Middleton told USA Today that his team has been well prepared to spend big this winter”and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it”
They showed some restraint when it came into Corbin, declining to provide a sixth year into the left hander. Though it’s quite possible by enrolling Harper, who has been the face of this Washington 38, Philadelphia could cancel corbin wound up getting six decades and $140 million from the National League East-rival Nationals.
Machado remains from the Phillies’ sights, as most industry insiders believe Philadelphia will sign among both premier free agents. Is that where general director Matt Klentak’s plans would wind, or could be the start? The Phillies are a team.
Are the Yankees likely to be big spenders?
The Yankees have spent many years trying to get their deductions under the competitive balance tax threshold, they finally did in 2018. Now their taxation rate has been flashed, would the Bronx Bombers return straight back to their origins and spend big in free agency?
Corbin has been their top pitching target, so with him Eovaldi both off the marketplace, nyc could turn into J.A. Happ to fulfill the final spot in its own turning. Shoud Happ go everywhere — the Phillies and Blue Jays are also thought to be from the mix — that the Yankees could make a rush at Dallas Keuchel or produce a more compact move by registering Lance Lynn, even though they may additionally pivot back into the trade market.
While throwing stays GM Brian Cashman’s priority — that the Yankees are also looking for two a relief arm — there is an increasing belief that they might find yourself as players to Machado. Together with Di Di Gregorius out for many months following Tommy John surgery (and heading for absolutely free agency ), Machado may fill that emptiness at shortstop in a major way.
To no surprise, though they may face competition from an unlikely suitor: the Reds, that the Phillies and Astros are still search projecting up grades as well.
Cincinnati has published five consecutive seasons, finishing the past four each with 94 losses. The Reds have allowed it to be understood that they intend to be aggressive on the pitching market this winter, one of their top targets with Keuchel. Other free agents like Happ and Yusei Kikuchi could also be in play for the Reds, that have also been linked to center fielder A.J. Pollock.
No position is as deep as instant base with this year’s freeagent market, with Daniel Murphy, DJ LeMahieu, Jed Lowrie, Brian Dozier, Logan Forsythe, and Ian Kinsler all searching new contracts.
Naturally, with this many second basemen available on the marketplace, the majority of these former teams are currently searching help at the positioning, establishing a major game of musical chairs. Where if the music stops, That would land?
Can Realmuto stay or will he move?
Since the Marlins traded Gian Carlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon before the 2018 season, the lingering question has been if — or more likely, if — catcher J.T. Realmuto will soon be the next player shipped from Miami.
Realmuto has drawn interest from nearly 1 / 2 MLB teams, according to several reports, however, the Marlins are not likely to trade them unless they get the kind of package they are insisting upon. The Mets are the team to be identified as a serious suitor for its allstar catcher.
Realmuto’s representative has made it clear his client won’t be registering an extension with Miami and would like to be traded, but it remains to be seen if that will happen this week, this offseason or even this past year.
The Boras effect
Last offseason, a number of Boras’ freeagent clients didn’t sign until February or March. Those included notable names like Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez, Jake Arrieta, Mike Moustakas and Greg Holland, that represented five of the top players on the 2017 18 market.
Boras’ roster of agents this winter is equally as loaded, starting with Harper and Keuchel. Zach Britton, Marwin Gonzalez, Moustakas and Matt Harvey are also represented by the veteran agent, causing some to speculate that the set of players may not sign anytime soon.
One Boras client who most certainly will sign before a long time is Kikuchi, the Japanese left hander who has to consent to a bargain with a major league club by Jan. 2 when he would like to make the move into the Majors.
Second base could be the strangest position in the freeagent market this winter, but the relief-pitching options are somewhat more plentiful. Jesse Chavez and Trevor Rosenthal have signed up with the Rangers and Nationals, respectively, however no less than 10 noteworthy relievers stay available.
Craig Kimbrel is clearly the No. 1 option, and he’s on the lookout for a contract commensurate with this stature, likely something in the $75 million-$90 million range.
The aid market moved faster than every winter. Can this past year see the rush of relievers after the first domino falls signing?
Can Greinke function as next D-back to proceed?
The D Backs traded Goldschmidt into the Cardinals on Wednesday, dealing the face of the franchise to St. Louis for several players and also a Competitive Balance Round B selection in the next year’s Draft.
There had been a lot of speculation that Arizona would attempt to add Zack Greinke‘s contract (he’s owed $104.5 million over the next three years) into Goldschmidt in any trade, though that turned out not to be the situation. It’s hard to suppose GM Mike Hazen won’t continue to attempt and discover a new home for the 35-year-old, righthanded Greinke, who has thrown 4 10 innings with a 3.20 ERA over the previous two seasons.
That leaves plenty of suitors, of course.