With Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings less than a week away (runs from December 9th through the 13th), the landscape of the league can change.
Last year saw the Miami Marlins trade all star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees in what was seen as one of baseball biggest power moves of the offseason. It was also at the Winter Meetings that we saw the Chicago Cubs, over two years, build their historic 2016 World Series championship team.
Historically, many major deals have happened at the meetings but that leads us to this year. There’s already been some major moves that have been made, including the Seattle Mariners trading second baseman Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz to the Mets. So what’s to expect? Here’s seven predictions for this year’s Winter Meetings.
1). The Continued Tear Down Of Seattle:
The Seattle Mariners have made their goal for this offseason loud and clear, to launch a rebuild. So far this offseason, we’ve see them start to overhaul their roster by trading Cano, Diaz, starting pitcher James Paxton, relief pitcher Alex Colome and shortstop Jean Segura. All the while, they’re hoping to trade third baseman Kyle Seager, amongst other names.
If it wasn’t for immensity of this offseason’s free agent class, it could have been said they’re making room for next years class. Seattle has stocked their minor league with some decent prospects and future stars so this rebuild could be the blue print to a future dynasty, similar to that of the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, if it goes right.
2). The Yankees Pull Off The Big One
Every year, the New York Yankees seemingly make some kind of splash in the Winter Meetings. With their pitching staff in a bit of disarray, they’re going to make some kind of run at a starting pitcher. Having lost out on the name they’ve been linked to all offseason, Patrick Corbin, it wouldn’t be surprising to see another blockbuster trade. Watch for names like the Cleveland Indians’ Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer, or to sign someone like J.A. Happ or Dallas Keuchel. Expect to see them make a run at the latest Japanese import, Yusei Kikuchi, as well. Expect something big early on, though.
3). J.T. Realmuto Remains A Fish
With the Miami Marlins going through a unique transition, similar to that of the Houston Astros a few years ago, people have been wondering when the exit of catcher J.T Realmuto will be. Given that he’s the only player from their top four guys who wasn’t traded once Derek Jeter took over as CEO of Miami, it says one of two things; One, they just didn’t get a good offer for Realmuto or two, they hope to build around him.
With catcher being one of the most crucial positions in baseball, to have one of the better ones in the game is often a sign to build a team around him. The Yankees did it with Jorge Posada, the Red Sox with Jason Varitek, the Cincinnati Reds with Johnny Bench and the list goes on and on. Whatever the case, something will happen.
4). One of the Major Free Agents Signs
Patrick Corbin was discussed earlier but he’s not one of the major free agents. Really there’s two big fish here: outfielder Bryce Harper and shortstop and infielder Manny Machado. It seems that at least one big free agent makes his millions here. Which one is the million dollar question. The fact that there’s been more rumors around Machado means he’s more likely to be the favorite to sign but sometimes silence can be suspicious.
5). The Champs Stay Silent
The Boston Red Sox have made major splashes in past Winter Meetings. They’ve landed major stars including getting starting pitchers Chris Sale and David Price as well as closer Craig Kimbrel. However, the only move last they made was re-signing first baseman Mitch Moreland. Boston needs another starting pitcher and relief pitchers so don’t expect a major trade or signing.
6). The Arizona Diamondbacks Sell but Load Up
The Arizona Diamondbacks have a good young team, however they have one major setback, and that’s starting pitcher Zack Greinke’s contract. Unfortunately, it cost them first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (signed with St. Louis Cardinals). If they can save some money by dumping Greinke’s contract, expect some kind of splash from them.
7). There Will Be An Unexpected Winner
Every year, there’s always someone who comes up. Sometimes it doesn’t end up working out(see the San Diego Padres) but if done right, watch out. Watch teams like the New York Mets who just opened their checkbook up before anybody else this offseason, the Oakland A’s who pulled off the ultimate seasonal comeback and the Philadelphia Phillies who appear to be just one piece away to be that team.