The first flurry of moves is behind us, with Zack Greinke (Diamondbacks) and David Price (Red Sox) staying in their divisions with 200 million dollar deals, while Jeff Samardizja is heading to San Fran with a reported nine-figure contract. Many players that can have a tremendous impact are still available and the annual Winter Meetings are right around the corner.
Ben Zobrist signs with the Mets
The Mets have been linked to Zobrist even before the season was over. He is a superutility man that can make a huge impact immediately and potential drive the Mets to another World Series appearance. Zobrist is a perfect fit for the Mets and the 34-year old (yeah, he’s 34) would be thrust into a competitive environment if he signed with the Mets. However, the Zobrist camp wants four years, while the Mets reportedly want to stick with three. Will Zobrist shave a year off to come to New York?
The Yankees stay put
Every baseball fan knows the Yankees as a high-spending team. Don’t be shocked if they stay put, though. They were not reported to be in talks with any of the big-name free agents like Cueto, Price, Greinke, Zobrist etc. Brian Cashman and the new regime (George Steinbrenner’s two sons- Hank and Hal) have gone against the Yankee Way by focusing more on the farm system. Cashman vowed to improve the Yankees’ scouting at home and worldwide, and in the past few years they have signed or drafted elite young talent like Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, 2014 first rounder James Kapriellan, Greg Bird, and Luis Severino. They also have a solid second tier of prospects which includes Rob Refsnyder, Gary Sanchez, Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams. This is leaps and bounds from the Yankee farm systems of the past. Cashman is staying put and is trying to do something very hard: compete while building up a farm system. He knows that if he goes into full rebuild the demanding Yankee fanbase will not come to the games. If the Yankees want a first round pick in 2016, they can’t sign any players that recieved a qualifying offer, like Zobrist. Don’t expect the Yankees to make any major moves, unless they get a good pitcher for Brett Gardner.
The Red Sox buy and the Padres sell
Remember last year when Padres GM A. J. Preller depleted the Padres farm system to acquire Matt Kemp, James Shields, Craig Kimbrel, Justin Upton, and many others? Remember when he stupidly decided to hold those players during the deadline, thinking his team was still in it? It seems as if Preller has moved on from his ‘fantasy team’ idea. The first domino fell when Kimbrel was traded to the Red Sox earlier this offseason. The Padres will be trying to sell off everyone they acquired last year, while the Red Sox will be looking to be the Padres of this year while trying not to wreck their farm system. Dave Dombrowski will probably be open with deals involving lower-end prospects like Blake Swihart, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Henry Owens, but Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, two great talents of our generation, will be untouchables. They might also try to move ‘dead weight’ like Pablo Sandoval for a younger player with raw talent. One thing is for sure- the Sox and Padres will have much different teams after the Winter Meetings are over.
What are you looking forward to in the Winter Meetings?
Will anyone take on Cano’s contract in a trade?
Will the Mets trade Matt Harvey?
Where will Cueto end up?