By: Rossy Pasternak
I love the Winter Meetings for the MLB. I wish the other sports would have all the decision makers on each team and for each player stay in the same hotel for a week. There would be a flurry of trades, free-agent signings, and speculation. In today’s media-centric world, the average sports fan craves speculation even more than they crave actual trades and signings. The Winter Meetings is for sure the best part of the MLB offseason, just look at all that has happened so far – and its only Wednesday! Now, for our reaction to all the moves so far:
Arizona Diamondbacks Sign Zack Greinke:
This move was a huge shock to the baseball industry. Almost all experts reported that Greinke had trimmed his list down to the Giants and the Dodgers. As with every big free-agent in every offseason however, a “mystery team” swooped in to steal the prize. The D-Backs signed Greinke to 6-year, $206.5M contract, which topped David Price’s contract for the highest per-year average in the MLB. This move, I think, was necessary for the smaller market Diamondbacks, who were struggling to bring in fans, and struggling to win games. Sure, the contract will probably look bad in the latter years, but if the Greinke brings success to Arizona, and fans to their stadium, it will be worth it.
Boston Trades Wade Miley to Seattle
Seattle gets: LHP Wade Miley, RHP Jonathan Aro
Boston gets: RHP Carson Smith, LHP Roenis Elias
This was a good trade for both teams, as Seattle leverages it’s exceptional bullpen in order to improve it’s less-than-adequate rotation, and Boston vice-versa. Miley can offer innings to Seattle, and fits the need of a middle-rotation starter; and Smith and Elias can slot into the Boston bullpen that now looks pretty dangerous.
Cubs Sign John Lackey, Ben Zobrist; Trades Starlin Castro to Yankees
Lackey: 2 years, $32M
Zobrist: 4 years, $56M
Cubs Get: RHP Adam Warren, INF Brendan Ryan
Yankees get: Starlin Castro
Firstly, the John Lackey signing solves the Cubs’ search for another starter in free-agency, and does it cheaply. Chicago was connected with David Price and Zack Greinke early on in the offseason, but took itself out of the bidding war by signing Lackey to a reasonable, smart deal. Then, the Cubs got creative, with a move that essentially netted them super-utility man Ben Zobrist, a reliever, Adam Warren, and a backup infielder, Brendan Ryan, for $18M and Castro. If I were a Cubs fan, I would be bowing down to Theo Epstein right now. By dealing Castro for two cheap players, the Cubs shed the remaining $38M left on his deal, which created the space that they needed in order to sign Zobrist and keep their other options open. Now that this signing and trade has happened, it leaves the Cubs with only one hole – Centre Field. There is one free-agent out there who can man that position better than maybe anyone in the MLB, and who can hit for average – and some power – as well. That man’s name is Jason Heyward. By dealing Castro, the Cubs kept enough payroll in order to be in on yet another high-cost free-agent, and who better than a 26 year-old who is just entering his prime. If not Heyward, maybe a trade of Jorge Soler and a signing of Alex Gordon? Look out for the Cubs to continue to be a major player this offseason.
Arizona Trades the Farm for Shelby Miller
Arizona gets: RHP Shelby Miller, LHP Gabe Speier
Atlanta gets: OF Ender Inciarte, SS Dansby Swanson, RHP Aaron Blair
I know that Arizona is all in – as evidenced by their signing of Zack Geinke – but they can not continue to trade away all of it’s top picks. Last summer, they traded 2014 1st round pick Touki Toussiant, a pitcher, to the Braves in order to dump the contract of Bronson Arroyo. This offseason, it was the organizations #1 and #2 prospects, Swanson and Blair, as well as forfeiting the #13 pick by signing Greinke, who was qualified by the Dodgers. The D-Backs are doing the opposite of everyone else in the MLB, and trading away top picks instead of hoarding them. Many around the league have pegged this deal as a huge win for the Braves, with one exec even going as far as to say this is “worst trade I’ve ever seen” for the Diamondbacks. The Braves, on the other hand, keep on trading away valuable assets for prospects. Only time will tell if Swanson and Blair turn out to be as good as they are pegged to be, and whether or not Miller can help bring a World Series to the Desert, but as of now, this trade looks like a huge win for the Braves, and a huge gamble for Arizona.
Pirates Swap Walker for Mets’ Niese
Pirates get: LHP John Niese
Mets get: 2B Neil Walker
This is a win-win for both teams. The Mets use their outstanding pitching depth to replace Daniel Murphy at second base, and the Pirates get a middle of the rotation arm to slot in behind Garret Cole and company.
What do you think of the MLB offseason and the Winter Meetings thus far? Comment below!
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