The Winter Meetings are all about waiting. And more waiting, and listening to rumors and denials and then more rumors and denials and then all the rumors are confirmed. There is the big hall where all the reporters hangout while we wait, between press conferences and announcements. For some reporters it’s a good time to catch up on their sleep.
The team officials and managers don’t stay more than a couple days; they come in just for their press conference and any business the MLB needs to get done. It’s the reporters who stay for the week.
The main business of baseball at this time of year is trades. Even as I write teams are finalizing deals that were talked about in rumors last week. Melky Cabrera was rumored to be signing with different teams, but on Monday (Dec. 15) he signed a three-year contract with the White Sox worth $42 million dollars, plus he gets a limited “no-trade” clause.
During the Winter Meetings the White Sox acquired Pitcher Jeff Samardzija and Michael Ynoa from the Oakland A’s, sending Marcus Semien, Chris Bassit, Josh Phegley and Rangel Ravelo to California in return. Samardzija has an ERA of 3.14 and a record of 5-6. The White Sox haven’t said if he will be a starter or work from the bullpen, but he made 33 starts with the A’s last year.
The White Sox also acquired pitcher David Robertson from the New York Yankees. He pitched in 63 games and has an ERA of 3.08.
The Dodgers Make it Quick
Half the time spent at the Winter Meetings is chasing after rumors. For days reporters were talking about the Dodgers trading Matt Kemp. Throughout the week the Dodgers were denying it; General Manager Farhan Zaidi called it “wishful thinking” by the press.
The Dodgers had too many outfielders in 2014 and it showed. So in the off-season Matt Kemp was the favorite to be traded. There were discussions about Andre Ethier being traded, but most other teams think the Dodgers wanted too much for him and Carl Crawford, the other outfielder rumored to be on the trading block. Another rumor was the one outfielder the Dodgers would like to trade is Scott Van Slyke. He didn’t get to play much in 2014, but he would be an impact player on any team that needs a hard-hitting outfielder. He had 11 homeruns this past season so he looks really good to a lot of teams.
The Dodgers really like Joc Pederson for the outfield, but he’s a young player and would attract teams that have starting pitchers like Cole Hamels who is currently with the Phillies. Hamels would like to play for a winning team, especially if it’s on the West Coast, where his family lives. But as he said in a recent radio interview, going to a team that is winning is most important for him.
Even though the Dodgers just signed him, Chris Heisey was rumored to be bait for use in a trade for more pitching. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he never wore a Dodgers uniform in 2015. He’s a great defensive player in the outfield, but he only hit .222 with the Cincinnati Reds and the Dodgers don’t need any more outfielders.
So, in a quick 12-hour time span the Dodgers made several deals involving over a dozen players, sending not only Dee Gordon, Miguel Rojas and Dan Haren to Miami, but also sending Matt Kemp south to division rivals, the San Diego Padres. Just a day after the Dodgers GM told us a Kemp trade was “wishful thinking.”
On Monday the Dodgers added left-handed pitcher Brett Anderson. He’s 26 and has great potential, but while he was with the Colorado Rockies Anderson suffered from various injuries. The Rockies bought out his contract and the Dodgers signed him to a one-year, $10 million deal that could be worth up to $14 million if he reaches some incentives. If he stays healthy and keeps his ERA below 3.00, this could be the best deal of the off-season. Right now the fans aren’t that thrilled with the deal.
Yankees Sign Chase Headley
As of Monday the Yankees have resigned third baseman Chase Headley. The Yankees always wanted to keep him, but during the meetings Headley was often the subject of rumors. He is considered one of the best defensive players at his position and his batting stats are slightly above average. He will get $52 million over four years and as much as $4 million more if he reaches the bonus incentives. The big story about the Chase Headley deal is not about Headley — it’s about Alex Rodriguez. “What about him?”
Alex Rodriguez is expected in Spring Training after missing 162 games due to a suspension for using banned substances. Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn’t say much about A-Rod, other than they talked to him about playing some at first base. But for a guy with two hip surgeries, can he perform at that position? Three years remain on his contract — he could be the best paid DH in the major leagues.
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Brad Ausmus looks like he could still play. He was an All-Star catcher with the San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros and L.A. Dodgers. After his playing days he spent three years in San Diego as a Special Assistant for Baseball Operations with the Padres before managing the Tigers.
The Baltimore Orioles are in need of outfielders and the Dodgers have many. Makes you wonder why they haven’t made a deal yet. But the O’s don’t want to trade for an outfielder, they want to sign a free agent.
Forgot to mention in the last report: the Boston Red Sox let Yoenis Céspedes go, trading him, Alex Wilson and Gabe Speirer to the Detroit Tigers for Rick Porcello and a draft pick. Céspedes had 22 homeruns last year and a batting average of .256 with the Oakland A’s and .269 with the Sox. Porcello is a starter with a 15-13 record last year and the Sox need to fix their starting rotation. Plus, with Big Panda in the lineup the Sox felt they could afford to lose Céspedes.
The other L.A. team, the Angels, who actually call Anaheim home, made some deals of course. Angels manager Mike Scioscia had a press conference on the first day and avoided many questions about trades, but did announce the team was expecting starting pitcher Garrett Richards to come back sometime in the first six weeks of the season.
One more thing about the Dee Gordon trade: the fans who will miss the second baseman most will be the kids he met with through the L.A. Foundation and the Dodgers Foundation. Before his appearance at the Winter Meetings in San Diego on Thursday, Gordon met with kids for a Breakfast in the Classroom event. That was more important to him than talking to the media. He is one of the nicest people in baseball.
Claudia is of Peruvian and Italian descent, having been born in a small town, in the North of Peru, South America. She was raised by her grandmother from an early age, living in poverty until Claudia’s mother brought her to America. She landed in Miami, FL and started her new life, playing high school basketball and eventually becoming a United States citizen. Claudia completed her education at Florida International University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and became a model to supplement her income. Since graduating from FIU Claudia has worked with many of the Spanish Language broadcasting companies, including Telemundo, Univision and most recently Spanish Language channels on SiriusXM satellite radio and PasTV Deportes in Venezuela.She encourages you to follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Her content appears here under a shared content agreement with her Spanish television clients.