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Winter Meetings: Day One

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


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We’ve already seen some big moves go down to keep the Hot Stove burning. There are sure to be more this week as baseball Winter Meetings get underway at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

 

The Rotoworld Baseball team will have you covered, providing recaps like the one below each day as well as blurbs on our constantly-updated player news page. You can also follow me (@RyanPBoyer), Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot), D.J. Short (@djshort), Drew Silva (@drewsilv) and Christopher Crawford (Crawford_MILB) on Twitter as we track all of the news and give scalding-hot takes.

 

Royals Reel in Hamilton

 

The Reds made a relatively surprising decision to non-tender Billy Hamilton late last month. The speedster wasn’t out of a job for long.

 

Jim Bowden of The Athletic was first to report and multiple outlets confirmed that the Royals are close to signing Hamilton to a one-year contract. ESPN’s Buster Olney says Hamilton will make $5.25 million on the one-year pact, with a possible $1 million more available in incentives.

 

Hamilton hasn’t developed offensively as the Reds had hoped. He sports a career .245/.298/.333 batting line and has posted a .300 on-base percentage in just one of his five full seasons. Cincinnati mostly batted him ninth in 2018 and also benched him a decent amount.

 

With Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi slated to hit 1-2 in the Royals’ batting order, Hamilton will likely be in line to bat ninth again. However, he won’t have to hit behind the pitcher this time and will also have less competition for playing time. Additionally, going to a bigger ballpark should actually benefit a guy who needs more balls to fall in so he can use his speed.

 

Hamilton stealing “only” 34 bases and being caught 10 times last season was a disappointment. However, the 28-year-old hasn’t lost any of his speed and is headed to a team known to be aggressive on the basepaths. Hamilton has plenty of flaws but could be in line for a bounce-back season for fantasy purposes in 2019.

 

Three-Way Trade Blockbuster Being Discussed

 

We will say this about new Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen: he’s not boring.

 

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Monday night that the Mets are discussing a potential three-way trade with the Yankees and Marlins in which they would land J.T. Realmuto. Noah Syndergaard would likely be headed to the Yanks in the scenario, although Andy Martino of SNY.tv hears that the Yankees like the Mets’ pitching and it’s not necessarily limited to “Thor.” Martino also says the Yankees are “pushing hard” to make a deal with the Mets happen.

 

Rosenthal hears that the Mets would not trade Syndergaard – who has three years left of control – if they’re only getting Realmuto – who has two – in return, so there would obviously be more notable names involved here. There’s also no word yet on what the Marlins would receive in the deal.

 

If it seems like the Yankees and Mets rarely make trades, it’s because it’s true. The last deal between the two teams involving major leaguers occurred in 2004. However, Rosenthal says that the clubs “have been in steady talks” since Van Wagenen became GM. Clearly the former agent isn’t afraid to shake things up, as he already demonstrated with the trade for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.

 

The possible three-way trade is just one of several scenarios the Mets are reportedly working on in hopes of netting Realmuto, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post has reported that the one involving the Yankees "is not among the strongest." They’re also keeping tabs on other catching options, having met with Wilson Ramos on Monday, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

 

Yankees in on Machado, out on Harper?

 

The Yankees have long been connected to free agent Bryce Harper even as various reports have suggested he isn’t a priority for them. On Monday, general manager Brian Cashman did his best to nip the rumor in the bud once and for all.

 

"We don't have an [infinite] amount of dollars to be playing with in any marketplace," Cashman said. "We're looking for a starter now; it was two, now it's down to one. We're looking for, how do we address the loss of Didi Gregorius? And we're looking for our bullpen. At no time all winter have I said that I'm looking for an outfielder. The Harper stuff, I'm surprised you're still asking."

 

GMs often tell you flat-out that they’re turning left, only to turn right. So, it’s possible Cashman is just yanking our chain. However, that’s a pretty definitive statement. Also a definitive statement is the one Cashman gave about pursuing Manny Machado.

 

"I've had several conversations with Dan Lozano about Manny Machado," Cashman said. "We are definitely focused in the marketplace on those areas of need. He obviously is available and solves that area of need. I'm not going to deny we've had a conversation or two."

 

Machado has always made more sense for the Yankees than Harper. He would provide them with a stopgap at shortstop until Didi Gregorius makes it back from Tommy John surgery and could then shift over to third base. Current third baseman Miguel Andujar is coming off an American League Rookie of the Year runner-up showing, but he’s a poor defender at the hot corner and could move across the diamond to first base.

 

Kluber Trade Talks Heating Up

 

It’s been pretty clear for a while that the Indians were going to trade one of their marquee starters in order to recalibrate their payroll. Is a two-time Cy Young winner the likeliest to go?

 

With Carlos Carrasco agreeing to a contract extension last week, he’s staying put. That leaves Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer still on the trade block, and Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported Monday that trade talks involving Kluber were “intensifying,” with the Dodgers being among the teams involved in the talks.

 

For what it’s worth, Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti did his best to shoot down the report.

 

"I think we were reading one of those [tweets] on the [television] screen," Antonetti said. "We were sitting here eating lunch by ourselves going, 'Oh, really. Who is intensifying those talks?' I'm not sure who is having those talks intensified."

 

While Antonetti might deny that talks have picked up steam, he essentially confirmed that the Tribe will have to make moves to cut payroll.

 

"Ownership's invested incredible resources into our team over the course of the past few seasons to try to help push us to a World Series championship," Antonetti said. "At some point, you have to make sure you have sustainable finances that work for the long term. And we're in the process of working through exactly what that will be."

 

The Dodgers are already well-stocked with rotation options but could see adding Kluber (or Bauer) as a unique opportunity. They also have a top prospect in Alex Verdugo who is blocked in L.A. but fits exactly what the Indians are looking for. It’s a match that makes sense, but the Indians are no doubt fielding many calls about Kluber and Bauer.

 

 

Quick Hits: Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times has reported that the Rays have maintained a "running dialogue" with Nelson Cruz and have discussed contract parameters. Topkin also notes that the Rays "continue to have dialogue" with Charlie Morton and they have interest in Edwin Encarnacion and Yandy Diaz, as well … Robert Murray of The Athletic has reported that the Brewers have expressed interest in Daniel Murphy … Nick Groke of The Athletic has reported that the Rockies had trade talks with the Phillies about Carlos Santana before Santana was traded to the Mariners and they could revisit the idea of acquiring Santana … Andy Martino of SNY.tv has reported that the Yankees "have been highly reluctant to budge off two years" for J.A. Happ, whereas Happ is looking for a three-year deal … Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday that Chris Sale (shoulder) is "feeling fine" and the team is "comfortable where he is" … Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com has reported that the Tigers are hearing trade interest on Nicholas Castellanos … Bob Nightengale of USA Today has reported that several teams have expressed interest in Brandon Belt … Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the Giants might be Yusei Kikuchi's "first choice" as a potential landing spot … Mark Feinsand of MLB.com has reported that the Dodgers have emerged as a potential suitor for free agent reliever David Robertson … Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Freidman said Monday that Corey Seager (elbow, hip) has "switched gears" from rehabbing to training for baseball … Miguel Cabrera (biceps) resumed swinging a bat earlier this month … Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said Monday that Jake Lamb (shoulder) will play some first base next season in addition to third base … Phillies general manager Matt Klentak revealed Monday that Cesar Hernandez played through a broken bone in his foot for most of the second half after fouling a ball off the foot in July … Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said Monday that he's not sure whether Danny Salazar (shoulder) will be on a normal schedule in spring training … Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the Athletics are showing interest in DJ LeMahieu … The Tigers signed Tyson Ross to a one-year, $5.75 million contract … Rangers manager Chris Woodward said Monday that Jose Leclerc isn't necessarily locked into the closer role … Jayson Stark of The Athletic reports that the Mariners aren't "especially motivated" to trade Kyle Seager.



Ryan Boyer is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter.
Email :Ryan Boyer



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