It’s every avid baseball fan early Christmas present. The Major League Baseball GM Winter Meetings are underway. It’s like getting a preview breeze of the warm July summer air at the ballpark but with a fringed reminder that baseball is still many months away.
With almost all the agents and GM’s under one roof, there should be plenty of action going on. With all the potential trades and signings that may come about, here’s four storylines you should be paying close attention to during the winter meetings.
What are the A’s going to do next?: Last season, Billy Beane and company went all in trying to win a World Series by acquiring Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, Jeff Samardzija and Adam Dunn. Unfortunately, for the A’s, their postseason aspirations ended in a much too familiar and frustrating fashion, being bounced in the Wild Card round of the Postseason on a spectacular comeback by the eventual American League Champions, the Kansas City Royals.
The A’s have been a confusing team thus far in the offseason. Beane showed arguably the best third basemen in the American League the door by trading Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie and two prospects. Beane also acquired DH Billy Butler, who is coming off his worst season ever as a pro. With key players being lost that the A’s will not be able to re-sign in free agency, and a Brandon Moss trade to the Cleveland Indians, which appears imminent it will be interesting to see if Oakland’s brain trust continues to trade more pieces of their team to build for a Postseason run in the near future, or try to contend for the division in the ultra competitive AL West in 2015.
Jon Lester: The Atlanta native possesses the equivalent to a winning lottery ticket this offseason. Lester, who had one of his best seasons ever while pitching for both the Boston Red Sox and A’s last season, is due to cash in big. The question that remains is where does he want to pitch? The Boston Red Sox appear to have the most interest in bringing back their former southpaw ace. The Atlanta Braves had some interest in Lester, trying to lure him to his hometown, but it appears that Lester’s high price tag was too much for the Braves and have since dropped out of the running. The San Francisco Giants are also in on Lester, and have apparently met with him as recently as Sunday trying to get the lefty to come to the Bay Area to add another dominant southpaw to their rotation. A potential reunion with GM Theo Epstein in Chicago is also not out of the realm of a possibility. With the Chicago Cubs bringing up a lot of their young talent last season, and in need of starting pitching with plenty of money to spend, Lester joining his former GM on the north side is a very real possibility. It will be interesting to see if Lester potentially signs over the Winter Meetings or continues to hold out for the most money he can get.
A Reunion in Motown?: Already having signed Victor Martinez to a four-year, 68 million dollar contract, and recently acquiring Shane Greene to help round out the rest of the Tigers rotation, it seems as if Max Scherzer will not be sporting the Old English “D” on his chest next season, but Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski also has not ruled out bring back the hard throwing righty. With rumors flying around that the Tigers are listening to offers on free agents to be Rick Porcello and David Price, which, Dombrowski, also denies, could the Tigers trade either Price or Porcello to make room to bring back the 2013 Cy Young winner?
The New York Yankees have had some rumored interest in Scherzer. Yankees GM Brian Cashman saying earlier this week that he would like to add some starting pitching to the Yankees rotation. Whether the Yankes want to drop 150 million plus dollars to fill that void remains to be seen. The Red Sox and Cubs also appear to be likely suitors for Scherzer’s services.
It will be interesting to watch if the Tigers deal a starter at the Winter Meetings to try and bring back Scherzer, or someone else snatches him up.
Boston’s Outfield Log Jam: With the additions of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox have created quite a problem in their outfield. With currently seven outfielders on the Red Sox roster, it will be more than likely that the Red Sox try to move some of their surplus to try to add sone desperately needed depth in their starting rotation.
Yoenis Cespedes is seemingly on the forefront of Red Sox outfielders that are going to be moved. Cespedes has been linked to potential trades with the Tigers, Seattle Mariners, and San Diego Padres. All three suitors involving some sort of starting pitching going the Red Sox way. Allen Craig, Shane Victorino, and even Mike Napoli all could be moved for starting pitching. The Sox will most likely be the busiest team during the Winter Meetings. Trying to add more to a roster they’ve nearly spent 200 million dollars on this offseason.