4. How Will the Yankees, Orioles, and Blue Jays Respond to the Red Sox?
Similar to the question posed above, the American League East is now looking like a bit of an arms race. The Blue Jays already added several new pitchers, and also brought back Marco Estrada, but have lost David Price to the Red Sox. The Red Sox also added Craig Kimbrel and now look like a real threat in the American League East. It will be interesting to see how the other three powerhouses in the East respond to the Red Sox big moves. The Yankees figure to stand to make a few moves while the Orioles also need several upgrades. As for the Blue Jays, their heavy lifting may be finished, but there is still a possibility for some more action on their part.
5. What Pitcher Is Next to Sign?
Next on the list of Winter Meetings storylines to watch, is the question on which pitcher will be the next to sign this offseason. With the two top pitchers now off the market, the attention now turns to Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Mike Leake and so on. The market has now been set, with both Price and Greinke getting $200+ million contracts, and the next tier of pitchers must be salivating at the prospects of lots of dollars. The Winter Meetings should clear up the starting pitching market, and several of the free agent pitchers still available should find new homes at next week’s meetings.
6. What Does A.J. Preller Have Up His Sleeve?
At last year’s Winter Meetings, first year general manager A.J. Preller took center stage. Preller has already made several notable moves this offseason, and many expect him to be far from finished. It’s likely that Preller won’t be getting any sleep during the meetings, as he still has plenty to do to improve the Padres roster before next season. The Padres still seem intent on trading one or both of James Shields and Tyson Ross, and also need several positional upgrades, including more pitching depth, a shortstop, and some outfield depth. If Preller wants something bad enough he gets it, so next week should see a lot of action from him.