I am obviously struggling with topics to bring to blog. There is not much going on in the world of MLB. I think there have been 77 writers advising us as to who the Dodgers will be looking to acquire, either via FA or via trade. Justin Verlander, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Rodón…but never heard about Shelby Miller coming. Now please do not take this as me being surprised or upset about the Miller deal. He is the perfect extremely low risk and extremely high reward move by the master, Andrew Friedman. He is just as likely to be another Evan Phillips as he is being a bust. Jake Reed? Now that surprised me. I still do not understand it. It is not a make or break decision for a WS win, so it is what it is.
Rumors are rampant that some FA are about to sign before the Winter Meetings. Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Strahm are both believed to be ready to sign.
Houston already has the pitching, both starting and relief. They have 5 solid starters and 2 other rookies. Their top rated bullpen is back. They had 2 clear positions of need, 1B and C. They would also like to add a LH hitting OF. They paid nearly $60MM for three years of José Abreu at 1B. Many considered this an overpay. But they got what they needed and the cost was not onerous.
Now they are looking very hard at Willson Contreras to be their primary catcher. I would not bet against Houston signing him, and maybe as soon as the Winter Meetings next week.
They are also talking to Cody Bellinger for the LH outfielder. Scott Boras has a great relationship with Jim Crane. They may bring back Michael Brantley if they are convinced his shoulder is sound. I do believe they will find and sign a LH hitting OF.
Houston was the WS winner and owned the AL last year. They have been to the WS 4 of the last 6 seasons. They are not sitting back on their laurels. They are not afraid to extend their youngsters into long-term deals (Altuve and Bregman). Kyle Tucker, Jeremy Peña, Framber Valdez and the other starting pitchers? All good candidates for extensions. They are not afraid to make big trades (Cole, Verlander, Pressly). They are okay with overpaying for FA (Josh Reddick, Rafael Montero, José Abreu?). I just do not think they overthink it. If the deal makes sense for a team to win the current year without destroying the future, do it.
What they are doing will also drive the other AL West teams to respond. Seattle, Texas, and LAA all of whom believe they can contend at least for a wild card. That should drive up some FA contracts and increase trade values. Texas will overpay for a starting pitcher; Jacob deGrom or Carlos Rodón. Seattle already has Teoscar Hernández, and are looking for a top tier 2B, a LF, and another SP. The Angels will probably be looking for another high level FA pitcher. High level… not necessarily elite.
While I expect four of the five AL West teams to be active, they are not the only AL team that looks to be active soon. NYY has increased their offer to Aaron Judge and has told everyone that will listen that they will not be outbid for Judge. It is highly rumored that Judge will agree to a new deal by the end of the Winter Meetings.
One thing that exasperates me, and also gives me confidence at the same time, is that AF does not seem to normally overreact to what other teams do. The one exception (IMO) was the Trevor Bauer deal. Both San Diego and NYM were making big moves and were in on Trevor Bauer, and AF felt like he needed to make a countermove.
I think AF/BG (and Kasten/Walter) have created Plan A, B, C, D, E,F…They are carefully mapped out, and I feel confident that whatever tack they do take, it will be for the betterment of the team. What I do hope for is change. The change does not necessarily mean $$$ thrown at it. I would like to see a Kirk Gibson attitude come into the clubhouse. OTOH, if the Dodgers could sign Justin Verlander and Trea Turner, I hope they do it. If it is Kodai Senga, Andrew Benintendi, and JT, I am okay with that as well. Sign Adam Frazier for 2B? Trade for Kolten Wong for 2B? Trade for Rafael Devers?
Jim Bowden had an interesting take where he looked at 5 possible trade targets for the Dodgers, including Devers. Just like with most prognosticators, Corbin Burnes was one of the five targets. No surprise there. He also mentioned a couple of pitchers that I have brought up…Lucas Giolito (ChiSox SP) and Jason Adam (Tampa Bay RP). There is nothing that would seem to indicate that either pitcher is available, but neither Harrison Bader or Jordan Montgomery were mentioned as trade possibilities. The 5th player was Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow, I mentioned Tyler Glasnow last year, but with his new contract, he is going to be difficult to move. Glasnow will be making $5.35MM in 2023 and $25MM in 2024. The $25MM is not an option to see how he pitches in 2023 after TJ surgery. It is guaranteed.
My one caveat is that I am hoping for 4 elite pitchers for the playoffs, and a change in approach from the HR only in the playoffs. With outstanding pitching, you do not need to beat teams into submission. One run could make the difference in a playoff game.
Now the impatient me hopes that something happens (besides Shelby Miller and Jake Reed) soon. I need something to write about.