There is still nothing happening, and my consulting gig is taking up a lot of my time. I am trying to get ahead of the project so that I can be available for the Winter Meetings next week.
Rule 5 draft is next Wednesday. Last year, the Dodgers lost three in the ML phase, but got one back (Gus Varland). They lost Ryan Noda to the A’s and Jose Hernandez to Pittsburgh. Both had good years at the ML level. They could lose a couple more this year. We will get to more of this next week.
Dodgers seem to be the most aggressive on Dylan Cease, but there are at least 12 teams pursuing him. St. Louis is making a big effort to make a run at Milwaukee for the NL Central. John Mozeliak has said they will stay aggressive, and the rotation and bullpen are not complete.
I hope something pops sooner rather than later so we can get off guessing on Shohei Ohtani. Or whether or not AF changes his stripes this offseason?
Dylan Cease, Corbin Burnes, Tyler Glasnow, and Shane Bieber appear to be the only top of the rotation pitchers who could be on the move. But there is always some crazy a** trade that shocks everyone. Burnes would be my top choice, but he may not be available until the trade deadline.
NYY is leaning against signing Bellinger because his hard hit rate is way down. In 2019 his hard hit rate on 4-seam fastballs was over 50% but was at 33% last year. Overall his hard hit rate was at 31.4% I personally prefer the current Belli who is not the all or nothing swinger he used to be. When he is down in the count, he tends to favor putting the ball in play more. His K rate was 15.7% the best of his career. Hmmmm, I wonder who had him alter his approach and why it did not stick with the Dodgers.
Per Statcast, Belli is in the 22nd percentile for average exit velo, 27th percentile for barrel %, and 10th percentile for hard hit.
If NYY chooses to pass on him, SF or the Cubs would gladly sign him. I have steadfastly said that SF should go way out and sign Belli. He is a perfect fit for Oracle. The Cubs actually have a potentially elite CF waiting: Pete Crow-Armstrong. They will not be as aggressive for CF. I think pitching will be their key focus, with 3B and 1B (Rhys Hoskins??). Christopher Morel will be a key target for some teams.
NYY seems to be focusing more of their attention on Juan Soto. With only one year of control remaining, the Pads are not going to get near what they gave up, but will get some good talent. NYY has 5 top 100 prospects, but they are from 73-99. I find it hard to believe that NYY will trade Spencer Jones for one year of Juan Soto. And with Scott Boras as his agent, it is extremely unlikely that Soto will agree to an extension before he hits FA.
Next week is going to get fun.