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Winter Meetings Begin On Sunday

We are now less than a week away from the Winter Meetings. They will be held in San Diego, beginning Sunday, December 4, and concluding Wednesday, December 7.  The Dodgers rumors have been stoked by every conceivable publication.  They have been mentioned as a landing spot with every top tiered and mid-tiered FA.  They have been reported as a serious suitor for Aaron Judge, only to be shot down by Judge on a well below market offer.   At least AF/BG can say they attempted to sign Judge, and tell everyone it was a serious offer.  Same with Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Trea Turner, and now Carlos Rodón.

Of course the Dodgers are going to do their due diligence and kick every tire on all of the top FA.  But now that the euphoria of being able to secure a $1B annual payroll has passed, reality is seemingly being reported as to what Stan Kasten and Andrew Friedman have actually hinted at with wanting to stay under the CBT threshold.

The CBT threshold is  $233MM.  Currently the Dodgers are sitting at $184,786,666.  That includes Clayton Kershaw but not Trevor Bauer.  I used the arbitration salaries as calculated by Baseball Economist, Matt Swartz (https://twitter.com/matt_swa), and published by MLBTradeRumors.  They are currently $48,213,334 under the threshold.

 

 

 

The Dodgers can spend it all on Justin Verlander – $40MM.  I will say again, if the Dodgers do decide to go over the CBT threshold, JV will be the reason.  The Dodgers and JV are due to meet today.  2 years at $80MM with a vesting option for a 3rd year?

Kodai Senga (5/$75) and Andrew Benintendi (4/$54MM) – $28.5MM AAV???

Someone I did think AF/BG might have been on – Mike Clevinger – signed with ChiSox for 1 year at $12MM.

Pitchers projected to sign for 1 or 2 years, and less than $15MM AAV, is where I see the Dodgers shopping (other than Verlander).  Projections by MLBTR.

  • Jose Quintana – 2 year, $24MM
  • Zach Eflin – 2 years, $22MM
  • Michael Wacha – 2 years, $16MM
  • Corey Kluber – 1 year, $12MM
  • Johnny Cueto – 1 year, $10MM
  • Drew Rucinski – 2 year, $9MM (In KBO 2022)

 

Or the pitcher bargain bin:

  • Matthew Boyd
  • Alex Reyes
  • Michael Lorenzen
  • Michael Pineda
  • Chris Archer
  • Trevor Williams
  • Kyle Gibson
  • Wade Miley
  • Drew Smyly

Often times it takes one big FA to sign to start a domino effect.  Many of the FA’s agents like to have Scott Boras set the market, and then gauge where their clients fit in that market.  Sometimes Boras will set the market early, as he did in 2019 at the Winter Meetings.  The top 3 FA were all Boras clients, and all 3 signed (agreed to terms) at the Winter Meetings.

 

  • Gerrit Cole – December 10, 2019
  • Anthony Rendon – December 11, 2019
  • Stephen Strasburg – December 9, 2019

Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander are in a market by themselves.  However, Carlos Rodón is the top pitcher on the market not in that exclusive duo group, and is represented by Boras.  Agents for pitchers like Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, Sean Manaea, and Jameson Taillon may want to see what Rodón signs for.

I suspect we can see more pitchers like Mike Clevinger sign as they are totally independent of those pitcher’s market.

At the same time, why would Trea Turner sign to set the market, when his agent knows that Boras will push for $300MM for Correa and $200MM for Bogaerts. I think Dansby Swanson is far enough removed from the uber mega market, that he could set his own market.  Then again, why not see what the top 3 do, and extrapolate where he thinks he should be in comparison.

While the market for the 4 elite SS may be stalled until the first one of them fall, the secondary and tertiary tiers will not need to wait.  Teams looking to find a SS/2B not at the elite level, will find possible players like:

  • José Iglesias
  • Elvis Andrus
  • Andrelton Simmons
  • Jonathan Villar
  • Didi Gregorius
  • Aledmys Díaz
  • Brandon Drury (2B/3B)
  • Jean Segura (2B)
  • Adam Frazier (2B)

Players like these should have their markets identified any time from now up to Spring Training.  Their agents will try to finalize something in person with team executives in San Diego at the Meetings.

The last two “normal” Winter Meetings were 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.  For the 2018-2019 Top FA (Per MLBTR), 8 signed before the Winter Meetings, 0 signed at the Winter Meetings, and 17 more signed after the Winter Meetings and before January 3, 2019.

For 2019-2020, the FA signings were early and often:

  • Before Winter Meetings – 14, including 2 QO accepted
  • During Winter Meetings – 9
  • After Winter Meetings and Before January 1 – 12
  • In January – 14

Thus all 50 FA signed by January 31, except Yasiel Puig.

 

For 2022-2023, 9 top 50 MLBTR free agents have signed (including 2 QO accepted), and 1 honorable mention (Joely Rodriguez).  There has been more FA rumors than trade, so maybe (?) the Winter Meetings will be more 2019 than 2018.

Of course the trade rumors will be running rampant. Sometimes trades are plentiful during the meetings, sometimes not so much.  I think there will be a whole host of Dodger related rumors.  Pitching, OF, SS, 2B…But deals???

I know Badger may differ with me, but I am certain that there will be players/pitchers that will be traded this Winter that will surprise us.  In the past, we have seen:

  • Max Scherzer from Arizona to Detroit (12/08/09) – at Winter Meetings
  • Yu Darvish from Chicago to San Diego (12/29/20)
  • Gerrit Cole from Pittsburgh to Houston (01/13/18)
  • Blake Snell from Tampa Bay to San Diego (12/29/20)
  • Chris Sale from ChiSox to BoSox (12/06/16) – at Winter Meetings
  • Giancarlo Stanton from Miami to NYY (12/11/17) – at Winter Meetings
  • Andrelton Simmons from Atlanta to LAA (11/12/15) – Before Winter Meetings
  • Jason Heyward from Atlanta to St. Louis (11/17/14) – Before Winter Meetings
  • Christian Yelich from Miami to Milwaukee (01/25/18)
  • Paul Goldschmidt from Arizona to St. Louis (12/05/18) – Before Winter Meetings
  • Marcell Ozuna from Miami to St. Louis (12/14/17) – at Winter Meetings
  • Francisco Lindor from Cleveland to NYM (01/07/21)
  • Nolan Arenado from Colorado to St. Louis (02/21/21)

And of course…Mookie Betts from Boston to LAD (02/10/20)

While not all of the trades identified above consummated before or during the Winter Meetings, those that were not, could have germinated from the meetings.

I am certain that the Dodgers will check in (and check in hard) for game changers like Amed Rosario, Shane Bieber, Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Willy Adames, David Fletcher, Pablo Lopez, Bryan Reynolds, Ian Happ, and others.  Maybe none of them will be moved this Winter, and maybe multiples will be.  The Dodgers have an abundance of prospect capital that they cannot possibly take full advantage of, so why not package some of it for a current ML big name, or a top position of need player prospect (say CF or SS)?

This is the week that rumors begin to ruminate and percolate.  I do not think the Dodgers management believes they have to do a lot to contend in 2023, so they will not feel “desperate” to sign a particular free agent, or make a specific trade.  If some FA falls into their laps, like Freddie Freeman did last year, the Dodgers will pounce.  Or if the Dodgers can get away with highway robbery like they did with Betts, they will make that trade.

Either the LAD prospects are over-hyped and are nothing more than surplus depth, or they are stars in the making. If the Dodgers believe in the hype, then the Dodgers will have multiple rookies on their opening day roster.  If other teams believe in the hype, then some of those can be packaged in a trade for that difference maker.  However, it takes two (sometimes three) to finalize a trade.

The other problem is, with the increase in the number of playoff teams, most of the teams, including some previous bottom feeding teams (Baltimore, Seattle, LAA, Texas), now believe they can make the playoffs, and will hold on to their primary lineup of players/rotation until the deadline.  Minnesota, Cleveland, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee, and Toronto continue to live on the periphery, but are still believers. Some contenders have payroll concerns (Cleveland and Milwaukee). Others believe they are close and still want to hold onto their key young players for a while longer (KC, Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago Cubs, Arizona, Miami) to see if they can develop into a cohesive team.

The playoffs have certainly changed the canvas for player movement.  The Dodgers will be going to the Winter Meetings with a lot of questions.  Maybe they will find answers externally, or maybe they believe the answers will come internally, with rookies and/or improved play.

You know the MLB network personalities will be fueling the rumors, so I do plan on watching the carnival.  The Rule 5 draft will be a week from Wednesday.  I do think the Dodgers could lose some players, but I do not expect them to draft anyone at the MLB part of the draft.  They will undoubtedly pick up a few MiLB Rule 5 draftees for organizational depth.

 

 

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Singing the Blue

My thoughts exactly. A win-win for us.

Singing the Blue

Jeff, I assume that as part of your commitment to this blog and to your readers that you will be in San Diego for the meetings and have already reserved your chair in the lobby.

I hate the thought of having to wait until somebody breaks trade news on Twitter when you can get it to us first.

Singing the Blue

Have you ever attended a Winter Meeting? If so, was it worthwhile? Seems like “back in the day” a lot of conversation was done in the lobbies. Now it seems like most everything is done in the suites and by text.

Bluto

Just back from Paris with the family. Gosh, I love that city.

Great article.

One quibble:
Either the LAD prospects are over-hyped and are nothing more than surplus depth, or they are stars in the making. 

It’s not and almost can’t be binary. It’s not either/or. It’s 1000000000% NOT binary. Some will be stars. Some will be surplus. Some will be in between. Some will be complete busts.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bluto
Badger

So it’s quadrinary.

My take?

Keep:

Cartaya
Miller
Vargas
Stone

Trade the rest if you want to.

Bumsrap

French logic?

Fred Vogel

Paris is great. Been twice. Looking forward to a third trip.

Bumsrap

Lunch this Wednesday or Thursday?

Fred Vogel

I sent you an email.

Badger

I think it could be reduced to they make it or they don’t. That sounds binary. If they make onto a CBT taxed 26 man LA squad that competes for a title every year, then good for us and good for them. If they are traded onto a lesser 26 man squad for somebody that helps us win, then good for them and good for us. That sounds binary too. But I expect it will be explained to me how I am wrong about that.

Singing the Blue

Mike Petriello has an article up at mlb.com this morning which talks about 4 unheralded FA relief pitchers.

Chris Martin is one of them and I very much hope we bring him back. The others are Shelby Miller, Carlos Estevez and Matt Moore. He gives a good rundown on each of them and why they aren’t as bad as their numbers might seem.

I guess I need to add them to my list which starts with Martin and Kahnle and also includes Alex Reyes. I hope we get at least one of them.

Here’s the link: Overlooked free agent relievers for 2023 (mlb.com)

Bumsrap

From Jeff’s Lead Post == The CBT threshold is $233MM. Currently the Dodgers are sitting at $184,786,666. That includes Clayton Kershaw but not Trevor Bauer…. They are currently $48,213,334 under the threshold.

What if the $48,213 were about $77,000? What might the Dodgers do? Let’s start with this lineup and go from there:

SS Lux
2B Betts
1B Freeman
C Smith
CF Thompson
DH Busch
3B Vargas
RF Outman
LF Pages

Would that lineup produce as much as one that included Taylor and Muncy in place of Pages and Busch? Taylor and Muncy would cost an extra $29M and when added to the existing $48M already available, the Dodgers could add Verlander and one of the 4 premium shortstops.

Betts would move back to RF and Outman would move to LF and Pages back to AAA.

Bumsrap

That youth lineup was the starting point for adding free agents. Boston could go with Taylor at SS and Muncy at 3rd and trade Devers to fill another hole and use payroll savings from Bogaerts and Devers to sign a free agent.

Singing the Blue

Who would be an example of the free agent they would sign?
Next year’s salaries: Muncy plus CT3 = 28 mil, Devers plus Bogaerts = 44 mil (based on estimates).
That gives them about 16 mil to play with after having gotten rid of the team’s two most popular players, by far, and exchanged them for a utility player who hit .226 last year and strikes out far too often and a guy who hit .196 last year.
Boston fans won’t pay any attention to Max and CT’s prior history, they’ll just look at what they did last year.
They will then proceed to run Chaim Bloom out of town on a rail.

Bumsrap

Boston would add some $$ to the $16M saved to land a key free agent.

The Red Sox need a big middle-infield bat, whether it is Bogaerts or someone else. If Bogaerts signs elsewhere, Trevor Story could slide back to shortstop with the Sox prioritizing the acquisition of a second baseman instead. 

The Red Sox once had high hopes for Bobby Dalbec. The first baseman got hot down the stretch during his rookie year in 2021, but he couldn’t put anything together last season. He could be a classic case of someone who needs a change of scenery. Center fielder Jarren Duran, another recent prospect who hasn’t lived up to expectations, still has the tools to become a solid leadoff man. He could also benefit from a less-pressurized environment.

Taylor could also play CF and Muncy could play 1st base. They give Boston a lot of fixes without losing Bogaerts or Devers. They need rotation help, relief help, and catching help. Devers could get one of those helpers if Muncy played 3rd and there would not be much if any drop off in defense.

Oldbear48

Verlander met with the Dodgers yesterday and according to some reports it went well/ Morosi now lists the Dodgers as his most likely destination.

Singing the Blue

I really think it’s going to take more than 3/90 to get Verlander.

I would think it would be more in the neighborhood of 3/120 because I think one of the NY teams would be willing to do that, especially if they didn’t get deGrom or Rodon.

Texas might even go there, although I haven’t heard Verlander’s name mentioned with them. For whatever reason, they seem to be concentrating on deGrom and Rodon.

So, if Andrew wants to use your strategy, he might have to go 3/120 with a player option for year 4 at 10 which would bring the AAV to 32.5 MM.

Last edited 2 months ago by Singing the Blue
Singing the Blue

Looks like Andrew read Petriello’s article this morning. He’s giving Shelby Miller a MLB contract, pending physical.

Singing the Blue

In 7 late-season innings last year, he gave up a bunch of runs, but did manage to strike out 14 of the 30 hitters he faced.

Apparently he’s developed a pretty nasty slider over the past year or two. I’m guessing that he may be given a shot at becoming our new closer.

Singing the Blue

Contract is being reported at 1.5 million.
Meet our new closer.

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