There were plenty of big signings (see: Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Nelson Cruz, Russell Martin, etc.) before the Winter Meetings and a number of big names changing teams via trade, like Josh Donaldson, Jason Heyward and more.
The Winter Meetings in San Diego were a flurry of activity, too. Jon Lester, Ervin Santana, Brandon McCarthy and David Robertson are off the board, and big trade targets like Jeff Samardzija, Yoenis Cespedes and Matt Kemp have found new homes.
So, what comes next? There’s still quite a bit to be resolved.
That group is headlined by right-handers Max Scherzer, bound to command a massive contract, and James Shields, sure to be in demand by teams that missed out on Lester. For teams looking for a mid-level option, Edinson Volquez and Jake Peavy are still up for grabs.
Most of the top free-agent closers or late-inning relievers have yet to be scooped up, including Francisco Rodriguez, Sergio Romo, Rafael Soriano and Casey Janssen.
With Sandoval and Ramirez both claimed by Boston, Chase Headley leads the pack of available infielders. Not far behind: Jed Lowrie, Asdrubal Cabrera and Stephen Drew.
Several teams are still in need of a starting outfielder. Potential fits can be found on the open market in the form of Melky Cabrera, Alex Rios, Nori Aoki and Colby Rasmus.
And that’s not even getting into the big trade pieces still in play. Braves outfielders Justin Upton and Evan Gattis are still out there, as is Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro. The Phillies, Red Sox and Dodgers don’t seem like they’re done wheeling and dealing, and the defending World Series champion Giants have some work left to do as well.
The Marlins are looking for a first-base upgrade, the Mets are looking to ship off a veteran starter and the Orioles have a lot of big-name production to replace. That’s just to name a few.
So, Friday has been a relatively slow day on the Hot Stove front compared to the whirlwind news cycle that swept through San Diego earlier this week, but there’s still much to look forward to.
The Padres made one of the biggest splashes at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, pulling off a trade for former Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp. But they’re not done acquiring bats, as MLB.com’s Corey Brock writes. And their next move could be another big one.
The #Padres remain one of the clubs pursuing J-Up. I wouldn’t be shocked if J-Up and Kemp are together in San Diego next year.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) December 12, 2014
That obviously would be a huge offensive upgrade for the Padres, who finished last in the Majors in 2014 in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. By pursuing big names like Kemp, Pablo Sandoval, Yasmany Tomas and now Upton, it’s clear the Padres have made bolstering their lineup a top priority.
Upton is under team control for one more year, and he’s set to make $14.5 million next season. With Kemp slotted in one corner-outfield spot, Upton would fit nicely in the other corner.
The 27-year-old Silver Slugger Award winner hit .270/.342/.491 with 29 home runs and 102 RBIs last season. By comparison, Padres right fielders hit .228/.291/.339 with nine home runs last season.
All of the Padres’ outfielders last year combined to hit .234/.307/.347 with 29 homers. So, yes, Upton on his own matched the home run total of the entire Padres outfield.
If San Diego can pull off a deal for Upton, the club would be left with far too many outfielders for three positions, necessitating at least one trade.
Carlos Quentin might be the easiest to move, as he could be useful to American League teams looking for a designated hitter. The Padres also could try to trade Seth Smith, who’s signed to a two-year, $13 million extension and coming off a career year.
Other options include center fielders Will Venable and Cameron Maybin. Venable struggled to a .224/.288/.325 batting line last year, however, and Maybin has played on 109 games the last two years combined.
Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins will play his 21st and final season in the Majors next year.
He’s made 1,000 career appearances, the 16th-most of all time. A seventh-round Draft pick in 1991, Hawkins has pitched in parts of 20 big-league seasons for 10 different teams: the Twins, Cubs, Giants, Orioles, Rockies, Yankees, Astros, Brewers, Angels and Mets. He’s the only active pitcher with at least 100 saves (124, to be specific) and at least 75 starts (98).
The right-hander is still an effective pitcher at the end of his lengthy career. Hawkins went 4-3 with a 3.31 ERA — 29 percent above the league-average adjusted ERA — in 54 1/3 innings for the Rockies last season. Hawkins is slated to make $2.25 million next season.
Overall, Hawkins is 72-93 with a 4.33 career ERA in 1,428 2/3 innings.
The Rangers have acquired left-hander Ross Detwiler from the Nationals in exchange for two Minor League players, according to Yahoo! Sports.
Washington reportedly will receive an infielder and a reliever in the deal. Neither club has confirmed the report.
Detwiler, who turns 29 in March, is coming off a down year in which he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen. He put together a 4.00 ERA in 63 innings over 47 appearances, striking out 39 batters and walking 21.
Detwiler, the sixth overall pick in the 2007 Draft, went 2-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 13 starts in 2013, but he pitched well as a starter in 2011-12. The Rangers have made starting pitching a priority this offseason.
The Nationals, meanwhile, didn’t seem to have a spot for the lefty. Detwiler, projected to make $3.3 million in 2015, is under team control for only one more season as he enters his third year of arbitration eligibility.
Ian Desmond could be on the move.
The Nationals are reportedly working on a deal that would send the shortstop to Seattle, though the Mariners are not willing to include right-hander Taijuan Walker or left-hander James Paxton, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.
Washington has discussed Desmond with Seattle more than once this offseason, with the Nats reportedly interested in shortstop Brad Miller, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
The shortstop market is slim, so Desmond would be a strong acquisition for the Mariners.
Desmond is eligible for free agency following the 2015 season. The Nationals tried to negotiate a multi-year extension with Desmond in the past, but nothing came to fruition. Still, he made it clear Tuesday that he would prefer to stick with the Nats and resolve his contract situation soon.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he met with Desmond’s agent during the Winter Meetings, but revealed little else about any possible negotiations.
Desmond, 29, is the longest-tenured player on the Nationals. He was a third-round pick of the Expos in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft and made his Major League debut in 2009. This year, he hit .255 with 24 home runs, 26 doubles and 91 RBIs.
The Twins have agreed to terms with free-agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana on a four-year contract worth $54 million, a source confirmed to MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger.
The deal will pay Santana $13.5 million each year. It also includes an option for a fifth year that would vest depending on innings pitched, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Santana, 31, was 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA over 31 starts with the Braves in 2014. The right-hander has been dependable throughout his 10-year career and has made at least 30 starts in each of the last five seasons dating back to 2010.
Santana’s decision to turn down a qualifying offer appears to have paid off this time. He declined a $15.3 qualifying offer from the Braves in November. In 2013, he declined a qualifying offer from the Royals and eventually inked a one-year deal with Atlanta during Spring Training in March.
The Royals appear to have found their replacement for Billy Butler.
Kansas City is closing in on a two-year contract worth $17 million with free-agent first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales, according to multiple reports. The deal was first reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
The Royals have been looking for a designated hitter since Butler signed a three-year, $30 million deal with Oakland in November.
Morales is coming off a bit of a down year in 2014, during which he combined to hit .218 with eight home runs and 20 doubles over 98 games between the Twins and Mariners. He missed all of Spring Training after turning down a qualifying offer from Seattle and eventually signed with Minnesota in June, then was dealt to the Mariners in July. In 2013, his last full season, Morales hit .277 with 23 homers, 34 doubles and 80 RBIs.
The White Sox and Marlins exchanged a pair of pitchers Thursday, with right-hander Andre Rienzo going to Miami and lefty reliever Dan Jennings heading to Chicago.
The 27-year-old Jennings is the latest in a line of moves — following the free-agent signings of Zach Duke and David Robertson — that fortifies Chicago’s bullpen. Last season, Jennings posted a 1.34 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 47 relief appearances, 38 of which were scoreless.
“We are pleased to add a pitcher like Dan to our restructured bullpen,” White Sox senior vice president and general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “He provides our bullpen with more depth and gives [manager Robin Ventura] another viable left-handed option.”
The 26-year-old Rienzo was 4-5 with a 6.82 ERA in 18 games (11 starts) for the White Sox last season. He has a 38-30 career Minor League record and 3.51 ERA over eight seasons in Chicago’s farm system.
The Red Sox appear to have filled out their starting rotation.
Boston has reached an agreement on a contract with free-agent right-hander Justin Masterson, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN. The deal is worth about $9 million, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Masterson was an All-Star in 2013 with the Indians, when he went 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA. The sinkerballer struggled last season, though, going 7-9 with a 5.88 ERA in 28 starts between the Indians and Cardinals. He was traded to St. Louis in July.
For Masterson, a return to Boston would be a homecoming of sorts. The 29-year-old was drafted and developed by the Red Sox and made his big league debut with the club in 2008.
The Sox dealt for right-hander Rick Porcello earlier Thursday, the final day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego.
The Tigers have acquired right-hander Alfredo Simon from the Reds in exchange for infielder Eugenio Suarez and Minor League pitcher Jonathon Crawford.
Simon fills the void in the Tigers’ rotation left by the trade of Rick Porcello to Boston for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Simon, 33, was 15-10 with a 3.44 ERA over 32 starts in 2014. He had a great first half of the season, going 12-3 with a 2.70 ERA in 18 starts to earn his first All-Star selection.
Crawford, 23, was the 20th overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. He spent the 2014 season with Class-A West Michigan, going 8-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 23 starts.
Suarez, 23, made his big league debut this year and played 85 games with Detroit, mainly at shortstop. He can also play third base. Suarez hit .242 with four home runs and 23 RBIs with the Tigers.
“We are excited to be acquiring two players we think will have a positive impact on our organization for years to come,” Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty said in a statement.