Winter Meetings Recap

My 5th period class, Newspaper to be exact, is split in half by lunch.  You go to class for 25 minutes, go to lunch for 25 minutes, then come back for the final 25 minutes.

During those first 25 minutes, me and a friend were discussing the Chris Sale trade rumors that were rampant throughout the day Tuesday.  We pondered offers that Boston, Atlanta, and Washington could put together.  We were about to come to a conclusion when the lunch bell rang.

I don’t sit with that friend at lunch, but I found myself scouring the lunch room for him when it came across my Twitter feed that Sale had been traded to Boston.  The trade had to happen when we weren’t sitting right by each other.

The Sale trade wasn’t surprising.  We knew this was a possibility coming into the Winter, and some even pondered it at the trade deadline in July.  A Sale trade would mean that the White Sox were blowing it up, something thats desperately needed for an organization that has a crop of players who just can’t get it done together, and who’s ran terribly.  But Tuesday, the White Sox looked pretty smart.

Red Sox get: Chris Sale

White Sox get: Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Basabe, Victor Diaz

The Boston trade proposal me and my friend came up with was simple: We agreed that, in a vacuum, we’d trade Yoan Moncada, the No.1 prospect in all of baseball, straight up for Chris Sale.  That’d be it.  The Red Sox wouldn’t have to give up anything else.

Well, first of all, they gave up quite a bit more.  And secondly, you can’t look at sports through a vacuum, unfortunately.

Had the Red Sox not made the Tyler Thornburg-Travis Shaw trade earlier in the morning, the trade with Chicago may not have looked as bad.  After giving up Shaw, the thought among Red Sox fans was that Moncada and Brock Holt could play third base, they could sign a DH, and Pablo Sandoval would still be a bench guy.


Just hours later, the Red Sox traded the most coveted prospect in baseball along with three other high quality prospects for Sale, one of the best pitchers in the MLB.

This leaves Sandoval and some Brock Holt playing third base, and newly signed Mitch Moreland at first base, as Hanley Ramirez moves to DH.

Not horrible, but it could’ve been better.

The Shaw and Sale trades go hand in hand all the sudden.  You look at the Sale trade completely differently if Shaw isn’t sent to the Brewers that morning.

From here, lets break down the trade with a few questions…

Is there any positives for the Red Sox with this trade?

Yes!  They got one of the five best pitchers in baseball, now have two aces in an improving rotation, and have made it known they’re looking for revenge after exiting the playoffs early.

Boston overpaid for Sale, but now they possess him, David Price, Rick Porcello, Drew Pomeranz, and Eduardo Rodriguez.  Thats pretty good!  Pitching has been the one thing Boston has not had over the years.  Its always been a concern.  It seems like, with this trade, that has been addressed.  The pressure is now off Price in the postseason (He has never responded to it well).

Eduardo Rodriguez probably made his debut a little too early as he struggled last year, but he’s only 23.  His development is still a work in progress. One or two guys still have to go from the Boston rotation, however.  Good luck getting anything for Clay Bucholtz.

How good is the haul Chicago got overall?

Really freaking good!  Yoan Moncada is a future star.  He’s as sure as a sure thing can get.  But I’m sure the White Sox will find a way to screw him up.

I’ve been critical of the White Sox front office over the years.  They’ve been completely illogical since I launched this site.  Now, after close to 2.5 years, they’re seeing the light.

The ditching of Sale was the first step.  He’s gonna get you the most value, obviously.  Now, the process of selling everyone else off begins.  The White Sox have held discussions with the Dodgers about Todd Frazier and David Robertson.  Adam Eaton is gone (more on that later).  Chicago has realized that this core is not gonna get it done.  Smart thinking…

Anyways, the three other prospects are all really intriguing.  All four were in the Red Sox top 30.

Michael Kopech was one of the Red Sox best prospects too.  Thats expected for a guy who throws 105 MPH.  Luis Basabe and Victor Diaz are guys I don’t know a ton about, but both were ranked in the Red Sox top 30 prior to the trade.

What do I think?

Boston way overpaid.  But thats a common trend so far this Winter (more on that later).  Again, my offer would’ve been Moncada straight up for Sale.  But I know thats unreasonable, because in the 0.1% chance that Moncada doesn’t turn out, the trade is a disaster, and you have no one else to cover for the mistake.  Thats why its so rare to see 1-for-1 trades in baseball.

On top of this blockbuster, a lot else has happened this Winter Meetings, including the White Sox screwing over another team!

Lets first crank through the trades that have taken place recently…

Braves get: Jaime Garcia

Cardinals get: John Gant, Chris Ellis and Luke Dykstra

This trade didn’t sit well with a lot of baseball people, but I thought it was alright.  Look, the Braves are on a quest to fill their roster with competent baseball players.  They don’t have to be good.  They’re simply trying to fill the seats right now as they rebuild (A rebuild thats going very well).  Getting Jaime Garcia gives them a No.2 starter behind Julio Teheran.  Garcia is coming off a rough year and is past 30 years old, which is concerning.  But again, the Braves aren’t counting on a lot from him.

Nationals get: Derek Norris

Padres: Pedro Avila

The Nationals have made me upset lately, but this was a good trade!  Even after losing Wilson Ramos, Washington is set at catcher.  Derek Norris can be that everyday guy behind the plate.  Pedro Severino can serve as the backup and hopefully translate that bat we saw in the playoffs to this season.  Ok, enough praising the Nats.

Red Sox get: Tyler Thornburg

Brewers get: Travis Shaw, Mauricio Dubon, Josh Pennington

This was the 1st “WTF ARE YOU DOING?” trade of the Winter Meetings.

Tyler Thornburg is really good.  He had a 2.15 ERA in 67 outings last year and has a SO9 of 12.1.  And Boston has been in search of another dominant reliever.  Its clear to see what they want to do: Build that super bullpen like the Royals and Yankees had.   But what the Red Sox gave up was the issue.

I wonder if the Red Sox were prepared to give up Moncada in a Sale trade later in the day, or later realized that trading Shaw was mistake when they realized what it’d take for Sale.  In that 2nd case, they must have really wanted Sale.

Anyways, having Shaw would have given Panda the bench.  Now, Boston is forced to play Panda at third base, which will certainly be interesting.  I’m excited to see how quickly he gains his weight back.  Why is CNN writing about this??

The Red Sox baffled me these Winter Meetings.  But Dave Dombrowski is a pretty awesome GM.  He probably knows more than I do.  So I’ll shut up now.

Cubs get: Wade Davis

Royals get: Jorge Soler

God, what a trade by Chicago.  That doesn’t mean its bad for the Royals, though.  See, the Cubs are so good and so deep that the way you evaluate their trades is different.  For anyone else, you’d demand much more for Wade Davis.  For the Royals, who have a hard time getting top talent besides developing the farm, its a great trade.

Soler can somewhat be described as a prospect still.  He hasn’t produced as much as we expected yet, but I think this could be the year.  He’s in a place where he’s wanted and needed.  Changes of scenery help anyone, and I think it helps Soler this coming year.

As for the Cubs, I mean, trading Soler for Davis seems like a steal.  And replacing Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis like its nothing is something only the Cubs can pull off.  Davis is awesome.  The Royals and their fans will miss him terribly.  But Soler gives them a new, exciting fresh face in the outfield.  The more interesting question the rest of the Winter is:  Are the Royals gonna blow it up?

Nationals get: Adam Eaton

White Sox get: Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Dane Dunning

Where do I even start?  Talk about an overpay…

Its really hard to compare what the Nationals gave up to what Boston gave up because Adam Eaton’s value is not the same as Chris Sale’s.  Its not even close.

What Washington gave up for Eaton is what I would have gave up for Sale.  In fact, those names were coming up in trade talks for Sale, and they ended up trading them for Adam Eaton.

This isn’t to diminish Eaton.  He had a 6.2 WAR last season.  But when you’re talking about the type of prospects that Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez in particular are, you don’t make a trade like this.  I don’t think I’d give up either one of them straight up for Eaton.

The Nationals needed an outfielder, but overpaying for Eaton wasn’t the answer.  Especially at that price.

Quick hits on the signings:

  • Congrats to the Cubs on Brian Duensing.
  • Kinda liking this Mariners bullpen…
  • I liked the Steve Pearce signing by Toronto.  Good price too.  They can platoon him at first base with Justin Smoak, and use him in the outfield, where there’s some inexperience and sketchiness.  If he gets his bat going that contract is a bargain at two years, $12.5 million.
  • A dominant reliever and/or closer was exactly what the Giants needed, and they got him in Mark Melancon.  Look, I know the contract is huge (Four years, $62 million), but the Giants needed someone as reliable as Melancon after their serious struggles last season.  And its not like they’re afraid to spend or are short on money.  What a great signing, and another way to hurt the Nationals!
  • I think the Dodgers paying Rich Hill $16 million per year for three years shows how bad their rotation is, or at least how desperate they are.  Rich Hill had a great year, but he’s really old, and is not the type of guy I’d be proud to say of “Yeah, he’s my 2nd best pitcher.”  Thats terrific.  He’s also gonna be 37 and has had two good years ever.  So have fun with that LA.
  • Carlos Beltran for $16 million is much more than I would have paid, but he makes the Astros lineup really dangerous.  Watch out for that team next year.
  • Why is Jeff Mathis on the Diamondbacks roster?
  • Expect a lot of juggling with the Rangers this upcoming season.  Carlos Gomez fills a hole for them, but having Shin Soo Choo in right field is problematic.  They might sign or trade for someone still, but even that has its downsides.  However, there is a lot of talent there.  It should work itself out.
  • Another slugger signing was Matt Holliday with the Yankees.  I liked this a lot more than Beltran in Houston, mostly because I think Holliday still has it.  And nothing can be worse than what they dealt with last year.
  • Congrats to the Phillies on Joaquin Benoit.
  • More Red Sox lashing: Having Mitch Moreland and Panda in the same lineup isn’t exactly great.  However, they’ve got a lot of talent to offset that.
  • Good news:  No more Hanley Ramirez defensive woes!
  • Always have had a thing for Tyrell Jenkins…
  • I love Dexter Fowler for the Cardinals, and think the five year, $82.5 million contract will be worth it.  He’s gonna look sick in a Cardinals uniform.  Tommy Pham is great and a clutch hitter, but just isn’t that everyday outfielder.  Complete with Fowler, Randall Grichuk, and Stephen Piscotty, the Cardinals are in good shape.
  • What an awesome turn of events for the Yankees.  They got Gleyber Torres and Billy McKinney out of Aroldis Chapman in July, and now have him back on a five year, $86 million contract.  Its a hefty price, but is also what it takes to land one of the best relievers in baseball.  The Yanks now have him and Dellin Betances paired up, which is pretty dang good.
  • The Mets resigning Yoenis Cespedes is huge for their team in many ways, but also creates problems.  The Mets seem to be stuck with Jay Bruce, as no one is interested in trading for him.  Thats left them to shop Curtis Granderson around, which is unfortunate.  This isn’t about the roster though, its about payroll and finances.  It sucks for a broke team like New York, but is also the cost of Yo.  Hopefully he continues to produce so it makes the outfield situation a good problem.
  • I loved the Rockies signing Ian Desmond.  Its a risky contract, especially if his bat doesn’t come alive, but fills the big hole at first base.  The Rockies seem to be interested in adding another outfielder like Mark Trumbo.  That would be incredible.  He might hit like 70 home runs at Coors Field.  If they don’t land him, then David Dahl is there.  He had a great first year, and could lead to an outfielder losing his job if he capitalizes.
  • The Marlins are simply looking for competent starters right now, and Jeff Locke fits the bill.  God, I still can’t believe Jose Fernandez is gone.
  • The Rangers lacked rotation depth last season, and while Andrew Cashner isn’t great, he gives them a little bit of an upgrade at No.4 or No.5.
  • Can you imagine what Wilson Ramos would have got if he didn’t have the ACL injury?  Thats going to be a steal for the Rays.
  • The Blue Jays are better off without Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
  • Could Kenley Jansen’s contract exceed Chapman’s?  If the Marlins land him, I think so.