“Baseball–Lots of Questions”
Baseball is at a standstill right now.
An owner’s lock-out.
No free agent signings. No trades. No Winter Meetings.
But there was a flurry of activity in the hours leading up to the December 1st shutdown as talks between the Owners and Union over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement stalled.
A look at questions about the Dodgers-Padres-Angels, what they did, what they still need to do, what they might do:
DODGERS DECISION…They took a big hit when Max Scherzer signed the 43M a year contract to become a New York Mets starter. Expensive short term acquisition. Then LA saw power hitting shortstop Corey Seager jump ship, taking a 10-year 325M contract to play for the lowly Texas Rangers. LA has Trea Turner to play short. LA was not going to commit a half-billion to keep the two players.
DODGERS-FACT OR FICTION..Hours before the lockout went into effect, reports on both coasts indicated the Dodgers-Yankees-and Braves all offered World Series MVP Freddie Freeman the same contract, 6Y-180M. Hard to believe Freeman would exit Atlanta, the only organization he played for, but he’s an Orange County native and loves baseball tradition. LA and New York could be lures.
DODGERS-WHAT’S NEXT…Reports are LA met with Astros SS-Carlos Correa the day before the lockdown was imposed, and would be willing to go as high as 25M a year for the power bat. He’s not the equal of Seager,but he is rock solid and might be willing to play multiple decisions.
DODGERS-WHO’S LEFT…Is there a decision coming from Clayton Kershaw on a short term extension? Is LA willing to go more than 1Y-25M because of Kershaw’s health issues? It has been very quiet on the Kenley Jansen front, though there are a host of relievers still on the open market. Is he worth a 2-year deal after re-inventing himself.
DODGERS-WHY HIM…They committed (8.5M) to Andrew Heaney, last seen throwing home run balls for the Yankees. They think his live arm and a polished group of pitches will make him special in LA. Guess they saw the Giants resurrect everyone last year and figure why not try Heaney. They need quality, maybe they unlock the mystery.
DODGERS LIST…Outside of Zach Grienke, there is virtually no one left on the open market that you would call a front of the rotation starter. Short term rentals like Johnny Cueto-Michael Pineda and Carlos Rondon are what’s left out there.
DODGERS POLICE..It happened in May and we are now in December and there is no resolution to the Trevor Bauer fiasco. LA is on the hook for 32M next season unless baseball suspends him, then they can release him. He already collected 42M last year for his limited starts before the sexual assault allegations surfaced. If no charges are filed, would LA decide to suspend him? Would they fight the Union over the final two years of his contract? Would they take him back at a reduced salary? Would he want out of LA? Would anyone else touch the guy? Stay tuned.
PADRES….GM-AJ Preller is in his element, an off season, to make deals, change the chemistry of his roster after he changed the leadership in his dugout and clubhouse. He said goodbye to 39-save relief ace Mark Melancon, letting him sign a 2Y-14M contract with Arizona. The Padres then went fishing, landing 3-pitchers, two from Japan and one from the Cardinals. Two never pitched in MLB, and the other had 1-strong season out of 7-years in St Louis.
PADRES-WHO ARE THESE GUYS…Robert Suarez has spent his entire career abroad and had a (1.16-ERA) pitching in Japan last year, but that’s Japan. Luis Garcia was a fringe pitcher in St Louis and then, because of injuries, pitched as a closer and did a decent job for the Cardinals. But they did not retain him, so the Friars must see something different in him than the Cardinals did. Nick Ramirez is a refugee from Texas, who was (17-27) with the Rangers, then left to go to Japan, and then developed his repertoire. But Preller gave him a (4Y-20M) deal.
PADRES QUESTION…So it begs to be asked. The Padres spent a total of (32M) on the three acquisitions , but would not keep their bullpen ace. 3-nre unproven arms, rather than Melancon, who would have cost them 14M for two years. Melancon has 244-career saves. The three new guys have yet to prove themselves at the MLB level.
PADRES CATCHERS…A bunch of them on the roster and now you add on Jorge Alfaro-the ex Marlins-Phillies-Rangers guy. Proven major leaguer, but you already had Victor Campusano waiting at AAA, had traded for Austin Nola who played well when not hurt, and had ex-Cub Victor Caratini. Somebody must be leaving in a deal, but Preller keeps a revolving door at that position. Ever since he decided he did not want Austin Hedges, he keeps dealing to find the right guy.
PADRES-WHAT’S NEXT…Depends who you listen too…Eric Hosmer is still here, so is Wil Myers. You can connect the dots on the free agent talks with the Reds big bat Nick Castellanos, but he is a garbage can outfielder, so that deal might be more about him becoming the DH once the National League adopts that. There are a ton of other role playing bats out there, from Kyle Seager to Mike Conforto, Nelson Cruz to Andew McCutchen, Tommy Pham to Joc Pederson. Who knows what Preller does next, but you have to think he will be active once the embargo is lifted. Just be wary how much he spends, because he does have a history of over-paying people.
ANGELS ACTIVE…Quite a couple of weeks for the Halos. Last summer they used all 20-of their draft picks on pitchers, of course those arms are years away from getting to Anaheim. But they jumped into the off-season waters quickly, getting former Mets ace Noah Syndegaard. That was followed by the signing of Reds starter-reliever Michael Lorenzen, and the re-signing of Raisel Iglesias, their closer, to a 4-year deal. There are short term rentals out there, though they let Alex Cobb go to the Giants, and did not move on Rockies free agent Jon Gray. Maybe there is a trade coming, prospects for pitchers. They can’t be done.