“Baseball–Winter Meetings-Wild First Day”
The Winter Baseball Meetings are in high gear in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Free Agent signings, mega trades, and some controversial showdowns coming.
The Washington Nationals started Monday’s opening day with the signing of Stephen Strasburg, the World Series pitching hero, to a (7Y-245M) contract, the highest salary package and average salary for a pitcher in history.
It’s not over, for within hours came reports that the other big free agent, Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole, was prepared to leave and possibly head to the Yankees or the Angels for what is likely to be a new record high (250M) package.
Still out there will be the Giants-Madison Bumgarner, seeking 25M per year, and Nationals 3rd baseman Anthony Rendon, a likely 33M a season bat to somebody’s lineup.
We await to see who throws bargaining chips on the table to start the trade market.
The strangest rumblings in the hallways at the Manchester Grand Hyatt are that the Cubs might be willing to tear their top heavy salaried roster apart with a series of deals that could include star 3B-Kris Bryant.
Once this domino falls, then the other deals fall into place.
Joc Peterson of the Dodgers..the Pirates moving Starlin Marte, the rumored move of Milwaukee closer Josh Vader, and the Padres efforts to shop, move, dump Austin Hedges and Will Myers.
The contracts given to the marquee free agents continue to escalate, winter by winter.
I’d say it’s shocking anyone would give a 31-year old pitcher, like Strasburg, a 7-year contract, but then again, MLB is awash in money from its TV contracts. And if pitchers go down, odds are some of the salaries are covered by insurance policies.
Think back to yesteryear, when the Steinbrenner’s threw wild money at free agents every winter. We thought the 217M package David Price signed with the Red Sox was absurd.
People were aghast when all this started with Andy Messersmith, Catfish Hunter and Wayne Garland. That is when the back in the day dollars were as high as 700,000 a year. Those were pennies on the dollar to what Strasburg just got.
But this winter meeting session is different than the last couple of years, when the delayed signings of Shohei Ohtani by the Angels, or last year’s mess with Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel, held up all the other deals.
This started early with Yasmani Grandal, going to the White Sox, and has escalated since late last week. Atlanta moved quickly to get Giants closer Will Smith, then Cubs starter Cole Hamels. The Reds landed 3B-Mike Moustakas, and Texas signed Jordan Lyles-Kyle Gibson for the back end of their rotation.
Now Strasburg signs so quickly, it should open up the flood gates for lots of other deals.
The bidding isn’t over, but the trades are to come next, maybe by nightfall..
The ‘Shopping Spree’ is now to replace the ‘Spending Spree’. A fun time to watch the dealings of big market to small market teams.