Baseball’s winter meetings are looming, and throughout the week lots of big news and rumors are sure to surface.
This year, the winter meetings will be held in San Diego, and will be held from December 8th to the 12th. The who’s who in baseball attend every year, from players to managers to general managers, and everyone in between, including fans. It’s usually the busiest time of the MLB offseason.
Already this winter, a few players have already signed halfway through the winter meetings.
One of those players is starter Zack Wheeler. Wheeler was one of the most sought after pitchers on the market this season, and brought in nine figures on his new contract with the Phillies. He’ll earn $118 million over the next five years.
The two biggest pitchers on the market signed thus far as well. Stephen Strasburg went first, signing a record breaking seven year, $245 million dollar contract with his original team, the Washington Nationals. Strasburg’s record contract lasted for about a day, until the New York Yankees reached an agreement with Gerrit Cole. Cole got two more years than Strasburg, and much more money, as his contract comes in at nine years and $324 million.
Another intriguing name isrighty Josh Lindblom, who said he would announce his new team by the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday December 12th. Lindblom is interesting because he has spent the last five years in Korea, aside from a short stint with the Pirates organization in 2017. The 32 year old has won back to back Pitcher of the Year awards in the Korean Baseball Organization and now desires to return stateside. His suitors are a little less definite, however. The Blue Jays, Angels and Dodgers are all interested in him to some extent.
Trades are also a common theme during the winter meetings. While it is hard to predict just who may get traded, there are many teams looking for salary relief, or want to unblock certain players in their organization. One of those teams are the Cardinals. St. Louis has a plethora of outfielders and are lacking the funds heading into this offseason. Dexter Fowler, Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill could all be in their last week in St. Louis because of this. The return would be a left handed hitting outfielder, something that the Cardinals badly desire.
Each year, the winter meetings conclude with one of the more unique events about the MLB offseason, the Rule 5 Draft. This draft is meant for players not on their teams 40 man roster that have been in the minor leagues for 5 years. Any team can have these players through the draft, but must keep them on their major league roster all season in order to keep them beyond 2020. Teams that are rebuilding are most active in this, including the Tigers, Orioles and Pirates, however competing teams will often dabble in on a player they see high upside in. For instance, the Cardinals took reliever Matt Bowman in 2016, though he led the AAA in losses the season prior. St. Louis liked his pitching repertoire, and it paid dividends as the Cardinals turned Bowman into a quality reliever for two seasons before trading him.
While there are many questions heading into the winter meetings, lots of them will have answers, or more clarity once the week is wrapped up, and many of them already have after two of the four days.