The end of November through the month of December is free agent feast time in the MLB. You can mix in a trade or a few to keep baseball fans refreshing their favorite rumors page.
The MLB Hot Stove is taking a little longer to heat up than usual this season (with no offense to Mariners fans who have seen their team trade for Ryon Healy and smartly re-sign Hisashi Iwakuma to a Minor League deal).
This time last year we already had the Yankees trade of Brian McCann to the Astros, “big sexy” Bartolo Colon signing with the Atlanta Braves, and the Mariners trade of Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Jean Segura and others.
Sports fans were treated to one of the most entertaining NBA off-seasons in recent history. There are three similarities between the exciting NBA off-season that was and the MLB Hot Stove that will fire up sooner than later.
Best Player Outside The League Cometh:
The NBA had Milos Teodosic. The Los Angeles Clippers finally lured him out of the comforts of the Euroleague to the rigors of the Association.
Shohei Ohtani aka “The next Babe Ruth” - A pitcher who can rake or a position player that can pitch? However you want to pigeonhole him, he is the best player outside the MLB. As per Joshua Berube, “Remember Daisuke Matsuzaka? When the Red Sox or Yankees booked all the hotel rooms so the other couldn’t be in same hotel? And posted a $51 Million bid just to talk to him. He is that sought after!”
One Year To Go Before Big Payday Due
Embed from Getty Images
The Indiana Pacers were told by Paul George he was not returning after his contract expired post 2017-18 season. He was traded to OKC and will therefore be an issue to them when it comes time to increase his salary.
KB’s & Harper’s wives keeping Cubs fans’ dreams alive… pic.twitter.com/kgnln0lhi5
— Caitlin Swieca (@CaitlinSwieca) August 5, 2020
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) October 25, 2020
The Washington Nationals have Bryce Harper heading in his last year of his contract. An off-season trade is unlikely but there are enough pictures floating around the internet to suggest Harper would gladly accept a reunion with his best buddy Kris Bryant. Harper is quoted as saying, “I do that to the media because they stir it more than I do. That’s why i do the things I do at times, because it’s funny to me. It’s like, ‘Alright, people want to talk about this and talk about that. Why not just throw this out there and make them think about it?”
— Sean Sears (@sean_sears6) November 26, 2020
The Baltimore Orioles have the Manny Machado contract expiring at the end of this upcoming season. If the Orioles are already prospecting for a 2019 season without Machado, then the thought of trading him prior to 2018 cannot be off the table. Unlikely as it is, make sure to keep an eye on the Orioles transaction wire for moves outside bolstering more than just their pitching.
Superstar With One Foot Out The Door
Your NL MVP is not being welcomed back to the Miami Marlins. New ownership wants to go old ownership, circa 2012 and sell off all big commitments. Here’s a reminder of that 2012 selloff move:
They are shipping $106 million shortstop Jose Reyes, staff ace Josh Johnson and $58 million starter Mark Buehrle to the Toronto Blue Jays in a blockbuster trade involving 12 players, an official from each team familiar with the deal confirmed to USA TODAY Sports.
There is no bigger commitment than the Giancarlo Stanton contract, which totals $295 million through until 2027.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 27, 2020
Whether it be the Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants, the St. Louis Cardinals, or some other team, the newly minted owner of the Marlins will have removed one of the cornerstone’s of the franchise he purchased. Reportedly, without saying a word to the man. I guess “re2pect” is only on the field and not the press box.
Winter Meetings Part Two
December 10th through the 14th. Traditionally, the busiest week of the MLB off-season has the situations listed above and so much more to be resolved. Be ready when this MLB Hot Stove fires up because it is going to be a fun ride.