2013 MLB Winter Meetings: 10 Trades Most Likely to Go Down
2013 MLB Winter Meetings: 10 Trades Most Likely to Go Down
Thus far, the 2013 MLB offseason has been interesting to say the least. The Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers swapped infielders with a Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler trade. The New York Yankees lost All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners, but responded by signing superstars Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran in the days surrounding the Cano’s departure. With the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings taking place in Orlando this week, there are sure to be many more moves to come.
This is the time of the year when teams are looking to make moves in order to put themselves in a better position to win in the upcoming season. With numerous big names still on the market, this offseason’s winter meetings are shaping up to be rather exciting.
It will be interesting to see how teams like the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies respond after disappointing seasons. While clubs like the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves attempt to build on the success of the previous season.
Japanese superstar Masahiro Tanaka tops this year’s list of sought after international sensations. However, it is not known whether or not the pitchers club in Japan is going to let him leave. Then there are established stars such as Matt Kemp and David Price whose names have been flying around as players available for trade.
Here is a list of ten trades most likely to get done during this year’s winter meetings in Orlando.
10. Shin-Soo Choo to the Texas Rangers
There were reports of the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers showing interest in the Cincinnati Reds outfielder, however, the Texas Rangers now appear to be at the head of the chase for Choo.
The Texas Rangers are in the need of outfield help after last years departure of Josh Hamilton and this years likely departure of Nelson Cruz. Shin-Soo Choo serves as a reliable glove in the outfield, as well as an above average bat in the lineup.
Although Choo’s asking price is a little hefty, seven years and $140 million, expect negotiations to lead to the Korean native to be playing in Arlington in 2014.
9. Matt Garza to the Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins starting rotation recorded a league-worst 5.23 ERA in 2013. Along with newly signed pitchers Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco, Matt Garza could help the Twins have a very interesting starting rotation.
Garza, who started his career in Minnesota, has a career 3.84 ERA and 67-67 record over nine seasons in the MLB. The pitcher was hurt for the start of last season, but finished strong with a 10-6 record and 3.77 ERA in 24 starts. It needs to kept in mind that Garza’s numbers from the past few seasons probably would be better had he not been on a few putrid Chicago Cubs teams. Matt Garza’s arm could re-energize a Twins team that looked flat for most of 2013.
8. David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers
The Tampa Bay Rays are likely to get rid of star pitcher David Price as the Rays have done with previous ace’s. Price is likely to join James Shields and Matt Garza as pitchers who became too expensive for Tampa Bay to afford. Because of this, Price will likely be dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers, as we have seen in seasons past, are willing to spend in order to win. No other pitcher on the market helps win now more than Price. The former Cy Young Award winner will join fellow Cy Young winners Zack Grienke and Clayton Kershaw to create the most dominant rotation in the MLB.
7. Masahiro Tanaka to the New York Yankees
General manager Brian Cashman is looking to fill out the New York Yankees starting rotation and Masahiro Tanaka is a perfect fit. Although it is not known whether Tanaka’s Japanese team will make the pitcher available for signing, it seems as though the Yankees are at the top of the list once permission is granted.
Tanaka, who went 24-0 in 27 starts with a 1.27 ERA in 2013, would join other Japanese stars Hiroki Kuroda and Ichiro Suzuki in the Bronx. Because Tanaka would not be immediately relied upon as an ace of the rotation and will be able to get acclimated to major league baseball, New York is an ideal landing destination for the pitcher.
6. Jeff Samardzija to the Atlanta Braves
After losing starting pitcher Tim Hudson to the San Francisco Giants, the Atlanta Braves are looking for a relatively inexpensive fix. Jeff Samardzija perfectly fits this need.
Because Samardzija has spent the early years of his career with the Cubs, the pitchers number may be a little inflated. The pitcher has a 4.19 ERA with a 29-35 career record, but shows potential to put up much better statistics.
This move makes sense for both clubs. The Cubs, on one hand, have a plethora of young talented arms in the farm system. Therefore, losing Samardzija for the right price could positively impact the club. On the other hand, the Braves need a veteran pitcher to go along with all the young arms currently on its roster.
5. Brandon Phillips to New York Yankees
The New York Yankees need to fill the hole left by the departure of Robinson Cano. Although Brandon Phillips isn’t nearly the hitter that Cano is, he is a reliable batter and has a spectacular glove.
Because the Yankees are trying to stay under $189 million in 2014, it is likely that Phillips is traded for, not simply bought. With Cincinnati likely losing outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, the Reds are in need of an outfielder (something the Yankees have a surplus of). The Reds will likely chose Brett Gardner as compensation for Phillips, as Gardner is the youngest and has the most potential of available Yankees outfielders.
4. Bartolo Colon to the Baltimore Orioles
The 40 year old pitcher went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA in 30 starts in 2013. Bartolo Colon will not demand a large salary or long term contract, making him very attractive to teams seeking a short term solution. The Baltimore Orioles have emerged as the front runners in the race for Colon as the club seeks to solidify a starting rotation that often struggled in 2013.
Colon is an ideal fit for the Orioles because of the fact that he is a contact pitcher. Because Colon allows batters to put the ball in play so often, he greatly benefits from good defense, something Baltimore has excelled in during Buck Showalter’s time as manager.
3. Fernando Rodney to the Seattle Mariners
The Seattle Mariners are likely to be the next stop for closer Fernando Rodney. So far this offseason, the Mariners have already signed second baseman Robinson Cano and outfielder Corey Hart, but do not seem to be done with just these two acquisitions.
The signing of Fernando Rodney will help strengthen a Mariners bullpen that struggled in 2013. Seattle’s bullpen recorded a second-worst 4.58 ERA. In 2012, Rodney posted a .60 ERA in 74.2 innings. Although the pitchers numbers dropped in 2013, Rodney’s potential is something Seattle is banking on. If the pitcher performs anything like he did in 2012, the Mariners will have found a steal in Fernando Rodney.
2. Grant Balfour to the Baltimore Orioles
After losing closing pitcher Jim Johnson to the Oakland Athletics, the Baltimore Orioles are looking to sign a new closer. The Orioles do not have to look far, as former A’s closer Grant Balfour is looking for a new job after the signing of Johnson in Oakland.
Balfour may demand a slightly longer contract than Johnson, however, at 34, Balfour would be a low-risk high-reward signing. The pitcher recorded 38 saves with a 2.59 ERA in 2013. While Balfour can be unpredictable at times because of his high level of emotion, he will serve as a reliable veteran at the back end of the Baltimore Orioles pitching staff.
1. Sean Marshall to the Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies have made it known at the winter meetings that they are shopping for a reliever. The Rockies have shown interest in Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Joaquin Benoit, but Benoit is most likely outside of the Rockies price range. This is why Red’s pitcher Sean Marshall is now the front runner in the Rockies search for a reliever.
The 6-foot-7 and 225 pound lefty certainly has the ability to be a force out of the bullpen, but injuries have been a concern throughout his career. This means Colorado could acquire Marshall relatively cheaply.
If acquired at the right price, Marshall will serve as a strong left handed set-up man for closer Latroy Hawkins in Colorado.