When it comes to the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings, what happens in Vegas, will probably get out on Twitter at some point.
There wasn’t much in the way of player movement at the annual gathering of baseball’s most powerful people, but there was no shortage of whispers.
So while we might not know where big-name free agents like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are going to land, we at least have a little more information with which to work.
With that in mind, here are some predictions for the rest of the offseason with the winter meetings behind us.
The Yankees sign Manny Machado
No matter what the Yankees will tell you, they aren’t on level footing with the Red Sox. They’re close, but they’re not quite there. Signing Machado is the sort of difference-making splash that has made them so successful in the past.
According to one report, the Yankees are Machado’s preferred destination. That falls in line with other rumors leading up to and through the MLB Winter Meetings, so it certainly makes sense from his point of view. The Yankees have put an emphasis on pitching this winter, but they seem willing to do just about anything — except for sign Bryce Harper. Perhaps the most interesting Yankees-related development was their reported willingness to part with Miguel Andujar. If he’s traded, it would open a spot at third base, and if Machado is willing to play third base in order to join the Yankees, well, then …
The Dodgers sign Bryce Harper
Let’s get weird. It definitely was odd to see the Philadelphia Phillies sign Andrew McCutchen so early in the offseason. That doesn’t mean they’d be out on Harper, but let’s just say it’s a signal they’re out on Harper. At a certain point, despite what Scott Boras might say, doesn’t Harper look around and maybe adjust his demands? The White Sox sound like they’re hellbent on signing a marquee free agent, but does anyone really see Machado or Harper signing there? Unless they’re chasing only the money, then probably not. Here’s a better idea for the 26-year-old Harper: Go to the Dodgers on a short-term, big-money deal. How does four years, $120 million with opt-out clauses sound? He can go to the Dodgers, play well for a big-market team, maybe even win a World Series and then hit the market again in a few years while still in his prime. It definitely feels like Harper (and Boras) want to reset the market with a record-breaking deal, but if that contract isn’t out there, this feels like the next best thing. It’s also worth noting the Dodgers reportedly are shopping outfielders.
The Phillies sign Craig Kimbrel
So what happens when the Machado/Harper musical chairs stops and the Phillies walk away with nothing? Philly wasn’t shy about its intentions to spend money this winter and giving Kimbrel a record-breaking contract should do the trick. The Phillies’ bullpen was good, not great in 2018, and the Phillies don’t really have a closer. Here’s where they can get “stupid” with their money.
The Marlins won’t screw up the J.T. Realmuto trade
If we ranked the teams which could screw up the Realmuto deal, the Marlins would be near or even at the top of the list. But this seems too easy for even Miami to miss. The market for the All-Star catcher is enormous. The Mets reportedly have been most consistently linked to the Realmuto, but other various reports indicate the Braves, Yankees, Reds, Padres, Rays and Dodgers have all been or are still interested in making a deal with Miami. And apparently, we can add the Brewers to that list, too. When you’re dealing with a market that size, you’ll have no shortage of appealing proposals from which to choose. Seems foolproof. At least you’d think.
… and the Mets will ultimately swing the deal for Realmuto
New York, according to most reports, has been among the most aggressive teams in pursuing Realmuto. It seems like they’re also willing to get creative in order to make it happen. They were reportedly open to trading Noah Syndergaard to the Yankees in a three-way trade to make it happen, for crying out loud. Syndergaard’s name also popped up in another reported three-way deal involving the Mets, Marlins and Padres. New Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has proved he’s willing to get aggressive in order to improve his team and will ultimately piece together the best package in order to pry Realmuto from a division rival.