Welcome back to The Weekly Bernie! It’s the best dance in the game, so let’s get rolling once more!
- This past week, the Winter Meetings came and went, and many hopeful A’s fans were left disappointed. While the club showed strong interest in Kansas City Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson (per Joel Sherman of the New York Post), and could also be looking to add a second baseman as well as veteran rotation help (both per Jane Lee of MLB.com), ultimately the club was not able to complete any moves. However, as General Manager David Forst pointed out to Joe Stiglich of Comcast SportsNet California, this is not necessarily anything to be discouraged about. Talks from the Winter Meetings often continue afterwards and could lead to a deal at a later date. Also notable: the A’s lost right-handed pitching prospect Dylan Covey to the Chicago White Sox in the Rule 5 Draft (link), and legendary broadcaster Bill King is headed to the Hall of Fame after being selected this year’s winner of the Ford C. Frick award (as our own praunlinde writes).
- The aforementioned White Sox easily made the most noise this week, beginning their rebuild in a big way. First, they sent one of the best pitchers in baseball in lefty Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for top prospects Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Basabe, and Victor Diaz. This blockbuster netted the White Sox baseball’s top prospect in Moncada, as well as a 20 year-old with a triple-digit fastball in Kopech and two more interesting prospects. The Red Sox, on the other hand, add Sale to a rotation that already included David Price and 2016 AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. This move could cement Boston as the American League front-runners for 2017, but it also restocked a depleted Chicago farm and could really pay off for them in the future.
- The White Sox didn’t stop there. The next day, they traded outfielder Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals for righties Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning. These three arms all have top-of-the-rotation upside, and Giolito and Lopez are pretty much MLB-ready. The Nationals, meanwhile, added a great young outfielder on a very team-friendly contract. Eaton will likely lead off for them, and while the jury is out on how he will fare defensively in center field, he will still be a great addition to the team.
- Two more top outfielders came off the market this past week. First, the Colorado Rockies agreed to a five year, $70 million contract with Ian Desmond, as Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported. Desmond had a monster first half for the Texas Rangers in 2016, slashing .322/.375/.524 and playing a solid center field in his first year there, but he tailed off in the second half. The Rockies will now look to deal one of their other outfielders in exchange for starting pitching, but if they don’t, Desmond will move to first base. The deal seems extremely odd for Colorado, as not only is Desmond a difficult fit, but they also had to forfeit the 11th pick in the 2017 draft to sign him.
- Next, the St. Louis Cardinals reached agreement with outfielder Dexter Fowler on a five year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler had a fantastic 2016 for the Chicago Cubs, and will provide a reliable bat in a St. Louis lineup that was already quite good. While the price was high, Fowler will be a good fit for the club.
- A pair of bullpen arms were on the move as well. First, the Cubs acquired relief ace Wade Davis from the Royals in exchange for outfielder Jorge Soler. Davis, one of the game’s best relievers when healthy, will be the Cubs new closer. Meanwhile, the club simply didn’t have room in their outfield for Soler. For the Royals, they move an arm with some health issues that is set to be a free agent after 2017 for a very high-upside bat. Kansas City has quite a few key players with only one year of team control remaining, so we could see more of this selling either this offseason or at the trade deadline.
- The New York Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a five year, $86 million deal, according to Rosenthal. The southpaw was with the club in 2016 before he was traded to the Cubs in a deadline deal. He will be a great re-addition to the club’s bullpen, albeit at a very high price. The only other thing I have to say here is that over on Pinstripe Alley, user Tanya Bondurant has pledged to donate a dollar for each strikeout Chapman records to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
- The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have acquired infielder Danny Espinosa from the Nationals in exchange for righties Kyle McGowin and Austin Adams. Espinosa has a great glove and will form an awesome double play combination with Andrelton Simmons. However, despite his home run power, his bat leaves a lot to be desired. After their acquisition of Eaton bumped star youngster Trea Turner to shortstop, the Nationals simply didn’t have room for Espinosa, and decided to turn him into a pair of interesting arms.
- Other smaller moves: OF Carlos Gomez to the Rangers for one year, $11.5 million; RHP Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers to the Red Sox for Travis Shaw, Mauricio Dubon, and Josh Pennington; RHP Joaquin Benoit to the Phillies for one year, $7.5 million; RHP Fernando Rodney to the Diamondbacks for one year, $2.75 million; RHP Koji Uehara to the Cubs for 1 year, about $4.5 million.
Bernie’s Weekly Deal: Kendall Graveman to the Houston Astros for Teoscar Hernandez, James Hoyt, and Brady Rodgers
The Astros have actively shown interest in bolstering their rotation, but reportedly turned down a seemingly reasonable offer for Jose Quintana that they deemed to be too high of a price. This leads me to believe they could shoot lower for a mid-rotation arm, and Graveman fits that bill perfectly. He would replace Doug Fister very well without costing the team too much in terms of prospects.
However, the A’s would be adding three very interesting players. Hernandez, 24, is a speedy outfielder with a little bit of pop that could be the long-term answer for the A’s in centerfield. The right-handed hitter has posted quality numbers at almost each stop of the minors and should, at worst, be a very good fourth outfielder. Hoyt, 30, originally went undrafted but has developed into an exciting relief arm. He has posted insane strikeout numbers thanks to a mid-nineties fastball and a filthy slider/splitter combo. Finally, Rodgers is my number one prospect crush. The 26 year-old righty has always had amazing command, and in 2016 he finally started to get strikeouts as well. He could replace Graveman immediately.
What to expect this week:
At this point, only time will tell on the A’s centerfield search, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a deal come together this week. Kenley Jansen should also find a home very soon, and Jose Bautista could return to the Blue Jays on a pillow contract.
That’s all for this week. Feel free to dump any links in the comments below. Until next time - lean on, A’s fans!