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MLB trade rumors: Another slow week highlighted by Dodgers spending spree

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Pictured: $144 million worth of free agent
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning Athletics Nation! Our friend Bernie is off this week, so here is a quick link dump in lieu of The Weekly Bernie.

It was another quiet week amid an offseason that’s been slow as molasses, with the Dodgers making about 90% of the noise over the last several days. (For free agent signings, links go to MLB Trade Rumors, which does a great job at rounding up all the various original sources.)

  • The Oakland A’s found their way into an actual rumor, as they at least took a look at top free agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion (via Jon Heyman, FanRag Sports). He doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as a target, since he is neither lefty, and outfielder, nor a good defender (the three things the A’s need right now), so Oakland’s interest probably has more to do with Encarnacion simply being a great player whose market is weaker than expected (and thus a chance for a bargain value). Susan Slusser isn’t buying it, though.
  • A couple former A’s found homes in Milwaukee, as Eric Sogard and Tommy Milone both signed with the Brewers. Milone is on a one-year deal to help a shaky rotation, while Sogard is on a minor league deal that makes him teammates with Matt Garza.
  • Sonny Gray “has generated little interest” around the league, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports on Wednesday. That’s not a surprise, though, since the A’s surely want a lot more for their established young ace than most teams would be willing to give up for a pitcher coming off a significantly down season. The timing just isn’t right for a balanced trade that doesn’t involve one side making a bit of a reach — either the A’s giving too big a discount, or another team paying as if 2016 didn’t happen.
  • The Dodgers went on a spending spree to keep their division-winning team together. They re-signed closer Kenley Jansen (5 years, $80 million) and 3B Justin Turner (4 years, $64 million). Factor in LHP Rich Hill, who already returned to LA, and the Dodgers have now dropped $192 million this winter to retain their top three free agents. Jansen and Turner both rejected qualifying offers, so with them off the board the 2017 draft order gets a bit clearer. The A’s pick third in Comp Round A, and right now that pick lies at No. 33 overall; with three more QO free agents on the board (Encarnacion, Bautista, Trumbo), it could theoretically drop as low as No. 36 if all three go to teams without an eligible 1st-round pick to give up.
  • Two starting pitchers officially left the AL West: long-time Rangers LHP Derek Holland signed with the White Sox (1 year, $6 million), and journeyman RHP Jhoulys Chacin agreed with the Padres (1 year, $1.75 million) after pitching for the Angels most of last year.
  • A couple former Red Sox relievers came off the free agency board as well, with both going to the Marlins: RHP Brad Ziegler (2 years, $16 million) and RHP Junichi Tazawa (2 years, $12 million). Meanwhile, they will help replace a now-former long-time Marlin, LHP Mike Dunn, who is heading to the Rockies (3 years, $19 million). Boston’s bullpen has seen a lot of change this winter, having lost that pair plus Koji Uehara while adding Tyler Thornburg through trade. The remaining reliever board is getting thin, with the elite names all spoken for and mostly buy-low bounce-back guys remaining.
  • The Phillies locked up CF Odubel Herrera, through as long as 2023. His contract (5 years, $30.5 million) includes two team options, allowing the Phils to buy out up to his first three free agent years. He was never a realistic target for the A’s current CF hole, but he’s definitely out of the picture now.
  • Six teams have to pay the MLB luxury tax: Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Giants, and Cubs. The Dodgers and Yankees account for 80% of the total $74 million bill incurred by that group.

What to expect this week:

If you thought things were slow before, wait until you see what happens when folks begin to break for Christmas.

That’s all for this week! Feel free to dump any links in the comments below.