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MLB transactions update: Doolittle, McCutchen, Reds fire sale continues

Two huge trades stole the headlines Monday

New York Yankees v Washington Nationals
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Don’t blink this week or you might miss something!

We’re now four days into the post-lockout offseason, and the transactions are still rolling. There were a ton of moves by Saturday afternoon, and then even more by the end of Sunday, and you can click those two links to catch up on anything you missed from the weekend.

Monday didn’t carry quite the same quantity of deals, but it made up for it with a couple of significant ones. The two biggest headlines of the day weren’t free agent signings, but rather trades that each sent All-Stars to new homes.

  • TRADE: Braves acquire 1B Matt Olson, A’s acquire prospects
  • TRADE: Mariners acquire OF Jesse Winker and 3B Eugenio Suarez; Reds acquire RHP Justin Dunn, OF Jake Fraley, a prospect, and a PTBNL

These two deals offer an interesting contrast. Oakland fans have every right to be disappointed in losing Olson, but at least the team scored an impressive haul of prospects that should help them complete another successful rebuilding project.

On the other hand, the Reds appear to be simply dumping salary for the sake of it, and they’re winning no love from fans nor experts along the way. In this trade, they shipped out a team leader and newly minted All-Star in Winker, who had two years of control remaining, and instead of getting back a maximum prospect package they simply attached Suarez’s deadweight contract to save money.

They did still get one good prospect (and a PTBNL), and Dunn and Fraley can contribute, but both have already racked up some service time and Dunn will hit arbitration next winter. It’s all the worst parts of a half-measure retool trade and a pound-foolish cash grab, and C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic put it like this:

“[General manager] Nick Krall had said he wouldn’t repeat the team’s mistake of discarding prospects to get rid of payroll (Downs and Gray to Dodgers). Instead, they move Winker to get rid of the $35M owed to Suárez.”

It’s just the latest gut-punch for Reds fans in an offseason that’s featured nothing but. It’s one thing to see all your best players go away, but it’s so much worse when it happens for nothing but salary relief. At least the A’s usually get back future value when they break our hearts in the present.

As for free agents, here’s the latest list of signings:

  • Brewers sign OF Andrew McCutchen (terms TBA)
  • Nationals sign LHP Sean Doolittle (terms TBA)
  • Phillies sign LHP Brad Hand (1yr/$6m)
  • Rockies sign RHP Chad Kuhl (1yr/$3m)
  • White Sox sign RHP Vince Velasquez (1yr/$3m)
  • Giants sign RHP Jakob Junis (1yr/$2m)
  • Dodgers sign IF Jake Lamb (minors)
  • Rangers sign OF Jake Marisnick (minors)

McCutchen and Doolittle are both age-35 now, but they both showed last year that they had something left in the tank with slightly above-average production. In an odd coincidence after our above discussion about the Winker trade, Doolittle split last season between none other than the Mariners and the Reds, but now he’ll return to the Nationals where he spent four seasons and won a ring.

For A’s fans, the notable names are at the bottom. Lamb played well for Oakland a couple years ago during a brief stint, while Marisnick was a pesky presence with the Astros and now returns to the AL West with a different rival.

There’s lots more to come this week, as we’re still waiting on several significant free agents (Correa, Freeman, Bryant, Story, Castellanos), and there are still at least three more A’s stars on the block (Chapman, Manaea, Montas). Stay tuned to see what Tuesday brings!