Start­ing pitch­ers among likely top tar­gets at win­ter meet­ings

The Herald-Sun (Sunday) - - Obituaries / Sports -

Corey Klu­ber, Trevor Bauer, Zack Greinke and Madi­son Bum­gar­ner ap­pear to be avail­able for teams look­ing to bol­ster start­ing ro­ta­tions.

Home­town star Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the two top free agents, re­main un­signed head­ing into the tra­di­tional high-point of the off­sea­son.

Catcher J.T. Real­muto, third base­man Kyle Sea­ger could be among the po­si­tion play­ers dan­gled as trade bait in the suites of Las Ve­gas’ Man­dalay Bay, where ex­ec­u­tives and agents gather next week for the an­nual swap ses­sion, which in an age of com­pli­cated fi­nances and med­i­cal records serves as a mid­point for talks as much as a place to fin­ish deals.

Chicago Cubs pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions Theo Ep­stein pre­dicted the week will be “really ac­tive.”

“It seems like there is plenty of trade talk, and there are still a lot of good free agents out there,” he said. “A cou­ple of moves have al­ready oc­curred that sort of al­ways set the stage for in­creased ac­tiv­ity in the next week or so.”

First base­man Paul Gold­schmidt (Ari­zona to St. Louis) and sec­ond base­man Robin­son Cano (Seat­tle to New York Mets) are among the All­Stars al­ready traded since the end of the World Se­ries.

‘THINGS ARE SLOW’

Pitch­ers Patrick Corbin ($140 mil­lion for six years with Wash­ing­ton) and Nathan Eo­valdi ($68 mil­lion for four years with Bos­ton) al­ready struck big deals in a free-agent mar­ket mov­ing more swiftly than last off­sea­son’s, and third base­man Josh Don­ald­son took a $23 mil­lion, one-year agree­ment with At­lanta.

Nine­teen of 164 play­ers who ex­er­cised ma­jor league free agent rights have an­nounced deals, up from eight head­ing into the meet­ings last year.

And with A.J. Pol­lock, Dal­las Keuchel and Craig Kim­brel still un­signed, there’s plenty more hol­i­day shop­ping. And for the bot­tom of the mar­ket, there is sale time in Jan­uary, Fe­bru­ary and even March.

It’s not like the old days when teams made deals as soon as the mar­ket opened and tried to fill all their needs by the end of the win­ter meet­ings.

“Things are slow,” Oak­land gen­eral man­ager Dave Forst said. “I don’t think it’s that dif­fer­ent from last year. Maybe the win­ter meet­ings will kind of jump­start things.”

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