Starting pitchers among likely top targets at winter meetings
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.”