Thursday, November 19, 2015


By Michael Wong

The first installment of the Winter Meetings brought forth some interesting trades and moves but they ultimately set the stage of the second phase of the meetings that will take place in December.  Still there is a lot of chatter in the last 24 hours so let's get right to it.

-For the second offseason in a row, the closer market dominated things early on.  The Detroit Tigers have already traded for Francisco Rodriguez to fill their ninth inning void, while the Seattle Mariners got a closer-capable arm in a deal for Joaquin Benoit.  Still the Aroldis Chapman talks continue to progress between the Cincinnati Reds and Toronto Blue Jays and now Ken Giles seems to be gaining steam as a hot commodity.

Some might find it odd that the Philadelphia Phillies are prepared to deal away Gilles given the fact he is entering just his second MLB season and has already put up sky-high K rates and dominated hitters with his pure heat.  However with the Phillies likely once again being one of the worst teams in the game this season, the front office is once again weighing whether having a closer is really worth holding onto in a losing campaign.  Thus the interest in Giles which is picking up the pace after the Rodriguez move.  Right now the Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Houston Astros are all in on Giles, with the Astros being the most aggressive.  While the Astros do have the very capable Luke Gregerson at closer, the middle relief was a disaster for the team last season and is a must to be improved in order for the team to move forward.  With this many teams in on Giles, a deal seems more likely by the day.

-As far as Andrew Miller is concerned, GM Brian Cashman has not indicated that anything is even remotely hot there and in all honesty we hear that the Yanks have to be blown away for a deal to be made.  However Chapman's name keeps coming up here and one has to wonder if Miller would go the other way in such a move.  Or if the Yanks will pair Chapman with Miller and Dellin Betances to give the Yanks the most potent 7-8-9 trio ever. 

-The Chicago Cubs are in on every free agent pitcher, with the latest chatter centering on Jeff Samardzjia.  Samardzjia is seen as the fallback guy once Zack Greinke, David Price, and Johnny Cueto are off the board as he comes off a down season in 2015 with the White Sox.  However Samardzjia's velocity held steady to his very solid 2013-14 levels and the thinking is that going back to the NL could have him easily back to SP 2 status.  The Yankees also remain in talks here.

-Shelby Miller is a new name to enter into the trade front on Thursday, as both the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers made inquiries.  When it comes to the rebuilding Atlanta Braves, no veteran player is untradeable. 

-Darren O'Day could get close to $40 million in this market as he is being highly coveted by a bunch of teams, with the Astros and Dodgers being the most aggressive.

-The Milwaukee Brewers made their second deal in two days Thursday when they picked up speedy infielder Jonathan Villar from the Houston Astros.  Villar will likely get a crack at starting infielder spot for the rebuilding Brewers and he showed signs last season of progress when he hit .284 in 53 games. 


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