By Michael Wong
Lake Buena Vista, Fla.--The teams who lost out in the Shoehei Ohtani sweepstakes are quickly trying to rebound and two are quickly standing out here at the Winter Meetings. The first are the St. Louis Cardinals who are now clear front-runners for Miami Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, while the Seattle Mariners are the other. The Mariners are jumping into the Jay Bruce sweepstakes to fill their outfield void and those talks are past the preliminary state.
-Speaking of the Marlins, there is hysteria down here when it comes to outfielder Christian Yelich as over a dozen teams have now contacted them about the guy. This is understandable as Yelich is under team control for another five seasons and has five-tool skills. Ozuna meanwhile is only under team control for two more seasons and that is why he won't require as much compensation.
-The reliever market is on fire and All-Star Brandon Kintzler is meeting with the Minnesota Twins today to possibly reunite. Kintzler was a terrific closer for the Twins prior to being dealt to the Washington Nationals last July and this deal makes sense for both. Meanwhile, Addison Reed met with the Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers today.
Connected to Reed also has been the New York Mets and they are very aggressive for relievers. They have made contact on Tommy Hunter, Steve Cishek, the Baltimore Orioles on Brad Brach (in a Matt Harvey deal), and Alex Colome. Speaking of Colome, it is almost a guarantee he gets moved at some point as this is modus operandi for the Rays in cashing out when players start getting a bit pricy.
-The San Francisco Giants are taking a long look at Billy Hamilton of the Reds and also are in on Jay Bruce with the Mariners and Mets.