Your favorite team could trade for Mark Melancon and Todd Frazier. What a time to be alive!
Pirates would move Mark Melancon in the “right deal”
After seeing the Red Sox pay the Padres a king’s ransom for Craig Kimbrel and the Astros do the same to the Phillies for Ken Giles, teams with high-end closers to offer are doubtless intrigued by the possibility of cashing them in for a bevy of prospect talent. The Pirates boast the defending major-league saves leader, Mark Melancon, who capped off 51 Pittsburgh victories in 2015 and is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility. General manager Neal Huntington told reporters Monday that while the team is planning to keep both Melancon and top setup man Tony Watson, the former could be available to teams willing to pay through the nose.
With free agency on the horizon after the coming year, Melancon wouldn’t command the same sort of package that Kimbrel—extension through 2017 with a 2018 club option—or Giles—under team control through 2020—did, but the 30-year-old has the whole “proven closer” thing going for him, and the trade-market supply is rapidly dwindling. Two names are already off the board, and a third, Aroldis Chapman, might be untouchable for all the wrong reasons, with domestic-violence accusations casting a shadow over his character and uncertainty over his availability for part of the 2016 season.
As the end of Jason Heyward's free agency approaches, we look at the anti-Heyward arguments that managers and execs are surprisingly attached to.
Jason Heyward will sign somewhere soon. If you’re reading this, it hasn’t happened yet, but soon it will. When he signs, be it with the Cubs, the Cardinals, the Nationals, or the Angels, it will be for a ton of money. Heyward seems poised to get somewhere around $200 million on an eight- or nine-year deal, and it would be a surprise if it weren’t more, absent at least one opt-out clause.
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Thirty teams left hundreds of players unprotected in the Rule 5 draft and you won't believe what happened next.
Depending on where you land on the spectrum, the Rule 5 draft is either the most overrated or underrated event that occurs in the offseason. Yes, there are the occasional stars, but because of the rules that require teams carry the player on the 25-man roster all season, you typically don’t see a ton of high-ceiling, low-floor players carried. That being said, there are always serviceable players available due to roster constraints, and 2015 was no exception.
Here’s a look at the 16 players who were selected in today’s draft, and how they have a chance to make an impact in their new respective organizations. Skipped numbers indicate that teams passed.
Ranking the most attractive trade targets for a team trying to match the back of the Royals' (or Yankees', or Red Sox') 'pen.
Trade rumors regarding top closers are common in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, but typically less so during the offseason. This doesn’t seem to be the case this year: Craig Kimbrel was traded, then joined in his new bullpen by Carson Smith; Aroldis Chapman was traded, then wasn’t, but might still be; Andrew Miller is reportedly being shopped. Coinciding with these moves is a boom period for young and/or elite closers, with many guys earning both of those titles. Coinciding with that boom period comes a rise in teams looking for not just one but multiple elite arms for prospective playoff runs. And, finally, all is complicated by the fact that this winter saw very few great closer candidates in free agency, meaning that trades are necessary for teams looking to shorten games.
Every fantasy baseball site has a fantasy closer report, but what about for IRL GMs? There are a few factors to consider when targeting a potential closer, each of which would be weighed differently in the final determination:
The Nationals and Orioles go into the Winter Meetings with very different outlooks, but both might be looking to make a grand gesture.
Heading into the Winter Meetings, the two teams I can’t help looking at over and over are the mystery men of the MASN market. The Orioles and Nationals are in fascinating positions. Going into the offseason, I was ready to push for Baltimore to begin a rebuild in earnest, while touting the Nationals as perhaps the non-division winner most likely to win their division in 2016. So far, though, a strange break and a few bizarre decisions have pushed the two teams toward each other, in a number of ways.
Both teams, of course, are built around a total superstar with three years of team control remaining, but the similarities between them roughly end there. The Nationals remain a deep organization, ready to plug the departures of Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Denard Span, and Ian Desmond this winter with the likes of A.J. Cole, Joe Ross, Michael Taylor, and Trea Turner, and with more talent on the horizon. The Orioles’ farm system is so thin that they dealt for Mark Trumbo (at an anticipated price tag of $9 million or so) instead of waiting to see whether they could re-sign Chris Davis. In addition to Davis, Baltimore will bid adieu to Wei-Yin Chen this winter, and six weeks ago, they looked poised to really clean up. Davis and Chen will both bring the Orioles sandwich-round picks after the first round, and they figured they would be able to claim a third after they made Matt Wieters a qualifying offer in the first week of November. There was at least some argument that they ought to have given Darren O’Day one of those, too, but they elected not to.
Johnny Cueto turns down $120 million, while the Mets chase Zobrist.
D’backs offer $120 million; Johnny Cueto says “no thanks”
Hours after the Tigers took Jordan Zimmermann off the market with a five-year, $110 million deal, we learned that the Diamondbacks did their best to snag the offseason’s other second-tier starter, Johnny Cueto. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reported Sunday night that general manager Dave Stewart put a six-year, $120 million proposal on the right-hander’s desk, only to find that even that lofty sum wouldn’t be enough to secure his services.
Good morning, and thank you all for being here today. We are extremely excited to introduce this man sitting beside me today, and to bring him—and his beautiful wife—into our organization. It has been a long and arduous past four years—disastrous, even—but that’s how baseball goes sometimes. It’s a game of failure. You can fail seven out of 10 times and still be Felipe Paulino. Today, though, marks a new direction and a new era for this organization.
(Note: All real quotes from real press conferences:)
In which a writer puts Joe Panik for Shelby Miller in your head, for no good reason; in which Dallas Keuchel pines for South Texas real estate; and in which Darren O'Day is the lead.
Everyone is interested in Darren O’Day
Well, almost everyone. Close enough to everyone that O’Day should be able to get just about whatever he wants on the open market, where the decreasing fascination with closers should reward one of the majors’ best setup men with money previously reserved solely for those who work the ninth inning.