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2018 Baseball Winter Meetings - Wednesday/Thursday Recap


MLB Winter Meetings are ending in Las Vegas, Nevada and the headline-grabbing moves have come from relatively unknown places. Players like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, J.T. Realmuto, and Noah Syndergaard were rumored to be traded or signed, yet none of those moves materialized.

What did occur over the last two days, though, were some solid bullpen additions, the signing of two 15-game winners from 2018, and head-scratching three-team trade on Thursday.

Here are the top stories of the second two days of Winter Meetings.

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Winter Meetings Recap

Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners Engage In Three-Way Trade

The Cleveland Indians are acquiring first baseman Carlos Santana from the Mariners and first baseman Jake Bauers from the Rays on Thursday in a three-team swap. The Tribe shipped designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion to Seattle and infielder Yandy Diaz to the Rays. The Tribe now has a surplus of DH/first base types, although Bauers could move permanently to the outfield. Santana is a switch-hitter that can either DH or play first. He hit just .229 in his lone season with the Phillies but had a .352 on-base percentage, 24 home runs and 86 RBI. Although he's not the most attractive first base power type, he's a little more attractive going back to Cleveland in a solid lineup. He's most valuable in OBP leagues. Bauers hit .201/.316/.384 with 11 home runs, 48 RBI and six steals in his rookie season and will be a nice late-round target as corner infield depth. The trade of Diaz might signal that Jose Ramirez will return to the hot corner in 2019, with Jason Kipnis starting at the keystone. It's unclear how much playing time Diaz will get in his new home, but he should have a chance to carve out an everyday role with Tampa after hitting .312/.375/.422 with a homer and 15 RBI in 39 games for the Indians last year. He's a .283 hitter but has just one long ball in 88 career big league games. While Encarnacion was a part of the package headed to Seattle and was thought to be a replacement for Nelson Cruz, his transactions were not done for the day.

Edwin Encarnacion Being Flipped To Tampa Bay Rays

The Seattle Mariners will send recently acquired designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion to the Tampa Bay Rays in a separate deal, according to sources. It's unclear what the return for Seattle will be. The Mariners are firmly in a rebuild after shipping first baseman Carlos Santana, who they acquired from the Phillies earlier this month, to the Indians on Thursday. E5 will be Tampa's designated hitter after batting .246/.336/.474 with 32 home runs and 107 RBI in 137 games in 2018. He'll turn 36 next month but still has notable pop in his lumber. Staying healthy will be easier if he's the full-time DH with his new squad, which is expected.

Tampa Bay Rays Sign Charlie Morton

The Tampa Bay Rays signed free-agent starting pitcher Charlie Morton to a two-year, $30 million deal on Wednesday, according to sources with knowledge of the deal. The deal also includes a third-year option that could be as low as $1 million if Morton misses significant time over the first two years because of injury. The option could be as much as $15 million if he stays healthy. The 35-year-old was an All-Star for the first time in 2018 when he won 15 games. He was 29-10 with a 3.36 ERA in his two years in Houston and will be a high-end fantasy No. 2 starter, although one that could struggle to be as good as he was in the last two years, especially in the tough American League East.

New York Yankees Officially Re-Sign J.A. Happ

The New York Yankees officially agreed to re-sign starting pitcher J.A. Happ on Thursday, signing him to a two-year deal with an option for a third year. He'll make $17 million in 2019, $17 million in 2020 and have a vesting option for 2021 worth $17 million. The lefty's 2021 option triggers with 165 innings or 27 starts in 2020. Despite turning 36 years old in October, the southpaw was highly coveted after winning 17 games between the Blue Jays and Yankees in 2018. He had a nice 2.69 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 8.9 K/9 in 11 starts for the Yanks in the second half and will remain relevant in mixed leagues for his strikeout upside.

Joe Kelly Agrees To Contract With Los Angeles Dodgers

Multiple outlets have reported that relief pitcher Joe Kelly has agreed to a three-year, $25 million deal, pending a physical. Kelly had a 4.39 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings for the World Series champions last year. Kelly will be a late-inning arm for the Dodgers and a strong candidate for holds in all formats.

Jeurys Familia Agrees To Terms With New York Mets

Relief pitcher Jeurys Familia has agreed to a three-year contract with his former team the New York Mets. Familia spent his first six and a half years with the Mets, prior to being dealt at the trade deadline last year to the Oakland Athletics. The reliever posted a 3.13 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 72 innings this past season between the Mets and Athletics and also picked up 18 saves. Familia ranks third in Mets history for saves, but with Edwin Diaz in the picture, Familia is unlikely to get many save opportunities. Familia will be a good candidate for holds in all formats and a good handcuff to Diaz owners.

New York Mets Have Had Extension Talks With Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets had preliminary contract-extension talks with starting pitcher Jacob deGrom's agents this week. It's unlikely that anything happens soon, but the lines of communication are open. deGrom dazzled in 2018 and won the National League Cy Young, although he only managed to win 10 games with a bad Mets offense behind him despite posting a minuscule 1.70 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and career-high 11.2 K/9 over 32 starts (217 innings). The right-hander will be one of the first pitchers off the board in drafts next year as a result.

Justin Bour Agrees With Los Angeles Angels

The Los Angeles Angels agreed to an undisclosed deal with free-agent first baseman Justin Bour on Wednesday, according to a source. Bour will turn 31 next May and ended his 2018 season as a bench player for the Phillies, seeing just 49 at-bats with them in 29 games. He hit only .227/.347/.412 with 19 home runs and 54 RBI in 112 games for the Marlins before being traded. Bour has some pop from the left side but will likely be insurance at first base for Albert Pujols, who is breaking down as he nears the end of his career.

Cincinnati Reds Acquire Tanner Roark on Wednesday

The Cincinnati Reds acquired starting pitcher Tanner Roark from the Washington Nationals on Wednesday in exchange for pitcher Tanner Rainey. Roark was very up and down in his final season with Washington in 2018, going 9-15 with a 4.34 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 7.3 K/9 across 31 outings (30 starts) over 180 1/3 innings. Hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark won't help him bounce back any next season, making him a shaky matchup-based back-end fantasy starting pitcher in deep mixed leagues. Rainey appeared in eight games for Cincy last year (all in relief) in his first taste of the bigs and allowed 19 earned runs in just seven innings pitched.

Texas Rangers Agree With Lance Lynn

The Texas Rangers agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal with free-agent starting pitcher Lance Lynn on Wednesday, according to a source. Texas is hoping Lynn can bounce back after he disappointed with a 4.77 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and 161 K's in 156 2/3 innings over 31 outings (29 starts) between the Twins and Yankees. He pitched better in his nine starts with the Yankees towards the end of the year, though, giving hope that he'll be better with his new team. He'll mostly be a matchup play in deep mixed leagues, however.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds Continue To Discuss Trade

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds continue to talk trades, with Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey a part of the conversations, according to sources. Outfielder Yasiel Puig is another option to head to Cincinnati, with the Dodgers having a surplus of outfielders yet also being in on free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper. Kemp had an excellent first half but flopped in after the All-Star break, while Bailey was atrocious with one win, 14 losses and a 6.09 ERA in 20 starts.

Cincinnati Reds Discussing Sonny Gray, Marcus Stroman

The Cincinnati Reds remain active in trade discussions for New York Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray and Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, according to sources. The Reds think there's a better chance of acquiring them than Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber. Gray and Stroman both had down seasons in 2018 but have the ability to bounce back and would both probably benefit in a change of scenery, although Great American Ballpark isn't very friendly to pitchers.

J.T. Realmuto Suitors Down To Six Teams

Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto's trade suitors are essentially down to the Reds, Mets, Rays, Braves, Dodgers, and Padres. With the winter meetings ending on Thursday, no trade is expected to go down on Thursday. The Mets haven't been able to work out a potential three-team blockbuster for Realmuto, but it's not out of the question. Realmuto hit .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 477 at-bats for the Fish last year and has become fantasy's No. 1 backstop.

 

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