Less than a month into the MLB offseason, marquee names have already begun to switch teams. Last week it was shortstop Andrelton Simmons and closer Craig Kimbrel being traded, and more players have been dealt at the conclusion of the general manager meetings.
The Detroit Tigers are the most recent team to make a trade, sending a minor leaguer and a player to be named to the Milwaukee Brewers for closer Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod is the third reliever of note to be moved in the last six days.
Before acquiring Rodriquez, the Tigers inquired about Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Yankees’ Andrew Miller, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The asking price was reportedly too high for Detroit, but New York might consider making a move if the price is right.
The Yankees are looking to retool their roster after a disappointing loss in the American League Wild Card Game, and they'll only be able to make significant changes with trades. New York has MLB’s second-highest payroll, and with owner Hal Steinbrenner’s reluctance to add more large salaries to the team, the Yankees won't be major players in free agency.
Saddled with five salaries of at least $20 million in 2016, the Yankees aren’t likely to add one of the top players available. New York has reportedly explored the idea of trading Brett Gardner to the Seattle Mariners, which could give them some more flexibility. But Seattle recently acquired outfielder Leonys Martin from the Texas Rangers, likely eliminating that potential deal.
With Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran still under contract for next year, the Yankees won’t make a play for Jason Heyward or Justin Upton, who are the top free agent outfielders. Free agent first baseman Chris Davis has no spot on the Yankees with Mark Teixeira and Greg Bird on the team, and the New York Post reports that the Yankees are unlikely to pay second baseman Ben Zobrist the kind of money that he’s looking for. Perhaps the most realistic option for New York is a short-term contract pitcher such as Wei-Yin Chen and Jeff Samardzija.
Unless something changes, the Yankees don’t have a chance to sign David Price or Zack Greinke, who will make more money per season than any other free agents. Instead, it’s the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants that are in contention to sign the star pitchers.
Los Angeles has more money to spend than any team, and they are looking to start the 2016 season with either Greinke or Price pitching alongside Clayton Kershaw. But the defending NL West champs might no longer have the best one-two punch in baseball next year.
Rosenthal recently hypothesized that Price would end up with the Cubs and Greinke would sign with the Giants. It’s been reported for a few weeks that Price is leaning towards going to Chicago, while San Francisco has been linked to some of the biggest names available, including Yoenis Cespedes. There is still the presumption that the Dodgers, who may still have space in their budget to make a big signing, could hold on to Greinke or make a move for Price, who is two years younger. Last week, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports referenced the Dodgers' possible pursuit of the San Deigo Padres' starter Ian Kennedy, and keeping Chase Utley or adding the New York Mets' Daniel Murphy for the infield.
After falling just short of reaching the World Series, the Cubs are preparing to win their first championship since 1908. Chicago is an early favorite to win the 2016 Fall Classic, and they are looking to pair a top starting pitcher with Jon Lester, whom the Cubs gave $155 million last offseason.
#Cubs planning to sit down with the agents for David Price, Zack Greinke and Jordan Zimmermann during this week's GM meetings in Boca Raton.
— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) November 10, 2015
The Cubs reached the 2015 NLCS on the strength of their young power-hitters, and the team has looked into the possibility of trading one of those players, since they have a wealth of talent. Chicago has reportedly explored the possibility of dealing Jorge Soler or Javier Baez. Starlin Castro could be available, as well.
Jose Fernandez could potentially become the best player available on the trade market. The Miami Marlins are known for dealing some of their best players, and Craig Mish of SiriusXM and 790 The Ticket in Miami says the feeling around baseball is that the Marlins will deal their stud pitcher.