The Major League Baseball offseason is barely a month old but there have been plenty of players changing uniforms. While top free-agent signings grab headlines, offseason trades may be growing more common as teams find alternative ways to configure their rosters.
Leading up to and at the 2015 MLB Winter Meetings, deals of all varieties have already been made. Below are the more notable trades that have taken place this offseason.
Arizona Diamondbacks acquire Shelby Miller from Atlanta Braves for OF Ender Inciarte, RHP Aaron Blair and SS Dansby Swanson: Despite going 6-17 in 2015 with Atlanta, Miller pitched to a 3.02 ERA and is still just 25 years old. He joins Zack Greinke on the new-look Diamondbacks, who have been aggressive in attempting to improve their pitching. The Braves get the 2014 No. 1 overall pick in Swanson, a versatile outfielder who hit .303 in 524 at-bats in Inciarte and Blair, a 6-foot-5 pitcher who ranked as the 40th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America last spring.
Boston Red Sox trade four prospects to San Diego Padres for P Craig Kimbrel: Boston held onto their elite prospects but still offered enough to grab Kimbrel, whose only season in San Diego was the first time he didn’t make the All-Star game since becoming the Braves’ closer in 2011. He pitched to a career-high 2.58 ERA in 2015 but saved 39 of 43 games and bolsters Boston’s back end, with Kimbrel due to be set up by Koji Uehara.
New York Mets trade LHP Jon Niese to Pittsburgh Pirates for 2B Neil Walker, sign SS Asdrubal Cabrera: After missing out on No. 1 target Ben Zobrist, the National League champions wasted no time fortifying their infield. Walker, who will replace Daniel Murphy at second, hit .269 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI in 2015. Pittsburgh gets a left-handed arm in Niese who proved he can pitch out of the rotation or the bullpen as he did in the playoffs for New York. The Mets then signed Walker’s new double-play partner, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to a two-year deal worth $18.5 million.
New York Yankees trade P Adam Warren and 2B Brendan Ryan to Chicago Cubs for SS/2B Starlin Castro: Castro played 38 games at second base in 2015 and will take over that role permanently in New York. Castro struggled most of the season at the plate but hit .265 with 23 doubles in his sixth and final season in Chicago. Warren went 7-7 with a 3.29 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 131.1 innings pitched last season while Ryan hit .229 in just 96 at-bats as a reserve utility player for New York.
Anaheim Angels acquire SS Andrelton Simmons, minor-leaguer from Braves for SS Erick Aybar and two prospects: Simmons, now 26, is a light hitter but a two-time Gold Glove winner who's widely regarded as the best defensive shortstop in baseball and signed to a seven-year, $58 million contract that runs through 2020. The 31-year-old Aybar will make $8.5 million in 2016 but the prize for Atlanta is LHP Sean Newcombe, the No. 15 pick in 2014. In 136 innings across three levels in 2015, Newcombe struck out 168 and pitched to a 2.38 ERA.
Padres trade 1B Yonder Alonso and LHP Marc Rzepczynski to Oakland for RHP Drew Pomeranz, Prospect: San Diego opened up first base for Wil Myers by trading Alonso, who hit .282 in 354 at-bats in 2015. Rzepczynski, 30, has a 3.96 ERA and 2.24 K/BB ratio in 345 1/3 career major-league innings but excels against lefties. Pomeranz made the switch from starter to reliever in 2015, posting a 2.61 ERA in 41.1 innings out of the bullpen.
Milwaukee Brewers trade 1B Adam Lind to Seattle Mariners for three minor-league pitchers: After one season with the Brewers, the 32-year-old Lind joins Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager in the heart of the Seattle lineup. Lind hit .277/.360/.460 overall with 32 doubles, 20 home runs and 87 RBI in 2015 and is entering the final year of his seven-year contract. In return, Milwaukee stocks up on three right-handed arms under 20 years old.
Detroit Tigers acquire P Francisco Rodriguez from Brewers: The Tigers traded 20-year-old infielder Javier Betancourt for the veteran closer Rodriguez, who ranks No. 1 among active closers and No. 7 all-time with 386 saves. Detroit absorbs what’s left on Rodriguez’s deal ($9.5 million), which runs through 2016 but includes a buyout for 2017. Last season, Rodriguez saved 38 of 40 games and struck out 62 in 57 innings.
Braves send Cameron Maybin back to Detroit: Maybin returns to Motown after being dealt for Miguel Cabrera in 2007 and is coming off his best year in a while: A .267 average with a .327 on-base and .370 slugging percentage. He also had 10 home runs and 23 stolen bases and finally appeared healthy in 2015. In return, Atlanta gets pitchers Ian Krol and Gabe Speier, who was sent to Detroit from Boston in the deal that brought Yoenis Cespedes over last December.
Oakland Athletics re-acquire infielder Jed Lowrie from Astros for minor-league RHP pitcher Brendan McCurry: This is the second time in four years Oakland has traded for Lowrie, who hit .222/.312/.400 with 14 doubles and nine homers for the Astros last season in 263 plate appearances. He played shortstop until Carlos Correa emerged but can also play third base. McCurry is a 23-year old who had a 1.86 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 82 strikeouts in 63 innings split between two levels, including Double-A.