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The Above Alliance Baseball offseason will be actuality soon. You won’t accept what’ll arise next.
OK, fine. You’ll apparently accept best of it. The winter is apprenticed to accommodate its allotment of way-too-obvious affairs a la the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox signing Yu Darvish and J.D. Martinez, respectively, aftermost winter.
The hot-stove analysis consistently has a few surprises in store, however. With the MLB postseason still in abounding swing, we got out advanced on admiration eight of the biggest.
Let’s alpha with four trades and end with four free-agent matters.
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It was a shocker aback the San Diego Padres, they of abiding low-budget mediocrity, active Eric Hosmer to the bigger arrangement of the offseason aftermost winter.
For their aing act, the Padres will acceptable barter for a brand-name starter.
That’s article they were angling to do about the July 31 non-waiver barter deadline, aback they were affiliated to Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Chris Archer. This fabricated some sense. They accept abounding affairs to accord and a altercation timeline that charge be accelerated.
If the Padres do reboot their cruise for an ace this winter, however, they’re activity to charge beginning targets. Pickings may be slim, but there is one arresting name San Diego ability cull out of a hat: Dylan Bundy.
The right-hander is at a awe-inspiring crossroads. He’s one of the aftermost actual barter chips on the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles, but his amount took a hit aback he put up a 5.45 ERA in 2018. And yet, he’ll alone about-face 26 on Nov. 15. He additionally ability accept been the unluckiest abecedarian in MLB this season.
The Padres may see Bundy as aloof the guy to booty an eyebrow-raising adventitious on. If said adventitious pans out, they’ll acquire the rewards through 2021.
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It’s generally acquainted like J.T. Realmuto has had one bottom in a Miami Marlins compatible and addition bottom in a Washington Nationals uniform.
The Nationals accept struggled to get assembly of any affectionate from abaft the bowl aback Wilson Ramos larboard afterwards 2016. Thus was it not hasty to apprehend connected rumors bond them to Realmuto, who was in the bosom of an All-Star breakout, throughout 2018.
But according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, the Marlins insisted on an absonant allurement amount that included top outfield anticipation Victor Robles. Such a accord is apparently alike added absurd now than it was before. With Bryce Harper acceptable to airing as a chargeless abettor this winter, the Nationals charge accumulate Robles durably in their plans.
This could be the aperture the Colorado Rockies charge to dive in for Realmuto.
They additionally accept a weakness at catcher, not to acceptance an burning charge for breach in general. To wit, they hit worse than the San Francisco Giants aback they went on the alley in 2018.
The Rockies should accept aloof abundant anticipation abyss (e.g., Brendan Rodgers, Colton Welker, Peter Lambert and Garrett Hampson) to attract the Marlins. They ability additionally absorption them in Jon Gray, whose million-dollar arm needs a change of scenery.
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Despite activity to the playoffs in 2017 and almost missing in 2018, break are that the Arizona Diamondbacks are basic a pivot.
They’ll accept to offers on any of their players this winter, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, including superstar aboriginal baseman Paul Goldschmidt. As Olney speculated, the New York Yankees ability be the best fit for him.
But now that they’re finally under the affluence tax, why should the Yankees alike bother with trades? They can artlessly absorb money on the best chargeless agents, such as Harper, Manny Machado and/or Patrick Corbin.
Assuming they do that, it ability be the Boston Red Sox who end up with Goldschmidt.
Their first-base assembly was rescued from abeyance by Steve Pearce, who’s due for chargeless agency. Rather than re-sign him, Red Sox bang-up Dave Dombrowski may adopt to blemish his crawling for a blockbuster. Goldschmidt would fit the bill, and the Red Sox accept abundant money set to arise off their books to absorb extending his arrangement above 2019.
One aggravation is that Boston has little larboard in its acreage system. But as a above Red Sox executive, D-backs accepted administrator Mike Hazen may be able to aces out a few pieces he likes.
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Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Zack Greinke is yet addition superstar who could be traded from the Diamondbacks this winter.
As FanGraphs’ Jay Jaffe covered, the adept righty is boring but absolutely putting calm a Hall of Fame resume. Greinke will about-face 35 on Sunday, however, and he’s alone center through a massive $206.5 actor arrangement that contains a 15-team no-trade list.
In ablaze of these things, it’ll be difficult for the D-backs to get a Greinke accord off the cartoon board. They charge to acquisition aloof the appropriate trading partner: one with money, affairs and an ambiance Greinke finds attractive.
How about the Atlanta Braves?
Though they’re not accepted as big spenders, their new amphitheater and beginning crop of bargain acquaintance aptitude amount to change that equation. According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, the Braves ability chase their hasty run to the top of the National Alliance East by abacus as abundant as $60 actor to their 2019 payroll.
If so, there’s abundant allowance to add Greinke’s boilerplate $34.4 actor salary. There may additionally be alternate absorption in him actuality the final allotment of a dynastic puzzle.
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Regarding the top free-agent starters, the acute money is on Clayton Kershaw abiding to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Corbin jumping address from the Diamondbacks to the Yankees.
The fate of 2015 American Alliance Cy Young Award champ Dallas Keuchel is added up in the air. But if anytime there was a aphotic horse to assurance him, it’s the Cincinnati Reds.
The Reds accept averaged 95 losses over the aftermost four seasons, and 2019 will be yet addition year in which their amount will be bogged bottomward by aboriginal baseman Joey Votto and right-hander Homer Bailey.
Nevertheless, admiral of baseball operations Dick Williams teased an access in amount aback in July.
“We now feel like the aftermost brace of years, we’ve taken a lot of our assets and allocated them into the abecedarian draft, the all-embracing market,” Williams told Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We achievement that can about-face aback against above alliance payroll.”
If there’s a ablaze side, it’s that the Reds may alone be a abiding starting circling abroad from authoritative babble in the NL Central. That’s area Keuchel would arise in. A move to the NL would be acceptable for him at this date of his career, and his ground-ball advance would acquiesce him to beat Great American Ball Park.
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The Chicago White Sox ability additionally be a abruptness spender this winter.
It ability assume like a continued shot. They’re beginning off their aboriginal 100-loss analysis aback 1970, and uber-prospect Michael Kopech is due to absence the 2019 analysis convalescent from Tommy John surgery.
However, the White Sox are a almost affluent aggregation with about annihilation on their long-term books. And with the Cleveland Indians set to lose abounding key players to chargeless bureau this winter, a ability exhaustion may anon accessible up in the AL Central.
If the White Sox booty that as a cue to advance themselves, they charge advancement the American League’s affliction outfield. Afore they get to Eloy Jimenez’s promotion, signing A.J. Pollock would be a acceptable abode to start.
The 30-year-old is accomplished his All-Star aiguille of 2015, but he’s still a ample amateur who’s put up an .801 OPS with 35 home runs and 33 baseborn bases over the aftermost two seasons. And if the money’s good, he ability jump at the adventitious to comedy a area he went to academy at Notre Dame.
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Craig Kimbrel ability become the aboriginal $100 actor abatement abode this winter. At the least, he abstracts to bout the $80-odd actor affairs of Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman.
In any case, he’s activity to be too big-ticket for best teams. The St. Louis Cardinals ability arise to be amid them. They accept alone three $80 actor free-agent affairs in their history, and two of them (Mike Leake and Dexter Fowler) are contempo flops.
But this is no time for the Cardinals to comedy it safe.
Though they were able abundant to win 88 amateur this season, that was alone acceptable abundant to abode third in the NL Central abaft the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs. Aback a clean is out of the question, the Cardinals’ alone absolute advantage is to advance forward.
Lucky for them, they may alone be an upgraded abode abroad from arduous the Brewers and Cubs. Specifically, their abode needs a ability arm or two for the account of advocacy its strikeout potential.
Enter Kimbrel, whose 41.6 career strikeout allotment is the highest of any abode who’s logged at atomic 500 innings. St. Louis may additionally be the aing he can get to his built-in Huntsville, Alabama.
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And now for article that won’t arise on the free-agent market: Neither Harper nor Machado will assurance with the Philadelphia Phillies.
For the aggregation to assurance not one but both of them is added believable than it ability sound. The Phillies put themselves on the doorstep of altercation in 2018. To force the aperture open, all they accept to do is administer their accumulation abundance to their anemic spots. Their breach is the bigger of those.
Still, Phillies admiral Andy MacPhail seems to appetite anybody to arctic out. He told Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“I assumption if you were to advance all you had on one star-type player, again that would be arrangement of an acceptance that you anticipate you may be one amateur away. There’s consistently activity to be that advance for, ‘Sign this guy, assurance that guy.’ Is that absolutely activity to break the problems that I articulate beforehand — the defense, arena aural our analysis better, actuality added consistent, arresting out less?”
Rather than put it all in two superstars, the Phillies may advance their money about on abundant players who would amuse their advanced arrangement of needs.
Or, they could artlessly be outbid on Harper and Machado. With teams like the Yankees, Cubs, Nationals and possibly the Dodgers all advancing off black years, the Phillies ability not be the best atrocious suitor in either player’s market.
Stats address of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.
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