- 9:20 pm -
Oh dear lord. Howie Kendrick’s been traded to the Dodgers. Full post here.
- 9:05 pm -
It seems Jerry Dipoto and everyone else has decided to take a step back this evening and stand in awe of the workings of the Dodgers’ Dream Team front office. Remember how they snatched Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies earlier this afternoon? Then bamboozled the Marlins by dangling Dee Gordon? Well now they’re closing in on a multi-year deal with Brandon McCarthy that’ll complete their rotation. McCarthy obviously isn’t the best pitcher available, but when you consider that he’s going to be the club’s No. 4 starter at best, it’s a more than understandable move. What’s more, the Dodgers have pretty much filled all their roster holes (except catcher) in the span of 12 hours. Now all they have left to do is collect more promising prospects to clear up their outfield glut. At this moment, I’m exceedingly glad the Angels don’t play in the NL West.
Believe it or not, there is at least one other thing going on as well:
- The Red Sox may or may not have acquired Wade Miley from the D’Backs for Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, and a third piece. All the big-name newsbreakers had it confirmed, then 10 minutes later new Arizona GM Dave Stewart came out and denied it. Who knows.
- 5:00 pm -
The Angels are “very unlikely” to land their infielder today, per Alden Gonzalez.
The same can’t be said for the folks up in Chavez Ravine. Not only did the Dodgers acquire long-time Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins this afternoon, they also got four promising young players from the Marlins, including top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney. All new GM Farhad Zaidi had to give up for that score was Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, and a still-unknown minor leaguer. Unless that prospect ends up being Julio Urias or something, that deal is going to go down as the biggest steal of the winter.
Oh yeah, and the Dodgers probably aren’t done. They still have about seven outfielders on the roster, so there’s still a chance they’ll send Matt Kemp to San Diego for even more young, cost-controlled talent. Good day to be a Dodger fan.
- 2:50 pm -
Nothing new to report on the Angels’ quest for a middle infielder, but there were a couple interesting bits of information in Mike Scioscia’s media session this morning:
1) Garrett Richards is unlikely to be fully healthy by the start of 2015, but should be good to go by the end of April. This has always been a possibility, but until today no one had ruled out an Opening Day return. Richards was just cleared to throw earlier this week, so it seems the Halos got a much more definitive idea of his rehab timeline after seeing him play some catch. Far, far too soon to be worried about his recovery.
2) Mike Scioscia is open to batting Mike Trout in the three spot next season, which … I don’t want to overreact to an offhand comment made in December, but this seems like an awful decision. It’s long been understood that lineup construction makes surprisingly little difference in a team’s overall run production. I get that. The thing is, though, most lineups don’t have Mike Trout. When he’s in your lineup, the goal should be to get him as many plate appearances as possible, not drop him down in the order so he can “drive in more runs.” With Chris Iannetta in the nine hole, Trout will get just as many RBI opportunities, if not more, as the two hitter as he would in the three spot with Kendrick ahead of him.
- The Phillies have *finally* started to clear house. Jimmy Rollins is reportedly going to the Dodgers in return for two pitching prospects. Philadelphia fans are probably praying that Julio Urias is one of the arms going east, but that’d be a massive overpay on L.A.’s part. Much more likely that it’ll be Zach Lee and some other guy from the low minors.
- The Phillies are also close on a deal that’d send Antonio Bastardo to the Pirates for an unknown return. Seems like it’s only a matter of time before Cole Hamels hits the road.
- 11:55 pm -
Another day, another small deal. The Angels have crossed yet another item off their short Winter Meetings checklist, signing lefty reliever Scott Snodgress to a minor-league contract with an invite to Spring Training. The 25-year-old Snodgress was one of the many southpaws non-tendered at the start of the month, after making all of four appearances with the White Sox in 2014.
Snodgress has never put up numbers that jump off the page, but there is some reason to believe he has better days ahead of him. Until July of this year, the Stanford alum was just another lefty starter with maybe enough deception to crack the back end of an MLB rotation at some point. When moved to the bullpen upon his promotion to Triple-A, though, an immediate improvement in his peripherals hinted at the possibility of a bright future as a reliever. Snodgress doesn’t have great control, but his mid-90s fastball, 6’6″ frame, and three-quarters delivery should be unsettling enough to hitters to offset his walk-rate woes, especially in a LOOGY role. The southpaw complemented his plus heater with a slider and a change-up while working as a starter, but effectively dropped the cambio from his arsenal when moved to the ‘pen.
Snodgress’s size, arsenal, and projection are strikingly similar to those of Mark Sappington, who the Angels shipped off to Tampa Bay last month for Cesar Ramos. The biggest difference between the two, other than the whole throwing-with-a-different-arm thing, is that Snodgress has actually had success in the high minors. Sappington has most definitely not. Trading away Sappington, then, only to get the slightly more productive lefty version of him at no cost a month later is some pretty sweet maneuvering by Dipoto and crew. /tips cap
- 9:15 am -
Jon Lester finally came off the board late Tuesday night, signing a six-year, $155 million contract with the Chicago Cubs. His departure to the North Side opens the doors for things to get pretty hectic the next two days. Many teams were waiting for Lester to sign to see how the chips would fall, and now that he has there shouldn’t be anything holding them back. The Red Sox, Giants, Dodgers, Royals, Tigers, Yankees, and more still need starting pitching, and there’s plenty of it to be had. I’d be surprised if at least two more starters aren’t traded or inked to lucrative contracts before Thursday afternoon’s Rule 5 draft.
For the Angels, the modus operandi for the remainder of the trip appears to be adding depth in the middle infield. As was written last night, there are at least seven guys the front office is looking at: Brock Holt, Eugenio Suarez, Marwin Gonzalez, Nick Ahmed, Pete Kozma, Eduardo Escobar, and Josh Rutledge. If tasked to rank which players would bring the best return, it’d probably be in that order. Word on the rumor mill is that the Halos are looking to deal from their surplus of righty relief pitchers to acquire their infield help, but it’s not clear who is and isn’t available among that group.
The best of the rest:
- The Astros have shored up their bullpen some, signing Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson to multi-year deals. Is it just me, or does it feel like almost every free-agent pitcher this winter was on the A’s at some point in time?
- The Phillies are probably going to trade Cole Hamels. The Red Sox, Giants, and Dodgers are all said to have interest in the three-time All-Star, but only two of those teams have the volume of high-ceiling prospects necessary to get a deal done, and only Boston has the absolute dire need for rotation help to make it worth the cost.