Day two of the Winter Meetings provided more than just rumors as a flurry of moves happened on Tuesday Afternoon.
Here’s a recap of everything that has happened so far:
The Giants are smart (1/2)
All the news started at 2:30 p.m. when the Angels sent Zack Cozart and prospect Will Wilson to the Giants for cash considerations or a player to be named later.
The #Angels have traded Zack Cozart and 2019 draft pick Will Wilson to the Giants for cash considerations, according to a source.
— Maria Torres (@maria_torres3) December 10, 2019
It is a very good move for the Giants, who are led by former Dodgers’ GM Farhan Zaidi, so it shouldn’t be shocking that they’re doing smart things.
A rebuilding team using money to acquire prospects has become a popular strategy among a few teams in recent years. The Dodgers even did it last off-season when they traded Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Alex Wood to the Reds for Josiah Gray, Jeter Downs and salary relief.
The Angels drafted Wilson 15th overall in the 2019 Draft, so it probably isn’t the best idea to move him so quickly just to save a few dollars.
The Angels save money, want to make a splash
Cozart was set to make $12.6 million this season and the Giants are taking on all of it.
It is reported quite often that the Angels want to make a big move or two this off-season in an effort to no longer waste the prime of the best player in history, Mike Trout.
The Angels haven’t exactly made their interest in starting pitcher Gerrit Cole a secret. They have also checked in on third basemen Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson, according to Ken Rosenthal.
Anthony Rendon isn’t the only free-agent third baseman the #Angels are considering. They’ve also checked in on Josh Donaldson, sources tell The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 10, 2019
There are also rumblings they are interested in starting pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu and Madison Bumgarner.
It’s hard to see the Angels clearing payroll if they weren’t confident in landing one or two of these players.
The Giants are smart (2/2)
Did I mention the Giants are smart now? It’s annoying but that was to be expected when Zaidi left the Dodgers.
Well, they also decided to sign pitcher Kevin Gausman to a 1-year deal worth $9m, according to Jeff Passan.
You might be thinking, “Smart? Gausman is awful!” But the move makes a lot of sense for them.
Last season after struggling as a starter, Gausman switched to the bullpen and was dominant with a 33 K% and 2.72 FIP. It was in a small sample of 20 innings, but Gausman’s fastball and splitter combo make him an ideal bullpen arm to begin with.
Zaidi is a genius man. Take flyers on relievers and deal them for prospects at the deadline. Worst case scenario you pay them for one year. No quicker way to rebuild. https://t.co/Poz2ogkmNv
— Kershaw? (@Kershianity) December 10, 2019
However, the contract includes incentives for starting games, meaning they’re going to let him start first, which gives him a chance to increase his value.
He has spent his entire career pitching in hitter-friendly parks and has been a middle of the rotation starter—which is worth more than $9 million to teams. Now, Gausman gets a chance to prove he can be a good starter in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball.
The goal of this move is to bring the Giants some more prospects in July because they aren’t winning now. so let’s go over some scenarios:
- Gausman is average to good in the rotation –> Giants trade him for prospects in July and save a few million dollars.
- Guasman struggles starting, gets moved to the bullpen and does well –> Giants trade him for prospects in July and save a few million dollars.
- Gausman does poorly in any role they put him in –> Giants cut ties with him after one season while not spending too much money.
There is such minimal risk to this signing with upside to bring them a future piece or two back. The Giants are going to be good again sooner rather than later.
The giants signing Kevin Gausman is smart, even if he’d rather start when he’d be a great reliever. Chance to rehabilitate him in San Francisco, a Pomeranzian signing.
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) December 10, 2019
Phillies sign SS Didi Gregorius
The Phillies got their infielder as they agreed to terms with shortstop Didi Gregorius on a 1-year deal worth $14 million, according to Joel Sherman.
#Phillies are in agreement with Didi Gregorius
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 10, 2019
The biggest thing is this move likely takes them out of the running for Rendon.
It’s a good deal for both teams. The Phillies get a much-needed infielder and improve their offense as they’re trying hard to become contenders again. Gregorious will look to rebuild his value and then go back on the market in hopes of a bigger deal.
He was limited to 82 games last season due to Tommy John Surgery in Oct. 2018 and struggled to produce when he was on the field. However, he was nearly a five-win player in 2018 and was talked about as one of the best shortstops in baseball.
Red Sox shopping Price
I’m sure there’s a David Price and Chris Sale joke in here somewhere because the Red Sox are trying to deal Price’s three-year, $96 million contract, according to Jeff Passan.
The Boston Red Sox continue to pursue ways to shed salary, and multiple teams have targeted starter David Price, sources tell ESPN. He is owed $96 million over the next three years. Red Sox could either attach player with value or potentially pay down some of Price's remaining $.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 11, 2019
The Red Sox are trying to get below the luxury tax and hope to keep superstar outfielder Mookie Betts, who becomes a free agent next off-season.
Price, 34, is still an above-average pitcher so if the Red Sox eat some of the money and or add a quality player in the deal, they could find some teams who are interested in him.
Last season he struggled with a 4.28 ERA but the underlying numbers suggest he could be due for a bit of a rebound.