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Storylines: Flurry of moves help to close Winter Meetings

Storylines: Flurry of moves help to close Winter Meetings
Matt Kemp (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
December 12, 2014
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In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.

Here are the stories from Thursday, Dec. 11. 

Top Stories:

  • The Dodgers' wild offseason continued as they agreed to trade star outfielder Matt Kemp to the Padres, Dennis Lin and Kirk Kenney of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The deal will send Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz to San Diego, with the Dodgers receiving catcher Yasmani Grandal, righty Joe Wieland, and pitching prospect Zach Eflin. The Dodgers will also include $32 million to help cover the $107 million remaining on Kemp's contract, which runs through 2019. The Padres will pay Kemp $15 million per season.
  • The Tigers and Red Sox agreed to a deal that sent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to Detroit in return for starter Rick Porcello, as C.J. Nitkowski of FOX Sports and MLB Network first reported. Righty Alex Wilson and lefty Gabe Speier are also heading to Detroit, as's Alex Speier reported. 

News and Notes:

  • The Marlins continued to make impactful additions, dealing for righty Mat Latos of the Reds. Pitching prospect Anthony DeSclafani and young catcher Chad Wallach are going to Cincinnati in the deal. Jon Heyman of reported that the deal was done.'s Joe Frisaro and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the Reds' return.
  • The Tigers agreed to a deal with the Reds for starter Alfredo Simon. A pair of 23-year-olds will be headed to Cincinnati in the trade: shortstop Eugenio Suarez and pitching prospect Jonathan Crawford. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the deal was final.
  • The Red Sox made another addition to their rotation by signing right-hander Justin Masterson to a one-year contract. Masterson will earn a $9.5 million base salary, plus he can earn another $2.5M million in total incentives by reaching certain innings thresholds. He'll earn another $500,000 if he hits 185 innings, and then another $500,000 for every five innings after that, up to 205 innings.
  • The Royals agreed to a two-year, $17 million deal with free agent DH Kendrys Morales. Morales can earn an additional $750,000 per year through performance incentives. The contract includes a mutual option for a third year. SB Nation's Chris Cotillo reported the sides were close. Jon Heyman of tweeted that the deal was done. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweeted the financial terms, while Cotillo reported the option on Twitter.
  • The Twins agreed to a four-year, $55 million deal with free agent starter Ervin Santana. The pact includes a $14 million option for a fifth year that will vest if he throws 200 innings in 2018. He will earn $13.5 million annually over the guaranteed portion of the deal.
  • The Mariners are still "working" with the Nationals about the possibility of striking a deal for shortstop Ian Desmond,'s Jim Bowden reported. Seattle is balking at including top young arms Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, Bowden said
  • Attempts by the Marlins to deal for Justin Morneau of the Rockies fell apart, according to's Tom Singer. He heard that Miami could rekindle talks with the Pirates regarding a Pedro Alvarez-for-Nathan Eovaldi swap.
  • The Mariners and Melky Cabrera seem to have staked out their positions, with Cabrera after five years and upwards of $60 million and the M's not willing to go past three and around $42 million, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune.
  • The Astros met with agent Scott Boras to discuss shortstop Stephen Drew and relief pitching, a source familiar with the conversation said. Boras confirmed the meeting took place without naming any particular names, saying, "We've had meetings and talked and we have bullpen guys and the infield and outfield guys, so we've had some general conversations. They're kind of in a fluid state on their position players, but...we have some guys that may be some fits there."  It's possible Houston could've been looking into Rafael Soriano or Francisco Rodriguez, Boras' two most high-profile bullpen clients.
  • In addition to checking in with Asdrubal Cabrera, the Giants have inquired with Jed Lowrie about his interest in spending time at second or third, per John Evans of the San Francisco Chronicle. Lowrie apparently indicated that would be a possibility. The team could theoretically add a player at second and move Joe Panik to third, per's Chris Haft.
  • The Cardinals announced the signing of first baseman Mark Reynolds. The veteran slugger will get a $2 million guarantee on the one-year contract and he can earn more through playing time incentives, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. News of the agreement between Reynolds and the Cards was first reported by Jon Heyman of
  • The Rangers agreed to acquire lefty Ross Detwiler from the Nationals, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported. Right-hander Abel De Los Santos and infielder Chris Bostick are going back to Washington in the deal, USA Today's Scott Boeck reported.

User Comments

December 13, 2014 - 6:32 AM EST
I'm good with cutting Raburn, trading Murphy and/or Bourn for whatever, then signing Rios and Billingsley. My dream addition would be a trade for Carlos Gomez, but that's a dream.

The addition of a pitcher seems like it would only be done on a "good" opportunity. There is already some starting depth with McCallister, Tomlin, Brewer, and Maronde. I actually think Maronde is going to refind himself with the help of Callaway and become the pitcher he was supposed to be. Definately my sleeper pick for the 2015 season.

I don't know how it can be done with Swisher on the team, but I would like the Indians to find some consitant AB's for Aguilar. It sucks to be shopping for a RH'd bat when there is one already in the system. Oh well, just some random thoughts that I wanted to be rid of.
December 12, 2014 - 8:01 PM EST
I am on board w Homer in regards to Brett Anderson, I remember watching him pitch for the A's when he was 22-23. Better than Kazmir ever was or is now. Better than Danny Duffy. The big if is how "fixed" his arm/shoulder are. If Indians FO can answer that question affirmatively, he's a good pick-up, maybe a great pick-up. He's still only 26! Destin Hood is an interesting player. Let's see how he looks in the OF in Columbus w Moncrief and Ramsey. I think Holt and possibly Naquin get moved- there's just too many Trevor Crowe types in the org right now.
December 12, 2014 - 5:38 PM EST
I'm stunned more people didn't pick up that Antonetti flat out said on MLB network on Monday that he would like a right handed bat to balance things out. We know they're not done no matter what they say publicly. I know he's still a bit raw but I really like the pickup of Destin Hood.

Also I'll go on record (obviously can be wrong here) but I'm gonna say Nick Maronde will be on the 40 man roster come opening day. They like that kid, and he's got some really interesting stuff.
December 12, 2014 - 2:34 PM EST
I think it would take an overpay or someone the Dodgers were completely in love with. Maybe the answer is expanding the deal, including something / someone else they want to get SVS and a minor leaguer.

Honestly, I don't think the Indians are done....but they aren't in a corner by any means. Their interest in Rios tells me they want a RHH bat to help balance the lineup. If that RH bat doesn't come in the form of an OF than perhaps they find a RH or SH 3b to couple with Chisenhall.

Just gonna throw this one out, I like Brett Anderson enough to DFA Maronde and pay Anderson $3/4M with tons of incentives. He might get a minor league deal w/ a ST, but, I think offering him a 40man slot might get him.

Thinking out loud here... Anderson has had a ton of injury struggles, why hasn't he been slid into a bullpen role? I guess because of the same upside that would intrigue me enough to put him on 40man roster.
December 12, 2014 - 2:07 PM EST
Not sure why the Dodgers would want to move Van Slyke especially in pre arbitration years. I get it, "they have a crowded OF!" But they also just moved probably their top righty bat.

The Dodgers may have a billion dollars stuffed in their couch cushions, but Friedman didn't suddenly become an idiot. A pre arbitration righty hitting OF with some power is extremely good value.
December 12, 2014 - 1:17 PM EST

Well said. I agree, I'm a huge advocate of developing your own talent through the draft, international FA, trades, and a few FA signings to supplement the club. I always say, the Tribe has to look for unique circumstances and find / create opportunities to add talent.

As for those who suggest the Tribe add Scott Van Slyke, I'm in on that. However, I'm not sure the Dodgers are motivated to move him (yet).
December 12, 2014 - 12:25 PM EST
Overall the amount of major transaction activity so far this winter strikes me as unusual, perhaps unprecedented. It seems that more teams than ever have made major personnel moves in the hopes of hitting the jackpot. Not just teams like the Dodgers and Red Sox and Tigers, but last or near last place teams like the Twins, Astros, WhiteSox and Cubs. Interestingly the best team in baseball the past five years has done pretty much nothing, even after losing the best post season hitter in the game in Pablo Sandoval. Very curious the write the check/shuffle the deck, win now mentality that has permeated so many owners and GM's. I think it says something about the instant gratification impulse in modern society, but ironically it doesn't seem to reap rewards in the game of baseball. There is a lot to be said for keeping your team essentially together and developing organically. The Giants are probably the best model of that, and I sense that the Indians are following their approach under Francona and Shaponetti and it's good.
December 12, 2014 - 12:17 PM EST
I too don't see the fascination w Upton. It's one thing if Atlanta wants to unload his contract and we could get him for next to nothing (see Wendle for Moss), and that may be possible, who knows, but I doubt it. Not interested in giving up a lot for an expensive one-year rental, and certainly nothing like what you're suggesting Homer! Also, it would also be extremely uncharacteristic for CA to do something like that...8--)
December 12, 2014 - 12:06 PM EST

I think we'd have to include Frazier in that deal for Atlanta to go for it.
Canadian Joe
December 12, 2014 - 11:29 AM EST
Homer, the only response to that I have, is I don't want Upton. Too much for 1 yr. Still think Van Slyke is the guy. Would love him in Cleveland.
December 12, 2014 - 11:26 AM EST
Had someone ask this...So I thought I'd throw it out and see any thoughts. Here's the question: would the Indians do Bourn, Chisenhall, and some specs for JUpton and Chris Johnson?

I thought it was an intriguing question, my response was Bourn, Chisenhall, Naquin, and Anderson for JUpton and Johnson.

Not enough? Too much? Thoughts?
Ron Vollmar
December 12, 2014 - 11:02 AM EST
The Detroit Tigers might be passing the baton to Cleveland, Kansas City or Chicago, but, they do have money.

It seemed that the Indians had three key starters in 2013. Masterson is now in Boston. The guy who went to Baltimore is ? and Oakland still has the other pitcher. These three keys were the key starters for 2013. The a waving of a wand and these three starters for the Cleveland Indians are gone and forgotten.

The Indians pitching staff now has five guys, one of which was the Cy Young winner. Things can change fast.
Canadian Joe
December 12, 2014 - 10:56 AM EST
Oh I know what you meant Matthew, I just found the comment the way it was written,as humorous. It also shows that free spending does not necessarily bring you a WS title. The Dodgers, Rangers, Tigers and some of these other teams have spent astronomical amounts to win, but continually come up a bit short. I like the Indians approach a lot. They now have assets they can move to bolster positions in case of injury or non performance that will not leave a hole somewhere else. As well, the farm system looks as strong as it ever has, and I've followed this team for about 60 yrs. Funny, how we were all critical of Antonetti and Shapiro a couple of years ago because we couldn't see a contending team going forward. Kudo's to them for staying with a plan.
December 12, 2014 - 10:12 AM EST
Oh, I completely agree that $185M is a TON of money, Joe. I'm just saying that with approx. $115M already committed to only 7 players in 2016, very few young cheap assets, and no farm system, you can't get 4 every day players, 2 rotation arms, and a bullpen with only $70M in free agency. The Tigers have a lot of money, but an endless stream of cash to go get whoever they need? Nope.
December 12, 2014 - 10:04 AM EST
Not to mention JD Martinez is coming off a career year, Cespedes is gone after next season, and they have no OF prospects even as good as Ramsey/Naquin/Zimmer.

Iglesias is coming off a horrible injury, and Avila is gone after this season.

The Tigers will have to find at least 3 everyday bats and 2 rotation arms after this season. That's an enormous shopping list.
Canadian Joe
December 12, 2014 - 10:02 AM EST
$185 million is not endless ? Matthew, I wish I was in your snack bracket !!! I think that amount makes them one of the top 5 spenders in MLB. That's more than double the Tribe's budget. Shapiro and Antonetti would soil themselves with a budget like that.
December 12, 2014 - 9:59 AM EST
Yeah, Verlander, Sanchez and Price are all a year older.....and they are replacing Scherzer and Porcello with Greene and Simon. Their rotation is taking a big step back if you ask me.....and could get even worse in 2016 if they dont resign Price and Verlander continues to trend downward. Losing Scherzer and Porcello is going to really hurt. And they still have few if any building blocks in their pen.
December 12, 2014 - 9:47 AM EST
I wouldn't say endless. They've pretty consistently stopped spending at $185M. Unless they're willing to push beyond $200M, they pretty much have no chance of remaining relevant beyond 2015.
Canadian Joe
December 12, 2014 - 8:50 AM EST
One thing not to forget with the Tigers. They seem to have an endless supply of $$$ available to them. They can always buy their way back in to contention. This is where they have a distinctive advantage. The AL Central will be very competitive this year, a far cry from a few years ago. There were the Tigers and the rest of us. In another year or two, it can be the rest of us, then the Tigers !!! Love it !!!!
December 12, 2014 - 8:33 AM EST
This is the Tigers' last shot. They'll be mediocre in 2016 and just awful in 2017-2020.
December 12, 2014 - 8:28 AM EST
Not sure how anyone, especially Jensen Lewis believes the Tigers got significantly better yesterday. Of course Cespedes is a power threat, and he brings better OF defense than what Hunter gave them, but swapping Porcello for Simon? Not sure where anyone sees a better tigers team.

Like the Indians, wait & see what else they do. They're bulllpen leaves a lot to be desired and they still have to address the possible departure of Sherzer, even with Verlander, Price & Sanchez.

They're still a legit favorite for good reason. But yesterday was embarrassing IMO for how many fans and media mebers acted with Jensen Lewis leading the charge,
Canadian Joe
December 12, 2014 - 6:58 AM EST
Boy the Tigers sure emptyed their cupboards. They will need to sign a bunch of minor league free agents to field enough teams. If they do not win this year, they will have to break in to Dominoe's for some more cash to buy more FA's.
December 12, 2014 - 12:37 AM EST
Cant believe the Tigers traded for Alfredo Simon who had a career year last year with Reds. Dont see him repeating that with the Tigers. Tigers were better of keeping Indian killler in Porcello.

Dont understand the Latos deal. I think Reds got screwed on that one. If Reds are out playoff hunt by the trade deadline could see a massive sell off in Bruce, Cueto, Chapman, Leake and even Bailey.

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