The MLB Winter Meetings have come to a close with relatively little action, but we still have five big winners to break down.
A very ho-hum MLB Winter Meetings have drawn to a close with little action on the top names in this year’s class of free agents. There were several factors holding things up, namely Shohei Ohtani’s recruitment and the Miami Marlins continuing firesale. Scott Boras also controls a handful of the biggest names on the market, and is never in a hurry to see his clients sign deals. Free agency could drag on into the New Year if things don’t break soon.
All that being said, this year’s Winter Meetings still have some intriguing points to analyze. The St. Louis Cardinals were spurned by Giancarlo Stanton, but persisted and landed All-Star left fielder Marcell Ozuna. The Baltimore Orioles also opened up serious trade talks around their franchise player, Manny Machado. No deal has been made yet, but momentum is building.
We can’t be blessed with a dozen high-profile moves at the Winter Meetings every year, and this was a down year. The big deals will eventually come for J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish and company, but for now, let’s break down the biggest winners from a quiet Hot Stove session in Orlando.
5. Chicago Cubs
With their entire core of young hitters locked up for a few more years, the Chicago Cubs are able to focus their 2017-18 offseason entirely on addressing key areas of weakness. At the end of the Winter Meetings, starter Tyler Chatwood and relievers Brandon Morrow and Steve Cishek have all been brought into the fold. All three were signed for fair-market value and have considerable upside.
Chatwood, signed for three years and $38 million, may have the most upside of any pitcher on the market this winter. His career numbers in Coors Field were unsightly due to his inability to effectively spin a curveball in the thin air. On the road, however, Chatwood has looked like an ace with his 3.31 career ERA in over 300 inning and 54 starts.
The relievers the Cubs signed will be very important in helping to bridge the gap to whoever is closing in the ninth inning. Morrow finally found his niche in the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen last year and was dominant. Cishek is a solid veteran with closing experience. Now, the Cubs need to find a way to re-sign Wade Davis or work a trade for Zach Britton.