The 2018 Winter Meetings are a wrap.
There were some trades and signings that went down and a lot of rumors spread throughout the four days in Las Vegas.
Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from this major offseason event.
- Jerry Dipoto, Seattle Mariners general manager — Talk about the real MVP of the offseason so far. On the final day of the meetings, Dipoto executed a three-team trade — the biggest deal of the week — from....his hospital bed. YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT (For further validation, see the tweet below from Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times)! With assistant GM Justin Hollander by his side, Dipoto managed to acquire slugger Edwin Encarnacion, a draft pick and cash from the Indians and sent recently acquired first baseman Carlos Santana to Cleveland.
Yes. Jerry Dipoto finalized the trade for Encarnacion from his hospital bed with assistant GM Justin Hollander standing there. Hollander has a picture of it.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) December 13, 2018
Dipoto was taken to the hospital after he “developed a series of blood clots in his lungs, according to Jim Bowden. However, Bowden did deliver good news in the same tweet, saying that Dipoto was going to be released today.
Prayers and thoughts with #Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto who developed a series of blood clots in his lungs which led to him being submitted to a local hospital in Las Vegas…fortunately he will be released from the hospital today.— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) December 13, 2018
By acquiring Encarnacion, Dipoto managed to get a slugger back in the Mariners’ lineup (for now) after having dealt Robinson Cano and young closer Edwin Diaz to the Mets prior to the Winter Meetings. However, this move could lead to another flip at some point down the road. Either way, the fact that Dipoto did a deal while being laid up in a hospital bed puts other GMs to shame.
2. Andrew McCutchen, Philadelphia Phillies — As far as hitters go, MCutchen has signed the biggest contract so far this offseason after agreeing to a three-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies. This is big for McCutchen because he is getting paid pretty good money while also playing for a team that has playoff aspirations in its sights. And for the Phillies, they are getting a quality bat and a veteran who can help guide a relatively young squad
3. J.T. Realmuto, Miami Marlins — Arguably the best catcher in the majors right now, Realmuto’s name has been mentioned a lot in the trade rumor mill over the course of this week. There have been about 10 teams — primarily the Mets, Reds, Rays, Braves, Dodgers and Padres — that inquired about Realmuto, according to multiple reports. Though he is under club control through 2020, Realmuto has stated dating back to last offseason that he would rather play for a championship-contending team than stay in Miami. At least for right now, the demand for his services is really high, which works in his favor.
4. Lance Lynn, Texas Rangers — Let’s be honest, Lynn did not have a good 2018. After signing a deal in March with the Twins, he went on to put up a 4.77 ERA in 31 outings for the Twins and New York Yankees, who acquired him in July. Despite his struggles, Lynn was able to sign a three-year, $30 million contract with the Rangers, giving him some job security and a good money at this point in his career. And for the Rangers, they received a guy who can eat a lot of innings and be a stable part of their rotation after their team was decimated with injuries last season.
5. Tampa Bay Rays — The Rays are making a real case to be a contender this season after signing starter Charlie Morton to a two-year, $30 million deal. After rejuvenating his career with the Astros, Morton now joins a rotation that features Cy Young winner Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, and possibly Brent Honeywell, which in turn could help give the Rays what they need out of their pitching staff to compete with the Red Sox and the Yankees in the rugged AL East.
- New York Mets — The Mets and new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen made some being noise before the meetings by trading for Cano and Diaz. But when they got to Vegas, they only did one made one deal, as they brought back closer Jeurys Familia on a three-year, $30 million deal after dealing him to Oakland last year. A lot of their energy was spent trying to acquire Realmuto from the Marlins, as they discussed many trade scenarios in which they could land the game’s best catcher, including a three-team deal with the Yankees being the third team. However, no deals every materialized and the Mets came home empty-handed.
- Bryce Harper and Manny Machado — As the headliners of this year’s free agent class, neither superstar decided to sign with a team during the biggest event of the offseason. Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, met with some teams during the week and prior to the meetings, but it has been reported that the Yankees — a team that many thought would have the money to pay for him — are out of the sweepstakes after general manager Brian Cashman told multiple reporters that the Yankees have too many outfielders and putting him at a different position like first base is not going to happen. As for Machado, he is planning to visit the teams that are interested in his services, which basically put the kibosh on any deal getting done this week.
- Toronto Blue Jays — The Blue Jays made perhaps the most shocking move of the 2018 Winter Meetings, as they decided to release All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki after he missed the entire 2018 season and was limited to 66 games in 2017 due to injuries. Even though they cut ties with him, the Blue Jays still owe $38 million to Tulowitzki because he was guaranteed $20 million for 2019, $14 million for 2020, and a $4 million buyout (or $15 million club option which is now irrelevant). You would think that the Blue Jays would have rode out at least another year or so with Tulowitzki so he could get back to playing at a high level and they could try to get some value for him down the road. However, they now have to eat this money over the course of the next three seasons, which is never good if you are trying to compete at a high level.
- New York Yankees — The Yankees didn’t make any big splashes and left with only one deal in the bag, as they brought back starter J.A. Happ on a two-year deal with an option for a third year. More importantly, Cashman seemingly put them out of the race for signing Harper. Even though these things happened, the Yankees are still in play for Machado, but their offseason — outside of trading for James Paxton – has not been that exciting by their standards.
- Tanner Roark, Cincinnati Reds — The Reds are hoping to their pitching staff will be boosted after acquiring Roark from the Nationals. But for Roark, going to Cincinnati may not be the best place for him because of how badly the Reds have struggled over the last few seasons, especially offensively. This may put a lot of pressure on Roark, something he did not have to deal with a lot while he was with the Nationals, given their success and their much more talented lineup day in and day out.