Adam Eaton, Mark Melancon, Chris Sale and Wade Davis are four players who won’t be in those spiffy Mariner blue jerseys in 2017.
Busy winter meetings with signings and trades left and right. Let me count the ways.
The Giants signed closer Mark Melancon after a season of serving as the new location for Blown Saves R Us. Melancon saved 98 games for the Pirates and Nationals over the past two years. He signed a record $62 million, four year deal, setting the bar for elite closers, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen to follow.
Tuesday the scene shifted to Boston, one of baseball’s richest franchises. News in the morning the Red Sox traded stud infielder-in-waiting Yoan Moncada, right-handed pitchers, Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz, and outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, all prospects, to the Chicago White Sox for top left-handed starter Chris Sale. Sale joins a rotation that already featured Cy Young Award winners David Price and Rick Porcello. With Sale in the bag before noon, the Sox finished up at tea-time with the announcement they’d signed Texas first baseman Mitch Moreland. Not exactly the second coming of Big Papi, but always good for 20 dingers or more. Just write those Bostons in for the top spot in the AL East.
Today the baseball fans were reminded the Nationals were still in the major leagues when they acquired center fielder Adam Eaton from the White Sox. The Sox must be flush with exciting young prospects as they are left with only Jose Abreu and Jose Quintana from the 2016 76-84 team. Rumor has it Jerry Reinsdorf has contracted with the Budweiser Clydesdales pulling a wagon to play the outfield. The Nats get Eaton, one of the best center fielders in the game, in exchange for three top pitching prospects.
And just to keep in step with all the other winners, word today the World Champion Chicago Cubs traded extra outfielder Jorge Soler for death-dealing Royals closer Wade Davis. Whew, I was sure worried about the Cubs.
San Francisco, Boston and Washington are all recent division winners and in the case of the Giants, Royals and Cubs, made sojourns to the World Series. So the best teams get better.
The Mariners? They’ve made a lot of the right moves-a better shortstop, quality reserve catcher, added a versatile right-handed bat. They got their bullpen lefty guy and added some depth to the rotation. They are younger and more athletic in the outfield, and have added some competition for the utility bench position. Check, check, check, check. If none of this seems earth-shattering, well, it is. Anybody who looked at this lineup at the end of the season would see something like Segura, Smith, Cano, Cruz, Seager, Valencia, Zunino, Martin, and Gamel and know it was better offensively than last year’s lineup. And you’d have to figure out what to do with Vogelbach and Heredia/Haniger
But the team still really needs a mid-rotation starter. Lots of names bouncing around out there. The rumors began with free-agent Doug Fister. Walking wounded Dodgers Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy were added to the list by Tacoma News Tribune writer Bob Dutton on Monday. With the trade of Sale to the Red Sox, pitchers Clay Buchholz, Steven Wright, and Drew Pomeranz surfaced as possibly available. I’m holding out for Pomeranz, but things don’t usually work out my way.
Word today the M’s traded with the Giants to acquire right-handed starter Chris Heston for a player to be named later. The Giants were going to be forced to clear a roster spot for Melancon, with Heston likely designated, so hopefully the M’s don’t have to give up a lot. Heston had a decent 2015 debut, but a move to the bullpen, a severe oblique injury and ineffectiveness in 2016 forced him to spend most of his season in AAA. However, despite his struggles, Heston threw a no-hitter against the World Series bound New York Mets on June 9th, 2015. Utilityman Richie Schaffer, acquired in a deal with Tampa Bay on November 18th was DFA’ed to make room for Heston on the 40-man roster.
Dutton tweeted the M’s are still looking for that mid-rotation arm, and so am I. While Heston will add to that nearly-ready pile vying for the 5th spot in the rotation with Ariel Miranda, Nate Karns and Rob Whalen. It’s clear the M’s are on the hunt for an affordable veteran arm who will give them innings this season-so scratch Tyson Ross off your list too.
Next up, Rumor Central: M’s show interest in Mark Trumbo, while shopping Old Dad Smith. I just can’t get enough.