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Snake Bytes 12/11: 2017 MLB Winter Meetings and Open Thread

Mike Hazen’s front office takes their second turn through the annual Winter Meetings in charge of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The annual MLB Winter Meetings are essentially the most exciting event during the offseason. There is no guarantee that any major moves will happen, but gather all of the league’s executives in one resort, and there will be plenty of opportunity. This year the meetings will be held at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida with executives arriving yesterday and staying until the 14th. It remains to be seen just how active the Arizona Diamondbacks will be given the significant self imposed payroll constraints from ownership. A trade of one the 13 arbitration eligible players might be more likely than a significant free agent signing. A free agent tracker can be found on MLB Trade Rumors which is a tremendous resource during this time. Feel free to provide updates in the comments as news unfolds during the day.

Arizona Diamondbacks News

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks eyeing upgrades at baseball’s winter meetings - Derrick Hall has already gone on the record saying that he does not expect a significant increase in payroll, and Nick Piecoro reports that a few player agents are seeing that impression as well.

There are several mid-tier relievers on the free-agent market – that is, pitchers a notch or so below closers Wade Davis and Greg Holland – who represent logical fits for the Diamondbacks’ bullpen. But the agents for a half of dozen of them say the Diamondbacks do not appear inclined to spend much on the bullpen. “They think they’re going to get by spending $5 million” total on the bullpen, said an agent who represents a second-tier reliever. “Either by going to Fernando Rodney again or something like that. They’re just not spending the money.”

I take comments from an anonymous player agent with a grain a salt although there is a great deal of truth in the statement above. Just remember some of the comments that come from Scot Boras’ regarding his clients. Among numerous other factors, an agent’s job is to get their players the most money. It is going to be difficult for the Diamondbacks to land a reliever of the caliber of a Wade Davis or Greg Holland without further opening the wallet, but that does not exclude them from landing a free agent reliever like Jared Hughes who was recently non-tendered by the Milwaukee Brewers after another strong season. He was only projected to earn $2.2 million through arbitration by MLB Trade Rumors, so he would be a realistic option.

“It’s very hard to predict what’s going to happen at the winter meetings,” Hazen said. “Hopefully with some the activity on the market here with some signings that have recently happened, we may see an increase in activity on the trade market and the free-agent market. I’m assuming it’s going to be a very active winter meetings.”

[D’] D-backs made Max gamble at 2009 Meetings - It is always fun to go back and look at previous Winter Meeting trades, except of course if that trade involved one of the game’s best pitchers to be, Max Scherzer, leaving the Arizona Diamondbacks. We should not expect a trade of this magnitude coming from the team this week, but it serves as a reminder that anything is possible when you toss a handful of executives together in a hotel conference room.

[Venom Strikes] Arizona Diamondbacks: Do not expect much movement - Mike Hazen’s hands are essentially tied without an increase in payroll, or a trade involving one of the team’s arbitration eligible players. A move involving A.J Pollock, who is in his last year of team control and projected to earn $8.5 million, would leave a gaping hole in center field without an outfielder coming back in return. Perhaps some areas where Hazen could get creative in a trade would involve either a starting pitcher or middle infielder, both areas of surplus for the Diamondbacks. However, dealing from depth from one of those positions presents certain risk because health from remaining players is not a given. Patrick Corbin is another name that has been floated as he enters his final year of control projected to earn $8.3 million and could bring back a decent return. Anthony Banda, who has little to no room left to develop in the minor leagues, could fill Corbin’s departure until Shelby Miller returns from Tommy John Surgery.

[Arizona Sports] D-backs claim pitcher Henry Owens off waivers - Mike Hazen has reunited with former high rated prospect Henry Owens, drafted 36th overall in 2011 by the Boston Red Sox, and the Diamondbacks will hope to correct his recent misfortunes. The 25 year old 6-foot-6 lefty has had significant control issues which has seen him fall off the prospect radar. He will occupy a 40 man roster spot, so it would behoove the Diamondbacks to solve his control issues and harness the potential that he has.

Around the League

[MLB Trade Rumors] Cardinals, Luke Gregerson Agree To Deal - Recently crowned World Series Champion, Luke Gregerson, has agreed to a two year contract to return to the St. Louis Cardinals, who drafted him in 2006, with a third year club or vesting option. Gregerson is guaranteed $5 million in both 2018 and 2019, and this begins to set the benchmark for what relievers can be expected to sign for at the Winter Meetings.

[MLB Trade Rumors] Cubs To Sign Brandon Morrow - The Los Angeles Dodgers have lost Brandon Morrow to free agency, though I am sure that will do little in the way of stopping them in 2018. Morrow has agreed to a two year deal with the Chicago Cubs with an option for the 2020 season. The contract is believed to be worth $10-$11 million per season.

[MLB Trade Rumors] Yankees To Acquire Giancarlo Stanton - The New York Yankees are expected to hold a press conference on Monday to formally announce the acquisition of reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees will assume $265 million of his salary, with the Miami Marlins sending $30 million to the Yankees, which is reportedly not owed if Stanton opts out after 2020. The Marlins will receive Starlin Castro, hard throwing minor leaguer Jorge Guzman, and Jose Devers in return. Having already shed Dee Gordon’s contract by trading him to the Seattle Mariners last week, the Derek Jeter led Marlins can either opt to retain Castro, or move his contact worth $21 million over the next two seasons. With Stanton now out of the mix in Miami, attention turns to Marlins outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. Jeter can expect a sizable return by trading either one or both of those players with plenty of teams looking for help in the outfield.

[ESPN] Teams turn to their next action items after Ohtani and Stanton - Now that the Stanton and Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes have concluded it will be time to bring other marquee names into focus. Buster Olney summarizes various needs from teams around the league and which players could fill those roles. Most of the conversation surrounding J.D. Martinez has him tied to the Boston Red Sox. Keeping the three biggest names this offseason away from other teams in the NL West, Ohtani, Stanton, and Martinez, would be somewhat of a victory for the Diamondbacks. I’m less inclined to believe that Martinez, a Scot Boras client, will sign during the Winter Meetings unless it is for a contract in the vicinity of the $210 million that Boras has requested. Boras could choose to keep the slugger on the market until just prior to Spring Training to pull the most leverage with a team in need. The San Francisco Giants are another team in the hunt for outfield assistance, so they could stand to add one of the names mentioned above. Will the Pittsburgh Pirates finally end their marriage with Andrew McCutchen?

[Purple Row] Colorado Rockies sign catcher Chris Iannetta to a two-year deal - The Colorado Rockies have agreed to a two year deal to bring Chris Iannetta back to Colorado. This loss stings a little because of the solid season Chris had on and off the field with the Diamondbacks in 2017. After being hit in the face with a pitch in the first half of the season, he told Torey Lovullo the next day that he would be ready to go if needed. Will the Diamondbacks make a move to secure another catcher to pair with Jeff Mathis, or will they roll with Mathis, Chris Herrmann, and John Ryan Murphy?

[USA Today] For Tigers stars Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, Hall of Fame call extra special - Former Diamondbacks bench coach Alan Trammell has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Modern Era Committee along with his former teammate, Jack Morris. The two spent 14 seasons together as members of the Detroit Tigers, Trammell playing all 20 of his seasons there. Both of them failed to be elected by the Baseball Writer’s Association of America during their time on the ballot, but they will now become the first Detroit Tigers to be enshrined since 1992. Trammell spent 4 seasons with the Diamondbacks when he became Kirk Gibson’s bench coach in 2010.

“To go in with Alan Trammell is overwhelming for me. I can’t think of a better scenario of going with a former teammate than a guy that I respect and love so much.’’ - Jack Morris

[] Eppler 'stunned' by Ohtani choosing Angels - It can be a bit refreshing to see candid remarks from Angels general manager Billy Eppler after he learned his team had landed the most coveted international free agent this offseason. He could have just as easily given the typical “we are excited to have him here” answer, but he instead shared the story of falling out of his chair upon learning the decision. His team will now look to secure the AL West Title from the defending World Champion Houston Astros, and Ohtani puts them closer to that goal.