The Winter Meetings are just a little over a week away, and the hot stove is definitely heating up. While some names are starting to trickle in when it comes to signings, the biggest names (i.e., Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon, etc.) are still without a team.
Regardless, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas should be a lot of fun, and it will be interesting to see how quickly the market moves.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the news from around the league this last week.
Padres, Brewers Make A Deal
In one of the first big trades of the offseason, the San Diego Padres and the Milwaukee Brewers struck a four-player deal. For the Padres, they will receive outfielder Trent Grisham and pitcher Zach Davies while the Brewers will receive second baseman Luis Urias and lefty Eric Lauer.
For both teams, the pitchers have a good chance of contributing to the big club this year as low-cost options for the rotations. The Padres may look to utilize Grisham in the outfield. For the Brewers, it looks like Orlando Arcia could be out, as the idea is that Urias could be the new double-play partner with second baseman Keston Hiura.
Regardless, while this deal might not feature any big-time names, it certainly could affect both clubs at the big league level.
Padres Sign Pomeranz
Two of the best relievers on the market this offseason, particularly lefties, are now off the market. First, the Braves struck earlier this offseason signing lefty Will Smith, and now it is the San Diego Padres, who have signed lefty Drew Pomeranz. The deal for Pomeranz is for $34 million over four years.
It was a tale of two seasons for Pomeranz last year. He started the season in the San Francisco Giants’ rotation but was frankly not very good. In fact, in that time, he was 2-9 in 21 games (17 starts) for the Giants. He had a 5.68 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 77 2/3 innings pitched and had 92 strikeouts versus 36 walks.
However, he then found his way to the Milwaukee Brewers, where he was moved to the bullpen. This move was absolutely perfect as he was utterly dominant with the Brewers. In 25 games (26 1/3 innings pitched), Pomeranz was 0-1 with a 2.39 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and had 45 strikeouts versus eight walks.
Long story short, the bullpen was the right move for Pomeranz. What remains to be seen is whether this was just a fluke 26 1/3 innings or whether he can really be a dominant force as a reliever. The Padres are hoping the latter is true.
Nationals Re-Sign Gomes
When you think of the notable free agents for the Washington Nationals, the first two that come to mind are Strasburg and Rendon. However, one that flew under the radar was Yan Gomes. Now, though, the catcher has a new deal to stay in Washington for the next couple of years, as the Nationals signed him to a two-year, $10 million deal, according to Jeff Passan.
While Gomes may not be a dominant force, he was very serviceable for the Nationals and will likely split time with Kurt Suzuki again next season. Last year, Gomes was pretty solid behind the plate but was just average at the dish.
On the season, Gomes hit just .223/.316/.389 with 12 home runs, 43 runs batted in and 36 runs scored in 314 at-bats. In a catching market that is quickly thinning, it is a big move for the Nationals to lock up Gomes for the next couple of years.
Villar Put On Waivers
It is no secret that the Baltimore Orioles are a rebuilding team. What is shocking, though, is that they would release one of their best players, Jonathan Villar, just because he is projected to make a relatively modest $10.4 million.
Last season, the middle infielder hit .274/.339/.453 with 24 home runs, 73 runs batted in, 111 runs scored and 40 stolen bases in 642 at-bats. The Orioles had been looking for a trade partner for the middle infielder but were obviously unable to come up with one.
Still, with a low payroll and Villar just making $10 million, it seems rather absurd to think this move was needed. It will be interesting to see where Villar goes from here as he might be able to be a useful piece on a lot of teams.
For the Orioles, it must be a sad day for fans, not because Villar is an absolute superstar, but it is just one more indication that they are pretty far from contending at this point.
Diamondbacks Sign Catcher Vogt
It was mentioned earlier when talking about Gomes that the catching market is moving fast. Gomes, Travis d’Arnoud, and Yasmani Grandal have all signed deals this offseason, and the Arizona Diamondbacks took another candidate off the board last week as they signed Stephen Vogt to a one-year contract with a vesting option.
The deal is worth a total of $3 million for the 35-year-old. Last year, with the San Francisco Giants, Vogt hit .263/.314/.490 in 255 at-bats with 10 home runs, 40 runs batted in and 30 runs scored.
While he likely doesn’t have a lot of baseball life left in him, the Diamondbacks hope that he can help solidify their catching position at least for the 2020 season.