As the MLB winter meetings heat up, some teams are starting to define the direction they are heading in for the 2019 season. Along with a few sellers/rebuilders, we have teams that are signing key players to fill holes currently on their respective rosters. There were no huge signings yesterday, as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain unsigned, but we still saw teams vastly improve.
Lance Lynn signed a 3 year, $30M contract with the Rangers. Lynn has been solid since he came into the league and will definitely help bolster this rotation. It seems to me that they maybe paid a little too much for him, but that could also just reflect the market. We’ll see how that goes as these meetings go on. Charlie Morton is another pitcher that reaped the benefits of teams needing starting pitching. The Rays signed him to a 2 year, $30M contract. Morton has been good at times, unreliable at others, throughout his career. This seems like a very risky move; one that could backfire. If he stays healthy and can harness the success we’ve seen at times, then the Rays will look pretty smart.
The Cincinnati Reds added a much needed pitcher to their rotation when they traded for the Washington Nationals’ Tanner Roark. He’s an innings eater, has a good strikeout percentage, and an ERA just over 4.00. How he fares in hitter friendly Great American Ballpark will be interesting to watch. J. A. Happ was added to the already impressive New York Yankees staff. Although there are rumors that the Yankees plan to move Sonny Gray, this rotation is still top notch. Jeurys Familia returned to the Mets on a 3 year deal. I’ve said it here before, I’ll reiterate it now; closers are largely overrated and teams pay too much for them. There are exceptions, but I feel most teams could find someone to get 3 outs without emptying their bank accounts.
Andrew McCutchen is looking to find the success he’s had in the past, but this time in Philadelphia. Watch out for the Phillies this season. They made a lot of noise last year and will look to improve on that as they have their eyes on the postseason. This team is young, they’re talented, and they’re hungry after tasting success last year. McCutchen will give them that veteran with a good locker room presence that this young team needs.
In a couple minor moves, Jordy Mercer signed a 1 year deal with the Detroit Tigers and Justin Bour signed with the Angels. Mercer brings versatility and experience to the Tigers. It’s not a superstar signing, but it’s a good move for this team. Justin Bour, let’s face it, is there to take over for the aging Albert Pujols. As much as I hate typing that, it’s true. We never like to see the greats on the downside of their Hall of Fame caliber careers. Pujols’ numbers have been on the decline and the Angels brought in Bour to share time with him and ultimately take over. I don’t know how many more seasons or games Pujols will play, but I know I’m going to watch him every chance I get. He is truly one of the greats.
We have so many more trades and signings to look forward to before the season begins. Harper is looking to contend, so he will be picky where he signs. Machado was born for the bright lights, so expect New York, Chicago, Los Angeles; a city where he can be on the grandest stage of them all. I’d be surprised at anything less.