MLB News/Rumors: Some wild and not so wild predictions for Winter Meetings week

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

For the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams, an extraordinary Winter Meetings week will start tomorrow. The event for owners, general managers, and field managers, this is a week that is normally as much social as it is filled with serious baseball meetings. This year there will not be deals done in the bar over a Martini, no late-night talks between GMs in posh hotel rooms. No, this year, the whole event is going to be done virtually. The talks will start tomorrow and go on until December 10th.

Nevertheless, you can count on more acquisitions and trades made this week than the whole time since the World Series ended. However, don’t expect as much activity as in a normal offseason set of meetings. Teams don’t have the money this year than they normally have after huge losses caused by the coronavirus and do not have the revenue stream they usually have from fan-generated funds.

New York Yankees:

The New York Yankees may be one of the hardest teams to predict for two reasons. They have many needs, but owner Hal Steinbrenner has already said he wants to keep the payroll below the luxury tax threshold. You probably won’t see much action from the Yankees during this entire week until they have some idea what’s happening with star second baseman DJ LeMahieu. The Yankees want DJ back for sure, but they have continued to wait to see how much interest develops for his service. I guess that if the Yankees don’t act, the Toronto Blue Jays will swoop in and offer him the money he can’t refuse.

Everything with LeMahieu is contract length; he is fixated on security and will not accept a short contract unless it’s in an amount equivalent to what he would like to earn for five years. The Yankees won’t do that; they might compromise and give him four years with an option based on performance. Regardless they will do everything they can the keep the baseball batting champ in pinstripes.

Prediction: DJ LeMahieu remains a New York Yankee.

New York Mets:

New New York Mets owner Steve Cohen will make a name for himself this week, like outspending any other MLB team. Cohen wants to be in the spotlight and wants to be seen as a winner, and he has the money to do it and do it big. I guess Cohen will try to rebuild the team in just one season to become the predominant New York team.

Predictions: The Mets, unlike the Yankees, have made a bevy of moves already; they haven’t wasted any time signing no less than 15 signed players, including minor league signings. They will make a lot more this week.

  • J.T Realmuto will become the Mets starting catcher.
  • George Springer of Jackie Bradley Jr to the Mets.
  • James Paxton and Taijuan Walker bolster the Mets rotation.

The Los Angeles Angels:

The Los Angeles Angels are tired of losing with a big name like Mike Trout on the team. They paid big for Trout and basically have wasted all that money by not giving him around him to win.

Prediction: Coveted pitcher Trevor Bauer signs with the Angels.

Philadelphia Phillies:

The Phillies is a sad story this year. Even with new manager Joe Girardi, the team will do little to improve their place in the NL East. The Phillies lost a lot of money this past season, not as much as the Yankees, but they also don’t have the Yankees’ resources. They will cost cut at every turn; they have already said they don’t have the money to re-sign J.T. Realmuto. They will somehow find the money to resign Didi Gregorius to a three or four-year deal.

The Toronto Blue Jays:

The Toronto Blue Jays are on the cusp of greatness with all their young, energetic players. They will definitely make a play for DJ LeMahieu but will fall short to the Yankees.

  • Yoenis Cespedes will go to the Blue Jays a small risk one year deal for about $10 million with a team option.
  • If Taijuan Walker doesn’t go with the Mets, the Blue Jays are next inline for the quality pitcher.
  • Shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Jays
  • Brad Hand the new Jays closer

The Tampa Bay Rays:

The Tampa Bay Rays beat the pants off the New York Yankees this past season and went on to complete in the MLB World Series but fell short to the Dodgers. The Rays have a pretty good team as it is. But they have holes to fill. Primarily to bolster and already excellent pitching rotation of Blake Snell, Ryan Yarborough, and Tyler Glasnow. But they have lost Charlie Morton to the Braves after refusing his 2021 option. They also are in dire need of a catcher. The Rays don’t spend big to don’t look for them to make a play for Realmuto.

  • Willson Contreras the Rays new catcher.
  • Kevin Kieirmaier will be traded off to save money.
  • Left-hand pitcher Matt Moore to the Rays

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers:

The MLB World Series Champion Dodgers won’t do much to fix a team that doesn’t have much to fix. But also don’t look for them to sit on their hands.

  • Dodgers sign Mookie Betts to a record 8-10 deal.

 

 

 

MLB News: Braves ousted by LA, it’s a Dodger Rays World Series

For the New York Yankees, the season is over, and are looking at how to improve the team for the 2021 season. But MLB is still operating, just a day after the Tampa Bay Rays were victorious over the Houston Astros, the Los Angeles Dodger won a game seven over the Atlanta Braves 4-3, advancing them to the World Series.  For the first time ever the Tampa Bay Rays will meet the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The World Series will have a limited number of fans rooting for their team in the stands.

The Dodgers won the NLDS over the San Diego Padres to advance to the NLCS to take on the Atlanta Braves. With the Dodgers win yesterday, they will face the Tampa Bay Rays, that beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS. The Yankees previous to facing the Rays, had swept the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card round. For the Rays, it will be the first time since 2008 that they advanced. For Los Angeles, they have not won a World Series since 1988.

The game yesterday, featured two starting pitchers, both under the age of 24. It was the first time two pitchers that young started an NLCS game seven. Ian Anderson was 22 and Dustin May just 23. Los Angeles was down three games to one in the series and came back to tie the series, and force a dramatic game seven. Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts starred in the game. Betts made a wild climb the wall catch to save a run, and Cody Bellinger scored the winning run with his homer in the seventh inning.

Bellinger met Hernandez at home plate and took off for the dugout. In celebration of the go-ahead run, upon returning to the dugout after the 400-foot blast, he gave teammate Kiké Hernandez a forearm bash, after which Bellinger could be seen wincing in pain. He dislocated his shoulder USA Today reports Bellinger quickly went back to the training room to pop the shoulder in place.

Anderson for the Braves went three innings, giving up two earned runs. May only pitched the first inning for the Dodgers, giving up a run. The game featured only 13 hits between the two teams, and only one player got two hits, that was Mookie Betts of the Dodgers. The NLCS MVP was the Dodgers Corey, who hit .310 in the series with five home runs and eleven RBI’s. The Game  7 winner was Julio Urias who pitched the last three innings for the the Dodgers, the losing pitcher was Chris Martin.

The first game of the World Series will be on Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas. Game time will be 8:09 pm EDT. The series will be broadcast on the Fox Network nationwide.  Both of these teams are highly energized after their Championship wins. The Dodgers in game seven, left ten men on base. They will have their hands full with the Rays who are known for manufacturing runs. It should be a very exciting World Series.

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone speaks on Mookie Betts trade

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

The Boston Red Sox just traded away two of their major pieces to their 2018 Championship year, Mookie Betts and David Price, to the Los Angeles Dodgers. To the New York Yankees, this is good and bad. The good is that they won’t have to see Betts at the plate as many times this season. The bad is the Los Angeles Dodgers just got a huge addition to their already-talented lineup, which the Yankees could see in the World Series.

Manager Aaron Boone spoke to reporters at the Yankees’ training facility in Tampa and had this to say on recent blockbuster trade:

“Obviously, he’s about as good as it gets. (I) Won’t miss facing him 18 times a year. That’s for sure. But they’re a smart organization with a lot of wherewithal. I’m sure they’re doing what they think’s best to get them on solid footing. So, not entirely upset to see Mookie in the other league. I always said, careful what you wish for. We’re such a long ways away. It’s such a long season. Our job is to get ready to go win a championship.”

I have mixed feelings about this trade. As a die-hard Yankees fan, it’s good to know that Mookie Betts is no longer in the AL East. However, the Los Angeles Dodgers are even more of contenders to go to the World Series and the addition of Mookie Betts to their lineup is nothing small. Part of me thinks that if he had just stayed on the Red Sox, it would have been better because they were going to be bad regardless.

I do think the New York Yankees still have a better lineup and pitching rotation than the Dodgers even with the additions of Betts and Price. If you match up the Yankees lineup with the Dodger lineup, you’d be surprised to see how many positions the Yankees win. The rotations are hard to tell, but the Yankees definitely have the better bullpen.

New York Yankees vs. Los Angelas Dodgers: Who is the better team?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez

Everyone is already dreaming of a World Series with the New York Yankees and the Los Angelas Dodgers. The Dodgers made a huge splash last night when they acquired former AL MVP Mookie Betts from the Red Sox in a monster trade.

The Dodgers sent Alex Verdugo to Boston and Kenta Maeda to the Twins while receiving Betts and David Price along with cash. The Dodgers are the clear winners of this trade, especially if they can eventually extend Mookie Betts long-term. However, like with anything, some folks seem to be prisoners of the moment with this deal. The Dodgers were a 106 win team last year, and they just got better offensively and defensively acquiring Mookie Betts, but there are still gaps in their roster. The New York Yankees and the Dodgers are considered the two best teams in baseball on paper, but who’s better? Let’s dive both clubs.

The Los Angelas Dodgers

Their projected lineup is incredible. I mean, look at this lineup:

RF Mookie Betts
1B Max Muncy
3B Josh Turner
CF Cody Bellinger
SS Corey Seager
LF AJ Pollock
2B Gavin Lux
C Will Smith

The Dodgers are not going to be hurting for run production in 2020. The Dodgers were already a top-five offense without Mookie Betts, adding in Betts makes them that much better. Do they have the best lineup in baseball? That is a question for debate. You could easily make that argument for the Dodgers.

Now let’s look at the problem areas for the Dodgers, and that would be their pitching. Their starting rotation isn’t bad currently projected to feature: Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, David Price, and several guys vying for the last two spots in the rotation. The bullpen contains guys like Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Blake Treinen, Ross Stripling, and Scott Alexander.

While they have some quality pieces, it is far fetched to say that’s a dependable pitching unit. For the bullpen, Kelly and Treinen were awful last year, and Jansen was very shaky at times. For the rotation, the Dodgers are going to be depending on Clayton Kershaw and David Price to help them win a World Series. That’s the equivalent of walking a tightrope thousands of feet up with high wind hoping to make it across. If I were a Dodgers fan, I would be going into this season with the expectations that the team will have to hit their way to a World Series title.

The New York Yankees

Without question, I believe the New York Yankees have the best roster in all of baseball at the moment. The Yankees return the highest-scoring offense in baseball with a lineup consisting of:

2B DJ LeMahieu
RF Aaron Judge
SS Gleyber Torres
LF Giancarlo Stanton
C Gary Sanchez
DH Miguel Andujar
1B Luke Voit
3B Gio Urshela
CF Brett Gardner

The New York lineup is incredible, and that’s without starting center fielder Aaron Hicks, who is out for the first half of the year while he recovers from Tommy John surgery. To go along with this lineup, the Yankees have arguably the best bullpen in baseball featuring: Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, and Chad Green. Oh, and let’s not forget the rotation that the Yankees have, which got a slight upgrade this offseason.

The Yankees have arguably the best rotation in baseball, which is led by ace Gerrit Cole. The Yankees rotation of Cole, Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and J.A. Happ/Jordan Montgomery is very good. Severino has ace potential, Paxton was one of the best pitchers in baseball the second half of last season, Tanaka is a postseason wizard, and Gerrit Cole is arguably the best pitcher in baseball. Simply put, there are no holes in this Yankees roster on paper. The biggest hurdle for the Yankees will be their battle to stay healthy. The Yankees set a record for players hitting the IL last year, so in my opinion, the Yankees are their own biggest threat in 2020.

The Verdict

Let’s put these two clubs in a vacuum where nobody gets hurt this year. If players play up to their potential and stay healthy, I think the Yankees have the better lineup top to bottom. The Yankees have the better bullpen, and with the signing of Gerrit Cole, the Yankees also have the better rotation. The Yankees are the clear cut favorites to win it all in October, but the Dodgers are a dangerous team. They aren’t as dangerous or as complete as the New York Yankees. Now you can say I’m biased if you like, but if you think the Dodgers are better than the Yankees on paper, you’re wrong.

How does Red Sox payroll offloading of Mookie Betts affect the Yankees?

Boston Red Sox, Mookie Betts

Blockbuster deal:

An earthquake traveled through the baseball world last night when the Athletic’s Chad Jennings tweeted that both Betts and Price are headed to Los Angeles.  This news is both sensational and transformative for the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  It is reported that the Red Sox get the 23-year-old lefty outfielder Alex Verdugo.  It was also revealed that the Sox will eat part of Price’s salary.

What will Red Sox fans think?

Many Red Sox fans will not be happy when they find out their most popular player in decades will not be with the Sox in the 2020 campaign.  For the Yankees, they will be pleased in the short term as they will no longer face one of the most successful hitters against them.   Now they will face the outfielder Verdugo that is not close to the player Betts is.  In the long term, the Yankees will most likely face the Dodgers who now appear destined to reach the World Series again, and with an improved team brought about by this blockbuster trade deal.

Minnesota Twins involved:

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reported that there is a third team involved in the complicated trade deal. That team is the Minnesota Twins who will get RHP Kenta Maeda from Dodgers while the Red Sox will get RHP prospect Brusdar Graterol from Twins.  With the completion of this trade, it will be the second-biggest baseball move of the offseason after the New York Yankees acquisition of arguably the best pitcher in baseball Gerrit Cole.

Los Angeles Dodgers World Series bound:

The Los Angeles Dodgers fell short of the World Series last year while having one of the most potent lineups in the National League.  Adding Mookie Betts to the equation puts them over the top and realistically makes their offense equal or surpassing the Yankee’s potent lineup.   This how the Dodger lineup sets up for the 2020 season.

  1. Mookie Betts RF
  2. Max Muncy 1B
  3. Justin Turner 3B
  4. Cody Bellinger CF
  5. A.J. Pollock LF
  6. Corey Seager SS
  7. Will Smith C
  8. Gavin Lux 2B

On the pitching side, Cy Young winner David Price who will undoubtedly do even better in the National League.  He will augment an already reliable pitching staff that includes another Cy Young winner in Clayton Kershaw and the great Cy Young prospect, their 25-year-old  ace Walker Buehler.  The Dodgers lost Hyun-Jin Ryu when the left-hander agreed to a four-year, $80-million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the offseason. The Dodgers will hope that Price softens that loss.

The net effect:

Looking at the impact on the baseball horizon as we approach spring training that is only two weeks away, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the big winners in this shocking deal, and they did it without stripping their farm system of prospects.   As big as the win for the Dodgers is, the dismantling of the Red Sox are even more amazing.  The Red Sox are left with a team that is less powerful and puts their pitching staff in even more question.  Last year their lefty ace Chris Sale imploded with a 6-11 record.   Rick Porcello was 14-12, but he’s gone to the New York Mets this offseason.  Nathan Eovaldi was plagued with injuries and only started twelve games going 2-1.  On the bright side lefty, Eduardo Rodrigeuz was 19-6, and there is every reason to believe he will continue his winning ways.  The Boston Red Sox ranked 20th in the majors in starter ERA (4.95) during 2019 while winning only eighty-four games.  The Red Sox are the big losers in this deal while accomplishing their main objective this offseason, shedding salary.

The Darkhorse:

This deal has created more than one winner.  Take notice, Yankees!  The 2019 Twins were a fantastic team that collapsed in the postseason with the Yankees sweeping them in the ALDS.  Their pitching in the postseason was horrible.  With the Twins acquisition of veteran pitcher Kenta Maeda, the Twins will attempt to equal their 101 wins, and if reaching the postseason, they will look to not repeat last year’s dismal performance.  The Minnesota Twins may well be the team to watch this coming season.