The MLB Hot Stove won’t catch fire. Conversations were had, names have been exchanged, but the big dogs remain unsigned. While Ian Kinsler proved to be the biggest name to find a new home on Wednesday, players such as J.D. Martinez, Yu Darvish, Carlos Santana and Eric Hosmer remain adrift.
Outside of a few relievers and a few other low level moves, deals for the big free agents are not getting struck. Of course, that’s been the evolving pattern of the get-together in recent years. These are not your grandfather’s Winter Meetings.
Let’s run down Wednesday’s moves.
- Ian Kinsler is headed to Anaheim. You don’t have to like it, nor the meager return, but Bootsie will join Mike Trout, Shohei Otani, and his buddy Justin Upton to try and turn the Los Angeles Angels into a contender. Kinsler will upgrade their defense by pairing with Andrelton Simmons, who is just about the only defensive upgrade possible from Jose Iglesias.
- Marcell Ozuna heads to the Cardinals. The dismantling of the Miami Marlins continues with a pretty big win for the St. Louis Cardinals. After missing out on Giancarlo Stanton, the Cardinals probably came out ahead in landing the cheaper, shorter-term option in Ozuna. They didn’t even have to give up their top pitching prospects.
- Manny Machado could be dealt. Nothing has happened yet, but the Baltimore Orioles may have woke to reality. They aren’t going anywhere and their superstar infielder has one year before free agency. If the Orioles are serious, we could see a major deal going down fairly soon.
- The Astros bulked up their bullpen. The Astros bullpen was much maligned during the postseason, though they won the World Series anyway. They don’t seem pressed to go out and add a Wade Davis level reliever. Instead, a modest addition in veteran Joe Smith adds to their depth.
- Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto continues to be a one man Hot Stove. The Mariners added veteran reliever Juan Nicasio on a two-year deal on Wednesday.
- The hoopla surrounding Shohei Ohtani’s UCL sprain finally settled down. Teams were all informed of the minor sprain as part of the courting process. This wasn’t a surprise, and most think therapy will get Ohtani on the mound with no real issues this spring.
- The Tigers will pick first in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday. Atlanta Braves second baseman Travis Demeritte may get a long look from Detroit now that Ian Kinsler is gone. Reliever Nick Burdi also remains a popular choice as the Tigers look for someone with upside who can fit on the major league roster as is. Our own Jacob Markle took a look at the Rule 5 candidates available last week.