MLB Winter Meetings 2013: Analyzing All Action, Rumors Coming out of Meetings

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIDecember 13, 2013

MLB Winter Meetings 2013: Analyzing All Action, Rumors Coming out of Meetings

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    David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

    The 2013 MLB winter meetings are over with very few big moves to show for it.

    Of course, there were some signings and some trades, but the action prior to the winter meetings did more to shape the game for 2014.

    With so many players still on the free-agent market and on the trading block, the next few weeks should be interesting as teams try to strengthen their roster before Christmas.

    Here's a look at all of the action at the winter meetings, what players are left and who could still move before next season.

Free-Agent Signings at Winter Meetings

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    Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

    Robinson Cano's signing became official with the Seattle Mariners on Thursday. There were a few others who signed free-agent deals as well.

    PlayerOld TeamNew TeamDeal (years/total value of contract)
    OF Curtis GrandersonYankeesMets4/$60 million
    C J.P. ArencibiaBlue JaysRangers1/$1.8 million
    1B Garrett JonesPiratesMarlins2/$7.75 million
    RP Ryan WebbMarlinsOrioles2/$4.5 million
    OF-1B Corey HartBrewersMariners1/$6 million
    SP Charlie MortonPiratesPirates3/$21 million
    SP Edinson VolquezDodgersPirates1/$5 million
    OF Rajai DavisBlue JaysTigers2/$10 million
    OF Nate McLouthOriolesNationals2/$10.75 million
    OF Michael MorseMarinersGiants1/$5 million

    Granderson was the big name that was signed. He even took a jab at the Yankees when he was introduced as a member of the Mets.

    McLouth's signing with the Nationals is a head-scratcher, especially considering Washington has Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth already in the outfield. The signing guarantees him a bench spot as opposed to a starting spot somewhere else.

    The Rangers' signing of Arencibia is a reaction to missing out on Brian McCann, while the Orioles signing Webb gives them another legitimate arm in the bullpen. Baltimore ranked 15th in bullpen ERA last year at 3.52 and traded away Jim Johnson. Webb could be a closer, although it's more likely that he'll be a setup man.

    All-in-all, the winter meetings didn't see that much action in terms of free agency, but it's a start.

Trades at Winter Meetings

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    There were a few trades during the meetings, but none were bigger than the three-team trade that sent Mark Trumbo to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    The deal had Trumbo coming to Arizona from the Los Angeles Angels, while the Angels received Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago (from the Chicago White Sox). In return for trading away Santiago, the White Sox received Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks. Arizona will also receive two players to be named later.

    It was a steep price for the Diamondbacks to pay, but they got the power bat they were so desperately wanting this offseason.

    The Angels acquired two great pitchers to help fill out their rotation after Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. Now, the Angels have a full pitching staff to complement their big hitters.

    Another big trade saw Brett Anderson traded to the Colorado Rockies, while the Rockies sent pitchers Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen back to the Oakland Athletics.

    For Oakland, there was already a surplus of starters on the roster, so Anderson became expendable. The A's now have a young starter who can make a contribution down the road.

    The other big trade saw the Chicago Cubs acquire Justin Ruggiano from the Miami Marlins for Brian Bogusevic. Ruggiano gives the Cubs a little more power in the outfield and can play all three outfield positions.

    What will be interesting to see over the next few weeks is which deals began at the winter meetings. Last year, the Atlanta Braves and Diamondbacks discussed Justin Upton while at the meetings, but didn't agree on it until weeks later.

    Which players will that be true for this year? Could the Tampa Bay Rays already have some kind of deal on the table for David Price that just needs to be tweaked a little?

Free-Agent Hitters Still Available

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    David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

    There are still a good number of hitters available in free agency that could get deals over the coming weeks. The biggest names are outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz, shortstop Stephen Drew and second baseman Omar Infante.

    The Texas Rangers are happy both Choo and Cruz are still available, according to ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett. The Rangers like both, but would like for their asking prices to come down:

    The longer it takes either one to sign, the more likely the price gets lowered to a range the club is comfortable doing. Texas likes both players, and either one would fit in to what the club would want. Choo could lead off and allow the Rangers to move Leonys Martin down in the batting order. Cruz provides power and could hit in the middle of the lineup. Either way, the lineup gets a boost.

    Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that whichever team goes to eight years is the one he believes will land Choo.

    One veteran general manager told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he believes the Astros will be where Choo ultimately lands, according to this tweet.

    As far as Drew is concerned, it seems he made a mistake not accepting the Red Sox's one-year qualifying offer. Thus far nobody has really bit on him, instead waiting to see how the market pans out.

    Sean McAdam of tweeted that the Red Sox and Drew's agent, Scott Boras, have met. However, there hasn't been a formal offer made.

    After Robinson Cano bolted New York for Seattle, there were many (including me) who thought the Yankees would go after Infante. And they have. However, according to this tweet by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Yankees have offered Infante a three-year deal, while Infante wants four years and $40 million.

    Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi tweeted the Royals were also interested in Infante, along with two other teams. One of those teams (interestingly enough) is the Reds, according to this tweet by Nightengale. Of course, the Reds would have to move Brandon Phillips, but that's another story.

    There's still a lot left on the market and it seems players (and their agents) are waiting patiently until teams have to scramble to fill their needs.

Free-Agent Pitchers Still on the Market

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    Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

    While some of the lower-ranked pitchers on the market already signed with teams, the pitchers at the top are in a holding pattern.

    That's because everyone is waiting to see what's going to happen with Masahiro Tanaka. According to a tweet by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Tanaka's club president in Japan, still hasn't decided if he will post his pitcher or not.

    This is mainly due to the rule changes in the posting system, which limits the posting fee to $20 million, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. Any way you look at it, the major free-agent starters will be waiting until that is resolved.

    If he is posted, there is going to be no shortage of teams interested in his services.

    As far as the other free agents go, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana are garnering a lot of interest.

    According to a tweet by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Diamondbacks have met with Garza's and Santana's agent, although he noted Santana is tied to draft-pick compensation.

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweeted the Diamondbacks, Angels and Twins were all in on Garza. The Angels are a big surprise considering their recent trade for Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago. But then again, you can never have too much pitching.

    Regardless of all of these rumblings, it seems that teams interested in Tanaka will wait on Garza and Santana.

    As far as relievers go, Grant Balfour and Joaquin Benoit are the two big names left on the market.

    Passan tweeted that the Rockies and Indians are competing for Benoit, with ESPN's Buster Olney tweeting the Padres are in the lead right now.

    According to a tweet from Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are one of three teams to have a two-year offer on the table for Balfour with one of those teams having a third-year vesting option.

Trade Targets

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    There are multiple players still available on the trade front, although it seems as if their prices aren't going down.

    David Price is the biggest pitcher that has been rumored to be on the trading block. Multiple teams have checked in on Price, including the Mariners, Giants and Blue Jays.

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweeted the Mariners have a "real opportunity" to acquire Price. However, according a series of tweets by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Price wouldn't sign an extension with the Mariners.

    The Blue Jays check in as well, but according to Rosenthal's tweet, the price seems pretty high (no pun intended). The Rays seem to be asking for top prospects Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman, which is something the Blue Jays won't entertain.

    ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted the Giants' interest as well, although no talk of who to trade has taken place.

    Then there's Jeff Samardzija. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution believes the Braves are the front-runners for him. This story I wrote on Thursday explains why it would be a great move for the Braves and who they could possibly trade to land Samardzija.

    ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand reported that the Yankees declined a Brett Gardner-Brandon Phillips trade, citing "The Yankees do not like Phillips' declining numbers at his current salary," according to a source.

    The Globe & Mail's Jeff Blair tweeted that the Blue Jays and Royals discussed a Billy Butler trade, but it hasn't moved beyond the discussion phase.

    Dan Uggla is another player that could possibly be moved as it's no secret the Braves are trying to trade him.

    What about the Los Angeles Dodgers and one of their four outfielders? You would figure one of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford would have to go. Yasiel Puig isn't going anywhere, and it's hard to imagine the Dodgers having one of the other three players be a high-priced bench player.

    Then there's the unspoken trade market. Which players could surprisingly be traded to another team this offseason? Only time will tell.

In Summary

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    There's still so many things that can happen this offseason that could shape baseball in 2014.

    Whether it's a big-name starting pitcher getting traded to another team or a free agent being that missing piece for a team, there are still difference-makers that will find themselves in new uniforms next year.

    Regardless of what happens, the rest of the offseason is guaranteed to be exciting.

    What do you think? Is there a player your team absolutely has to sign or trade for to have success in 2014? Discuss in the comments section below.