Official Winter Meetings Thursday Thread
Image courtesy of David Richard, USA TodayBefore we get to the Rule 5 discussion, let’s start with the moves from Wednesday:
The Nationals didn’t get Chris Sale, and they couldn’t reach an agreement with the Pirates on Andrew McCutchen. So, they turned their attention to the White Sox. Mid-afternoon, it was announced that the Nationals had acquired outfielder Adam Eaton in exchange for three right-handed pitching prospects. Lucas Giolito was the Nationals top prospect and the top pitching prospect as recently as midseason. Reynaldo Lopez was their #3 prospect. Dane Dunning was their #6 prospect and the team’s first-round pick last June.
Adam Eaton is a real solid player, but there is no question that the Chicago White Sox did very well for themselves. Eaton is controlled through the 2021 season which made him very appealing to the Nationals. He also is an elite right fielder, though he will likely play centerfield for the Nationals.
The White Sox have certainly changed the outlook of their minor league system. They had one of the worst minor league systems in baseball two days ago. Along with the three pitchers, they acquired baseball’s top prospect, Yoan Moncada, and hard-throwing Michael Kopech plus two more prospects from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade a day earlier.
The White Sox will likely still be looking to deal 1B Jose Abreu, 3B Todd Frazier, LH SP Jose Quintana, and Closer David Robertson, each likely adding multiple quality prospects.
Robertson should bring back a quality return thanks to the crazy closer market this week. It started with All Star Mark Melancon getting a four year, $62 million deal with the Giants. Wade Davis was officially traded to the Cubs on Wednesday morning for outfielder Jorge Soler. There were rumors 24 hours ago about Aroldis Chapman being offered $92 million. Late on Wednesday, he signed a five year, $86 million to return to the Yankees.
That leaves Kenley Jansen as the big remaining closer on the free agent market. The Marlins are very much interested, but the Nationals must remain interested too. Of course, Robertson is likely appealing to many teams as well, and frankly, with the White Sox plans for 2017, they don’t need an elite closer.
TWINS RUMORS OF THE DAY
RULE 5 DISCUSSION
Early this morning, the Rule 5 draft will take place. In the past, there were three phases of the Rule 5 draft, the MLB phase, AAA and AA phases. This year, there will be the MLB and the Minor League Rule 5 drafts. Makes sense. In recent years, few players were taken from the AA portion of the draft.
The other change is that it will cost a team $100,000 to make a Rule 5 pick. It has been $50,000 for many years.
As Nick wrote yesterday, there are at least nine relief pitchers available to teams in the Rule 5 draft today who have hit triple digits with their fastball. Could the Twins be interested in one of them?
For the most part, people seem to believe this is a fairly weak group of prospects eligible to be selected. The Twins brass noted yesterday that they are receiving a lot of phone calls and interest in the #1 pick in today’s Rule 5 draft. I would not be surprised at all if the Twins trade that #1 pick.
Of course, we won’t know about the trade until after the draft is complete. It’s possible they could trade with a team lower in the draft in exchange for their pick and cash. There could be other trade options.
If you’re looking for names that the Twins might take in the Rule 5 draft, here is Baseball America’s list and here are five names (And two more) to watchaccording to Thrylos from his blog other day.
It’s hard to predict who the Twins might take with their Rule 5 pick. It’s probably even harder to figure out which Twins players the other organizations might have interest in. However, here are some guys I think have a chance of being selected from the Twins:
#1 - Aaron Slegers - The 6-10 right-hander was the Twins 5th round pick in 2013 out of Indiana. He has gradually moved up, one step a year, and he’s always been solid. He isn’t overpowering, but he has good control and a good start pitch-mix that he could certainly be intriguing.
#2 - DJ Baxendale - He’s been primarily a starting pitcher in since he was the Twins 10th round pick in 2012 out of Arkansas. However, he kind of stalled at AA. He moved up to AAA and into the Red Wings bullpen where is fastball/slider mix proved to be good. He doesn’t throw very hard.
#3 - Yorman Landa - I’m not certain if the hard-throwing right-hander is eligible or not. It was mentioned the other day that Landa had re-signed with the Twins. If he actually already put pen to paper, he would be another triple-digit right-hander available to teams in the Rule 5 draft.
#4 - Niko Goodrum - He could have become a free agent, but he chose to sign back with the Twins right after the season. He’s just kind of coming into his own and his raw athleticism turned into some decent numbers in 2016, despite missing the first two months with injury. He could be interesting to teams because he can play three or four positions on the field.
#5 - Stuart Turner - We’ve seen the value of defense at catcher in recent years escalate. For his shortcomings with the bat, Turner is very good behind the plate. I still believe that he has the approach at the plate and some pop to eventually hit a little bit. But his defense can make him a solid backup backstop.
#6 - Lewis Thorpe - He’s missed the last two seasons after Tommy John surgery, but he was a top prospect before the injury, and he is very talented. And he’s still just 21 years old. He is a question to be able to stick on a roster after so much missed time (and not pitching above Low A), but he has the upside to be very intriguing to teams.
We’ll get an article posted as soon as the Twins make their Rule 5 pick, and we’ll update it with any players that they should lose in the drafts. We’ll also update it should the Twins announce any trade regarding their Rule 5 pick. So be sure to check back.