Winter Meetings 2018: Rumors and Speculation

Snodgrass'Muff

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We're finally at the Winter Meetings and Dombrowski is almost certainly fixin' to wheel and deal a bit. The Sox need a big bat first and foremost, so expect to hear plenty of rumors about J.D. Martinez and a number of potential trades. First one I've seen is that the Sox are looking at Kyle Schwarber.

https://sports.yahoo.com/report-red-sox-showing-interest-165757606.html

Giancarlo Stanton‘s trade to the Yankees on Saturday, while still unofficial as of Sunday morning, sent ripple effects through the rest of the league. Those who didn’t manage to trade for the Marlins’ slugger (or two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, for that matter) appear to be kicking the tires on every other viable player, as is the nature of the Hot Stove season. Scott Lauber of ESPN Boston reports that the Red Sox have expressed interest in Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber, whom they envision as a strong asset at DH.
Of course, they also have a quote from Theo that puts a bit of a damper on the idea.

[Schwarber] has got certain toughness and leadership qualities that are hard to find that we don’t necessarily have in surplus and in abundance in the clubhouse,” Epstein said. “He has a certain energy and grit and ability to bring people together, and that’s important. The biggest thing is his bat. We think he’s the type of offensive player who you build around along with a couple other guys.
That should probably put the kibosh on any thoughts of JBJ for Schwarber at least.
 

BigPapiMPD34

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Anyone else here at the Winter Meetings? Trying to figure out what the best events are to attend and where all the action is. Seems like nothing going on yet other than media gathered in the hotel lobby. (Sorry if this isn't the right place to post this).
 

E5 Yaz

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Anyone else here at the Winter Meetings? Trying to figure out what the best events are to attend and where all the action is. Seems like nothing going on yet other than media gathered in the hotel lobby. (Sorry if this isn't the right place to post this).
Hotel lobbies and bars. You'll get more listening in one the media after their work hours then you will trying to chase down GMs and agents
 

BestGameEvah

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We're finally at the Winter Meetings and Dombrowski is almost certainly fixin' to wheel and deal a bit. The Sox need a big bat first and foremost, so expect to hear plenty of rumors about J.D. Martinez and a number of potential trades. First one I've seen is that the Sox are looking at Kyle Schwarber.

https://sports.yahoo.com/report-red-sox-showing-interest-165757606.html



Of course, they also have a quote from Theo that puts a bit of a damper on the idea.



That should probably put the kibosh on any thoughts of JBJ for Schwarber at least.
It's NOT JBJ the Cubs are interested in.
It's Benny!
Schwarber training hard!
 

BaseballJones

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Mildly intersted in Schwarber. Solid last four months of the season (22 hr, .244/.336/.557/.893 in June-Sept). Big lefty bat, terrific power. Would not be a bad guy to get for DH but I don't want to spend much to get him.

I really expect something from DD that surprises many of us. He is a definite go-getter. Knows what he wants and then goes after it. I'm really interested to see what that happens to be this offseason.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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Reminds me of Big Panda working out last year. I will pass. The guy hit what .240?
No way do I trade one of the B's for him.
We're discounting the idea based on batting average? Really?

Schwarber was recovering from a major knee injury and struggled early upon returning, but after about a 2 week stint in the minors to get his swing right he came back an posted a 131 wRC+ and had 30 HR on the year. That's very similar to his 131 wRC+ from 2015 in a partial season. There's risk there, but I think there's a decent chance he's about a 30% better than league average bat who can hit 30 HR annually, and that would go a long way toward fixing what was wrong with the Red Sox offense in 2017.
 
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Snodgrass'Muff

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If Theo would swap Schwarber for JBJ straight up, I'd make that deal. Not sure he would, given the rumors that he's sniffing around for Benintendi. The more interesting question for me is what would the Cubs have to add to Schwarber to make a trade for Benintendi palatable? I can't think of one player who makes it work for me. At least, not one who is realistic.

Maybe something like Schwarber and Ian Happ gets it close, but I'd like to see a bit more coming back. Perhaps Dombrowski could pry Victor Caratini loose if he added Swihart in? Theo drafted Swihart and might be willing to bet on the athleticism and his brief bounce back in Dominican fall ball. Might be too convoluted, but Theo always did love his complicated offers.
 

moondog80

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The move would be Benintendi to CF and not Betts in CF/Benny in RF?

Either way, this means hello to Martinez. There will be a drop in defense, but because of Fenway it won't be as much for the Sox as it would for other teams, so there is an efficiency there. Part of Benny's usefullness was being wasted in LF.

EDIT: Or, I suppose, hello to Schwarber.
 
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Murderer's Crow

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If Theo would swap Schwarber for JBJ straight up, I'd make that deal. Not sure he would, given the rumors that he's sniffing around for Benintendi. The more interesting question for me is what would the Cubs have to add to Schwarber to make a trade for Benintendi palatable? I can't think of one player who makes it work for me. At least, not one who is realistic.

Maybe something like Schwarber and Ian Happ gets it close, but I'd like to see a bit more coming back. Perhaps Dombrowski could pry Victor Caratini loose if he added Swihart in? Theo drafted Swihart and might be willing to bet on the athleticism and his brief bounce back in Dominican fall ball. Might be too convoluted, but Theo always did love his complicated offers.
That would be really intriguing but I'd be curious to understand why DD might think Schwarber is more attractive than spending on free agents who offer similar power and would also be DH types. Is Schwarber for JBJ or Ben going to offer more production than Ben/JBJ + a DH type with pop (e.g. LoMo, Frazier)?
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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That would be really intriguing but I'd be curious to understand why DD might think Schwarber is more attractive than spending on free agents who offer similar power and would also be DH types. Is Schwarber for JBJ or Ben going to offer more production than Ben/JBJ + a DH type with pop (e.g. LoMo, Frazier)?
I guess it depends on if this is in place of signing Martinez or in addition to. Just looking at best case scenario for the Sox (lesser player moved):

JBJ (maybe with a B- or C+ prospect if Theo isn't that high on JBJ) for Schwarber, then sign Martinez and you get a lineup of...

Betts (RF), Benintendi (CF), Martinez (LF), Schwarber (1B/DH), Hanley (1B/DH), Devers (3B), Bogaerts (SS), Pedroia (2B), Vazquez(C.).

I think that's probably good enough to compete for the division.
 

Murderer's Crow

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I guess it depends on if this is in place of signing Martinez or in addition to. Just looking at best case scenario for the Sox (lesser player moved):

JBJ (maybe with a B- or C+ prospect if Theo isn't that high on JBJ) for Schwarber, then sign Martinez and you get a lineup of...

Betts (RF), Benintendi (CF), Martinez (LF), Schwarber (1B/DH), Hanley (1B/DH), Devers (3B), Bogaerts (SS), Pedroia (2B), Vazquez(C.).

I think that's probably good enough to compete for the division.
It would be but going the extra mile for Abreu is probably the safer and better route, IMO. If Schwarb costs a premier young kid, then why not pull Abreu for a slightly better package.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
The move would be Benintendi to CF and not Betts in CF/Benny in RF?
Betts has the better arm of the two (though Beni's isn't bad), and in Fenway RF requires about as much range as CF. Besides, Betts has gotten comfortable in Fenway RF and is playing it as well as it's ever been played. If it ain't broke, etc.

That would be really intriguing but I'd be curious to understand why DD might think Schwarber is more attractive than spending on free agents who offer similar power and would also be DH types. Is Schwarber for JBJ or Ben going to offer more production than Ben/JBJ + a DH type with pop (e.g. LoMo, Frazier)?
LoMo (.188 career ISO, .433 career SLG) and Frazier (.213/.459) do not quite offer "similar power" to Schwarber (.249/.479). Not to mention that Schwarber, still a few months shy of age 25, could have some further power upside, while LoMo and Frazier at past 30 are likely to trend downward if anything.

That doesn't answer the question of whether it's better to get Schwarber's power on the FA market instead of giving up talent for it, but as Snod points out, that's not necessarily an either/or.
 

BaseballJones

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They could deal JBJ for Schwarber, sign Martinez, then trade Hanley, a prospect, and eat a lot of Hanley's $$ for a 1b like, say, Cabrera.

Holy crap.

RF Betts (25-30 hr)
CF Benintendi (20-25 hr)
1b Cabrera (25-35 hr)
LF Martinez (35 hr)
DH Schwarber (30-35 hr)
SS Bogaerts (10-15 hr?)
3b Devers (15-20 hr)
C Vazquez (5-10 hr)
2b fill in / Pedroia

That improves the team's power output considerably. Also...uh....costs a fortune but hey, so what!?
 

moondog80

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They could deal JBJ for Schwarber, sign Martinez, then trade Hanley, a prospect, and eat a lot of Hanley's $$ for a 1b like, say, Cabrera.

Holy crap.

RF Betts (25-30 hr)
CF Benintendi (20-25 hr)
1b Cabrera (25-35 hr)
LF Martinez (35 hr)
DH Schwarber (30-35 hr)
SS Bogaerts (10-15 hr?)
3b Devers (15-20 hr)
C Vazquez (5-10 hr)
2b fill in / Pedroia

That improves the team's power output considerably. Also...uh....costs a fortune but hey, so what!?

You had me until eating Hanley's $$ AND taking on Cabrera's contract. But I'm in on JD and Schwarber.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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It would be but going the extra mile for Abreu is probably the safer and better route, IMO. If Schwarb costs a premier young kid, then why not pull Abreu for a slightly better package.
Because Schwarber is far younger and less likely to have his production get worse going forward. Plus he has 4 years of control and could, conceivably, be part of the team they build with their next rebuild. Hell, moving forward with Betts, Benintendi, Schwarber and Devers as your core four makes that rebuild a lot easier.
 

simplicio

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You had me until eating Hanley's $$ AND taking on Cabrera's contract. But I'm in on JD and Schwarber.
Yeah, if you call Detroit and say Hanley for Miggy straight up, what happens?

Not sure I'd want that though, I'd rather muddle through the rest of Hanley's deal without taking on more dead weight.
 

RedOctober3829

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They could deal JBJ for Schwarber, sign Martinez, then trade Hanley, a prospect, and eat a lot of Hanley's $$ for a 1b like, say, Cabrera.

Holy crap.

RF Betts (25-30 hr)
CF Benintendi (20-25 hr)
1b Cabrera (25-35 hr)
LF Martinez (35 hr)
DH Schwarber (30-35 hr)
SS Bogaerts (10-15 hr?)
3b Devers (15-20 hr)
C Vazquez (5-10 hr)
2b fill in / Pedroia

That improves the team's power output considerably. Also...uh....costs a fortune but hey, so what!?
The Red Sox would owe Cabrera $190 million over the next 7 seasons if they took on all his money. They sure as hell wouldn't be eating Hanley's money in that deal as well. The prospect of paying Cabrera $30-$32 million a year for the rest of his 30's is scary.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
The Red Sox would owe Cabrera $190 million over the next 7 seasons if they took on all his money. They sure as hell wouldn't be eating Hanley's money in that deal as well. The prospect of paying Cabrera $30-$32 million a year for the rest of his 30's is scary.
And totally unnecessary. It's not a given that Cabrera will be a better player than Hanley for the next two years, for one thing. Likely, perhaps, but not a given. They were essentially identical in value this past year. And then there's the rest of Cabrera's contract to worry about. Hanley for Miggy one-up is arguably a bad trade for the Sox, never mind throwing a prospect in.

tl/dr: post #23.
 

MikeM

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Mets are making Matt Harvey available for a reliever. Harvey is entering the final year of arb and will be a FA. So is Joe Kelly. Would anyone do a Kelly-for-Harvey swap?
Was speculating that myself last night. I wouldn't be shocked in the least to see Kelly dealt this week/winter (we have limited trade pieces and Kelly is a decent upside play for a team not looking to spend big in FA), but wasn't 100% sold on Harvey as the guy you do that one on. Who really looked to be a serious non-tender consideration before the Mets picked that up.

A convincing argument on the bounce back potential from his recent complete suck might sway me though.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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In a cocaine heartbeat.
His return from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery (removing the top rib on that side) did not go well.

6.70 ERA, 6.37 FIP, 5.39 xFIP, a 6.51 K/9, and a 4.56 BB/9. He was awful. There's a reason they'll give him up for a reliever. He might be fully cooked.

Recovery from this surgery has very little track record (it's what Thornburg had, btw) and even after surgery, sometimes patients have no relief of their symptoms.

I'm not high on Kelly, but I want nothing to do with burning a roster spot on Matt Harvey.
 

Tyrone Biggums

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His return from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery (removing the top rib on that side) did not go well.

6.70 ERA, 6.37 FIP, 5.39 xFIP, a 6.51 K/9, and a 4.56 BB/9. He was awful. There's a reason they'll give him up for a reliever. He might be fully cooked.

Recovery from this surgery has very little track record (it's what Thornburg had, btw) and even after surgery, sometimes patients have no relief of their symptoms.

I'm not high on Kelly, but I want nothing to do with burning a roster spot on Matt Harvey.
I'd deal Barnes for him easy. Harvey's return as you mentioned didn't go well. However, he's still got a ton of talent and in the walk year of his deal. If they're only asking for a RP for Matz Wheeler or Harvey then pull the trigger. Would love to see Barnes off this team.

As for trading JBJ. If you're doing that you might as well trade him for some good prospects then sign a guy like Austin Jackson, Maybin or move Benny to CF and sign a corner outfielder in free agency not named JD. He's going to cost way too much money and too much term on that contract.
 

Murderer's Crow

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His return from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery (removing the top rib on that side) did not go well.

6.70 ERA, 6.37 FIP, 5.39 xFIP, a 6.51 K/9, and a 4.56 BB/9. He was awful. There's a reason they'll give him up for a reliever. He might be fully cooked.

Recovery from this surgery has very little track record (it's what Thornburg had, btw) and even after surgery, sometimes patients have no relief of their symptoms.

I'm not high on Kelly, but I want nothing to do with burning a roster spot on Matt Harvey.
I agree with this but Harvey didn't show signs of problems stemming from his injury. All of his stuff was there. There is at least a non-zero chance that his problems stemmed from clubhouse issues and mechanical problems that couldn't be fixed by a piss-poor Mets coaching staff.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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I agree with this but Harvey didn't show signs of problems stemming from his injury. All of his stuff was there. There is at least a non-zero chance that his problems stemmed from clubhouse issues and mechanical problems that couldn't be fixed by a piss-poor Mets coaching staff.
What indications did you see that his stuff was back?

Strikeout rate was down and in addition to that....

Velocity was down:



For vertical movement his slider, curve and changeup all moved toward zero. Likely a result of being thrown softer:



And his slider lost horizontal movement:

 

chawson

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Kelly had a .222 wOBA against RHH last year, which is elite and better than Kahnle and Robertson. He’s not cheap in his final year of arb, but he’s a true weapon in the bullpen.
 

chawson

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I think JBJ is as good as gone.

There are reports the Royals are interested, though the options there aren't super enticing. Duffy is an interesting pitcher, though RHH crush him. Scott Alexander had an elite GB% last year and is under five years control. So is Merrifield, who'd be a fine super sub though doubtful he's as good as last year.

If DD trades JBJ for Herrera or Soria I'm becoming a Padres fan.
 

KarlHungus

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Is there a fit here with the Padres for Wil Myers? Could slot in at either first base or left field, still young (26) with power.
 

MRBOSTONSPORTS

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I think JBJ is as good as gone.

There are reports the Royals are interested, though the options there aren't super enticing. Duffy is an interesting pitcher, though RHH crush him. Scott Alexander had an elite GB% last year and is under five years control. So is Merrifield, who'd be a fine super sub though doubtful he's as good as last year.

If DD trades JBJ for Herrera or Soria I'm becoming a Padres fan.
Red Sox should not trade JBJ. Jackie Bradley is the best centerfielder I ever saw, plus isn't his War really high because of his defense?
 

Hank Scorpio

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I’m not understanding in what world is JBJ for Abreu an overpay, but JBJ for Schwarber “intriguing”.

Yes, Schwarber is young and has power, but that aside, he sucks. A lot.
 

Murderer's Crow

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What indications did you see that his stuff was back?

Strikeout rate was down and in addition to that....

Velocity was down:



For vertical movement his slider, curve and changeup all moved toward zero. Likely a result of being thrown softer:



And his slider lost horizontal movement:

You just posted a bunch of charts that show there wasn't much of a change from his career norms. And Yes, some slight downtick in velo but not a fall to 91mph from 96. His avg velo was in the 94-95 range.

My overall point on Harvey was in agreement with you, he's not very good and there's a ton of risk. However, there were still some signs that he's not a lost cause paired up with playing for one of the worst orgs in baseball.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Is there a fit here with the Padres for Wil Myers? Could slot in at either first base or left field, still young (26) with power.
Why are the Padres going to trade Wil Myers? Like you say he's young. He's signed long term (through 2022 with a club option for 2023). Seems to me they like the guy and they're in no danger of payroll getting unwieldy.
 

BaseballJones

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Red Sox should not trade JBJ. Jackie Bradley is the best centerfielder I ever saw, plus isn't his War really high because of his defense?
At some point the Sox' kids are going to cost a lot of money. JBJ is probably less valuable than Betts, Benintendi, and maybe even Bogaerts. So given the cost of Price and, likely, a re-signed Sale, SOMEONE has to go. Especially if they're going to take on another huge contract or two.

I think that's the thinking anyway.
 

Rasputin

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At some point the Sox' kids are going to cost a lot of money. JBJ is probably less valuable than Betts, Benintendi, and maybe even Bogaerts. So given the cost of Price and, likely, a re-signed Sale, SOMEONE has to go. Especially if they're going to take on another huge contract or two.

I think that's the thinking anyway.
I'm sure it is, and the counter-thinking is that Bradley is still pretty cheap and under control through 2020 so the time to move him is either later or when there's someone who makes the team better given all the other variables.
 

chawson

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At some point the Sox' kids are going to cost a lot of money. JBJ is probably less valuable than Betts, Benintendi, and maybe even Bogaerts. So given the cost of Price and, likely, a re-signed Sale, SOMEONE has to go. Especially if they're going to take on another huge contract or two.

I think that's the thinking anyway.
The question with Benintendi is whether he'll hit at Fenway. He threw up a very pedestrian .258/.329/.382 line at home last year, good for an 80 wRC+. It was his first year and he gets a pass, but that's one of the worst home marks in all of baseball.

Of course, Bradley was even worse at Fenway last year, but was exceptional the two years prior.
 

MikeM

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I'm not sold at this point that Chicago actually goes in on a Bradley for Schwarber trade.

Considering the black hole'ish level of potential suck we could see in the bottom half of our lineup as constructed (even after we acquire whatever 1B/DH to upgrade the 4 hole), I wouldn't be completely shocked to see Bradley moved very early for the best prospect package DD can find though. Given if he has no real interest in gambling on a JBJ rebound anyway it might be easier to execute an overall plan of attack with more trade pieces already in hand and asap.
 

BaseballJones

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I'm sure it is, and the counter-thinking is that Bradley is still pretty cheap and under control through 2020 so the time to move him is either later or when there's someone who makes the team better given all the other variables.
As always...depends on what you can get for him. That same contract situation that makes him really valuable now to the Sox ALSO makes him really valuable to someone else.
 

koufax37

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Bradley+ for Abreu, sign Martinez and we have added a lot more RH Power than the MFYs.

The interesting thing is going to be how aggressively we go after RH relievers with the idea of neutralizing the Stanton/Judge/Sanchez core. Someone threw out Addison Reed's numbers against Stanton (which while SSS are impressive), and I think understanding the type of pitches/pitchers that the Twin Towers are likely to struggle against and making sure you have them in your bullpen in October is key. Not quite the ROOGY thing but getting close. I'm curious how each will perform against a healthy Carson Smith.

Like A-Rod before them, Stanton and Judge both punish mistakes from average pitchers all through the summer, but I think are less likely than a Bregman to take Sale/Sale/Jansen/Kershaw deep in the same post season, and I am sure MLB team analytics departments have a much deeper understanding of which batters succeed on good pitches vs feast on mistakes (both valuable skills, but with different applications). But circling back to the thread subject, I hope that the Red Sox are putting some aggressive analysis into bullpen construction to combat the Yankess RHB Power Trio that we will be facing for the next five years (possibly 10) in between Stanton DL stints.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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You just posted a bunch of charts that show there wasn't much of a change from his career norms. And Yes, some slight downtick in velo but not a fall to 91mph from 96. His avg velo was in the 94-95 range.

My overall point on Harvey was in agreement with you, he's not very good and there's a ton of risk. However, there were still some signs that he's not a lost cause paired up with playing for one of the worst orgs in baseball.
Keep in mind that Harvey entered the majors at age 23 and that his velocity may not have been a finished product yet. I'd argue that the 2013 number is probably closer to what we should be comparing against than his 2011. His 2016 had a significant drop because that's when the injury started plaguing him.

He came back in 2015 from his Tommy John surgery and got nearly back to that level, then his velocity dropped that next year and was even further down after the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery. Sure, it's possible he just needs to build up his arm strength again. But I want no part of making a bet on that when the Sox have a very specific 2 year window left.

And it's not even about the cost. In a vacuum, I'd swap Barnes for him in a heartbeat. It's about the roster spot. If he had less than 5 years of service time and they could option him down a la Allen Craig to let him work on it, okay fine. But I don't think that's an option here. Let someone else take the risk.