Teams Find Relief In Many Forms
The theme of the 2017 Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista Florida has been relief. The New York Yankees used the meetings as a way to improve while relieving the burden of the competitive balance tax.
The Miami Marlins reduced their payroll and by relieving themselves of two of their biggest stars. The Detroit Tigers shed another veteran to relieve their payroll burden.
Through two trades the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians each relieved themselves of the bounds of MLB’s International Bonus Pools.
Finally, the market for relievers moved swiftly over the meeting’s three days.
On Monday, the Yankees and Marlins finalized the Giancarlo Stanton deal. The Marlins sent Stanton and cash to the Yankees. In return the Marlins received Starlin Castro minor league right-handed pitcher Jorge Guzman and minor league infielder Jose Devers. The Marlins will send the Yankees $30MM if Stanton doesn’t opt out of his deal. The Yankees were able to remain under the competitive balance tax with the deal.
On Tuesday, the Yankees further added flexibility for additional off-season spending by dealing third baseman Chase Headley and reliever Bryan Mitchell to the San Diego Padres in exchange for outfielder Jabari Blash.
After the deals with the Marlins and Padres the Yankees are approximately $26MM under the competitive tax threshold.
Marlins Move Their Stars, Reduce Payroll:
The goal for the Miami Marlins this off-season was to reduce payroll for 2018 from a projected $132MM to between $55MM and $75MM based on varying reports.
They were able to trim that number by $10.8MM by dealing Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners. The aforementioned trade of Giancarlo Stanton wiped out another $25MM. Unfortunately, they had to take back $10.9MM of Castro’s contract.
On Wednesday, Miami moved Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for four prospects (deal pending physicals). The Marlins will reportedly receive pitchers Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, and Daniel Castano along with outfielder Magneuris Sierra.
The move enables the Marlins to remove another $10.9MM which reduces their projected payroll to $96.2MM.
Tigers Shed Another Veteran:
Last season the Detroit Tigers began dismantling their roster by dealing J.D. Martinez (Arizona), Justin Verlander (Astros), Justin Upton(Angels), and others. On Wednesday night, they traded Ian Kinsler to the Los Angeles Angels for a pair of prospects. Kinsler, slated to make $11MM in 2018 reduces the Tigers projected payroll to $123MM down from $200MM in 2017.
When the Seattle Mariners were chasing Shohei Ohtani they acquired international spending slots in two separate deals. The international bonus slots came in a deal with the Chicago White Sox in exchange for reliever Thyago Vieira and as part of the Dee Gordon trade.
Relief Market Moves Rapidly:
The relief pitching market moved swiftly during the week. Several deals were announced and some are pending physicals.
- Juan Nicasio – Seattle Mariners – 2yrs/$17MM
- Joe Smith – Houston Astros (pending physical) – 2yr/$unknown
- Luke Gregerson – St. Louis Cardinald – 2yrs/$11MM
- Pat Neshek – Philadelphia Phillies – 2yrs/$16.25MM
- Anthony Swarzak – New York Mets (pending physical) – 2yrs/$14MM
- Jake McGee – Colorado Rockies – 3yrs/$27MM
- Bryan Shaw – Colorado Rockies – 3yrs /$27MM
- Tommy Hunter – Philadelphia Phillies – 2yrs/$18MM
- Brandon Morrow – Chicago Cubs – 2yrs/$21MM
Smyly signed a 2-year deal worth $10MM with the Chicago Cubs and Michael Pineada signed for the same with the Minnesota Twins.
The Tampa Bay Rays made a pair of trades, both for left-handed hitting middle infielders. They acquired Joey Wendle from the Oakland Athletics for a player to be named later. Later, they acquired Ryan Schimpf from the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor league infielder Deion Tansel.