- Dickerson adds to what’s becoming a large collection of candidates to play outfield, first base and DH for the Rays, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. That group includes Dickerson, Kevin Kiermaier, Desmond Jennings, Steven Souza, Brandon Guyer, James Loney, Steve Pearce and Logan Morrison. Of those, Dickerson, Pearce and Morrison are new additions, and Jennings essentially will be a new addition as well, having missed most of the 2015 season due to a knee injury. “It’s hard to predict how it’s going to actually turn out, but having this group gives us a lot of confidence that we’re going to score the runs that we need to this year,” says Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman.
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich says that, in addition to adding a potential closer in McGee, they’ve improved their defense and baserunning by replacing Dickerson with Gerardo Parra, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. Of course, they’ll be losing Dickerson and his career .299/.345/.534 line, a good one even in Colorado. “Offensively, I’m not sure how it improves our outfield,” Bridich says. “Corey is a very talented offensive player. The things he always needed to work on at the major-league level were his outfield defense and his baserunning. And I think those two places are two places of strength for Gerardo.”
- Dickerson for McGee is a “weird trade” from the Rockies’ perspective, FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron writes. The Rockies are giving up four years of control of a talented young hitter in exchange for two years of a reliever, and they could have moved Dickerson to first base, where they have a vacancy. And adding a short-term relief acquisition makes little sense for a team that doesn’t seem poised to contend, Cameron argues. For the Rays, Dickerson wasn’t exactly a necessity, but they added talent in the deal and can figure out what to do with their OF/1B/DH surplus later.
After two weeks of strong speculation about the possibility of the Rockies trading an outfielder, the club has announced the trade of left fielder Corey Dickerson and third base prospect Kevin Padlo to the Rays in exchange for left-hander Jake McGee and right-handed pitching prospect German Marquez.
The trade accomplishes multiple goals for the Rays, who will add a high-upside young bat in the form of Dickerson and also clear a bit of money from the payroll by shedding McGee’s $4.8MM salary in the deal. That’s not to suggest in any way that this is a salary dump, of course, as McGee has quietly emerged as one of the better left-handed relievers in the game in recent years.
Dickerson, 26, is not yet arbitration eligible and comes with four years of club control remaining. The former eighth-round pick missed most of the 2015 season as he dealt with plantar fasciitis in his left foot and, later, a broken rib, but he should be healthy enough to take regular at-bats for Tampa Bay in 2015. The left-handed hitter is a career .299/.345/.534 hitter with 39 home runs in just 925 big league plate appearances, although those impressive numbers do come with some caveats. For one, Dickerson has crushed right-handed pitching at a .313/.358/.577 clip in his time as a Major Leaguer, but lefties have given him a fair amount of difficulty, limiting to a .246/.299/.377 slash. Beyond that, there’s a nearly 400-point difference between his OPS at the hitter-friendly Coors Field and his mark on the road. Then again, as MLB.com’s Mike Petriello explained back in December, there’s reason to believe that the so-called “Coors Field Effect” is overblown, and Rockies hitters can excel once leaving the team even if they initially possessed gaudy home/road splits. Dickerson’s troubles against lefties, then, could be the greater cause for concern.
Defensively, Dickerson has spent the bulk of his Major League time in left field, though he’s seen 200 innings in center as well. Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating are down on his work in left, although his worst ratings in the eyes of those metrics came in 2015, when he endured multiple DL stints due to the aforementioned plantar fasciitis. It’s easy to imagine that such a painful condition in one’s left foot could hamper outfield range and lead to considerably diminished contributions with the glove.
From a broader perspective, it’s not entirely clear how Dickerson will fit with the Rays’ roster. Tampa Bay already has a wealth of outfielders, with Desmond Jennings slotted into left field, Kevin Kiermaier in center field and Steven Souza in right field. With Brandon Guyer and Mikie Mahtook as possible reserve options and the yet-formally-announced newcomer Steve Pearce also carrying significant corner outfield experience, the Rays didn’t have a clear need for an outfield upgrade. Then again, positional depth is a trademark of the Rays, and the team is never shy about adding controllable young talent — especially in instances like this, where the cost of acquisition (at least at the big league level) is a player with just two years of club control remaining.
The 29-year-old McGee missed the beginning of the 2015 campaign after undergoing offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from his left elbow. He returned in mid-May, however, and showed no ill effects from the operation, cruising to a 2.41 ERA with outstanding strikeout and walk rates of 11.6 and 1.9 per nine innings pitched, respectively. A partial tear in his left meniscus cost McGee another month later in the season, but he did return at the end of the year to fire 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Over the past four seasons, McGee has been terrific, pitching to a combined 2.58 ERA with 11.4 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 40.9 percent ground-ball rate. He’s exhibited dominance against not only left-handed batters in that time but right-handed opponents as well. In fact, lefties have actually hit McGee harder than opposite-handed opponents, although neither has mustered much in the way of meaningful offense against him.
McGee could enter the season as the favorite to close games in Colorado as right-hander Adam Ottavino recovers from 2015 Tommy John surgery. McGee has saved 25 games across the past two seasons and looked to have cemented himself as Tampa Bay’s primary ninth-inning option prior to last winter’s elbow surgery. (In his early-season absence, righty Brad Boxberger seized the role and never looked back.) The Rockies will have control of him for at least two seasons, although the possibility of course exists that Colorado will flip him either in July if the team is not contending or perhaps next offseason, when he gets another bump in his $4.8MM salary via arbitration and is only one year removed from free agency.
The Rockies have long been expected to trade an outfielder — in spite of the front office’s suggestion that a deal wasn’t a necessity — due to their own surplus of left-handed-hitting outfielders that was created upon signing Gerardo Parra to a three-year deal. In Dickerson, Parra, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies were carrying four somewhat redundant assets, with each of the three incumbent options representing an appealing option to clubs in search of a bat. Given Colorado’s own need for pitching, a trade certainly seemed plausible, even if, as GM Jeff Bridich said on several occasions, a deal was far from a given.
Turning to the prospects in the deal, Padlo was a fifth-round selection by the Rockies in the 2014 draft. Selected out of high school, Padlo hit .257/.372/.447 across two Class-A levels in 2015 and has amassed a composite batting line of .271/.388/.494 with 19 homers and 41 stolen bases early in his pro career. Baseball America rated Padlo 14th among Rockies farmhands last offseason, noting that he had “impressive power” for a high school player in the draft but has a thick lower half and can get flat-footed at third base, so he’ll need to work on his agility and be conscious about his weight.
Marquez, who was on the Rays’ 40-man roster, rated 25th among Tampa Bay farmhands, according to MLB.com’s most recent prospect rankings (a new version of the list will be out soon, as will Baseball America’s full Top 30). The 20-year-old Venezuelan right-hander that spent last season pitching at Class-A Advanced, where he worked to a 3.56 ERA with 6.7 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9 in 139 innings. MLB.com notes that Marquez has been consistently challenged by facing older competition — he was three years younger than the league average this past season, for instance — and has succeeded despite being one of the younger players in each league in which he’s pitched. Marquez offers a low- to mid-90s fastbal with the makings of an average or better curveball and a changeup that’s still a work in progress. His control has improved with each season in the minors as well.
Nonetheless, it’s somewhat surprising, in my eyes, that the Rockies felt comfortable parting with four years of Dickerson for two years of a reliever, however excellent he may be, and one mid-level pitching prospect. Colorado, of course, may see considerably more in Marquez than others in the industry, and they may also have had concerns about Dickerson’s diminished plate discipline and increased strikeout rate.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that Dickerson was going to the Rays in a trade (Twitter link). Joel Sherman of the New York Post added that McGee would go to Colorado, and prospects were also involved (Twitter link). Rosenthal further tweeted some additional details on the structure of the deal, and Jon Heyman reported that Marquez was going back to the Rays as well (on Twitter). Rosenthal later tweeted that Padlo was the fourth player in the trade.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
With Gerardo Parra on board, the Rockies have four left-handed-hitting outfielders. A trade may not be inevitable, but it isn’t hard to see how one would make sense, particularly given that Colorado is still in need of pitching. Here’s the latest:
- It may be that Corey Dickerson, rather than Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon, could be the likeliest player to be traded, a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests (Twitter links). There’s a sense from some in the game, he says, that the 26-year-old may be on the move this winter, due in part to the fact that he might not cost as much as his more established teammates.
- Though he hasn’t even yet cracked 1,000 MLB plate appearances, Dickerson does appear to offer the greatest value upside of the three trade candidates. That’s due in large part to the fact that he’s cheaper and subject to greater control than are the other two. But he also has shown some serious potential with the bat, putting up a .299/.345/.534 slash that is quite impressive even with Coors Field as a home park. On the other hand, defensive metrics haven’t been in love with his glove.
- As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported, and Rosenthal echoes, the Rays are still involved in chatter with Colorado. Topkin adds that he believes left-handed reliever Jake McGee could be the key name involved in talks from Tampa Bay’s side. That’s certainly an interesting development, as the Rockies have already done some bullpen work this winter and seem more in need of rotation help. Of course, there’s still room for improvement there and McGee is a premium arm. Notably, too, Topkin adds that the addition of Dickerson would likely force the Rays to pursue additional moves.
Red Sox players and personnel are keeping close tabs on Hanley Ramirez this winter, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Last year, the former shortstop failed spectacularly in his first season as an outfielder. At times, observers questioned Ramirez’s commitment to improving defensively. The club now plans to use him as the starting first baseman where he’ll be involved much more often than last year. It’s viewed as an easy defensive position but that can be misleading. While it’s true first base demands less raw athleticism than other skill positions like shortstop, it’s a highly technical position and requires precise footwork. Boston hopes to rebound from a cellar dwelling season, and their hopes depend on Ramirez.
Here’s more from the AL East:
- Boston outfielder Rusney Castillo believes he has made critical adjustments in preparation for 2016, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Castillo felt fatigued last season and has adopted a more rigorous training program this winter. He’s also tinkered with his swing to make it a bit shorter to the ball. Theoretically, that will help his contact rate.
- Steve Pearce’s signing with the Rays didn’t drive headlines like Yoenis Cespedes, but he’ll fill an important role in 2016, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Pearce will split time between first base and designated hitter. He won’t be a pure platoon bat despite a history of better numbers versus lefties.
- Lack of movement in Ian Desmond’s market has increased the possibility of a “pillow” contract with the Rays, suggests Topkin. Desmond is a Sarasota native which could be a lure. He’d represent a meaningful and highly visible upgrade to the Rays current roster. Brad Miller projects as the starting shortstop, but he could move to an outfield or utility role.
- Also per Topkin, in trade talks with the Cubs and Rockies, the Rays are focused more on Javier Baez and Corey Dickerson than Jorge Soler or Charlie Blackmon. Tampa Bay is shopping Jake McGee and starting pitching. Based on past rumors, Chicago and Colorado could be interested in either or both assets.
- Doug Fister could be a smart target for the Orioles, opines Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com. Dan Duquette has already said the club prefers to hang onto its first round draft pick. It would have to surrender that pick and perhaps $50MM to sign free agent Yovani Gallardo. Fister, meanwhile, has had a slightly superior career, would cost about $22MM total over two years, and didn’t receive a qualifying offer. Of course, there’s a reason why Fister is so much cheaper – he dealt with injury during a rough 2015 campaign. If the O’s stay in house, Melewski sees Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright, Vance Worley, and Chris Jones as rotation candidates.
The signing of outfielder Gerardo Parra to a three-year, $27.5MM contract has led many to believe that the Rockies will trade one of their three incumbent left-handed hitting outfielders: Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon or Carlos Gonzalez. However, GM Jeff Bridich doesn’t see a trade as a necessity, he said in an appearance on MLB Network’s Hot Stove this morning (via MLB.com’s Thomas Harding) and again at a conference call with reporters this afternoon (via the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders).
“I know it’s popular to expect a trade, but it’s tough to put odds on it right now,” said Bridich on the conference call. “The last thing I want to do is apologize for bringing more talent into this organization. … Adding another professional, talented young outfielder is overall a good thing. Having too much depth is a good thing.”
Regarding reports out of Venezuela which surfaced recently and said that Bridich told Gonzalez that he wouldn’t be traded, the GM explained to MLBN’s Matt Vasgersian and Harold Reynolds that his words were somewhat misrepresented by the foreign media, calling it “overblown.” Rather, the GM told his outfielder that any report lacking Bridich’s own name was probably little more than a rumor or speculation and shouldn’t be taken to heart. Bridich spoke highly of Gonzalez, noting that while he wasn’t originally signed by the Rox, he grew up in the organization and has become a core part of the team in Denver. “He’s been one of the cornerstone guys for us,” said Bridich on MLBN. “So you have to think long and hard before you even consider listening on a guy like that. Just as much as he would be a value to another team, he’s a value to us.”
Not only did Bridich speak highly of Gonzalez, but Parra, too, voiced excitement about playing alongside his longtime friend. Gonzalez and Parra have been Venezuelan Winter League teammates dating back to 2005 and were also teammates on Team Venezuela in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Saunders notes. “I feel really happy to play for the Rockies,” Parra said on today’s conference call with Saunders and other reporters. “I played against Colorado for many years and I like playing at Coors Field. I feel really, really happy to play with Carlos Gonzalez.”
While some might note that recent defensive metrics have called Parra’s glove into question, Bridich said in both columns that Parra “certainly improves our defense” whenever he takes the field. Not only that, Parra said he’d be comfortable playing center field, and Bridich agreed that Parra is capable of handling the position. Some could infer that said belief makes a trade of Blackmon, the incumbent center fielder more likely, though Bridich’s overall message in both appearances seems to be that a trade of an outfielder isn’t necessary.
That said, I have to admit that it’s personally difficult for me to envision a situation in which the Rockies enter the season with all four outfielders on the roster. Parra’s relative limitations against left-handed pitching eliminates the possibility of any sort of traditional platoon. And, considering the fact that Dickerson is a potential building block, it stands to reason that the team would want to maximize his playing time — especially coming off a season in which he lost quite a bit of time due to multiple DL stints resulting from plantar fasciitis. Blackmon was one of the Rockies’ better all-around players in 2015, and there’s no reason to expect that Gonzalez, who is owed $37MM over the next two seasons and is one of the team’s most productive hitters, would be in for a significant decrease in playing time.
That’s merely my own take on the situation, of course, and injuries could create opportunities for Parra to get into the lineup. The lengthy absences of Dickerson in 2015 and Gonzalez’s extensive injury history serve as reminders that there could very well be a need for another quality outfield option. Bridich, after all, said on MLB Network that he’s been getting calls “from the get-go” in what he characterizes as a “slow-moving” outfield market. And, despite the persistent interest and the addition of Parra, Colorado has yet to make a trade. However, Parra’s contract would make him a very expensive contingency plan if that’s the team’s ultimate vision for him.
Here’s the latest from around the league:
- With Chris Davis off the board, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post looks at the market for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. While Davidoff runs through five of Cespedes’ top suitors, he ultimately concludes that none of them are a perfect fit to offer Cespedes his asking price. Budget or an unwillingness to spend on a right-handed outfielder are barriers with most of the obvious matches. The Tigers are a reasonable dark horse candidate for Cespedes (or Justin Upton) due to owner Mike Illich’s penchant for surprise blockbusters. With his market seemingly growing stale, I wonder if a team like the Phillies could be baited into a bid. They have the money and wouldn’t have to surrender a draft pick to sign him. Preposterous? Probably.
- The 2016-2017 free agent pool is thin in the outfield, making a one-year deal a viable option for Cespedes and Upton, writes AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. Carlos Gomez and Jose Bautista are the top names available, although either player could be re-signed. After the top pair, the market thins out dramatically. Re-entering the market strikes me as an unnecessary risk for Cespedes and Upton. Both players had strong, healthy platform seasons. Cespedes in particular stands to lose out if he’s impatient. He isn’t tied to a qualifying offer, and it’s hard to imagine him improving upon a 6.7 WAR season.
- Speaking of dark horse buyers, the Rays could jump in the market for a player like Upton, Ian Desmond, Pedro Alvarez, or Steve Pearce, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays are still shopping their starting pitching, but the well-stocked free agent market may prove too tempting. Any free agent addition would require require owner Stuart Sternberg’s approval, but he’s been on board with opportunistic additions in the past. Topkin also lists Marlon Byrd, Justin Morneau, and David Murphy as possible fits. The club would like to get out from under some of the $8MM owed to James Loney.
- The Rockies have three obvious issues, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. The outfield is crowded by the addition of Gerardo Parra. The club seemingly would like to trade one or more of Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, and Corey Dickerson, presumably to solve their second problem – a lack of pitching depth and talent. The players themselves ask if Saunders if the Rockies will acquire pitching. So far, they’ve sat out the free agent market. The Rays are the most obvious sellers in the trade market. Last but not least, Jose Reyes’ future with the club is completely uncertain. He played poorly after joining the Rockies and currently faces criminal charges and possible jail time in relation to domestic abuse charges. He’s also a suspension candidate under the league’s new domestic violence policy.
The National League has rather a pronounced divide between its better teams and its anticipated bottom-dwellers, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark writes, and that poses a significant problem. While commissioner Rob Manfred says that the league’s less talented clubs are in a routine phase of the natural winning/rebuilding cycle, some rival executives believe that at least some organizations are looking to strip down their MLB rosters, pursue top draft picks, and aim for a relatively distant competitive timeline. There are a host of interesting quotes, particularly from Manfred, who says that outright tanking efforts would be “self-correcting” in that, “if too many teams try to follow this strategy, the effectiveness of that strategy will be naturally undermined.” The piece is well worth a read.
Here’s the latest out of the N.L.:
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich has been in touch with veteran outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to tell him not to pay any heed to trade rumors, as Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. While that’s hardly any guarantee, multiple rival GMs say they have received the impression that Colorado will not move its most recognizable player this winter, Jon Heyman tweets. Nevertheless, the recent signing of Gerardo Parra still seemingly leaves the club with good cause to move an outfielder. If it isn’t CarGo, of course, then the two obvious candidates would be Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson.
- Chances are “slim” that the Cubs will make another major addition before the season, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said today, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports on Twitter. We’ve heard plenty of suggestions of ways Chicago could look to add yet more impact after an already-busy offseason, but it certainly doesn’t appear as if the club really needs to do anything to its roster at this point.
- The Reds are still working on various trade scenarios, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via TwitLonger). Jay Bruce seems the most plausible trade piece, Crasnick indicates, but his market is complicated by Colorado’s trio of possible left-handed bats for sale. And he arguably hasn’t performed to the standard of his rather expensive contract in recent years. “Once you start down this road, it is important to continue with the tough decisions and not pull up in the middle of the project,” said GM Dick Williams. “That being said, we cannot force deals so I cannot guarantee we will do more.’’
- New Phillies hurler Mark Appel has a lot to prove, Crasnick writes. But the 24-year-old says he is determined and able to live up to his former billing as a top-end pitching prospect.
With the news that the Rockies have agreed to sign Gerardo Parra to join an already heavily-left-handed outfield mix, it seems increasingly likely that Colorado will strike a deal involving one of its current players. We’ve heard of wide-ranging possible matches for Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, and Corey Dickerson, any of whom could in theory be moved.
Here are the latest rumors on the Colorado outfield situation now that Parra is in the fold:
- The Tigers have also been in contact with the Rockies regarding their outfielders, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. No deal between the two sides is close, however, and it’s unclear which of Blackmon, Dickerson or Gonzalez intrigues Detroit the most at this juncture.
- The Orioles are still participating in “ongoing trade talks” with the Rockies regarding outfielders, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Baltimore has been connected previously to Gonzalez, though it seems plausible to think that any of the Rockies’ outfield trade chips could hold interest.
- While the Angels have long seemed a plausible trade partner with Colorado, they have not been in contact on outfielders for several weeks, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Los Angeles has previously been called at least a hypothetical match on Blackmon, in particular. The team is still looking for a corner outfielder, though it seems possible the club could run out a platoon of Craig Gentry and Daniel Nava if it can’t line up an upgrade at a reasonable price.
- It’s interesting to wonder whether Colorado has already decided which (if any) of its outfielders it intends to move. There are several considerations at play, of course, but one simple truth is that the club needs someone to play center field next year. Blackmon took most of the reps up the middle last year, so parting with him could be extra painful — unless the team simply plans to use Parra there. But he has seen declining metrics that suggest a more challenging assignment may not be the best idea. And while both Gonzalez and Dickerson have appeared in center previously, neither looks like a good bet to receive regular time in that spot. I’d add, also, that the outfield market has changed quite a bit in recent weeks. Clubs like the Royals (Alex Gordon), Giants (Denard Span), and Nationals (Ben Revere) have made additions that either take them out of the market altogether or significantly reduce their need.
The Rockies have officially announced a three-year, $27.5MM deal with outfielder Gerardo Parra. The contract includes a club option for a fourth year at $12MM, which comes with a $1.5MM buyout.
Parra, a client of Octagon, will earn $26MM over the first three years of the deal. He gets $8MM for the coming season, $8MM again in 2017, and then $10MM in the final season.
In Parra, who’ll turn 29 early in the season, the Rox will pick up a young, athletic player whose performance has been somewhat difficult to judge. As I explained in late August of last year, a huge first-half performance (combined with his age) made a four-year guarantee and/or ten-plus-million AAV seem plausible at one point.
But Parra tailed off down the stretch, ending the year with a .291/.328/.452 slash. That’s still good, of course, but is hardly the breakout that had seemed in the offing as of late summer. And he’s been more of an average to slightly-below-average offensive producer for most of his career. It’s worth noting, too, that the left-handed-hitting Parra has also tended to carry significant platoon splits.
It’s at least as hard to peg Parra from a defensive perspective. He became something of a sabermetric darling back in 2013, when he turned in a monster year with the glove (29.5 UZR, 41 DRS). That had followed several years of above-average metrics, seeming to suggest that Parra was one of the game’s best corner outfielders (if not also a good center fielder as well). But both of those major defensive rating systems have identified a significant drop-off in each of the last two seasons, with Parra rating as a well-below-average performer last season.
Ultimately, the contract comes in just shy of the three-year, $27MM prediction made by MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes before the hot stove kicked into gear this winter. While Parra always seemed to occupy a nice niche in this market, drawing wide appeal with his sturdy reputation and lower price tag, it is still notable that he was able to meet expectations despite the fact that the position-player market has been slow to develop.
Obviously, it’s an interesting strategy for Colorado to pursue, as the team could certainly have relied on its in-house options for the coming season. Parra will join a depth chart that already features left-handed-hitting outfielders Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, and Corey Dickerson, possibly suggesting that one of those players could end up on the move. Certainly, it’s not a minor signing for this organization, which hadn’t given out a deal of this magnitude since the pre-2012 Michael Cuddyer contract.
Signing a replacement for one of the team’s incumbent bats, in concert with a trade to acquire pitching, has long seemed an intriguing possibility, and it could be that GM Jeff Bridich is employing just such an approach here. He addressed that general concept in a recent interview on the MLBTR Podcast (at about the 13-minute mark), saying that it could be “part of a strategy” but noting that it’s still “incumbent upon us to know when a good baseball trade is a good baseball trade” — regardless of which direction the pitchers and position players were headed.
The Phillies only hired new GM Matt Klentak in late October, but he’s already been through a Winter Meetings and executed a big trade (that of Ken Giles to the Astros). In a Q+A, he tells MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki that he’s happy with the Giles deal (in which the Phillies received Vincent Velasquez and Mark Appel), and says that as the Phillies continue their rebuild, they’re confident that they’ll be able to supplement their growing collection of young pitching with hitters acquired from outside the organization. “Hitters generally regard our park as a good place to play,” he says. “I know that our ownership is very committed — and will be in the future — to bringing in the right players and the top-caliber players to help us.” Here’s more from the National League.
- The Dodgers still haven’t added any top-flight starting pitching to offset the loss of Zack Greinke, but president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says he is now happy with the organization’s depth, Bill Plunkett writes for Baseball America. “This offseason is different than last in that going into next year, we feel much better about our pitching depth that will be in (Triple-A) Oklahoma City,” says Friedman. “We have a number of guys that we like that will be there and that is a big difference for us next year compared to this year just in terms of the depth that we’ll have on hand.” Oklahoma City’s rotation will likely feature top prospects Julio Urias and Jose De Leon, along with 40-man members Jharel Cotton and Ross Stripling.
- As FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweeted earlier this week, the Cardinals have spoken with the Rockies about a possible trade involving at least one Rockies outfielder. Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (and formerly of the Denver Post) writes that it’s probably more realistic that the Cardinals could pursue Corey Dickerson or Charlie Blackmon rather than Carlos Gonzalez, even though both Dickerson and Blackmon have negatives (for Dickerson, a weak arm; for Blackmon, poor numbers away from Coors Field). Hochman guesses that the Rockies’ end of a potential deal would likely begin with first baseman Matt Adams.