Peter Gammons (in his latest piece for his GammonsDaily.com website) looks back at five of the major storylines coming out of the Winter Meetings, including prices in the reliever market, teams dealing prospects and how the Red Sox have established a clear window to aim for at least one World Series title between now and the end of the decade. Gammons also includes a few hot stove tidbits about the Sox…
- Free agent slugger Jose Bautista “wanted to work something out” with the Red Sox but president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told Bautista’s agent that the Sox were out of payroll space. Boston has over $178.3MM committed to just 10 players on the 2017 roster, plus Rusney Castillo and Allen Craig. Adding Bautista on a notable salary would again put the Sox over the luxury tax threshold, putting the team in line for a sizeable penalty.
- Dombrowski “refused to talk about” Blake Swihart with several teams that were interested in the former top prospect. Swihart is coming off a tough 2016 campaign that included a demotion to Triple-A, a position switch from catcher to left field due to defensive issues and a severe ankle injury that ended his season in June. Still, since Swihart is just 24 and less than two years removed from being a consensus top-20 prospect in the game, it isn’t shocking that teams were looking to buy low, nor is it a surprise that Dombrowski wants to keep him in the fold.
- We’ve already heard about how the White Sox wanted Rafael Devers as part of the Chris Sale trade, and Gammons reports that Chicago also had interest in Andrew Benintendi as the deal’s starting point but Boston refused. Benintendi, another highly-touted prospect, made a strong MLB debut in 2016 and looks to start next year as the Red Sox starting left fielder.
- The Sale trade gives the Red Sox a rotation surplus, and the club isn’t likely to really explore dealing a starter until Spring Training, when the Sox have a better idea of what to expect from question marks like Swihart, Pablo Sandoval, Christian Vazquez or Sam Travis. Gammons also notes that the Sox could simply hang onto all of their starting pitching options as extra depth against the injuries that will almost inevitably occur during a season.