With the GM Meetings underway, we’ll be rounding up the key bits of information from around the league. Let’s get things started with the NL East:
- While the Marlins haven’t yet committed to trading Giancarlo Stanton, his pursuit could be the first major piece of the offseason puzzle. As Tim Healey of the Sun-Sentinel reports, Miami president of baseball operations Michael Hill acknowledges that the front offices has “a sense” of where Stanton would be willing to go via trade. While the team isn’t disclosing that publicly, it’ll obviously be a key factor as the team tries to craft a trade that will meet its needs and receive approval from Stanton, who can veto any swap through his no-trade clause. Hill did also say it’s “definitely a possibility” that Stanton won’t be dealt, though the team’s payroll plans make him an exceedingly tough fit. [RELATED: MLBTR’s breakdown of Stanton’s market and compilation of the latest rumors]
- One team that has been tied to Stanton, the Phillies, may not be that realistic a suitor after all. Per Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia organization has not engaged the Marlins in “substantive talks” and do not see the slugger as a fit. As Gelb notes, GM Matt Klentak emphasized today that the club is “pretty comfortable with our position-player group right now” and prefers to “let those young players play” — barring, at least, “a pretty unique set of circumstances.” Klentak also acknowledged that “this offseason is the first time since I’ve been here that we will explore contracts of more than one year with free agents.”
- As they seek to modernize the use of their pitching staff, the Mets seemingly hope to improve the rotation without necessarily spending resources on new acquisitions. As Marc Carig of Newsday writes, GM Sandy Alderson plans both to buttress the training approach and to improve the team’s bullpen. New York could be a player for pitchers such as Brandon Morrow, Mike Minor, and Bryan Shaw — each of whom MLBTR predicts to land a three-year deal. That said, achieving depth will surely involve multiple additions. The team is considering righty Wily Peralta as one swingman candidate, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets.
- Of course, the Mets also have other needs, and committing resources to the pen will make for sacrifices. Second base is an obvious need, though Carig suggests the club may not look to commit too big a chunk of salary to filling that hole. The Mets will also look for a quality hitter that can play right field and/or first base, helping to cover for the questions surrounding Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith (the latter of whom was the recipient of some blunt words from Alderson). It sounds like the team is more or less seeking the same thing it was when it inked Michael Cuddyer a few years back. A righty bat would make the most sense from a platoon perspective, though that could mean giving the lion’s share of time in center to Juan Lagares — a possibility that Carig credits.
- Nationals president of baseball ops Mike Rizzo downplayed the possibility of the organization landing a top-flight starter, as Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports on Twitter. He did, however, say that depth in the rotation and the pen were on his offseason wish list. It’s interesting to hear that Rizzo isn’t keen (at least publicly) to pursue more significant additions to the pitching staff. After all, the lineup is also mostly set; on the whole, the ballclub has few holes in terms of its major contributors (with catcher arguably representing a major exception). But with a mandate to pursue an elusive, deep playoff run, that has left some wondering where the team will look to improve. Perhaps building out a strong supporting cast will be the focus; then again, it could be that larger moves could be pursued in a stealthier manner.
- Rizzo said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the Nationals would retain Jayson Werth, as Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports on Twitter. “We haven’t really discussed that or gone down that road yet,” said Rizzo, “but I wouldn’t close the door on it.” He did note that such a move would “have to fit into what we want to do,” likely hinting at a much-reduced role for the veteran. In honesty, it’s somewhat difficult to see just how Werth would fit in with the team’s current alignment, though perhaps it’s possible he’d mostly work as a bench bat and depth option.