As we approach the winter meetings, most of the offseason action remains ahead of us, starting with Monday’s non-tender deadline. There has been some early movement, however, as two free agents signed their qualifying offers, we got an early need-for-need challenge trade, and 9 of our Top 50 MLB Free Agents have already left the board.
The splashiest signing of November was the White Sox snagging of Yasmani Grandal on a four-year, $73MM deal. MLBTR readers largely approved of the deal in this poll from Connor Byrne. The Southsiders also locked up their long-time lineup fulcrum in Cuban first baseman/designated hitter Jose Abreu. After he accepted the qualifying offer, GM Rick Hahn committed two more years to 2019’s AL RBI leader.
The Braves win November’s volume award, moving early on many fronts. They returned vets like Darren O’Day, Chris Martin, and Nick Markakis, solidified Tyler Flowers and Travis d’Arnaud as their catching tandem, and brought in the top bullpen arm on the market in lefty Will Smith.
The Padres also came to play this winter, signing Drew Pomeranz to a lengthy four-year contract. Pomeranz impressed in a 26-game stint in Milwaukee, and he’ll now pair with Kirby Yates at the back end of San Diego’s bullpen. The Rangers, meanwhile, turned three-year, $30MM rotation arms into a tradition when they signed former Twin Kyle Gibson.
Lest we forget, November also gifted us with an always-exciting pre-debut extension when the Mariners inked first baseman Evan White to a six-year, $24MM pact despite finishing 2019 in Double-A. On the flip side, we lost some players from the pool through the overseas departures of former major leaguers Gerardo “Baby Shark” Parra, Justin Bour, Tyler Austin, Mike Wright and Aaron Altherr.
November also gave us the rare controversial waiver placement. 28-year-old Jonathan Villar appeared in every game for the Orioles in 2019, putting up 4.0 bWAR with a .274/.339/.453 line while moving capably between second and short. He is likely due a somewhat heady $10.4MM through arbitration, but given Baltimore’s lack of financial commitments, stated desire for a veteran shortstop, and general need for talent of all shapes and sizes, it’s somewhat surprising to see them make Villar available for common claim.
As for the rest of the market, the Cards saved us the trauma of seeing Adam Wainwright in a non-Cardinals jersey, the Nats brought back Patrick Corbin’s personal catcher Yan Gomes on an affordable two-year deal, the Mariners plucked a low-cost rotation flyer off the pile in Kendall Graveman, the Diamondbacks gave Carson Kelly a veteran partner behind the plate in Stephen Vogt, and a few vets conceded early to minor league deals: Ryan Goins (A’s), Blaine Hardy (Twins), Josh Harrison (Phillies), A.J. Cole (Blue Jays).
The rumors continue to swirl, and though there’s still more than 12 hours left in the month, it’s a good time to see what y’all think was the best move made in November.
(Poll link for app users)