Plenty has happened in just two weeks of hot stove season. Qualifying offers have been decided and GM meetings are over, but the season has tipped off, mainly with trades. Here’s the most important ones so far.
Red Sox Acquire Kimbrel For 4 Prospects
The Red Sox have new plans at closer. They are moving on from the days of Koji Uehara. They brought in star closer Craig Kimbrel from the Padres. This is one step towards another miracle in 2016, hinted from a late lineup heating. Kimbrel is only 26, so if they hold on to him, he should last a while. Obviously they still need a starting ace but Dave Dombrowski plans to fill that need via free agency. The prospects they traded were no major names besides Manuel Margot, who nearly hit for the cycle in Pawtucket. But, the Padres didn’t give away Kimbrel for free.
Braves Acquire Erick Aybar, Angels Receive Andrelton Simmons
The Braves and Angels traded shortstops on the spot. Why though? Well, it wasn;t straight up. Andrelton Simmons isn’t Erick Aybar on offnese, but gets the edge for his great fielding skills. So Simmons came with two prospects, while Aybar came with three. Starter for starter trades like this come with surprise, but they happen.
Mariners, Rays make 6 player exchange
The Mariners and Rays made the biggest trade yet this off season. They Rays gave up Nathan Karns and C.J Riefenhauser, plus outfield prospect Boog Powell to the Mariners. The Mariners needed more batting than pitching, but this trade didn’t make it seem that way. The Rays received SS Brad Miller, a viable replacement for Asdrubal Cabrera, and 1B/OF Logan Morrison, plus reliever Danny Farquhar. It really takes a hit at the Mariners infield depth, but plenty of free agents are out there that can help make that happen.
Mariners Acquire Joaquin Benoit
The Mariners have made plenty of yrades already, and in their second of three, they acquired Padres reliever Joaquin Benoit for two prospects. The Padres have also made two trades this off season, one dealing Kimbrel to Boston.
Yankees Trade John Ryan Murphy to Twins for Aaron Hicks
The Yankees traded their backup catcher, John Ryan Murphy to the Twins. The Yankees already have a third catcher in Austin Romine ready to take that role. Meanwhile, the Twins have been without a relevant backup catcher for a while, pretty much ever since Kurt Suzuki took the starting job. The Twins did not already have another CF ready though, which may cost them. Was Aaron Hicks maybe the wrong guy for the Twins to trade, considering the Yankees are fine on outfielders, besides backup depth? Hicks is traditionally a starter.
Phillies Acquire Jeremy Hellickson from D-Backs
The Phillies acquired Jeremy Hellickson from the D-Backs from prospect pitcher Sam McWilliams. giving up Hellickson hurts the sub-.500 D-Backs’ pitching depth, but the Phillies needed a veteran. Aaron Harang and Jerome Williams are both free agents, Cliff Lee declined a qualifying offer, and Cole Hamels was traded to the Rangers at the deadline, as the Phillies were clear sellers while Texas leaned towards the buying side. Hamels helped Texas to the playoffs, and he had recently thrown a no-no for Philly.
Mariners Acquire Leonys Martin in 5 player trade
The Mariners, now onto their third trade of the off season, acquired Rangers backup center fielder Leonys Martin and reliever Anthony Bass. Martin was the starter, until being injury plagued forced him to lose his job to Delino DeShields. In return, the Rangers received Mariners outfielder James Jones, reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, and a player to be named.
Jose Pirela to Padres
The Yankees traded their utility man, Jose Pirela to the Padres. In return, they got prospect RHP Ronald Herrera from the Padres. Pirela was passed on the depth chart by Rob Refsnyder last season.
Cliff Pennington Signs With Angels
Free agent Cliff Pennington signed a two year deal with the Angels. Pennington was traded to the Blue Jays at the deadline. The middle infielder should fill the hole Howie Kendrick left at second. Will they possibly sign an additional 2B?
Francisco Rodriguez Traded to Tigers
The Brewers had been rumoring this for ages. The Tigers have their closer, and his name is not Neftali Feliz. Francisco Rodriguez was traded to Detroit for their prospect, Javier Betancourt.
So, as you can see, most of the moves so far were trades, but a few free agents have signed. Some re-signing, sometimes through qualifying offers or club options, but in the end, there’s still plenty more to this exciting off season.
Note: All Retirements Effective Immediately Unless Otherwise Noted (See David Ortiz)
A. J. Burnett
David Ortiz (After 2016 Season)