MLB Winter Meetings Things to Know
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Some things to know as Major League Baseball’s winter meetings head into the final day on Thursday:
The Dodgers acquired second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Los Angeles Angels and were working to obtain shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the Philadelphia Phillies in a remake of their middle infield. In a flurry of moves late Wednesday, the Dodgers dealt All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon, right-hander Dan Haren, infielder Miguel Rojas and a player to be named or cash to the Miami Marlins as part of a seven-player trade for left-hander Andrew Heaney, right-hander Chris Hatcher, infielder Kike Hernandez and catcher Austin Barnes. The Dodgers then sent Heaney, considered one of baseball’s top pitching prospects, to the Angels for Kendrick. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman wouldn’t say how close he was to finalizing a trade for Rollins or a $48 million, four-year contract with free-agent pitcher with Brandon McCarthy. The Dodgers also have been talking about dealing outfielder Matt Kemp to San Diego.
Max Scherzer could be seeking the largest deal ever for a pitcher. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw won the NL Cy Young Award — his third in four years — last month and became the first NL pitcher since Bob Gibson in 1968 to win the MVP, all after the first season of a $215 million, seven-year contract. Scherzer turned down an offer from Detroit last March that would have paid $144 million from 2015-20. Kershaw has the largest contract for a pitcher in total dollars and has the sport’s highest average salary at $30.7 million. “I’m not sure Kershaw is relevant,” agent Scott Boras said Wednesday at the winter meetings, “because he’s not a free agent. ... The prominent pitchers that have signed, (Justin) Verlander or (Felix) Hernandez or Kershaw, were not free-agent players. And certainly if you put a performance like Kershaw into a free-agent market, you’re going to get a much, much different calibration of value.” Scherzer’s negotiations figure to stretch on for weeks or even into next year.
The Houston Astros have bolstered their bullpen by agreeing to an $18.5 million, three-year contract with Luke Gregerson and a $12.5 million, two-year deal with Pat Neshek, said people familiar with the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deals with the right-handers were subject to physicals. Houston had shown interest in David Robertson, who agreed to a $46 million, four-year contract with the Chicago White Sox.
WINE, NOT WHINE
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was at dinner on Tuesday night in a restaurant near the winter meetings hotel, enjoying a 2011 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and pork chops, when he got word Lester had agreed to a deal with Chicago. As he left Wednesday night and headed back to the Windy City, he was still excited about the acquisition. Lester helped the Red Sox win World Series in 2007 and ’13. “I want to believe that he could forsee the same thing here,” Maddon said.
Major League Baseball’s rules committee gathered Wednesday for what Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre said was a meeting that went well over its allotted time — that for a session designed to speed the pace of games. As he was hustling through the crowded lobby to a side entrance, Torre said all of the issues raised were still being explored. An MLB spokesman said the committee discussed pace of game and possible tweaks to Rule 7.13, which covers home plate collisions. Any changes for 2015 must be agreed to by the players’ association. Most managers agree they don’t like all the time wasted walking out to the umpires before making a replay challenge. A couple, though, enjoyed their conversations last season with the men in blue. “Some of those umpires were pretty interesting guys,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.