Winter Meetings — Wednesday News and Notes
Updated 6:15 p.m. It’s the final full day of the Winter Meetings, and it has been the busiest day so far. The most significant trade on the board was the Marlins shipping OF Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals. However, there was movement again for the Rays, including one small deal, and the potential for others.
The Rays trade allowed Tampa Bay to acquire about a million dollars in international cap space in exchange for LHP Anthony Misiewicz. It’s the team’s third trade in as many days.
Misiewicz was dealt to the Rays from the Mariners in August in the Ryan Garton deal. Now Misiewicz has been sent back.
“We are excited about this one (trade),” said Senior VP Chaim Bloom. “Obviously the international market is someplace where you can get some really good upside, some high-end ability that is very far away but still has the ability to break through and really impact the club. We’re working on something that falls into that category.”
The cap space would presumably be used to help the Rays sign Jelfry Marte. Jesse Sanchez of mlb.com initially reported that Tampa Bay would sign the 16-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic. If the Rays formally acquire Marte, it would give them two of the three prospects in this year’s class according to MLB.com. Wander Franco is the top prospect that was signed in July. The cap space would also provide the Rays about $500–600 thousand more in international space to sign additional players too.
In the meantime, Bloom says while the team has made progress on potential deals for 2018. Bloom says some conversations have reached more advanced stages.
“We have a much better idea of what’s real and what isn’t,” said Bloom in his 5 p.m. briefing. “There’s nothing right at the finish line right now. I wouldn’t rule it out but there’s nothing at the one-yard line at this very moment.”
Meanwhile, several relievers have been coming off the board, including Jake McGee, who is to re-sign with the Rockies, and Joe Smith, who’s headed to Houston.
The cost of relief pitching appears to be going up. Last night it was reported that former Rays righty Tommy Hunter received a two-year 18 million dollar deal with the Phillies. The Rockies meanwhile reached a three-year agreement yesterday with Bryan Shaw for 27 million dollars.
Bloom is not sure if that is good or bad for the Rays.
One could argue that since the aforementioned pitchers have been set-up relievers, it would appear that those agreements would raise the value of Alex Colome, if the Rays elected to move the right-handed closer. The Cardinals, Rockies, Mets and Cubs are among rumored teams to have strong interest.
Meanwhile, it also can be argued that the Rays would have a tougher time signing free agents because of the cost.
On the starting pitching front, the Twins have announced a two-year deal with RHP Michael Pineda, the former Yankees righty who’s coming off Tommy John surgery. Pineda is the second pitcher in as many days to sign that’s recovering from Tommy John, joining former Rays lefty Drew Smyly.
Thursday the Winter Meetings conclude with the Rule 5 draft. Some projections have said the Rays will lose RHP Burch Smith and C Nick Ciuffo, while some believe Tampa Bay will just lose Smith.
“We are braced for it,” said Bloom. “You never really want to believe anything is done until you hear the player’s name called.”
Bloom says they prefer not to lose anyone, but when you leave someone off the roster you run that risk. That said, Bloom says they don’t think they would have done things differently.
“Should we lose someone (tomorrow) there’s still a chance we get them back,” said Bloom. “A big part of it is roster flexibility. You don’t want to get into next season and then need to create a roster spot for whatever reason and then you need to take someone off the roster who can be sent to the minor leagues by whomever wants to take him.”
Bloom says the Rays, who are carrying 39 players on the 40-man, have not decided whether to make a Rule 5 pick in the majors. Bloom says how trade talks progress will influence that decision.
Our latest podcast features J.J. Cooper of Baseball America on the Rule 5 draft, and Eduardo Perez of MLB Network Radio. Listen at raysbaseball.com/podcast and on iTunes.