MLBRT 12/28



This week’s questions and discussion…

1) When the free agent season started this offseason the consensus was that Eric Hosmer would go to a first base needy team somewhat quickly after a career year where he slashed .318/.385/.498. Instead the teams that were mostly likely to sign him… the Red Sox, Phillies, Mariners, Nationals and Indians have all gone elsewhere for their first base requirements. 

Where do you see Hosmer eventually landing? 

And, will it be anywhere near the contract…  reportedly seven years and up to $200 million… his agent, Scott Boras, is seeking?

Eric Hosmer

Joe: I will answer the second part of this question first… I fear Hosmer is not going to be signed until later in January or maybe even later than that, which would bring  it close to spring training camps opening. And, if that is the case there is no way in hell he will get Boras’ opening target salary and contract length. I predict Hosmer signs for closer to four years and maybe $88 to $90 million.

As for where… I think the longer Hosmer stays unsigned the more likely some team considered unlikely will swoop in and grab him at a relatively bargain price. And, that team will be the NY Mets.

They say they are holding first base for their prospect Dominic Smith but I just don’t think Smith is ready to assume the position full time next this year, so why not grab someone like Hosmer instead? Besides, its not like they couldn’t use the offense Hosmer would supply. And we are talking about a four time Gold Glove winner at first.

Steve: Not Miami that is for sure. I could see Hosmer landing maybe in Seattle. This is a team that has been on the cuff of competing for the Wild Card the past two seasons, but always seem to come up short. I can see him getting somewhere close to the 200 million he is asking, but, I think, a 5 year deal is probably more in the cards for a player like Eric Hosmer.

I’ll say Seattle, but I could see other teams going in like Texas, LA Angels, and maybe even ironically the White Sox, who can’t seem to make up their mind what they want to do.

2) Latest scuttlebutt is that the Orioles have rescinded their open offer to trade Manny Machado and are now thinking of moving him to his desired position of shortstop for the 2018 season. 

Is this a wise move by the Orioles, or should they rethink their strategy with Machado, who along with other top Oriole players (Adam Jones, etc…) will be free agents after the 2018 season? 

Joe: Actually, I thought this was poor move at first but upon rethinking this, I believe it could be smart move instead…. as long as he doesn’t get injured or start off the season in a prolonged slump. Why?

Because the closer it gets to the trade deadline, the more likely some contending team will be willing to over pay and offer up some additional hot prospects to trade for Machado.

Steve: Again, as I said last week or the week before…

If, the Orioles are wanting to compete for the playoffs, then you absolutely keep him, but if your motive is to rebuild, then you need to unload him because you can get a ton of prospects for him.

3)’s Mike Axisa reports that Mets owner Fred Wilpon is furious the Yankees added Giancarlo Stanton. If true, does Wilpon have a legitimate gripe? 

Or, should he have made an offer (of which there is no evidence that the Mets had done so or were even thinking of doing so) that the Marlins/Jeter couldn’t refuse and then hope that Stanton would accept the trade? 

Or, if he wasn’t willing to put up the money where his mouth is, should he have just shut the heck up? 

“Mets owner Fred Wilpon is reportedly furious the Yankees added Giancarlo Stanton.” –

Joe: No. Yes. And, yes.

Wilpon should STFU unless he is willing to put the money and the prospects (of which the Mets are severely lacking) or Major League talent (probably pitching.)

So, no he does not have  a legitimate gripe.

Steve: If, he did not make a play for him then he needs to shut his mouth. Put up or shut up if you ask me.

As for him joining the Yankees? It just goes to show you that the evil empire is still alive and well, and the Yankees are going to be a very dangerous team.

4) The Hot Stove rumors are that the Yankees are still looking to add a starting pitcher and that the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole is their number choice. In fact, the word from some sources is that the deal is not an “if” but rather a “when” for the deal to get done.  

Do you think trading for Cole is a good move by the Yankees, and if so, how much is it going to cost the Yankees? (Rumors are Clint Frazier and two other top prospects.) 

Or, is this just some misdirection by GM Cashman (of which he has been accused of in the past) and the Yanks have an entirely different objective in mind?

Gerrit Cole

Joe: I think trying trade for Cole is a decent move by the Yanks. Not a great move. But unless they want to break their bank as far as their best prospects are concerned they aren’t going to get any teams front line stater or that much better than Cole, who at one time did win 19 games.

I also think three prospects is too much for Cole, but I ain’t getting paid to make trades for the Yankees and Brian Cashman is and his recent track record ain’t too shabby there.

Although… I wouldn’t put it past Cashman to come out of left field and completely make a trade elsewhere for some pitcher no one is even thinking about. Obviously, using Cole as a total misdirection ploy.

Steve: Cole would be a welcome addition to the Yankees and would be a great fit for their starting lineup.

I would think that they are actually interested in him, and not playing politics. They need a quality starting pitcher and he would be a good sign for them.

5) As of right now… which team, or teams, has, or have, “won” the Hot Stove season? Or, is it still too early to decide? Why?  

Joe: I think right now it is the Angels…

The Angels made enough significant moves… resigned OF Justin Upton to a five-year $106 million extension instead of allowing him to opt out and  become a free agent; were able to grab two-way (P/DH) Japanese star Shohei Otani; traded for second-baseman Ian Kinsler and they signed free agent shortstop/third-baseman Zack Cozart… to improve their lineup, both offensively and defensively to show that they are building a team around Mike Trout to make the playoffs, and hopefully beyond that, to a world championship right now.

The Yankees could change all this with some “ifs” coming into being…

If, they some how offload the albatross of a contract that have with Jacoby Ellsbury, even if they have to eat a large portion of it, say 67%, then that would be a huge boon to their stated goal of getting under the Luxury tax cap of $197 million.

And, if, they manage to sign a near the top of the rotation stater, at least a number two or a number 2.5 to add to their starting rotation.

If at least these two “ifs” come into being a reality, plus the addition of Giancarlo Stanton, then I think the Yankees would jump to the top of the Hot Stove success heap.

But until then… the Angels are the leader as we venture into the New Year.

Steve: Has to be the Yankees, landing Stanton and now having easily the most feared offense in the league.

Sadly, I don’t think they are done yet either. If, they get a top quality starting pitcher to go along with a dynamite offense, and arguably the best bullpen in baseball, we may be talking a record breaking season for the New York Yankees.

Extra Innings…

 MLBRT wishes each and everyone of our readers a very Happy New Year… 

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