It's here, guys: the (ostensible) climax of the offseason! The Winter Meetings may be a totally manufactured event with very little reason for actually existing besides facilitating the careers of rumor-mongers, but they're certainly upon us, so it's time to buckle down for a half-week of ridiculous rumors and tremendous trades. This right here is your open thread for discussion of the Winter Meetings, MLB trade rumors, and how absurd the teenage scoopocracy is.
A brief summary of where things stand heading into the Winter Meetings: the Mariners have an obvious need for a right fielder, and unless they're planning to Ben Zobrist Brad Miller, they should probably get a fourth outfielder too. (Meanwhile, in this corner, I'll be rooting for them to Ben Zobrist the actual Ben Zobrist). Ken Rosenthal has it that they're in hard on Melky Cabrera:
Sources: #Mariners serious about Melky. They want him.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 7, 2014
The Melkman seems like a reasonable get, pending contract details, although signing him might have the unfortunate consequence of keeping the Mariners away from next year's amazing outfield FA class. It sounds like the Mariners like him for all the wrong reasons - he bats second, he hits for average, he's a friend of Robinson Cano - but he'd probably be a marginal upgrade over the newly departed Condor. Whether it would've been smarter to just keep Saunders and sign a J.A. Happ equivalent for about a tenth of what Cabrera's going to get is a point of some contention, but hey. No use crying over 50 million spilled dollars, am I right?
The Mariners are also rumored to retain interest in Matt Kemp and Justin Upton, though the Dodgers and Braves have high asking prices. Jack Zduriencik and company are reportedly unwilling to ship off Taijuan Walker or James Paxton for either player, which may prove a stumbling block in negotiations. It seems Seattle has little interest in much else, though their depth at 1B, OF, and C is limited enough that I'd suggest adding some depth pieces across the roster.
Just to kick things off, a few predictions:
- Melky Cabrera will have a new team before the end of the Winter Meetings.
- The Mariners will be constantly linked to Justin Upton and Matt Kemp for the next three days, but neither of the two will wind up in Seattle.
- The Mariners will neither acquire nor lose a player in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 Draft.
- News of at least one major transaction will be broken on Twitter by someone who has never broken a significant baseball story before.
- A high-profile pitcher will be traded before the end of the week.
- Before the Winter Meetings end, a team in the NL West will make a move that draws general scorn.
- A mystery team will sign a player for more than $30M this week.
- MLB Network will conduct an interview with Jack Zduriencik, and that interview will contain no information of substance.
- The Mariners will have a higher Steamer-projected team WAR by the end of the meetings than they do now.
- At least one comment in this thread will be so rosterbatory that it elicits complaints and caution from other commenters.