People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. Rogers Hornsby
Who says there isn’t any baseball news between the World Series and Spring Training?
Not if General Manager Dave Dombrowski is anywhere near a cell phone. The man who traded a young starting pitching prospect Andrew Miller and others for Miguel Cabrera in 2007 pulled off another big trade this week. He brought Chris Sale to the Red Sox to join David Price and Cy Young Rick Porcello in a rotation that was a major focus when he came to town in 2015.
Meanwhile Terry Francona’s use of Andrew Miller (yup, same one) in this year’s post season helped spur consecutive record contracts for relievers. First the Giants signed Mark Melancon to a 4 year, $62M contract. The Yankees topped that within 3 days with a 5 year, $86M deal for Aroldis Chapman. Chapman returned to the he same team he started 2016 with before being traded to the Cubs and helping them win a World Series.
Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers is still out on the market too and rumored to be signing with the Miami Marlins soon, but for how much?
This part of the off-season is so exciting. With more teams in the playoff races than ever before thanks to the second wild card and teams investing more than ever in scouting and player development, we can almost guarantee we will have a team no one saw coming rise up in 2017.
I picked the Indians to finish last in the AL Central in 2016. While that was likely just a BAD pick, the point is that for every team who makes a big splash and you THINK will be great (Padres 2015…) someone else has been hanging on the fringes and takes that leap forward. Who will it be?
This stuff doesn’t happen as much in other sports. The NBA likes to put together “super teams” and it usually works predictably, since you only need really one top tier player and a decent supporting cast to make the playoffs. MLB has shown consistently that the “super team” concept doesn’t work – with the White Sox being the latest to realize that and they have started shedding parts to rebuild for the future(I picked them to finish 2nd in the AL Central in 2016).
Now the Pirates are shopping their MVP Award winner and former franchise cornerstone Andrew McCutchen- who will be a free agent at the end of 2017. The Dodgers have been seen as targets, or the Pirates who had a disappointing 2016 but several good years before could try and make one more run for the playoffs.
While Rogers Hornsby may just be staring at his window with no baseball being played, he might not recognize the new teams for his favorite players come spring.