The 2016 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings are a wrap. We saw lots of action, but there's still plenty to happen in the offseason. It doesn't even have to wait. Last offseason, Jason Heyward signed with the Cubs the day after the Winter Meetings concluded, for example.
So even if your favorite team didn't get anything done during the meetings, don't fret -- at least not yet. There's still time.
Here are the top 10 storylines for the offseason moving forward:
1. Where's Kenley Jansen going?
With Mark Melancon signing with the Giants, Aroldis Chapman signing with the Yankees and Wade Davis being traded to the Cubs, there likely remains just one elite closing option on the market. Jansen attached to draft compensation, so non-Dodgers teams -- such as the rumored Marlins or Nationals -- might pause a bit. The Dodgers, though, have seemed reluctant to give out huge deals under Andrew Friedman. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Dodgers left the meetings with the odds not in their favor of retaining Jansen.
So is it really Nats or Marlins?
And once he signs on the dotted line, what is left of the closer market?
2. Remaining relief pitching market
For those missing out on the big-name relievers, where else to turn? Well, Greg Holland is coming off Tommy John surgery and his velocity reportedly wasn't great at his showcase for teams and scouts. Sergio Romo, Brad Ziegler, Koji Uehara, Santiago Casilla and Neftali Feliz are all free agents with experience as closers.
The trade market could still bear fruit as well. Options like Alex Colome, Sean Doolittle and a few others seem likely to be available for the right price. The Marlins are rumored to want to build a big-time bullpen, so A.J. Ramos is out, even if the Fish land Jansen.
3. White Sox still selling?
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn already did a superb job stocking his prospect stash by dealing only Chris Sale and Adam Eaton. Given the dearth of quality starting pitching in free agency, Jose Quintana would surely fetch a pretty penny. Todd Frazier is said to be available. Once Jansen is gone, there will be at least a few teams looking to deal something of value for Robertson, too.
If they do trade those three now, shouldn't they just keep going by seeing what Jose Abreu would land?
The White Sox have finally committed to a rebuild, why not go all out for, say, 2020.
After all, it doesn't seem like there are any other huge sellers right now amid a weak free-agent class.
4. Tigers not selling?
Leading up to the Winter Meetings, there was a lot of chatter about the Tigers being major players, notably in selling some veterans. Sure, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander were never expected to be on the table, but J.D. Martinez seemed destined to go while Ian Kinsler, Anibal Sanchez, Victor Martinez and some relievers were all at least mentioned in rumors.
Instead, the Tigers didn't really get anything big done.
Will that remain the case for the rest of the offseason? Or will they join the White Sox in a sellers market?
5. Rays selling pitching or not?
The most coveted arm the Rays have is Chris Archer, though due to his club-friendly deal that allows the Rays to control him through 2021 means the price would be astronomical. He's probably more of a pipe dream for most.
As for relievers, Erasmo Ramirez was inconsistent but very good at times this past season. He's possible in a fireman-type role.
Then there's the aforementioned Colome. He had a breakout season at age 27 last season, saving 37 games in 40 chances with a 1.91 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings. With him under team control through 2020, this would be a perfect time for the Rays to sell high and take advantage of the overflowing cost of closers before either a bad Colome season or a market correction.
Or they could just hold most everyone. Keep an eye out here.
6. Will Rox deal or stick?
The signing of Ian Desmond with first base open and a glut of outfielders on the roster is odd on the surface, even if Carlos Gonzalez is going to move to first base. That leaves three everyday outfielders with Gerardo Parra as the fourth outfielder and prospect Raimel Tapia essentially blocked.
Perhaps the Rockies will trade center fielder Charlie Blackmon coming off what appears to be his career year for pitching help? Blackmon was 29 last season and in the previous two years hit .287/.341/.445 before pushing that up to .324/.381/.552 in 2016.
If the Rockies do decide to move Blackmon, perhaps they sign one of the remaining sluggers for first base and leave CarGo in the outfield. They should have the financial capability, as they don't have much committed to payroll past 2017.
7. About that sluggers market ...
Most of the obvious suitors for Edwin Encarnacion have made moves that seem to preclude adding him this offseason. If the Indians aren't hot on him -- and most indications are that they don't want to pay big for his services -- where is there left to turn? The Rockies dealing Blackmon and signing Encarnacion might make the most sense, but that doesn't mean it'll happen.
Sticking with the Rockies, though, they have been most connected of late to Mark Trumbo (per Ken Rosenthal). Other teams connected to Trumbo include the Orioles, Indians, Mariners and Rangers, though none really seem "likely" to this point.
This is a slow-developing market, as Mike Napoli and then even Chris Carter also wait out the bigger names.
It should be noted that the Indians have been reportedly talking to Napoli about bringing him back.
8. Dexter Fowler ... again?
Fowler's first foray into free agency last offseason was a nightmare that turned into a dream come true, when he took far less money than was expected to re-join the Cubs -- only to end up making history and winning the World Series.
This time around, it was expected Fowler would get a huge payday in leaving the Cubs. He is still unsigned, but Desmond's five-year, $70 million deal certainly bodes well for Fowler, right?
Very, very long-shot possibility? Blackmon is traded to the Cardinals, the Rockies sign Trumbo, the Blue Jays bring back Bautista and the Cubs end up bringing Fowler back?
I don't think that happens, but it's at least fun to imagine.
The reality is it's probably St. Louis or Toronto for Fowler.
9. What about Justin Turner?
Easily the best remaining infielder in free agency, Turner was predicted by many to land a deal in the $80 million range heading into the offseason.
When was the last time we heard a juicy rumor involving Turner's name, though?
Basically, the only team connected to Turner in reports has been the Dodgers and again we'll note how little they've splurged on free-agent contracts since Friedman took over. Plus, Turner is 32 years old.
Still, he has been stellar since getting to L.A. and can also play first base. Surely if the Dodgers don't want to pay big for him someone will, right?
Rough market for the only good third baseman available, especially when he hit .275 with an .832 OPS and 27 homers last season.
Turner is definitely one to watch moving forward, even if this next guy might not be ...
10. The Andrew McCutchen saga
Leading up to the beginning of the Winter Meetings, the hot rumor was that the Pirates would deal Andrew McCutchen. The two nights before the meetings technically started, the rumor was that the Nationals were "close" to getting Cutch and that it was only a matter of time. Then the Chris Sale rumors started to run wild with the Nationals as the front-runners. Then the Red Sox swooped in and took Sale. Then the Nationals eventually traded for Adam Eaton.
And the McCutchen rumors vanished into thin air.
Was no one else bidding?
All we know for sure is that Pirates general manager Neal Huntington is now convincing everyone a trade was never in the Pirates' plans:
"Our intent coming in here was to have Andrew McCutchen in our lineup going forward. No one changed that," Huntington said (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). "It's unlikely someone changes that going forward. We're certainly not going to close the door, but we're not going to be making calls."
So it would appear that this won't be a storyline moving forward. Or will it? Never count anything out in the offseason and there has been smoke here before.
- Will the A's sell off their veterans -- Stephen Vogt, Sonny Gray, Sean Doolittle -- or not?
- The Yankees are done with major moves, unless they trade Brett Gardner, general manager Brian Cashman straight up told reporters (Bryan Hoch).
- The Red Sox are more likely to deal Buchholz than Pomeranz.
- The Giants are essentially at their payroll limit, so they're done with big moves (San Francisco Chronicle).
- Starting catcher option Matt Wieters is still out there as a free agent.
- The Mets have a glut of outfielders and would like to deal one of them. Of course, they only really want to trade Jay Bruce and no one seems to want him (New York Post).