Monday marks the start of the 2020 Winter Meetings, which will take place in a virtual setting thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Winter Meetings typically occasions major signings and trades, but this time around a number of factors may contribute to a slower pace of things. Rumors, though, should be in abundance.
We've already hit you with a Winter Meetings FAQ and some bold predictions, and now we'll have a look at Monday's hot stove buzz.
White Sox unlikely to land George Springer
The White Sox, fresh off a return to the postseason, need help in right field after non-tendering the disappointing Nomar Mazara. Given that Chicago is in contending mode and was quite active last winter, some have speculated that they could be leading contenders for George Springer, who's one of the top free agents available. However, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports that such a pairing is unlikely:
As much as Chicago White Sox fans are frothing for George Springer to round out their dynamic lineup, he is extraordinarily unlikely to sign with Chicago for a number of reasons, sources told ESPN.
Springer figures to command nine figures on the market, and it's possible he'd be resistant to moving off his primary position of center field in deference to Luis Robert. Even so, the Sox figure to be active for help in left field, but their lineup construction may prompt to seek a left-handed bat (Springer bats righty). Speaking of which, Passan names Springer's Houston teammate Michael Brantley as a potential target. Another potential fit is noted just below.
For more MLB hot stove talk, check out Fantasy Baseball Today, where the crew breaks down the best destinations for the top free agents.
Joc Pederson garnering interest on market
Joc Pederson is a free agent, and his lefty power in tandem with his ability to at least get by at all three outfield positions makes him an appealing name among the non-premium free agents available for hire. As you see above, Pederson didn't have a strong 2020, but teams aren't going to read too much into such short-run struggles given the small sample size and the unique and challenging nature of the season. Pederson, who doesn't turn 29 until April, owns a career slash line of .238/.349/.501 against right-handed pitching, and 121 of his 130 career home runs have some against righties. That means he can form the dominant half of a corner outfield platoon and be the pinch-hitter of first resort when he's not in the starting lineup. That has value.
On that front, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cardinals, Brewers, and aforementioned White Sox are among the teams with at least "some interest" in signing Pederson. He'd make sense for any of those teams, but in the Cardinals' case some outfield shuffling might be in order. It's also worth pointing that the market for hitters such as Pederson will improve if the DH is made universal for 2021. That, however, may be unlikely.
Blue Jays interested in Mike Fiers
Coming off a surprise winning season and playoff berth in 2020, the Blue Jays are primed to behave like the contenders they are this offseason. They've been mentioned in connection with a number of high-profile free agents and trade targets this offseason, and now they're being linked with rotation helper Mike Fiers. Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweets that the Jays are indeed among Fiers' potential suitors.
Fiers, 35, didn't have his strongest season in 2020, but he was quite useful in 2018 and 2019 and for his career boasts an ERA+ of 101 across parts of 10 major-league seasons.