The most impactful player the Dodgers can acquire this offseason could be free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper. It could be Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber or Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Or it could be a player meeting with the team’s hitting coaches this week at Dodger Stadium. Because few players offer a more tantalizing combination of cost-efficiency and dynamic ability than Cody Bellinger — if he can recapture the form he displayed during significant chunks of his rookie-of-the-year campaign in 2017. The first step of that process started in meetings between Bellinger and new hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc and assistant hitting coach Brant Brown.
A few minutes before Andrew Friedman welcomed the media corps to the Dodgers’ suite at the Delano Hotel on Tuesday evening, Cincinnati Reds general manager Dick Williams acknowledged to reporters that the clubs have engaged in various trade discussions at this week’s winter meetings, but said nothing was imminent. He didn’t offer specifics.
Friedman declined to address the revelation, which Williams offered after reports surfaced that the two clubs have been in regular contact, but the Dodgers’ goals are not a secret. The president of baseball operations has said he wants to trade from the team’s surpluses in the outfield and starting pitching to upgrade elsewhere. And atop the list of trade chips the Dodgers would welcome moving is the name that has constantly emerged on the rumor mill this offseason and in offseasons past: Yasiel Puig.
Angels general manager Billy Eppler was in bed Sunday morning when his 4-year-old son climbed onto the mattress, wiggled himself between his parents, placed his head on a pillow and coughed and sneezed in his father’s face.
It was the day before baseball’s winter meetings officially started in Las Vegas. Eppler knew in the moment the encounter with his son would throw a wrinkle in his plans for the week.
A person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press on Tuesday that all-star outfielder Andrew McCutchen and the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a $50-million, three-year contract.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the agreement, which includes a club option for 2022, is subject to a successful physical.
McCutchen was an all-star each season from 2011 to 2015 and spent nine years with Pittsburgh before he was traded to San Francisco last winter. He was dealt to the New York Yankees on Aug. 31 and hit .255 with 20 homers and 65 RBIs in 155 games overall this year.
Right-hander Ivan Nova has been acquired by the Chicago White Sox from the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league pitcher Yordi Rosario and $500,000 in international signing bonus pool allocation.
A 31-year-old right-hander, Nova was 9-9 with a 4.19 ERA in 29 starts last season, striking out 114 in 161 innings. He is 78-64 with a 4.26 ERA in nine seasons with the New York Yankees (2010-16) and Pirates (2016-18).
Nova has an $8.5-million base salary next year in the final season of a $26-million, three-year contract, then can become a free agent.
The Dodgers’ suite at the Delano Las Vegas looked the part on the first full day of baseball’s winter meetings. Their contingent was packed in a room. A projector and screen were set up. Activity and discussion ceased once the media showed up for their daily briefing.
In that room, the Dodgers will decide whether to make a run at slugger Bryce Harper in free agency, or catcher J.T. Realmuto or pitcher Corey Kluber via trade. They have the means — the money to sign high-end free agents and the resources to acquire premium talent from other teams — to make a splash and leave the meetings a different ball club. But the objective isn’t to win the week.
In this era of tanking and belt-tightening, a team such as the Philadelphia Phillies stands out this offseason for two qualities: They are actually trying to win in 2019 and they are actually willing to spend to compete.
This combination, once commonplace but now increasingly rare as teams grow wary of albatross contracts and the competitive balance tax, positions the Phillies as a centrifugal force at the winter meetings. The conventional wisdom of the agents and executives huddled in suites and cluttering the casino floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas is that Philadelphia will probably net one of the two prizes on the free-agent market: outfielder Bryce Harper or infielder Manny Machado.