Baseball’s 2019 Winter Meetings kickoff on this upcoming Monday, December 10th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and conclude on the 13th… and it is sure to be action-packed. The Winter Meetings are known for the big deals and sometimes splashy free agent signings. Considering the magnitude of trades that have already been completed and Patrick Corbin busting the 9-figure mark already, next week the Winter Meetings could be the rowdiest show in Vegas.
Here are some big things to look for this week.
Bryce Harper Signs With….
Wouldn’t it be serendipitous for Bryce Harper to sign his next contract while he’s in his own home town? But the question will obviously be, “with who?”. My guess is after he received a low-ball offer from the Nats just before the end of the season and their recent signing of Patrick Corbin, they won’t be the winner. That leaves the Phillies and the Dodgers as the likely targets… which is very good for Harper’s pockets. One one hand, he can sign in Philly for the “stupid” money the owner has mentioned giving out. On the other hand, he can choose to sign in the city of Angels with big national stage & branding opportunities.
Prediction : Harper signs with the Phillies for 13 years / $400M
What About Manny?
If Harper comes off the board first to the Phillies, Manny Machado will have a tough time getting the money he wants from the teams remaining. The Phillies have since acquired SS Jean Segura, the Dodgers aren’t an ideal fit, the Yankees aren’t desperate, and the remaining suitors lack the “WOW” factor. From the remaining suitors, I can see the White Sox being the “dark horse” and putting up the biggest offer for Machado and entice him with the ability to surround him with young talent for the next half decade.
Prediction : Machado signs with the White Sox for 10 years / $330M
Next Big Trade?
In my opinion, the safe money is it being a starting pitcher with the last name Kluber, Greinke, or Bumgarner. With Carlos Carrasco of the Indians getting an extension and the increased likelihood Thor will stay put with the Mets push for the playoffs, the options are dwindling for front-line rotation help. The only other relatively “big” names I could see moved (outside of Marlins C J.T. Realmuto) are Mariners OF Mitch Haniger, DBacks OF David Peralta, Royals 2B Whit Merrifield, and Tigers OF Nick Castellanos.
Prediction : Corey Kluber traded to the Braves for SP Julio Teheran, SP Sean Newcomb, OF Cristian Pache, and a Low A Prospect
Rule 5 Draft Primer
The Rule 5 draft is Thursday, December 13th at 12 pm EST and there are a few interesting names to watch. There were 18 players taken last year in the Rule 5 Draft, but I expect this year to be less. It is always chock full of RPs (or SPs that a team will put in relief for the season) and defensively-versatile position players. I will post a Rule 5 Draft article with the top prospects, roster breakdown, and how it works next week.
Prediction : SS Richie Martin is the first one off the board to the Tigers
If you’re bored, make sure to check out my Team by Team MLB Offseason Analysis and my Presidente’s 2018-2019 MLB Offseason Free Agent Predictions.