By: Chandler Ragsdale
With the Winter Meetings wrapping up in Washington, D.C., there is now a lot of moves to now discuss and take in. Many baseball fans are probably in utter shock with all of the huge moves that went down this week, and I am also. With that being said, I’m here to help, by giving you what I believe are the biggest moves of the offseason so far and what they mean looking forward to 2017.
1. Ian Desmond Signs with Rockies
This signing is a very interesting one. The Rockies already have a very potent offense, and now Ian Desmond adds an over the top factor to it. Their problem in recent memory has definitely been pitching. Now, however, the Rockies can potentially look to move Desmond to the outfield. With that move happening, they could then sell one of their current outfielders like Charlie Blackmon, or household name, Carlos Gonzalez. this would give them an opportunity to get a good young pitcher and be a wild card contender in 2017. Do not be surprised if we hear more from the Colorado Rockies this offseason.
2. Dexter Fowler Inks a Deal with St. Louis
What the Cardinals want, they usually get. This is usually how things go for St. Louis when it comes to players. This offseason they had their eyes on former Cubs center fielder, Dexter Fowler, and sure enough, Fowler is now a Cardinal. The Cubs took away both Jason Heyward and John Lackey from the Cardinals last year, so this is a way for the Cardinals to attempt to keep up with the Cubs. Fowler had his a career high .393 On-Base Percentage in 2016 (baseball-reference.com). His defense is a little questionable, but overall he is a greta addition to this club. He is a switch-hitter with some pop, and is also a great leadoff hitter. I think he helps the Cardinals a good bit looking ahead, but I do not think that his play alone will be enough to help the Cardinals keep up with the Cubs.
3. Aroldis Chapman Returns to The Bronx
Aroldis Chapman was another player to leave the Cubs this offseason, and he returned to his most recent team before them, the New York Yankees. Chicago let him go due to his outrageous asking price of $100 million, and they were able to land closer Wader Davis from the Royals. The Yankees were willing to pay Chapman a good bit (5yr/$86M) and they needed him to be able to take some pressure off of some of their young pitchers. Now, the Yankees are in a position to win somewhere between 85-90 games, and have the ability to develop their young talent. I don’t know about you, but as a pitcher, if I knew that Chapman was in our bullpen, I would feel a lot more relaxed and confident about my job as a starting pitcher/reliever.
4. Chris Sale to Boston
This was obviously the biggest move of the offseason so far, due to the caliber of the players that were moved on both sides. The Red Sox clearly benefited by walking away with ace, Chris Sale. This takes a lot of pressure off of David Price and 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner, Rick Porcello. Other moves that lost out on the attention because of the Sale move, such as the team acquiring Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee, and signing free agent first baseman Mitch Moreland, also helps the Red Sox more than meets the eye. Chris Sale, however, is the one who puts this team now on a whole other level from the other teams in the AL. They now lack nothing as a team, and are poised to make a run at an AL East championship, and a World Series in 2017.
5. White Sox Acquire Top Prospects
The South Siders were able to do this via 2 trades; 1 with Boston, and 1 with Washington. They gave up some great players in Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, but got back what now gives them the title of having the best farm system in baseball. From Boston, they were able to pick up the #1 overall prospect in baseball as rated by mlb.com, Yoan Moncada. From Washington, they got the best pitching prospect in baseball and the #3 prospect as a whole in Lucas Giolito. They also added Michael Kopech, who is #30 ranked on the prospect list, and has been said to be able to hit speeds as fast as 105 MPH with his fastball! This was the first time that so many top prospects were traded in the same offseason, and then to be traded to the same team, that just puts this over the top. There were also some other good prospects included in these deals, but with what was just discussed, wow. Realistically, every prospect won’t be a superstar, and I get that, but as a Boston fan, I was already extremely high on Moncada. He has all the tools you could ask for, and will be a force at second base for the White Sox soon enough. Rick Kahn also may not be done in this offseason, being that they could still move the likes of Todd Frazier, Jose Abreu, and others.