•   
  •   
  •   

Sport Five burning questions for MLB's Winter Meetings

19:22  05 december  2019
19:22  05 december  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Police are keeping reporters away from owners at the owners meetings

  Police are keeping reporters away from owners at the owners meetings This is a radical departure from usual practice at these meetingsChandler Rome, the Astros beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, attempted to talk to Astros owner Jim Crane at the hotel in which the meetings are taking place. Which makes sense because, duh, Rome covers the Astros and, if you haven’t noticed, the Astros are in the news lately.

It’s not yet time to suggest baseball’s offseason will move at a pace much quicker than a tugboat. Yet for the first time in several years, the game’s Winter Meetings may actually provide significant movement.

a man in a baseball uniform throwing a ball: Strasburg has been with the Nationals organization since he was drafted first overall in 2009.© Mike Ehrmann, USA TODAY Sports Strasburg has been with the Nationals organization since he was drafted first overall in 2009.

As Major League Baseball executives, agents and myriad power brokers set off for San Diego and the industry’s annual four-day bazaar of the bizarre, memories of the past two glacial winters are fresh and all too grim. And with two years remaining before the game’s collective bargaining agreement expires and either inspires wholesale changes or a work stoppage, there once again will be dozens of employable veterans still seeking jobs as spring training begins.

Two semis overturn on Utah highway as winter storm brings winds of up to 150 mph

  Two semis overturn on Utah highway as winter storm brings winds of up to 150 mph Two semi trucks overturned in Utah on Wednesday as the state was slammed by a Winter Storm that brought with it winds of up to 150 mph. © Newsy_US Severe Winter Storms Tear Through U.S., Kill 3 Utah Highway Patrol responded to a crash on the southbound side of I-15 at mile marker 61 near Cedar City Wednesday afternoon where officers found a massive semi-truck had been “blown over.”‘SLICK CONDITIONS,’ RAPID SNOWFALL CAUSES 60 CARE PILEUP ON WASHINGTON HIGHWAY, OFFICIALS SAY “High-profile vehicles beware: some serious winds throughout our state right now,” highway patrol said in a tweet.

But with moderate action already unfolding on the free agent market – witness the Phillies landing Zack Wheeler and 30-plus vets Cole Hamels and Mike Moustakas finding homes – there’s reason to believe this year’s meetings may be more than just parlor talk. A look at the burning questions ahead of them:

From NFL plays to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day.

What’s on Stephen Strasburg’s mind?

For the second consecutive year, the Winter Meetings will unfold in the hometown of a Washington Nationals legend seeking a nine-figure commitment and lifetime contract.

And this time, there should be more actual suitors for San Diego’s Stephen Strasburg than Las Vegas native Bryce Harper.

He’s been a National since they made him 2009’s No. 1 overall pick, opted against free agency once by signing a $175 million extension, but then exercised an opt-out clause at just the right time. Strasburg, 31, struck out a career-best 251, won 18 games in pitching a National League-best 209 innings and then was the Nationals’ most indispensable cog in their run to a World Series title.

Yankees to meet with Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg ahead of Winter Meetings

  Yankees to meet with Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg ahead of Winter Meetings The Yankees could be looking to go big this offseason, as they will meet with Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.Ultimately, the Yankees were successful in wooing Sabathia – who preferred to pitch in his home state of California – to the Bronx with a seven-year, $161 million deal.

FREE AGENCY: Ranking the top players available

WINTER MEETINGS: MLB's minority hiring woes continue

It was generally presumed that Strasburg, a man of impeccable routine who moved full-time to D.C. a year ago, would return to the Nationals on a lengthier deal that included less deferred money than his old pact, which ran through 2023. But now we are a month past his opt-out date, the starting pitching market is already overheated and deep-pocketed clubs like the Phillies and Yankees and Dodgers are preparing their pitches.

If so inclined, Strasburg can break the bank.

Oh, he might not reach Gerrit Cole’s financial strata, but a deal north of $200 million is easily within reach – at the least, something resembling teammate Max Scherzer’s seven-year, $210 million pact.

Having foregone free agency once, is Strasburg intrigued by going to the highest bidder? Will his comfort level in D.C. be superseded by a chance at a lifetime contract closer to family?

Trump cancels NATO press conference

  Trump cancels NATO press conference President Trump said Wednesday that he would cancel a press conference he was scheduled to participate at the conclusion of a NATO summit in London.Trump told reporters he planned to attend other scheduled meetings later Wednesday but that he would "probably go directly back to Washington" afterwards.President Trump said Wednesday that he would cancel a press conference he was scheduled to participate at the conclusion of a NATO summit in London.

And will the Nationals go to any length to retain him?

We may not get all the answers next week, but a Washington club that also needs an up-down response from fellow Scott Boras client Anthony Rendon may soon be inspired to come forth with a best-and-final-ish offer, as it did with Harper.

How desperate are the Dodgers and Yankees?

In an alternate universe, Clayton Kershaw doesn’t pitch a fateful eighth inning, Adam Ottavino isn’t called upon to give up a key home run and Fox is still basking in the mega-ratings of a Dodgers-Yankees World Series.

And at least one of those teams would have snapped a championship drought each considers unacceptable.

Instead, the Nationals are champs and the Dodgers (Last title: 1988) and Yankees (2009) are left wondering whether dipping under myriad luxury-tax thresholds isn’t as thrilling as hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Now, how far are they willing to go to grab it?

Both franchises are flush with cash, talent, flexibility and creative front offices that can pivot quickly from one scenario to the next – and already have 100-win foundations from which to build.

Report: Gerrit Cole has seven-year, $245 million offer from Yankees

  Report: Gerrit Cole has seven-year, $245 million offer from Yankees Star free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole has reportedly received a contract offer of seven years and $245 million from the Yankees.While it is possible that Cole signs before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, clients of Scott Boras have tended to sign later in the offseason, so this may be a protracted process with today’s report as a jumping-off point. Both the Yankees’ and Angels’ front offices have received clearance from ownership to break the bank to sign Cole.

Sure, the Dodgers would be happy to open 2020 with Justin Turner as their starting third baseman, and they’ll almost certainly win an eighth consecutive NL West title regardless of what they do. But the specter of adding Rendon for the long term or Josh Donaldson as a mid-range solution while trading Turner or moving him to second base is titillating. So, too, is adding a power arm like Cole or Strasburg as Kershaw continues his gentle transformation into his golden years.

The Nationals badly exposed the Dodgers’ need for more swing-and-miss from any pitcher not named Walker Buehler, and now they have two rotation vacancies with Hyun-jin Ryu and Rich Hill reaching free agency. The Dodgers opted for a higher-value, shorter-term strike a year ago with Harper, who rebuffed them for a $330 million deal with Philadelphia.

Now, another year has ticked off the calendar and their need for pitching is far more acute and specific than a luxury buy like Harper. Perhaps the time has come for a little irrationality from Chavez Ravine.

The Yankees can relate – they refused a sixth year for lefty Patrick Corbin last year and it may have cost them a championship shot. GM Brian Cashman isn’t wrong when he says a 103-win team doesn’t need an overhaul. But they’ve also failed to win a pennant since the famous splurge of December 2008 that netted CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora makes it sound like Mookie Betts will be traded

  Red Sox manager Alex Cora makes it sound like Mookie Betts will be traded The AL MVP back in 2018, Betts is coming off a pretty solid 2019 campaign that saw him hit .295 with 29 homers, 80 RBI and a .915 OPS. We’ll see if Boston makes any headway in moving Betts as the winter meetings progress. As of right now, it seems like he’s on his way out of town.

Perhaps a bi-coastal bidding war for the ace both clubs need will be sparked in San Diego.

Who’s ready to quit tanking?

Call it tanking, or rebuilding, or retreating, but suffice to say, more than half of major league teams have done it in the past five years.

Now, more than a few franchises seem poised to pivot toward competing again.

The Padres (Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado) and Phillies (Harper, McCutchen, now Wheeler) joined the fray in earnest the past two years. The Reds dealt for Trevor Bauer in July, signed Moustakas this month and certainly aren’t done.

Who’s going to join them?

The smart money is on the Rangers, who are opening a new ballpark, already gave pitcher Kyle Gibson a three-year deal and would love to lure Houston native Rendon to “North Texas.” Yet there will be others.

While the game’s financial state leaves little incentive for owners to try and win, several franchises nonetheless will find their windows of contention close to opening or, perhaps, realize relevance isn’t a bad thing both at the gate and in TV ratings.

So, while their fans may be numb to their club’s inaction, don’t be stunned to see the Blue Jays, Pirates, Mariners and Giants try to buy a little goodwill, if not a pennant.

Will franchise icons land on the block?

Mookie Betts is just 27 years old, a mere 13 months removed from winning both a World Series championship and an AL MVP award. Yet in the hyper-efficient modern reality of the industry, even a team like the Boston Red Sox won’t hesitate too long before dealing a free-agent-to-be in the service of sustainability.

Betts and the Red Sox have never gained traction on a long-term deal, but his fate seemed particularly sealed with the dismissal of win-now-always GM Dave Dombrowski and hiring of Rays expat Chaim Bloom.

Efficiency and mega-contracts for franchise players rarely intersect.

What’s more, several teams seem to have identified “micro-windows” where trading for a rental such as Betts may look more palatable than usual. The Reds, Mets, Braves, Athletics, Twins – all fit the mold of typically unlikely trade partners who might be motivated to take a shot in 2020.

It’s also getting late early for plenty of other young stars, most notably Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, now just two years removed from free agency and with a grievance pending against the club that suppressed his service time as a rookie.

Players like Betts and Bryant are special cases, what with the hits a club would take from its fan base to move them. It would take quite the lightning strike for such a maneuver to come together at the Winter Meetings.

Then again, things are already moving quickly, a fact for which all parties are grateful.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Five burning questions for MLB's Winter Meetings

Shaq shares hilarious story about Stevie Wonder, appears to doubt if he’s really blind .
Shaq shares hilarious story about Stevie Wonder, appears to doubt if he’s really blindStevie Wonder is blind.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

usr: 1
This is interesting!