Sport MLB hot stove: Five early storylines as baseball's offseason of uncertainty arrives

11:15  28 october  2020
11:15  28 october  2020 Source:   sportingnews.com

Will these seven MLB free agents receive qualifying offers?

  Will these seven MLB free agents receive qualifying offers? The revenue losses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted every corner of the sport, and since there’s so much up in air about how the 2021 season will operate, it is widely expected that many free agents in this year’s market will feel a crunch. © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto Will that squeeze extend to the very top of the market? We did see Mookie Betts and the Dodgers agree to a massive extension, so there’s evidence teams are still willing to break the bank for superstar-level talent.

MLB Free Agent & Hot Stove Tracker. Spotlight. Player Moves By Team All Roster Moves All Offseason Acquisitions Unsigned Free Agents. Former Teams

One Major League general manager predicted Friday evening that the industry would see "a few" notable signings over the next week. Darvish' s insider updates: Darvish' s Twitter feed has become a go-to source for Hot Stove rumblings over the past week.

The World Series has ended, which means Dodgers fans will spend the next few weeks celebrating and Rays fans will spend the next few weeks wondering where it all went wrong (in the sixth inning, eh?).

Everyone else, though, is very ready for what should be a fascinating offseason to get going already. Here are the five storylines everybody will be talking about — six, if you want to count the Justin Turner discussion that isn’t going away anytime soon.

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The owners will say they have no money

This, of course, has already started.

And, there’s no denying that the bottom lines for baseball team owners — a group with overall healthy bottom lines — have not been helped by their baseball holdings this year. This week, commissioner Rob Manfred — who, it’s always relevant to point out, works for and answers to the owners — gave an interview in which he talked about the massive debt taken on by MLB ownership during this season. From that piece, in Sportico:

Offseason outlook: St. Louis Cardinals

  Offseason outlook: St. Louis Cardinals It’s easy to imagine either a pretty quiet or a pretty busy offseason for the Cardinals, depending on how much change they feel is necessary. After all, this is a club that has been to the postseason in consecutive years, albeit via the expanded playoff field in 2020. The potential departures of Molina and Wainwright have more than just symbolic importance, as the Cards would be left with two more areas of need on a roster that is lacking in sure things.Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily.

Shohei Otani to the Yankees? Miami Marlins trading Giancarlo Stanton? Jake Arrieta leaving the Chicago Cubs? Here are the major storylines to watch as MLB

MLB offseason : Complete coverage of free agency and more. Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire. What else is cooking on the hot stove ? Alex Trautwig/ MLB Photos/Getty Images.

Major League Baseball’s 30 clubs have amassed an unprecedented $8.3 billion of debt from their various lenders and will post $2.8 billion to $3 billion in operational losses this year, Commissioner Rob Manfred told Sportico Monday in an exclusive interview.

The debt was accrued so the clubs could fund their businesses during this COVID-affected season without fans in the stands and negligible ballpark revenue.

“We are going to be at historic high levels of debt,” Manfred said. “And it’s going to be difficult for the industry to weather another year where we don’t have fans in the ballpark and have other limitations on how much we can’t play and how we can play.”

We have also seen teams fire hundreds of lower-level employees to curtail some of those losses. It’s not been pretty. But it’s relative.

The 2020-21 MLB offseason begins

  The 2020-21 MLB offseason begins That same uncertainty over COVID-19 will spread into the offseason. At the moment, Major League Baseball has little idea about how anything related to the 2021 season will proceed.The immediate aftermath of Game 6, however, focused equally on both the Dodgers’ triumph and the controversy surrounding Justin Turner’s positive COVID-19 test, which led to his removal in the eighth inning of last night’s game. Much more will be written about Turner’s situation and MLB’s health protocols in the coming days and months, yet it serves as something of an ironic end to a season that will be forever defined by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reaction to biggest hot stove moves. Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports. • Doolittle: Growing divide between elite teams and also-rans on display • Crasnick: Winter meetings talk sets the stage for offseason action • Miller: The four teams no one talked about at the winter meetings • Szymborski

Real live baseball is less than two weeks away. Thank goodness for that. I think we're all ready for the Thankfully, the free agent market moved much more quickly and vigorously this offseason , and all the big names signed weeks ago. Even with his defensive stats trending south in his early 30 s

The players will not really believe them

This, of course, has already started. Exhibit A is Francisco Lindor.

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The contract Lindor is referring to is the seven-year, $3.2 billion rights deal TBS and MLB agreed to, a deal that kicks in for the 2022 season and is a 40 percent increase in annual value. TBS gets the rights to more games — regular-season and postseason — and that’s a lot of money heading to MLB owners.

Exhibit B is the Mookie Betts contract; he agreed to a 12-year, $365 extension with the Dodgers, a deal that was agreed to in late June, long after the 2020 season had been derailed and before anyone knew if the restarted season would last. That turned out pretty well in Year 1.

Assessing the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles' offseason outlook

  Assessing the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles' offseason outlook General manager Mike Elias will head into his third offseason on the job still squarely in a rebuild, which should make for a pretty quiet winter in Baltimore. © Gerry Angus-USA TODAY Sports The O’s hope to get back Trey Mancini, who was Baltimore’s best hitter and arguably best all-around player in 2019, but he missed the 2020 season after revealing back in March that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer.

The MLB offseason is halfway over and while most of the big moves in free agency have already been made, the Hot Stove is still cooking. There are a few teams with playoff and even World Series aspirations that need to fill important roles and a few teams that aren't looking that way who don't have

Early Hot Stove . Let' s look at the biggest question facing each team this offseason . Arizona Diamondbacks. They have to win before Trout' s free agency arrives , and that' s a process that starts now. It is not in president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman' s nature to spend big on a reliever.

And then there's the qualifying offer for free agents this offseason. It’s up, from $17.8 million to $18.9 million. That number is determined by the average of the top 125 contracts for the 2020 season (full-season, not the prorated salaries of the COVID-shortened campaign). Teams have five days after the end of the World Series to extend qualifying offers to their own potential free agents, and the players have a week to decide what they’re going to do. So we’ll know very quickly what value teams put on players — and potential draft-pick compensation.

Opportunistic teams have an advantage

At least a few teams should be concerned more with winning than pocketing profits, and those teams will have an opportunity to sign players early without getting into bidding wars with teams opting to hold a harder line on spending money for player acquisitions.

Act quickly, be bold and be rewarded. It won't happen often — lots of good players figure to still be on the market into January or February — but early signings could prove key to how the 2021 season plays out.

Top 50 MLB free agents of 2020-12 offseason with predictions

  Top 50 MLB free agents of 2020-12 offseason with predictions We vetted these as much as possible, but with 50 predictions and a volatile free agent and trade marketplace, we know we’ll be off on some. The pandemic only makes the task harder.MLBTR writers Steve Adams and Connor Byrne joined me in this collaboration, debating free-agent contracts and destinations for many hours over the past month.  If you’d like to support the effort that went into this list, please consider a subscription.

With the right offseason , Atlanta could make a run at the NL pennant in 2019. A combination of shrewd trades and a dominant run on the international market paved the way for Atlanta to shock the baseball world by winning the NL East in 2018, fresh off four straight losing seasons .

The official news source of Major League Baseball including previews, recaps, trades, rumors, press releases and more. Part of the beauty of October baseball is that anyone can be a World Series hero, from future Hall of Famers to the 25th man on the roster.

One-year deals could be common

Trevor Bauer has long promised to take a unique approach to free agency. Instead of shopping for a long-term deal, his stated plan is to sign a series of one-year deals every offseason. He sacrifices the security that a long-term deal offers, but if he stays healthy and productive, he should make more money. Teams are, generally, more willing to pay $25 million for one year (just picking a number, not projecting what he'd get) than $90 million over four years. It's less risk for them, should the player get hurt.

But this is a strange offseason, with a lot of uncertainty, and it's very possible Bauer won't be alone in this approach, at least for now. Typically, one-year deals have been reserved for players coming off injuries and attempting to rebuild their value, like Josh Donaldson with the Braves for the 2019 season. This offseason, it makes sense that other free agents — guys like George Springer, Marcus Stroman and others — might opt to sign one-year deals hoping that MLB regains a more stable financial base after lost revenue in 2020, and that they can cash in with a more lucrative long-term contract next offseason.

And you can bet teams will, in many cases, probably prefer this option, too.

Who's getting traded?

The crop of free agents after the 2021 season is absolutely stacked, and several of those players could be moved this offseason. Lindor tops that list — there’s no reason to believe Cleveland will offer him a fair-market long-term contract — and he’s joined by guys like Trevor Story, Michael Conforto, Khris Davis, Salvador Perez and the Cubs quartet of Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo.

Assessing the offseason outlook for the San Francisco Giants .
A potentially intriguing offseason awaits the Giants, who are positioned to be one of the winter’s more aggressive teams depending on how they approach their long-term spending. © Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports What does San Francisco Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi have in store for the upcoming offseason? Guaranteed ContractsEvan Longoria, 3B: $43M through 2022 (includes $5M buyout of $13M club option for 2023)Johnny Cueto, SP: $27M through 2021 (includes $5M buyout of $22M club option for 2022)Buster Posey, C: $24.

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