Baseball’s labor negotiations have entered the Temple of Doom this winter, and the hope is that owners and players will stop stalling and find a mine cart that will get them out of harm’s way before spring training is threatened.
But just because it will take a while for the two sides to come to some kind of resolution, that doesn’t mean we have to stop arguing about what could / should happen when the sport finally resumes.
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Because when you do, and teams can sign free agents and trade again, you’ll see a flurry of activity. It’s probably going to be a lot of fun, honestly, to watch free agents sign contracts and watch teams trade one after another. After all, what else are the main office guys going to do during the lockout besides planning their reassembly strategy?
So we’re looking at division by division what’s on the record for all 30 teams. Today, it is the West of the National League.
San Francisco Giants
Summary prior to blocking: Brandon Belt, coming off an interesting season (29 home runs, a career high) despite missing more than 60 games through injuries (including the postseason), accepted the team’s qualifying offer, so he’s back. The Giants also brought back starters Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood, and added Alex Cobb to the rotation.
The first thing to do: Remember how Kris Bryant felt perfect for the Giants on the trade deadline, and then the Giants came out and acquired him? Well, Bryant still fits the Giants perfectly, with his defensive versatility and his right bat, especially with the retirement of Buster Posey. Hiring Bryant quickly – they have enough payroll strength and room for this to happen – would give the Giants a lot of flexibility for the rest of the offseason.
Also on the list: DeSclafani, Wood and Cobb Join Postseason Ace Logan Webb in Rotation; Will the Giants be satisfied with the insider options for the No. 5 opening pitch or will they come out and add another established starter?
Los angeles dodgers
Summary prior to blocking: Any conversation about the Dodgers before the lockout revolves around which players left, even though the Dodgers made an effort to bring them back to Hollywood. Max Scherzer took Steve Cohen’s $ 1 billion (a slight exaggeration) to pitch for the Mets for years to come, and Corey Seager took the Rangers’ third of a billion (not an exaggeration) to play at Texas in an effort. for reviving a franchise that has been struggling lately. Of course, they brought Chris Taylor back, giving them the versatile defender who has helped the team cover the injuries of other players across the diamond for several years. That is huge. They also took an $ 8 million flier on Andrew Heaney and added veteran Daniel Hudson to the bullpen.
The first thing to do: By the time the lockout is over, Clayton Kershaw should know which team he would like to play for in 2023. First, he will have time to find out where he stands, health-wise. And secondly, he will know if he wants to stay with the Dodgers or play closer to home; the Rangers would LOVE adding him to their staff. The Dodgers need to cross that off the list quickly, because that affects what they’ll do with the rotation and how many arms they need to add.
Also on the list: Will Kenley Jansen return? Who closes the games? There is no question that the Dodgers will be active and there are many avenues they could take.
San Diego Padres
Summary prior to blocking: The biggest news was hiring Bob Melvin out of the Athletics to be the new manager of the Padres, in a rather surprising move. Melvin, a veteran manager with an impressive track record, strays significantly from the last two managers in San Diego (Andy Greene and Jayce Tingler). The Padres made a couple of additions to the pitching staff, but no one will reassure fans who saw the 2023 season turn into a disaster.
The first thing to do: It was no secret that the Padres were looking to trade Eric Hosmer on the July 30 trade deadline (well, mostly Hosmer’s contract). Those efforts will continue and perhaps a new collective agreement will provide a little more certainty. Teams and players can’t talk, but teams can still discuss trades, and with everything else on hiatus, now is a great time to work on trades like this.
Also on the list: Add some power to gardens. Find out if he is also negotiating with Wil Myers. Find out who closes the games. Long to-do list.
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Summary prior to blocking: Rockies fans had to watch Jon Gray, the solid home starter, sign a four-year, $ 56 million deal with the Rangers after Colorado decided a one-year, $ 18.4 qualifying offer wasn’t worth offering. millions. So the Rockies don’t get compensation and the fans are frustrated. On the bright side, they brought back CJ Cron, who hit 28 homers with 130 OPS +, on a two-year deal, starter Antonio Senzatela on a five-year deal and catcher Elias Diaz on a three-year deal.
The first thing to do: It sounds strange to say that the Rockies need bats, they ALWAYS have bats, but the Rockies need bats, plural. Trevor Story could technically still come back, but that’s not really happening, so there’s a hole at shortstop. Rockies outfielders hit just 46 home runs last year, a total that ranked 29th out of 30 MLB teams (just ahead of Arizona’s 45, which lost 110 losses). And, of course, the designated spot is likely to make its way to the National League as well.
Also on the list: They signed Senzatela to the extension, which is great for rotation stability, but they need to replace Gray’s 29 starts. And the bullpen? Yes, they need help from the bullpen.
Summary prior to blocking: In a slightly surprising move, the Diamondbacks signed closer Mark Melancon, who will turn 37 in March but led the MLB with 39 saves in 2023. It’s weird because Arizona only won 52 games all season, so spending money on an established closer feels a bit strange. But hey, having someone you can trust to secure any winning chances that arise is a good thing, so kudos to the D-backs. Also, you have to remember that the Diamondbacks didn’t expect to be horrible last year, but almost everything that could have gone wrong did. The goal is not another 100-loss year in 2023.
The first thing to do: Sure, they’d love to have a full season from a healthy Madison Bumgarner and others, but finding more quality rotation options is a must.
Also on the list: Figuring out what to do with Ketel Marte is a priority, but not urgent, if that makes sense. When he’s been healthy in recent seasons, he’s produced as an All-Star / MVP candidate, and he’s got a contract that includes a couple of team options that are decidedly favorable to the team when he’s producing like this. If the right deal comes in, basically an offer that they just can’t refuse, they should probably negotiate it with him.