The MLB GM Meetings are underway this week, meaning that a lot of trade rumors are circling around. The biggest one is that involving Miami Marlins star outfielder and NL MVP candidate Giancarlo Stanton who, despite his tremendous talent, could wind up costing too much if new ownership under Derek Jeter gets its way. Not surprisingly, this could present a problem for a team looking to trim payroll.
In other news, will the Cincinnati Reds trade speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton? If so, will a team from the west coast have the most appealing bid?
And on the South Side of the Windy City, what do the White Sox have brewing?
There's plenty brewing at the meetings in Orlando so let's dive right in and see what's cooking!
The price of Stanton
It's no secret that the Marlins and new owner Derek Jeter have reducing payroll to $90m as their top priority this offseason. Management has thus put Stanton and the remaining $295m owed to him on the market, and a few teams in the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, among others, have spoken to Miami about how much his big bat would cost.
If a tweet from ESPN's Buster Olney is true, that answer would be a lot.
No disrespect to Jeter and his front office, but Olney is right. It has been established that any deal involving Stanton would be a salary dump, and any team that acquires him could take on a great deal of money, particularly if Stanton doesn't opt out of his contract. That said, no team wants to give up a combination of its best prospects and established MLB talent just for Stanton to leave after three years.
This story is far from over, so be on the lookout for further updates.
Billy Hamilton: Speedster, Red, Giant?
The Cincinnati Reds are looking to add reliable arms to a pitching staff that ranked 29th in baseball with a 5.17 ERA in 2017 and damn the expense!
At least, that's what the front office's approach appears to be. Per a report from MLB Insider Jon Morosi, the San Francisco Giants are interested in improving their outfield's defense and have their eye on speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton.
The Giants are also a potential landing spot for Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain, but Hamilton is an intriguing option. He's only 27 years old and has racked up 243 stolen bases in just five MLB seasons. Hamilton's speed also provides excellent defense in center field and he has averaged 13 defensive runs saved (Rdrs) for his career. Over the last two years, his Rdrs is an impressive 24.
Hamilton comes with risks after battling injuries for the previous three seasons, and his career slash line is an unimpressive .248/.298/.334. Think of him as a real-life version of Willie Mays Hayes. As great as he is as a baserunner and in the outfield, Hamilton is something of an offensive liability.
Hamilton will be due a raise from the $2.6m he received in arbitration last year and has two more years before free agency, so it's really just a matter of how much Evans and front office head Brian Sabean will give up for Hamilton. If Cincinnati's asking price proves too high, they can easily find another option elsewhere.
Hot Stove in the Windy City
MLB's hot stove has spread some of its heat to the South Side of Chicago, and not because of a man named Leroy Brown. Rather, it's because the White Sox are open to making some moves if a report from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick is true.
Per Crasnick, GM Rick Hahn has said both first baseman Jose Abreu and outfielder Avisail Garcia could be moved in a potential trade. This isn't at all a surprise considering Abreu, who hit .304 with 33 home runs and 102 RBI for the fourth-place ChiSox in 2017, earned $10.8m in arbitration last offseason and will want a substantial raise for next year.
Garcia is in a similar boat, having hit a career-high .330 (second in the AL) with new career bests in 18 home runs and 80 RBI. He earned $3m last year and has two years of arbitration remaining, as does Abreu.
This is where things get tricky. The White Sox are in a position to ask for top prospects for either man, and the 26-year-old Garcia is definitely someone who will generate a lot of interest. Abreu could too, but he turns 31 in January and could be bound for the DH spot sooner rather than later. Hahn didn't say moving one or both men was a goal for the offseason, but it's clear he's keeping that door open.
I hate to say it but don't too much stock in this. Abreu and Garcia have been the two top dogs on the White Sox in recent years, and there is no reason for the team to deal them when no immediate successor save for 20-year-old Eloy Jimenez is lying in wait.
Unless someone makes an offer that just blows Hahn away, expect these two to stay right where they are now.