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Winter Meetings Predictions

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After Saturday morning’s blockbuster trade that sent National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins to the New York Yankees, as well as Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani signing with the Los Angeles Angels, the expectation for the upcoming Winter Meetings is that they will be busy to say the least.

The Winter Meetings have been at the epicenter of the Major League Baseball offseason for awhile. All thirty teams are in the same place at the same time with one thing on their minds: Business. With that in mind, I have three predictions as to some of the moves we see at the Meetings.

Photo Credit: Ron Schwane/Getty Images

1) Bye Bye Ian Kinsler

The Detroit Tigers are in a rebuilding mode, and have done pretty well at starting that this past season. The Tigers traded OF J.D Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks in late June to kick off said rebuild, receiving three infielders in return, headlined by Dawel Lugo. Their next move came the day before the Trade Deadline, trading LHP Justin Wilson and C Alex Avila to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for 3B Jeimer Candelario, SS Issac Paredes, and cash considerations.

Their big move came at 11:58 EST on the August 31st waiver trade deadline, as the team traded franchise icon RHP Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros in exchange for OF Daz Cameron, RHP Franklin Perez, and C Jake Rogers. This was the move that was highly influential in bringing a championship to Houston.

The Tigers, at one point, had five Top 100 Prospects. They finished with four, headlined by Perez (#41), but also including RHPs Matt Manning (#61), Alex Faedo (#66), and Beau Burrows (#88). They still have a few trade chips, but none that will bring in a major return.

Ian Kinsler is a name that has been brought up a lot, with the New York Mets being mentioned quite a bit. Although there’s “still skepticism” on a potential deal, they have been talking. I believe Kinsler is traded between Sunday and Friday, whether it’s to the Mets or another team.

On an unrelated note, the Tigers could be active this Winter Meeting. They may be on the lookout for inning-eating arms and another infielder, should Kinsler be dealt.

Photo Credit: Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

2) Reliever Market Starts To Fall

The relief market has had a lot of heat surrounding it, and I believe it’ll be the Winter Meetings where it starts to fall. Guys like Bryan Shaw and Addison Reed have drawn a lot of buzz, while the Rockies have been known to be exploring re-signing LHP Greg Holland or bringing in RHP Wade Davis. Brandon Kintzler has also garnered a bit of interest.

If I had to guess, the Colorado Rockies will close the deal with either Holland or Davis. Shaw is a safe bet to sign as well, as he currently has two offers from teams, one being from the Mets. Kintzler and other relievers may also sign, but it’s far from safe.

There may only be two or three that sign, but those two or three that sign will be huge in determining how the rest of the market shapes up.

Photo Credit: Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune

3) Twins or Brewers Sign Jake Arrieta

The Minnesota Twins had the best turnaround season in Major League history, going from losing more than 100 games in 2016, to the AL Wild Card Game in 2017. This is even more impressive when you consider the fact that the Twins began selling in late July, trading the aforementioned Kintzler to the Washington Nationals. However, they caught fire and claimed the second Wild Card spot.

This may be the time for the Twins to start going for it. The Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and soon the Kansas City Royals are in full rebuild mode. The Cleveland Indians are the only threat to them in the division. Arrieta is reportedly one of their top targets in the free agent market, and signing him might help them pull closer to the Tribe.

The Milwaukee Brewers also shocked the MLB, but not to the extent of the Twins. They finished 2016 with a record of 73-89, fourth in the NL Central. They finished 2017 second in the NL Central, after leading it for quite awhile, showing flashes of future success.

This may be a good time for the Brewers to go for it as well. The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals are underachieving, while the Cincinnati Reds are in a full scale rebuild. The Chicago Cubs are the only real threat in that division, and have an extremely young roster. The Brewers have a deep prospect pool that can help them in trades or even now, as we saw with OF Lewis Brinson.

Either team could benefit from the addition of Arrieta, but the Twins should be cautious. Arrieta is 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA since joining the Cubs in the NL, while he went 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA in four years with the AL’s Baltimore Orioles.

The Winter Meetings are sure to be a whirlwind of rumors and transactions, and we can’t wait until the games begin.

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