The Major League Baseball offseason is barely a week old, but there’s been plenty of action early on. Let’s take a look at some of the teams that haven’t wasted any time in building their rosters for the 2020 season.
The New Jay
In desperate need of rotation help after trading away Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez last summer, the Blue Jays acquired starter Chase Anderson from the Brewers this week. Milwaukee was likely to decline Anderson’s option for the 2020 season, so by trading him, they managed to get prospect Chad Spanberger from Toronto for him.
The Blue Jays will likely make more additions to their rotation this winter. However, Anderson figures to be a steady veteran presence in an otherwise young rotation.
Keep the Band Together
The Braves were quick to retain both right-fielder Nick Markakis and catcher Tyler Flowers for 2020. Atlanta, in a savvy financial move, declined the 2020 option on both players but quickly re-signed them both at the same price. By paying each a $2 million buyout and re-signing them to a $4 million deal, the Braves only add $8 million to next year’s payroll rather than $12 million, indicating that they are saving up for a major addition this winter.
After reaching the National League Championship Series this year, the St. Louis Cardinals will have some important decisions to make on key players this winter. However, those making the decisions will be staying in St. Louis.
Manager Mike Shildt received a contract extension that will keep him with the Redbirds through the 2022 season. John Mozeliak, the president of baseball operations, also received a three-year extension that goes through 2023. Finally, general manager Mike Girsch received an extension from the club that will have him making important decisions for the Cardinals through at least the 2022 campaign.
Not Testing the Waters
Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez will not be opting out of his contract and testing the free-agent market this winter. Martinez had the option but will instead stick around in Boston to make $62.5 million over the next three seasons. However, his contract also gives him the chance to opt-out after each of the next two seasons, though if he didn’t exercise that option this year, it seems unlikely he will do so next year.
Despite a productive season in which he hit 36 home runs with 105 RBI and an OPS of .939, the market for Martinez would have been limited to American League teams. The Red Sox would have been one of the few teams interested in him, so rather than testing the market and trying to get a new contract from Boston, Martinez will stay put.
The Battle Continues
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have seen their relationship strain over somewhat tepid free agency in recent years, and now there’s been another twist in the tale. Tony Clark, the head of the MLBPA, issued a statement this week saying an investigation has been launched to look into comments made by Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos that he’s been in contact with nearly every other team and gotten an idea of what their plans are for free agency.
Clark says that those comments “call into question the integrity of the entire free-agent system.” In other words, it could be another contemptuous winter between the league and the Players Association.