The MLB Winter Meetings don’t get started until next week, but the offseason is already starting to heat up with several notable signings and trades over the past week. Let’s catch up on everything you might have missed so that you’re caught up to date when the Winter Meetings get underway.
Zack Wheeler has become the first major free agent to sign this winter. He’ll be moving from the Mets to the Phillies on a five-year deal worth $118 million. Wheeler will pitch alongside Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta in a rotation that needed a major addition after its performance last season.
Of course, the signing could be even better news for Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole, who most have rated ahead of Wheeler and will likely get even better paydays.
Cole for Christmas
Elsewhere in the NL East, the Braves improved their rotation by signing Cole Hamels to a one-year deal worth $18 million. Hamels has continued to pitch like a frontline starter over the past year and a half with the Cubs.
He’ll serve as a replacement for Dallas Keuchel, who remains a free agent after spending the second half of 2019 with the Braves. Atlanta also has Mike Soroka and Mike Foltynewicz pitching at the top of its rotation, as it looks to win its third straight NL East crown in 2020.
Moose on the Loose
Mike Moustakas is on his way to Cincinnati, signing a four-year, $64 million deal with the Reds after spending the last year and a half in the NL Central with the Brewers. This deal is noteworthy because it’ll require Moustakas to play second base with Eugenio Suarez entrenched at third base in Cincinnati.
Moustakas started to see some action at second base last year after spending his entire career at the hot corner. The Reds apparently saw enough to think he can handle the position on an everyday basis.
More importantly, they are hoping that Moustakas adds more power and depth to their lineup behind Suarez and Joey Votto.
The Marlins are actually making positive moves this winter, claiming first baseman Jesus Aguilar off waivers and trading for middle infielder Jonathan Villar. Aguilar is just one year removed from being an All-Star in 2018, while Villar had a solid season last year with the Orioles.
Neither player should be considered a major addition, but the fact that the Marlins are adding established veterans to their roster is a sign that they’re getting ready to make an honest effort at being competitive.
Wear the Halo
The Angels also added to their rotation this week, acquiring starter Dylan Bundy in a trade with the Orioles. Bundy’s injury history makes him an interesting choice for the Halos, who have been plagued by injuries to their rotation in recent years.
However, Bundy has managed to stay healthy for the past couple of years and become a viable back-end starter. After the trade, Angels GM Billy Eppler stated that “our work’s not done,” which is perhaps an indication that the team will go after some of the bigger free agents on the market, including Cole and Strasburg, who both have ties to Southern California.