It didn’t take long for the hot stove to turn white hot at the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego. Amid a plethora of rumors, two significant transactions were made; one involving a trade and the other regarding a free agent signing. For the second straight offseason, free agent right hander Jason Hammel signed on the dotted line with the Chicago Cubs. While the 32-year old netted a one year contract last season and was subsequently traded at the mid-summer deadline, Hammel earned a two year pact worth $18M this offseason to pitch for Chicago. Later in the day, the Oakland Athletics traded former Red Sox prospect Brandon Moss to Cleveland in exchange for minor league second baseman Joe Wendle. While no trade had been made official by the end of the day on Monday, the Athletics were working on a deal to send left handed pitcher Jeff Samardzija to the Chicago White Sox. Samardzija, who was thought to be an option for the Red Sox, will now play second fiddle to Chris Sale in Chicago’s sneaky-good starting rotation. However, the White Sox weren’t just looking to improve at the start of games, they were also looking to solidify the end of games as well. Chicago rounded out their very busy Monday by nearing a deal with former Yankees closer David Robertson. With Samardzija and Robertson set to join Chicago’s early offseason acquisitions of Adam LaRoche and Zach Duke, the White Sox seem like they’re poised to compete in 2015.
- No Winter Meetings daily wrap up would be complete without an update on the Jon Lester sweepstakes. As of Monday night, the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants appeared to be in the lead for the left handers services. However, a late night report indicated that the 30-year old has received four different 6 year, $150M contract offers; with one team contemplating adding a seventh year. While Lester’s final decision could still come at any time, the new increased offers could push the starters decision to Wednesday. (Lester has four offers in the $150M million range, and one team may go an extra year)
- Outside of acquiring one or two top tier starters, the Red Sox would also benefit by adding a low risk, high reward type pitcher to the middle of back end of their staff. Former Red Sox prospect Justin Masterson would fit the bill nicely, and has already received a one year offer from Boston. Masterson, who will turn 30 in March, four and a half seasons of varying success with the Cleveland Indians. Last season, Masterson endured the worst season of his seven year career, posting an ERA close to 6.00 in 128.0 innings pitched. However, should Masterson return to his career norms in 2015, his reputation as a middle of the rotation innings eater would be a welcomed addition to the Sox staff. (Red Sox make offer to pitcher Justin Masterson)
- Should the Red Sox lose out on Jon Lester, the team is prepared to quickly pivot on the starting pitching market. Therefore, if Lester is no longer an option, Boston is expected to turn their attention to Philadelphia Phillies southpaw Cole Hamels. However, if Red Sox unwillingness to move Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, or Blake Swihart could be detrimental to a potential deal. (Red Sox prepared to trade for Cole Hamels)
- Outside of the Jon Lester negotiations, the Red Sox find themselves fielding multiple trade and free agent offers. Boston has received multiple hits on established major league talent like Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, while also fielding inquiries on younger talent like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts. As the Red Sox navigate their way through the offseason, their bountiful trade chips and payroll space can effectively rebuild the starting rotation if used correctly. However, the goal now is to decide which players will bring them back to the postseason and beyond. (Red Sox GM Ben Cherington wading through options)
- Tweet of the day: I think I got BINGO on day one…