With a week to go until the Winter Meetings, the MLB Hot Stove is starting to heat up. Players are starting to sign, and rumors are starting to swirl. Here are the three biggest takeaways from this weekend.
1. Jordan Zimmeran Signs With The Tigers
On Sunday, it was announced that former Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmerman had signed a 5-year, $110 million contract with the Detroit Tigers. While he has long been linked to the Red Sox, I believe that Dave Dombrowski and company were looking for something a little bit more.
The idea had been floated out in the rumor mill that the Sox may be interested in signing Zimmerman as a #2, then trading for an ace such as Jose Fernandez or Sonny Gray. However, after checking in on the asking price, the Red Sox have shown that they would rather spend money than unloading their pool of fantastic prospects.
For the Tigers, I was surprised at how good of a deal this was. At 5 years, they will be getting Zimmerman at his peak, rather than dishing out a 7 or 8 year contract, like Cueto and Price could be in for. As for the money, I think it is safe to say that Zimmerman received less than most initially thought. In today's game, $22 million is the going rate for a solid rotation piece, but with so many teams needing starting pitching, I thought the total money would be higher.
Now that Zimmerman is off the market, teams could start to push up the market for Price, Cueto and Greinke.
On a side note, isn't it crazy to think that Rick Porcello and Jordan Zimmerman are essentially getting the same average annual value? Crazy.
2. Hanley Ramirez Is On His Way Out
According to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, Dave Dombrowski is trying hard to trade the troubled Red Sox power hitter Hanley Ramirez just a year into his 4-year, $88 million contract. Ramirez battled phantom injuries all season before shutting it down in September. While Ramirez is open to playing first base and will play in Winter Ball, the Red Sox are rightfully unconvinced.
Coupled with the sudden emergence of Travis Shaw at first base, and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the outfield, there does not seem to be a place for Ramirez on this team. Surprisingly, teams are interested in acquiring Ramirez, regardless of his issues this past season. The Mariners, Orioles and Angels are all reportedly interested in acquiring Ramirez if Dave Dombrowski eats "at least half" of his remaining $66 million.
Cafardo continues on, saying that the Red Sox could be interested in acquiring Orioles slugger, now free agent, Chris Davis if they are able to dump Ramirez. While the bidding seems to be anywhere from 5-7 years, at $140-180 million, all signs point to Davis staying with the Orioles. However, with David Ortiz's impending retirement and a lack of power in the middle of the lineup, adding Davis makes some sense. However, how much money can the Red Sox really spend?
3. The Red Sox Are Now Favorites To Land David Price
According to multiple outlets, including the Boston Globe, a plethora of GMs around the league now believe that the Red Sox are the favorites to sign Top FA David Price. While Boston's bottomless pockets are sure to entice Price, it is believed that his great relationship with Dave Dombrowski, which first kindled with the Detroit Tigers, could sway the lefty's opinion even more in the Red Sox favor.
People have talked about Price's inability in the playoffs, but you have to get there first. Price is one of the best pitchers in the regular season and will be able to help this team win plenty of games. The bidding is expected to reach at least 7-years, $210 million, but, like I have said before, to the Red Sox, its just money.
The Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals, and Cubs, among others, have also been rumored to be in on Price.
With the Winter Meetings starting within the week, we should all get a better understanding of where guys are leaning and the true market value of top free agents.
By Pete Packowski