Big League Stew

  • Video: What do you actually do at baseball's Winter Meetings?

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 4 hrs ago

    NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings are a surreal place. Practically everyone in the baseball industry converges into a mega hotel for an event that’s a combination of general managers and agents trying to woo each other, reporters looking for scoops, front-office job seekers looking for a gig and trade-show people trying to sell their latest products.

    That absurdity isn’t helped by the fact that the days run upward of 16 hours sometimes and it’s not hard to spend three days at the Winter Meetings without even going outside.

    To the naked eye, it really just seems like a lot of people standing around. Sometimes they assemble in circles — like when an MLB manager has a scheduled media session or late at night when they’re discussing the day’s events in the bar or hotel lobby — but sometimes it’s more like thousands of people waiting for something to happen.

    That leads to a pretty simple but fascinating question: What do people *actually* do at the Winter Meetings?

    • The GM: Bobby Evans of the San Francisco Giants

    • The Manager: Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles

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  • Hot Stove Digest: Cubs agree to deal with Koji Uehara

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 4 hrs ago

    Welcome to The Stew’s Hot Stove Digest, our daily rundown of MLB news, rumors and gossip for Hot Stove season. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.

    WHAT A RELIEF: The Chicago Cubs have agreed to a deal with free-agent reliever Koji Uehara. The 41-year-old Uehara posted a 3.45 ERA over 47 innings with the Boston Red Sox last year. He’ll likely slot into a setup role behind the newly-acquired Wade Davis. Uehara is still an effective pitcher despite his age, but doesn’t often pitch on back-to-back days anymore. [@JonHeyman]

    GETTING CLOSE: The St. Louis Cardinals are getting close to signing outfielder Dexter Fowler. St. Louis has been linked to Fowler all offseason, so it’s not surprising they would be interested in the 30-year-old. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447, with 13 home runs, over 551 plate appearances with the Chicago Cubs last year. [@BNightengale]

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  • Bob Odenkirk recalls Disco Demolition Night on 'Drunk History'

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 5 hrs ago

    The Chicago White Sox added a lot of explosive, young talent during the 2016 Winter Meetings. When those players eventually play together in the majors, the franchise will have to hope it goes better than the last time explosive materials were used on the field.

    Yes, we’re talking about Disco Demolition Night. The now infamous promotion has gone down as one of the worst decisions ever by a team. The whole event was crazy, and a complete disaster, and that makes it the perfect story to retell on Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.”

    Bob Odenkirk, better known as the actor who plays Saul on AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” retold the story on the program. As the title of the program suggests, Odenkirk imbibed a few adult beverages before launching into the tale, a fitting choice considering the state of many of the fans at the game.

    Given the results, it’s no surprise this was the last time baseball held this type of promotion. It’s never a good thing when you do something so inexplicable it gets featured on a show called “Drunk History.”

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  • Ten lingering questions from the Winter Meetings

    Yahoo Sports Staff at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    Baseball’s Winter Meetings are wrapping up today, and the affair proved to be an eventful three days. Chris Sale changed teams, Ian Desmond and Aroldis Chapman signed new contracts and that was just the tip of the iceberg. (For the rest of the iceberg, check out our done deals post, which contains info and analysis for every signing and trade that happened at the Winter Meetings.) But as executives and writers alike flee National Harbor, Maryland, there are still a few questions that haven’t been resolved.

    What happens with Dexter Fowler? Fowler and his agent must have been salivated after Desmond received $70 million from the Rockies. Despite that, the market on Fowler has been fairly quiet over the past few days. That’s somewhat confusing, as both the St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays have been mentioned for the outfielder, and have a clear need for a player like Fowler. With Eaton now off the market and the Pirates unclear about what to do with McCutchen, Fowler suddenly looks like the best option for teams desperately in need of an outfielder. – Chris Cwik

  • Shohei Otani still wants to come to MLB in 2018 despite new rule

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    Nippon Ham Fighters superstar Shohei Otani doesn’t care about the money. Despite the new international spending limits, Otani still plans on coming over to Major League Baseball next offseason, according to Jim Allen of Kyodo News.

    Hideki Kuriyama, Otani’s manager in Japan, said Thursday, he still expects him to go in 2018 on minor league deal because it’s about game.

    — Jim Allen (@JballAllen) December 8, 2016

    That should come as a bit of a surprise, considering MLB’s stance on altering a new rule in the collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) that would prevent Otani from receiving a massive contract until 2019.

    Because of that, it was assumed the new rule would prevent Otani from coming to the majors until 2019. It just didn’t seem logical for Otani for forfeit such a huge payday.

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  • MLB Network's 'Joy in Wrigleyville' is chock full of emotions

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 15 hrs ago

    For the first time since 1908, there was true joy in Wrigleyville after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Now we’ll have a unique opportunity to experience the joy up close and personal with some of the Cubs most loyal fans, which range from worldwide celebrities to the family next door.

    The aptly titled program “Joy in Wrigleyville,” will be the first offseason installment of the popular documentary series MLB Network Presents. It will air Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, right after the Winter Meetings coverage wraps up. But thanks to the kind folks at MLB Network we were able to view it advance. Trust us, it’s a must-see program for fans of all generations and of all teams.

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    Hosted by Bob Costas, the program focuses on the emotions of a starved fanbase as its beloved franchise nears history. We’ll experience all of the highs and lows with them, from the moment the Cubs won the National League pennant for the first time since 1945, to being on the brink of elimination after falling behind three games to one to the Cleveland Indians, to winning a truly epic Game 7.

    Here’s a quick synopsis from MLB Network.

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  • Hot Stove Digest: Where will Kenley Jansen wind up?

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 22 hrs ago

    Welcome to The Stew’s Hot Stove Digest, our daily rundown of MLB news, rumors and gossip for Hot Stove season. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.

    THE BIG ONE: If you missed the biggest news of Wednesday night: Aroldis Chapman chose to return to the New York Yankees, agreeing to a record-setting five-year deal worth $86 million. Chapman was the No. 3 overall free agent on the market. [Yahoo Sports]

    THE NEXT ONE: Chapman making his choice leaves Kenley Jansen as the latest elite closer on the market. Jansen, the ex-Dodger, is said to be choosing between going back to L.A. or heading to the Miami Marlins. Per Passan, the Marlins are being quite aggressive in their pursuit of Jansen, offering five years and more than $80 million too. [@JeffPassan]

    Sources: The Marlins have made a monster offer for Kenley Jansen — almost at the level of Aroldis Chapman. Five years, more than $80M.

  • Matt Holliday made sure Yankees can never trade him to one former team

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Have you ever lived in a city or worked for a company that you promised yourself you’d never live in or work for again?

    New York Yankees free-agent signee Matt Holliday has, and though his chosen profession essentially guarantees he’ll return to the city of his apparent disdain temporarily, the negotiating power of his agent has reportedly guaranteed he won’t return there permanently or work for his former employer again.

    Well, at least during the 2017 season.

    As we learned on Wednesday, Holliday’s one-year, $13M contract with the Yankees reportedly includes one very interesting and unique provision. It’s essentially a one-team no-trade clause that prevents the Yankees from trading Holliday to the Oakland A’s, where he played during the 2009 season.

    Interesting wrinkle in Matt Holliday's deal with Yankees. Contract allows him to block trades to one team: Oakland Athletics.

    — Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 7, 2016

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  • Done Deals: Mariners get Chris Heston in trade with Giants

    Yahoo Sports Staff at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    This is The Stew’s running list of trades and signings that happen during baseball’s Winter Meetings. We’ll update this post as news happens.

    WEDNESDAY Mariners get Chris Heston in trade with Giants Because Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto wasn’t leaving the Winter Meetings without making at least one trade, the M’s struck a deal with the Giants to acquire pitcher Chris Heston. There’s no immediate return for the Giants. They’ll get a player to be named later.Jon Morosi of MLB.com was first to report the news.

    Adam Eaton goes to Nats in latest White Sox trade The White Sox are the wheelin’-and-dealin’ team of these Winter Meetings. They did it again by striking a deal with the Washington Nationals sending centerfielder Adam Eaton to D.C. in exchange for three prospects. Pitcher Lucas Giolito, the Nats’ No. 1 overall prospect, goes back to Chicago, as do Reynaldo Lopez (No. 3) and Dane Dunning (No. 6).

    Sources: The Jays and Steve Pearce agree to a two-year, $12.5 million deal.

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  • How much did Red Sox World Series odds improve following Chris Sale trade?

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The Chicago Cubs are still the team to beat, according to Bovada Las Vegas oddsmakers, but a flurry of moves on Tuesday has the Boston Red Sox right on their heels.

    In a span of hours, Boston added another ace by acquiring Chris Sale in a trade with the Chicago White Sox. They also picked up a critical bullpen piece, trading for right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers. To cap off their big afternoon, Boston signed first baseman/designated hitter Mitch Moreland to a one-year deal.

    Though the Red Sox also parted with coveted prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, that series of moves changed the landscape quickly, moving Boston from a 9/1 favorite on Nov. 3 to a 11/2 on Wednesday. That closed the gap on Chicago, which was a 7/2 favorite the day after winning the 2016 World Series, and is now a 15/4  favorite. 

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