Market updates: Is Ben Zobrist holding things up at the Winter Meetings?
Transactional wise, it was a mostly quiet first day at the Winter Meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.
Some at the meetings feel Ben Zobrist is holding up both the infield and outfield markets, since he plays into both thanks to his ability to play two corner outfield positions as well as all four infield positions.
Zobrist and his agents are reportedly meeting with the Nationals on Tuesday, and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports said on MLB Network late Monday he could decide on his next home within the next day or two.
In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the relevant news and rumblings taking place in Nashville while the rest of the market waits on Zobrist to sign:
- The Reds and Dodgers reportedly had agreed in principle to a trade which would have sent Aroldis Chapman to Los Angeles. However, the deal never finalized, and on Monday night it was reported the star closer had recently been involved in a domestic violence incident at his home in Florida (Yahoo! Sports). In the process, Chapman might have sustained an injury to his hand (Rosenthal, FOX Sports).
- The Red Sox were involved in trade talks with the Reds for Chapman in November, and learned about Chapman’s domestic violence incident in a background check (Speier, WEEI Sports).
- The Mets expressed interest in Chapman at the trade deadline in July, but have not been involved in trade discussions with Cincinnati this winter, assistant GM John Ricco said on Monday in Nashville.
- The Indians, Tigers and White Sox have shown interest in a trade for Brett Lawrie (Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle).
- If they are unable to retain Alex Gordon, the Royals would be interested in signing Gerardo Parra (Morosi, FOX Sports). Parra is hopeful of netting a four-year deal this winter (Cotillo, SB Nation), but he may have to wait for Zobrist, Gordon and Jason Heyward to sign before his price point becomes defined.
- The Nationals have taken another step in re-tooling their bullpen, agreeing to sign Shawn Kelley (Curry, YES Network) just days after signing former Met Oliver Perez. GM Mike Rizzo also said on Monday Yunel Escobar is drawing trade interest, which could be significant as they continue their pursuit of Zobrist.
- The Tigers were reportedly looking at the possibility of re-signing Yoenis Cespedes, but GM Alex Avila told reporters on Monday a reunion didn’t seem likely at his time. Cespedes said in September he would seek a six-year deal in free agency this winter.
- The Braves are progressing towards a deal for Shelby Miller (Heyman, CBS Sports). The Braves and Diamondbacks had been discussing Miller (Nightengale, USA Today), but Arizona does not want to deal AJ Pollock in the process.
- The Cubs and Braves were reportedly close to a deal involving Miller and Javier Baez, but that was later debunked (Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times). The Rays and Cubs were involved in trade discussions for Baez, with Chicago asking for Alex Cobb in return (Topkin, Tampa Bay Times).
- There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez at the Winter Meetings, and while Miami’s front office is fielding phone calls about their young phenom, GM Mike Hill insists he’s not available in trade. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro said on MLB Network did say the Marlins would deal their star right-hander if they are overwhelmed with a trade proposal.