A Three-Team Deal in the American League
The Winter Meetings came to a close on Thursday, and as teams were departing Las Vegas the Mariners made sure to pull off one more trade. Along with Tampa Bay and Cleveland, it was a three-team swap involving mostly corner infielders. The biggest name in the deal was Edwin Encarnacion, who heads to Seattle in the deal along with a compensation pick. In exchange, Cleveland gets Carlos Santana from Seattle — who of course was just traded to the Mariners a few weeks ago — and Tampa Bay first baseman/outfield Jake Bauers. Finally, the Rays acquired Yandy Diaz and prospect Cole Sulser. In addition to all of this, there is a lot of cash going in every direction to make things even more confusing. The main takeaway is this: The Rays are getting a muscle man, the Mariners are getting a slugger they want to flip as soon as possible, and the Indians get a solid first baseman now and perhaps their first baseman of the future.
Brewers acquire Alex Claudio
The other trade that went down on Thursday was much smaller in scale but involved the relief market in which the Red Sox are involved. In this deal, the Rangers sent left-handed reliever Alex Claudio to the Brewers in exchange for a competitive-balance pick. Claudio is one of the least exciting pitchers in baseball, hardly ever striking batters out. However, he’s put up big results throughout his career prior to 2018 and has some closing experience. With his throwing from the left side, he seemed like a solid candidate for the Red Sox. Boston obviously doesn’t have competitive-balance picks to deal way, but they could likely find similar value. All that being said, it seems much better to preserve as many prospects as possible and focus on free agency.
The Rule 5 Draft comes and goes
The main event of the Winter Meeting’s final day is always the Rule 5 Draft, and that came and went without a whole lot of action for the Red Sox. Baltimore had the number one pick in this year’s draft, selecting Athletics minor-leaguer Richie Martin. Boston skipped their opportunity to pick and major-league players in the draft, which was expected. However, it appeared possible they could lose at least one player and possibly two with Josh Ockimey and Austin Maddox. However, no one was taken. In the minor-league portion of the draft they acquired two right-handed pitchers in Anyelo Gomez and Andrew Schwaab. Both righties spent time in the Yankees organization last year, with Gomez actually being selected by the Braves in the major-league portion of last year’s Rule 5 Draft before being sent back to New York. Meanwhile, Boston lost outfielder Tyler Hill to the Yankees.