Shohei Ohtani? Check.
Giancarlo Stanton? Ditto.
So what’s left for Major League Baseball’s annual December extravaganza known as the winter meetings?
The offseason’s jewel event gets underway Sunday night at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Hotel in Orlando, and just because two of the biggest offseason questions already were answered this past week doesn’t mean more action won’t follow in their wake.
With Ohtani choosing the Angels on Friday, that should help loosen up the pitching market, with top free agents such as Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn still looking for a landing spot.
As for the shock waves from Stanton’s trade, that should fire up the arms race between the Yankees and the Red Sox, who now might be willing to overpay for a badly needed power infusion. That should bring a smile to the face of agent Scott Boras, whose clients are some of the biggest bats available: J.D. Martinez, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.
But the Red Sox aren’t the only ones cringing from the Stanton fallout. The Giants and Cardinals, two clubs that had potential deals in place for the slugger, ultimately got burned when Stanton used his no-trade clause to scuttle those plans. Keep an eye on those teams as they pony up the cash to fill their power voids.
With Stanton and Dee Gordon traded, everyone also will be wondering if the Marlins’ fire sale is done. Could Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna or the just-acquired Starlin Castro be next?
Think of the resolutions on Ohtani and Stanton as merely firing up the hot-stove season heading into the winter meetings. With all 30 GMs and dozens of agents sequestered under one roof during the four-day baseball carnival, there isn’t a better place for deals to percolate, if not be completed, in that overheated space.