LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Now that Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton picked their new places to play, baseball bosses checked into the winter meetings primed to make moves that had been bottled up for weeks.
The market for relievers quickly warmed Sunday, even before many teams got down to business.
Luke Gregerson found a spot in the St. Louis bullpen, and Brandon Morrow could be closing for the Cubs. Still available: free agents Wade Davis, Greg Holland and Brandon Kintzler.
“There are a lot of guys out there, a lot of teams looking for relief pitching,” New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson. “We think there’s some values.
“I don’t think that we will jump into the inferno, but we do want to improve our bullpen,” he said.
Plenty of top hitters are in play, too, a list topped by J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer. Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta are among the starters listening to offers.
Stanton was expected at the resort hotel near Disney World on Monday. As workers finished putting bright red poinsettias around the lobby, the New York Yankees prepared to unveil their big holiday present.
Having turned down chances to slug for the Cardinals and Giants, the big-bopping Stanton got a trade he liked. The NL MVP who led the majors in home runs and RBIs was ready to move from the Miami Marlins and put on pinstripes.
That deal, set to send All-Star second baseman Starlin Castro to the Marlins, could have a domino effect — Miami might flip him fast to the Mets.
“I’ve talked to a couple of people who were involved in the Stanton discussions who I think do feel as if they’ve been somewhat liberated to talk about other things,” Alderson said.
Ohtani, the prized pitcher/hitter from Japan, chose to join the Los Angeles Angels and was presented over the weekend by his new club.
“There were lots of teams that were involved in Ohtani,” Alderson said. “Now we have the winter meetings, so I think we have the right forum and I think some things have been cleared away, and I do think activity will pick up.”
The Cardinals got busy, reaching a deal with Gregerson, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
Gregerson will get an $11 million, two-year contract. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement was subject to a physical and had not yet been announced.
The 33-year-old righty was 2-3 with a career-high 4.57 ERA in 65 relief appearances for Houston. He didn’t permit a run in five postseason appearances as the Astros won their first World Series championship.
The Cubs anticipate losing Davis, but seem to have filled the void with Morrow. Multiple reports have the 33-year-old righty joining Chicago.
Morrow was 6-0 with two saves and a 2.06 ERA in 45 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. He notably then pitched in all seven World Series games.
Also on deck Monday: the arrivals of the newest Hall of Famers, longtime Detroit Tigers teammates Jack Morris and Alan Trammell. A day after a 16-man committee elected them, Morris and Trammell were set to stroll through the hotel halls as baseball royalty.
“I am still overwhelmed,” Trammell said. “At this particular time, I don’t know what else to say.”
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