There was a time — not long ago — that baseball’s Winter Meetings were the place for a good portion of the offseason action. It used to be three non-stop days of trades, free agent signings and anything else you could imagine.
It was just four short years ago that Andrew Friedman and Co., in its first year at the helm of the Dodgers, nearly broke baseball. Jimmy Rollins was coming to town. Dee Gordon was shipped out for Austin Barnes, Andrew Heaney, Chris Hatcher and Enrique Hernandez. Heaney was immediately traded to the Angels for Howie Kendrick. Brandon McCarthy agreed to a 4-year deal. The Matt Kemp-for-Yasmani Grandal deal was in the works and even fireballing reliever Drew Butera was traded.
While all the moves weren’t official during the meetings, word of all the transactions broke during the meetings.
It would be, admittedly, foolish to expect this every year from a team (unless you’re a Mariners’ fan), but since then, the Winter Meetings have been relatively quiet for the Dodgers. Here’s a list of transactions they’ve made at the meetings since that fateful few days in December 2014:
Selected Daniel Fields off waivers
Re-signed Chase Utley
Re-signed Rich Hill
Signed Tyler Holt
Selected Edward Paredes in MiLB phase of Rule 5 Draft
Nothing. Literally nothing.
That’s it. It should be mentioned that in 2015 and 2017, the Dodgers made a couple significant trades in mid-December. In 2015, it was the three-way deal with the Reds and White Sox that landed the Dodgers Micah Johnson, Frankie Montas and Trayce Thompson, and last year it was the re-acquisition of Kemp. And in 2016, they re-signed their trio of free agents in Hill, Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner (both of whom were signed long after the meetings).
We as fans have been conditioned to expect a ton of transactions at the Winter Meetings, but before Thursday’s three-team deal involving Cleveland, the Mariners and Rays, there had been three trades — Tanner Roark to the Reds, Ivan Nova to the White Sox and a swap of minor-leaguers between the Cardinals and Rangers. The free-agent signings were minimal, headlined by Andrew McCutchen to Philadelphia. So, it’s not just a Dodger thing.
Still, the rumors were plentiful on Monday and Tuesday. They included Corey Kluber, Kemp, Yasiel Puig, David Robertson, Francisco Cervelli, Jose Martinez and some craziness involving Homer Bailey. Nothing has come to fruition, which is fine. There’s still two months until pitchers and catchers report (i.e., a lot of offseason remaining). We as fans are antsy for something beyond a somewhat curious three-year deal for Joe Kelly.
This is more to temper expectations for the meetings than complaining that not much has happened yet. It’s a stark reminder that we shouldn’t get overly excited for the second week in December anymore. While it used to be a time when most of the offseason wheeling and dealing happened, it is far from that now. Especially for the Dodgers.
Like I said, there’s a lot of offseason left. The Dodgers are not done making moves. Here’s hoping for a big one or two this week. If not, it’ll probably be pretty quiet until next year.