These past few days in San Diego were borderline crazy. The Dodgers turned over a huge portion of their roster. The Cubs and White Sox made all kinds of noise. The Phillies finally began their tear-down and, perhaps, their rebuild. The Tigers and Red Sox shuffled and reloaded. The Yankees acted like some small market team. The Marlins and Reds, well, we’re not entirely sure what they did. It’s almost too much to keep track of.
But that’s why HardballTalk is here, dear readers. Below are links to the highlights of these few days in December when the past season was put in the rear view mirror for good and the foundations for the next season were laid:
The biggest deal: Jon Lester signed with the Cubs for $155 million. And here’s what the deal means for him, the Cubs and the Red Sox.
The next biggest: Matt Kemp was traded by the Dodgers to the Padres.
The Dodgers signed Brandon McCarthy to a four-year deal.
The White Sox signed closer David Robertson to a four-year deal. And the Yankees never even made him an offer. For that matter, the Yankees didn’t make an offer for McCarthy either.
But that’s not all! The White Sox also traded for Jeff Samardzija.
The end of an era in Philly: Jimmy Rollins was traded to the Dodgers.
Yoenis Cespedes (and some other guys) was traded to the Tigers for Rick Porcello (and some other guys)
The Tigers then traded for the Reds’ Alfredo Simon to replace Porcello in the rotation.
The Reds then traded another starter, Mat Latos, to Miami. Who’s gonna pitch in Cincinnati, you guys?
The Red Sox rotation makeover continued with the acquisition of Wade Miley and the signing of Justin Masterson.
The Dodgers traded Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to Miami for Andrew Heaney and some other guys. Haren may retire, however.
Oh, and the Dodgers didn’t really want Heaney anyway: they flipped him to the Angels for Howie Kendrick a few hours later. Heaney nonetheless looked back fondly on his many, many minutes as a Los Angeles Dodger.
The Twins signed Ervin Santana for $54 million
The Cubs re-signed Jason Hammel, showing that you can go home again. They also traded for Dbacks catcher Miguel Montero.
The Astros did some bullpen work: they signed Luke Gregerson and then they turned around and signed Pat Neshek.
The Veteran’s Committee had ONE job — to induct someone to the Hall of Fame — and it failed to do so.
The Rays reached an agreement allowing them to look for a new stadium. And, if they don’t get a new stadium, they’ll probably be sold and moved.
We learned that Madison Bumgarner once dated someone named Madison Bumgarner.
The Braves signed infielder/utilityman Alberto Callaspo.
The Royals signed DH Kendrys Morales.
Tom Gage of the Detroit News won the Spink Award. On the broadcasting side, Dick Enberg won the Frick Award.
The Angels acquired a guy who may be the worst hitter in baseball.
The Baseball Writers Association of America made a recommendation regarding the Hall of Fame ballot, but it was lame.
The Braves made an offer everyone will pretty much easily refuse.
The Pirates got Antonio Bastardo from the Phillies.
The Rangers acquired Ross Detwiler from the Nationals
The Rockies sent infielder Josh Rutledge to the Angels for a good relief pitcher.
The Cardinals got Mark Reynolds for some reason.
Nyjer Morgan is raging against the dying of the light: he’s going to go play in Korea.
Scott Boras did what Scott Boras does best.
Finally, I ranked all 30 major league managers by handsomeness again. Because that’s what’s really important.
I think we all need a breather now. Baseball can stop for a few days while we get our bearings if it would like to. Indeed, that’d be much appreciated.
The Los Angeles Times reports that federal agents have interviewed at least six current and former Angels players as part of their investigation into the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Among the players questioned: Andrew Heaney, Noé Ramirez, Trevor Cahill, and Matt Harvey. An industry source tells NBC Sports that the interviews by federal agents are part of simultaneous investigations into Skaggs’ death by United States Attorneys in both Texas and California.
There has been no suggestion that the players are under criminal scrutiny or are suspected of using opioids. Rather, they are witnesses to the ongoing investigation and their statements have been sought to shed light on drug use by Skaggs and the procurement of illegal drugs by him and others in and around the club.
Skaggs asphyxiated while under the influence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his Texas hotel room on July 1. This past weekend, ESPN reported that Eric Kay, the Los Angeles Angels’ Director of Communications, knew that Skaggs was an Oxycontin addict, is an addict himself, and purchased opioids for Skaggs and used them with him on multiple occasions. Kay has told DEA agents that, apart from Skaggs, at least five other Angels players are opioid users and that other Angels officials knew of Skaggs’ use. The Angels have denied Kay’s allegations.
In some ways this all resembles what happened in Pittsburgh in the 1980s, when multiple players were interviewed and subsequently called as witnesses in prosecutions that came to be known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. There, no baseball players were charged with crimes in connection with what was found to be a cocaine epidemic inside Major League clubhouses, but their presence as witnesses caused the prosecutions to be national news for weeks and months on end.