Dan's Dugout: Trade Rumors Are in the Cards • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Trade Rumors Are in the Cards


LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – Rumors can be believed, at least in the shadow of Fantasyland.

The Baseball Winter Meetings are in Orlando this week.
Credit: Dan Schlossberg

Ever since the Baseball Winter Meetings began here Sunday, the Miami Marlins proved they were not also located to the south but were also determined to follow that direction in the standings.

They opened the week by sealing the swap that sent slugger Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees. Then they followed by sending fellow slugging outfielder Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since the Fish had already found a team willing to take on the contract of fleet leadoff man Dee Gordon, the third breakdown of the floundering franchise was in full swing.

New CEO Derek Jeter will reach the Hall of Fame much faster than the Marlins will escape the cellar of the National League East.

Of the three tear-down swaps made by the team since Thanksgiving, the only major-leaguer received in return was Starlin Castro. And the veteran second baseman could soon be on the move again, perhaps back to New York but on the other side of town.

The New York Mets, who need better defense at the position than Wilmer Flores might provide, have their eye on Castro, an ex-Cub who most recently played for the Yankees.

Starlin Castro could be on the move again Credit: Robin Alam

The Mets made their first splash at the meetings Wednesday by inking reliever Anthony Swarzak to a two-year, $14 million contract.

It was hardly the move Mets fans expected, especially after the Yankees grabbed the tabloid headlines with the Stanton swap.

With J.D. Martinez in town, however, that could change. The 30-year-old outfielder, who capped a brilliant second half with a four-homer game for Arizona, is here to meet with prospective employers.

Other free agents are here too, along with super-agent Scott Boras, who represents many of them. Known for late signings that exact the last nickel from team budgets, Boras held court with media members outside the press room at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Hotel.

Managers also managed to meet the media. Former rivals Paul Molitor (Twins) and Don Mattingly (Marlins) met on the press room floor before meeting with reporters.

Brian Snitker says analytics should help his team win. Credit: Dan Schlossberg

And Brian Snitker (Braves) admitted that the hiring of Alex Anthopoulos as general manager made him aware of analytics and their potential for helping his players. He predicted that his young team would get even younger as top prospects from a rich farm system surface over the next few seasons.

Snitker noted that 19-year-old outfielder Ronald Acuna, a Venezuelan speedster who won two Minor League Player of the Year awards, is a good bet to crack the Atlanta varsity in 2018. He added that experience should help such recent arrivals as Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson, projected to the team’s double-play tandem from Day One.

Later in the day, the Cards announced they had traded prospects to the Marlins for Ozuna and had tentative agreement on a deal that would send Stephen Piscotti to the Oakland Athletics.

The Baseball Winter Meetings conclude Thursday with the Rule 5 Draft but most of the media contingent will spend the day in town before heading home at the end of the week.

Meetings Jottings: Former managers Whitey Herzog and Jim Leyland worked the hotel lobby, visiting with old friends . . .

Bob Costas won the Ford Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame and will be honored during Induction Weekend at the end of July.



About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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