Karpin: Hot Stove Menu Heats Up With Winter Meetings Up Next

Somehow, someway, the Yankees were going to be drawn back into trade talk for Marlins expensive superstar Giancarlo Stanton.

A published report says Stanton has narrowed his list of teams down to four including the Dodgers, Cubs, Astros and Yankees. Miami was amenable to offers from the Giants and Cardinals, but Stanton holds the hammer with his no-trade clause and has already told both teams that he won’t be joining either one of them.

The Yankees have the prospects that Miami would desire in a deal of this magnitude. Adding Stanton to a lineup that already has Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez looks nice on paper but do the Yankees really need another power hitter. The lineup lacks balance, there are already too many strikeouts and it really doesn’t make sense to add to a strength. Not to mention the fact the team is looking to get under the luxury tax. Adding Stanton would kill that idea.

The Yankees feel as if they don’t need to do anything significant next week but it will be intriguing to see if they do pursue a trade or two.

Now that Shohei Ohtani has announced he will join the Angels, there could be a flurry of activity at next week’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida. The Halos still need a second baseman and third baseman so getting Ohtani may be step one of their off season plan.

No surprise that Miami got the party started early. The Marlins traded 2B Dee Gordon and $1 million dollars in international spending money to the Mariners for three minor leaguers including right hand pitcher Nick Neidert, Seattle’s top pitching prospect.

Seattle has Robinson Cano entrenched at second base so the plan is to play Gordon in center field, despite never having played anywhere in the field but shortstop and second base during his big league career. (Gordon played 9 games in center field for Licey of the Dominican Winter league during the 2013-2014 season) Gordon fits the bill for the Mariners as a dynamic lead off hitter, something they’ve lacked since Ichiro was in his prime so GM Jerry DiPoto, who is known to take a risk or two, feels he can make the transition.

Seattle was hoping the additional international spending money would put them “over the top” and that Ohtani would sign with them, but like many around the baseball world, Ohtani surprisingly chose the Angels.

Miami also got back right hand pitcher Robert Dugger and 19-year old, switch-hitting shortstop Christopher Torres who may not be a familiar name to Yankee fans but there is a link. The Yankees reportedly had an agreement to sign Torres as a 17-year old in 2014 but the deal never materialized.

I don’t think the Mets will come back from the meetings empty handed. Whether it’s a free agent signing or a trade, General Manager Sandy Alderson will likely get something done.

The Mets need help in the bullpen (practically every team does) but they have a hole to fill at second base and there is also a need in the outfield. Alderson has stated that, except for Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, he would be willing to trade a pitcher or two in the right deal.

The Twins are looking for starting pitching and may be willing to listen to offers for 2B Brian Dozier who is a free agent after the 2018 season. Dozier fits the Mets (excuse the pun) “like a glove.” He’s an underrated lead off hitter who can “ignite” an offense and a gold glove winner. It’s something Alderson and company may want to look into.

The Mets have been linked to free agent first-basemen Mitch Moreland and Adam Lind. Some names to ponder as potential (and cheaper) free agent signings. 33-year old, switch hitting outfielder Melky Cabrera and 34-year old first baseman Mark Reynolds. Not attractive names, I know, but, again, we’re talking cheap alternatives.

Now that they are out on Stanton, the Cardinals will put “plan B” into play. According to the St Louis Post Dispatch, the Cards were showing interest in a potential deal for Rays for 3B/1B Evan Longoria. St. Louis was already in touch with Tampa for closer Alex Colome so maybe they try and expand the deal.

The Rays could be one team worth keeping an eye on next week. In addition to possibly dealing Longoria and Colome, GM Erik Neander told the Tampa Bay Times that “we have to be considering everything and anything.” That includes dangling pitchers Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier as trade bait.

The Cubs were reportedly looking at a deal for Archer but they signed Tyler Chatwood which may have changed their approach to next week. Reportedly, Chicago may be looking to lock up free agent reliever Brandon Kintzler.

Other names that may move next week include Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen, Cubs OF/C Kyle Schwarber, (to the Yankees for a pitcher?) White Sox 1B Jose Abreu (who could end up in St. Louis) Blue Jays 3B Josh Donaldson and Orioles reliever Zach Britton.

Check out nysportsday.com for all the latest Mets’ and Yankees’ news and any buzz from around MLB at baseball’s Winter Meetings. NYSportsday Columnist Rich Mancuso will be on site. Look for his columns from Florida while I’ll be analyzing the deals.

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