By Simon Farber, Staff Reporter
The 2016 MLB offseason is quickly getting under way. The GM Meetings, taking place in Florida, have already produced some impactful rumors and deals. Here’s what we’ve heard so far:
The Minnesota Twins have won the bid for Korean Byung-Ho Park
Minnesota won the bidding for Byung Ho Park, paying him $12.85 million for the right to negotiate a contract. The two parties have 30 days to agree to a deal. The Korean first baseman hit 53 home runs over 140 games in the Korean Baseball Organization last season. Minnesota, who also has prized third base prospect Miguel Sano, may have to get creative in defensive positioning to fit all their young players into the lineup. The Twins announced that they want Sano to move to left field.
Angels Acquire SS Andrelton Simmons from Braves for Aybar, Prospects
The Atlanta Braves have made the bold decision to trade arguably the best defensive shortstop in the majors to the Los Angeles Angels. Simmons, 26, is now under Angels’ team control through 2020. Although Simmons batted just .252 last season, he made up for it with stellar defense. Being sent over to Atlanta was veteran infielder Erick Aybar, who was a 2014 All-Star, and has batted .278 over his last seven seasons. Accompanying Aybar was the Angels’ top two pitching prospects, Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis. Newcomb is currently listed as the #19 prospect on Baseball America’s Top 100 list.
Astros OF Colby Rasmus accepts qualifying offer, first player to ever do so
Outfielder Colby Rasmus has accepted his qualifying offer from the Houston Astros (1 year, $15.8m). In the four years of the qualifying offer’s existence, Rasmus is the first player to ever accept the deal. The breakout star will stay in Houston through 2016, and will test the free agent waters immediately following the 2016 season. Had Rasmus declined, he would be a free agent, and the Houston Astros would receive draft-pick compensation from the team who signs him. It will be interesting to see if smaller market players like Matt Wieters or Chris Iannetta follow in Rasmus’ footsteps and take the one-year deal.
Yankees, Twins swap young talent
The New York Yankees have sent 24-year-old catcher John Ryan Murphy to the Twins in exchange for 26-year-old outfielder Aaron Hicks. Hicks, who joins a crowded Yankees outfield, lines up to replace Chris Young as the fourth outfielder on the 2016 roster. However, the Yankees see the young outfielder as an everyday player, and may explore trading someone like Brett Gardner in exchange for pitching relief. On the Twins’ side, the decision to move Miguel Sano from third base to the outfield forced one man out of the lineup, so the move to send Hicks away was not a tough one. In Murphy, the Twins get a catcher who has everyday potential. He .277 in a backup role for the Yankees last season.
Yankees have placed CP Andrew Miller on the market
Brian Cashman, the Yankees general manager, has made prized Yankees closer Andrew Miller available to clubs this winter. Miller, who had an ERA of just 2.04 last season, has an incredibly high stock and could help New York acquire some pitching. The Yankees have Masahiro Tanaka and upcoming prospect Luis Severino, but there is not much else currently in the organization to be confident about. Moving Miller may be a risky decision, but it could provide quite the starting pitching haul for the Yankees. Also, Dellin Betances has closer ability out of the New York bullpen and could fill the void left by Miller nicely.