A new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was recently signed and now clubs are beginning to wheel and deal. Let's check out how these transactions could affect the MLB odds for next season.
Mets Re-sign Cespedes
One of the most coveted free agents has been taken off the board as the New York Mets re-signed their prized outfielder Yoenis Cespedes for four years and a whopping $100 million, replete with a no-trade clause. The 31-year-old hit .280 with 31 home runs and made his second All-Star appearance in 2016. As an aftershock of the deal, the MLB odds makers at 5Dimes have installed the Mets at +1700 to win the 2017 World Series. The mega-deal will bode well for sluggers looking for a home like Dexter Fowler, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista who will all command a bit more money because of New York's open purse strings.
Nats Get Derek Norris for Prospect
The Washington Nationals reacquired one of their top prospects in catcher Derek Norris. Selected in the fourth round in 2007 by Washington, the sizzling prospect was part of a package that was traded to Oakland in 2011 for Gio Gonzalez and Robert Gilliam. Norris was an All-Star in 2014 and then dealt to the San Diego Padres. He put up excellent numbers in 2015 but struggled last season with a career-low .186 batting average.
However, the Nationals needed help behind the plate after Wilson Ramos's ACL surgery and subsequent journey into free agency. Norris was ecstatic when learning of his return to DC.
“It was kind of spur of the moment and it was something we had discussed,” Norris said in a telephone interview Friday night. “It was a thing that had been brought to my attention. But it’s 100 percent a great thing. And I’m looking forward to it.”
The move will also clear the decks of roughly $4 million for the penny-pinching Padres. San Diego will turn the backstopping duties over to 24-year-old prospect Austin Hedges who tore it up at Triple-A El Paso last season but has struggled at the Major League level on the few occasions he has been summoned.
Braves Add Another Veteran to Rotation
The Atlanta Braves are clearly intent on bringing experience to their starting rotation. If they get any older they will need a geriatric nurse instead of a trainer on board. After signing 42-year-old R. A. Dickey and 43-year-old Bartolo Colon for a combined $20 million they decided on a youth movement in bringing 30-year-old Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals on board in exchange for three prospects, including utility man Luke Dykstra, the son of former New York Met Lenny Dykstra whom they sent to St. Louis as part of the trade package.
Jaime Garcia is coming off a disappointing season in which he recorded a 10-13 mark with a 4.67 ERA. However, the good news is that Garcia finished the 2016 campaign healthy and ready to go for next season without any offseason medical issues. Garcia has been derailed by a number of surgeries but when he is on, he can be a truly effective starting pitcher. Though Garcia may not be a reason to include Atlanta in your MLB picks for postseason glory next season, he may be a healthy piece of the puzzle for a team that finished dead last in the NL East last season.