Major League Baseball's annual winter meetings have come and gone with very little movement from the top players or teams, though that doesn't mean the event was a waste of time.
In fact, scouring the rumors and speculation that came from Orlando, you get the sense that several huge dominoes are getting ready to fall, and that will open up the field for teams to know what they are working against.
Since we can't dissect any major moves, we wanted to talk about deals that should happen. There were so many tidbits floating around throughout the week that we can put some pieces together.
To be clear, the signings and/or trades that we are suggesting are not necessarily going to happen, but based off some of the talk going on, we believe they make too much sense for both the player and team not to go down.
With that, here are the five deals we think should happen coming out of the winter meetings.
Rumor: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati Reds and others interested in Bronson Arroyo.
Why It Makes Sense For Arroyo
Going to the Twins, who are not going to compete for a playoff spot until 2015 at the earliest, would require some pride-swallowing for Arroyo. He's pitched for playoff teams three times in the last four years with Cincinnati and was a member of Boston's 2004 championship team.
At 37 years old when the 2014 season starts, Arroyo might not want to sign with a team that doesn't give him a chance to win right away. But Target Field could be great for helping him extend his career.
Arroyo gave up a league-leading 32 home runs in 2013 pitching primarily at Great American Ballpark, one of the smaller parks in baseball. By comparison, Target Field ranked 27th in MLB Park Factors adjusted homers in 2013.
He's a finesse pitcher who has to rely on movement and deception, because the fastball is going to get hit hard if it's around the plate. Pitching most of your games in a bigger park will allow some of those balls that left Cincinnati to find gloves.
Why It Makes Sense For Minnesota
The Twins have done a solid job rebuilding their pitching staff this winter with the additions of Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. They needed to do something after getting the fewest innings (871) and highest ERA (5.26) from the rotation in 2013.
Nolasco is, at worst, a proven innings-eater who might provide slightly better-than-average production. Hughes is a nice reclamation project who could be best served getting away from the short porch in Yankee Stadium.
Arroyo will give the Twins one of the most dependable innings-eaters in baseball. Since 2005, he has thrown at least 200 innings eight times. The one year he didn't reach that mark was 2011, "only" reaching 199.
Knowing you are getting a guy who will consistently throw six innings each time, even if there are a few duds mixed in, will be a great help to what was an overworked bullpen in 2013.
Report: Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers discussing deal for 1B Ike Davis.
Why It Makes Sense For New York
The Mets may view Ike Davis as part of their future, but we have two full seasons of evidence to suggest he just isn't that good. The power surge in 2012 (32 homers in 519 at-bats) was a mirage because of an inability to hit left-handed pitching (.560 OPS).
It also doesn't help that even with the power, Davis only hit .227/.308/.462 two years ago. The Mets have been surprisingly aggressive this offseason, signing Curtis Granderson, Chris Young and Bartolo Colon.
While they don't have a long-term first-base replacement on the team, the Mets can plug Josh Satin back at the spot in 2014. He posted a solid .376 on-base percentage last year in 221 plate appearances, though the power isn't what you are looking for at the position (.405 slugging).
Why It Makes Sense For Milwaukee
Even though I don't like Davis as a player, which you can probably tell, that doesn't mean he has no value.
Suppose Davis can find his power stroke again, entirely possible if you get him out of Citi Field, the Brewers could find a bat they have been looking for since Prince Fielder left two years ago.
Trading Tyler Thornburg may be a sticking point for the Brewers, but this team has so many needs that retaining one pitcher, who is probably a reliever in the long run, won't change their fortunes.
Report: Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says multiple teams, including New York Yankees, contacted Seattle Mariners about Dustin Ackley.
Why It Makes Sense For The Mariners
Dustin Ackley has clearly worn out his welcome in Seattle. He was (deservedly) demoted last year and hit just .253/.319/.341 in 113 games. Nick Franklin didn't hit much better (.225/.303/.382) but did hit 12 homers in 369 at-bats.
The Mariners are trying to build a team with power, making Ackley even more expendable because his strength, at least coming out of college, was hitting line drives and keeping his batting average high.
While you don't want to immediately cut ties with a 25-year-old who was the No. 2 pick in the draft four years ago, Seattle could play Ackley in the outfield, though he's not the most fleet of foot and the team has enough options to choose from with Logan Morrison and Corey Hart joining the team.
Getting any kind of value for Ackley will be impossible, but just getting another roster spot open would be good for the Mariners.
Why It Makes Sense For The Yankees
Second base is still a question mark for the Yankees, more than ever after Omar Infante signed with Kansas City, per Buster Olney of ESPN.
Ackley wouldn't be handed the starting second-base job, nor should he, but the Yankees could insert Kelly Johnson there to start the season and hope Ackley performs well in the minors to warrant a look.
I would be shocked if Ackley ever became the star a lot of people projected when he was drafted, which isn't going out on a limb, but a change of scenery and work with a new hitting coach could at least help him provide some value in the big leagues.
It's a win-win situation for both teams, because the Mariners have a logjam of talent building up, and the Yankees can take a chance on a former top prospect.
Rumor: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels are seen as favorites for Matt Garza.
Why It Makes Sense For Garza
Considering the problems Garza had in Texas (89 hits, 12 homers in 84.1 innings) after being traded from Chicago, a move to Arizona would seem to be the worst thing for him. Chase Field and the Ballpark in Arlington are great parks for hitters because the warm temperatures help the ball jump off the bat.
Angel Stadium, on the other hand, has a lot of room in the outfield for those balls to die in the outfield. Garza would also have the luxury of pitching division games in Oakland and Seattle, two parks that are built more for pitchers than hitters.
Even though Garza isn't likely to strike out a batter per inning, as he did in 2011 with the Cubs, the Angels are a strong defensive club and will help convert more of those batted balls into outs.
Also, Garza would be able to sit in the same dugout as Mike Trout, which is the greatest gift in the world.
Why It Makes Sense For Los Angeles
The Angels have been able to rebuild the back of their rotation by acquiring left-handed pitchers Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago in a three-team deal during the winter meetings.
In adding those two arms to Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, suddenly the Halos have the makings of at least a passable rotation. Even better for the team is Skaggs and Santiago are under team control, so they didn't have to spend a lot of money to get them.
Unfortunately, as much as I like Skaggs and think Santiago can be a decent back-end starter, both are still volatile because of youth and, in the case of Santiago, issues finding the strike zone (72 walks in 149 innings last season).
Garza wouldn't completely change the landscape of the AL West but can give the Angels a dependable No. 3 starter with a little more upside. Health will be always be a concern, especially since he hasn't hit the 190-inning barrier since 2011.
But risks sometimes have to be taken. The Angels are clearly trying to win now, so they have to allocate whatever resources they can find to pitching. Garza is as good as any starter out there, with the added bonus of not having draft compensation attached to him.
Rumor: Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reports Texas Rangers willing to go five years on a deal for Shin-Soo Choo.
The Rangers appear comfortable going to five years on Shin-Soo Choo. Scott Boras wants seven. We will see if they settle in the middle.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 12, 2013
Why It Makes Sense For Choo
Since Shin-Soo Choo is a Scott Boras client, I don't think he will "settle" for a five-year deal, so the Rangers will throw in an extra year to get a deal done (in this scenario).
The market for Choo may be dwindling, allowing the Rangers to name their price. If that's the case, this is a deal the team should jump on.
But for Choo, this is his best opportunity to win right away and still get paid what is sure to be a hefty salary. The Houston Astros have been mentioned as a potential landing spot, per Bob Nightendale of USA Today, though I don't see that happening unless they are willing to go above and beyond in a potential deal.
The Rangers will allow Choo to play his natural right-field position, even if his defensive stats there have been declining for years. It is a great hitting environment, allowing him to increase his power output as he gets into the twilight of his career.
Why It Makes Sense For Texas
Six years might be a bit out of the Rangers' comfort zone, but Choo would instantly fill the two biggest needs they have entering the 2014 season: leadoff hitter and right fielder.
Choo finished fourth in on-base percentage last year (.423), trailing only Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto and Mike Trout and holds a .389 mark for his career. That skill will likely translate well as he gets into his mid- and late-30s.
The Rangers still have a good young core of up-the-middle talent in the big leagues (Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar) and upper levels of the minors (Rougned Odor, Jorge Alfaro), so an investment in Choo wouldn't be a huge burden because three of those four players aren't going to make a lot of money until 2016-17.
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