The Major League Baseball winter meetings were supposed to be the culmination of all the rumors leading into the event, but with little action taking place, fans are forced to hope that blockbuster trades will still come to fruition this offseason.
With huge names like Jimmy Rollins, Ike Davis and Jonathan Papelbon reportedly on the trade block, the rumors and speculation about if, when and where the players could be dealt is the talk of the sport.
Here is the latest buzz surrounding the biggest names rumored to be on the market.
Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins has been one of the linchpins for the Philadelphia Phillies' success over the last 13 seasons, but with a monster contract and his age becoming factors—he is 35—the organization is reportedly willing to move him.
ESPN’s Buster Olney fills in more of the details:
PHI has made clear to other teams, as it did during the summer, that it is very willing to move Jimmy Rollins. Has a no-trade clause, tho.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 16, 2013
About Jimmy Rollins's contract: He needs 434 plate appearances in 2014 to have his contract vest at $11m for 2015. http://t.co/U94BKkvLED— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 16, 2013
There is no discounting the success Rollins found in Philadelphia, but with a steady decline in production since his MVP-winning season in 2007, the time has come for both sides to part ways.
In just two fewer games during the 2013 season (as compared to 2007), he had 61 fewer hits, 24 fewer home runs, 55 fewer RBI and a full .38 percent drop in batting average. That’s an unmistakable decline.
While the no-trade clause will make a move hard to pull off, it’s clear that Rollins’ history with the Phillies isn’t worth $11 million annually. Philadelphia must trade him to a contender while he still has value and get as much in return as possible.
Ike Davis, 1B, New York Mets
The New York Mets are looking to free up money as the franchise continues rebuilding, and a possible trade of first baseman Ike Davis has been a rumored possibility.
The Milwaukee Brewers and Mets have reportedly discussed a deal, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, but haven’t been able to reach an agreement:
According to the rumor, the prospect the Mets desire is right-handed pitcher Tyler Thornburg. He was one of the top players in the Brewers’ farm system and has contributed in the big leagues over the last two seasons. The team is right to hold off on making the deal until New York is willing to take a less-important player.
Davis is a talented first baseman who is coming off a down season. After setting career marks in 2012, he fell back down to earth on a mediocre Mets team, amassing just nine home runs, 33 RBI and a .205 batting average.
There is no denying Davis’ raw talent and ability, but Milwaukee doesn’t need to part with a player like Thornburg to acquire him. As the offseason progresses, New York will soften the asking price and this deal should get done.
Jonathan Papelbon, RP, Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies knew the franchise needed to rebuild the back end of the bullpen when they signed closer Jonathan Papelbon to a monster contract before the 2012 season. The deal has not panned out how the player or the franchise anticipated.
According to Olney, the team is ready to make a trade:
Folks who've talked with PHI say they're EXTREMELY motivated to move Papelbon. Could cost $39m for 2014-2016 seasons if '16 option vests.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 13, 2013
Papelbon has been a strong force for the Phillies, racking up 67 saves and 149 strikeouts over the last two seasons, but he has been a distraction off the field. He was often critical of the organization for the lack of depth and other issues that plagued the team over the last two seasons.
With former manager Charlie Manuel stuck trying to defend the organization and his players—while still trying to correct the issues with the on-field product—Papelbon’s comments helped further divide the locker room.
The highly competitive Papelbon only wants the best for his team, but it’s clear that there are hard feelings. Add in his $11 million salary, and the team will be looking to make a trade.
*All stats via MLB.com.