LEADING OFF: What to watch at the baseball winter meetings – Philly.com











A look at what’s happening today at the baseball winter meetings in Oxon Hill, Maryland:


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CLOSE IT


The World Series champion Cubs are hoping to finish off a deal for closer Wade Davis in a trade that would send outfielder Jorge Soler to Kansas City. Davis has been dominant for the last three years and would inherit the role left open when Aroldis Chapman became a free agent.





Davis has especially excelled in postseason play, and helped the Royals win the 2015 crown. In those 27 1/3 innings as a reliever, he has a 0.33 ERA – one earned run in 27 1/3 innings, with 39 strikeouts.

He spent time on the disabled with a forearm injury last season and was limited to 43 1/3 innings, but returned to pitch in September.

NATS TARGETING MCCUTCHEN

Looking to make a splash, the hometown Washington Nationals struck out on trying to acquire ace Chris Sale when the Chicago White Sox instead sent him to the Boston Red Sox. Given the price of the return, it’s not shocking that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo couldn’t match because Trea Turner wasn’t going anywhere.




Now the Nationals can turn their focus to outfielder and 2013 NL NVP Andrew McCutchen. Rizzo acknowledged he has been in talks with Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington, but the cost could be one or both of Washington’s top prospects: Victor Robles and Lucas Giolito.

One thing’s for sure: Rizzo hasn’t shied away from a big, win-now trade before.

WHITE SOX STILL FOR SALE

Trading Sale to the Red Sox for a hefty haul of prospects might be just the start of a White Sox fire sale. Center fielder Adam Eaton, starter Jose Quintana and closer David Robertson could all get dealt in the coming days, weeks or months as Chicago goes into full rebuilding mode.




“You try not to get too far ahead of yourself because obviously we’ve just done one major deal and try not to look three, four down the line about what it’s going to look like because we’re not going to force this thing,” GM Rick Hahn said.

Getting third baseman Yoan Moncada, considered the top prospect in baseball, along with pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz, and outfielder Luis Basabe for Sale was a nice start.

HEAR THIS

Longtime Chicago baseball announcers Ken Harrelson and Pat Hughes are among the eight finalists for the Ford C. Frick Award that’s being presented on the last full day of the meetings.




The tribute is for broadcasting excellence, and the other candidates are Gary Cohen, Jacques Doucet, Bill King, Mike Krukow, Ned Martin and Dewayne Staats. The winner will be honored at the Hall of Fame this summer.

NOT WORTH SAVING?

Mark Melancon already cashed in on a $62 million, four-year deal with the San Francisco Giants, and fellow closers Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman will undoubtedly get paid. But in this age of evolving bullpens, Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch doesn’t think much of the save stat.

“The way we compensate saves, it’s very hard for anybody not to be attracted to that,” Hinch said Tuesday. “If we played in a nonemotional, noncompensated neutral environment, I think we would flush that stat saves down the toilet. But we don’t. There is always going to be a constant pull and tug between players, compensation, manager, analytics, what’s the smart thing to do?




“But by far the smartest thing to do is win the game. That makes people like me happy.”

















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