More imagining! It’s all we can do! The MLB lockout has continued to drag on with no progress. Spring Training approaches with a “start date” but everybody knows it’s going to be delayed for over a month.
Anyway, whenever the New York Yankees and the rest of the league can get back to conducting business, expect a mad dash in free agency and on the trade market as teams try to add and clear roster spots in frantic fashion since there will be little time to work with.
Though all of the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles and Rays made more impactful pre-lockout moves than the Yankees, all five teams have plenty of heavy lifting to conduct once a new CBA is stamped and made official.
Let’s look at a quick rundown of what transactions were made prior to Dec. 2;
- Orioles: signed Rougned Odor
- Blue Jays: signed Kevin Gausman and Yimi Garcia
- Rays: signed Corey Kluber and traded Joey Wendle and Jordan Luplow
- Red Sox: traded Hunter Renfroe for prospects and Jackie Bradley Jr., signed Rich Hill, Michael Wacha, James Paxton and Michael Feliz
- Yankees: re-signed Joely Rodriguez
And we can expect more trades with all of these teams undergoing some sort of transformation, whether major or minor. So, with all the unfinished work still stuck in limbo, let’s take a look at who could be on the move in the comings weeks/months.
1 trade candidate from each AL East team following the lockout
5. Orioles: John Means
Though many, at first, thought it was egregious that the Orioles were listening to offers on John Means and Cedric Mullins (well, that one was definitely egregious), after we’ve had some time to sit on it, moving Means might actually be a smart decision.
Entering his age-29 season, the left-hander has three more years of club control, which is arguably the highest his value will be with the O’s. Additionally, Means’ second-half regression in 2021 made it clear there are still lumps in his game and he may not be the true top-of-the-rotation starter of the future for Baltimore.
From July 20 until the end of the year, Means’ ERA went from 2.72 to 3.62. His end-of-season 4.62 FIP posed a concern as well since it was a full point higher than his ERA. Some other underlying metrics, such as expected slugging percentage, barrel percentage and curveball spin, see him in the bottom percentile of the league, too.
All we’re trying to say is that Means is likely better fit to be a mid-rotation arm on a contender rather than an “ace” on a bottom feeder. Teams will see value in his abilities and the O’s can really expedite their rebuild by acquiring a few more assets and spending a bit in free agency.