Recapping the Winter Meetings: Day Three
With a very slow Day Three of the Winter Meetings, even rumors have been hard to come by for most MLB franchises. The New York Yankees have had almost no news that I could find today. Meanwhile, the Hank Aaron Awards were announced yesterday, the MLB is shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to the minor leagues, and the Mets may get a player I like a lot to catch for them.
Jose Abreu and Freddie Freeman Win 2020 Hank Aaron Awards:
Congratulations to José Abreu and @FreddieFreeman5 on winning the 2020 A.L. And N.L. Hank Aaron Awards. You are both so deserving and I’m proud of the season you both had. — Hank Aaron (@HenryLouisAaron) December 8, 2020
Yesterday afternoon both the AL and NL MVP’s took home more honors for being the best hitter in each league. They awards went to Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox (we’ve talked a lot about them this week) for the AL Award and Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves for the NL Award.
This is largely to nobody’s surprise as this season MVP awards were mainly decided by offensive numbers given the short length and many clubs making the playoffs. This did eliminate a lot of team, storyline, and outside considerations that usually goes into the MVP award.
Since the first Hank Aaron Award in 1999, in 3 other seasons the MVP’s in each league also both won the Hank Aaron Award. This includes 2012 (Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey), 2015 (Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper), 2017 (Jose Altuve* and Giancarlo Stanton).
*This award was completely undeserved and should be nullified by the MLB and BBWAA.
The New York Mets are Getting Close with Catcher James McCann:
Mets getting close with free-agent catcher James McCann, sources tell The Athletic. Deal expected to be four years. — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 9, 2020
It has been an incredibly slow news day with rumors about free agents and other moves, however one team is looking to make the most of it. The New York Mets, who have been extremely connected to free agent catchers like J.T. Realmuto may be shifting gears towards a cheaper option in James McCann.
Most recently with the Chicago White Sox (how are they always involved?) as the back-up to Yasmani Grandal. McCann originally spent 5 years with the Detroit Tigers as a decent catching option from 2014-2018, but when he signed as a White Sox in 2019 he took a massive step forward on offense. He had a 108 OPS+ in 2019 and had a 144 OPS+ in 2020.
Going into his age-31 season the size of his contract will be interesting to see if it gets done with the Mets.
Minor League Affiliates Being Announced:
Minor league affiliates were given the basic structure of the deal in the last 24 hours with little warning. The expectation was that the deal wouldn’t be finalized until a few weeks from now. — Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) December 9, 2020
Major League Baseball announced a complete restructuring of Minor League Baseball, the number of affiliates, and other considerations for the 2021 season. While there is some merit to this given the large number of minor league players with little to no shot of ever making the MLB, the news came as a shock and with a lot of backlash. Officially, 120 Minor League teams will be affiliated with the MLB.
However, while teams have been making announcements today about what teams have been formally invited to be affiliates, nothing is going to be official until the MLB releases Professional Development Licenses. Again, this is not a good look for baseball as they are asking MiLB franchises to sign on to something without knowing the full terms of agreement.
The MLB has provided an updated tracker to see which MiLB franchises will be affiliated with MLB teams. You can find that here.
Of note, the Chicago White Sox have announced that they will be affiliated with the Charlotte Knights (AAA), Birmingham Barons (AA), Winston-Salem Dash (A+), and the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (A). Figured it’d be appropriate to mention them again because they seem to be the only team doing anything across the MLB.