2023 MLB Winter Meetings Roundup

The 2023 MLB Winter Meetings: The moves that happened, the moves that didn’t happen, and the moves that could happen next.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 19:Juan Soto #22 of the Washington Nationals looks on against the American League during the 92nd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Dodger Stadium on July 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

With the Winter Meetings all wrapped up, here is a quick rundown of everything that happened at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee – plus everything that didn’t happen, and what to expect next.

The Moves That Happened

Braves Trade for Jarred Kelenic

Kicking off the action on Sunday evening, the Braves and Mariners agreed on a five-player trade, headlined by former top prospect Jarred Kelenic. The deal, widely seen as a salary dump on Seattle’s part, sent Kelenic, Marco Gonzales, and Evan White to Atlanta in exchange for Jackson Kowar and Cole Phillips. You can read more about the trade here.

Jung Hoo Lee Posted

Technically, this happened in Seoul, South Korea and not Nashville, Tennessee, but there is no denying that this news reverberated throughout the Winter Meetings. Jung Hoo Lee is one of the top free agent position players on the market, and he is now available for negotiations with MLB teams. His 30-day posting window officially opened on Tuesday, December 5 at 8:00 am ET.

Just Baseball’s Aram Leighton has more on Lee’s skills and star potential.

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Woo Suk Go, a reliever for the LG Twins, and, funnily enough, Jung Hoo Lee’s brother-in-law, was also posted during the Winter Meetings.

Guardians Win the Draft Lottery

The second-ever MLB draft lottery took place during the Winter Meetings, with the Cleveland Guardians winning the first overall pick. Their selection comes as quite an upset, considering they only had the ninth-best odds – a 2% chance to win.

The Reds, who finished just two games back of a postseason spot in 2023, pulled off an even bigger surprise, winning the second overall pick despite having the 5th-worst odds of all 17 eligible teams. Full results of the lottery can be found here.

White Sox Sign Erick Fedde

Entering the offseason, Erick Fedde wasn’t on many fans’ radars. Yet shortly after being named the 2023 KBO MVP, the former Nationals pitcher started quite a bidding war for his services.

Soon to be 31 and with a 5.41 career ERA, Fedde managed to land a two-year deal worth $15 million guaranteed. That’s nearly the same annual salary and a far higher guarantee than Wade Miley, a proven and reliable veteran, earned the day prior.

You can read more about the deal here.

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Yankees Trade for Alex Verdugo

It’s not the trade for an outfielder Yankees fans were waiting on (we’ll get to that in a minute), but it was pretty big news nonetheless. After all, it’s not so often the Yankees and Red Sox come together on a major deal. You can read more about the trade, which sent Verdugo to New York in exchange for Greg Weissert, Richard Fitts, and Nicholas Judice, here.

Athletics Take Mitch Spence in the Rule 5 Draft

A total of ten players were selected in the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, including a couple of Yankees with the first two picks: right-handed pitchers Mitch Spencer (Athletics) and Matt Sauer (Royals).

Aram Leighton has a full breakdown of all the prospects selected here.

Orioles Sign Craig Kimbrel

With 2023 Mariano Rivera Award winner Félix Bautista out for the 2024 season, the Orioles needed a closer. While he’s no Bautista at this point in his career, Craig Kimbrel remains a talented bullpen arm. If Kimbrel can hold down the ninth, manager Brandon Hyde can use his best relievers – Yennier Cano and Danny Coulombe – in more flexible roles.

You can read more about the Kimbrel signing here.

Yankees Trade for Juan Soto

We knew Yoshinobu Yamamoto wasn’t going to sign at the Winter Meetings. We knew it was unlikely that Shohei Ohtani would sign either. Thus, a Juan Soto trade was the biggest move that could have happened, and after a few days of speculation and rumors, it finally went down.

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Javier Reyes covered the trade, while Ryan Finkelstein wrote about the new Murderers’ Row the Yankees have put together.

Reds Sign Jeimer Candelario

Everything seems like small potatoes in comparison to the Juan Soto news, but this was a pretty interesting signing, too. Jeimer Candelario, one of the top infielders on the market, signed a three-year, $45 million contract with the Reds.

The move came as something of a surprise, considering the glut of infielders already on Cincinnati’s roster. Still, it’s exciting to see the Reds finally spending a bit of money to improve the team.

You can read more about the Candelario signing here.

Diamondbacks Sign Eduardo Rodriguez

The biggest free agent contract of the Winter Meetings was the four-year, $80 million pact Eduardo Rodriguez signed with the reigning NL champs. The veteran lefty earns a nice raise over the three years and $49 million he opted out of with the Tigers, while the Diamondbacks add a strong No. 2 starter to pitch alongside Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, and Brandon Pfaadt in the rotation.

You can read more about the Rodriguez signing here.

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Additional Happenings

  • Brewers re-sign Wade Miley
  • Phillies extend manager Rob Thomson
  • Tigers extend manager A.J. Hinch
  • Brewers sign Joe Ross
  • Rays re-sign Chris Devinski
  • Angels sign Luis García
  • Pirates trade for Marco Gonzales
  • Mets sign Michael Tonkin
  • Rangers sign Kirby Yates
  • Angels sign Adam Cimber
  • Nationals sign Nick Senzel
  • Braves sign Angel Perdomo
  • Astros sign Victor Caratini
  • Mets sign Jorge López

The Moves That Didn’t Happen

No Frontline Starters Were Traded

Two star pitchers seem almost certain to be dealt this winter: Tyler Glasnow and Dylan Cease. A couple more could be on the trading block as well: Shane Bieber and Corbin Burnes. None, however, were dealt at the Winter Meetings.

Presumably, the White Sox and Rays are waiting for a few more free agents to sign before trading their aces.

The Blue Jays Didn’t Acquire Juan Soto

Aside from the Yankees, the Blue Jays were reported to be the team with the most interest in trading for Juan Soto. However, as the Winter Meetings began, it became clear the Yankees were the frontrunners for Soto, and the Jays seemed to fall out of the conversation.

Hmm… I wonder why?

The Cubs Didn’t Make a Move

The Cubs aren’t the only contending team that has kept quiet this offseason, but their silence has made the most noise. Many expected this team to be very active during the winter – and they still could be – but fans are still waiting for the Cubs to make a move.

What’s Next?

Shohei Ohtani

Have the Blue Jays signed Shohei Ohtani? Have they not? We’re all waiting to find out.

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Regardless, the superstar’s decision could come at any minute. It’s hard to imagine Ohtani is really holding up the market, considering how few teams are still in the running to sign him, but that doesn’t mean the entire baseball world isn’t waiting on him with bated breath.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto

The NPB pitcher is in the process of meeting with MLB teams, and it is believed he will sign in the coming weeks (although his posting window will remain open until January 4). Once Yamamoto signs, more dominoes could quickly begin to fall, including Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery, followed by Tyler Glasnow and Dylan Cease.

Cody Bellinger

With Juan Soto heading to New York, Cody Bellinger has lost one major suitor, but he has also lost his biggest competition; Bellinger is now the best position player available. It wouldn’t be surprising if he found his new home in the coming days.

Where Do the Padres Go From Here?

By trading Juan Soto (and Trent Grisham) the Padres have succeeded in clearing plenty of payroll. Now, however, president of baseball operations A.J. Preller needs to put together a competitive team.

San Diego needs two new outfielders, at least one new starting pitcher, and a couple more bullpen arms. After all, this team supposedly wants to compete, and they have lost a ton of contributors in trades and free agency, including Soto, Grisham, Blake Snell, Josh Hader, Seth Lugo, and Nick Martinez.