2019 Winter Meetings Preview: What to Watch For

The Winter Meetings have arrived, and it sure seems like some real action will go down this year in San Diego.

All eyes are on the three big free agents, Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Strasburg, who have teams chomping at the bit to sign them.

All three are represented by super agent Scott Boras, who expects things to get rolling sooner rather than later.

“If the Winter Meetings were given a movie title ….2018 Winter Meetings: “Slow Burn”……2019 Winter Meetings: “Fast and Furious,” Boras said.

The Dodgers have already had an initial meeting with all three of the top free agents, but with a myriad of suitors, it’s no certainty they are able to sign any of them.

The Yankees have reportedly been given “ownership approval” to make a record breaking offer for Cole, and it was reported on Sunday by Bob Klapisch of the New York Post that their initial offer expects to be in the ballpark of 7 years, $245 million.

The Phillies are reportedly “all-in” the free agency market even after giving Zach Wheeler a $118 million contract, and have not ruled out exploring signing of the top three agents in addition to Wheeler.

It’s also no secret that the Angels are heavily interested in Cole, while Rendon is garnering interest from the Rangers, Nationals, White Sox, and Dodgers, and Strasburg gaining rumored interest from the Nationals, Padres, Phillies, Yankees and Dodgers, so far.

With a flurry of teams showing significant interest in these three players, I’d expect at least one of the dominoes to fall in the coming days, and once one falls, the other two are surely to follow.

Aside from the top three free agents, players still available are the likes of Madison Bumgarner, Josh Donaldson, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Blake Treinen and many more.

Since all 30 teams’ front offices are all in attendance, it will also be very intriguing to see what trades, if any, will go down during the next four days.

Rumors have been swirling about the availability of superstars Mookie Betts, Kris Bryant and Francisco Lindor, and it seems like anything is in play, especially at the Winter Meetings.

For the Dodgers to acquire one of those big names, they’d certainly have to part ways with a significant amount of young talent and prospects, which Andrew Friedman has been historically reluctant to do.

One name teams will almost certainly want to pry away from the Dodgers is infielder Gavin Lux, but according to Jon Heyman, the Dodgers have “rebuffed” teams who have inquired about him.

On Sunday it was announced the Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons were elected into the Hall of Fame, an announcement that officially kicked off the Winter Meetings.

The Rule 5 draft will also take place on Thursday, the last day of the Winter Meetings, where teams have the ability to draft players from other teams who are not on their current team’s 40-man roster.

This year’s pool of eligible players for the Rule 5 Draft include:

  • Players drafted out of high school in 2015 or earlier.
  • Players drafted out of college in 2016 or earlier.
  • Players signed as international free agents in 2015 or earlier.

Needless to say it’s going to be an exciting few days at the Winter Meetings, so make sure to stay tuned and follow Dodgers Low-Down for all the latest signings, trades and coverage.

David Rosenthal is a writer and contributor for Dodgers LowDown. Follow him on twitter @_TherealDRose