Trades dominated the 2014 winter meetings in the National League East. In fact, John Mayberry Jr. agreeing to terms with the Mets was arguably the most notable free agent signing throughout the entire division. Here is a recap of all the action that went down among the other NL East teams this past week.
The reigning division champions entered the winter meetings looking to deal from their immense starting pitching depth. Unlike Sandy Alderson, however, GM Mike Rizzo was able to find a trade partner for one of their starters during his stay in San Diego. Ross Detwiler was shipped to the Texas Rangers in return for two prospects: infielder Chris Bostick and right-handed pitcher Abel de los Santos. John Sickels named Bostick the Rangers' 15th-best prospect in his pre-season rankings.
The Rangers were reportedly one of the teams interested in acquiring Dillon Gee, but they might have preferred Detwiler because he is left-handed, or simply because they did not want to meet the Mets' asking price for Gee. The Nationals were also rumored to be in discussions with the Seattle Mariners about a potential Ian Desmond trade. The shortstop is scheduled to hit free agency after the 2015 season, and the Nationals likely don't want to see their franchise shortstop walk away in free agency. Any potential Desmond deal with the Mariners could further complicate the possibility of the Mets trading for shortstops Brad Miller or Chris Taylor.
Speaking of franchise shortstops on the move, Jimmy Rollins is now a member of the revamped Los Angeles Dodgers. Most Mets fans wouldn't be able to stomach seeing Rollins in the orange and blue, and luckily for them, Rollins couldn't fathom it either. Exact details on the trade are still a bit murky because the Matt Kemp to the Padres trade has yet to receive league approval, but the rebuilding Phillies will reportedly receive pitchers Tom Windle and Zach Eflin in return for Rollins. Next up for the Phillies was sending Antonio Bastardo to the Pirates in exchange for Joley Rodriguez. The Phillies have missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons and it appears general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is ready to blow up the team. Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Marlon Byrd are all candidates to be traded later this offseason.
Miami was the most active NL East team during the winter meetings. They have gotten some flack for dealing top prospect Andrew Heaney to the Dodgers for Dee Gordon, but having Gordon hit leadoff in front of Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, and Marcell Ozuna looks like a potent top of the order heading into 2015. They also received Dan Haren in the Gordon trade, but Haren has said that he would retire before playing for a non-Los Angeles team.
Miami also acquired Mat Latos from Cincinnati, a fairly big move in its own right. The Reds got back an uninspiring package of right-handed pitcher Anthony DeSclafani and catcher Chad Wallach in return for Latos, so it looks like the Fish got a steal here. In a far less exciting trade, Miami traded Dan Jennings to the White Sox for Andre Rienzo. Having improved their offense and starting pitching, the Marlins could make a case for the most improved team in the division compared to a year ago.
The Braves rotation took a hit this past week when Ervin Santana signed a four-year, $55 million contract with the Minnesota Twins. It was a quiet winter meetings for the Braves, as their biggest moves were signing utility infielder Alberto Callaspo and Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano. Atlanta traded Jason Heyward earlier in the offseason because they didn't want to give Heyward a contract extension, and it's being reported that Justin Upton may face the same fate. Evan Gattis has also had his name tossed around in trade speculation. Any potential deal where the Braves unload Upton and/or Gattis for prospects would create confusion as to why the club decided to give Nick Markakis a four-year contract earlier in the offseason.