With relatively little happening for the Oakland Athletics over Thanksgiving weekend, we’re left waiting for this week to creep by before next week’s Winter Meetings kick off.
There were a couple major league signings over the weekend. The Tigers signed right-hander Kenta Maeda to a two-year, $24 million contract. Maeda spent the previous three seasons in Minnesota, serving as a mid-rotation starter.
Maeda threw just 210.2 innings combined over the past two years, so he’ll be looking to get his health in order and become a useful option for the Tigers.
Jon Heyman of the NY Post reported that the Cardinals are signing right-hander Sonny Gray to a deal for three years and $75 million. Like Maeda, Gray spent the past two seasons in Minnesota, and will be entering his age-34 season.
Coming off one of the best seasons of his career, Gray pitched to a 2.79 ERA in 184 innings, and tallied 183 strikeouts with 8 wins. Gray was mentioned in a number of rumors this offseason thanks to his great season. He was seen as one of the better options in this free agent pitching class, just behind the top names of Aaron Nola, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Blake Snell.
How will the Athletics spend the next week?
With a limited budget and no secure home for anything beyond the 2024 season, the Athletics will likely struggle to find good options in free agency this year. The combination of an owner who is unwilling to spend, a team coming off an extremely disappointing season, and players being unsure of where they’ll call home beyond the current season is not an enviable position for the Athletics.
General Manager David Forst has made a few moves already this offseason, acquiring infielder Abraham Toro via trade, claiming Miguel Andujar and Michael Kelly off waivers, and signing left-handed pitcher Osvaldo Bido to a major league deal.
They’ve added a number of minor league signings as well, most recently including outfielders Daz Cameron and Jeisson Rosario, infielder Hoy Park, and pitcher Domingo Robles. We can expect a few more moves in this talent range in addition to what should be several more minor league deals.
The Winter Meetings are typically a hotbed of trade rumors, big free agent deals, and excitement. Also, the draft lottery is scheduled for Dec. 5 and the Rule 5 draft is scheduled to take place on Dec. 6.
The Athletics, Royals, and Rockies all share an 18.3% chance of landing the top pick in the 2024 amateur draft. Anything less than the first pick would be a bit of a disappointment given the A’s performance this year and their talent purge over the last several seasons.
The A's 40-man roster is currently full, meaning the team will have to make at least one roster move to open up a spot if they plan on selecting a player in the Rule 5 draft, in which they have the first pick.