The big story coming into Major League Baseball’s offseason was how teams would play the trade market, because this year’s crop of free agents wasn’t particularly impressive

This has already played out in a huge way with the Chicago White Sox officially entering rebuilding mode by trading Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox and Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals in the span of 24 hours. 

Despite those moves, there are still deals to be made. It always comes down to finding one team willing to pay the price another team has established. The Red Sox and Nationals have aggressive general managers with teams in win-now mode. 

Few teams operate like that for various reasons, but the allure of winning a championship now or getting key pieces to do it in the future makes for interesting points of discussion. 


Dozier Still on Dodgers’ Radar

The Los Angeles Dodgers answered their two biggest free-agent question marks with Ken Gurnick of reporting Kenley Jansen agreed to a five-year, $80 million deal and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reporting third baseman Justin Turner agreed to a four-year, $64 million deal. 

Those deals, while certainly notable, also represent the Dodgers’ status quo. They have been part of postseason heartbreaks each of the previous two years against the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs. 

Now, the real test for Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman will be to find missing pieces to get his team over that hump and into the World Series for the first time since 1988. 

Per’s Doug Padilla, the Dodgers are still showing interest in trading for Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier. 

However, Padilla did note a potential deal for Dozier would likely require the Dodgers to part with star pitching prospect Jose De Leon and that they “are reluctant to part with” him. 

Second base remains an alarming black hole for the Dodgers right now. Chase Utley was a good platoon player in 2016, hitting .273/.343/.425 against right-handed pitching and just .154/.206/.264 against lefties.

Utley’s not a long-term solution. He turns 38 on Friday but might end up being the default solution for the team if it can’t figure out a possible trade. 

It makes sense for the Twins to try trading Dozier now when his value is never going to be higher. He’s coming off a career year in which he hit 42 home runs and signed for a total of $15 million through 2018, per

The Dodgers learned last year how valuable depth is after tying a dubious MLB record with 27 players spending time on the disabled list.

It becomes harder to make a trade, which will likely require at least two high-quality assets going back to Minnesota in return, but the Dodgers have been so close to the World Series over the last four years. At some point, being overaggressive to upgrade a position of desperate need makes sense. 

Friedman is not one to overreact to what’s happening with teams around him, though I never would have expected him to give a reliever five years on a contract before Jansen proved me wrong. 


Gray’s Limited Market

Any hopes the Oakland Athletics might have had about building a blockbuster trade package around starting pitcher Sonny Gray appear to be dashed, at least so far this offseason. 

Per Rosenthal, Gray is generating “little interest” from around the league. 

It’s certainly not hard to figure out why Gray’s market would be limited.

He spent time on the disabled list last season, making just 22 starts (his fewest in three full MLB seasons) and posted career-worst marks in ERA (5.69), WHIP (1.496), hits allowed per nine innings (10.2), home runs allowed per nine innings (1.4), strikeouts per nine innings (7.2), strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.24) and wins above replacement (-0.5), per

Despite those numbers, Gray figures to get a substantial raise in 2017, the first year he’s eligible for arbitration. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors estimates the 27-year-old will make $3.7 million. 

Salary isn’t going to be an issue holding teams back from acquiring Gray. It’s just hard to figure out what kind of pitcher he will be moving forward. 

If the A’s tried to trade Gray last offseason, right after he finished third in the American League Cy Young voting, they could have asked for a package fairly close to what the White Sox received for Chris Sale because he’s under team control through 2019. 

Unfortunately, Gray doesn’t look the part of a No. 1 starter. He’s listed at 5’10” and 190 pounds on the A’s official website. Given his small stature, teams can look at his breakdown in 2016 as an indication the heavy workload from the previous two seasons caught up to him. 

The A’s don’t have to be in a rush to trade Gray, especially with his value at its lowest point. Keeping him to start 2017 while hoping he can re-establish himself as a top-of-the-rotation starter in order to trade him in July or next offseason makes sense for the franchise. 


The Bruce Dilemma

The New York Mets hoped when they acquired Jay Bruce in July that he would provide a similar spark to what they received from Yoenis Cespedes the previous year. 

Instead, Bruce floundered in 50 games with the Mets. He hit .219/.294/.391 in 169 at-bats with the team and is scheduled to earn $13 million in 2017, per Spotrac

The Mets are in a difficult spot right now with too many outfielders, particularly in corner spots, for too few spots. Bruce, Cespedes, Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto are all in the mix. 

Per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Mets would prefer to deal Bruce instead of Granderson. 

Marc Carig of Newsday noted the Mets were “optimistic” about their chances of finding a taker for Bruce at the winter meetings, only to leave Washington D.C. with the same logjam they had when they arrived. 

Given Bruce’s high salary and mediocre performance over the last three seasons, which has been worth a total of 0.2 FanGraphs‘ wins above replacement, the market won’t be clamoring for that kind of player. 

Cespedes will likely end up starting the year in center field, despite FanGraphs noting he cost the Mets seven runs in less than 500 innings at the position last season, because the team doesn’t have anyone else for the position. 

Juan Lagares is a tremendous defensive center fielder, but no team can support a .298 career-on base percentage from the position. 

Conforto needs to start playing regularly, or else the Mets run the risk of completely running off one of their best young players. Granderson is going to play because he’s a better option than Bruce at this point. 

It’s not a good situation the Mets have put themselves in, though they may not have a way out of it unless they decide to trade a player like Granderson or Conforto, both of whom will be more intriguing to teams in search of outfield help. 

Read more MLB news on