Pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training around Major League Baseball and the off-season is over. To discuss the world of baseball is Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (SB Nation).
Cotillo grew up in the suburbs of Boston as a Red Sox fan, often tweeting out and reporting baseball news on regular basis, under the handle of @TradeDeadliner, from information from baseball reporters. His first MLB game was one in which Derek Lowe threw a no-hitter in 2002 and the Red Sox would win the World Series in 2004, cementing his love for baseball ever since.
The two stories which broke him into the baseball journalism game were the trades of Jason Kubel getting traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Cleveland Indians and Doug Fister from the Detroit Tigers to the Washington Nationals. Now, Cotillo has over 42,000 followers on Twitter and attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Cotillo has been extremely busy during this off-season, covering everything from the largest moves, to the more minute moves.
Kyle Andrews: Many different clubs have seen their pitchers and catchers report to camp. With that being said, there are pitchers like Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn and Andrew Cashner (recently signed by the Orioles) who still available. Where do you see these three and other available pitchers landing when the smoke clears?
Cotillo: Well, obviously Cashner is now an Oriole so that’s settled. In terms of Cobb and Lynn, I’d expect teams like the Twins, Brewers and Yankees to be very active in pursuit. The Mets could get involved, too. With prices being as low as they are right now, any team is really a threat to swoop in and upgrade its rotation.
Andrews: What do you see happening if the free agent “Cold Stove” doesn’t thaw? Do you believe that MLBPA will take action against the ownership in a large dispute that could end up as a strike?
Cotillo: It’s beginning to thaw, as we’ve seen with the signings of Cashner, Garcia and others in the last few days. I’d expect Cobb and Lynn to move soon, with the position player market thawing soon after that. And while I don’t think a strike will happen, I do think there will be reform to come because of this, likely in the next CBA talks.
Andrews: As for free agents in next year’s class, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are set to become free agents. Where will each player end up.
Cotillo: If I knew, I’d be doing a job much more important than this one! Can’t pinpoint exactly yet, but I’d expect the Dodgers, Cubs and Phillies to be serious contenders. The Marlins could be a dark horse on Machado, if he wants to go home. Obviously, this is the biggest storyline over the next year.
Andrews: In particular with the Baltimore Orioles, the biggest question is within the starting rotation. Which pitchers do you see as a match with the Orioles and do you see any surprise candidates who are already on the club who will start?
Cotillo: I would’ve said Cashner was a great fit and I like that signing a lot. I think someone like Jason Vargas or a veteran like John Lackey would make a lot of sense as well. I think they need to add at least one more to give them four proven guys. You can mix and match that fifth spot, but the fourth spot should be someone better than Ynoa, Castro, Wright or whoever else they have in mind at the moment.
Andrews: Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is set to become a free agent at the end of 2018. How much would it mean for Baltimore to keep them in a possible transition after the Machado era?
Cotillo: It would mean a lot. Jones is the face of the Orioles, in my mind, even more than Machado is. Guys like that tend to stick around. I’m sure they’ll try to make it worth his while to be an Oriole for the rest of his career, even if Machado does depart.
Andrews: Without any additional moves, what will Baltimore’s record be?
Cotillo: I’ll wait until they make more SP moves before giving a prediction. But they’re fifth in the AL right now, in my opinion.
Andrews: Which team do you think has all of the pieces currently to make a run in the post season?
Cotillo: The rich have gotten richer this winter. The Astros, Yankees and Cubs have all gotten significantly better after being in the final four. Lots still to shake out, but those three, the Dodgers and the Nats are the favorites in my mind. And the Red Sox will join them if they add a hitter.
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(Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)