Major League Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee, wound down on Thursday, the fourth and final day of the meetings, but that doesn't mean it was a quiet day. For continuous updates, you can follow all the rumors and transactions in real time with our constantly-updated Rotoworld player news page.
Yunel Goes West
Having already acquired Andrelton Simmons to play shortstop, the Angels on Thursday shored up the other spot on the left side of their infield.
The Halos acquired Yunel Escobar from the Nationals in exchange for right-handed reliever Trevor Gott and minor league pitcher Michael Brady. Escobar, who has played shortstop and second base in his time as well, will be expected to man the hot corner for the Angels, barring another acquisition.
The 33-year-old enjoyed a career renaissance of sorts in 2015, batting .314/.375/.415 in his first year with the Nationals. It was the highest average Escobar has posted since 2007, and his .790 OPS was his best since the 2009 season.
In Gott, the Nationals secured a 23-year-old who posted a 3.02 ERA over 47 2/3 innings in his first year in the majors. The Nats will be Gott's third organization in his short career, as he was originally drafted by the Padres before being dealt to the Angels along with Huston Street in 2014. Brady, 28, posted a 3.77 ERA with 113 strikeouts over 119 1/3 innings at Double-A Arkansas last year.
Rule 5 Comes Alive
The Phillies found a diamond in the rough last year when they plucked Odubel Herrera from the Rangers' system in the Rule 5 Draft.
They're hoping for a similar result after Thursday's draft also saw them take a position player with their first-round pick. The Phils led off a first round that saw 16 players chosen, selecting Rays outfielder Tyler Goeddel. Goeddel, 23, was the 41st-overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft.
As with Herrera, the Phillies think Goeddel has the polish and upside to stick with their club for the entirety of the 2016 season after the outfielder batted .279/.350/.433 with 12 homers and 28 stolen bases at Double-A Montgomery last season.
"I think this mirrors a lot what we tried to do last year with Herrera," Phillies pro scouting director Mike Ondo said. "It's taking a chance on a prospect and adding him to the mix that we have, trying to hit big on a player with a high ceiling. Goeddel excited us at the beginning of this whole process with his approach at the plate, the athleticism, the speed, the fact that he moved to the outfield this year and handled all three outfield positions. You have a baseball player here. He has instincts. He can steal bases. There's a lot of things to like about this player."
Of the 16 players taken, 10 were chosen or later acquired by one of four teams. The Phillies, Reds and Brewers -- all teams expected to endure rebuilding years in 2016 -- each selected two players, while the Padres left the draft with four selections who will either be required to stick on the 25-man roster all season or be offered back to their original clubs for $25,000, or half of the $50,000 paid to make a selection. The Padres took right-handers Josh Martin from the Indians and Blake Smith from the White Sox, and they also traded for right-hander Luis Perdomo, a Cardinals prospect selected by the Rockies, and outfielder Jabari Blash, from the Mariners by way of the Athletics.
"With spots on the roster we cleared up, we looked at it as a chance to add four guys who can make the Major League club," Padres general manager A.J. Preller said. "I think at the end, they were four guys we liked. They'll come to Spring Training with a chance to compete."
Other selections from Thursday's major league portion of the draft were: Cincinnati Reds -- Jake Cave, OF, Yankees; Atlanta Braves -- Evan Rutckyj, LHP, Yankees; Milwaukee Brewers -- Colin Walsh, 2B, A's; Baltimore Orioles -- Joey Rickard, OF, Rays; Los Angeles Angels -- Deolis Guerra, RHP, Pirates; Toronto Blue Jays -- Joseph Biagini, RHP, Giants; St. Louis Cardinals -- Matthew Bowman, RHP, Mets; Philadelphia Phillies -- Daniel Stumpf, LHP, Royals; Cincinnati Reds -- Chris O'Grady, LHP, Angels; Milwaukee Brewers -- Zack Jones, RHP, Twins; and Los Angeles Angels -- Ji-Man Choi, 1B, Orioles.
Heyward Market Crystallizes
The Jason Heyward sweepstakes took on a National air Thursday.
After it appeared the contestants in the derby had been set, the Nationals jumped in as serious contenders for the 26-year-old's services. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman said the Nats "appear ready to make a surprise play to steal Heyward" from the usual suspects.
The Cardinals and Cubs, and to a lesser extent the Angels, were believed to be the teams most likely to land the Gold Glove outfielder, who is expected to command a serious commitment from a team. On that front, Heyman said the "word among some of the people involved" was that Heyward had an offer worth $200 million on the table from at least one club.
The Nationals have the money to make such a commitment, and with Denard Span likely to leave via free agency they have an open outfield spot for Heyward as well. With Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth manning the corner outfield spots, Heyward would likely play center in that scenario.
When Heyward will make a decision is still unclear, although momentum seems to be moving toward an agreement soon. Once that happens, the rest of the hitters market will almost certainly begin to move as well.
Quick Hits: The Orioles reportedly increased their offer to free agent Chris Davis to seven years and $168 million on Thursday, but another report said the team pulled its offer off the table, a sign he may not be returning to Baltimore next year ... The Braves gave up on their one-time catcher of the future, trading Christian Bethancourt to the Padres for Casey Kelly and Ricardo Rodriguez ... The Royals finalized their three-year, $25 million deal with Joakim Soria, a deal that interestingly includes incentives for games started ... Despite talks with the Dodgers falling apart, the Reds continue to try to move Aroldis Chapman ... Shawn Kelley, who owned a 2.45 ERA last season, scored a three-year deal from the Nationals worth $15 million ... The Royals have discussed Todd Frazier with the Reds, but nothing is imminent regarding Frazier and any club ... Tony Sipp, who was a minor league free agent as recently as 2014, earned a three-year, $18 million contract from the Astros ... The Pirates have shown interest in Mike Napoli for their first base job ... The Cardinals kept Jonathan Broxton after acquiring him in a midseason deal last year, agreeing to a two-year contract for $7.5 million ... The Diamondbacks continue to look to add, making "another pass" at Mike Leake and discussing Brandon Phillips with the Reds ... The Bucs inked Juan Nicasio to a low-risk deal for one year and $3 million ... The Padres are working to sign Fernando Rodney ... The Braves are open to flipping Ender Inciarte after getting him from the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, but they're not actively looking to give him away.