July 23, 2021

Gerrit Cole watch, big spenders and more (ESPN)

SAN DIEGO — The winter meetings, once the domain of blockbuster trades and megabucks free-agent signings, have in recent years gone into the sort of hibernation typically associated with the season. They’ve been defined more by their inaction than their action. Last year’s big move: Philadelphia guaranteeing $50 million to Andrew McCutchen. The year before: The Yankees announcing the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton — a deal done before the meetings even began.

The last big trade took place in 2016, when Boston acquired Chris Sale. The last foundational free-agent signing? Jon Lester’s six-year, $155 million deal in 2014 with the Chicago Cubs. The winter meetings were once a place where Bill Veeck sat at a table, posted a sign that said “Open For Business” and proceeded to make six trades. Today general managers tend to prefer texting.

All of this is to say: It’s time for a representative winter meetings, one that can compete with the NFL and NBA and bowl season and college basketball. Whether the 2019 version, which kicks off Monday…

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