2023 MLB Winter Meetings Wrap up
The 2023 MLB Winter Meetings are in the books, let's take a look at what happend around Major League Baseball and with the Washington Nationals
Well, the 2023 MLB Winter Meetings started off quietly and ended with a bang for MLB and even the Washington Nationals.
Let’s get right into it….
Washington Nationals News
It shouldn't have surprised anyone that the Nationals wouldn't make any big, splashy news during this year's Winter Meetings. However, I am a bit surprised by how open Mike Rizzo was in stating that the team's strategy is focused on developing the future core of the Nationals. While it has been evident from the team's actions, I can't recall Rizzo being this candid about it before. It's reassuring to hear that there is now a clearly defined strategy rather than leaving it to assumptions.
2024 MLB Draft
The most significant Nationals story emerging from this year's MLB Winter Meetings was their draft position in the upcoming MLB draft.
Despite finishing the 2023 season with the league's worst record and, inexplicably, having their "ball" selected for the first overall pick in the upcoming draft (let's not dwell on that), the Nationals will be making the 10th overall pick in the 2024 MLB Draft in Arlington, Texas.
Fortunately for Cleveland, they are now on the clock for the first time in franchise history.
Rule 5 Draft
Another significant moment for the Nationals this past week was the Rule 5 draft. In the professional portion of the draft, the Nationals selected shortstop Nasim Nuñez, a glove-first prospect recently ranked as the sixth-best in the Miami Marlins system by Baseball America in their updated 2024 rankings. Nuñez spent the entirety of 2023 in Double-A for the Marlins and experienced a notable decline in offensive performance.
The Nationals sign utility player Nick Senzel
The Washington Nationals signed utility player Nick Senzel to a major league deal worth $2 million and up to $1 million in additional performance bonuses. Senzel is a strong contender for the starting third baseman position for the Nationals in 2024, but his versatility also allows him to play at second base and center field.
Once regarded as a highly-touted prospect, Senzel was selected second overall by the Reds in the 2016 draft. Unfortunately, he has faced challenges maintaining his health, appearing in 59 games between the 2020 and 2021 seasons. In the previous season, Senzel demonstrated his capabilities by hitting 13 home runs, recording 42 RBIs, and accumulating 71 hits, resulting in a batting average of .236, an OPS of .696, and a slugging percentage of .399 with 330 plate appearances.
Major League Baseball News
Former Washington Nationals dominate the news out of the Winter Meetings
The most significant story of this year's Winter Meetings was the blockbuster trade between the Padres and the New York Yankees. In case you missed the news, the New York Yankees acquired outfielders Juan Soto and Trent Grisham. In return, they traded right-hander Michael King, top pitching prospect Drew Thorpe, right-handers Jhony Brito and Randy Vásquez, and catcher Kyle Higashioka.
The upcoming season will reveal whether the Yankees made the right bet by trading some top prospects for a one-year rental that will inevitably enter the free-agent market at the end of 2024.
Juan Soto wasn't the sole former Washington National making headlines over the past few days. Former Nationals pitchers Joe Ross and Erick Fedde secured major league contracts to return to the big leagues this season.
Joe Ross, the former Washington Nationals pitcher, finalized a guaranteed $1.75 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Meanwhile, pitcher Erick Fedde, leveraging his 2023 KBO MVP award, secured a two-year, $15 million contract with the Chicago White Sox earlier this week. In the previous season, Fedde demonstrated his prowess in the KBO, posting a 20-6 record with a 2.00 ERA and accumulating 209 strikeouts against 35 walks in 180 1/3 innings (30 starts) for the NC Dinos, earning him league MVP honors.
Another ex-Washington National, infielder Jeimer Candelario, sealed a three-year, $45 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds.
As for the biggest free agent this offseason, Shohei Ohtani, and the landing spot for Yoshinobu Yamamoto, we are currently in a holding pattern, eagerly awaiting developments. Rest assured, we will closely monitor all off-season news when Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training!
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