Aside from a few nifty quips by Bryce Harper's agent, there was little real action on baseball's two biggest free agents at this week's Winter Meetings. Harper and Scott Boras sat down with a few clubs and Manny Machado has meet-and-greets scheduled in the coming days, but neither player seems close to a resolution.
Instead, the best intel to come out of Las Vegas might have been about the developing bullpen market. Or further confirmation that shopping for a top-end catcher, by trade or free agency, will be pricey.
That affects both the Yankees and Mets, who are searching for upgrades. Here's a look at the market following the week in Vegas.
One of the items on the Yanks' to-do list is adding elite relief arms to a bullpen that could lose free agents Zach Britton and David Robertson.
Two relievers at the upper end of this class came off the board when Jeurys Familia agreed to a three-year deal with the Mets worth a reported $30 million. Joe Kelly, who starred for Boston in October, signed a three-year, $25-million contract with the Dodgers.
That could signal the start of a run of relievers from a group that still features ace relievers - Britton, Robertson, Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Miller and Adam Ottavino.
The Yankees gave Aroldis Chapman the biggest relief deal ever before the 2017 season - five years, $86 million. Some believe Kimbrel, Boston's ace closer, could beat that, though there are skeptics, too. The website MLB Trade Rumors, which tracks the industry, predicted the 30-year-old Kimbrel, who struggled last October, would get $70 million over four years.
Familia was signed to be Edwin Diaz's setup man in Queens, so his deal could serve at least as a starting point for eighth-inning relievers. Miller can be the most dominant relief force in the game when healthy, but he battled injuries in 2018 and is 33 years old.
The Mets likely won't be looking at high-end relievers after signing Familia, GM Brodie Van Wagenen told reporters in Las Vegas.
The Mets still need a left-hander in the pen, however. Perhaps 31-year-old Justin Wilson, a former Yankee who had a 3.46 ERA in 71 games for the Cubs last season, fits the bill. How about a reunion with Oliver Perez, who has remade himself as a lefty specialist?
J.T. Realmuto, 27, became a New York boldface name in Vegas. He's an expensive, sought-after prize and the Mets want him. How costly? Look at the talent attached to permutations of trade offers: Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Amed Rosario, etc.
His situation is single-handedly holding up the catching market. Teams that don't get him likely will pivot to free agents Yasmani Grandal or Wilson Ramos, but at what cost?
Grandal, 30, was passed over by the Dodgers several times in the postseason, but still could command a four-year deal in the $60-million range. He also rejected a qualifying offer from Los Angeles after the season, meaning he'll cost the signing team compensation in the draft and in international draft pool money.
Ramos, 31, is a solid hitter (.845 OPS and 15 homers last year for the Rays and Phillies), but might offer less defensively. MLBTR predicted Ramos could get a contract worth $36 million over three years.
THE BIG BOYS
The Yankees must find someone to play shortstop while Didi Gregorius heals. That could take them into the teeth of the Machado market - they are reportedly one of the teams he'll meet with - or have them shop cheaper such as Freddy Galvis or Jose Iglesias.
Harper and Machado, both 26-year-old superstars, are this winter's elite, but there was little clarity at the meetings on where they might sign. Some believe this is a stare-down between two giant players (and their agents) with designs on beating Giancarlo Stanton's record $325 million contract.
With that figure as a base of sorts, this could take awhile.
The Yankees could be in play for either, depending on if GM Brian Cashman's "fully operational" Death Star is pointing toward Scott Boras' rebel base or not. Machado, who is also meeting with the Phillies and White Sox, is a fit because of the Yanks' infield needs, certainly.
But Harper is a left-handed hitter and the Yanks are righty-centric. Early in the meetings, Cashman wondered why reporters were still asking him about Harper. But Boras said he'd never heard from the Yankees that Harper isn't in play. After that, Cashman reminded the baseball world that he's always ready to pivot. Hmmm.
If the Yanks look elsewhere, the Tigers' signing of Jordy Mercer might be a dollar guide: Mercer got $5.25 million.
OUTFIELD, BRYCE-LESS DIVISION
Andrew McCutchen signed with the Phillies for $50 million over three years, which likely will influence the markets for A.J. Pollock, Adam Jones and Marwin Gonzalez, who could all help the Mets. The Mets, who need a righty hitter, have met with Jones already and have eyes on Pollock.
Pollock, 31, had a terrific 2015 when he had an .865 OPS, won a Gold Glove and was an All-Star, playing 157 games. But he's only averaged 101 games in his six full years in the majors. There was talk of him looking for $80 million over five seasons, though MLBTR predicted he'd get four years for $60 million. Lorenzo Cain signed a five-year, $80-million deal with Milwaukee last year, but he had a more consistent track record of health.
The Yankees agreed with J.A. Happ on a two-year, $34-million deal that could be worth $17 million more for a third season if a vesting option kicks in. While arms such as Dallas Keuchel and Japanese import Yusei Kikuchi remain available, much of the talk about starters will center on trades. How available is Syndergaard? Where do the Mets go for rotation help if they deal him? Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer seem available in Cleveland, but no team could pry either from the Indians during the meetings.