Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Los Angeles Dodgers
news

Dodgers News

Dodgers eye marquee additions at Meetings

Rotation upgrade, short-term catcher, 'pen reinforcements on wish list
MLB.com @kengurnick

LAS VEGAS -- The loss of general manager Farhan Zaidi to the Giants hasn't kept the Dodgers from being linked to marquee acquisitions, from Bryce Harper and Corey Kluber to Yusei Kikuchi and Jose Abreu.

President of baseballl operations Andrew Friedman said again there's no rush to replace Zaidi. Friedman and club exec Josh Byrnes know the Winter Meetings drill with 17 years combined as GMs. They head up a large front office with fairly obvious needs/wants for a club coming off back-to-back World Series appearances: a rotation upgrade that can win in late October, a short-term catcher to replace Yasmani Grandal, bullpen reinforcements and possibly a right-handed bat.

LAS VEGAS -- The loss of general manager Farhan Zaidi to the Giants hasn't kept the Dodgers from being linked to marquee acquisitions, from Bryce Harper and Corey Kluber to Yusei Kikuchi and Jose Abreu.

President of baseballl operations Andrew Friedman said again there's no rush to replace Zaidi. Friedman and club exec Josh Byrnes know the Winter Meetings drill with 17 years combined as GMs. They head up a large front office with fairly obvious needs/wants for a club coming off back-to-back World Series appearances: a rotation upgrade that can win in late October, a short-term catcher to replace Yasmani Grandal, bullpen reinforcements and possibly a right-handed bat.

Hot Stove Tracker

As usual, most of the rumors will prove to be nothing more than that. Unless his market craters and he'll sign short term, a Harper deal for hundreds of millions of dollars would be a total and complete departure from everything this ownership has done since it bought the club. Adding Kluber alongside Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler would give the Dodgers their best top three in at least a half-century, but why would the Indians trade Kluber?

Abreu seems a longer shot after the sudden emergence of Max Muncy at first base, although Muncy could slide over to second base. Either way, Muncy figures to be playing almost every day.

With their lineage of successful Japanese pitchers, the Dodgers are an obvious landing spot for Kikuchi, whom many scouts consider to be a No. 3 MLB starter. A bullpen upgrade would be helpful, but Friedman prefers to find bargains than overpay at the position. And, the surplus of starters could turn Ross Stripling or Kenta Maeda into full-time relievers.

To date, the Dodgers have focused on extending the contracts of Kershaw and manager Dave Roberts and replacing departures from Roberts' coaching staff. Now the fun begins.

Video: Dodgers, Roberts agree to 4-year contract extension

Club needs 
The Dodgers have plenty of starters, but Kluber would be a game changer. The free-agency departure of Grandal leaves a critical need for a veteran primary catcher to team with Austin Barnes as a bridge until the pipeline of prospects produces a Major Leaguer. J.T. Realmuto is the big fish, but the Marlins' asking price is high, so free agent Nick Hundley could be an easier fit. The bullpen needs improvement, even if Kenley Jansen bounces back 100 percent. There's rumored interest in free agent DJ LeMahieu, even though some in the organization believe Muncy should share second base with Hernandez when Muncy doesn't start at first.

Video: DJ LeMahieu set to hit free agency at age 30

Whom might they trade?
The polarizing Yasiel Puig is one year away from free agency, but his trade value has steadily diminished since his meteoric arrival. The Dodgers couldn't move Matt Kemp's contract last offseason, but they'll try again with only one year left. With the exception of Cody Bellinger, it's hard to imagine management would hesitate moving any of the other outfielders in the right deal, including Alex Verdugo. Rich Hill and Alex Wood are the most likely starters to be dealt if a perceived upgrade is acquired. Cuban pitching prospect Yadier Alvarez was protected, but the jury is out on his future with the organization.

Prospects to know 
There's a deep farm system from which to deal, headed by a surplus of catching prospects (Keibert Ruiz, Will Smith, Diego Cartaya and Connor Wong). The 23-year-old Smith or 20-year-old Ruiz could arrive in the big leagues at some point in 2019. Dustin May and Dennis Santana are MLB Pipeline's top-rated pitching prospects in the system, which doesn't appear to have a Buehler-type Rookie of the Year candidate this time.

Video: Top Prospects: Will Smith, C, Dodgers

Rule 5 Draft 
The roster is at 40.

Payroll summary 
There is roughly $150 million already committed for 2019, with 10 arbitration-eligible players that figure to add another $42 million. That would leave the club $14 million below the $206 million Competitive Balance Tax threshold (not counting players with zero to three years of service), assuming that's the unofficial, self-imposed target.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Every team's Winter Meetings wish list

MLB clubs head to Las Vegas next week for annual summit
MLB.com @_dadler

Baseball's annual Winter Meetings are set to begin on Monday in Las Vegas, and that means Hot Stove season is about to really kick into high gear.

There have already been some big moves this offseason -- the Yankees' trade for James Paxton, the Mets' trade for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano, the Nationals' signing of Patrick Corbin, the Cardinals' trade for Paul Goldschmidt -- but that's only the beginning.

Baseball's annual Winter Meetings are set to begin on Monday in Las Vegas, and that means Hot Stove season is about to really kick into high gear.

There have already been some big moves this offseason -- the Yankees' trade for James Paxton, the Mets' trade for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano, the Nationals' signing of Patrick Corbin, the Cardinals' trade for Paul Goldschmidt -- but that's only the beginning.

When the industry gathers at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, it'll be a chance for teams to set deals in motion and maybe make a big splash or two. What might those be this year? MLB.com is previewing the Winter Meetings right here.

Here are the biggest needs for each of the 30 MLB clubs entering the Winter Meetings.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays
A rotation with a lot of question marks beyond Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez means Toronto needs arms. And those two starters might even draw trade offers, as they're each under control for only two more seasons. More >

Orioles
New general manager Mike Elias has his work cut out for him, as there's a lot the O's need. Besides a new manager and coaching staff, the biggest needs include a middle infielder to pair with Jonathan Villar, a third baseman and multiple outfielders. More >

Rays
The Rays are casting a wide net this offseason in their search for potential impact acquisitions on the trade and free-agent markets. They're looking to add a veteran starter and a hitter to a young core that won 90 games in 2018. More >

Red Sox
The World Series champs have already brought back Steve Pearce and Nathan Eovaldi. But Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly are also free agents, which leaves the bullpen as the top priority. Relievers like Adam Ottavino, David Robertson and Andrew Miller will be on the table. More >

Video: MLB Tonight on Eovaldi re-signing with Red Sox

Yankees
The Yankees want one more starter to go with Paxton and the returning CC Sabathia. They want to preserve their deep bullpen, too, with Robertson and Zach Britton being free agents. There's also the Didi Gregorius-sized hole at shortstop, as he'll be recovering from Tommy John surgery. Manny Machado, anyone? More >

AL CENTRAL

Indians
The Indians could be on the verge of some franchise-altering moves. They've traded All-Star catcher Yan Gomes and could deal starters Trevor Bauer or Corey Kluber or some of their top Minor League prospects to address needs elsewhere on the roster, such as the outfield and their bullpen. More >

Video: Will the Indians trade a pitcher at Winter Meetings?

Royals
The Royals' weakest area in 2018 was the relief corps, so that'll be the focus entering the Winter Meetings. They need arms at the back end of the bullpen, and GM Dayton Moore will likely be looking for some veteran additions. More >

Tigers
The middle infield will probably be the Tigers' chief priority -- they want to add a veteran shortstop and maybe a second baseman, too, to give prospect Dawel Lugo time to develop. Detroit is also looking for bullpen help ... but then again, who isn't? More >

Twins
The Twins want a starter and a closer -- they need to fill that second role after trading Fernando Rodney in August. Plus, they could make a move for a corner infielder/outfielder to complement recent acquisition C.J. Cron. More >

White Sox
The White Sox are thinking big. Bryce Harper big. They have serious interest in the superstar free agent. Beyond that, a starter to bolster the rotation in Michael Kopech's absence may be on the list. More >

AL WEST

Angels
The Angels need more pitching, and they need it for both their starting rotation and bullpen. After a string of pitching injuries over the last few years, the club will likely prioritize durability in its search. Los Angeles could also seek an upgrade at catcher, particularly an experienced option. More >

Video: Guardado on the latest between Angels and Trout

Astros
The Astros' roster is still loaded, but they missed out on two players they were interested in: Goldschmidt and Eovaldi. That gives a clue about what Houston will be pursuing at the Winter Meetings -- a starter and an impact bat. More >

Athletics
The A's offseason agenda remains focused on filling out their rotation and finding a catcher. They have a decision to make on whether they want to bring back second baseman Jed Lowrie, while they also need to acquire multiple starting pitchers. Look for Oakland to ramp up its activity next week after a quiet start to the offseason. More >

Mariners
Jerry Dipoto's been making trades left and right, and his roster revamp isn't done yet. The M's might not swing another blockbuster, but they'll certainly be looking to add pitching, especially with both their ace Paxton and their closer Diaz now on new clubs. More >

Rangers
The Rangers have one thing on the mind: pitching. That means multiple inning-eating starters and depth for a depleted bullpen. Texas might not splurge on an expensive name, but they'll be seeking dependability to help take pressure off their younger pitchers. More >

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves
The Braves have already gone out and gotten Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann. What's next? Perhaps an ace for the pitching staff, and maybe even more. Atlanta might also look for an outfielder like Michael Brantley, or a late-inning reliever. More >

Marlins
The Marlins' burning question entering the Winter Meetings: Will they trade J.T. Realmuto? But that's not the only question. The rebuilding Marlins need to add offense, through short-term free agent deals or trades, all if the price is right. More >

Mets
Brodie Van Wagenen has already made waves with his trade for Cano and Diaz. What will the new Mets GM do at his first Winter Meetings? His next move could be for a catcher (Realmuto?), a right-handed-hitting outfielder (A.J. Pollock?) or another stud reliever (Miller?). More >

Nationals
The Nats didn't wait for the Winter Meetings to snatch the top free-agent starter on the market, Corbin. And that's only one of the additions they've already made. They won't wait on Harper to continue shopping, either -- they feel they might be an arm short in the rotation and the bullpen, and they'll want a left-handed bat, even if it's not Harper. More >

Video: Nats introduce free-agent acquisition Patrick Corbin

Phillies
The Phillies are going big. They want Machado, and they want Harper. They also want a frontline starting pitcher, especially after missing out on Corbin. It should be an exciting Winter Meetings for Philly. More >

NL CENTRAL

Brewers
The Brewers don't have much wiggle room within their payroll, but their most significant need is at second base after the club non-tendered Jonathan Schoop. The club may also seek an upgrade at catcher and depth for its bullpen, but those needs are less pressing than the vacancy at second. More >

Cardinals
The Cardinals just pulled off one of the biggest moves of the offseason with their blockbuster trade for Goldschmidt, but they still enter next week's Winter Meetings with a shopping list. The club's top priority of an impact bat has been resolved, so now the focus shifts to the bullpen, which needs a late-inning left-hander and a closer. They're also in the market for a reserve catcher. More >

Video: Cardinals introduce Paul Goldschmidt following trade

Cubs
The Cubs have been linked to Harper all offseason, and the former Nationals star's free agency will be in the spotlight next week. Besides a potential big splash -- which president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has said would require some payroll creativity to add "dollars of real significance" -- Chicago is seeking additional bullpen depth, a backup catcher and a utility infielder. More >

Pirates
The Pirates already re-signed Jung Ho Kang and added outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall. Expect them to keep an eye on the shortstop market, though GM Neal Huntington has said they're comfortable with rookie Kevin Newman and Erik Gonzalez at the position. They could also add another left-handed bullpen arm. More >

Reds
With a new manager in tow, the Reds project to be aggressive in moving beyond their rebuilding effort after four straight last-place finishes in the NL Central. They need more pitching, both in their rotation and bullpen. They're unlikely to be in the mix for a top free-agent arm like Dallas Keuchel, but could add someone from the tier below him. They also need to find a replacement for Billy Hamilton in center field. More >

NL WEST

D-backs
The D-backs addressed one of their top offseason priorities in acquiring starting pitcher Luke Weaver in the Goldschmidt trade. Now they need to fill the void in center field left by Pollock, who is unlikely to re-sign with Arizona, and may also add bullpen depth. More >

Video: After Goldy trade, how will D-backs fill first base?

Dodgers
The Dodgers have already been linked to a number of top free-agent and trade targets this winter, including Harper, Kluber, Yusei Kikuchi and Jose Abreu, so many will be looking to Los Angeles to see how it retools after a second consecutive World Series defeat. The Dodgers need a veteran catcher to pair with Austin Barnes, and will look to upgrade their bullpen. More >

Giants
New president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi enters his first Winter Meetings with the Giants looking to address needs in the outfield, rotation and bullpen. He could possibly deepen the club's talent pool by dealing one of its veterans, with Madison Bumgarner being the most valuable trade chip among them. More >

Padres
The Padres have many holes to address on their roster, including third-base and shortstop jobs that are wide open. Among their biggest priorities is acquiring starting pitching, as no rotation members are currently guaranteed spots for next season. The club could also look to deal from its surplus of Major League outfielders. More >

Rockies
With DJ LeMahieu, Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra all hitting free agency, the Rockies will prioritize offense this offseason. Their versatile roster affords them the luxury of not having limiting needs at specific positions in their search for run production. More >

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com.

Dodgers add Kingston as assistant GM

MLB.com @kengurnick

LAS VEGAS -- The Dodgers made their first acquisition of the Winter Meetings on Sunday, announcing the hiring of Jeff Kingston as vice president and assistant general manager.

Kingston, 41, comes from the Mariners, for whom he had the same title reporting to general manager Jerry Dipoto. In addition to supporting Dipoto in player acquisition and contract negotiation, Kingston oversaw the player development and analytics departments. He served as Seattle's interim GM during the last month of the 2015 season after Jack Zduriencik was dismissed.

LAS VEGAS -- The Dodgers made their first acquisition of the Winter Meetings on Sunday, announcing the hiring of Jeff Kingston as vice president and assistant general manager.

Kingston, 41, comes from the Mariners, for whom he had the same title reporting to general manager Jerry Dipoto. In addition to supporting Dipoto in player acquisition and contract negotiation, Kingston oversaw the player development and analytics departments. He served as Seattle's interim GM during the last month of the 2015 season after Jack Zduriencik was dismissed.

Before that, Kingston spent nine seasons with San Diego, where he started as an intern for Theo Epstein and eventually became director of baseball operations. He graduated from Dickinson College with a degree in economics.

Kingston's hiring is the first of an expected front-office reorganization started by the departure of general manager Farhan Zaidi, whose expertise in analytics helped reshape the Dodgers' approach and helped lead to his hiring as president of baseball operations for the Giants.

Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations, said last week that a general manager would not be hired for the foreseeable future. Friedman was general manager of Tampa Bay for nine years before being hired for his current role by the Dodgers after the 2014 season.

In lieu of a general manager, the Dodgers are likely to redistribute Zaidi's responsibilities among Kingston, senior vice president and former D-backs and Padres GM Josh Byrnes, director of player development Brandon Gomes and director of baseball development Alex Slater, among others.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Puig's birthday party looked awesome

Yasiel Puig has never been the type of dude who needs to wait for his birthday to have an excuse to celebrate. He'll indulge in party vibes at any time in any place.

Every team's current franchise icon

MLB.com @williamfleitch

In this thrilling Hot Stove season, let's remember to spare some sympathy for the D-backs. Their trade of Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals was a good one, a smart, prudent move for a franchise in transition, one that brought back an impressive haul considering Goldschmidt has only one year left on his contract.

But that doesn't make all those fans who bought Goldschmidt jerseys over the last half-decade feel that much better. He is, after all, their guy, a franchise icon who has been the face of the organization since breaking into the league in 2011. The future may be bright in Arizona … but it's tough to say goodbye to your hero.

In this thrilling Hot Stove season, let's remember to spare some sympathy for the D-backs. Their trade of Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals was a good one, a smart, prudent move for a franchise in transition, one that brought back an impressive haul considering Goldschmidt has only one year left on his contract.

But that doesn't make all those fans who bought Goldschmidt jerseys over the last half-decade feel that much better. He is, after all, their guy, a franchise icon who has been the face of the organization since breaking into the league in 2011. The future may be bright in Arizona … but it's tough to say goodbye to your hero.

Video: Paul Goldschmidt gets formally introduced

Thus, today, we look at the franchise icons for each team -- the guy who, if he were traded, would break the hearts of the local fans. Some of them, to be fair, stretch the definition of "icon"; you'll notice that more frequently with clubs that are in the midst of a rebuild. And while few of these players are likely to be going anywhere anytime soon, and some guys might seem "untradeable," consider that if Paul Goldschmidt -- probably the best position player in D-backs history -- can be traded, well, then nearly anyone can.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Russell Martin, C
The Blue Jays have moved on from the obvious names here -- your Jose Bautista, your Edwin Encarnacion, your Josh Donaldson -- but Martin is still around from those winning teams … and he is Canadian, after all.

Orioles: Mark Trumbo, DH
No tougher team in baseball to find a current franchise icon for than the Orioles (particularly with Adam Jones being a free agent and thus not eligible). The hope is that in a decade, they have several.

Rays: Blake Snell, LHP
Rays fans have gotten used to having to say goodbye to their icons in recent years. Perhaps the current AL Cy Young Award winner will stick around for a while.

Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Even with Mookie Betts as the MVP … Pedroia is Red Sox for life.

Yankees: Aaron Judge, RF
Already, two years in, Judge is one of the most popular Yankees of the last 30 years.

Video: Must C Crushed: Judge rips 2-run HR in Wild Card Game

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Francisco Lindor, SS
Lindor is the centerpiece of everything this franchise is about.

Royals: Salvador Perez, C
Perez will still be here when the next Royals team contends ... whenever that is.

Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Miggy will go into the Hall of Fame as a Tiger, though he still has plenty of years in Detroit left to come.

Video: DET@BAL: Cabrera belts 3-run homer to deep right

Twins: Jose Berrios, RHP
Finding the next icon after Joe Mauer may take a while, but the young right-hander is off to a promising start.

White Sox: Jose Abreu, 1B
A constant at first base for the last five years, Abreu is still a decent bet to be traded this season given that he's eligible for free agency next offseason.

AL WEST

Angels: Mike Trout, CF
Trout has two more years left on his contract, as you might have heard. That's about to become the biggest story in the sport.

Astros: Jose Altuve, 2B
The Astros have all sorts of roster decisions to make in the next few years, but it is hard to see Altuve going anywhere, especially after the five-year extension he signed before last season.

Athletics: Matt Chapman, 3B
Chapman already feels like a player that the A's will want to open their new stadium around (should they get it).

Mariners: Felix Hernandez, RHP
Though it's looking like he'll never get that postseason start, he's still King Felix.

Rangers: Elvis Andrus, SS
Andrus is already No. 11 in lifetime WAR for the Rangers, and he still has four years of contract left to go.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Freddie Freeman, 1B
Freeman was there before the team broke through, and he'll still be the centerpiece now that they have.

Marlins: J.T. Realmuto, C
If Realmuto does get traded, as has been rumored, it's hard to say who would fill this spot. Martin Prado?

Mets: Jacob deGrom, RHP
Even if you see more Thor helmets at Citi Field, reigning NL Cy Young Award winner deGrom is the center of everything with this franchise right now. Imagine how Mets fans would react if he were traded. Heavens.

Video: ATL@NYM: Young fan goes wild cheering for deGrom

Nationals: Max Scherzer, RHP
It wouldn't be shocking if it were Juan Soto in a couple of years … or still Bryce Harper, for that matter (though that's looking less likely).

Phillies: Rhys Hoskins, 1B
The September Hoskins had in 2017 will keep him beloved in Philadelphia for years to come.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Christian Yelich, OF
Yelich's MVP campaign quickly got him here, though it would be bizarre to ever see Ryan Braun in another uniform.

Cardinals: Yadier Molina, C
Molina says he will retire when his current contract is up.

Tweet from @dgoold: "Three more years, that's it," Yadier Molina says. He's repeating his plan to complete his contract and then retire. #cardinals #stlcards

We'll believe it when we see it.

Cubs: Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Kris Bryant is the MVP … but no one spans this whole era of Cubs baseball like Rizzo does.

Pirates: Starling Marte, OF
Marte got back to his old self last year. Can you believe he's 30 already?

Reds: Joey Votto, 1B
The goal is to get the 35-year-old Votto back into the postseason before it's time to retire.

NL WEST

D-backs: Archie Bradley, RHP
One last cry for Goldschmidt.

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, LHP
Will L.A. be able to get Kershaw that World Series title, the only career achievement that continues to elude him?

Video: NLCS Gm7: Kershaw puts finishing touches on pennant

Giants: Buster Posey, C
Madison Bumgarner is obviously right there with him … but it's more inconceivable to imagine them trading Posey than Bumgarner, no?

Padres: Wil Myers, OF
You could argue for Eric Hosmer, but Myers has more of a track record in San Diego.

Rockies: Nolan Arenado, 3B
Arenado's contract status, and whether the Rockies contend this year, could be the driving storyline of the second half of 2019.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Here are Winter Meetings FAQs to know

MLB.com @castrovince

In most industries, meetings are a bore and chore. They consist of PowerPoints, "action items" and "check-ins," and the end result, usually, is just an agreement to "circle back" to everything at yet another meeting at a later date. Meetings are a necessary evil, a means to an end, an annoyance on your Outlook calendar.

But just as the concept of "touching base" takes on a different connotation in the baseball world than the business world, so, too, do meetings themselves. The phrase "Winter Meetings" has a titillating tenor to it. It conjures up images not of action items but actual action. We think of it as the event where the baseball world convenes and big deals get done.

In most industries, meetings are a bore and chore. They consist of PowerPoints, "action items" and "check-ins," and the end result, usually, is just an agreement to "circle back" to everything at yet another meeting at a later date. Meetings are a necessary evil, a means to an end, an annoyance on your Outlook calendar.

But just as the concept of "touching base" takes on a different connotation in the baseball world than the business world, so, too, do meetings themselves. The phrase "Winter Meetings" has a titillating tenor to it. It conjures up images not of action items but actual action. We think of it as the event where the baseball world convenes and big deals get done.

They are, in short, meetings you can actually get excited about.

With the 2018 Winter Meetings about to begin at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Monday, here's a primer on what this annual event is all about.

What is it?
The Winter Meetings are an industry gathering. Representatives from all 30 teams and their various affiliates attend the Winter Meetings. Executives, team staff, media, exhibitors and job seekers converge to network with peers, fill job and internship vacancies, attend workshops, discuss trends and exchange ideas. In some ways, it isn't terribly different from, say, an accountants' conference, because it features a trade show, a job fair, seminars, luncheons, etc.

A key difference is that accountants don't typically gather together in hotel suites and devise ways to trade their clients or sign them to multimillion dollar contracts.

That's why we love the Winter Meetings.

Why does it matter?
Though the ubiquity of texting and e-mailing has altered the dynamics of the Meetings as much as it has altered the fabric of our daily lives, team executives still view the Winter Meetings as a productive place to conduct offseason business.

The convergence of team decision-makers and agents in a single building -- a building many of them will not leave at all for four days -- can accelerate action. It is an efficient environment for deal-making because of the ease of face-to-face dialogue (agents will sometimes fly clients to the Meetings so they can make and listen to pitches in person) and, sometimes, the competitive spirit that kicks in when everybody gets together under one roof.

What happens?
Folks typically arrive on Sunday and depart on Thursday. Team executives usually line up meetings with other clubs and with agents throughout Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. General managers usually have a daily discussion with the local beat reporters to keep them abreast of where things stand, and each Major League manager conducts a press conference where questions about the state of the club are fielded. Reporters mill about the hotel lobby, seeking out team and agent sources, gathering information and, yes, spreading rumors.

When a deal actually gets done, the involved club or clubs hold a press conference in the media work room. If it's a free-agent deal or major trade completed in time for the player to travel to the site, it is not unusual for the player to attend the press conference. That's what happened when the Yankees unveiled Giancarlo Stanton at the 2017 Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for instance.

What are some notable deals that have gone down there?
In 1975, the always enterprising owner Bill Veeck, having just recently purchased the White Sox, set up a table at the Winter Meetings in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with a sign that read, "Open for Business." He went on to make six trades involving 22 players that week.

The Winter Meetings aren't always that lively, but plenty of big deals have gone down there over the years. In free agency, Barry Bonds (1992, Giants, $43 million), Kevin Brown ('98, Dodgers, $105 million) and Alex Rodriguez (2000, Rangers, $252 million) all set new records with contracts completed at the Winter Meetings. Brian Cashman's abrupt exit at the Bellagio in Las Vegas in '08 to fly to California to nail down a $161 million deal (at the time, a record for a pitcher) with CC Sabathia was memorable, as was Albert Pujols' mega pact with the Angels that was negotiated at the '11 Winter Meetings and completed just as everybody was packing up.

As far as trades are concerned, the Yankees' 1959 acquisition of Roger Maris, the Orioles' '65 trade for Frank Robinson, the Mets' '84 deal for Gary Carter, the '90 Padres-Blue Jays blockbuster that involved Fred McGriff, Joe Carter, Tony Fernandez and Roberto Alomar, the Tigers' franchise-altering trade for Miguel Cabrera in 2007 and the Red Sox's '16 acquisition of Chris Sale are some of the standout swaps that have taken place at the Winter Meetings.

What else is announced at the Winter Meetings?
On Sunday, a National Baseball Hall of Fame Eras Committee gathers at the Winter Meetings to discuss and vote on that year's ballot, be it the Today's Game (for candidates whose greatest contributions to baseball were realized from 1988 to the present), Golden Days (for candidates whose greatest contributions to baseball were realized from '50-69), or Early Baseball (for candidates whose greatest contributions to baseball were realized prior to '50). Those candidates who appear on 75 percent of ballots cast get inducted into the Hall of Fame the following summer, alongside the Baseball Writers' Association of America selections.

This year, the Today's Game Era Committee will vote on a ballot featuring Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Carter, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel, Lou Piniella, Lee Smith and George Steinbrenner. The results will be announced at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday on MLB Network.

What is the Rule 5 Draft?
The Rule 5 Draft is the annual grand finale of the Winter Meetings, taking place on Thursday morning as executives prepare to depart. It is an opportunity for teams to take a chance on untapped talent and, while the players involved are little more than lottery tickets, it has uncovered some real gems over the years.

The Rule 5 Draft involves players who were left off their team's 40-man roster and were either A. signed at age 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for at least four years or B. signed at 18 or younger and have played for at least five years. A team that selects a player in the Rule 5 Draft pays $100,000 to the team from which he was selected, and the receiving team must keep the player on the Major League 25-man roster or disabled list (though the player must be active for at least 90 days) for the entirety of the following season. If the player does not remain on the roster, he must be offered back to the team from which he was selected for $50,000. All players on a team's 40-man roster are "protected" from the Rule 5 Draft, and only teams with vacancies on their 40-man at the time of the Draft can participate (in reverse order of the previous season's standings).

Roberto Clemente, Johan Santana, Dan Uggla, Josh Hamilton and Joakim Soria are the most famous examples of impact players who were acquired in the Rule 5 Draft. There are also Triple-A and Double-A phases of the Draft.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Inbox: What is Verdugo's future with Dodgers?

Beat reporter Ken Gurnick answers questions from Los Angeles fans
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- When calling for Inbox questions, I wondered if the Dodgers have Corey Kluber or Bryce Harper on their Winter Meetings shopping list, and Ryan @ryanall26322308 wants those answers first.

Kluber would be a great fit anywhere. He's a two-time Cy Young Award winner under control for up to three years with a team-friendly contract. Add him to Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, and the Dodgers would have their best top-three in at least half a century. The Dodgers, though, are skeptical that the Indians will move Kluber.

LOS ANGELES -- When calling for Inbox questions, I wondered if the Dodgers have Corey Kluber or Bryce Harper on their Winter Meetings shopping list, and Ryan @ryanall26322308 wants those answers first.

Kluber would be a great fit anywhere. He's a two-time Cy Young Award winner under control for up to three years with a team-friendly contract. Add him to Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, and the Dodgers would have their best top-three in at least half a century. The Dodgers, though, are skeptical that the Indians will move Kluber.

:: Submit a question to the Dodgers Inbox ::

As for Harper, the next contract president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman gives for $100 million or $200 million or $300 million or more will be the first. Anything's possible, but committing that much to one player would be a total and complete departure from everything this ownership has done since it bought the club, especially if reports are true that the team still wants to avoid paying luxury tax. Reports this week that Magic Johnson had a recruiting meeting with Harper were denied by Johnson.

Do you think Alex Verdugo will still be a Dodger next season or is he the Dodgers' top trade bait?
-- J.T. @trombaj

To a trading partner, Verdugo probably is the most attractive outfielder not named Cody Bellinger in a crowded group. After back-to-back dominant seasons at Triple-A, Verdugo hasn't seemed to have won over decision-makers the way Corey Seager, Bellinger or Buehler did. Looks like a valuable trade chip to me.

Can the Dodgers get by with giving Austin Barnes the chance to catch more with a cheap backup until the young guys are ready?
-- oldman @wendelldunbar

They haven't given up on Barnes, despite his disappointing 2018 season. They want a short-term veteran bridge to pair with Barnes until their pipeline of deep catching prospects delivers a big leaguer. They missed out on Yan Gomes, but free agent Nick Hundley might be a fit if they don't pay up in prospects to get J.T. Realmuto.

They are days away from the Winter Meetings and they don't even have a GM? Any idea what is going on?
-- Greg Zerbey

The Dodgers have two experienced former general managers in Friedman and Josh Byrnes, and probably the biggest baseball operations and analytics department in the game. They aren't short-handed. Farhan Zaidi is a big loss, but probably because whatever the Dodgers' secret sauce is, the Giants now know all about it. With extensions for Kershaw and Dave Roberts, filling coaching vacancies, roster moves and the Winter Meetings, Friedman had said it might be a while before a replacement is found.

With seven starters on the pitching staff, do you see them trading any of them?
-- Glenn Munoz @GlennMunoz6

Yes, especially with rumors that they are interested in trading for Kluber and/or signing Japanese free agent Yusei Kikuchi, who projects as a third starter. If either is acquired, I could see Rich Hill or Alex Wood being expendable.

Understanding Alex Verdugo's journey was delayed because of the outfield logjam, can we expect prospects to move up faster for positions with clear "openings" (Will Smith at catcher; [Gavin] Lux at second base), or is the plan to be patient because of service time?
-- Jonny Solís @JonnySolisOffic

Maybe I'm naive, but I don't think this management team makes roster decisions based on service time. If anything, the Dodgers can't transition to younger, cheaper players fast enough -- but not before their time. The last three years they've had two winners and a third-place finish for National League Rookie of the Year. If they're good enough, they'll play.

Finally, not everybody agreed with my view of the Top 10 Dodgers trades of all-time. OK, nobody agreed. Here are a few that didn't make my cut.

From mxcarlin@gmail.com
Frank Howard + 4 for Claude Osteen +1. Future two-time league HR champ for future five-time All-Star; Jim Brewer for Minor Leaguer; Ron Fairly + 3 for Maury Wills and Manny Mota; Dick Allen for Tommy John; Willie Davis for Mike Marshall.

From David Anderson dkasr51@yahoo.com
Gino Cimoli to the St. Louis Cardinals for Wally Moon and Phil Paine.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Each team's best 1st-rounder of the past decade

MLB.com

The release of the 2019 Draft Top 50 list had the MLB Pipeline staff thinking about Drafts in years past. Teams always want to get that first pick right, and there have been some real home runs hit in the first round.

Who were the best first-round picks for each team over the last decade? MLB Pipeline dug through the first rounds of the last 10 years (2009-18) and picked the top first-rounder for each organization. Only those chosen in what was the official first round each year were considered -- no supplemental picks were allowed. The 2014 Draft has been the most fruitful, with six players from that first round making the list. The Drafts from 2012 and 2009 are right behind with five selections, with the latter boasting the player who has to be the single best first-round selection over the last 10 years.

The release of the 2019 Draft Top 50 list had the MLB Pipeline staff thinking about Drafts in years past. Teams always want to get that first pick right, and there have been some real home runs hit in the first round.

Who were the best first-round picks for each team over the last decade? MLB Pipeline dug through the first rounds of the last 10 years (2009-18) and picked the top first-rounder for each organization. Only those chosen in what was the official first round each year were considered -- no supplemental picks were allowed. The 2014 Draft has been the most fruitful, with six players from that first round making the list. The Drafts from 2012 and 2009 are right behind with five selections, with the latter boasting the player who has to be the single best first-round selection over the last 10 years.

AL East

Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays, 2012 (No. 22 overall)
Stroman's profile scared away many teams in the 2012 Draft, but the Duke product has done his part to overcome the stigma associated with being an undersized right-hander. Though he regressed in 2018, while dealing with right shoulder fatigue and, later, a blister issue, Stroman posted back-to-back 200-inning seasons (2016-17) and has been worth 10.6 WAR over five seasons with the Blue Jays.

Manny Machado, SS, Orioles, 2010 (No. 3 overall)
Machado made the jump straight from Double-A to the Majors as a 19-year-old in late 2012, and quickly became a star. His 33.8 WAR is the highest among 2010 first-round position players, second only to Chris Sale, and after helping guide Baltimore to two postseason appearances as a four-time All-Star, Machado netted the organization five Top 30 prospects when it dealt him to the Dodgers this past July.

Ryne Stanek, RHP, Rays, 2013 (No. 29 overall)
Drafting in the first round has long been a problem for the typically savvy Rays, and even their selection of Stanek isn't a hands-down win for the organization, considering he was viewed as a starter (before needing hip surgery) out of the Draft. That said, the right-hander emerged as a legitimate late-inning weapon (and, at times, an "opener") for the Rays in 2018, when he compiled a 2.98 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings over 66 1/3 innings (59 appearances).

Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox, 2015 (No. 7 overall)
Benintendi went from unheralded Arkansas freshman to consensus College Baseball Player of the Year as a sophomore, soaring up Draft boards in the process. The Red Sox had him No. 2 on theirs (behind Dansby Swanson), which he justified by becoming a regular in their 2018 World Series championship lineup just 13 months after signing.

Video: 2015 Draft: Red Sox draft OF Andrew Benintendi No. 7

Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees, 2013 (No. 32 overall)
Judge was the second of three Yankees first-rounders in 2013, sandwiched between Eric Jagielo (No. 26) and Ian Clarkin (No. 33), and lasting that long because there were questions about how well his massive raw power would translate into production. After only hitting 18 homers in three years at Fresno State and 56 in three seasons in the Minors, he exploded for a rookie-record 52 in 2017.

AL Central

Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians, 2011 (No. 8 overall)
Cleveland landed perhaps the best player in a historically good first-round class, as Lindor has become one of the faces of game while totaling 23.9 WAR -- second to Mookie Betts (35.2) among 2011 draftees -- and leading the Indians to an American League title (2016) since his debut in '15, when he finished second in AL Rookie of the Year Award voting. Entering his age-25 season, he's garnered All-Star honors and finished Top 10 in MVP voting in each of the last three years.

Aaron Crow, RHP, Royals, 2009 (No. 12 overall)
The Royals haven't fared well in the first round during the last decade, though Crow made the All-Star Game as a rookie in 2011, and was an effective reliever for four seasons until he blew out his elbow shortly after a trade to the Marlins. Cristian Colon (No. 4 overall, 2010) didn't have as much sustained success but delivered the championship-winning hit in the 2015 World Series.

Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers, 2018 (No. 1 overall)
Perhaps this one is more aspirational because he's thrown only 13 2/3 career innings since being the top pick in last June's Draft, but Mize should be able to use his three plus pitches and his plus control to move quickly through the Tigers' system. Look for him in Detroit sooner rather than later.

Alex Kirilloff, OF, Twins, 2016 (No. 16 overall)
The rules for this story don't allow for a supplemental first-round pick to be chosen, otherwise Jose Berrios might be the guy. But after missing the 2017 season, Kirilloff erupted in '18, his first real full season, and is looking like one of the best hitting prospects in all of baseball.

Chris Sale, LHP, White Sox, 2010 (No. 13 overall)
After 2010's Big Three of Bryce Harper, Jameson Taillon and Machado, Sale should have been the next player taken. But teams psyched themselves out over worries about his low arm slot and desire for a big league contract (typical for top college arms at the time), allowing the White Sox to steal him at No. 13. He was saving games for Chicago by September and has been an All-Star in each of his seven seasons as a starter.

Video: WS2018 Gm1: Sale K's Dozier to start off World Series

AL West

Matt Chapman, 3B, A's, 2014 (No. 25 overall)
Chapman emerged as the A's next homegrown star in his first fully healthy season, as he ranked third in WAR (8.2) among all position players, finished seventh in AL MVP voting and took home the revered Platinum Glove award as baseball's best defensive player. His 11.7 WAR in 229 career games is tops among positional players from his Draft class -- ahead of even Trea Turner (10.4), who's played 360 games.

Mike Trout, OF, Angels, 2009 (No. 25 overall)
The teams that say they had Trout No. 2 on their board are sort of like the million people who say they were present for The Shot Heard Round the World. Their loss was the Angels' gain, obviously, as he's turned into one of the game's top stars, with seven All-Star appearances and two MVP Awards.

Carlos Correa, SS, Astros, 2012 (No. 1 overall)
George Springer (No. 11, 2011) and Alex Bregman (No. 2, 2015) can also make a case, but our choice is Correa. A series of impressive pre-Draft workouts gave him late helium and made him the first Puerto Rican taken with the top choice. He won AL Rookie of the Year Award honors in '15, then received All-Star recognition and won a World Series two year later.

Video: ALCS Gm1: Correa knocks go-ahead single in 6th

Mike Zunino, C, Mariners, 2012 (No. 3 overall)
Zunino struggled for several years after being rushed to the Major Leagues and hit .207 over 2,000 plate appearances with Seattle. His combination of right-handed power and strong defense behind the plate, however, became increasingly valuable, especially with the quality of the position on the decline across the Majors.

Lewis Brinson, OF, Rangers, 2012 (No. 29 overall)
The Rangers' 13 first-round picks from the last decade have produced only three big leaguers and a combined -0.4 WAR so far. An exceptional athlete who has yet to hit in the Majors, Brinson went to the Brewers in a deal for Jeremy Jeffress and Jonathan Lucroy in July 2016, and to the Marlins in a trade for Christian Yelich last January.

NL East

Kyle Wright, RHP, Braves, 2017 (No. 5 overall)
The Braves hoped Wright would move quickly when they took him with their first pick in the 2017 Draft out of Vanderbilt. Starting his first full season in Double-A was a good sign and reaching Atlanta before the year was over was ahead of schedule, even for a fast-tracker.

Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins, 2010 (No. 23 overall)
One of the 2010 Draft's better hitters as a California prep, Yelich reached the Majors in mid-2013 and received a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension two years later. He hit .290/.369/.432 (18.6 WAR) over 643 games with Miami, and then helped the organization restock its farm system with four prospects, including Brinson and Monte Harrison, when they dealt him to Milwaukee last offseason. In his first year with the Brewers, Yelich won the batting title (.326) and powered the club to the National League Championship Series en route to MVP honors.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Yelich crushes solo homer to right-center

Michael Conforto, OF, Mets, 2014 (No. 10 overall)
It took the Oregon State product only a year to get to the big leagues, and while his performance has been a little up and down, he's hit 56 homers the last two years and has an All-Star nod already on his resume. Still only 25, he has already amassed nearly 1,400 Major League at-bats.

Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals, 2010 (No. 1 overall)
The Nationals' selection of Harper with the first pick in the 2010 Draft forever changed the course of the franchise, as it gave the club a player with near-immediate impact potential as well as generational-star upside worthy of building around. Over seven seasons with the Nats, Harper -- a six-time All-Star and the 2015 NL MVP -- hit .279/.388/.512 with 184 homers in 927 games, good for a 27.4 WAR.

Aaron Nola, RHP, Phillies, 2014 (No. 7 overall)
Nola took his combination of solid stuff and outstanding command and made a beeline to Philadelphia, joining the rotation in just over a year following his selection. And the 25-year-old is just getting going, making his first All-Star team and finishing third in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2018.

NL Central

Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers, 2017 (No. 9 overall)
The Brewers' track record with first-round picks isn't great, but Hiura could soon help reverse that trend. After leading all Division I hitters in average (.442) as a UC Irvine junior, Hiura raked his way up to Double-A this past season and then took home MVP honors in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. He still needs some more time in the Minors, but it shouldn't be long before Hiura is driving in runs from the middle of Milwaukee's order.

Jack Flaherty, RHP, 2014 (No. 34 overall)
The Cardinals have had some solid back-half-of-the-first-round selections, like Michael Wacha and Kolten Wong, but Flaherty made it to the big leagues in 2017, then finished fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting in '18. Flaherty will be only 23 in 2019, so the best may be yet to come.

Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs, 2013 (No. 2 overall)
Bryant had a stunning junior season at San Diego, swatting 31 homers to not only lead NCAA Division I but also topping 223 of the 296 teams at that level. He raced to the big leagues, winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2015 and encoring with an NL MVP Award and World Series championship the next season.

Video: STL@CHC: Bryant belts a towering solo homer to center

Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates, 2011 (No. 1 overall)
Cole's 17.4 WAR is more than double any other Pirates' first-rounder in the last decade. Perhaps his tenure with Pittsburgh was up and down, but he made the All-Star team, finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting and made three postseason starts in 2015. He's also topped 200 innings in three of the last four years (albeit the last one coming for the Astros).

Mike Leake, RHP, Reds, 2009 (No. 8 overall)
Leake spent exactly zero days in the Minor Leagues between getting drafted and his Major League debut, breaking with the Reds' rotation on Opening Day in 2010. He's compiled more WAR than any Reds first-rounder in the last 10 years (15.6) and his trade to the Giants in 2015 netted them Adam Duvall (two years of 30-plus homers) and Keury Mella, who should contribute to the pitching staff in '19.

NL West

A.J. Pollock, OF, D-backs, 2009 (No. 17 overall)
When Pollock was coming out of Notre Dame, he was a solid college performer, but one who didn't have a plus tool, so some thought he might end up a bit of a tweener. There have been some injuries, but there's also been an All-Star appearance and a Gold Glove as an everyday center fielder, one who is currently coveted on the free-agent market.

Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers, 2012 (No. 18 overall)
After taking pitchers with their previous six first-round choices -- landing Clayton Kershaw and five non-impact big leaguers -- the Dodgers changed course and went for Seager, who was one of the better all-around high school bats but also came with some signability concerns in the first Draft with bonus-pool rules. He signed for $2.35 million ($400,000 above the assigned value at No. 18) and proved well worth it, earning the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2016 and All-Star recognition in each of his two full big league seasons.

Zack Wheeler, RHP, Giants, 2009 (No. 6 overall)
He wasn't a cornerstone of World Series championships like Giants 2006-08 first-rounders Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, but the guy who followed them has been a quality big league starter when healthy. Wheeler didn't last long with San Francisco, however, going to the Mets in a 2011 trade for Carlos Beltran.

Trea Turner, SS, Padres, 2014 (No. 13 overall)
Turner played the first half of his pro debut on borrowed time, as he'd already been dealt to the Nationals as part of a three-team trade with Tampa Bay (that netted the Padres Wil Myers) by the time the 2015 season began. He's emerged as one of the more impactful young players with the Nats.

Video: Draft 2014: Padres draft SS Trea Turner No. 13

Kyle Freeland, LHP, Rockies, 2014 (No. 8 overall)
The Rockies hoped for Kyle Schwarber or Nola, but the Cubs and Phillies foiled those plans and led them to Freeland, whose elbow worried some clubs because he had arthroscopic surgery as a Denver high schooler. He had bone chips removed from his elbow in 2015 but has been otherwise healthy, winning 11 games as a rookie in '17 and finishing fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting last season.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Jansen's family wears matching blue onesies

The family Christmas photo is typically a time for the whole household to dress up to pose for an adorable picture to send out to all your family and friends. You gather around the tree in your best sweaters and take as many pictures as it takes to get one in which everyone is looking at the camera and smiling.

Kenley Jansen's family takes a different approach. Everyone puts on a Dodger Blue onesie, stands next to the tree and lets the magic happen:

These are the 10 best starting rotations

MLB.com @williamfleitch

Tuesday, the Washington Nationals snatched up Patrick Corbin, the top starting pitcher on the free agent market, for the not-exactly-a-discount-price of $140 million over six years.

For all the talk of Bryce Harper and the rest of Washington's lineup, it was, as tends to be the case with the Nationals, a bet on pitching.

Tuesday, the Washington Nationals snatched up Patrick Corbin, the top starting pitcher on the free agent market, for the not-exactly-a-discount-price of $140 million over six years.

For all the talk of Bryce Harper and the rest of Washington's lineup, it was, as tends to be the case with the Nationals, a bet on pitching.

"That's how we've won," general manager Mike Rizzo said before the signing "When we put our guy on the mound [and he], each day, gives us a chance to win, you've created yourself a chance to have a really good ballclub and play deep into October."

RIzzo backed it up with the Corbin signing.

The Nationals now have one of the best rotations in baseball, and considering the combined $525 million they're paying Corbin, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, well, they better. But how do they rank among baseball's best rotations?

In the wake of Corbin's signing, here's a look at the 10 best rotations in the game at this particular moment. With Dallas Keuchel, J.A. Happ and others still out there unsigned, this list obviously is still subject to change, but here's how it looks right now:

1. Cleveland Indians
Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber

Assuming the rumors that the Indians would part with Kluber aren't true, this is still a rotation that'll keep the Indians atop the American League Central and holding the upstart Twins and White Sox at bay for at least one more season. Bauer was downright fantastic last year -- their best starter, really -- and Clevinger was the best starter in baseball you're pretty sure pitched in the '80s at some point. And Carrasco has been so good for them for so long you almost forget about him. Who knows, maybe Danny Salazar can return and be what he once was, too. But again: We gotta make sure they don't trade anybody.

Video: Bauer joins Hot Stove to discuss his surplus value

2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alex Wood

Typical Dodgers -- they've got the second-best rotation in the game, and they're still looking to add. Bringing Kershaw back was always going to happen, and Buehler looks like a pitcher who's already ready to win a Cy Young Award. The Dodgers will shuffle pitchers in and out of the rotation as needed, and you can probably count on them being on the phone with the Indians pretty regularly these days. Whatever they lack, they'll end up getting.

3. Washington Nationals
Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Tanner Roark, Joe Ross

Adding Corbin obviously makes a formidable rotation even scarier, but third still seems about right for the Nats, top-to-bottom. Scherzer's the horse, and Strasburg, when healthy, has somehow become oddly underrated. If Corbin can keep up what he did in 2018, that's a daunting top three, but there's still some issues with the back of the rotation, particularly the No. 5 spot, which probably won't really end up being Ross. Erick Fedde? The Nationals, all told, could maybe use another pitcher.

4. Houston Astros
Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Collin McHugh, Josh James, Brad Peacock

The top two are both top-five Cy Young Award candidates, and you know they're going to add a free agent at some point this offseason, maybe Eovaldi. But having both Charlie Morton and Keuchel as free agents leaves some holes to fill. They've got Framber Valdez and Cionel Perez coming, not to mention Forrest Whitley, who might be one of their most important pitchers come September and October.

Video: Red Sox, Astros and Yankees interested in Eovaldi

5. Boston Red Sox
Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Brian Johnson

It almost seems unfair that a team with an offense as overpowering as the Red Sox also has one of the top five rotations in the game, but hey, that's why they're the World Series champions. They'd like to keep Nathan Eovaldi around in Boston, though there are other teams -- some on this very list -- who are going hard after him. But with Sale as the guy atop the rotation who hasn't won a Cy Young Award, suffice it to say, the Red Sox will be fine either way.

6. New York Mets
Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Jason Vargas

Whatever other issues the Mets might have -- and that trade that Mets fans will be debating for generations to come -- it's impossible to argue with the top of their rotation. Syndergaard took a small step back in 2018, but he was still excellent, and Wheeler has become a better, more consistent pitcher than anyone has quite noticed. Matz put up 30 starts of sub-4.00 ERA, which you'll absolutely take from a fourth starter. The questions, still: Do they need to pick up a backend starter, and … Syndergaard's definitely staying, right?

7. Atlanta Braves
Mike Foltynewicz, Julio Teheran, Kevin Gausman, Sean Newcomb, Touki Toussaint

The Braves had the fourth-best starter ERA in baseball last year, and the second-best in the National League, thanks largely to a terrific season from Foltynewicz, excellent backend work from Newcomb and Teheran, and a surprisingly strong finish from trade acquisition Gausman. But the real excitement here comes from the young pitchers -- from those who are already here (Toussaint) to those who are about to arrive (Mike Soroka, Kyle Wright). The Bravs are only going to move up this list.

8. St. Louis Cardinals
Carlos Martinez, Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright

The Cardinals' strength isn't necessarily in their quality: It's in their quantity. In addition to those five names above, they have potential starters in Dakota Hudson, Austin Gomber, Daniel Poncedeleon, John Gant, Luke Weaver and Alex Reyes. Theoretically, St. Louis will trade some of that rotation depth in the offseason for some sort of upside bat, but the Cardinals have above-average starters everywhere, and in Flaherty, they have a potential ace.

Video: Mikolas on importance of throwing strikes, his 2018

9. Chicago Cubs
Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish

This unit was a little bit of a disappointment last season, but still, look at those five names. Hamels might have been the Cubs' best starter after he came over at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, Lester and Hendricks are proven veterans who still have plenty left, and Quintana took a step back but is still a solid starter capable of much more. And as for Darvish: He should be healthy in 2019, and even if he isn't his old self or quite worth his hefty salary … he can't possibly be worse than Tyler Chatwood was.

10. Pittsburgh Pirates
Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Trevor Williams, Ivan Nova, Joe Musgrove

Archer was the high-profile addition at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but Taillon is the true ace of this staff, and he's also three years younger than Archer. Don't sleep on Williams, by the way, who actually had a lower ERA than Taillon and had a 1.38 ERA in the second half. They could probably use an upgrade on the backend, though.

Honorable Mention: Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays (the one starter they have, anyway!)

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

These are the top 50 prospects for the '19 Draft

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

The crop of talent for the 2019 Draft appears to be one of the most imbalanced in recent memory. Quality position prospects abound all over the diamond, while question marks surround the best pitchers available.

MLB Pipeline's new Draft Top 50 Prospects list reflects this dichotomy, starting with six straight hitters at the top. A lot will change before the Orioles exercise the No. 1 overall pick on June 3, but only once has a Draft started with as many as five consecutive position players. Justin Upton (D-backs), Alex Gordon (Royals), Jeff Clement (Mariners), Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) and Ryan Braun (Brewers) were the first five selections in the 2005 Draft, which coincidentally is considered the strongest so far this millennium.

The crop of talent for the 2019 Draft appears to be one of the most imbalanced in recent memory. Quality position prospects abound all over the diamond, while question marks surround the best pitchers available.

MLB Pipeline's new Draft Top 50 Prospects list reflects this dichotomy, starting with six straight hitters at the top. A lot will change before the Orioles exercise the No. 1 overall pick on June 3, but only once has a Draft started with as many as five consecutive position players. Justin Upton (D-backs), Alex Gordon (Royals), Jeff Clement (Mariners), Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) and Ryan Braun (Brewers) were the first five selections in the 2005 Draft, which coincidentally is considered the strongest so far this millennium.

2019 Draft order | All-time Draft picks

Top Draft Prospects

"If you're in the hunt for pitching up top, this might not be the best year for it, especially with the college arms," an American League scouting director said. "It's definitely a position-player Draft from what I've seen over the summer. It's better than what it's been the last couple of years. It's almost a little scary how good the hitters are compared to the pitchers."

The consensus among clubs is that the top tier of 2019 prospects includes as few as one and no more than three position players: Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and California first baseman Andrew Vaughn. They're also the three most highly decorated prospects in the '19 class.

Rutschman won Most Outstanding Player honors at the College World Series, where he helped the Beavers capture a national title to cap a breakout sophomore season in which he batted .408/.505/.628 and set school records with 102 hits and 83 RBIs. He's a switch-hitting catcher who's just starting to harness what could be plus power, and he's also a quality receiver with a strong arm.

Video: Adley Rutschman on being top-ranked Draft prospect

The son of Bobby Witt, the No. 3 overall pick in 1985 en route to a 16-year pitching career in the big leagues, Witt Jr. won the High School Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game and also Most Valuable Player Award honors at the Under Armour All-America Game, the States Play Series and the 18-and-under Pan American Championships in Panama. He's a potential five-tool shortstop who comes with some mild hittability concerns, but also plus raw power, speed, arm strength and defense.

"In 1999, we had the two Joshes [Hamilton and Beckett] and then everybody else," a National League scouting official said. "It could be a similar situation this year with Rutschman and Witt. Bobby Witt's kid is certainly one of the most exciting kids I've seen in a long time. You have to go back a long way to see a shortstop with those tools."

Video: Draft Report: Bobby Witt Jr., high school shortstop

Some teams would group Vaughn, the reigning Golden Spikes Award winner, with Rutschman and Witt. He's the best offensive player available, a .402/.531/.819 hitter as a sophomore who draws raves for his ability to barrel balls, hit for power and control the strike zone.

There's plenty of depth beyond that trio. On the college side, there's another catcher ticketed for the top of the draft in Baylor's Shea Langeliers, a five-tool sleeper in Missouri outfielder Kameron Misner and potential impact bats such as Texas Tech third baseman Josh Jung, Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday and North Carolina first baseman Michael Busch. Scouts usually bemoan the lack of college shortstops, but this year, there are five who could factor into the first round (even if they might not all stay at the position): UNLV's Bryson Stott, Texas A&M's Braden Shewmake, Auburn's Will Holland, N.C. State's Will Wilson and Clemson's Logan Davidson.

Along with Witt, shortstop C.J. Abrams (Blessed Trinity Catholic High, Roswell, Ga.) and outfielders Jerrion Ealy (Jackson Prep, Flowood, Miss.) and Maurice Hampton (University High, Memphis, Tenn.) headline an impressive group of premium high school athletes. Ealy and Hampton are also four-star football recruits, with the former a running back committed to Mississippi and the latter a cornerback earmarked for Louisiana State. Outfielder Corbin Carroll (Lakeside School, Seattle) is one of the best pure hitters in the Draft, third baseman Rece Hinds (IMG Academy) may have the most raw power available and third basemen Brett Baty (Lake Travis High, Austin, Texas) and Tyler Callihan (Providence School, Jacksonville, Fla.) combine the ability to hit for average and power.

"You'll see position players, and especially the college bats, move up into the top half of the first round," an NL scouting director said. "You could see 18-20 bats in the first round, because it's just not a great class of pitching."

Video: Draft Report: Carter Stewart, college pitcher

MLB Pipeline's top-rated pitcher is right-hander Carter Stewart, who went No. 8 overall to the Braves in the 2018 Draft but didn't sign after a disagreement over the severity of a wrist injury that hampered him at the end of his senior season at Eau Gallie High (Melbourne, Fla.). Stewart, who had the best curveball in the '18 class as well as a fastball that reached 98 mph, is expected to enroll at Eastern Florida State Junior College for the spring semester.

There's also uncertainty with the top arms at four-year colleges, all of whom are left-handers: Duke's Graeme Stinson, Kentucky's Zack Thompson and Texas Christian's Nick Lodolo. Stinson has to prove he can succeed and hold up as a starter after relieving for most of his college career, and Thompson missed two months last spring with an elbow injury that didn't require surgery. Lodolo was the highest unsigned pick in the 2016 Draft (No. 41 overall, Pirates) but has been more respectable than dominant with the Horned Frogs.

Clubs consider high school pitching to the be the riskiest Draft demographic, and prep righties often seem to last longer than they should. Brennan Malone (IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.), Daniel Espino (Georgia Premier Academy, Statesboro, Ga.) and Matthew Allan (Seminole, Fla., High) are the premier power arms among prepsters. Former All-Star Al Leiter's son, Jack (Delbarton School, Morristown, N.J.), is the most polished high school hurler, while two-way star Spencer Jones (La Costa Canyon High, Carlsbad, Calif.) is the best left-hander.

"This is a good Draft. I like it," a second NL scouting official said. "There's not a lot of pitching at the top, but there are a lot of bats to go get."

Video: Callis breaks down Jack Leiter's draft stock

BREAKDOWN

College: 27
HS: 22
JC: 1

RHP: 12
OF: 10
SS: 10
LHP: 6
3B: 5
1B: 4
C: 2
2B: 1

Top tools

All players, as always, are given grades on the 20-to-80 scouting scale for all tools or pitches. These are future grades, a reflection of what the scouting industry thinks each of these amateur players can become in the future. Here are the top grades for each tool and pitch.

Position players
Hit: 60 -- Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State; Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California; Riley Greene, Hagerty (Fla.) HS; Corbin Carroll, Lakeside (Wash.) HS
Power: 60 -- Andrew Vaughn, 1B, California; Rece Hinds, 3B, IMG Academy (Fla.)
Run: 75 -- CJ Abrams, SS, Blessed Trinity Catholic (Ga.) HS; Jerrion Ealy, OF, Jackson Prep (Miss.)
Arm: 70 -- Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor
Field: 60 -- Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State; Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Colleyville Heritage (Texas) HS; Shea Langeliers, C, Baylor; Mike Toglia, 1B/OF, UCLA; Nasim Nunez, SS, Collins Hill (Ga.) HS

Pitchers
Fastball: 70 -- Brennan Malone, RHP, IMG Academy (Fla.); Daniel Espino, RHP, Georgia Premier Academy; Ryne Nelson, RHP, Oregon
Curveball: 65 -- Carter Stewart, RHP, None
Slider: 65 -- Graeme Stinson, LHP, Duke
Changeup: 55 -- Nick Lodolo, LHP, TCU
Control: 55 -- Jack Leiter, RHP, Delbarton (N.J.) HS

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.