By BEN WALKER
The Associated Press
OXON HILL, Md. — The Cubs could use a closer, maybe someone like Wade Davis. Texas needs a center fielder, and most every team wants an extra arm.
So now that Chris Sale has been traded, baseball executives are trying to figure out who’s next.
Andrew McCutchen is still available, perhaps the Tigers really would deal Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander, and Cincinnati speedster Billy Hamilton might be on the move.
“It’s incredible, the different directions that our conversations in the suite go,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Boston made a big splash at the winter meetings Tuesday, getting Sale. The AL East champion Red Sox sent a package of four prospects including high-priced and highly talented hitter Yoan Moncada to the Chicago White Sox for the All-Star ace.
The Red Sox also acquired top setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee for third baseman Travis Shaw and two minor leaguers, and neared a deal with free agent first baseman Mitch Moreland.
Tampa Bay closed in on a two-year contract with All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos worth about $12.5 million. The 29-year-old hit .309 with a career-high 22 home runs and 80 RBIs before tearing a knee ligament late in the season.
More action could be in the works, too.
Kyle Schwarber, of course, isn’t going anywhere. The Cubs slugger completed a remarkable comeback from a knee injury in April by bashing his way to a World Series championship.
Creative manager Joe Maddon sees something interesting in the future for Schwarber — as in, maybe the leadoff spot after Dexter Fowler became a free agent.
“Schwarber is not a bad name, Kyle is not a bad name at all,” Maddon said.
“Two years ago, I considered leading Kyle off and putting Dexter second. But I had all the dudes do all the work, all our nerds did all the work and they really liked Fowler one and like Schwarber two just based on the data,” he said. “So I went with that and it worked out well.”
Fowler, meanwhile, would make a nice fit in St. Louis.
“I know about Dexter,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Yeah, there’s no question that he’s one of the guys out there that not just the Cardinals but other teams are interested in.”
“I’m always available for whatever the recruiting process needs,” he said.
There’s no movement yet on star closers Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, though the New York Yankees are looking at both of them.
The Yankees already are facing the prospect of seeing Sale a lot next year after this trade put him in the same division. Sale bolstered a Red Sox rotation that also features recent AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello, former award winner David Price and All-Star knuckleballer Steven Wright.
“That’s a big one. That’s a blockbuster. That was a wow,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “Obviously they gave up a lot and they got a lot.”
“Boston’s like the Golden State Warriors now in baseball. They got their (Kevin) Durant and their (Draymond) Green and (Klay) Thompson and (Stephen) Curry,” he said.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he thought the Sale trade might cause the rest of the trade market “to start to loosen up a bit.”
Either way, the Mets figure to have a new face in spring training next year — Tim Tebow.
Manager Terry Collins said he’d like to put the former NFL quarterback into a few exhibition games, even though Tebow still has a long path in his transition to playing baseball.
The 29-year-old aspiring outfielder hit .194 in the Arizona Fall League, striking out 20 times in 70 plate appearances.
“Our players, they’re athletes, too. They’re fans, too,” Collins said. “They would probably like to know how to run a quarterback sneak one day.”