2023-12-04 · 3 min read · MLB/Baseball
Jackson Kowar and Jarred Kelenic

USA Today Sports | AP Photo/Ron Schwane

The first surprise move of MLB’s Winter Meetings has happened, with Atlanta continuing to stay active amidst a market that’s beginning to heat up.
It was announced that Atlanta will be sending newly-acquired righty Jackson Kowar (whom they received from Kansas City in the Kyle Wright deal) and their #7 prospect Cole Phillips - also a right-handed arm - to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for outfielder Jarred Kelenic, first baseman Evan White, and lefty Marco Gonzales.
At first glance, the move doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Kelenic’s only 24 years old and was Seattle’s primary return in the deal that sent Edwin Diaz to the Mets, while Gonzales has, at times, been a decent innings-eater for the M’s. Cole Phillips, though currently identified as Atlanta’s #7 prospect, has been injured since his 2022 draft and Kowar hasn’t had any MLB success with the Royals. So, you ask, why did this trade come to fruition? Money.
Though he’s yet to live up to the hype, Jarred Kelenic has shown flashes - 2023 was his best year yet, swatting 11 bombs and driving in 49 runs all while striking out in one-third of his at-bats. He’s a work-in-progress, but the tools are there and Kelenic’s had distinct improvement over his first three MLB seasons. Most importantly though, he’s cheap. He has one more year of pre-arbitration, then is under club control for another four years during his time of being arbitration eligible.
Evan White and Marco Gonzales, they’re pricier. Prior to the 2020 season Evan White signed a six-year, $24 Million contract extension with Seattle at which time he was a top prospect - since then, a slew of injuries, surgeries, and poor performances have kept him out of the Majors since 2021. He has two more years left at $7 Million and $8 Million, respectively, and then three years of club options following that. Even with Seattle sending some cash to the Braves, dumping Evan White’s deal clears roughly $17 Million (including a $2 Million buyout of his club options, in which Atlanta most certainly will do following 2025). Gonzales is owed $12 Million in 2024, with a $15 Million club option for 2025 - combine this with the money saved on White’s deal, and the Mariners walk away with just under $30 Million off the books. Essentially, Kelenic acts as the price to pay in order to do that, with Kowar and Phillips being throw-in additions in return.
After the news broke of the deal, multiple reports indicate that Atlanta will now look to pawn off Marco Gonzales’ deal onto another club, with his time in Atlanta likely coming to a close before throwing a single pitch.
In addition to Atlanta and Seattle hashing out a trade, Milwaukee and Los Angeles also made moves during the first day of Winter Meetings too.
The Brewers re-signed veteran lefty Wade Miley, who originally opted out of his one-year, $10 Million player option. After receiving a $1 Million buyout, he returns - this time on an $8.5 Million deal. All things considered, the Brewers saved roughly $500,000 re-signing Miley this way. The now-37-year old posted terrific numbers last year, starting 23 games for the Brew Crew amassing a 3.14 ERA across 120 ⅓ IP.
In addition to Miley, the Brewers also added righty Joe Ross on a one-year deal. The 30-year old underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2022, working his way back at the end of last season with San Francisco’s AAA team in September. Ross has spent all six of his MLB seasons with the Washington Nationals, posting a career high in innings pitched (108), strikeouts (109), and K’s per 9 (9.1). He’ll get a fair shot in during Spring Training to break camp with the Major League squad.
The Dodgers also re-signed one of their arms, inking Joe Kelly to a one-year deal. Likewise with Miley, the exact dollar amount has yet to be announced though Los Angeles did turn down his $9.5 Million club option prior to re-signing him. He pitched well down the stretch for L.A. after acquiring him from the White Sox, tossing 10 ⅓ IP allowing 2 earned runs since his return to California. The high-octane righty spent 2019-2021 with the Dodgers as well, winning a World Series with them in 2020.
The Phillies also announced a one-year extension for Manager Rob Thomson through the 2025 season. His current deal was set to expire at the end of 2024, with the extension kicking in following this upcoming summer.
Though making no major roster moves thus far, the Blue Jays announced the signing of catcher Max McDowell, outfielder Steward Berroa, utilityman Rafael Lantigua, and dual-way player Andrew Bechtold. Reports are that Bechtold will shift to being a pitcher-only within Toronto’s organization, after pitching in 20 games with Minnesota’s AAA team in 2023.
The MLB Winter Meetings continue until this Wednesday, December 6th.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Gus Cousins


Up Next

Sports Tree Blog


Read more2024-02-16 · 2 min read
Sports Tree Blog


Read more2024-02-15 · 3 min read

Sports Tree

© 2024 Sports Tree LTD.

The sports tree newsletter

Sign up for the newsletter

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms of Service  and Privacy Policy. You can opt out at any time.