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Winter Meetings Come To An End With Dodgers Leading A Flurry Of Activity

John Nestor

John Nestor is a Philadelphia sports fan and veteran sportswriter trapped in Connecticut. Tweet him @nestorjdn

The Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds were all extremely active as the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings drew to a close with a flurry of activity Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Among the headlines was an overhaul by the Dodgers, a revamped rotation for the Red Sox after losing out on Jon Lester and moves by the Tigers, Reds, Phillies, Royals and Angels among others.

New Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman used the winter meetings to start making his imprint on the roster. One of the most active teams this week, the Dodgers acquired All-Star second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Los Angeles Angels and sent second baseman Dee Gordon, pitcher Dan Haren and infielder Miguel Rojas to the Miami Marlins for prospects,

Friedman wasn’t done and traded for Philadelphia Phillies veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins while also finding a taker for outfielder Matt Kemp in the San Diego Padres.

The Rollins trade ends an era in Philadelphia. The 36-year-old Rollins was a three-time All-Star shortstop with the Phillies and won the National League MVP in 2007. He was one of the main contributors on Philadelphia’s 2008 World Series winning club and he leaves Philadelphia — after spending his entire 15-year career there — as the franchise’s all-time leader in hits, at-bats and doubles.

Rollins replaces Hanley Ramirez who signed as a free agent with the Red Sox and he will give the Dodgers a strong defensive presence and some veteran leadership while prospect Corey Seager continues to climb through the minors.

The 30-year-old Kemp hit .287 with 25 home runs and 89 RBI in 150 games last season for the Dodgers, who have a crowded outfield and had been unable to deal Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford. The Dodgers were reported to receive catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Joe Ross and Zach Eflin in exchange for Kemp.

The Dodgers then shipped Gordon, Haren and Rojas to the Marlins for left-hander Andrew Heaney, infielder Enrique Hernandez, reliever Chris Hatcher and minor leaguer Austin Barnes. Heaney then went to the Angels in exchange for Kendrick.

Completing the hectic final hours of the meetings the Dodgers reportedly agreed to a four-year, $48 million deal with free-agent pitcher Brandon McCarthy.

As for the Phillies, the Rollins move appears to show that the rebuilding process is underway. Rollins’ former double-play partner, second baseman Chase Utley could bring back some solid pieces and sources have said Philadelphia has talked with Baltimore this week about possible moves for outfielder Marlon Byrd and first baseman Ryan Howard. Ace Cole Hamels is also rumored to be on the trading block but so far a number of other pitchers have been on the move with Hamels remaining in Philly for now.

While the Dodgers were extremely busy, they were not the only team to make moves as the winter meetings drew to a close.

The Tigers traded starting pitcher Rick Porcello to the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, netting pitcher Alex Wilson and minor league pitcher Gabe Speier in the trade.

Cespedes was traded to Boston from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for pitcher Jon Lester just before the 2014 trade deadline and is scheduled to become a free agent following the 2015 season. Porcello was 15-13 last season with a career-low ERA of 3.43.

After losing out on Lester to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, the Red Sox made more moves to fill out their rotation as they acquired left-hander Wade Miley from the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster and then signed Justin Masterson to a one-year $9.5 million deal.

The Tigers turned around and picked up Alfredo Simon from the Reds for shortstop Eugenio Suarez and minor league pitcher Jonathon Crawford. Cincinnati also dealt Mat Latos to the Marlins for pitcher Anthony DeSclafani and catcher Chad Wallach, the son of Tim Wallach.

The Reds reportedly needed to reduce payroll in hopes of signing ace Johnny Cueto to a long-term deal. Cueto is set to be a free agent after the 2015 season.

In other moves the Minnesota Twins have reached a four-year deal for $54 million with free-agent right-hander Ervin Santana. The 31-year-old went 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA in 31 starts and struck out 179 in 196 innings.

Looking to get back to the World Series, the Kansas City Royals agreed to a $17 million, two-year contract with Kendrys Morales, who likely will find a slot at designated hitter to replace Billy Butler, who left as a free agent and agreed to a $30 million, three-year deal with Oakland.

The New York Mets have reportedly signed outfielder John Mayberry Jr. to a Major League contract. Mayberry hit .212 with seven home runs and 10 doubles in 78 games between the Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays.