The third day of the Winter Meetings still has teams waiting for the largest dominoes to fall, it seems …
- Jon Heyman reports that the White Sox are going to sign Jeff Keppinger to a three-year deal, as he’d been wanting. A career utility player – a good one, but a utility player – is expected to be the White Sox’s starting third baseman. The Cubs were connected to Keppinger a couple weeks ago, but I expect that, as the third base market shook out further this week (that is to say, as the Yankees became in need of a third baseman, and Yunel Escobar refused to play third), the price shot out of their “flippable candidate” range, and into the “you better hope he’s a quality starter at third” range. That price range? Three years and $12 million, per Ken Rosenthal. A whole lot of money for a utility player entering his mid-30s, but not a ton in this market for a third baseman. I guess it depends on your perspective, and your needs. The White Sox are in their window, and they needed a third baseman. So it is.
- Nate McLouth, one of the many lesser outfield options to whom the Cubs had been connected this week – albeit very tenuously – is going to be re-upping with the Orioles on a one-year deal. That’s probably for the best, given that it’s the only place he’s had success the last few years. He gets $2 million plus $500k in incentives.
- Teams are reaching out to the Rangers on Derek Holland, presumably in anticipation of them signing Zack Greinke. Obviously Holland will attract wide interest if he’s made available, and the Rangers might not be looking to just pick up prospects … but he’s a 26-year-old lefty on a good contract, has had Major League success in a tough place to pitcher … yeah, that’s very, very, very up the Cubs’ alley. He’d be mighty expensive to acquire, but if there’s a chance, the Cubs will explore it. The Brewers, Royals and Twins are mentioned by Morosi as suitors.
- One of the Cubs’ presumed competitors for reliever Jason Grilli is the Brewers, who are not going to be signing him if he’s “close” to a deal, as has been rumored, says Tom Haudricourt.
- The Brewers are also not currently able to sign Ryan Dempster. Although he’s thought to want to head to Milwaukee for a variety of reasons, they aren’t too keen on adding a third year to their offer. He’s not a Cubs target.
- In what may be a relief to some of you, the Mariners are “close” to finalizing a deal with Jason Bay. The Cubs were exploring the possibilities there.