As expected GM Meetings week has provided a fruitful bounty of material, so much so that the only way to get to it all (well, a lot of it) is a quick and dirty, bullet-style-Lukewarm-Stove-style bonanza …
- We heard yesterday about the Diamondbacks possibly having interest in Nate Schierholtz via an Arizona source, who seemed to be doing some speculating, but now Jon Morosi says he’s got a source saying that, yeah, they do have interest in Schierholtz. Further, Jed Hoyer told Morosi that there’s been interest in Schierholtz since mid-season. Something to watch.
- Jed Hoyer expects that there will be plenty of Jeff Samardzija rumors this offseason, given that the Cubs are in a big market, and Samardzija is a notable player (Carrie Muskat and ESPN). Hoyer believes Samardzija is the perfect guy to handle the rumors the only way you can: by ignoring them.
- Although he obviously couldn’t say anything one way or the other about a possible pursuit, Hoyer had very kind things to say about Curtis Granderson this week (Tribune). Earlier, we heard that the Cubs were one of the teams who had inquired about him so far this offseason.
- If Rangers GM Jon Daniels is to be taken at his word, Texas won’t be in on any of the big-time starting pitchers this offseason, which includes Masahiro Tanaka. If true, that’s a big fish out of the pond of suitors for Tanaka.
- The Dodgers have been asked about their four starting outfielders this week – Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford – and they’re listening. Although dealing Puig makes no sense, the latter three are all aging, expensive, and potentially superfluous. Ethier, who’ll start next season at age 32, is under contract for five more years and $89 million, but he hasn’t posted an OPS+ under 120 since he was 25. Crawford, also 32, bounced back a little next year (108 OPS+), but is owed $82.5 million over the next four years. And then there’s the oft-injured Kemp, currently recovering from ankle and shoulder surgeries, who is just 29. But he’s played just 179 games over the last two years, and is owed $128 million over the next six years. None of the three is a guy you’d gladly take on his current contract. If the Dodgers are willing to eat some money, though? It’s at least an interested discussion for the Cubs, who could use an outfielder. (Before you go noting that this conflicts with the notion of trading Schierholtz, remember: Schierholtz is a short-term asset, to use the popular parlance. He’s a free agent after 2014, and cashing in on his value right now makes some sense, particularly where his position/production could be replaced by an intriguing buy-low opportunity.)
- Multiple reports have the current Shin-Soo Choo asking price as above the seven-year, $126 million deal Jayson Werth got from the Nationals a few years ago. The player values are similar, but folks have to stop holding up the Werth deal like it wasn’t a ridiculous overpay. If Choo winds up being even a $100 million player, though, it’s not hard to see the Cubs shying away.
- Similarly, the benchmark for Jacoby Ellsbury figures to be an enormous prior contract. In his case, per Jon Heyman, it’s the seven-year, $142 million deal for Carl Crawford. Unlike with Choo and the Werth contract, I actually could see Ellsbury getting 7/$142M. And, if so, I don’t think the Cubs should be involved.
- Speaking of pricey outfielders, Nelson Cruz has, at intermittent times, struck me as an intriguing option for the Cubs, given the possibility of PED-suspension-induced value pricing. But, as Jeff Passan reports, Cruz certainly doesn’t see it that way. His initial ask to teams? Five years and $75 million. Mrs. Krabappel voice: HA. He has since had to drop his asking price. Nelson voice: Ha Ha.
- Buster Olney reports that some teams that are interested in trading for David Price want to first know that he’s open to signing an extension. No surprise there, and it remains to be seen if the Cubs – who were for months rumored as a top suitor for Price – will be seriously involved. Theo Epstein recently suggested that trading top prospects for the privilege of signing a guy to a nine-figure extension might not be a good idea. It seems pretty clear that he was talking about Price, and, after the development of the Cubs’ top prospects over the past year, I’m not so sure I disagree.
- Dozens of reports out there have the Cardinals willing to trade young pitching to pick up a young shortstop (with Troy Tulowitzki being their preference), though there hasn’t been a credible Cubs/Starlin Castro connection just yet. I still think the disconnect between how the market would value Castro, given his down year, and how the Cubs would value him is going to be sufficiently strong to preclude any kind of trade this offseason.
- Rick Porcello is available once again this offseason, per Jon Heyman. Porcello has a couple more years of arbitration left, and he won’t be dirt cheap in them, given that he was a Super Two. But his peripherals keep getting better and better, and all indications are that he could be much more productive with a good infield defense behind him. You could make an argument that he was excellent last year, and, at age 24 (he’ll be 25 in December), he’s exactly the kind of guy the Cubs should be targeting. One problem? Although I tend to think scouts would say Jeff Samardzija is the superior and more valuable pitcher, they are similar in a number of ways, and trading for Porcello – which would not be cheap – could be a form of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Still, the Cubs have been connected to Porcello by rumors in the past, so it’s worth monitoring.
- Ervin Santana has never been a rumored Cubs target, and he certainly won’t be if his asking price holds up: five years, $112 million. He’s not going to get that much, of course, but the fact that he can even ask for it with a straight face once again underscores that this is a brave new world. Get on board, or get left behind.