lukewarm stoveIf there were ever a week where the “lukewarm” stove joke felt completely out of place, this was the week …

  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Tower concedes, per Nick Piecoro, that the D-Backs are more likely to pick up a starting pitcher in trade than in free agency. And, I’d add that, given their desire for a top starting pitcher, as well as their financial constraints (they might have only another $10 million left to add a pitcher and a bat (David Price is going to make $13+ million in arbitration in 2014)), Jeff Samardzija continues to look like a slam dunk fit for them. Of course, if the Diamondbacks continue to refuse to talk about top pitching prospect Archie Bradley, they aren’t a slam dunk fit for the Cubs. Does a Tyler Skaggs, Adam Eaton, Randall Delgado package still intrigue you, though? Sure it does. Gets you listening, at least. Appropriately, Baseball America just today released their top 10 list for the Diamondbacks’ farm system. Start proposing your crazy packages!
  • Speaking of Samardzija, Atlanta beat writer David O’Brien tweeted at length today about the Braves’ interest in picking up a pitcher like Samardzija. It’s hard to tell if O’Brien is reporting that there’s interest, or speculating that the Braves should have interest, but it’s pretty clear he thinks there’s a match there. Not quite as pitching rich as they one were at the prospect level, the Braves still have plenty of intriguing trade chips, starting at the top with 2012 first round pick Lucas Sims. He’s a tall, 19-year-old righty who tore up A-ball last year, who figures to appear at the back end of many top 100 lists this year. You almost certainly wouldn’t get Julio Teheran in a Samardzija deal, but the Braves may have to be willing to dip into their big league pitching pool to make a fit. But, at some point, then you’re just robbing Peter to pay Paul.

  • The Cubs are expected to listen to offers for Samardzija next week at the Winter Meetings, by the way. Expect a rumor or two.
  • And speaking of Samardzija and starting pitcher trades, Jeff Passan reports that Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams with interest in David Price, should the Tampa Bay Rays start to shop him (which they will). There’s a whole lot of chatter that the Mariners are willing to put together an over-the-top package for Price (one including big-time pitching prospect Taijuan Walker, and much more), which would be good news for several reasons: (1) A Price deal leaves Samardzija ostensibly as the best trade target left in the pitching market; (2) the Mariners haven’t been connected to a Samardzija deal, so the market for him wouldn’t decrease (although … why haven’t the Mariners been connected?); and (3) an over-the-top package for Price could counteract any perception issues created by the weak Doug Fister package. Ideally, on that list of teams interested in Price, you’d see the lefty going to the Dodgers, which would take them out on Masahiro Tanaka. With the Yankees potentially out thanks to the posting system changes, maybe that leaves the Cubs the favorite?
  • Speaking of Tanaka, his team’s president is publicly saying he’s not sure if, under the new $20 million max bid posting system, his team is going to post Tanaka at all. We’ll see. Even if he’s not posted, the net impact to the Cubs is neutral. While whatever percentage chance they had of landing Tanaka (20%? 30%?) goes to zero, the market for Jeff Samardzija ticks up just a bit.

  • The Yankees have reportedly agreed to a $3 million, one-year deal with Kelly Johnson, by the way. Their available dollars shrinks just a little bit more. Accept your offer, Hiroki Kuroda …
  • There was so much craziness on Tuesday in terms of trades and major signings that there never was a great opportunity to note that the Marlins signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia for three years and $21 million. The Cubs were tied to some Salty rumors earlier in the offseason, but they faded quickly when they were put under the microscope. Salty gets to go home to Miami (until July at least), and the last significant catcher is off of the market. Color me very happy that the Cubs got George Kottaras when they did. The back-up catcher market is a wasteland at this point.
  • The Mets and Curtis Granderson are getting closer to an agreement, though it’s not a lock at this point, partly because the Mets apparently aren’t sure whether they have to go to four years for the 33-year-old outfielder. The Cubs were at one time lightly connected to Granderson, but, at three or four years and $16 or $17 million per year (plus a second round draft pick), he’s investment the Cubs would probably be better rolling over to next year.
  • The Royals picked up Norichika Aoki from the Brewers for lefty Will Smith. No immediately obvious Cubs impact here, other than to note that the Royals continue to push for the best possible big league roster they can have by next year. They still don’t have the best rotation, and it’s fair to wonder whether they could be involved in a Samardzija deal.

  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos talks candidly about putting trades together (no specifics), and it’s an interesting peak behind the curtain, particularly in light of a deal like the Doug Fister trade, where no one could seem to understand how the Tigers couldn’t do better. Very interesting background read.
  • You are reminded, as the hot stove continues to roar, you should “like” BN on Facebook, if you’re into the Facebook thing.

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