Ah, it’s nice to be in the post-Tanaka period of free agency. Regular rumors are back! And it’s almost February!
- An interesting pair of articles from Shi Davidi and Ken Rosenthal on the Blue Jays trades that weren’t this offseason. One deal had them landing Brett Anderson from the A’s (who later went to the Rockies), and another had them getting Ian Kinsler from the Rangers (who later went to the Tigers). Having missed on those deals for various reasons, the Blue Jays elected to patiently wait out the market – maybe the salary demands of Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana fall? maybe the Cubs back off their exceedingly high price tag on Jeff Samardizja? – and they’re still waiting. It seems like the Blue Jays are going to do something, but as the markets for Santana and Jimenez slip, it kinda seems like that something is going to signing one of those guys (especially given the Blue Jays’ protected first round picks). Indeed, the Blue Jays’ GM recently indicated that prices are coming down on the free agent starters.
- The Orioles are reportedly going to go “all out” to get recently-back-on-the-market starter A.J. Burnett, who makes his home in Maryland. The Orioles were, at one time, viewed as a potentially serious suitor for Jeff Samardzija, if the Cubs elected to move him before Opening Day (which is obviously debatable). Signing Burnett would close that door.
- Interestingly, that Peter Gammons report also says the Tampa Bay Rays are involved in the Burnett pursuit. Obviously that would seem odd for an organization with an exceedingly tight budget and a nice pool of pitching talent already … unless they viewed it as a prelude to trading David Price.
- We’ve not heard much connecting the Cubs to Bronson Arroyo this offseason, which has made sense given (1) rumors that Arroyo was seeking a three-year deal, (2) Arroyo’s age (37 in February); and (3) questions about how much longer Arroyo’s stuff will play at the big league level. But maybe Arroyo is going to have to settle for much less than he’s wanting? And maybe he doesn’t have many options? Arroyo complains openly to Jayson Stark that he has yet to receive even a single offer this offseason. Of course, the meaning of an “offer” is probably a fuzzy thing, and if Arroyo was waiting for a three-year, $30 million “offer,” then it’s understandable that he hasn’t received an offer yet. If he has to settle for appreciably less than that? And if he doesn’t mind being a potential flip candidate on a team like the Cubs? Maybe we should be hearing more about him.
- Scott Boras told Nick Cafardo that folks should know more about what’s going to happen with 27-year-old Korean righty Suk-min Yoon within in the next 10 days. We still don’t know whether the Cubs remain involved.
- The Royals have re-signed starter Bruce Chen – did you know he was available? (maybe you did, but it seemed like a fait accompli that he was going to return to the Royals) – to a one-year, $3.25 million deal with a mutual option for 2015 at $5.5 million ($1 million buyout). He also can earn up to $1.25 million in incentives. That’s a $4.25 million guarantee for a 36-year-old who was worth just 1.4 wins last year (albeit with a very nice 3.27 ERA (4.12 FIP, 4.93 xFIP)), which sounds about right. If that’s the range for guys like Jason Hammel and Paul Maholm, too, then there’s little downside in the Cubs grabbing one of them. Gut says Hammel does better than that, while Maholm falls right in that range.
- There were rumors at the time of the Matt Garza trade that the Cubs were going to get second base prospect Rougned Odor in the deal until the Rangers raised concerns about Garza’s elbow, and Peter Gammons says that’s accurate. Odor has flown up the rankings since then (he’s a clear top 100 prospect, with many believing he’s a top 50 guy), and the rumors were that he was replaced in the trade with Justin Grimm (whom I’m sure the Cubs are plenty happy to have). Can you imagine if the Cubs had received C.J. Edwards, Rougned Odor, Mike Olt and Neil Ramirez in that deal? Rangers fans would have driven to Chicago to start another fire.
- Bruce Levine reports that the Cubs and Jeff Samardzija are getting close on avoiding arbitration – they’re $100K apart, according to Levine. That’s close, indeed, given that the ask was $6.2 million, and the offer was $4.4 million.
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