The transactional phase of the offseason is just over two weeks away. You’ll want to be following BN on Twitter and “liking” it on Facebook to keep up.
- The Washington Nationals have one obvious hole, according to Mark Zuckerman, and it’s at second base. That leads him, among other routes, to suggest the Cubs could be a possible trade partner, given their infield talent. What makes the situation particularly interesting, to me anyway, is that the Nationals also have a shortstop, Ian Desmond, who is a free agent after 2015. Adding a young middle infielder, then, must seem like a very desirable thing for the Nats to do – indeed, there were rumors back in July that they really wanted to add a young shortstop. It’s just something to monitor.
- Speaking of the Nationals, keeps your eyes on their option decision on Denard Span. No, I don’t think they’ll decline his $9 million option for 2015 after he hit .302/.355/.416 and posted his third straight 3+ WAR season. What I wonder, however, is whether there will be any impetus the week of the option decision (just after the World Series concludes) to engage in trade talks with interested teams. With Stephen Souza and Michael Taylor looking ready for a regular role in the Nats’ outfield, it’s possible they could try and cash in on Span’s value at that price, and it’s possible they might prefer to have a deal in place before picking up the option. In the end, there’s not a ton of risk to the Nationals to just pick up the option and see what happens later in the offseason. The outfield market is terrible right now, so the Nats could be in the catbird seat.
- I suppose I should make explicit the connection I’m drawing: the Cubs could use a center fielder like Span to lead off next year. That would be a good fit. I am also intrigued by other one-year outfield trade possibilities like Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, as well as trading for blocked or underappreciated guys like Scott Van Slyke or Michael Saunders. But I’ll save that full discussion for another day.
- One more Nationals bit for you long-term planners: Buster Olney hears that Jordan Zimmermann, one of the most attractive post-2015 free agents (and there are a boatload of them), is likely to test free agency. Not to get too far ahead of myself, but if the Cubs added someone like Jon Lester this offseason, and someone like Jordan Zimmermann (or David Price, etc.) next offseason? I would have no complaints whatsoever with respect to the pace at which they are adding impact pitching. That post-2015 class, man. It just looks so good.
- Speaking of those post-2015 free agents, Nick Cafardo discusses the possibility that the A’s will trade Jeff Samardzija this offseason, perhaps to the Red Sox. Cafardo says the Red Sox inquired with the Cubs about Samardzija this past year, but drew the line at including top pitching prospect Henry Owens in the deal. The most important piece here is that, because the Red Sox are expected to be in on the best available pitchers this offseason (like the Cubs), to the extent they prefer to trade for a guy like Samardzija, there will be an impact on the free agent market.