The Chicago Cubs long ago bowed out of any serious participation in the Yasmany Tomas sweepstakes, with some concerns that his bat would not translate in the bigs. So this isn’t about the Cubs not getting Tomas. Down the road, we’ll see if they were right or wrong in their assessment.
Tomas has now signed, according to Jesse Sanchez, on a six-year, $68.5 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The price tag is far lower than the speculated $100 million mark we were hearing for most of his free agency, and lower even than fellow Cuban Rusney Castillo got from the Red Sox earlier this year. Still, it’s in the range of what Jose Abreu got from the White Sox, and is a significant chunk of change for an unproven player. The deal will reportedly allow Tomas to opt-out after four years, when he’ll be just 28. That obviously increases the value of this deal to him (unless it’s massively backloaded into those final two years, which would actually make it a fairly savvy contract for the Diamondbacks).
What I find most notable about this deal – outside of the fact that it’s yet another big-timer signing before Thanksgiving (this has been by far the most active November I can remember in recent years) – is the fact that it’s one of the potential big bats on the market going to a team that is borderline non-competitive. In other words, the market is already starved for offense, and now you’ve got Tomas going to the Diamondbacks, rather than a team looking to add offense for a near-term competitive run (although I’m sure the D-backs would like to turn things around next year and compete, as they’ve not signaled any kind of imminent rebuild – are they less likely to trade Miguel Montero now?).
Offense remains in short supply, and arguably the three biggest bats went off the market this week in Tomas, Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez (and the fourth, Victor Martinez, is also already gone). Further, the three this week went to teams that weren’t necessarily expected to go big on bats.
Not that the Cubs need me to say it, but the point remains: don’t trade any bats right now unless the return is absolutely extraordinary. They’re so valuable.