Although we’re all just a bit under the weather today, that’s not going to stop the festivities. We just made a bunch of sugar cookie dough, which is setting or resting or whatever it’s supposed to be doing before you can roll it out and cut it.
In the interim, then, because you are my other family, I thought I’d put together a little Saturday evening Lukewarm Stove …
- Apropos of Theo Epstein’s remarks on teams inquiring about Luis Valbuena and the price tag for the same being significant if a team wanted to pry him away, Valbuena came up in Keith Law’s most recent chat. It sounds like Valbuena is a guy Law would target if he were looking for a bat, and says it would take a “decent young starter/starter prospect” to get him. Depending on your definition of “decent,” I’d agree with that level of value. A pre-arb, established 3/4 starter is not an unreasonable demand if you’re the Cubs, or a High-A/AA prospect with 2 upside. As I’ve said, the Cubs have no reason to deal Valbuena for less right now – if you’re not going to get a guy who obviously slides into your rotation right now, or who doesn’t have impact potential down the road, why deal Valbuena at all? He can start at third, and if Kris Bryant shows he’s ready *and* is going to play third base, then you more aggressively consider dealing Valbuena (or utilize him on the bench, or a second, or wherever).
- Dennis Lin mentions that Yasmani Grandal “may have more trade value than any Padres player,” and cites a source who indicates it would be a risk for the Padres to deal him, given his age and upside. That’s the tricky thing with Grandal, whom I’ve previously discussed as a highly-attractive trade target. What you’d be buying – at a very steep price – is the upside. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a risky thing. I go back and forth in my mind whether the Cubs would be better off targeting Miguel Montero, whose lefty bat could be platooned with Welington Castillo for a pretty excellent offensive tandem (and whose receiving skills are just about as good as it gets), and who would come at a relatively small price tag considering his offensive decline and considering the three years and $40 million remaining on his deal.
- I found this tweet from Buster Olney to be rather interesting:
More and more agents saying privately that they would've advised David Robertson to take the Yankees' qualifying offer of $15.3 million.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 6, 2014
- The implication there is that Robertson is not finding the market for his services to be what he wants, and, with Andrew Miller getting a little less than the enormous deal some were projecting, that’s all a recipe for Robertson’s market to recede. If Miller gets 4/$36M, what’s the argument for Robertson – who comes with the loss of a draft pick – to get more? I just don’t see it, and as the offseason moves along, I could see Robertson getting less, or settling for a shorter-term deal. If that happens, then maybe we can talk about the Cubs kicking the tires (because value is value).
- Also on Miller: there are reports out there that he passed up on 4/$40M from the Astros (why, Houston?) to go with the Yankees. I suppose I could see it – it’s not a huge money difference, and it is a huge potential competitiveness difference (though the Astros could still be very good in a year or two). I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if it wasn’t quite an apples-to-apples situation, with the Astros’ offer maybe having deferred money or bonuses or whatever. In any case, Houston seems like your leader for Robertson at this point.
- A team out there has offered Chase Headley four years and $65 million, and all we know about the identity of the team is that it isn’t the Marlins and probably isn’t the Yankees. Is it the Cubs as a Twitter rumor indicated? I seriously doubt it. Setting aside the dubiousness of that report, you don’t need me to tell you why spending big on Headley is a tough sell for the Cubs, what with Kris Bryant coming and Luis Valbuena already around. Can I make the argument, though? Sure: if the Cubs loved Headley, and if the Cubs felt Kris Bryant’s future was in the outfield (or thought Headley would move to the outfield for some reason), then signing Headley is effectively like signing a corner outfielder, something the Cubs admittedly could reasonably do. As we’ve said, though, Bryant’s highest and best value to the Cubs is at third base – if there’s any chance he can stick there, the Cubs have to give him a shot. And I’m not sure Headley’s bat would be so strong in the coming years to justify dislocating Bryant prematurely.
- The Giants may be the team being aggressive on Headley, by the way, per Ken Rosenthal, which could make some sense given the departure of Pablo Sandoval, and the knowledge that Headley has shown he can succeed in that kind of cavernous park. My guess is that there might be a Jon Lester connection here – there were whispers that the uptick in a Lester pursuit from the Giants was in part because they’d suddenly saved money on Sandoval. If they’re now aggressively going after Headley, well, there’s at least a couple reasonable dots there to connect.
- Add Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen to the growing list of post-2015 free agent starters who are potentially being made available (Baltimore Sun). Unless the Orioles could get a significant bat, I don’t see the value in them moving Chen right now, though. It’s mostly just a reminder that, yeah, there are so damn many good starters available after next season, even in the second tier.
- Andre Ethier says he’d like to start with the Dodgers or be traded so he can start elsewhere. I’m not sure he’s more than a platoon player anywhere else, but the Dodgers were already working to accommodate his request. The problem is that they’ll have to eat a ton of salary to make Ethier even remotely attractive, even in an offense-starved market. I previously discussed the meh fit with the Cubs, at least for Ethier, specifically. The Dodgers outfielder who continues to strike me as the best, most attractive fit for the Cubs is reserve Scott Van Slyke.
- He’s mentioned it before, and Ken Rosenthal is still saying that Nationals setup man Tyler Clippard is likely to be dealt. He’s going to make a lot of money in his final turn in arbitration in 2015, but he’s interesting for a variety of reasons. That’s all I’m saying.