‘Twas the night before the Winter Meetings, and all through the house there were RUMORS!
If you missed the earlier bit on the Cubs not making Starlin Castro available, Gordon Wittenmyer also said on Twitter that Castro was told he would not be traded this offseason. Also, I’ll have more on Jon Lester tomorrow morning – I know, no way! – but I wanted to update this morning’s piece on Lester with a little new info from Ken Rosenthal. An executive not involved in the bidding said it was going to take a seventh year to get the deal done. “Book it” was the precise phrase used. We’ll discuss that tomorrow. Rosenthal says not to expect a decision tonight anyway.
For now, many rumors as the execs and agents roll into San Diego …
- Jon Heyman hears that the Angels are making C.J. Wilson available, probably because they’d like to unload his $18 million salary (this and next year) so they can go after a free agent like James Shields or Max Scherzer. I’m assuming you can see the inherent problem there, right? If you want to dump a guy and his salary so you can get someone better … the other team will probably just want to get someone better, too. Wilson, 34, was fantastic in 2013, but he saw his strikeout rate fall, his walk rate rise, and his velocity dip in 2014. It added up to a 4.51/4.31/4.11 ERA/FIP/xFIP. You’d be willing to have him in rotation going forward, but not for anything close to his $18 million salary, especially given the many other options on the market. Good luck, Angels.
- Ken Rosenthal reports that the Red Sox and Padres have discussed a Yoenis Cespedes for Ian Kennedy swap, which seems eminently more reasonable than a Cespedes/Porcello swap. The problem? The Red Sox think they can do better. I don’t see it. Cespedes was only a touch above average offensively last year, will make $12.5 million next year, and then cannot even be given a qualifying offer after the season. Kennedy will make less than $10 million, and was excellent last year. Seems like a pretty fair swap to me, though I question why the Padres would want to get a one-year asset for Kennedy (especially one that, again, they can’t even give a qualifying offer and recoup a draft pick).
- The Chase Headley market remains interesting. The Yankees have always seemed like the most likely destination, and the Giants make a bunch of sense now that they lost Pablo Sandoval. The Marlins were getting the bulk of the early rumors. A team has made a four-year, $65 million offer, but, by all accounts, it’s not any of those three teams. I still don’t think it’s the Cubs, for the record. An exec told Andy Martino that the industry is skeptical the offer is even real. I bet we’re going to see some Headley stuff – information, at least – shaking out this week.
- It sounds like Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang will be posted next week. We talked about the Cubs having interest earlier this offseason – was probably mere due diligence – but I think we’ll see that other infield-needy teams will probably be more involved. We’ll see, though.
- Chatter about the A’s and Indians getting together on a Brandon Moss deal continues. If the A’s deal Moss, they probably don’t deal Josh Reddick, whom I would have liked to see the Cubs kick the tires on.
- Buster Olney wonders if Francisco Liriano will be a Plan B for Jon Lester suitors who don’t get Lester. There aren’t too many of those teams, so it’s fair to wonder if he’s talking about the Cubs. Liriano strikes me as a very interesting second tier target, but if he’s the best arm the Cubs acquire this offseason (i.e., the Plan B to Lester), I’d be pretty disappointed. (Setting aside trades, because they are very unpredictable, if the Cubs fell back from Lester to get James Shields and Francisco Liriano (with the added pricing benefit of stacking two qualified free agents) on a five-year deal and a three-year deal, I think I’d be pretty pleased about that (in terms of the pitching acquisition, anyway).) That second tier, though, still has lots of interesting options – Jason Hammel, Brandon McCarthy, Justin Masterson, etc. There may also eventually be Kenta Maeda. Lots of fall-back options here.
- The teams getting the (very) early Winter Meetings “buzz”? Will Carroll says it’s the Angels and the Marlins.
- If you just can’t get enough in the way of Winter-Meetings-preview type stuff, here’s one on the Cubs, here’s one from Ken Rosenthal with Jon Lester as Issue One, here’s one mostly on the Dodgers (because they are driving a lot of things right now), ditto the Red Sox, ditto the Yankees, and here’s one on every NL team.