A second consecutive day with a Lukewarm Stove in mid-January despite there not being an avalanche of activity lately?
- In addition to reporting on Starlin Castro’s presence in Arizona, Mark Gonzales also wrote a bit about the Welington Castillo situation, and you should give it a read. Of particular note, Gonzales mentions the Rangers and Diamondbacks as looking for a catcher, with the Diamondbacks believing the price on Castillo was too high. (Which confirms our suspicions from this weekend that, when Arizona GM Dave Stewart complained about the price of catching in trade, he was probably talking – at least in part – about the Cubs. More on that in a moment.)
- Speaking of the Diamondbacks, Jon Morosi writes that they’re going to make at least one trade eventually, because they’ve got an outfield surplus, and a need at catcher and in the rotation. Once again, the fit with the Cubs is obvious, given the Cubs’ desire for an outfielder, and their ability to deal a catcher and a back-end starter. As we’ve discussed, the Diamondbacks probably aren’t going to move A.J. Pollack, and Mark Trumbo is a poor fit, but guys like David Peralta and Ender Inciarte are interesting. (Oh, and on those two, Morosi writes that the Orioles have asked about them (again, this is all a little intertwined, given the Orioles’ and Cubs’ reported interest in outfielder Colby Rasmus – it’s hard to know what’s legit, and what might be designed to apply pressure on another team in this love triangle or on Rasmus (and what might not have anything to do with the other teams or Rasmus at all))).
- It’s also hard to know how much of this is being held up by the pitching market, given that the Diamondbacks also are interested in James Shields (Sherman, Rosenthal). Relatedly, the Mets are still trying to trade at least one starting pitcher, but that, too, might be held up by the Shields decision (Sherman). We could be approaching a stretch where several moves go down in quick succession once there’s a trigger. And we could find that the Cubs are right in the middle of that stretch with respect to Castillo, maybe a back-end pitcher on the move (Travis Wood? Edwin Jackson?), and maybe an outfielder.
- (GM Dave Stewart, by the way, appears to be hoping Shields will sign with the Diamondbacks for less money because they aren’t as into analytics and statistics as other organizations and that could appeal to Shields. No, that’s really what he said to Nick Piecoro here.)
- And now another Stewart bit: he tells Piecoro that the Diamondbacks aren’t going to try and acquire a catcher anymore because his baseball people have told him Peter O’Brien is going to be ready sooner rather than later. So … the Diamondbacks tried to acquire a catcher for a long time, didn’t like the prices, and then the baseball people told Stewart that O’Brien is the catcher of the future sooner rather than later. Okey dokey. You’ll forgive me if I’m not quite yet crossing the Diamondbacks off the list of possible Castillo suitors.
- Speaking still of the Diamondbacks, they signed the most expensive international pitching prospect in baseball history today, inking 21-year-old Cuban Yoan Lopez for about $8.25 million (Sanchez, Badler), which will actually wind up costing them closer to $15 million when the penalties involved are factored in (Cameron).
- Jon Heyman writes about the kinda-seemingly-stagnant Cole Hamels trade market, and mentions the Cubs, Padres, Red Sox, and Cardinals as teams connected (it’s not clear if he means the Cubs are still actively pursuing Hamels; if he were saying that, it would be pretty big news post-Lester, and I think he would emphasize it more (though it wouldn’t be the first such rumor)). The Phillies are still looking for a “huge” return for the 31-year-old lefty who is guaranteed at least $96 million over the next four years. Hamels definitely is attractive on that contract and has value, but it remains very hard to see the Phillies getting a “huge” return unless they eat some money. I doubt Hamels is dealt this offseason, and instead he could be held out as one of the top available arms at the deadline (with the Phillies saying things like, “And he’s not a rental!”)
- The Phillies’ long-reported minor league deal with Wandy Rodriguez apparently fell through, because now he’s signed with the Braves. The Phillies picked up Aaron Harang on a $5 million deal in the interim, so they may not be looking to pick up a back-end arm anymore anyway.
- This is not rumor related, but it might be my last chance to remind you before the day ends: today is the LAST DAY of the 15% off sale at the BN store. So, if you want to get the discount on any of the many BN shirts, go to the store, use the code HEART15, and checkout today.