I started to write this Lukewarm Stove yesterday afternoon. I led with this: “Things are going to start happening soon. I can feel it. It won’t be like November and December, no, but there are transactions out there yet to be made.”
Then I typed a bit about Evan Gattis and Mike Kickham (Gattis because he was in Houston for a physical, and Kickham because I merely wanted to update you on his status as a DFA limbo guy who could wind up being traded), and I was halfway through the Kickham part when his trade happened. And then almost immediately after, the Gattis trade happened. So my Lukewarm Stove was completely blown up and I buried it. Then the rumor about the Cubs looking for a regular outfielder came out, and it was clear that, yes, things are kinda rolling now.
- The Cardinals have reportedly (Jon Heyman) agreed to a three-year deal with arbitration-eligible starter Lance Lynn, which would buy out his three arb years. Lynn gets $22 million, which is less than he would have gotten for the three years if he’d continued to pitch as well as he had for the past several years (he’d probably be looking at a schedule like $5M, $8M, $12M, at least), but this protects him against injury or a sudden drop in effectiveness. For the Cardinals, they get cost certainty, even if they’re not getting any options to cover free agent years. It’s a good deal for both sides, albeit not a huge needle-mover.
- Ken Rosenthal says that the Astros are almost certainly not done dealing, and they’ve already discussed Dexter Fowler in trade talks. (We talked about Fowler last evening, if you missed it). The Cubs seem like a solid fit, all things consider. The Astros have also discussed catchers Jason Castro and Carlos Corporan, which could impact the Cubs’ efforts to move Welington Castillo.
- Rosenthal implies that the Astros could be looking for pitching – prospecty or depthy – in these kinds of deals. If it’s the depth kind, the Cubs can help in spades. If it’s the prospecty kind, well, they’re a little less able, at least with potential impact arms.
- Speaking of the outfield, we don’t know if the Cubs are still in on free agent Colby Rasmus or not, but you might be able to count the Rays out. They have been the only other team publicly connected to Rasmus besides the Cubs and Orioles, and Marc Topkin says the Rays are not the favorite for Rasmus. I guess that’s not quite counting them out, but it’s not much in the way of confidence. I still think we’re going to see something shake out between Rasmus, the Orioles, the Cubs, and the Diamondbacks. I’m not saying all four will be involved in succession, but there’s something there, what with the Cubs talking to the Diamondbacks about Welington Castillo, the Cubs wanting an outfielder, the Orioles wanting a Diamondbacks outfielder, the Orioles maybe still needing a catching upgrade, and Rasmus maybe deciding between the Cubs and Orioles. I’d hazard a guess though, that, because of the intertwined storylines there, we’re probably in the thick of a ton of misinformation.
- With all of that in the back of your mind, keep an eye on what happens with free agent outfielder Nori Aoki. He’s currently being tied to the Orioles, Braves, and Giants, according to Jon Heyman.
- The Phillies are reportedly waiting out four suitors on Cole Hamels – the Cardinals, the Rangers, the Padres, and the Red Sox. It still seems unlikely at this point that Hamels is dealt before midseason. And, in that case, my guess is the identities of the interest suitors will change once again.
- How much is Max Scherzer worth? Maybe about seven years and $175.5 million. I bet he winds up getting a touch more.
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