It’s very strange to think about the offseason on the eve of the Cubs playing in the freaking NLCS, but because it’s an off-day, because so many other teams are no longer in action, and because dates and deadlines come quickly as soon as the playoffs are over, it’s something we’ve got to start keeping tabs on …
- Zack Greinke’s season is now over, and it was sufficiently successful that he’ll be top three in the Cy Young race. Greinke, who turns 32 next week, has three years and $71 million left on his deal with the Dodgers, but that’s about to be torn up, according to Jon Heyman’s sources. They indicate that, as expected, Greinke will opt out of his deal, as is his right, and head into free agency. Once there, he could land a deal upwards of five or six years and $125 million or more, even in a crowded market. It still seems more likely than not that Greinke will return to the Dodgers, but, if he truly, openly explores free agency, it’ll be an interesting race for his services. Given his age and expected price tag, I’m not sure the Cubs will be among his primary suitors, but I wouldn’t quite close the door on too many options just yet. With so many interesting arms out there, the Cubs – and other teams in the market – will have many avenues available.
- Speaking of the Dodgers and pitching, Heyman also writes extensively in his latest notes column about qualifying offer expectations, and he believes the Dodgers will extend Brett Anderson a $15.8 million qualifying offer, which he may very well accept. Here’s hoping they do and he does, as it will limit the Dodgers’ dabbling in the pitching market slightly. They’ve got needs and deeeeeeep pockets, so the fewer starters they’re pursuing the better for the Cubs, who could look to add two quality starters. Tons of other interesting stuff in that Heyman piece.
- One more from Heyman, an older notes column that also has a bunch you’re going to want to check out. It includes, among many other things, early estimates on a David Price contract: $180 to $200 million. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t top $200 million when all is said and done, and, for that reason, I’d also be surprised if he ultimately winds up with the Cubs. Given that the Cubs’ resources aren’t yet at full force (though this playoff run should help), it seems like they could make a lot of hay nabbing two very good starters (or a very good starter and a very good positional player) for the $210-$220 million Price might cost. That’s just a lot of risk to have wrapped up in two over-30 lefty arms between Price and Jon Lester.
- The relationship there between Price, Greinke, and the Dodgers is probably going to be another thing explored this offseason. Re-upping with Greinke would presumably make it difficult for the Dodgers (yes, even the Dodgers) to aggressively pursue Price. It’s not impossible, but the Dodgers already have an enormous payroll.
- The Cardinals were very happy with Jason Heyward this year, and they understandably have interest in bringing the 26-year-old outfielder back on a long-term extension (Cardinals.com). They’ve got a new TV deal coming online soon, so the money will be there for Heyward if the Cardinals want to go that route. Matt Holliday isn’t getting any younger, and Heyward is among the best outfielders headed to market this year – the Cardinals might be right to aggressively try and retain him. Still, Heyward projects to get upwards of $200 million – in no small part because of his age – and he’ll almost certainly want to explore the market fully before making a decision.
- More on starters: the Yankees could be big on Jeff Samardzija this offseason. I actually think he could do very well there.
- A fun read from Bob Nightengale on acquisitions through the year for the various remaining playoff teams, and an interesting look back on how the Cubs accomplished what they did without shelling out top prospects for the biggest names on the trade market. I appreciated the Cubs’ approach at the time – given how far they were out of the divisional race – and I won’t hindsight it now, given how close they came to the division in the end. And I won’t double-back-hindsight it, given how far the Cubs have made it in the playoffs.
- An interesting factual tidbit in the Nightengale piece – though it appears that the article has been edited a bit in pertinent part – is the implication that the Cubs have settled their deals with the Mariners for Fernando Rodney and Austin Jackson. You may recall that those August deals were each for a PTBNL or cash (plus the Mariners got an IFA slot from the Cubs for Jackson), and the USA Today piece reads as though those deals have since been finalized, likely for cash. I’m doing a little inferring, so don’t hold me to it, but if the Cubs were able to get those guys – especially Jackson – without giving up a player at all (even a lesser player), then that’s just fantastic.