Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

old stove featureSome rumor bits as you await Game Two of the World Series (you’re awaiting it, right?) …

  • Jon Heyman mentions the Mariners’ need for a center fielder this offseason, wondering if they’ll look at Dexter Fowler or Denard Span. Interestingly, Heyman also mentions Austin Jackson as not being a fit for the Mariners (having been traded away), who he says will be looking for a center fielder, together with the Cubs, Tigers, and Nationals – all teams that have previously employed one of Jackson, Fowler, and Span. I just found that to be a fun, quirky thing, what with the obvious prior connections, but it also immediately makes you wonder how robust the market for center fielders will be this offseason (you could add Jason Heyward and the Cardinals there into that group of teams and players). We’ll talk soon more extensively about the Cubs, center field, and these players, but I often come back to the idea that Austin Jackson on a one-year deal could make a lot of sense for both the Cubs and for Jackson. As we’ve discussed before, Fowler has been a great fit for the Cubs, but he’s likely to do better elsewhere in free agency.
  • Heyman also hears that John Lackey, whose free agency will certainly be interesting to follow after he reinvented himself once again last year, could get as much as a few years at $15 to $20 million per year.

  • In that same piece, Heyman says “the smart money” still has the Cubs and Dodgers as the favorite for David Price. We’ll keep following until it’s clear Price is going elsewhere, but I’m not sure I’d agree with Heyman on that one. I think the Price-Cubs fit is obvious and logical, but I remain unsure that the Cubs are going to want to consolidate $200+ million in one pitcher like Price.
  • Speaking of which, another guy whose story we’re going to have to follow is Jordan Zimmermann, who is profiled here at MLBTR. The early estimate there is six years and $126 million on a free agent deal for the 29-year-old righty, which certainly wouldn’t surprise me, given his age and track record. That said, Zimmermann did deal with a velocity drop this year, and he is a previous Tommy John surgery recipient (2009). Further, 2015 was arguably Zimmermann’s worst year all-around in a half-decade. I find an appropriate price tag for him very difficult to peg – could see him targeted early by certain teams, or I could see him one of the guys who has to sit around for a bit this offseason and wait for the market to clarify.
  • Speaking of Zimmermann, Patrick Mooney writes about the Cubs and the righty, of whom he says the Cubs are “big fans.”
  • The Diamondbacks are increasingly tough to predict, but with quite a bit of young/prime offense, you can figure they’ll be looking to add on the pitching side. Nick Piecoro gets into some of the particulars, but the gist is, they could be among the most active teams in the second tier of pitching free agency … and on the trade market (offering bats for arms – sound familiar?). Some of the trade names speculatively mentioned include Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar of the Indians, Sonny Gray of the A’s, Tyson Ross of the Padres, and Julio Teheran of the Braves. Those, of course, are many of the same names folks have speculatively connected to the Cubs (and some of whom the Cubs reportedly pursued at the Trade Deadline). It’s not at all hard to imagine the Cubs and Diamondbacks targeting some of the same guys, and offering up similarly-situated young offensive talent.

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