Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

old stove featureDay One of the Taylor Family Disney World trip was a success, albeit a very long, jam-packed day. It seems like I didn’t miss too much, though there are some rumors on which to catch you up in lieu of your normal morning Bullets …

  • Although some Cubs fans are already imagining a series of dominoes this offseason that includes the team picking up a cost-controlled, young-ish starter from the Indians like Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar or Trevor Bauer (or dare I even say Corey Kluber?), Paul Hoynes writes that, at the moment, the Indians aren’t into dealing any of those guys. If they want to improve their outfield for 2016, though, it’s either going to take a lot of money, or one of those arms.
  • Among other things about the Blue Jays, Bob Elliott says that Mark Buerhle is either going to retire or pitch for his hometown Cardinals in 2016. Buerhle, 36, was serviceable in 2015 for Toronto – 3.81 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 4.46 xFIP, 2.1 WAR over 198.2 innings – but there have been rumors about a retirement for a while now. Given the Cardinals’ dire need for a reliable starter or two, you have to wonder if they’ll try and entice Buerhle to stick around for another year or two, and perhaps won’t even have to pay him handsomely to do so if his market is Cardinals or bust. I guess we’ll see.

  • After picking up Craig Kimbrel in trade – a trade that cost them four of their top 30 prospects, including a couple top 100 types – the Red Sox are likely to pursue starting pitching in the free agent market, rather than in trade, according to President Dave Dombrowski. While, on the one hand, that could imply an ability to acquire Jackie Bradley, Jr. (to whom the Cubs have been connected) without having to part with an impact starting pitcher (which the Cubs don’t have to deal), it will also mean that the Red Sox will be heavy, heavy, heavy on the top tier of starting pitchers. Of course, that was always likely to be the case, and it’s still not certain that the Cubs will even be all that active in that tier anyway.
  • In an article about that trade, and about Dombrowski’s familiarity with his new organization’s prospects, there are some interesting thoughts from Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer about transitioning to a new organization, and the latter’s remarks are framed around their early and ill-fated trade for Ian Stewart (which netted the Rockies D.J. LeMahieu, whom many believed was not going to be an effective big leaguer – perhaps if the front office had had more time to evaluate him, they would have disagreed with that prevailing wisdom, and wouldn’t have traded him).
  • The Phillies picked up Jeremy Hellickson in trade from the Diamondbacks, and they’ll pay him nearly $7 million in his final year of arbitration to eat innings. In the last three years, that’s really all you can say Hellickson did (at best), so this doesn’t move the needle for the Phillies, who didn’t give up much to get him. The more notable aspect of the trade is the rotation spot opened up in Arizona, as well as the extra salary they now have to spend.

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