Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

2015 winter meetingsTomorrow, the Winter Meetings begin in Nashville, Tennessee, a location that brings me much relief. No, not because I’ll be there – my best use to you right now is being chained to my laptop and phone – but because it’s not in the Pacific Time Zone, like the meetings were last year in San Diego. That meant that, for me, everything required me to stay up three hours later than usual. And, because the meetings are so densely packed with rumor and transaction goodness, you couldn’t bank on things winding down until 10pm local time at the earliest – aka, 1am my time. Each night, then, I stayed up to 1am, set an alarm for 3am (midnight there in San Diego) so that I could briefly check in, make sure nothing huge had broken, and go back to sleep.

It was insane, but I was glad I did it – you’ll recall that word of Jon Lester finally choosing the Cubs didn’t come until well after midnight last year.

Thankfully, this year, I shouldn’t quite have to do that. Late nights and early mornings, sure, but probably no 3am alarm clock.

As for tonight, most eyes will be on the big Reds/Dodgers Aroldis Chapman rumor, but here are some other things percolating as executives and agents descend on Nashville …

  • The Cubs were, according to multiple reports, involved with David Price up until he selected the Red Sox, albeit at something of a distance. How seriously were they involved? Well, apparently only the Red Sox, Cardinals, and Cubs were really there until the end, but Bruce Levine reports that the Cubs’ final offer to Price was not particularly competitive, calling it a “creative” seven years and $161 million, some $56 million less than Price ultimately took from the Red Sox. Now, it’s not uncommon for teams to be willing to go higher than their “final” offer (if that’s even what it was) if it means they’re getting the deal actually done, so it’s possible the Cubs would have moved upward later in the process if the Red Sox hadn’t blown away both the Cubs and the Cardinals. That said, if Levine’s number is accurate, it indicates that the Cubs probably do have quite a bit of money to play with this offseason, unless Price was flat-out going to be their only move of the winter (which, of course it wasn’t). It also suggests, though, that the Cubs weren’t crazy about Price in the same way that they really wanted to land, for example, Jon Lester, since his final deal was actually for a higher AAV.
  • The Dodgers and Hisashi Iwakuma could be close to a deal, according to multiple reports. I’m an Iwakuma fan, though you have to wonder, given that he’s missed time each of the last two years, and will turn 35 next season, is he the best bet for a pitching-needy Dodger team, especially given the draft pick cost?
  • Jon Heyman seems to think the Darren O’Day-Orioles deal is completed as earlier reported, despite O’Day’s statement to the contrary, and implies that O’Day is just being cautious about getting officially through the medical review process before confirming the deal.

  • Speaking of relievers, the A’s decided to spend very aggressively on Ryan Madson, according to multiple reports. The deal is a shocking three years and $22 million for a guy who, until last season, hadn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2011. Injuries threatened to derail Madson’s career when he was breaking out back then, but he came back, finally, with a solid season in 2015 for the Royals. But he’s now 35, has just that one season in the last four, and has had major arm issues. I’m sure the A’s have confidence that he’s healthy, but … what the heck?
  • The Dodgers have re-upped with Chase Utley, according to Jeff Passan. Must be all those Greinke rollover funds. I kid, of course, because the Dodgers will be making some moves this week. I do like them retaining Utley, though (for them, I mean), who probably does have a good year or two left, and could possibly be the team’s second baseman next year with Howie Kendrick leaving in free agency (you totally forgot about Howie Kendrick being a free agent, didn’t you?).
  • Gordon Wittenmyer gets into a variety of issues in a Winter Meetings preview, and there is again a note about the Cubs possibly trading Miguel Montero, something Dave Kaplan has previously mentioned, and something I still have trouble wrapping my head around.

  • If the Cubs can’t pull off a deal for a Braves/Indians/Rays/Padres starter, what about a Red Sox starter? Jerry Crasnick hears they’re listening on Wade Miley, Joe Kelly, and Clay Buchholz. I actually think all three are fairly interesting, depending on the acquisition cost.

  • Speaking of the Rays making young starters available, which we discussed earlier, a bunch of folks are telling me – I did not catch this, myself – that Peter Gammons said tonight on MLBN that Chris ArcherĀ is available. The 27-year-old righty got better and better the last couple years, emerging this past season as a true ace, and is on one of the most absurdly affordable contracts in baseball. The next four seasons, he makes $2.8M, $4.8M, $6.2M, and $7.5M, and THEN there are two team options for just $9M and $11M. It’s truly ridiculous. I don’t even want to go down this rabbit hole too far, because the only thing the Rays would accept for Archer would be a franchise-altering return, and those deals almost never come together. It’s fun to dream about, but I highly doubt there’s movement there. Just keep him, Rays. You need him. You can afford him. Trade him in four years and still get a huge return.
  • One more on the Rays, just to get folks titillated for the week (how about a young starter, a quality reliever, and an outfielder in one deal?):

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