The hottest part of the offseason for the Cubs figures to be behind them at this point, though the rumors about the outfield and acquiring pitching will hang around for a while.
Speaking of which …
- A report out of Cleveland discusses the Cubs’ continued interest in Indians starters and the Indians’ need to pick up outfield bats, though the only names mentioned on the Cubs’ side of the equation are Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, and Kyle Schwarber. It remains unclear if there’s a fit to be had there (and, it goes without saying that it would be shocking in the extreme if the Cubs even thought about moving Schwarber). Of the Indians’ starters, the report makes it sound like Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar would be the most likely to be moved, but it doesn’t sound like any are likely to be moved. In other words, if the Indians were going to trade a starter, those would be the guys, but that’s probably not going to happen. As is the case with the Rays, given the alignment of fits between the Cubs and Indians, you can expect to hear more rumors on this front throughout the offseason.
- Nick Cafardo reports that the Cubs and Royals inquired about Jackie Bradley, Jr. at the Winter Meetings, but were told by the Red Sox that he’s not available. The Cubs’ interest in Bradley has been rumored for a while, but, if he’s truly not available, we may never know: would the Cubs still pursue him even after signing Jason Heyward (implying that the plan could be to let Heyward play in right, and then move Jorge Soler), or was that simply a plan for center field if the Cubs hadn’t landed Heyward?
- Cafardo also mentions James Shields as a trade possibility for the Cubs and a handful of other teams, but, that’s come up before, and still strikes me as not happening.
- Talks on Todd Frazier are picking up, according to Jon Heyman. Although he tailed off after the All-Star Break, Frazier remains a potentially very impactful player, and if the Reds deal him, it’s yet another blow to their 2016 performance (which certainly doesn’t hurt the Cubs). It could also be a boon to their continued rebuilding program, though. Heyman mentions a lot of AL teams as interested, but also the Nationals and Dodgers.
- Remember the Astros’ big trade for Phillies closer Ken Giles last week? Well, it actually didn’t happen until this weekend, and it was fundamentally different than originally reported – which is to say, among the big prospects going to the Phillies: former number one pick, Mark Appel. The righty’s tenure with the Astros was marked by disappointment after the team opted to take him over Kris Bryant back in 2013 (whew), and now he gets a fresh start. There’s still plenty of talent there, and it’s still a good bet that he emerges as a big league arm for the Phillies.
- The Rays have a ton of pitchers to potentially deal, but it doesn’t sound like they’re going to make that move without getting a return commensurate with the perceived high value in this market. Relatedly, there was a lot of interest in center fielder Kevin Kiermaier at the Winter Meetings for obvious reasons, but there is no indication that he’ll be made available. If he were … want.
- The Mariners picked up former Cardinals reliever Steve Cishek on a two-year, $10 million deal, continuing the trend of virtually every reliever, no matter what, getting a multi-year deal.
- After missing out on Jason Heyward, it doesn’t sound like the Cardinals are going to rush out after Alex Gordon. Jon Morosi adds that, even if the Cardinals did want to go after Gordon, it’s complicated by the presence of Matt Holliday.
- A great read from Ken Rosenthal on how quickly the Diamondbacks’ pursuit of, and deal with, Zack Greinke came together.
- And a great read from Jeff Passan on the free agent class of 2018, about which you’re going to hear for years.
- The big rumor of the day, by the way, has the Giants making a push on Johnny Cueto. Jon Heyman now adds that the deal being discussed, which could include an opt-out, would easily exceed the 6/$120M offer Cueto got from the Diamondbacks. (UPDATE: Buster Olney is reporting that there’s a deal in place.)