There are three business days in the coming week before Christmas Eve, and I tentatively expect those days to be busy on the rumor and transaction side in baseball – not for any procedural reasons, mind you. It’s just that the involved parties are all humans, and humans often went to spend these particular holiday days with family. Some of those humans are players who also want to have certainty on where they’re going to be playing before those holiday days, which in turn moves various things along. That’s how it’s been in years past, anyway. That’s not to say things can’t and don’t happen on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and things definitely happen thereafter on into and through the New Year. I’m just saying it’s fair to expect some movement around the league this week, at least before Thursday.
- Jon Heyman’s latest notes looks at a variety of topics, and includes a mention of the Cubs “still taking offers” on Jorge Soler. In the same breath, Heyman mentions the Indians’ pitching duo of Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar as possible targets, which is not new. The thinking around baseball, however, is that Carrasco would cost a lot more than just Soler, and Salazar probably would, too. And, at that price, it’s tough to give up a potential franchise-altering positional talent PLUS more prospects for an arm, given the special risks associated therewith. Setting that specific match-up aside, I’m still of the mind that the Cubs aren’t going to deal Soler just to open up right field for Jason Heyward (and create another hole for themselves to fill in center. If the Cubs consider a move on Soler at this time, it’ll be only because the return – presumably a cost-controlled starting pitcher – was just too good to pass up. Frankly, if that killer deal never comes along, you’re not going to see me disappointed to see Soler out there in right for the Cubs on Opening Day.
- As you’d expect, by the way, Theo Epstein isn’t out there sounding like a guy who wants to trade Soler.
- Of other note in Heyman’s column: the Orioles aren’t keen on dealing Kevin Gausman, if that’s where you had your hopes. Also, as you read Heyman’s bits on every team, you are reminded just how many free agents are still out there, and just how many teams still have significant moves to make. The Cubs acted relatively quickly and comprehensively, but they seem to be the exception to date.
- The Braves are listening on outfielder Ender Inciarte their GM tells Ken Rosenthal, though in so confirming, the GM also threw out the Shelby Miller comparison – as in, they weren’t planning on trading him, but a deal came along (which included Inciarte, incidentally) that the Braves could not decline. If the Braves are expecting an over-the-moon return like that for Inciarte, you won’t see him dealt to the Cubs or any other team (you know, since the Diamondbacks won’t be involved in trading for him). Inciarte has popped up in connection to the Cubs a fair number of times this offseason.
- Being that they’ve not yet picked up a significant starting pitcher in free agency or trade, being that they lost Zack Greinke, and being that they’ve stockpiled prospects, there is some thinking that the Dodgers are readying themselves to make a run at a trade for a starter. Dave Cameron wonders what a realistic Dodgers trade for Chris Archer would look like, because why not make things extra exciting? It’s an interesting read on valuations, and a reminder that the Dodgers could easily pull off a deal for even a stud like Archer – who is on one of the most team-friendly contracts in baseball – or a guy like Jose Fernandez, or a lesser starter if they were so inclined.
- Nick Cafardo’s latest includes a note on the Dodgers’ interest in Jake Odorizzi, for what it’s worth, which is the second time we’ve heard of that particular connection. Also, there’s an item on Trevor Cahill opting to re-sign with the Cubs, despite the fact that he’ll most likely be a reliever there, when he instead had the option of signing with the Pirates and Orioles as a starter. It would have really stung to see a revitalized Cahill sign with the Pirates, who are long known to be excellent at reclaiming starting pitchers, and then see him break back out in a way that harms the Cubs. Not that I would have rooted against Cahill in that situation – it’s just that I am still really, really glad he elected to stay with the Cubs. His $4.25 million deal contains significant incentives, by the way, if he winds up becoming a regular starting pitcher for the Cubs this year.
- That Brandon Phillips Nationals trade isn’t happening after all, according to reports. Despite much optimism earlier in the process, it now sounds like Phillips wanted a financial incentive to waive his no-trade rights, and the sides couldn’t make that work. (Unrelatedly, that MLB.com article notes that the Nationals could be in on free agent lefty Wei-Yin Chen, whose market has been slow to develop, thanks in part to reportedly very lofty contract demands.)