old stove featureWith the exception of the Dodgers (Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda), it seems like most of baseball took the holidays largely off, leaving the balance of transaction season to play out in 2016.

It makes for an interesting position for Cubs fans to be in – we know that the Cubs have done the bulk of their offseason maneuvering already, but with so many moves out there still un-made, you just never know what’s going to open up as the offseason goes along. That might mean a less-expensive, depth/reclamation starter becomes available at the right price, it could mean a surprising trade comes along, or it could simply mean we fans passively watch along as other teams modify themselves in advance of the 2016 season. The only move out there to be made that I’m fairly certainly we’ll see the Cubs take on before Spring Training is adding a reserve outfielder capable of playing center field and probably batting from the right-hand side (and it could be a minor league deal, Spring Training invite type). Yes, Matt Szczur could be that guy, but you’d like to have some options.

Elsewhere …



  • Speaking of those Dodgers, Jon Morosi reports that it’s unlikely they’ll now make a move to acquire Jose Fernandez, which is sad for outside-observer-rumor-reasons, but was always highly unlikely. Morosi really takes the Dodgers to task for, in his opinion, underwhelming in their rotation moves, and becoming “just another large-market franchise with a flawed, lopsided roster.” Harsh. I also don’t really agree with the conclusion there, as I see a strong group of positional players, a very deep rotation, a solid-enough bullpen (especially as some of that rotation depth spills over), and excellent young redundancies that will factor in as the season goes along. Right now, on paper, I think I like the Dodgers as the second best team in the NL (maybe baseball) behind the Cubs.
  • Tony Blengino wonders if Chris Davis – and the peculiarly difficult job of determining how much he’s worth – is holding up the position player free agent market. It’s still hard to see Davis getting $150 million, though that’s been the rumored Orioles offer for a while. If he’s still got that offer available, he needs to take it. We’re still waiting on Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Dexter Fowler, and Denard Span to sort themselves out, and that’s just in the outfield.
  • Speaking of Span, by the way – dude is looking impressively healthy after his hip surgery.
  • Among the buy-low/reclamation type starters, many really like Doug Fister, given how consistently good he was before 2015. For me, there were enough red flags last year – forearm injury, declining velocity, underperformance – and the year before that, at age 32, I don’t see him as a preferred target on a big league deal for 2016. Buster Olney reports that he’s already got one and two-year offers in hand from multiple teams. A no-risk minor league deal? Sure, I’d be on board. But guaranteed dollars and a roster spot? I just don’t see it unless there was some obviously correctable flaw last year that was sapping his velocity and overall effectiveness.


  • Jon Morosi reports that the Diamondbacks could be looking to upgrade even further by adding free agent Howie Kendrick … but Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart says it’s unlikely his team will sign another qualified free agent because they don’t want to give up their top two draft picks. Which, naturally, doesn’t make a lick of sense, since they gave up the number 13 pick to sign Zack Greinke, and hereafter giving up a pick (37th overall) to sign a free agent would be FAR less valuable. In other words, now is the time when you would want to sign another qualified free agent – or, at a minimum, the draft pick better dang well not be the reason you don’t. I’m going to assume Stewart is posturing, rather than actually saying something silly, since he wouldn’t have any incentive to admit that the D-Backs are willing to give up a pick to sign another free agent.
  • (Also in that MLB.com piece, Stewart says that it’ll be tough to pick up a reliever by trade, and all I can hear screaming in my head is, “BECAUSE YOU GAVE UP SO MUCH FOR SHELBY MILLER ALREADY!”)
  • The Padres – whom you’ll recall were at one time a rumored trade partner with the Cubs, given their available pitching and need at shortstop – are reportedly looking at free agent Ian Desmond.



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