The Winter Meetings are underway. We’re going to have a lot of these types of Lukewarm-Stove-like updates throughout the week. We’ll write up specific bits separately – Cubs-heavy rumors (like this morning’s Kenley Jansen one) or significant deals around baseball – but these Winter Meetings items will try to be a little quicker-hitting, if that makes sense.
- Mark Gonzales has a write-up on the Winter Meetings and the Cubs, which you’ll want to check out. No one is expecting the Cubs to duplicate the fevered frenzy of the Winter Meetings the last two years (during, or in close proximity to, the last two Winter Meetings, the Cubs signed Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, Jason Heyward, John Lackey, and Ben Zobrist, and traded for Miguel Montero and Adam Warren (by way of trading away Starlin Castro)). Seriously, they’ve been ridiculously active the last two years, and it won’t be like that this time around. But that doesn’t mean they won’t continue to look for young pitching and relief help, which is going to be their focus this week.
- The Mark Melancon saga seems to be nearing a conclusion, with the Giants remaining confident (UPDATE: Yup, it’s the Giants):
A couple of times over weekend, Giants felt they were very close to a Melancon deal. Strong belief inside organization that it gets done.
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) December 5, 2016
- It’s notable that the Nationals reportedly offered Melancon one of the four-year offers he’s supposedly holding, but it was for less than $60 million (which has been the previously-reported level of those offers). Oh, and as I’m typing, Ken Rosenthal says Melancon to the Giants is close.
- If the Giants don’t land Melancon, Jon Heyman suggests Greg Holland – a rumored Cubs target – could be their fallback plan.
- The rumors about the Marlins pushing hard for one of the “big three” closers appears to be legit, as Joel Sherman says owner Jeffrey Loria is at the Meetings, and is directly involved in the negotiations. It also sounds like Jansen might be the preferred target, at five years and $80 million. The Cubs have not been involved on Melancon, and, if the Marlins go nuts on Jansen, then the Cubs won’t be getting one of the “big three”. Jesse Rogers just reported that there is “no momentum” on an Aroldis Chapman deal for the Cubs.
- I know he’s 41, but we should probably mention free agent reliever Koji Uehara around here more often: although his ERA and FIP slipped last year, that was entirely due to a possibly-flukey spike in his HR/FB ratio. His strikeout rate (34.2%) and walk rate (6.0%) remained sterling. No rumor to report here, but I’m just saying – a short-term deal would make a lot of sense for the Cubs if they aren’t going to big money route.
- There’s also the trade route, and it’s worth noting Ken Rosenthal’s deep dive on the tough decisions facing the Royals right now. Sure seems like, among other things, trading Wade Davis now (free agent after the season) makes a lot of sense.
- Another signing by the Blue Jays, which, albeit another smaller one, sure makes you wonder how aggressive they can be on Dexter Fowler:
Sources: The Jays and Steve Pearce agree to a two-year, $12.5 million deal.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 5, 2016
- Speaking of which:
Fowler and blue Jays are still apart in talks. Cards are one other strong possibility.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 5, 2016
- There are multiple reports out there that strongly suggest the price tag on A’s starter Sonny Gray will not reflect his down 2016 season. In other words, it feels a lot less likely that the A’s will seriously shop him, especially now that they are being phased out of revenue sharing, and may have to be a little more aggressive to win in the next few years and lock in more season ticket holders (that’s just me putting two and two together, mind you).
- It still seems like Andrew McCutchen is going to be traded soon, but maybe it won’t be to the Nationals after all? Here’s this:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 5, 2016
- For their part, the Nats do still reportedly want to put together a deal for McCutchen, but they’re reportedly trying to do it in a way that allows them to also get Chris Sale, AND they don’t want to give up Trea Turner in the Sale deal or Victor Robles in the McCutchen deal. Would be really tricky.
- A couple outside-the-box controlled starters are available right now, according to Jayson Stark. He reports that the Astros are “dangling” Collin McHugh and Mike Fiers to help create a little payroll flexibility. Each pitcher is around age 30, is controllable via arbitration through 2019, and is probably a decent 4/5 starter on a good team, with middle-of-the-rotation upside. McHugh is 29 and has the much better peripherals, so he’s going to earn a lot more money in his three arbitration years. Fiers is already 31, and is more of a clear back-of-the-rotation type. Count me as very interest in McHugh for the Cubs, at least in terms of non-elite-tier-starter options in trade.
- Similarly, but perhaps less attractively, Buster Olney says the Dodgers are shopping Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy (and their contracts).
- The Rangers are reportedly eyeing Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton, which, hey, if he wants to leave the NL Central and stop playing like a first ballot Hall of Famer against the Cubs, I guess I’m fine with that.
- I don’t think the Orioles will seriously consider dealing Zach Britton right now, but it’s interesting to follow, given how awesome he is:
Duquette: "There's a lot of interest in Zach Britton. Personally, I like Zach Britton on our club, but there are teams interested" #Orioles
— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) December 4, 2016
- Remember those frequent Cubs-Indians rumors last year? Well, I do wonder if they’ll pop back up again at some point this offseason:
Sources: Indians made a strong push at Matt Holliday. Had done the same with Carlos Beltran, as @Ken_Rosenthal said. Need a power bat.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 5, 2016
- If you missed it earlier, the Cubs have once again been connected to Kenley Jansen.