While we await word on the finalization of the reported Wade Davis-Jorge Soler swap, there are some other developments around the Winter Meetings to note …
- Part of the reason the Cubs may have moved aggressively on Davis? A belief that the markets for free agents Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen have exploded to a level where they simply weren’t going to be in the mix. Chapman reportedly has an offer worth $92 million already, and, although the Cubs probably weren’t involved on Chapman anyway, that will impact the price tag for Jansen. If the Cubs already knew they were out on those two, then it does make some sense to move rapidly on the only closer trade target who is in their performance tier, lest the losers on Chapman/Jansen have an opportunity to fall back on Davis and push up the price tag.
- I’m not saying there’s a direct relationship here, but, soon after word of the Cubs-Royals deal broke, the Rangers agreed to a one-year contract with Carlos Gomez, who’d played left field for them in the second half last year. The Rangers were rumored to be in on Jorge Soler. With Gomez in the fold, there is still a spot for Matt Szczur, though, if the Rangers still want a more versatile reserve outfielder.
- Marc Topkin writes about the Tampa Bay Rays-related fallout from yesterday’s Chris Sale trade, which not only boosted the Red Sox’s standing in the AL East, but also set the market for that kind of trade. In other words, the return the White Sox fetched will be used as a benchmark in any Chris Archer trade talks. It still seems unlikely that Archer will be dealt, but, if he is, the return would be massive. It’s more likely that the Rays deal a lesser/shorter-term starter like Drew Smyly or Alex Cobb. Erasmo Ramirez, as a swing guy, sure sounds interesting, too.
- Although the Cardinals are serious in their pursuit of Dexter Fowler, Derrick Goold notes the many, many routes they are considering for adding to their outfield. It was a good offseason to be in need of an addition in the outfield, and it’s unlikely the Cardinals will blow this one. Either they’ll get Fowler on an attractive deal, or they will pull off one of those frustrating trades for a guy who fits their needs just perfectly. It’s what they do.
- Ken Rosenthal writes about the Nationals’ early offseason of misses, but the message emanating from Washington is that they aren’t worried and they aren’t going to make a move just to make it. To that end, I’d certainly agree that, even as constructed, the Nationals look like a playoff-caliber team again in 2017. But, with Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy potentially walking after 2018, there’s a near-term window here for the Nats to really go for it.
- … and if you ask Bob Nightengale, the Nationals have already moved on to discussions with the White Sox for their other stud lefty, Jose Quintana. Sale is the more dominating pitcher, there can be no question, but I’m not sure the total value difference between the two is as wide as some might think. Quintana, 27, has been consistently excellent for a long time now, and is on an even more attractive contract than Sale.
- The A’s are looking to invest primarily in their organizational personnel, rather that in big league payroll (SFChronicle.com). Further, the idea is to have a competitive team ready to roll whenever it is that they actually finally get a new stadium. So … doesn’t that sound like they’re about to tear down and rebuild? There is no direct indication from Billy Beane that this is what will happen, but how else should they proceed?
- The Cubs are going to need to find a quality depth catcher to stash at AAA Iowa, and it won’t be Tim Federowicz again – Bruce Levine reports he’s signing with the Giants. Given Willson Contreras’s youth, Miguel Montero’s back, and Kyle Schwarber’s knee, this is actually not at all an insubstantial need, even if it might come in the form of a minor league signing. Victor Caratini is on the 40-man roster as well, but he’s probably not ready to step in and manage a big league staff in a playoff race, if it comes to that. Hopefully the right veteran, excellent-receiving/defensive catcher is out there.
- Old friend Fernando Rodney is signing with the Diamondbacks, according to Jon Heyman. He gets $2.75 million on a one-year deal, plus incentives. Hopefully, if that’s the range for that tier of reliever, the Cubs can find a nice addition out there to supplement the pen, even after adding Davis (assuming that happens). Maybe it’s someone like Greg Holland (though he could get more), or maybe it’s someone like Koji Uehara. Or maybe it’s one of Jerry Blevins or Brad Ziegler, who came up yesterday.