With Christmas approaching, you might see a particularly heavy rumor week, followed immediately by radio silence over the weekend.
Fortunately, the weekends tend to be a bit lighter anyway, so you might not notice that big of an impact/difference.
So let’s get back into the rumor mill while it’s milling …
- At the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo runs down a series of stray bits, including the Cubs as seemingly the “most interested” team in the Tyson Ross sweepstakes. We spoke at length about Ross’ reported Wrigley Field walk-through just this weekend, so this is just some more fuel to the fire. Check out that article for my full thoughts on Ross, but suffice it to say, I’m very interested and hopeful the Cubs can land him [Brett: ditto, as I see this as a perfect risk for both sides].
- Also possibly pursuing Ross, according to Cafardo, are Pittsburgh, Miami, Arizona, Texas, and Houston.
- According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are still willing to part with top pitching prospect Jose De Leon in exchange for Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier. De Leon is MLB Pipeline’s 33rd best prospect overall and the sixth best right-handed pitching prospect in the game. Point being, the Dodgers willingness to give him up is representative of the enormous amount of pitching depth LA has in both the Minors and the Majors. Dozier, on the other hand, had one of the best seasons in the Majors last year – knocking 42 dingers while coming up just shy of 6.0 WAR – and is set to make just $15 million over the next two seasons combined. If the Dodgers can’t land Dozier for second base, however, they will turn their attention to the Rays’ Logan Forsythe and the Tigers’ Ian Kinsler. If the Dodgers manage to land Dozier – who is still the best fit – they’re going to look scary good on paper heading into 2017.
- Jason Hammel is switching agencies, per Rosenthal, and has not been able to generate the type of interest he was hoping for heading into the offseason. The Cubs, you’ll remember, declined his $12 million option in early November, making him a free agent in a weak starting pitcher class, but there haven’t been many bites just yet. Rosenthal has much more in his notes, including more thoughts on the Twins, Mark Trumbo, the Royals, and more. Brett wrote about the Cubs and Hammel this morning in the Bullets.
- The Blue Jays still haven’t made Jose Bautista an offer, per Jon Morosi, beyond the one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer level. It’s a tough market right now for Bautista, given his age, the draft pick compensation, and his down 2016 season. The Blue Jays are reportedly showing interest in former Cubs reliever Travis Wood. Although, Morosi is reporting that the interest in Wood is shared alongside fellow left-handed relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan.
- According to Marc Topkin, the Rays are not quite ready to sell off and punt on 2017 (so dreams of Chris Archer may have to be put to bed for now, if they weren’t already slumbering), but are instead looking to acquire a big bat (of the DH/1B variety) and a strong defensive outfielder. HOWEVA, that does not necessarily mean that they’d be unwilling to deal Drew Smyly or Alex Cobb – both of whom could potentially interest the Cubs. Relatedly, closer Alex Colome is still available, but apparently the Rays told the Mets that any deal involving their breakout closer would have to start with Michael Conforto or top SS prospect Amed Rosario. Now, those may be fair terms in the current reliever market, but they sure are pricey ones. My guess is that Colome starts the year out in Tampa Bay.
- The White Sox have started off the rebuild with a bang, trading each of Adam Eaton and Chris Sale for large prospect packages, but they might not be done just yet:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 19, 2016
- Like most teams in the Major Leagues, the Yankees are interested in trading for White Sox starter Jose Quintana, but the difference is that they reportedly have the type of prospects for which the White Sox are looking. The Yankees, you’ll recall, reloaded exceedingly well over the past year with trades of guys like Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, and preceded that by going nuts in international free agency, so they certainly have the fire power to pull off such a trade. Side note: Quintana used to be a Yankees prospect who left the organization (then, a High-A pitcher) via Minor League free agency after 2011. He was pitching well for the Chicago White Sox just one year later. Whoops.
- At Fox Sports, Ken Rosenthal discusses how the Mets’ remaining desired offseason moves are a convoluted mess of intertwined decisions. In short, they want to add a center fielder, want to trade a corner outfielder, and want to add a reliever. They’ve apparently spoken with the Pirates (Andrew McCutchen), the Royals (Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson), the Rockies (Charlie Blackmon), and the Reds (Billy Hamilton), but each presents its own problems in trade. The broader issue, however, seems to be that any trade for a center fielder necessarily requires a trade of both Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce if they want to play Michael Conforto regularly in right field (they do). So essentially, three trades have to occur before the Mets can set their outfield the way they want … and then they have to get a reliever (or two). The Mets figure to be competitive again in the NL East in 2017, but there’s still work to do.
- Speaking of which: Jeurys Familia will reportedly be suspended at least 30 games for his alleged involvement in a domestic violence incident. The official charges have been dropped, but, like we saw with Aroldis Chapman, that doesn’t prevent MLB from levying their own disciplinary measures. The MLB investigation is on-going.
- You are all aware of the enormous (and I am genuinely not using that word lightly in this case) free agent class after the 2018 season, right? Among the many names (and many potential opt-outs) the class features: Manny Machado, A.J. Pollock, Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Clayton Kershaw, David Price, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. With each of their free agency just two seasons away then, we may soon see some of these big-time players moved in trades (especially now that the CBA is not as rewarding for letting players walk out with a qualifying offer).
- To that end, Buster Olney questions whether it’s time for the Orioles to consider trading Manny Machado, given that the window of opportunity to sign him to a long-term extension has “probably passed.” To be certain, Olney informs us that the Orioles have not yet explored any such trade, but implies that it could and should be coming up soon. The Cubs are very well set at shortstop at third base, but Machado is easily one of the best players in the game, if not one in direct competition with someone like Kris Bryant for first best, after Trout. There is not a team in baseball that would not check in if Machado were made available. In addition, the Orioles’ farm system is one of the worst in baseball. So if they stumble out of the gate, look for them to start entertaining the idea of trading Machado (and possibly Zach Britton, as well) before the deadline. Which, well, that would be fun.
- Brett: And a little breaking trade action as I round out editing this post:
Source: The Phillies have traded for Clay Buchholz. Return is believed to be one player, a minor-leaguer.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) December 20, 2016
Source: #Phillies trading minor-league 2B Josh Tobias for Buchholz.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 20, 2016
- Buchholz, 32, is set to make $13.5 million this year, the final of his current deal before hitting free agency. He was brilliant in an injury-shortened 2015 season, and then couldn’t put it together last year with the Red Sox, bouncing between the rotation and the bullpen. The Phillies may, at first blush, seem an odd fit for Buccholz, but I still wonder if the Phillies are going to try for a sneaky competitive season this year, with a fair bit of young talent. And, if things don’t look promising by July, perhaps they try to flip Buccholz to a contender for more than they just traded away (Tobias, from my quick poking around, does not seem to be a significant prospect).
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.