Earlier today, Carrie Fisher – a.k.a. Princess Leia – passed away. I know this is a baseball site, and it may not be relevant, but she was a big part of my childhood and was – by all accounts – a supremely excellent person. I am decidedly bummed.
Of course, there’s still baseball (and thus, rumors) to attend to, so let’s try our best to distract ourselves with this silly sport we spend our lives obsessing over. It works.
- The first rumor would be a relative monster, if it ever came to be: Bob Nightengale is reporting that the Yankees are expanding their trade talks with the White Sox (re: Jose Quintana) to include closer David Robertson. After selling off various pieces over the past year or so, the Yankees certainly have the pieces to make such a trade, and it’d be a blockbuster if it happened.
- Nightengale added that the Sox would have to eat some of Robertson’s contact (2 years, $25 million total remaining), for the deal to work for the Yankees – who we know are trying to their best to eventually get under the luxury tax threshold. But Nightengale’s bombshells didn’t end there:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 27, 2016
- It’s not entirely clear how both the Yankees and the Pirates can be satisfied in any three-way deal, given that both are interested in Quintana, but the Pirates have been a bit unpredictable this offseason and the White Sox appear to be open to anything.
- HOWEVA, not everyone is hearing the same rumors as Nightengale. According to Joel Sherman, who is typically a very good New York source, the Yankees are not working on a deal that includes both Quintana and Robertson. It’s possible that Sherman’s report means only that the Yankees are not working on a deal for both pitchers, but aren’t necessarily out on dealing for one or the other (more likely Quintana). But he followed that tweet up with some more context, which indicated that the Yankees simply couldn’t add much more payroll without ridding themselves of the money owed to someone like Chase Headley (2 years, $26 million remaining) or Brett Gardner (two years, and at least $25 million remaining).
- All of that information above, by the way, is why it’s difficult to navigate the rumor waters. There is constantly conflicting information and unclear motives. Reporters can report only what they’re told (after appropriately vetting and digging in), but sometimes, they can be used to create leverage or distort the story. Be weary. The best we can do on the outside is analyze, assess, and hopefully provide a layer of context.
- After having a $145.5 million opening day 25-man roster in 2016 ($178.3 million for the 40-man), the St. Louis Cardinals payroll is expected to rise again for 2017, and possibly continue rising thereafter. With a new TV deal looming in the future, General Manager John Mozeliak suggested that they may have “payroll muscle” they didn’t boast previously. But – like it or not – the Cardinals are a smart organization, and won’t depart from their value-oriented approach. More at the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
- The Mets are not thinking about/discussing contract extensions with any of their young pitchers this offseason. They, like the Cubs, have a number of young, elite players under control for some time, but will likely want to secure their rotation for the years beyond present contractual control. The players in question likely include Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler. If and when they do decide to begin considering extensions, it’ll be an interesting and informative process of picking the right players to extend. After all, giving out four or more long-term extensions might not be fiscally possible (or responsible). Something to think about.
- Just yesterday, word broke that the Cardinals were “very much in” on the Twins slugger Brian Dozier, which would represent something of a needle mover in the NL Central. However, today, Mark Saxon (ESPN) reported that they are not actively pursuing him. To be fair, he did add that there could have been contact previously, but as of now, there is not.
- Similarly, Chelsea Janes (Washington Post) recently tweeted that the Nationals have not made any “serious inquiries” with the Twins on Dozier.
- Continuing with the Dozier rumors and conflicting reports: according to Jon Heyman, the Braves are not in on Dozier, but the Dodgers, Cardinals, Giants, and Nationals may be. And then Mike Berardino added that although he thought the Athletics might hop in on Dozier, apparently even in some sort of three-way deal with the Dodgers, they are reportedly not in the mix. According to Berardino, the Dodgers still make the most sense as a landing spot, but a third team might be necessary. Who said the stove isn’t hot in late December?