It’s not quite the New Year’s weekend, but we’re almost there, eh?
How about we check in on some rumors from around the league to tide you over. That’ll do the trick.
- Jon Heyman has a flurry of notes over at Fanragsports.com, focusing primarily on the twelve or so sluggers remaining on the free-agent market, before getting into some stray notes from around baseball.
- Among those notes, Heyman suggest that the Dodgers are still the favorites to land Twins slugger Brian Dozier, but the Cardinals and Giants remain in play. If the Dodgers do ultimately land Dozier, as we’ve noted before, their lineup will certainly become a whole lot more fearsome.
- With that said, the rumors between the Cardinals and Dozier have bounced back and forth, so I’m not quite sure how “in,” they are, and Heyman also admitted that there doesn’t seem to be a great fit between Dozier and the Giants. We’ll have to pay attention to this, because wherever Dozier ends up, it seems he may impact the 2017 NL pennant race.
- Also from those notes, Andrew McCutchen might still be available, which seems debatable at this point, given the subsequent moves made by the Pirates since those rumors first started up (signing free-agent starter Ivan Nova, signing reliever Daniel Hudson, and working hard for White Sox starter Jose Quintana). But anything is possible. With the right return pieces, perhaps the Pirates wouldn’t even be sacrificing that much competitiveness at the big league level in a McCutchen trade.
- The Mariners have shown some interest in free-agent starter Jason Hammel, but they are reportedly still investigating the trade market. Hammel, you’ll recall, has switched agencies this winter, which leads Heyman to believe that things weren’t quite going well. As we approach January, Hammel’s market is continuing to shrink. Perhaps, if it shrinks enough, the Cubs can bring him back on a lesser deal, not unlike the Dexter Fowler signing last offseason? It seems very unlikely, but not necessarily impossible.
- Four-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glover, and current free-agent catcher Matt Wieters, 30, is drawing interest from a couple of NL East teams, including the Nationals and Braves. According to Jon Heyman, the Nationals – who offered $85 million to Aroldis Chapman before he returned to the Yankees – seemingly have the budget space and the need. The Braves (and even the Mets), however, are interested as well, but both have their roadblocks. Wieters had Tommy John Surgery in 2014 – an injury that may have affected his performance the past two seasons – but should still be able to impact a playoff race, depending on where he ends up.
- At MLB Trade Rumors, Jeff Todd discusses 10 bounce back pitcher candidates still available in free agency, and you know who (Tyson Ross) tops the list. Of course, the Cubs’ interest in Ross is not much of a secret right now, it’s just that several teams appear to be interested in him as well. The rub, as it tends to be, is that Ross is looking for just a one-year commitment, whereas (presumably) most teams are looking to tack on one or two team options. We’ll see where that goes.
- Because if he does manage to land that one-year deal, the Cubs might be interested in targeting one of the other names on the list, which includes fellow-starters Brett Anderson, Doug Fister, Nathan Eovaldi (rehabbing), and Henderson Alvarez (among several other relievers). The Cubs figure to be especially interested in bounce back types they could get on minor league deals.
- Earlier this month, we discussed the expected extension talks this offseason between the Cubs and impending free agent Jake Arrieta, as the team looks ahead to a 2018 rotation with just Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks in tow (plus Mike Montgomery, if he takes a step forward in 2017 – those three would be a great start, but a full rotation, it is not). At MLB Trade Rumors, Jeff Todd attempts to predict what a Jake Arrieta extension might look like, citing Zack Greinke’s six years, $206.5MM at the probably-not-gonna-happen high end. Instead, Todd believes something between Johnny Cueto’s six-year, $130 million and Jon Lester’s six-year, $155 million deal might make sense. If it’s closer to Cueto and $130 million, then I think it’s possible, but I doubt the Cubs will be handing Arrieta a $150+ million extension this spring, given the looming luxury tax considerations. And it’s not entirely clear that Arrieta will want to give up his shot at free agency now that he’s so close. Just my two cents.
- And finally, just something interesting to consider about how the Blue Jays decided to proceed in their DH maneuvering this offseason:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 28, 2016
- The Blue Jays also got a draft pick when Encarnacion signed with the Indians, but still. Seems like Toronto could have played that one better.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.