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Lukewarm Stove: Dozier, Ross, Rasmus, Quintana, Cuban Players, More

Chicago Cubs Rumors, MLB News and Rumors

Did you guys hear about the Ten-Yard Line?

It’s basically our Chicago Bears version of Bleacher Nation, led by our very own Luis Medina (with occasional, but more mediocre contributions from Brett and me)!

If you like Bleacher Nation and the idea of the Bears potentially finding a way to be good one day, then you should definitely check it out. With any luck, we’ll quickly develop the type of community there just like the one we have here.

And hey, if the Bears rebuild goes anything like the Cubs, they should be champions in about 4-5 seasons. So jump aboard the hype train now, the ride is way better when you’re sitting up front.

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On with the baseball rumors …

  • For a while now, the Minnesota Twins have been dangling slugger Brian Dozier on the trade market as one of the best bats available this offseason. And also for a while now, they’ve been “about to trade him at any moment.” Shrug. Sometimes those words are genuine, sometimes it’s about leverage and added pressure, but a deal does still feel likely, and it may impact the Cubs. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers still seem like the most logical match for the Twins/Dozier, but the two sides are still “haggling over the package,” beyond right-hander Jose De Leon (who is apparently an agreed upon headliner). I’ll say that, if the Twins have agreed that De Leon is a good enough center piece, than a deal will almost certainly get done. There’s obviously a lot of room in there for things to go wrong, but the headliner is the headliner for a reason. (UPDATE: And just like that, Rosenthal mentions that there is not much momentum towards a deal at the moment.)
  • If and when this trade goes down, the Dodgers will immediately become a bigger threat to the Cubs’ chances of repeating in 2017 – even if you believe Dozier peaked in 2016 and will regress a bit next season. And a final reminder: although it’s been a while, the Cardinals were rumored to be “in” on Dozier, too.
  • UPDATE from Brett: Ah, the old right-as-you-click-publish-things-change update:

  • So, then, it looks like you can stop expecting a Dodgers-Dozier trade any time soon.

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  • The Cubs don’t likely have too many more moves hidden up their sleeve this offseason, but one of the bigger ones could be the signing of Tyson Ross. Of course, that’s if he ever makes a decision. According to Rosenthal, the Cubs and Rangers remain front-runners for Ross, but he’s purposefully taking his time in deciding. As Brett discussed previously, the Cubs may fall back to Travis Wood, if Ross chooses to go elsewhere. But to be certain, I see Wood staying in the bullpen, with Montgomery taking over a spot in the rotation (if the Cubs re-sign Wood and not Ross, that is) as a more likely scenario than the Cubs simply allowing Wood to start again and putting Montgomery in the bullpen. We’ll see.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent outfielder Colby Rasmus. The deal is reportedly worth $5 million in guarantees and up to $7 million (total) with incentives. Rasmus will primarily be used as a DH, left-fielder and part-time center fielder. Further, there’s even a chance the Rays might be interested in taking advantage of the slow-burning market for veteran slugger Jose Bautista. But if you think this takes them out of the “we’re totally going to trade one of our extra starting pitchers” market, think again. According to Jeff Todd, the Rays are still engaged with other organizations about that pitching surplus, implying that they may not be done dealing just yet.
  • Which, although teams typically (or, in year’s past) begin to solidify their roster in the next week or so, the amount of still-available free-agents might delay that process a bit. And that, in turn, can keep the trade market open a bit longer than normal. So don’t check out just yet, as things could still happen.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed 28-year-old Cuban Jose Miguel Fernandez to a contract with just a $200,000 signing bonus. Why am I informing you of a nearly-30, tiny bonus international signed by the Dodgers? Well, there was a time when Fernandez was considered to be an absolute stud (or as Ben Badler puts it, “one of the best hitters in Cuba”). But it took so long for him to defect (indeed, we have an article on his potential arrival in the States back in 2014!) that his stock as dropped quite a bit due to the long layoff, and the Dodgers get him for a song. With that said, he is still young and comes with quite the pedigree, as Badler puts it at Baseball America, “Fernandez could turn out to be a bargain.”

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  • If Brian Dozier is the best remaining bat (publicly) available, then Jose Quintana is definitely the best remaining arm (publicly) available (because we know that Chris Archer is probably not realistically available). You know the story, after trading Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, the Chicago White Sox have officially kicked off their yard sale, and everything must go. In addition to Quintana, David Robertson and Todd Frazier are thought to be available. But Quintana feels like the one with the greatest shot at being moved before the season, that is, if someone is willing to pay:

  • After reeling in a couple of massive takes in their two big trades of the offseason, the Sox are playing this one with nothing to lose. They have Quintana under control for four more season, which means there’s three more winters and four more trade deadlines for them to get something done. Throw in the fact that they’ve already nabbed a couple of the best prospects in baseball, and their patience makes sense.

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  • One of Cuba’s best young prospects (according to Baseball America), Luis Robert, has left the country and plans on making his way to Major League Baseball. A 19-year-old outfielder, Robert is considered one of the best five players still in Cuba with speed and power from the right-side of the plate, and the ability to play center field (at least, for now). There is still some confusion over whether he’ll be available in this or the next IFA period (he has to be cleared by June 15 to sign in the current period), but unfortunately, the Cubs will be in the IFA penalty box for both this and the next period, and are thus essentially unable to sign him (they can offer IFAs a maximum $300,000 bonus – which won’t get it done for a top prospect). But that doesn’t mean when he’s posted won’t affect the Cubs.

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  • If MLB clears Robert by June 15, each of the Astros, Athletics, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres and Reds will still be eligible to sign him (and seem the most likely teams, given that they’re already over their IFA pool). If not, those teams will be out, just like the Cubs. Obviously, the Cubs would prefer that neither the Cardinals nor the Reds have the opportunity.

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Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.

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