Rumors are like ice cream.
They’re amazing, and delicious and I want them every day whether they’re good for me or not.
- As Brett covered earlier, Shohei Otani may have just gotten one step closer to becoming a free agent this winter, as MLB and NPB have decided to take my advice and extend the previous posting agreement – for all players – for one more year. The Players Association is still unlikely to be happy with that (because it means Otani’s team will get far more money than he will), but they’re reportedly meeting with Otani’s new representation soon and are expected to iron out any remaining issues. Stay tuned.
- At NBC Sports Chicago, Patrick Mooney relives Jake Arrieta’s days coming to, and as a member of, the Cubs with plenty of interesting and eye-opening quotes from his agent Scott Boras. It still doesn’t sound like a reunion in Chicago is the most likely outcome this offseason (more on this in a bit), but Mooney does theorize that a rebuilding Phillies club could see Arrieta as their version of Jon Lester (to the 2015 Chicago Cubs). The only thing that’s clear about Arrieta’s free agency so far is that he’s going to be asking for a heckuva lot of money, and his position was only further strengthened by the non-opt-outs of Johnny Cueto and Masahiro Tanaka.
- Mike Petriello believes that former Rockies starter, and current free agent, Tyler Chatwood, despite his MANY flaws, could be the most undervalued pitcher of the offseason. Basically, Chatwood’s been better on the road, has an elite spin rate, a fastball with renewed velocity (94.6 MPH – up two clicks from 2016), and gets a ton of ground balls. You’d have to take a big gamble on his health, but, yeah, I can see what Petriello is getting at. For what it’s worth, MLB Trade Rumors is predicting a three-year deal with the Phillies worth just $20 million for Chatwood this offseason. Chatwood is among the arms we’ll be investigating more closely this offseason.
- Speaking of the Cubs seeing something they might like …
Despite some speculation in October that he might retire, Curtis Granderson is planning on playing in 2018. The 36-year-old is a free agent.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 6, 2017
- Curtis Granderson is indeed playing baseball in 2018, and could make some sense for the Cubs in a complementary back-up outfielder type roll (the role recently vacated by Jon Jay). We discussed Granderson here previously, making special note of his dominant middle of the season:
In the 293 PAs from May 3 until August 15 (when he was traded to the Dodgers), Granderson slashed .266/.382/.570 with 17 HRs and a 15.4% walk rate. That’s good for a 148 wRC+, which, for reference, would’ve have been the 8th best wRC+ in all of baseball this year
- The Orioles, whose rotation is returning even fewer members than the Cubs in 2018, are said to be interested in right-hander Andrew Cashner as well as southpaw Jason Vargas. Despite marginal reasons to get excited about both players, I can’t see the Cubs being aggressive in either market. With that said, you can definitely count the Orioles among the teams who’ll likely rival the Cubs for a few free agents and/or trade targets this offseason, as their needs align with Chicago’s. Perhaps you should be rooting for them to land Cashner and Vargas.
- The Boston Red Sox have needs at multiple spots next season (mostly on offense and at any of 1B, DH, or 2B (until Dustin Pedroia returns)), and it doesn’t sound like money will be an issue. In fact, when President Dave Dombrowski was asked if staying under the luxury tax threshold was a goal, he flatly responded “No.” The more interesting angle, however, could be their interest in adding someone like Giancarlo Stanton. Dombrowski is an active baseball executive with a talented young core and winnable division. They have a busy outfield already, but the more obvious (and previous) argument against Stanton to the Sox rumors was the luxury tax hit. But if it’s not a factor, well, anything is possible.
- At MLB Trade Rumors, you’ll find the full Chicago Cubs offseason outlook post we’ve been waiting for (from Tim Dierkes). Among the many interesting and thoughtful bits, Dierkes suggests that re-signing Arrieta isn’t out of the question. The problem, as it has been for a while, is the Cubs reluctance to move past four years in any deal, and Arrieta’s likely ability to get one or two more than that elsewhere. The only way a marriage could work, then, is if Arrieta and Scott Boras find a less-welcoming market than they expected early on and something is settled for near the end of the winter. The reality: that almost never happens with a top tier Scott Boras free agent.
- Let’s talk about alternatives to free agency: I think we all sort of assume that the Cubs *could* get the Rays Chris Archer so long as they’d be willing to part with someone like Addison Russell or Javy Baez as a center piece of a broader deal, but the problem is that both of those guys have just four years of of control remaining (and Russell is already arbitration eligible) … which is the same as Archer. According to Tim Dierkes, then, the Rays may be more inclined to take a less established player – like the Yoan Moncada/Chris Sale deal – so that they get two more years of control (at least) and a potentially lower immediate price.
- Outside of big trades and the top end of free agency, Dierkes also explores the middle tier of free agents, including Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, and others. Basically, you’re going to want to check this post out because it’s loaded with rumory bits and good opinions.
- Way down at the very bottom of MLBTR’s top 50 free agents of the offseason is Michael Pineda. Pineda, who was well on his way towards becoming a big-time free agent this winter, needed Tommy John surgery in July and won’t likely be much of a factor in 2018. But given the yearly needs in the rotation, perhaps the Cubs could become interested in stewarding his rehab. Pineda is just 29 years old, and was very good when healthy. Also, when the Cubs were wooing Jon Lester to Chicago three years ago, they used Pineda as the example opposing pitcher he was facing in a future Game Seven of the World Series. Cubs had him on the brain, perhaps? MLBTR is predicting just two years and $6 million for the right to gamble on Pineda (and the obligation of carrying him on the 40-man roster for a year without any performance to accompany it).