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Lukewarm Stove: Archer and Hickey, Four Teams on Stanton, Ohtani’s (Non)Preferences, More

Chicago Cubs Rumors, MLB News and Rumors

How’s your Saturday? I’m about to gorge myself on early Thanksgiving food, so, before I pass out after that, here is the latest from the rumor mill …


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  • Earlier today, we looked at Alex Cobb’s straightforward comments about Joe Maddon, Jim Hickey, and hoping he can get a deal together with the Cubs. Hickey had said similar things about Cobb in an interview with The Score, and also offered quite a bit of praise for Chris Archer. Not specifically referencing either of those two guys, Hickey also said something interesting: “We’ve actually already talked about a number of free agents, whether they’re starting pitchers or relief pitchers. And I’ve been given a couple assignments already as well.” Putting the new guy immediately to work in the market, and using his expertise for acquisitions (guys he’d have to work with) sounds great to me. Great use of a resource.
  • Well, these are the four teams you probably would have bet on based on fit, need, and previous rumors:

  • The Stanton rumors certainly have the feel of “this is going to happen,” and it’s now just a matter of working out where he’s going to land and what the return will be. Your rooting interest would probably be either than he heads out of the NL, or the exact opposite: that he lands with the Cardinals, but they give up a ton of young pitching talent to get him AND do not get much in the way of salary eat by the Marlins. The Cardinals have a new TV deal kicking in and an already substantial stream of revenue (and small-market treatment by the league), so they may be aggressive on the money side of things with Stanton. Yes, such a deal would unquestionably make them better in the next few years, but that contract could easily be a nightmare for the following seven.

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  • He would look just fine in the Cubs’ number 11:

  • In that press conference, Ohtani did not commit to playing both ways, instead saying he’d listen to what MLB teams had to say. That said … at the start of the free agent process, what else is he gonna say, right?

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  • (A reminder, because I got a lot of questions about this in the last two days: Ohtani is subject to IFA signing restrictions, which means the most he can receive as a bonus to sign is about $3.5 million (the Rangers and Yankees have the most available to offer), and a team in the IFA penalty box like the Cubs can offer only $300,000. That said, money doesn’t seem to be the primary motivator here for a guy who could have waited two years and signed for $200 million. It remains entirely plausible that Ohtani will simply go where he wants to go, where he feels the right fit, and where he feels confident a massive long-term extension will come in short order.)
  • Also on Ohtani – I’m convinced he’s going to come at this point, and everything will be worked out, but the hangup is still technically present:

  • Am I crazy, or would you absolutely take that offseason:

  • As Ryan correctly notes, the Cubs have other needs, but getting a 23-year-old, long-term-controlled potential ace who can also contribute at the plate? There is no other combination of moves the Cubs can realistically make that matches that. It might not even be close.
  • It sounds like the Diamondbacks won’t be able to add significantly in payroll this offseason, so don’t look for them to be major players in the high end of free agency (or maybe even the middle tier).

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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.