I can’t make any promises, but after a Lukewarm Stove late last night, a Cubs-Zach Britton rumor after that, and another specific Cubs-Alex Cobb rumor, we may soon be approaching the part of the offseason where there’s multiple stoves per day … and I absolutely love it.
- Let’s kick of today’s stove with an update to the ongoing Cubs-Cobb drama, with a little bit more on how the sides could fit together:
Hearing “lots of teams” with interest in #Rays Cobb to this point, but still preliminary. His interest goes beyond $ and chance of winning but also to clubhouse chemistry.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) November 14, 2017
- Winning and good clubhouse? CHECK. CHECK.
- And how about a rather significant update on the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes, via Buster Olney:
Some rival execs view the Marlins' prospect asking price for Giancarlo Stanton as shockingly high and somewhat out of touch with reality, and not discounted nearly enough given the whopping $295 million he's owed (with the forthcoming out clause after the 2020 season).
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 14, 2017
- Now, it’s not entirely a surprise that the Marlins asking price on Stanton is so high, is it? While I *definitely* don’t think he’s worth a “shockingly high” return on his current contract, I’m sure the Marlins, like all teams, want to start by asking for the moon and dial things back only as they get more serious. Relatedly, the desire to move Stanton has been so loudly broadcast that the Marlins are probably grasping for any semblance of leverage they can get. And, finally, it’s important to remember that there’s a new, inexperienced ownership group in town, and I would’t be surprised to learn that their first steps are, well, “out of touch,” as Olney put it. Put simply, the Marlins are just not going to get a huge return and save all the money on this deal. It just won’t happen. At best, it’s one or the other.
- Sticking with Stanton for a moment, Ken Rosenthal explores the scenario where Stanton wields his no-trade clause firmly this winter, so that the Marlins could work out a trade to the Dodgers next offseason (where Stanton may prefer), when they’d be more financially capable of taking on his contract. Stanton would take some flak for this move, according to Rosenthal, and he’d get a TON of pressure from the Marlins to waive his no-trade, but it’s fully within his right to be choosey. That would be one interesting wrinkle.
- And perhaps it’s already started:
There's a perception at GM meetings that Stanton would not accept deals to #RedSox or #Cardinals. Worth noting same thing was said about Verlander and #Astros. What changed? No-trade clauses in context: https://t.co/5rqYBfRTMV #MLB #stlcards
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) November 14, 2017
- It’s been suggested before, but please, oh please, let it be known that Stanton doesn’t want to go to St. Louis. That would warm my petty heart.
- From that same piece at The Athletic, Rosenthal openly discusses the possibility of a full Rays rebuild this winter (and Jon Heyman writes about the Rays “listening” right now), which would make guys like closer Alex Colome, center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, and starter Chris Archer actually, realistically available (i.e. not just “sure we’ll listen, but the asking price is sky high” available). Obviously, if that happens, it’d have a huge market-impact, especially on the Cubs, who’d definitely be calling on Colome and Archer, if they haven’t already.
- Despite hopes to the contrary, the Cincinnati Reds are reportedly telling teams that closer Raisel Iglesias is staying put this winter. Given his age (27) and remaining years of club control (4), that makes sense, especially given a rather robust free agent market for relievers. Of course, it would also make sense for the Reds to say such things and still hope they’re bowled over by an offer.
- At FanRag, Jon Heyman writes about the currently well-stocked second base trade market, highlighted by names like Jason Kipnis (30 years old), Cesar Hernandez (27), Ian Kinsler (35), Brian Dozier (30), and, now, Dee Gordon (29). So, basically, if you were hoping the Cubs were going to dangle Javy Baez or Ian Happ as second basemen in a trade, this might not be the year to do it. Sure, the Cubs are younger than the field, but there’s plenty of talent and youth to be had on that list, and that means the value the Cubs can command in trade is probably depressed.
- Baseball Prospectus has their version of the Top 50 available free agents and their projected contracts up right now. Interestingly, the Cubs aren’t projected to land any of the high-end free agents (Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish, Alex Cobb, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, Wade Davis, Greg Holland). But they do predict, they’ll be plenty active in the shallower end of the pool: Tony Watson (#45), Fernando Rodney (#38), Tyler Chatwood (#37), and Mike Minor (#16).
- This was the first time I had seen the Cubs specifically attached to Mike Minor, by the way, but he’d actually be a really interesting fit on this team. Minor, 30, converted into a reliever this past season with the Royals, and succeeded immensely in that role: 77.2 IP, 2.55 ERA, 2.62 FIP, 2.1 fWAR. Further, he threw a ton of strikes (28.7 K%), kept the ball in the zone (7.2 BB%), and, as a recently converted reliever, checks the box of finding the next Andrew Miller or Wade Davis, which is something the Cubs front office has repeatedly stated as a goal. He had some injury troubles in recent years (shoulder surgery in 2015), but color me intrigued for now.
- At ESPN Chicago, Jesse Rogers covers the Cubs potential moves this offseason, group by group. In the rotation, for example, he mentions familiar names like Alex Cobb and John Lackey, but also new guys like “reclamation project” Clay Buchholz and Miles Mikolas, who’s returning to MLB from Japan (put that name in your back pocket, since it’s a bit odd for it to otherwise be thrown out there from nowhere). In the bullpen, Rogers suggests that the Cubs might be able to persuade Wade Davis to stay if he’s willing to compromise on something like a three year deal worth $50 or $55 million (which seems oddly specific, if you ask me), so I’d keep an eye on that rumor.
- And, then, of course, he mentions Mike Minor alongside the Cubs – making that two bits of informed speculation at a potential marriage between the two sides. Seriously, I’m very much into this idea.
- Rogers also asks some rival executives on the relative trade value of Addison Russell and Javy Baez – a majority said Russell because he’s more established, but some said that Baez’s ceiling is too tantalizing to pass up. It would be tough to part with either one of them.
- At MLB.com, Mark Feinsand says that Shohei Ohtani’s name has come up often and loudly at the GM Meetings this week, more so than Giancarlo Stanton. We updated his story as recently as yesterday, but like Stanton, that’s a runaway train that isn’t stopping anytime soon. Also in that post is more on the Zach Britton-Cubs rumors from earlier.