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The Hot Stove Gets Set on Fire, Ohtani, Stanton, Harper, Money Talk, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News, Chicago Cubs Rumors, MLB News and Rumors

What a 24 hours this has been. Every storyline the baseball world had rolling has been completely flipped on its head. Just 24 hours ago, you could have very credibly argued that the Angels felt like the least likely team to land Shohei Ohtani among his seven finalists. You could have argued that Giancarlo Stanton was, of course, eventually going to wind up with the Giants or maybe the Cardinals.


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Also, the free agent and trade markets were totally clogged by those two players.

And now, boom. Ohtani is an Angel. Stanton is a Yankee. Up, down, black, white, etc., etc. Things are now all set up for an extremely active and free-flowing Winter Meetings, which kick off on Monday (though it seems like the Sunday before always has a little something going on as teams and/or agents and/or players arrive at the meetings)

  • Buster Olney reports that many teams expect that MLB will investigate the Ohtani signing, not because they already suspect anything suspicious in the Angels’ pursuit, but because of the unique nature of the whole thing. It seems like, given the hammer MLB dropped on the Braves for their IFA malfeasance, and the unprecedented attention the Ohtani process received, it will have been difficult for the Angels to have gotten away with anything under the table. So I generally don’t expect it.

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  • But I still have jokes:

  • With the Yankees already on the way up, adding Stanton, and with the Red Sox looking loaded, is there a chance that a couple AL East teams decide to pull the trigger on a short rebuild? You can make a very good argument for any of the Orioles, Rays, or Blue Jays to sell-sell-sell, and each has some short-term pieces that would be very compelling on the trade market. I’d be shocked if at least one of them didn’t pull the trigger on some moves this week at the Winter Meetings. Machado? Britton? Donaldson? Gausman? Brach? O’Day? Colome? Kiermaier? Archer?

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  • Since the Yankees are getting $30 million from the Marlins, they get to spread that out evenly over the 10 years they’re taking on, for luxury tax purposes. That means the $25 million AAV in Stanton’s deal drops to $22 million for the Yankees – in luxury tax terms, that’s a steal (and, candidly, makes you think about how much more someone like Bryce Harper is going to get in free agency, in terms of AAV – it could easily hit $35 million or more). Obviously the Marlins were against the wall, but this is just a home run for the Yankees.
  • (Which always makes me think about why there aren’t teams out there signing veteran players – guys who know they are inking their final major contract – to deals of monster lengths so that the AAV is driven down. Example, a 35-year-old player who can only find a $20 million guarantee out there. Say he knows he’s going to be done after his next deal, and the Mets are offering him that $20 million over two years. The Cubs want him, too, and are willing to spend $21 million … on a brand new 10-year contract. The AAV on his deal, instead of being $10 million, would be a mere $2.1 million. He plays two years, and then they release him, and he gets the rest of his contract (or, alternatively, just front-load the deal so the player doesn’t have to wait on his money). So the player gets a little more money, and the Cubs get a tiny AAV. I’m sure the Commissioner could squash this kind of deal if you were too obvious, but why not play with it at the margins, especially now that the luxury tax penalties are so harsh?)
  • That said, now that Stanton is in New York with a long-term contract, can we suggest the Cubs gained a slight edge?

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  • Get ready to hear a lot about collusion, with Derek Jeter sending Stanton to his old team on a sweetheart deal. In reality, the story isn’t collusion so much as a terrible contract with a painful no-trade clause, combined with an ownership group that was allowed to buy a franchise with pocket lint.
  • Cooking and kitchen stuff at Amazon for the Deals of the Day!

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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.