After a rumor-heavy, but transaction-light first day and a half of the Winter Meetings, the last 24 hours have really picked things up.
As for today, the Cubs have been connected to Danny Salazar, the Rockies added one or maybe two relievers, the Cardinals finally made their big trade, Anthony Swarzak came off the board (more on that in a second), the Cubs are still in on Wade Davis, the Cardinals may soon send Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, and plenty of other rumors/transactions continue to circulate.
Speaking of which …
- Now that the Cardinals have landed their big middle of the order bat in Marcell Ozuna (much more on that here), Jeff Passan explains what happens next:
Sources: Now that Marcell Ozuna has been dealt to St. Louis, Christian Yelich is in play. Marlins are telling teams they’ll trade him, though price will be even higher than Ozuna, with Yelich under control for up to five years at $58.25 million.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 13, 2017
- Yelich is the slightly younger, arguably better overall player, who’s on a team friendly contract for three years more than the two years Ozuna has remaining. All things equal, the Cardinals would’ve definitely preferred to land Yelich, so you can pretty much expect his cost in trade to be far greater than whatever the Cardinals are ponying up. But then again, despite the five years of team control remaining, the Marlins are very serious about cutting payroll and Yelich is owed almost $60M, so maybe, at some point, they’ll just take the best offer they receive. For what it’s worth, here are their Steamer Projections for 2018:
- Yelich: .292/.376/.462; 115 wRC+, 4.0 WAR
- Ozuna: .288/.352/.509; 125 wRC+, 3.5 WAR
- And before I can even click publish, reports are suggesting that the Marlins will likely to hold onto Yelich. This is but one example of a half dozen reports like this that came out almost simultaneously:
Marlins-connected person says Miami plans to hold on to Christian Yelich and build around him. Under control through 2022. I bet he’s thrilled.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 13, 2017
- Did Passan just get it wrong, or does the very-clever-and-effective Marlins front office want teams to come crawling to them with Yelich offers? I’ll let you decide that one.
- Insta-Update, eh hem eh hem:
Marlins are regrouping now and plan to talk to Christian Yelich about how he feels about staying. He’s frustrated to see 3 best friends/top players go. So he may say he wants to go, which may trigger trade of him, too.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 13, 2017
- The Marlins may now, however, be willing to move former Cubs’ starter Dan Straily, who had a pretty-much-league-average season on the mound in 2017 (2.0 WAR, 4.26 ERA, 181.2 IP).
- Before we step away from the Cardinals entirely, I want to add that Ken Rosenthal is now hearing that they and the Mariners are going after free agent reliever Juan Nicasio. Adding more to the team over the next two seasons will likely become a priority for the Cardinals, as they look to capitalize on Ozuna’s presence, and adding to their bullpen was always part of this offseason calculus. So far, they’ve added only Luke Gregerson there.
- About that Anthony Swarzak deal:
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 13, 2017
- The Cubs had been loosely connected to Swarzak, who had a very good 2017 season and is getting a very reasonable deal with the Mets, but I’m not too upset to miss out on his sweepstakes. Especially considering the continued presence of Addison Reed and Wade Davis still on the free agent market (either of whom I’d be thrilled to see the Cubs land on the right deal), plus a few potential trade irons in the fire (Zach Britton, Alex Colome?) as well.
- If you’re wondering where all the big free agent signings have been (Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish, J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, etc.), Scott Boras suggests that a “trade haze” has slowed those discussions. I can certainly understand how guys like Manny Machado, Giancarlo Stanton, Zack Greinke, Chris Archer, Danny Duffy, Danny Salazar, Ozuna, Yelich, and others could throw a wrench in things.
- Speaking of Greinke, he’s another potential big piece on the move this winter:
Sources: Talk between #Rangers and #DBacks on Greinke is real but complex on several fronts. Other clubs also inquiring on Greinke. AZ would need to have another SP in place if it moves Greinke (or Corbin). Question of whether #DBacks would take Choo, play him in LF vs. RHPs.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2017
- It sounds like Greinke and/or Patrick Corbin are theoretically available and getting bites, but also that discussions have been very preliminary so far. When multiple teams are involved, it’s often hard to get the ball rolling (and it’s not like a deal needs to be done today). Still, those are two big names available, and could easily gum up the free agent starting pitcher market for a little while yet.
- Joel Sherman is hearing that as many as ten teams have engaged free agent Todd Frazier, including the Yankees. Though Sherman adds that New York would be more inclined to add Frazier if they could move Jacoby Ellsbury (with the money he’s owed) first. Instead, he writes, they’re focused on adding another starting pitcher.
- Speaking of adding another starting pitcher, maybe the Cubs won’t be going after one in free agency after all. Dave Kaplan seems to be hearing that the Cubs/Indians chatter is legit, and Brett offers a little more:
There are tons of plausible explanations (Cobb demand still deemed too high; Cubs not actually serious on Cobb; Cubs prefer trade targets; Cubs want six quality starters; etc.), and I can't tell you which one(s) are correct. I just believe the trade stuff is no pure smoke screen.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 13, 2017
- From my perspective, it still makes plenty of sense to add a starter via trade. The Cubs have more position players than they can afford a full time spot, and while having “depth” is good, it’s not like you prefer two guys splitting time (and generating less value independently) rather than converting the lost value into a pitcher. If the right arm is made available, I think the Cubs should pull the trigger.
- But, Bruce Levine reminds us, the Cubs are still involved in the market for free agent righty Alex Cobb.
- And here’s a reminder that big name free agents are still out there:
For whatever it's worth, I've had two pretty solid Twins sources tell me that their pursuit of Yu Darvish is legitimate. I'm still very skeptical, perhaps just out of habit.
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) December 13, 2017
- Meanwhile, the Giants are still searching for an outfielder:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2017