You may have noticed – hopefully you’ve noticed! – we don’t take any days off here at BN. It’s partly because there’s always *something* going on in the baseball world on any given day, but it’s mostly because we figure folks want to be informed/entertained/distracted on any given day. And since we love what we do, it’s not really an issue to oblige.
That said, there’s one day a year that we do shut down (barring some massive, cataclysmic news or rumor that *ABSOLUTELY MUST BE DISCUSSED*). Each year on Christmas Day, we go dark to do the various family fun things.
So, to you and yours, a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. We’ll be back in full force on Tuesday. And, because I won’t leave you with coal in your stockings, here’s a Lukewarm Stove to help you get through …
- Earlier, Nick Cafardo dropped a line that the Cubs were the team having the “most substantive” talks with the Orioles about Manny Machado, which is rather surprising. Since it was probably the most very-Cubs-connected rumor we’ve seen, it finally pushed me over the edge into doing some fantasizing:
Because I've believed a move to be so unlikely, I haven't really let myself dream on a 2018 lineup w/Machado in there. But, um, lulz:
(No obvious leadoff option again, so I'm just parking Schwarber for now.)
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 25, 2017
- To be clear, I’m still not on board with the idea of trading Addison Russell straight up for Machado. But in a world where that trade happens, or some other trade for Machado and a separate trading involving Russell, it’s fun to think about the middle of that 2018 Cubs lineup. It’s hard to figure out the leadoff spot once again, since you’ve got the big bats and then some low OBP guys. When Ian Happ starts, maybe he could be the guy at the top – which is a fun reminder that that lineup doesn’t even have Ian Happ or Ben Zobrist in it.
- Cafardo’s notes had a lot more in them than just the Machado bit. Included in the mentions, Cafardo’s suggestion that the Nationals could look to add Alex Avila as Matt Wieters insurance. That’s a pretty good fit there, since Wieters is not necessarily a sure-fire, daily starter for that Nats team. Here’s hoping the Cubs can figure out a way to get Avila back. Cafardo also indicates the Rangers are still mulling a run at Yu Darvish.
- Speaking of Darvish and the Rangers, Jeff Wilson has a very harsh assessment of ownership’s limitations this offseason, which he believes has pushed the front office to “[shop] on the clearance rack.” Wilson says that the Rangers and Darvish’s agent remain in contact, but the asking price has been too high based on the Rangers’ budget. It sounds like they’re hanging around in case the market – pushed by other teams that are holding tight to the reins this offseason – never develops and they can get a bargain.
- The New York Daily News reports that talks between the Yankees and Pirates about Gerrit Cole have resumed now that the Pirates have accepted that they’re not going to get Gleyber Torres. It still feels like Cole will eventually wind up with the Yankees, which will have a number of implications on the market and in the NL Central.
- The Orioles are not expected to dump Zach Britton after his Achilles injury, which means they’ll ride out his recovery and hope he becomes a trade chip by July, or contributes to a very surprisingly competitive team. It’s also possible – albeit a longshot – that the team could convert Britton back into a starter and try to extend him, per Roch Kubatko. Given his unique situation and the oops the Orioles made by not trading him last year, I wouldn’t rule anything out at this point.
- Among Buster Olney’s latest notes, he says that rivals feel it would be a surprise if the Dodgers – led by Andrew Friedman – went aggressively after a 10 or 12-year commitment in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes next offseason. That hasn’t been Friedman’s MO is the rationale … but, you know, they obviously made the Matt Kemp trade to get under the luxury tax level so that they’d be in a spot to spend aggressively next offseason. Re-signing Clayton Kershaw after he opts out is a big part of that, I’m sure, but I’d be shocked if they were not serious pursuers of Harper (or even Manny Machado, because why not?). You don’t see 25-year-old superstars becoming free agents every year, and a deep-pocketed team like the Dodgers is going to recognize that.
- Olney also says the Blue Jays intend on hanging onto Josh Donaldson (another post-2018 free agent) through the offseason, despite persistent rumors about interested teams (including, for one notable example, the Cardinals).
- One other thing to get you through the holiday – huge deals:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 24, 2017