After a day of water sliding, video gaming, ridiculous eating, and hand sanitizing, The Little Boy is settling in with some TV, and I have a moment to check in on the latest from the rumor mill …
- I suppose it’s better to be thought the favorite than not, but the implication here – if true – is that the Cubs’ offer still isn’t quite where Yu Darvish wants it to be:
Not sure how close Yu Darvish is to a decision, but the field appears to be narrowing. Some execs think #Cubs are still the frontrunner. The rest of the starting market is waiting for him to make a call.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 27, 2018
- You can only take so much away from info like that without having to do too much speculating, but it feels like the situation is this: Darvish wants the Cubs, but lots of other teams want him, too. The offers from those teams are in the same range as the Cubs, or maybe a touch higher. So Darvish is holding out, wanting to go with the Cubs, but also wanting to get the offer up a little bit. Hence all the reports about the talks and the closeness of a decision and all that stuff. Maybe it really is close, but the sides are each kinda eyeballin’ the other at the five-yard line.
- Jon Heyman says the Twins are not believed to be willing to go beyond five years, and would lose out to the Cubs if all things were equal, so the implication there – again, we have to do some speculating/extrapolating – is that the Twins very well may already be at five years, and the Cubs either aren’t quite there yet, or are at a lower AAV on a five-year deal. If the Cubs match the Twins, and Darvish decides enough is enough, the apparent belief out there is that he’d choose the Cubs.
- As for the Brewers, Heyman suggests that Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn (and maybe Jake Arrieta) are more realistic targets than Darvish. We recently heard that the Brewers *might* be out on all of the top starting pitchers after the Cain/Yelich deals. They could instead be looking to the trade market – they’ve had talks with the Diamondbacks about Patrick Corbin, according to Heyman. The 28-year-old lefty is a free agent after this season, and had a big bounce-back year in 2017 after struggling in his first year and a half after Tommy John surgery. He would be a perfect, affordable addition for the Brewers, and would substantially help their rotation in 2018 now that they’re very much going for it. So … let’s just hope that doesn’t happen.
- The other trade route for the Brewers could be to go after Danny Salazar from the Indians in exchange for their outfield depth.
- The Yankees appear to be hoping to land a second baseman and a starting pitcher for a combined $10 to $15 million, so you can still count them out on Darvish unless they are able to find a take for some of Jacoby Ellsbury’s salary.
- Manny Machado is on the move – no, it’s not the long-discussed trade, it’s the move to shortstop. In advance of free agency, Machado will get a season to show he’s still got the defensive chops at shortstop. If he does well there, and bounces back at the plate, he’ll be right there neck-and-neck with Bryce Harper to see who can top Giancarlo Stanton’s $325 million contract.
- The Nationals don’t have many spots where they could upgrade, but adding JT Realmuto to the catching mix would definitely do the trick:
The only way the Nationals are going to get J.T. Realmuto is for the Marlins to be willing to move off Victor Robles/Juan Soto and accept a package of prospects. And I'm hearing Marlins may be willing to do so.
— Pete Kerzel (@masnPete) January 26, 2018
- Given the movement in the NL Central this offseason (i.e., the improvements of the Brewers and Cardinals), my focus has mostly been on the Cubs winning the Central again, rather than the hypothetical playoff match-ups down the road. Still, because the quality of the top of the NL overall could impact the Cubs either by way of the Wild Card or in those hypothetical playoff match-ups, it’s worth following what teams like the Nationals and Dodgers do. Note, by the way, that the Nationals will also be getting Adam Eaton back this year. If they were to add Realmuto, they could be ridiculous.