Lukewarm Stove: Sale, Gray, Braun, Miller, Diamondbacks Financial Questions, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Sale, Gray, Braun, Miller, Diamondbacks Financial Questions, More

Chicago Cubs Rumors, MLB News and Rumors

Black Friday is here, but there are apparently no deals on MLB players, as action remains very quiet. You can blame the holiday and the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations for that.

But, hey, there are rumors and bits to discuss …

  • No surprises on the Chris Sale price tag, though it still feels like, as it did a couple weeks ago, that the odds are as good as ever that he’ll be dealt this offseason:

  • With everything else held up (presumably) by the CBA negotiations, it’s not surprising that there might be a team or two waiting to move aggressively on Sale until they see what’s what with the CBA (and what’s what with the immediate fallout in the free agent market).
  • Speaking of which, Ken Rosenthal was on CSN’s A’s Insider podcast, and mentioned that he does believe we will see “big” pitchers traded this offseason, and would be surprised if at least one of the Sale/Jose Quintana/Chris Archer/Sonny Gray group was not traded. Rosenthal isn’t sure, specifically, that Gray will be the one traded, because his value right now is very hard to gauge after the down 2016 season. (h/t MLBTR)
  • Ryan Braun tells the AP that it’s hard not knowing whether he’ll still be with the Brewers next season. On the one hand, Braun makes plenty of sense to trade, given that the Brewers are rebuilding, he’s coming off of a good season, and it would probably be nice to move his contract. On the other hand, in a market loaded with available outfield options, how much will the 33-year-old previously-PED-suspended-bat-only-$80-million-still-left-on-his-deal guy net? Perhaps not much. And if the Brewers could be a sneaky contender in the next year or two (I think they could be), it might just be best to hang onto him.
  • The Nationals are all over the place in their possible offensive moves this offseason, with a wide range of bats they could look to add. That is all in addition to the many rumors about how they could go crazy in their rotation and try to add an arm like Sale.
  • If you’re just now checking in post-Thanksgiving, note that the Diamondbacks and Mariners got together on a big deal late Wednesday night, and the Braves signed Sean Rodriguez yesterday.
  • Speaking of the Diamondbacks and that trade (which netted them righty Taijuan Walker), Buster Olney writes about the precarious financial position Arizona is in if they hang onto righty Zack Greinke (due $34 million in 2017, and at least that much for four years after that) and also keep payroll in the $100 million range. It’s not difficult to see the problem when one of the 25 guys on your big league roster is earning a full 1/3 of the available cash. Olney’s piece mostly focuses on the possibility of the Diamondbacks dumping Greinke for as much salary savings as possible (boy that was a silly signing if the D-Backs weren’t committing to growing their payroll), but also mentions lesser salaries that impact the team’s flexibility (including that of Jean Segura, who was included in the trade to the Mariners).
  • Might the D-Backs then also be interested in unloading disappointing righty Shelby Miller, who is projected to make almost $5 million next year? After an absolutely brutal trade last winter to acquire Miller, who legitimately looked to be on the brink of a huge breakout, it would be embarrassing for the Diamondbacks to dump him now, but this is a new front office. Perhaps they will consider cutting their losses, particularly in light of their now overcrowded rotation. Miller, 26, was terrible in every way in 2016 – there’s no denying that – but if a team like the Cubs thinks they could reclaim him, I’d be very interested in seeing them reach out. Miller still has three years of team control remaining. The Cubs, you’ll recall, were heavily implicated in Miller trade rumors at this time last year.
  • Anthony Castrovince puts together a handful of completely hypothetical trades, and, for the Cubs and Rays, he proposes a Jorge Soler, Drew Smyly swap. It makes sense in terms of team needs and financial situations, but both players are very hard to value, because the on-field health and performance doesn’t necessarily match the upside (particularly so with Soler). I won’t go deep on this, because it’s just a conversation piece, but I do think it’s important to remember that Soler’s trade value, despite his enormous upside, may not be significant in this market.
  • Obligatory sharing this again, in case you hadn’t seen:


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.