Lukewarm Stove: Hammel, Dozier, Darvish, Ross, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Hammel, Dozier, Darvish, Ross, More

Chicago Cubs Rumors, MLB News and Rumors

old stove feature

I’m watching a new show on Netflix called The OA, and so far so good … I think.

I’m only a few episodes in – I started completely blind, no trailers, articles, anything – and as far as I can tell it’s another science-fiction/mystery type not unlike ‘Stranger Things’.

I’m actually hoping it becomes a little less grounded in reality, but I guess I’ll see. Any one else catch it yet?

Anyway, you’re here for some baseball rumors, so let’s get into those. It may be January, but that doesn’t mean the stove is cooling off just yet. There’s still plenty of time and decisions to be made.

  • At, John Perrotto writes that many teams are unwilling to commit more than just one year to former Cubs starter Jason Hammel, after the Cubs left him off the postseason roster because of “elbow tightness.” I do want to point out that while, yes, Hammel was scratched from his last start of the season (September 30) with elbow tightness, it was at the time considered to be a precautionary move so that he could pitch in the postseason if necessary. In other words, I was never under the impression that the elbow injury was the reason he was left off the roster. I believe that was more of a performance, roster, and need-based decision.
  • Now, that’s also not a great sign for a future team, but underperforming relative to the rest of the Cubs’ dominant 2016 pitching staff (especially when you consider how postseason rosters are constructed) isn’t nearly as damming as an elbow injury. I’m guessing he’ll get more than just one season soon enough, and he’ll help a team in 2017.
  • Brian Dozier is still available in trade, and from the sound of it, the Twins are really looking to move him this offseason, when his value has never been higher. Among the interested parties, the Dodgers (potentially dangling top pitching prospect Jose De Leon) are in play, as are the Giants, but they aren’t thought to have the pieces (young pitching) to get it done. The Cardinals are something of a dark horse, with unclear intentions on Dozier, but do have the pieces (Alex Reyes) to pull it off.
  • Let’s pause there for a moment. I wouldn’t necessarily want the Cardinals to land Dozier, because he’s inarguably a pretty good player … but if they traded Alex Reyes as part of a package for Dozier (who we know just had a career year), we’d be okay with that, right? Or are we too falling victim to the overvaluation of young, cost-controlled starting pitchers? The Nationals and Braves might also be interested. [Brett: If it was just Reyes – who comes with serious command/control risks, despite the killer stuff – in a one-for-one, I’d call that a solid deal for the Cardinals. I’d question whether right now is the best time to really make a go-for-it, shorter-term move like that, but I don’t think that’s an imbalanced trade. If it was Reyes plus more (as I suspect it would be), then I might be persuaded that it was a good deal from the Cubs’ perspective.]
  • At the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo has a flurry of rumors from all around the league. Among them, word is that the White Sox have yet to receive the type of offer – something akin to the Chris Sale return – for their other available starter, Jose Quintana. According to Cafardo, the Dodgers (yikes), Cardinals (double yikes), Rangers, Phillies, Astros, and Brewers could all “make it happen,” but things are apparently unchanged since last we’ve heard about them.
  • Yu Darvish is entering his final season under contract with the Texas Rangers, wherein he’ll earn just $11 million. Following this season, however, he’ll be a 31-year-old free-agent, or at least, you should hope. Although an extension for the 30-year-old right-hander is always possible, Sports Day is reporting that the Rangers have not yet had any discussions about such a deal, even though they intend on doing so soon. Best guess is they’re waiting for the rest of their offseason to shape up before engaging in those talks during Spring Training, when the budget might be a little clearer. If Darvish does in fact make it to free-agency, that’ll be very good for the Cubs. If they’re interested in Darvish, they can, of course, make an attempt to sign him. But even if they’re not all that interested, other teams may be, which could free up alternatives for the Cubs. With the impending exits of Jake Arrieta and John Lackey, next offseason will be a crucial one for Chicago. The more options the better (and there seem to be quite a few excellent ones).
  • Mike Axisa discuss five non-Otani players in Nippon Pro Baseball who could interest MLB teams in the near future. Among the five players listed, four are starting pitchers and each shows some serious promise, albeit with a few notable potential hang-ups. Kohei Arihara is just 24-years-old and had a sub 3.00 ERA last season, but carried just a 16.1% strikeout rate and missed time in college with an elbow injury. Shintaro Fujinami came up alongside Shohei Otani and was once favored as the better player. He led the league in strikeouts a year ago and had a 3.25 ERA in 2016 … but is just 22-years old, which means he is facing the same restrictions as Otani. Yusei Kukuchi, 25, is a powerful left-handed with an upper-90s fastball and a 2.58 ERA … but has had shoulder problems and is still three years from free agency (so his team would have to post him). And finally, 26-year-old Takahiro Norimoto, who took over as the staff ace of the Eagles once Masahiro Tanaka left for the Yankees, recently signed a three-year extension – which indicates that he’s probably not going anywhere anytime soon.
  • The Cubs will find a starter, my friends. I know it’s been frustrating, but it’s going to happen sooner or later. And remember, at a minimum, there should be plenty of great options next winter. Of course, one of those pitchers is the Cubs’ own Jake Arrieta.
  • To that end, MLB Trade Rumors focuses on the 3 Remaining Needs of every team in the NL Central, and negotiate with Jake Arrieta is the first one for the Cubs. We know that the Cubs will at least make a pass at extending Arrieta this Spring, but may have trouble, given the vastly different opinions on his 2016 season and projections going forward. We’ve discussed this to death, but, yes, it is uniquely difficult to pick an agreeable number on Arrieta.
  • Number 2 for the Cubs, of course, is keep an eye out for starting pitching help. And to that end, Tyson Ross’ name comes up in connection once again. According to MLBTR’s Steve Adams, the Cubs might be a perfect landing spot for Ross, who could take his time returning (as Rob Zastryzny, Aaron Brooks, Jake Buchanan, and most often Mike Montgomery) fill in as starters, before coming back strong and on a big stage. The possible hold-up with Ross hasn’t changed, though, and remains a problem: he likely prefers a one-year deal, while the Cubs (and others) would want to tack on extra years and/or team options. Someone has to blink first.
  • And finally, Charlie Wilmoth’s MLBTR piece contends the Cubs need to get a bit more left-handed in the bullpen. Which, I’m not so sure is necessary anymore. If they do manage to get another starter, Mike Montgomery will be available as a left-handed reliever, while Brian Duensing, Caleb Smith, and Jack Leathersich are options as well. Additionally, as we now know, Koji Uehara (although right-handed) has been particularly tough on lefties throughout his career. Just go out and get that fifth starter (or even a slightly better 6-10 option) and everything else will fall into place.


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.