I had a rough morning. I slept through my alarm – haven’t done that in a while – and was promptly greeted by snow when I took my dog outside. I wasn’t even done griping about how early it gets dark and how the Cubs are clearly broke (I kid), but now I already gotta deal with snow? Come on, universe.
- According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cardinals are not as interested in Bryce Harper as those on the outside want them to be. Rosenthal concedes that some teams hide their intentions – like the Cubs, right??! … He asked through a stream of tears – but the Cardinals appear to be more interested in adding a corner infielder than outfielder. And thanks to Matt Carpenter’s ability to play first and third, that player could be native to either spot. And to that end, you’ll be happy to hear Manny Machado, like Harper, is not expected to be a free agent target of the Cardinals, either. Instead, Mike Moustakas or Josh Donaldson could be the guy (and the Cardinals were connected to both in trade rumors over the season, so that does make sense). For what it’s worth, I’m starting to think Donaldson would be a pretty great addition for the Cubs on the right deal, too, but if the Cardinals are seriously looking at him, and if there is a perception that the Cubs could be interested, too, that could mean some intentionally misleading rumors are in our future. Be advised.
- Aside from those two, the Cardinals might also consider a trade for Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt, guesses Rosenthal, whom we already know is available. And since the Cardinals would also be willing to move Paul DeJong from shortstop to third base, that means they could theoretically add to first, third, or short and move everyone else accordingly. That’s a lot of options.
- Also from Rosenthal: the acquisition cost of Indians starters, the Marlins futile efforts to extend J.T. Realmuto, and the Reds interest in trading prospects (or even Scooter Gennett) for starting pitching. Check it out.
- According to Joel Sherman, the Rangers are interested in trading for starting pitching and have Jurickson Profar to offer. Meanwhile, the Yankees are potentially interested in trading for someone like Profar, and have Sonny Gray to offer. But thanks to a down season and impending free agency, Gray, alone, isn’t enough to foot the bill. But that has me thinking: Wouldn’t Profar be an interesting target for the Cubs? I believe they could reasonably trade from their starting depth to make it happen and the Cubs/Rangers love trading together.
- Sure, Profar was an above-average hitter for only the first time last season, after a long path of struggles and injuries, but he’s still just 25-years-old and is capable of playing shortstop. If the Cubs move on from Addison Russell – which, in my opinion, they should – getting someone to back up Javy Baez at short is a priority. And getting someone with Profar’s upside (he’s a former TOP prospect) would be promising and exciting. Just food for thought. Food that most teams are probably also happy to consider chewing.
- Jon Heyman dumps notes on every team at FanCred and Cubs sources have apparently told him they are not required to stay under the luxury tax threshold this year. But I’m not so sure that report makes any sense. The Cubs are already WELL past the initial luxury tax threshold and are right up against the second tier. So … whether they like it or not, they’re probably going over. The real question is whether that top tier will be a motivating factor and that remains unclear/unanswered by this report.
- The LA Times appeals to Andrew Friedman and the city of Los Angeles for the apparent lack of interest in Bryce Harper. According to Dylan Hernandez, the city needs a star baseball player, like Harper, and they have the money to do it. Of course, that doesn’t change the multiple reports that the Dodgers (and Cubs) are likely to sit this one out. We shall see.
- And everything gets weirder when you consider how plainly “out” on Bryce Harper the Yankees appear to be, too, and how even their interest in Manny Machado might be cooling. If the Cubs, Yankees, and Dodgers are all actually out on Harper and Machado, the Phillies might be the offseason’s biggest winners before it starts. (I half kid, because you KNOW there will still be a ton of teams in on those guys.)
- In any case, Joel Sherman discusses the Yankees many desires and plans this offseason – primarily, grabbing a starter, like free agent Patrick Corbin or trade targets like Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco, about whom the Yankees already met with the Indians.
- But the Indians aren’t the only team with starters the Yankees covet:
#Yankees among teams that have spoken to #Mariners about a trade for LHP James Paxton, sources tell The Athletic. Paxton has two years of control left and is projected by @mlbtraderumors to earn $9M in arbitration next season. NYY also on free-agent LH starters Corbin, Happ, etc.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 9, 2018
- I think the Mariners are going to play a big role in this offseason, depending on how far they take their roster tear-down, and the Yankees’ moves will be interesting to follow, too, particularly how much they spend in free agency. (Note last night’s rumor about the Cubs and Dee Gordon, by the way.)
- How about Brian Dozier as the back-up (Harper), back-up (Machado), back-up (Marwin Gonzalez), back-up (Jed Lowrie), back-up (McCutchen/Donaldson), back-up plan:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 8, 2018
- Some additional info, and I agree with everything Brett says here:
To be sure, Dozier is 31 now, and *IS* coming off a very down 2018 season (injury or not, it was down), so counting on him as an "impact" addition going forward would not be wise. But buy low if other options are off the table and you want a dedicated 2B addition? Shrug. Maybe.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 8, 2018
- Do I think Dozier could have some magic left? Sure, absolutely. Am I willing to gamble on that when there are so many other interesting options out there? I mean, not yet, unless the Cubs are convinced he’s actually a better option than a number of the guys who – from the outside – seem a better investment.
- Jon Heyman confirms that versatility is in. Specifically, that means the Nationals, Yankees, and Reds are all interested in Josh Harrison, and literally all “but one team” is interested in Marwin Gonzalez. I was also interested in Gonzalez for the Cubs, but honestly, I don’t think they need to go out of their way to get him, though it sounds like that would be necessary.
- One of this offseason’s biggest mysteries is how the New York Mets will operate in free agency and trade, with a new (former player-agent) GM. On the one hand, I can see them spending wildly based on a perceived competitive window (with Jacob deGrom there for two more years), as well as the reputation of their new GM Brodie Van Wagenen. But on the other hand … #Mets. Here’s the latest:
Mets checked in on Wilson Ramos and Martin Maldonado in catching search. Other catchers who are free agents: Grandal, Chirinos, Lucroy, Suzuki, Wieters. Via trade maybe Realmuto, Gomes/Perez
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 8, 2018
My free agent catching list is incomplete. Also McCann, Hundley, Ellis, Mesoraco, R. Rivera, Mathis, Vogt, Stewart, Gimenez, Butera, Salty, Lobaton. https://t.co/4ADMdVfMbJ
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 9, 2018
- Also keep in mind on the Mets: they could be facing a division with three *very* good teams at the top next year.
- Willson Contreras had some issues last season and the Cubs still need a quality, veteran back-up, but I am happy with him as the Cubs starter, and even happier that they’ve got a young guy with upside to stick behind the plate. It’s not easy to find a good catcher, but I think Willson Contreras is great – ups and downs and all. More on the catcher front:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 7, 2018
- Interestingly, the Braves have Kurt Suzuki as their outgoing 1B catcher, another guy who could be a Cubs target.
- If you’d like to be reminded why Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are impressive, just take a look at various GMs discussing the importance of playoff performance on free agency. While most GMs tout the importance of playoff experience and how huge those appearances can pump up a FA’s case, Epstein and Hoyer respond with phrases like “case-by-case basis,” and mention sample size, recency bias, and focusing on what real adjustments were made instead of the results. Yeah, they’re good ones.
- Scott Boras discusses the future for Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez, each of whom could be premier free agents (again, in Martinez’s case) after the 2019 season.