Last night, the Cardinals went out and traded for one of the best players in baseball, Paul Goldschmidt. Sure, they gave up some moderately compelling young players with a ton of team control in the process, but I suspect they’ll still be more than happy to have him for 2019, when he can make a pretty significant impact on the NL Central (more on that, specifically, in a bit).
- But what about beyond 2019? From the outside, the next 1-2 years sure felt like a mini-window of contention for the Cardinals, given the makeup of their roster and expiring contracts, but perhaps that window extends if they can keep Goldschmidt around long-term. Based on early reporting and recent history …
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 5, 2018
- … we know that the Cardinals will try, but will it be easy? Ken Rosenthal isn’t so sure. He points out that the trade and extend trend stopped with Jason Heyward, who happens to be managed by the same agency as Goldschmidt. There are plenty of difference between the two – and the Cardinals appear to be optimistic – but it’s far from a certainty. Rosenthal also gets some league reactions to the return.
- Rosenthal also points out that, according to BP’s WAR metric (now fueled by the DRC+), D.J. LeMahieu was the 18th most valuable player in baseball last season. I … think that probably takes things too far the other way, but, again, *if* the Cubs are forced to play in this tier of free agency for whatever financial reasons, I sure hope they look at LeMahieu seriously. His Gold Glove (sans Javy) defense provides an excellent floor, his price tag should be low, and we now have evidence that he was both better than we thought last season *and* stands to improve next season.
- The loaded relief market has been awfully quiet so far, and it’s an area where the Cubs will need to make some moves, regardless of how much money they have to spend.
- The Mets are open about their pursuits of potential Cubs targets Andrew Miller and Zach Britton, which could obviously make things complicated for Chicago given how aggressive the Mets have been. Britton, however, is reportedly prioritizing teams that would make him the closer, so the Mets, who’ve got a really good one now in Edwin Diaz, might not be the right fit. The Cubs, for what it’s worth, would probably prefer to keep Brandon Morrow in the “closer” role, if only because it’s a bit easier to really limit his usage that way, though I suppose it wouldn’t be out of the question to bump him from that role and protect him in other ways.
- The Mets are also clear about their interest in free agent outfielder A.J. Pollock. And, as Jeff Todd points out, that interest may intensify as the Mets come closer to sending someone like Michael Conforto and/or Brandon Nimmo to the Marlins for catcher J.T. Realmuto. I’ve also considered A.J. Pollock a loose Cubs target this winter, behind guys like Bryce Harper, and more realistically, Andrew McCutchen or Michael Brantley, but his market might wind up being too much, especially if the NL East gets involved. He’s younger than some of the Cubs’ other free agent options, but he’s not my first choice.
- Perhaps as they watched Paul Goldschmidt leave for St. Louis, the Dodgers pivoted to another first baseman:
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) December 5, 2018
- Before unpacking the White Sox angle, I will say that, with Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger in the fold, targeting a first baseman like Jose Abreu is odd, but perhaps there’s something larger at work. Of course, Abreu, like Goldschmidt, is also a free agent at the end of 2019, so maybe the Dodgers just want to overload on offense and figure out where everyone plays later.
- As discussed in my live stream rumor chat yesterday, I could see trading Abreu as an excellent move for the Sox. If they get a big league ready return for Abreu, one year from free agency, and offer time at first base to Bryce Harper (as a way to prolong his career at a less physically demanding position) that could really jump start their contention. And if the Indians insist on not taking their hold on the division seriously by trading one of their top three starters, the White Sox could surprise with a young roster.
- As I was writing this post, the Red Sox agreed to terms with starter Nathan Eovaldi, so the Yankees are forced to pivot once again:
Happ is Yankees’ next pitching target. They didn’t want to go past 3 years on Eovaldi, who is a hero in Boston anyway.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 6, 2018
- The Yankees will also want to trade Sonny Gray at some point this winter and the Padres were the latest team rumored to come calling. I wouldn’t count the Brewers out on Gray, though even if the go the trade route, there are even better options out there (Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, etc.).
- Of course, the original starting pitcher trade rumors (re the Brewers) began with Madison Bumgarner. But according to Giants president Farhan Zaidi, that talk is overblown. Get this: “I can tell you this, and it speaks a little bit to the accuracy of some of those reports, one of the teams that was mentioned in that (MLB.com) article shot me a text the morning it came out and said, ‘Hey, I hear we’re talking to you guys about Madison Bumgarner. Should we be?'” Zaidi said. “That gives you a little sense of the accuracy of some of the stuff that’s out there.” Perhaps, Bumgarner is not actually on the trade block after all. (Buuuuut, he probably should be.)
- At Yahoo Sports, Tim Brown runs down all of the theoretically STILL available talent on the trade market, and even though we’ve been discussing many of these names, seeing them all in one place is still shocking.
- And finally, I would sure love the Cubs to see what it would take to get Raisel Iglesias … maybe a young outfielder:
In the week since the Reds cut loose Billy Hamilton, they have been active in their search for outfield help.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 6, 2018
- Meanwhile, as a bench guy, Hamilton would be a fun fit for the Cubs.