In case you missed it today, the Philadelphia Phillies somewhat surprisingly signed outfielder Andrew McCutchen to a three-year, $50M deal with a club option for a fourth year. It’s a good deal for both sides – one I wouldn’t have hated to see the Cubs make – and takes an offensive option and veteran leader off the board.
But is that the end of it?
- After all, this is the Winter Meetings, and sometimes, when one big move goes down, it spurs several others into action, especially when a team was deciding between more than one free agent. In this case, the Phillies, according to Joel Sherman, were deciding between McCutchen and Michael Brantley (whose left-handed bat fit better, but preferred McCutchen’s superior durability). Other teams contemplating a similar decision might be moved to act more quickly on Brantley. And, of course, we could argue that the Cubs should be one of those teams, but it’s fair to wonder if he’s going to draw too much interest and be priced out of their comfort zone. FWIW, Jon Heyman writes that the White Sox and Braves have also been checking in on Brantley, though I suspect his market is far wider than that.
- The Phillies may be less likely to land Bryce Harper now that McCutchen is in the fold, but they are still planning to meet with Manny Machado, along with the White Sox, Phillies, and three(?) mystery teams (or is it as Buster Olney puts it: “Manny Machado will make four in-person visits with teams in the days ahead.”). And as if that weren’t enough, the Phillies also jumping into the J.T. Realmuto trade talks, that are already extensively underway:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 11, 2018
- Despite the Phillies’ apparently genuine interest, Joel Sherman, Andy Martino, and Jon Heyman are all reporting that the Mets are still “really” and “extremely” aggressive in their pursuit to land the Marlins’ catcher, and are weighing whether to include Noah Syndergaard in a deal or something else(?), including young shortstop Amed Rosario. For what it’s worth, that rumored three-team deal between the Mets/Yankees/Marlins is apparently “not progressing” at the moment, but the Mets would still have interest in getting something done with the Marlins directly. Only thing we know for sure: Realmuto is DEFINITELY on the move this winter.
- Not sure if this only fits in with respect to Realmuto or something larger, but FYI:
The Mets and Yankees engaging in talks about a star player is a huge deal. But people in both front offices are skeptical Mets can ultimately stomach Thor in pinstripes
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 11, 2018
- Oh, and if the Mets don’t get Realmuto, Martino is hearing that Yasmani Grandal will immediately become a “strong possibility.” Meanwhile, the White Sox are apparently also looking at Yasmani Grandal as a catching upgrade, as well, but are apparently more likely to land someone in a back-up role versus a starter like Realmuto.
- Speaking of back-up catchers, the Oakland A’s have reached an agreement with free agent catcher Chris Herrmann. The Cubs are looking for a backup catcher, but hadn’t yet been connected to Herrmann – that I’ve seen – so that’s actually a good thing for their hunt.
- The Giants continue to show interest/be favorites for Japanese southpaw Yusei Kikuchi. There doesn’t seem to be a ton out there right now on Kikuchi, and I think that’s because of his preference for the West Coast and a robust starting pitcher trade market.
- According to Jon Morosi, the Dodgers have shown some interest in Tigers outfielder Nick Castellanos, which is a bit strange given that they’ve been trying to move one or two outfielders in a deal for one of the Indians starting pitchers (like Corey Kluber). Then again, Morosi says there’s not a lot of momentum at the moment, so maybe they’re considering Castellanos as a backup to Bryce Harper, should they whiff on those attempts.
- According to Bob Nightengale, the Boston Red Sox are apparently trying to clear some salary space to make room for bullpen help (remember, they’re potentially losing Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly to free agency), which means they’re willing to listen on Rick Porcello, Xander Bogaerts, and even Jackie Bradley Jr. Ken Rosenthal and Joel Sherman confirmed that report with a rival executive, so it appears to be quite true. Chris Cotillo, meanwhile, doesn’t believe the Sox would move Bogaerts, and, frankly, he’s the only one who would theoretically make sense for the Cubs if they move on from Addison Russell (though the acquisition cost would be high).
- In case you missed it earlier, this was somewhat unexpected:
ROSTER MOVE: We've released SS Troy Tulowitzki, making him a free agent.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) December 11, 2018
- With $38 million over two years still left on his deal, the Toronto Blue Jays have released former star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. If a new team signs him to a Major League deal, they’ll only have to pay him the big league minimum, while the Blue Jays will pay $38M minus that amount. For what it’s worth, Tulo and his agent appear thankful the Blue Jays cut bait sooner than later, letting the former star try to get his plans in place for next season. Tulowitzki hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2016.
- Nelson Cruz, a non-Cubs factor, is drawing interest from the Twins and Rays.
- The Pirates, having just traded Ivan Nova to the White Sox earlier today, are reportedly close to signing Jordan Lyles. Lyles, 28, spent last season with the Padres and Brewers, starting eight games and relieving 27 others. He’s not a top-shelf addition, but with his youth and a 4.11 ERA last year, he’s a nice pickup to pair with the trade of Nova. Solid, low-risk moves by Pittsburgh today.
- Jon Heyman shoots down the rumors that the Braves were willing to listen on Mike Foltynewicz, Ender Inciarte, and Dansby Swanson. Apparently all are “staying put,” as the Braves look to continue adding and pushing forward on 2019.
- As expected, the Nationals’ Patrick Corbin deal is heavily backloaded *and* includes some moderately deferred cash:
Patrick Corbin: 2.5M signing bonus, 12.5m in 2019, 19M in 2020, 24M in 2021, 23M in 2022, 24m in 2023, 35M in 2024 (10M deferred w/o interest). 140m total. #nats
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 11, 2018