As expected – with the unofficial, holiday-related deadline beginning this weekend, a flurry of moves were pushed down the pipeline yesterday, and are continuing today.
Cubs relief targets Joakim Soria and Andrew Miller have reportedly agreed to terms with the Athletics and Cardinals, respectively, the Nationals signed Anibal Sanchez to fill out their rotation, the Rockies signed former Cub Daniel Murphy to play some first base at Coors Field, and Trevor Cahill got a healthy one-year commitment from the Angels.
And before I could click publish, the Rangers traded Jurickson Profar to the Oakland A’s as part of a three-team deal.
Obviously, moves can still happen during the holidays, but it’s certainly less common/frequent and the spur of action yesterday reinforces that theory. I would not be surprised at all, then, to see a little more action over the next 12-14 hours (perhaps even this entire weekend), as players, agents, and teams rush to get stuff done before they lie low for a week or two.
- Speaking of Andrew Miller to the Cardinals, here’s the breakdown of his two-year-plus-option deal with the Cardinals:
Andrew Miller’s deal with #STLCards, per source: Two years, $25M, plus vesting option, full no-trade clause. Option worth $12M, vests at 110 games combined in 2019-20. Incentives: $500K per year based on appearances. Breakdown: $11M in 2019, $11.5M in ‘20, $2.5M buyout on option.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 21, 2018
- If he’s unhealthy or ineffective, that option is highly unlikely to vest, so the Cardinals are really only risking two pricey years in this deal. Not a bad risk for a guy who has been in the elite tier of relievers when healthy over the past five years. Having added Miller and Paul Goldschmidt, the Cardinals are potentially much-improved for 2019, especially if Marcell Ozuna’s shoulder surgery helps get him back on track.
- With Andrew Miller off the board, I’m sure the heat on fellow lefty, and potential Cubs target, Zach Britton is about to ratchet up. And according to Jon Heyman, the Phillies and Yankees have been leading the way so far this winter. I’m still not convinced the Cubs are going to be buying any free agent relievers in the tier of Britton (or, say, Adam Ottavino), but the past interest in Britton and the desire for a late-game lefty for the bullpen could change their mind, especially if the price tag is not too onerous.
- And, of course, Craig Kimbrel is still sitting their atop the relief market, and he could be holding things up:
According to a source, it appears that the Red Sox are waiting to see what happens with Craig Kimbrel before making any moves in the relief market.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 21, 2018
- If Kimbrel is waiting on some mystery team out there, and the Red Sox are waiting on Kimbrel, and Britton/Ottavino are waiting on the Red Sox, etc., you can see how quickly things get bogged down. For what it’s worth, Kimbrel apparently wants $100 million, which would mark an extreme new high for relievers, so we might be waiting for a while. Also, note: David Robertston is likely mixed up in the mess, too, as a long-rumored Red Sox target this offseason.
- Manny Machado wrapped up his visits this week with back-to-back stops in New York and Philadelphia, plus the South Side trip earlier this month. So it’s fair to wonder if he’s close to a decision. And when that decision is made, we’ll all be extremely interested to see just how much he gets. Unlike Bryce Harper, Machado’s guarantee of a $300M contract doesn’t seem quite as certain. Of course, part of that has to do with the apparent “hit” his value took after a contentious October in Milwaukee, and on the “hustling” front, but also his perceived lack of leadership skills – not my words.
- At The Athletic, Dan Connolly, who’s been very close to the Orioles over Machado’s career, gets into this issue, digging into what type of player Machado is now and will be going forward, seemingly questioning how much of a discount he should offer because he’s not ever going to be a leader. To which I say: Who freakin’ cares, man? Not every guy has to be a leader. That’s not primarily what you’re paying them for. You need your David Rosses out there, absolutely, but you also need the other guys. I’m growing tired of this conversation and am beginning to believe the volume of that coverage is unreasonable. To be clear, Connolly is perfectly fair to Machado in his coverage, and might be one of the best people to comment on it anyway, it’s just that the whole premise is growing tiresome, and I didn’t care much for it the first 50 times we were told. Also, it’s not like Harper hasn’t been in his fair share of scraps and no one says a word.
- If you’re desperate for some Bryce Harper/Manny Machado coverage, Jon Heyman has it here. In a post from last night, Heyman gets into the full background/story of where Harper and Machado might and might not sign. There’s not a ton of new information, but it’s a good recap of where we’re at.
- Last offseason, I had hoped the Cubs would be interested in signing reliever Mike Minor, but the Rangers gave him a big three-year, $28M deal with some limited no-trade protection and a promise to be a starting pitcher. A year later, and they’re open to trading him. Unfortunately, the Cubs are not among the teams leading the way:
#Mets, #Phillies showing heaviest trade interest in #Rangers LHP Mike Minor, sources tell The Athletic. NYM could use Minor as starter and reliever, but they are on his 10-team no-trade list, complicating matters. PHI not on list; could be sent there without restriction.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 21, 2018
- If Minor is really willing to go back into the bullpen, I’d really hope the Cubs would be interested – especially given how well they trade with the Rangers. Minor is a lefty, like the Cubs want, and could cover probably 80-90 innings if deployed strategically. He’s not super cheap, but he’s just 30 and I think he’d be well worth the price, whatever it may be.
- Speaking of the reliever trade market, the Giants could get in on the action now that more of the free agents have signed:
Giants have been waiting for Miller and a couple others to sign, opening up some opportunities to potentially trade their own left-handed relievers. (Of course, St. Louis was a rumored home for Smith.) https://t.co/YoUg4ZJNuS
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) December 21, 2018
- The Padres, weirdly, designated former Cub Clayton Richard for assignment to make room for newly-signed second baseman Ian Kinsler. Richard, 35, is on the older side and wasn’t particularly effective last season, but he did make 27 starts and was set to make only $3 million in 2019 – it’s just a strange move.
- One of the guys Kinsler replaces positionally is Cory Spangenberg, who has signed with the Brewers. The 27-year-old doesn’t hit much, but he can play a variety of positions, and could be a cheap utility man for Milwaukee.
- It seems as though the Mariners have thrown their name into the Yusei Kikuchi sweepstakes. And if I recall correctly, he has to make his decision by January 5th (30 days after he was posted) so this decision could come out very soon – any team on the West Coast must be considered in play:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 20, 2018
- Finally, the Mariners remain officially uninterested in trading outfielder Mitch Haniger. But it’s the Mariners. They’re interested in trading whomever you want.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.