Hey. I’m in Tampa, Florida. That’s neat. [Brett: So I guess when I said the thing earlier about Michael being on vacation, I meant “mostly” on vacation … ]
- And while I may not have any Rays rumors for you this hot and sunny afternoon where I lounge, another Florida team remains in the news – but with this attitude, I’m not sure for how long:
"The Marlins are not wavering. They want a top 0-3 year player, someone like Cody Bellinger or Ozzie Albies, and on top of that they want some good prospects."@Ken_Rosenthal discusses the latest on the market for J.T. Realmuto on #MLBNHotStove. pic.twitter.com/zmXrul8ZDc
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) January 3, 2019
- I get that the Marlins might feel a little gun-shy after receiving sub-par returns (and some embarrassment) for their trades of the 2017 and 2018 NL MVPs, but that sort of request for J.T. Realmuto is nearly laughable. Realmuto is a phenomenal catcher, but he’s really only got ONE good offensive season under his belt and he has only two more years of team control. Bellinger, to use Rosenthal’s example, is four years younger, isn’t even arbitration eligible for another year, and has a total of FIVE more years of team control. You want him AND good prospects? I mean, nah … that’s not happening. That’s nuts. One or the other (especially prospects)? Yeah, sure. And I still believe Realmuto will be on the move this winter, but it won’t be for Bellinger++. Get outta here with that.
- The Nationals are apparently looking into second baseman Brian Dozier, as a sort of short-term stopgap, but they’re joined, at least, by the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs were connected to Dozier earlier in the season, though it’s not entirely clear how the addition of Daniel Descalso really affects that. Dozier has some more obvious upside if he can bounce back from 2018, but the Cubs might be fine rolling with some combination of Ben Zobrist, David Bote, and Descalso at second base while Javy Baez handles shortstop – and that’s without considering the Addison Russell of it all. Ultimately, if the Cubs are going to add another middle-infielder, I suspect it’ll be someone who can more obviously cover shortstop in the event of Russell’s departure.
- Oh, hey look, I do have a Rays rumor for you: The Rays, Astros, and Dodgers have reportedly shown some interest in displaced (by Paul Goldschmidt) Cardinals first baseman Jose Martinez. However, the Cardinals are apparently reluctant to move Martinez, in case Dexter Fowler fails to bounce back and/or if Goldschmidt doesn’t want to sign an extension beyond 2019. Martinez’s bat makes him an extremely attractive trade candidate, but his defensive limitations cut that in half. An American League team seems to make more sense to me, but we’ll see if the Cardinals don’t just hang on until things are more clear with Goldschmidt. This could all be posturing by the Cardinals, of course, who may not yet like the offers they’ve received.
- A.J. Pollock’s market continues to linger on, and the White Sox and Phillies are likely his most obvious landing spots at the moment. With that said, Jeff Passan also throws in the Indians, Mets, Reds (who still don’t have a center fielder, even though they traded for two Dodger OFs), and other teams, as well. I know we push for the Cubs to get Bryce Harper a lot around here, but that’s not necessarily because we think they need “an outfielder.” In other words, I don’t think Pollock is the sort of outfielder the Cubs will want to target. They need a more obvious *offensive* upgrade instead, and with Jason Heyward and Albert Almora around, a corner outfielder with an elite bat would do just fine.
- It’s easy to lose sight of this, but there are still a ton of quality free agents out there like catcher Yasmani Grandal, second baseman D.J. LeMahieu, starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, and relievers Craig Kimbrel and Adam Ottavino. Jeff Passan has the latest on each of them, so be sure to check that post out. And I mention those names specifically, by the way, because they’ve all been connected to the Cubs, the NL Central, or a team like the Dodgers, each of which could end up impacting the Cubs’ chances or plans for 2019 and beyond. There is still SO MUCH offseason in front of us, I keep losing sight of it thanks to the robust trade and free agent markets.
- Although adding a player like Troy Tulowitzki – who costs very little and is as likely to make no impact at all as he is to help even a little – should have no effect on the Yankees’ ability or desire to get Manny Machado, there are still implications. Joel Sherman lays them out:
2/Gregorius returns, it would be a win for the NYY considering the low cost. Obviously the big question is what does this mean for Machado. It gives the NYY a bit more leverage if they are following their planned script – to offer fewer yrs/$ than #Phillies #Whitesox are likely
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 2, 2019
4/a)it would run afoul of the CBA and irritate the union to publicly say they are out, b)it would infuriate a big agent (Lozano) to hurt his leverage and why make an enemy, c)it is in NYY's best interest to see another team spend significantly to tie up future $.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 2, 2019
- I actually found point 4a particularly compelling: while adding Tulowitzki does not mean the Yankees can’t or shouldn’t get Machado, it could signal their concern that he will be signing elsewhere. I don’t think the union would be very justified in complaining about the Yankees saying they’re out on him publicly, but I also think keeping that quiet would be appreciated (perhaps by everyone besides the team that signs him). For what it’s worth, I still think Machado ends up in New York.
- But even if that is the case, it doesn’t necessarily have to happen soon:
I'm not sure what it says about the Machado market. But sources in touch with the #Yankees & #Phillies say they're both focused heavily on the bullpen market this week.#Yankees in on Britton, Ottavino, Robertson. #Phillies also in that mix, but lots of Robertson talk there.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) January 3, 2019
- Obviously, now that the Phillies have signed David Robertson, all attention is turning to guys like Zach Britton and Adam Ottavino. And according to Jayson Stark, Britton has been holding out for a 4-year deal, which would be a no thanks from me (you can say it depends on the financials, but this is Britton and Boras – we know it ain’t gonna be a low AAV). The Yankees, however, have reportedly been in discussions with Britton, so he may wind up returning there.
- As for the Cubs, well, we know they’re likely to add some lower-tier relief arms (in this market, that’s actually not a bad plan), but we always held out hope that one of those big left-handed relievers – Andrew Miller or Zach Britton – would wind up falling into their lap. With Miller in St. Louis and Britton possibly zeroing in on New York, though, that may be that.
- Mark Sheldon has a little rumor roundup on the Reds, who aren’t done adding this winter. In addition to a center fielder, as we mentioned above, they’re still in play for another starting pitcher, be it through free agency (Dallas Keuchel, Wade Miley, Gio Gonzalez, Derek Holland) or trade (Sonny Gray). The Reds were previously connected to the Indians’ available starters, Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, but both sides have seemed to back off such a deal in recent weeks. I think it’ll be tough for the Reds to really compete this summer, but they’ve certainly made moves like they think they can. With Joey Votto still kicking it, maybe it’s possible.
- The Pirates have added former Cardinals reliever Tyler Lyons and could still look to add a free-agent shortstop. I don’t think that interest (in a shortstop) will necessarily overlap with the Cubs – I can’t see them signing Jose Iglesias, Freddy Galvis, or Adeiny Hechavarria – but I suppose it’s possible. Again, with Descalso in the fold and the Russell decision still unclear, the Cubs plans are difficult to discern as far as shortstop goes, so it’s good to keep a tab on things.
- And just a bit of confirmation that the Phillies do plan to meet with Bryce Harper, as came out yesterday:
Are the Phillies meeting with Bryce Harper? "We're working on that," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said today.
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) January 3, 2019