Lukewarm Stove: Stanton, Morrison, Baker, Ryu, Hunter, Relievers, Blue Jays, Mets

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Lukewarm Stove: Stanton, Morrison, Baker, Ryu, Hunter, Relievers, Blue Jays, Mets

Chicago Cubs

[Full disclosure: I wrote this post last evening and had it ready to publish JUST before the gigantic Marlins/Blue Jays trade went down. In the interest of not sounding tone deaf, I decided to bump this one to today. And I added some post-trade bits at the end.]

We didn’t get to bluster about it much in advance of it actually happening, but the Cubs made a move yesterday (confirmed!), signing righty Scott Baker to a one-year $5.5 million ($1.5 million in incentives) deal. Fortunately, it’s the Lukewarm Stove season, and there’s still plenty about which to bluster …

  • Buster Olney says deals like the one the Cubs just inked are the preferred early moves this offseason: “In this year’s FA market, the strong early push is for the best one-year deals — because of a stagnant trade market, high FA prices.” So, good on the Cubs, I guess?
  • Not so good on the Cubs, according to Phil Rogers: “While Hyun-jin Ryu is not yet a big name in North America, losing him was a bigger blow for the Cubs than you probably think. President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer wanted the rights to the 25-year-old South Korean left-hander because they believe he can step right into a big-league rotation and address a glaring lack of pitching. They had done a lot of homework on him.” Rogers goes on to suggest that the Cubs’ bid was around $20 million, short of the $25.7 million paid by the Dodgers. I’m still somewhat ambivalent on the “loss” – the Cubs know a whole lot more about Ryu than I do, and presumably they had a strong grasp on how they valued him. If the Dodgers valued him differently, well then, for now, we have to accept it. We’ll see who was right in about two years.
  • Jon Morosi says Torii Hunter is headed to Detroit today to meet with management. Given Hunter’s recent comments the he expects to sign soon, heading to Detroit could be a prelude to a signing. Hunter’s signing, in isolation, wouldn’t be a particularly big move. But it’s often the case that one smaller move (and Hunter isn’t a “small” move, just a “smaller” one), allows Teams X and Y to shift gears to Players A and B, which gets Team Z talking to Player C … and so on, and so on. Unless, of course, the Scott Baker signing was the catalyst …
  • Ken Rosenthal quotes a rival executive who says that Blue Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos is “itching” to make a trade for a starting pitcher. Once again I’m reminded of how terribly inconvenient Matt Garza’s elbow injury was … and how imprudent it was not to trade him last offseason (if he was to be traded at all, that is). [Obviously AA scratched that itch last night.]
  • The Mets are reportedly broke – like, broke broke, not the-budget-is-maxed broke – which is why they suddenly started shopping R.A. Dickey, and why they may not be able to extend David Wright, as previously expected. Wright is slated to hit the free agent market after 2013.
  • Another reliever is going to sign for a surprisingly larget contract – the Giants will be re-upping Jeremy Affeldt for a reported three years and $18 million. Brandon League got $22.5 million for three years with the Dodgers. These are good relievers, but the commitments are reminiscent of Jim Hendry’s love affair with the Bob Howry’s, Scott Eyre’s, Mike Remlinger’s, and Mark Guthrie’s of the world. One year of Carlos Marmol at $9.8 million (to say nothing of $4 or $5 million, if the Cubs eat a few million) is starting to look downright attractive.
  • Ok, a post-Marlins/Blue Jays trade thought: I know it’s fun to talk about guys like Giancarlo Stanton, and I enjoyed reading all of the comments about the hypothetical trades and what-have-you. But if I could offer a vat of cold water: the Marlins aren’t trading Stanton. He’s 23, under control for four more years, inexpensive, and is the Marlins’ last remaining star. Think what you will of the Marlins’ approach, but even they know they need at least one star to fill the 10 seats they usually fill. Plus, his age and salary are such that they can continue their rebuild with him in place. Whatever trade scenario you can concoct that “you would do,” the Marlins would not. And if the Marlins were willing to shop Stanton, you have to recognize that *every single team in baseball* would be gunning for him. Do you really think the Cubs are the best equipped team in all of baseball to acquire him? They are not. So, it’s fun to discuss, so long as you’ve got your reality phasers securely in place.
  • If you want to talk about picking the corpse of the Marlins, maybe Logan Morrison is the guy you should consider. Coming off a down year, going to start approaching arbitration soon, very talented, just 25. The rub with him is that he can probably play only left field and first base.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.