Lukewarm Stove: Cespedes, Brown, Fernandez, Tomas, Hicks, Santana, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Cespedes, Brown, Fernandez, Tomas, Hicks, Santana, More

Chicago Cubs

old stove featureThe World Series starts tomorrow. You rumor hounds are probably hoping for a sweep, but I could stand to see a great, seven-game set.

In the meantime …

  • I wrote on Friday about the unique attractiveness of quality players on one-year deals for the Chicago Cubs in 2015, and, in particular, the outfield looks like a ripe spot for that kind of addition. Separately, I’ve written about the Red Sox’s unique glut of outfielders from which they could look to trade. Combine those two things, and there’s an argument that the Cubs should look to trade for Yoenis Cespedes, who makes $10.5 million in 2015, the final year of his contract. Indeed, Nick Cafardo reports that the Red Sox may make Cespedes available. So that’ll be something to watch, although I’d think it more likely the Red Sox actually wind up trading guys like Shane Victorino and/or Allen Craig.
  • One problem in going after Cespedes? Cespedes’ unique contract reportedly makes him ineligible to receive a qualifying offer after the season, which is at least part of the reason he would have been attractive to the Cubs in the first place. The other potential problem is the most simple: Cespedes wasn’t that great with the bat this year, and it’s not 100% certain he could play quality defense for a full season in center field (where the Cubs would likely want the option of employing him). He hit .260/.301/.450 on the year. Would you take him for $10.5 million? Absolutely. Would you give up a ton to get him? I’m not so sure about that.
  • Speaking of the outfield, an interesting reclamation type could become available for cheap: Domonic Brown. There’s a strong possibility that the Phillies could move on from the 27-year-old former top prospect, who is eligible for arbitration for the first time. He hit just .235/.285/.349 in 2014 after a solid 2013 (well, it was mostly just a really strong two months), and he’s a clear non-tender or trade candidate. The defense is weak, and the chance of upside remote, but if he’s cut loose and winds up in mere “just find a job” mode, maybe he’s an interesting low risk add.
  • In Keith Law’s most recent chat, there were several interesting rumor bits, including his confidence that Kenta Maeda will likely be posted, and his belief that Jose Fernandez could get a bigger contract than Yasmany Tomas. Law adds that Tomas is having trouble getting the Rusney Castillo-topping contract he’s seeking based on the tepid recommendation of scouts who’ve watched him. One more thing: Law points to Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks as a possible change of scenery guy, which is a little interesting.
  • Speaking of Fernandez, Ben Badler reports that the intriguing and probably defecting second baseman still hasn’t surfaced, strictly speaking.
  • The Cubs haven’t been connected to Ervin Santana yet, and I’m not sure I expect them to be. He’s interesting figure in the free agent starter market, and obviously he plays a part in that ecosystem, whether the Cubs go after him or not. So it’s very interesting to see Tim Dierkes projecting four years and $56 million ($14M AAV) for Santana even if he receives a qualifying offer from the Braves, which seems likely. Santana, who turns 32 in December, was legitimately very good for the Braves this year, but that seems like an awful lot of money when you might be able to get two of the other second tier guys for the same total commitment or you might be able to get James Shields for another $30 million.
  • Are the Red Sox totally committed to Christian Vazquez as the starter behind the plate? It sounds like they might be. It makes you wonder if they’ll then lean on top 100 catching prospect Blake Swihart as a chip this offseason.

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.