Lukewarm Stove: Lester, Bruce, Padres, Upton, Dodgers, Pitching, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Lester, Bruce, Padres, Upton, Dodgers, Pitching, More

Chicago Cubs

old stove featureQuite a bit on which to catch up over the last day or so …

  • There’s not much to say about the Braves’ meeting with Jon Lester this week, which reportedly did not result in an offer. While that doesn’t mean an offer isn’t forthcoming eventually or that the Braves have no shot, it certainly doesn’t do anything to change my initial instinct on this one – the Braves won’t be a serious suitor in the end.
  • Ken Rosenthal caused a stir with his report that the Reds are considering moving outfielder Jay Bruce, among the other guys they would shop – one-year pitchers like Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos – as part of a sell-off. Candidly, I do think that’s the approach the Reds should take, but if you’re starting to pine for Bruce, let me offer you something of a bucket of cold water: yes, he’s just 27, yes, he’s had some excellent years, and, yes, he’ll make just $12 million, $12.5 million, and $13 million (team option) over the next three years. But he’s also coming off a disastrous year wherein he dealt with knee injuries and posted an ugly 77 wRC+, his second straight year of power decline (by ISO), his third straight year of walk rate decline, and his fifth(!) straight year of strikeout rate increase. There are some warning signs here.
  • Speaking of outfield options, Jon Morosi says the Rays are shopping Matt Joyce. I’m intrigued. He’s got one arbitration year left before free agency, and he’ll likely make about $5 million. Maybe there’s not an obvious spot for the 30-year-old lefty, but he takes walks (11.8% for his career), has a wRC+ consistently in the 115 range, and can play in either corner outfield spot.
  • Everywhere you look, the Padres seem to be popping up. Despite rumors that San Diego could move a starting pitcher (or three) and a catcher (or two), there are also rumors that the Padres could make a big splash – Pablo Sandoval? Yasmany Tomas? Keep in mind, there’s a new front office in place this offseason, so it wouldn’t be implausible to see them simultaneously selling off and buying up. (Jesse Sanchez reports, by the way, that those Padres and the Braves are now viewed as the favorites for Tomas.)
  • And speaking of those Braves, Joel Sherman says they’re looking for more in trade for Justin Upton than they got for Jason Heyward. Given the significant salary difference, it feels like the Braves have that backwards. In any case, it sounds like there’s an expectation that Upton will be traded. For those who don’t remember or missed it, that trade will probably not involve the Cubs, however. They are one of just four teams on Upton’s no-trade list.
  • The Dodgers picked up a couple relievers from the Rays late last night, including Joel Peralta. It’s a cheap potential bullpen upgrade for the Dodgers, which could help them lower payroll – if they opt to go that route – or make it more reasonable for them to compete for some of the bigger names without upping their payroll from it’s already herculean level.
  • Patrick Mooney writes on the Cubs’ pursuit of impact pitching, one way or another. Jesse Rogers writes on that, as well, emphasizing the possibility that the impact pitching might not come until next year.
  • Jordan Zimmermann discusses the swirling rumors and the lack of an extension with the Nationals. It sounds like he’s facing that spot where many soon-to-be free agents land in their final year of club control: he’d be happy to stay for a fair price. But free agency isn’t a bad next step.
  • Ken Rosenthal on the slow-developing, but plenty-active market for Max Scherzer. The Cubs are not listed as among the suitors.
  • A few items of note from MLB Network Radio recently:

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.