Lukewarm Stove: Kang, Breslow, Hart, Castillo, Utley, Giants Spending, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Kang, Breslow, Hart, Castillo, Utley, Giants Spending, More

Chicago Cubs

old stove featureI’m not sure how much we’ll see in the way of transactions this coming week, what with the holiday sandwiched in the middle. Given the extreme activity on Friday, it’s possible teams were trying to get things done so that they could largely take a break for the holiday.

  • One of those late-week signings that I haven’t had a chance to discuss yet is lefty reliever Craig Breslow returning to the Red Sox. He was reportedly down to the Cubs and Red Sox, but opted for a $2 million deal with Boston. I’m surprised that he got a big league deal, and, suffice it to say, I’m not terribly disappointed he didn’t come to the Cubs if it was a comparable offer. He was awful in 2014 – though there may have been some kind of health explanation for that or something – and seemed to have a fair bit of good luck before that, even in his successful years.
  • Another of the late-week signings was outfielder/first baseman Corey Hart signing with the Pirates for $2.5 million and another possible $2.5 million in incentives. He’ll provide a righty bat, if healthy, to pair with Pedro Alvarez, who is shifting over to first. Hart, 32, was quietly great for several years in Milwaukee, but injuries have derailed his last two seasons.
  • We’re still waiting for more teams to be picked off the Jung-Ho Kang bidder list, but Chris Cotillo hears from an industry source that the winner could be the Nationals or the Phillies. Interestingly, James Wagner said yesterday that it likely wasn’t the Nationals, so maybe that gives a slight edge to the Phillies? I could see both teams making sense for different reasons (the Phillies just want to accumulate talent, and the Nationals need a second baseman). Then again, I could still see about 10 other teams making sense, something Cotillo concedes.
  • The Orioles haven’t done a whole lot this offseason, except lose bats. With Matt Wieters returning from arm surgery (it’s not clear how much he’ll be able to catch in 2015), and Nick Hundley likely to go elsewhere, I can’t help but wonder if they’ll have interest in Welington Castillo. That’s just me wondering openly about a fit, by the way.
  • Although the Phillies have started unloading, it sounds like Chase Utley – who would be a highly-sought-after second baseman – isn’t interested in waiving his no-trade rights at this time.
  • The Giants may have “limited financial flexibility” at this time. That could put a dent in the James Shields market, if true.
  • Waiver rules are complicated. I do my best to understand and explain them here, but when MLB teams get tripped up by them – and then are forced to release an interesting young reliever like Ben Rowen because of it – I’m not going to be too hard on myself.

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.