Lukewarm Stove: Hammel, Starting Pitcher Prices, Ross, Ruiz, Encarnacion, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Hammel, Starting Pitcher Prices, Ross, Ruiz, Encarnacion, More

Chicago Cubs

old stove feature

The big rumor of the day has the Cardinals in on the Brian Dozier trade talks, but that’s not all that’s going on.

Let’s check in on some of the other rumors and news from around the league …

  • Although many of the (relatively few) big free agents – Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, Dexter Fowler, Yoenis Cespedes – have already found their homes this offseason, there are still several others remaining. And at MLB Trade Rumors, Connor Byrne discusses the top ten players left on the board.
  • Mark Trumbo leads the pack (8th best free agent pre-offseason) and is considered likely to return to Baltimore. Jose Bautista comes in at number two, and we know his free agent requests have been unusual. And the Cubs’ old friend Jason Hammel is right there at number three. Take a look at Byrne’s article to see just what’s left out there. To my eye, outside of some very unexpected return from Hammel and/or Travis Wood, the Cubs won’t be in on any of the remaining top ten free agents.
  • Speaking of Jason Hammel, Joe Frisaro ( suggests that the Marlins may be interested the veteran right-hander, but are unsure whether they’re willing to spend what it’ll cost to get him. For what it’s worth, MLB Trade Rumors predicted a three-year, $42 million deal for Hammel. At this point, and given the way the market has shaken out, I’d expect him to get less – maybe something closer to three years and $36 million?
  • The Seattle Mariners – like many teams (including the Cubs) around the league – are looking for proven starting pitchers. And although someone like Jason Hammel and/or like Tyson Ross might ultimately fit the bill, the trade market will continue to be an option. Specifically, at the Seattle Times, Ryan Divish mentions that the Mariners asked about the Rays’ Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi (plausible, repeated Cubs targets), but found the asking price too high. The price on Drew Smyly, however, was thought to be more reasonable. I offer this information not because we’re suddenly interested in the AL West race, but because all three of the Rays’ pitchers have been connected to the Cubs at one point or another going on two years now. Still, I suspect Tyson Ross might be the way the Cubs decide to go, if they add another big league starting pitcher (as opposed to an up-and-down depth guy).
  • But to that end, the Cubs are not alone:

  • At ESPN, Buster Olney suggests that the Chris Sale return (Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Basabe, and Victor Diaz) has altered the market for trading starting pitchers, in the wrong direction for buyers. To which I say … eh. The market for cost-controlled starting pitchers was already very high and Chris Sale is probably the best starting pitcher (with that many years of control or more) to be trade in quite some time. A lighter return wasn’t really realistic in my opinion. But to that end, Olney also suggests that the Rays may elect to hold onto all of their starters into the season or until someone is willing to pay what it costs to acquire one of them at this purportedly new, higher level. I know we all really want the Cubs to get that starter, but – at least right now – it might well just be too expensive.
  • The Oakland Athletics have signed right-handed Cuban-defector Norge Ruiz, giving him a $2 million signing bonus in the process. Ruiz ranked third on MLB’s list of top 30 international prospects and was connected to the Cubs in the past. Unfortunately, because his free agency was delayed, he was essentially unavailable to the Cubs, who are under IFA restrictions for blowing out their pool in 2015-16 (cannot sign any one player to a bonus greater than $300,000).

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami