I don’t even want to tell you what the original intro to this post was. Just forget it. A thing happened. And it ruined everything.
On with the rest of the rumors, because, from the sounds of it, it’ll still be a busy and exciting Winter Meetings.
- Speaking of which, Cubs President Theo Epstein says the team is still interested in re-signing free agent starter Jake Arrieta and closer Wade Davis, and that he often talks to Scott Boras at the Winter Meetings, so you should keep your eyes peeled on that front this week. “Until it reaches a point where he signs somewhere else, we’ll continue the dialogue,” said Epstein via the Chicago Tribune.
- As for the likelihood that a deal gets done with either guy, things remain unclear, but somewhat pessimistic. Obviously, the Cubs have needs in the rotation and back-end of the bullpen, though it’s fair to wonder if both of those guys have priced themselves out of what the Cubs would be willing to do. On the other hand, if either market is slow to develop, as they very well could be given how many alternatives there are for each (both in free agency and trade), the Cubs could swoop in later in the winter and land either guy on a more reasonable deal. It’s still possible, but that’s as far as we’ll go.
- At FanRag, Jon Heyman dumps all sorts of interesting bits here, including a reminder that the Cubs are still interested in Orioles closer Zach Britton, as we’ve discussed periodically throughout the offseason. But apparently, they’re not the only ones involved, as the Rockies, Cardinals, and Dodgers have all had some level of interest. The Rockies and Cardinals, for what it’s worth, are turning into the Cubs biggest back-end reliever competition this winter, though, again, there are so many interesting names out there in free agency alone (Greg Holland, Davis, Addison Reed, Brandon Morrow, etc.), let alone trade (Alex Colome, Britton, etc).
- Heyman also drops in a note that the Cubs and Arrieta are still off on years, Alex Avila would still rather sign as a backup for a contender than a starter for a bad team, and the Cubs were in on Mike Minor as a closer before he signed with the Rangers. We mostly knew all of this, but updated information is always welcomed.
- Heyman has also heard that the Cardinals may be willing to listen on Dexter Fowler this winter, and would reportedly prefer a deal that covers a majority of his contract, as opposed to one that brings back a healthier player return. Heyman concedes, however, that Fowler’s availability may be tied to Giancarlo Stanton, but also notes that the Blue Jays could be interested if he becomes available. Sorry, friends: I highly doubt the Cubs would ever be able to work out a deal with the Cardinals on Fowler.
- Speaking of the Cardinals, while they continue to try for Stanton, Derrick Goold (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) writes that their conversations with Miami over the MVP can just as easily frame later negotiations for outfielders Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna, two other talented outfielders whom the Marlins might make available. On top of that, the Cardinals have also had discussions with the Rays about closer Alex Colome and those conversations may expand to include third baseman Evan Longoria (previously discussed here). And to button this all up, Goold seems to imply that the addition of Miles Mikolas may have been in preparation to trade one of their existing Major League starters, like Michael Wacha.
- Although Stanton may have a preferred trade list that doesn’t include them, Joe Frisaro (MLB.com) is reporting that Giancarlo Stanton has not ruled out trades to the Giants or Cardinals just yet. And along the same lines, former Marlins President Davis Samson told 790 The Ticket this week that he “just can’t figure out what it is” Derek Jeter is trying to do. “Maybe he has a plan …. His honeymoon has been short lived and that I feel terrible about.” Oh, Marlins. Keep on Marlin-ing.
- For what it’s worth, I think trading Stanton now does make sense for the rebuilding Marlins (especially because he’s coming off his best season and is set to make a big leap in payroll), but the no-trade clause is certainly making it difficult. I’m not sure what else Jeter could really do.
- Just because they’ve missed out on Ohtani, don’t expect the Mariners to drop out of the starting pitcher market. Indeed, Bob Dutton hears that they’ll be aggressive in free agency and trade, which could get in the way of the Cubs’ plans.
- The Padres are reportedly serious about going big this offseason – they hosted Eric Hosmer for a visit, but it’s fair to wonder if that’s still true now that they’ve missed out on Ohtani. Remember when the Padres went nuts in the offseason three years ago, making all the big moves … and then going on to win 74 games? Perhaps they’ll be more judicious this time around.
- The Rangers and Yankees (and, now, also the Mariners), notably, have a whole lot of IFA bonus pool space free if Martinez becomes available before this period ends on June 15:
Top Cuban OF prospect Julio Pablo Martinez had an impressive workout in front of scouts this morning at the @Dodgers complex in Guerra, DR. He ran the 60 in 6.3 seconds and home-to-first at 3.75 seconds. Rangers and Yankees among those in attendance.@MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/Z7tbYceYAu
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) December 8, 2017
- And finally, we recently guessed that the Cubs might have some interest in former Red Sox prospect/struggling starter Henry Owens, given his pedigree and former Epstein connection, but it appears the Diamondbacks (who also have a front office full of Boston-alumni (and also Jared Porter and Jason Parks from the Cubs)) have just claimed him off waivers:
Source: Arizona Diamondbacks have claimed Henry Owens off outright waivers.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) December 8, 2017
- And, because they had a better record than the Cubs last season, that means the Cubs passed over Owens before this. So, basically, we suck.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.