Winter Meetings Weds Late Afternoon: Cardinals Targeting Machado, More Reliever Signings, Duffy, Fulmer, Iglesias, More

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Winter Meetings Weds Late Afternoon: Cardinals Targeting Machado, More Reliever Signings, Duffy, Fulmer, Iglesias, More

Chicago Cubs

After a bit of an unexpected afternoon rumor hiatus, the stove is back on and the rumors are pouring in (like the Pirates scouting the Yankees in preparation for a potential Gerrit Cole swap?!).

  • And to that end, another hour goes by another potential Cubs relief option flies off the board:

  • Like the last few relief deals, Juan Nicasio wasn’t a particularly compelling Cubs target, but the options are quickly coming off the board. Perhaps, at some point, the Cubs will get something done with Wade Davis (would he take three years?) or maybe they’ll bring in my personal favorite, Addison Reed (he probably would take three, given the other deals out there), but it seems like it’s getting close to decision time. Fortunately, the Cubs aren’t exactly desperate, as they’ve already brought in Brandon Morrow, who could close, and have a number of other quality arms already in the pen (Carl Edwards, Pedro Strop, Justin Wilson, Mike Montgomery, etc.).
  • In any case, as the Cubs continue to search for relief help at the back of their bullpen, one of their former closers is garnering interest from another contender in the other league:

  • It remains possible (though pretty unlikely at this point) that the Cubs and Rondon could reconnect on a deal, though I’m guessing he’ll get a bite from someone else out there first. I know there’s a real chance he’s just “broken” forever, but he’s still pretty young, with good velocity, and an excellent track-record before the very end of the 2016 season. I wouldn’t be against a low-risk, cheap reunion. Okay, let’s put a pin the relief stuff for now, but be prepared for that market to keep on churning.
  • WAIT – as I (Brett) am editing Michael’s post, this drops:

  • Even if you’re all about Alcantara, which the Marlins clearly were, it’s hard to imagine that there wasn’t a better deal out there for two cost-controlled years of a 27-year-old outfielder coming off of a borderline MVP season. Cardinals Voodoo Magic applies to trades.
  • Let’s shift our attention back to the starting pitcher trade market, because Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman have some notable updates:

  • If the Royals hope to stay in that $110M range next season, they’ll need to cut some payroll and Duffy isn’t exactly cheap in 2018 ($14M). Even though Eric Hosmer will earn an overall AAV greater than $14M, the Royals could skate under that $110M payroll limit by backloading his contract (like most free agent deals). Plus, if they were to trade for a cheap, young bat from a team like the Cubs, they’d be able to improve the 25-man roster without taking on much salary overall. At the same, while it’s great to hear that the Royals are open to moving Duffy, you don’t exactly love to hear that he’s “extremely popular.” All that means is the acquisition price is going to go up. It makes you think teams just aren’t enamored with the free agent options/price tags right now.
  • Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins have apparently shown some interest in Rays starter Jake Odorizzi, offering “a modest package of minor league prospects,” but apparently the Rays weren’t interested. It’s important to remember that many believe the Rays will move just one of their more expensive starting pitchers this winter, so if Odorizzi does get moved, Chris Archer becomes less of a possibility for the Chicago Cubs (or whomever), unless they’re going to really tear the thing down.
  • Despite some early rumors that the Tigers *could* be swayed to move young starter Michael Fulmer, it sounds like that’s no longer the case:

  • And, frankly, I agree. Fulmer – a former Rookie of the Year, top ten Cy Young vote getter, and 2017 All Star – is entering his age-25 season, has FIVE more years of team control, and isn’t even arbitration eligible until 2019. Why on Earth would you trade that absent a ridiculous return? With Fulmer having elbow surgery in September (not Tommy John, but a three-to-four-month-recovery nerve procedure), you probably won’t get an absurd offer right now anyway. Even if you’re planning a deep rebuild, he could be a useful non-expensive starter near the end of it. Keep him, Detroit.
  • The Dodgers are literally perfect:

  • Or they’re really good and don’t want to exceed the luxury tax threshold by too much next season, especially in advance of a huge 2018-2019 free agent class, which includes an opt-out for their star generational player and franchise face Clayton Kershaw.
  • As the Reds continue to rebuild (or whatever it is they’re doing), they’ve drawn plenty of interest in closer Raisel Iglesias. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like anything is brewing …

  • And also unfortunatly, perhaps the same is true for the Cubs:

  • But maybe that’ll change if the Cardinals keep making notable additions for 2018. I still think the Cubs are the better team, but I can’t say this didn’t make me squirm, at least for a minute:

  • The Cardinals have something of a two-year window right now, with Marcell Ozuna in the fold (plus Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina still somewhat young enough to contribute). If they see an opportunity to regain the NL Central while the Cubs set their sights more seriously on 2019 and beyond (Bryce Harper), why wouldn’t they take it? And make no mistake, adding Manny Machado and Ozuna to that lineup, with a quality and deep rotation, makes them an immediate and serious contender. Hopefully, the Red Sox and/or Yankees, then, step up their pursuit and either force the Cardinals to WAY overpay for one year of a star or miss out all together.

Author: Michael Cerami

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