Also, the Blue Jays just landed Curtis Granderson as I published this post:
Free-agent outfielder Curtis Granderson in agreement with #BlueJays on one-year, $5M contract, sources tell The Athletic. Deal also includes incentives and is pending a physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 16, 2018
I think it’s fair to say the stove is at least actually lukewarm now.
- And there’s another deal to discuss, as the Pirates have … extended Felipe Rivero? They’re just getting all kinds of stuff done:
Sources: #Pirates signing LH closer Felipe Rivero to four-year contract with two club options. Guarantee believed to be about $22M, with each club option $10M. Deal will cover all four arb years and potentially two FA years. Not clear if an agency was involved in negotiations.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 15, 2018
- First up, I’ll concede, there’s nothing at all incongruous between the Pirates selling off short-term pieces like Cole and McCutchen and simultaneously locking up a young closer who was already under team control. Rivero, 26, will go down as an enormous scouting win for the Pirates, who plucked him from the Nationals in the Mark Melancon deal (derided at the time as not enough), and who have since seen him explode as one of the best relievers in baseball in 2017. Rivero was arbitration-eligible this year as a Super Two player, so the Pirates’ deal buys out his four arbitration years (for just $22 million guaranteed … ), and then gives them the chance to get his first two free agent years for $10 million each, should he remain an elite reliever.
- To be sure, the Pirates could still entertain dealing Rivero in the near-term, but I think it’s far more likely this simply lines up with every other move they’ve been making: maybe 2018 isn’t going to happen, so put yourself in the best possible position to have plenty of money to spend after 2018 and plenty of young talent still around for 2019 and beyond. In the deal, they pick up an immediately useful (but still very young) reliever in Kyle Crick, a 2016 second round pick (top ten system prospect) in outfielder Bryan Reynolds, and $500K in IFA pool space. I’m sure it sucks for Pirates fans, but I actually think they’re doing some smart things right now. As a Cubs fan, I don’t love it.
- Also maybe not loving it? Rivero, himself:
— Felipe Rivero (@Rivero43) January 15, 2018
- Those came after McCutchen was traded, and, presumably, after he’d already agreed to his extension. Never has it been so crystal clear: this is a business.
- As for the Giants, after acquiring McCutchen, they’re likely not done solidifying their 30-something core for a competitive short-term run:
All the tea leaves tell me #SFGiants have gotten more serious in talks with Lorenzo Cain. Nothing close. Years could be an issue. But he'd like to come here, and as I said yesterday, Bobby Evans publicly mentioned last week #SFGiants have not ruled out qualifying-offer player.
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) January 15, 2018
The #SFGiants have had an active dialogue with Lorenzo Cain of late, and that’s not likely to change with McCutchen trade. Ideally, Giants would like to play McCutchen in a corner spot. As @hankschulman observed, the question is how far they’re willing to go on on deal with Cain.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 15, 2018
- The Cubs were connected to Cain by Bruce Levine, which seemed like an odd fit, though our conclusion was something like, “Sure, be in communication in case his market totally evaporates and he has to take a very short-term deal.” It makes you wonder how many years the Giants are and are not comfortable with.
- The Pirates figure to move Josh Harrison either now or at the Trade Deadline at this point:
The expectation within the industry is that the Pirates will work to move Josh Harrison, as well. They've been discussing him with other teams. His contract has club options at $10.5m, $11.5m for 2019, 2020.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 15, 2018
- Tom Ricketts was understandably asked at CubsCon about the possibility of collusion this offseason, and he responded as you’d expect. Paraphrasing his comments to The Athletic and the Sun-Times: there are finite resources, the luxury tax is a factor, and next offseason’s free agent class is a factor. He also pointed out that in some past offseasons, you have a team or two spending big because they’ve just come into a huge TV deal – a particularly interesting point to make, given that the Cubs will be working out their new TV arrangement over the course of this year. (Much more on that soon.) For the Cubs, it’s not a matter of crying poor – Ricketts simply trusts his front office to make the proper decisions for this and future years.
- The Cubs were reportedly one of many teams in on Ji-Man Choi, but the Brewers have landed the 26-year-old 1B/OF Korean bat on a minor league deal. There’s still upside in the bat, but the Brewers are a strange fit, since they do not appear to offer an opportunity for a starting job at first base or in the outfield, and might not even have a lot of reserve ABs available at those spots. (Which isn’t to say Choi would have been a better fit on the Cubs (for those same reasons). All the teams going after him would have just been taking a low-risk chance on his bat coming around.)