Lukewarm Stove: Giants on Cain Next, Rivero Extension, Granderson Signs, Ricketts on Collusion, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Giants on Cain Next, Rivero Extension, Granderson Signs, Ricketts on Collusion, More

Chicago Cubs

All right. So, this weekend, we saw Gerrit Cole traded, Addison Reed signed, and Brad Hand extended. Then today, we saw Howie Kendrick signed, and Andrew McCutchen traded.

Also, the Blue Jays just landed Curtis Granderson as I published this post:

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:

  • 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:

  • 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:

  • 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:

  • 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.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • 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.)

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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.