Lukewarm Stove: BOS Low Offer to Martinez, NYM Could Make One Big Move, LAD Rigid Payroll, More

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Lukewarm Stove: BOS Low Offer to Martinez, NYM Could Make One Big Move, LAD Rigid Payroll, More

Chicago Cubs

Intros are for good offseasons. [Brett: I see that Michael is having the same problem I was having this morning in the Bullets!]

  • To the extent you were worried about the Dodgers swooping in at the last minute and resigning Yu Darvish, don’t be. At least not without a serious cash-moving trade first. At the LA Times, Dylan Hernandez pegs the Dodgers payroll for luxury tax purposes at around $180M this year (the max is $197M), but that’s not the whole story. Kenta Maeda, for one example, can increase that sum by another $9M (or so) depending on some incentive escalators in his contract (and others on the roster can, to a lesser extent, too). So that has to be accounted for, lest the Dodgers accidentally go over during the year. Moreover, the Dodgers will want to save at least some money for the trade deadline, should any midseason acquisitions become available. So, unlike the Yankees, who’d have to be very creative to make a big deal work, the Dodgers are basically already at their maximum.
  • Per Hernandez, the Dodgers are also at risk for being out of compliance with MLB’s debt service rules, which offers another reason to get payroll under the luxury tax cap this year.
  • Matt Kemp, Logan Forsythe, and Yasmani Grandal are all potentially movable players with big $ AAVs (relatively), but to actually unload those contracts so that they could sign someone like Darvish, the Dodgers would have to part with some cheap, young talent, too – which I doubt Andrew Friedman (or anyone in LA) wants to do.
  • Meanwhile, Buster Olney recently reported that the Red Sox offer to free agent outfielder/DH J.D. Martinez (widely considered the best bat on the market) is “in the range” of five years and $100M. However, there’s been some pushback on that:

  • Earlier this offseason, MLB Trade Rumors projected six years and $150M for Martinez, but at this point, I think it’s safe to say he’ll probably get less than that. Maybe even a lot less than that. Everything is so out of whack.
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
  • At the press conference to announce the return of Jay Bruce to the Mets (three years, $39M), Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he thinks there’s enough financial wiggle room for another significant contract. The Mets still have an opening at second (or third) base, depending on where Asdrubal Cabrera will play, though I wonder whether they’ll really dip back into free agency. With guys like Josh Harrison available, you’d think the Mets would prefer to go that route, but according to Alderson, while a trade remains a possibility, they prefer free agency. Shrug. I’ll believe it when I see it, Mets.
  • At the New York Post, Joel Sherman comes at Derek Jeter guns blazing for his payroll-slashing and bad-deal-making this winter … before proposing a trade of his own: Martin Prado, Junichi Tazawa, and Brad Ziegler to Arizona for Yasmany Tomas. Basically, the money is fairly close to even overall, but the Marlins would get to spread it out over more years in Tomas (who, according to Sherman, would be a more marketable player in Florida). This isn’t an actual rumor, so much as a fun (albeit strange) read, but I thought you’d like to check it out and discuss.
  • Earlier today, we discussed that the Players Association was *not* going to support pace-of-play changes this season (a formal rejection has since been confirmed by Rosenthal), and Jeff Passan thinks it might be connected to the generally slow market:

  • To be sure, probably not all players are as angry about the slow free agent market as the actual free agents, but it all hints at broader problems between the players and ownership. It’s just a really thorny time right now.
  • No team improves more quietly than the Milwaukee Brewers. They just added veteran righty Ernesto Frieri on a Minor League contract. Sure, he’s a little past his prime, but he’s still just 32 years old and has a career 3.59 ERA over 303 IP. I doubt he’ll be some miraculous revelation, but he’s always been good at inducing weak contact and limiting hard contact, so maybe there’s something there.
  • I sure hope the Ricketts Family pocket book is burning a hole in their collective pocket …

  • Harper is essentially positioned to earn the biggest Major League contract of all time. If he’s just *healthy*, he’ll net $250 million or more, but if he has another MVP-caliber season, he might be pushing numbers we’ve never come close to sniffing before (and that’s including Giancarlo Stanton’s $325 million extension).
  • Although, and I’m just thinking out loud here, I wonder how likely Harper even is to play out the entirety of his next contract. I know these things wax and wane over time, but I’m willing to bet he’ll have multiple, early-career opt-outs … so what will that final dollar amount actually look like anyway?
  • And as a final, non-player rumor, let me remind you that Nationals President of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo is also entering his final year before free agency, while the Nationals have shown no intentions, yet, of working aggressively to retain him. Let me also remind (or inform) you that Rizzo is from Chicago. Maybe he’d be willing to bring his talents to the Cubs front office – while awaiting a different, more ideal job (it’s not like President of Baseball Operations jobs grow on trees) – and form a super team with the existing front office. The Dodgers did something similar in recent years, so it’s not entirely without precedent. Just thinking out loud.

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Author: Michael Cerami

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