Lukewarm Stove: Harper and D.C., Corbin's Huge Price Tag, Trading for Syndergaard, Catchers, Arenado, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Harper and D.C., Corbin’s Huge Price Tag, Trading for Syndergaard, Catchers, Arenado, More

Chicago Cubs

Despite equally slow starts in terms of actual transactions, I still do not believe this offseason will be anything like the last. In fact, I think the volume and depth of the our existing rumor landscape has already outpaced last November/December, and I fully expect the Winter Meetings to be heavy on the transaction side, as is normally expected.

  • And to that end, be sure to check out the Yahoo Sports 2018-2019 Ultimate MLB Free Agent Tracker. You can already go there and check out the existing rumors and projected contracts for all of the top free agents, but it has the added benefit of being updated as the offseason goes on, and includes the “deep cuts” free agents, too. It’s a very useful page, and one I’ll likely frequent.
  • With that in mind: make sure you didn’t miss the latest rumors including the potential for the Mets and Brewers to get together on Noah Syndergaard (doesn’t feel particularly close) and the Mets and Mariners to get together on a deal for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz (feels like something could happen soon, but there are already conflicting reports (fun!)).
  • Buster Olney has apparently reached out to several “folks within the game” and their informed speculation (best guesses) has Manny Machado landing in Philadelphia and Bryce Harper returning to D.C. – both of which, I can buy. If you remember back before the Cubs were playing the pauper, Harper was supposed to wind up in Chicago and Machado was supposed to end up in New York or Philadelphia. That was the expectation. So forecasting Machado to Philly now tracks just fine (especially after reports came out about the Yankees’ hesitance about Machado). Meanwhile, we know the Nationals offered Harper a $300M deal already and have otherwise signaled an intention to remain competitive in 2019 (and that the Yankees, Dodgers, and Cubs don’t seem publicly motivated to get Harper), so a return to the Nation’s capital not at all out of the question.
  • Patrick Corbin is the top pitcher available this winter and thanks to his relative youth and dominant 2018 season, he may well get a big, six-year deal from some team out there, but if it’s for anything close to this the 6/$162M guessed by Corey Seidman, I’d run away:

  • I must tell you, however, that Ken Rosenthal believes Corbin will get six years and could exceed Yu Darvish’s deal if he did. And given his known suitors (he’s already sat down with the Nationals and Phillies and is meeting with the Yankees today), I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m very happy to be happy with the Cubs rotation, because if that’s the price of (rotational) poker right now, the Cubs wouldn’t be sitting.
  • Rosenthal also believes the Yankees may sit out the Harper and Machado sweepstakes this season to go hard after Nolan Arenado next year. And if you recall, the Cubs were rumored to be planning something similar … which should go to show you that you can’t just count on landing the next guy, because, you know, the Yankees might want him, too. More on that, Trevor Bauer, and Nelson Cruz at The Athletic.
  • If the Cubs are looking for a veteran, back-up catcher to share the load with Willson Contreras, while improving the team framing rates, they should have plenty of names to choose from:

  • Although the Brewers were the latest team to show interest in a trade for Mets starter Noah Syndergaard, it seems they won’t be the only team involved:

  • If we get really, really speculative here, I could envision a world wherein the Cubs could build a package for Syndergaard. No, not those ridiculous Kris Bryant stories that circulated earlier in the offseason. Instead, more like starting with someone like Ian Happ – I think Happ’s remaining upside, years of control, and ability to impact the 2019 season would fit nicely in New York, where they are clearly trying to compete next season – but does it make sense for the Cubs? Well, yes, but only if they were able to work out some sort of rotation trade of their own – and no, that doesn’t mean Tyler Chatwood or Mike Montgomery, who are not currently penciled into the front 5.
  • And because the Cubs can’t realistically trade Yu Darvish, simply won’t trade Jon Lester, probably wouldn’t trade Cole Hamels or Kyle Hendricks, it would really come down to Jose Quintana. But then the question becomes even tougher, then: Will the Cubs really be better off with Syndergaard + whomever they get for Quintana or better off with Quintana and Happ++? Syndergaard is better than Quintana, but far riskier, and Happ’s offensive upside won’t be easy to re-capture in trade, though they might be able to get someone who fits better positionally (i.e. a second baseman who can play short in a pinch (or vice-versa)). In all honesty, this is probably too many moving parts to become reality, but it feels worth kicking around mentally, given the broader picture.
  • Always a bridesmaid:

  • Sounds like a couple West Coast teams are going to be the ones to try to reclaim Tommy John patient Garrett Richards:

Author: Michael Cerami

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