Lukewarm Stove: Corbin Fallout, Nats and Harper, Yankees, Cardinals, Back-up Catchers, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Corbin Fallout, Nats and Harper, Yankees, Cardinals, Back-up Catchers, More

Chicago Cubs

Now that the market’s top free agent starting pitcher, Patrick Corbin, has signed his massive 6 year/$140M deal with the Washington Nationals and the Winter Meetings are just days away, the pace of rumors and transactions is probably about to pick up significantly.

  • According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees offered $100M over 5 years for Corbin, which strikes me as a more appropriate deal, but Corbin made the obvious choice taking the extra $40M and one more year. The Phillies, like the Yankees, also reportedly offered a five-year deal, though the money is unknown.
  • [Brett: As with last offseason, a guy at the top of the market – the one signing so far – has gotten the kind of bigger-than-you-thought contract we tend to see every year. The question is whether that holds true for the rest of the offseason, and even if so, whether the second and third and fourth tiers of the free agent market suffer like they did last year. In other words, through one major, long-term signing, things look healthy. But obviously we’ll see.]
  • After the deal went down, I speculated that the Nationals should be all but out on Bryce Harper now that they’ve spent so much on Corbin, but the rumor-mongers have heard differently:

  • I’m not buying it, though. Keep in mind just how much long-term money the Nationals have on the books, and they’ve just added to it. I’ll remain shocked to see Harper return to the Nationals now that they’ve spent so much on Corbin. The Yankees, by the way, were reportedly out on Harper, too, so unless the Dodgers and Cubs actually step up their pursuits, he might fall right into the Phillies’ lap – leaving Manny Machado for the Yankees. With that said, the White Sox, who met with Harper on November 19th, remain in the picture, as well (and I’m sure there’ll be others before all is said and done).
  • Yankees gonna Yankee, even when they don’t Yankee:

  • Along a different path: now that they’ve missed out on Corbin, but still seek to add a second starting pitcher this winter, Andy Martino believes the Yankees will want to pursue J.A. Happ – though they’re hesitant to offer the 36-year-old a three-year contract, which presumably, is his request. Martino mentions Nathan Eovaldi only as a bit of a throwaway at the end of his report, but I imagine they’ll be pursuing him hotly, as well. And if the Yankees decide to double-dip in the trade market instead of hitting up free agency, they’ll consider Indians starters Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco (no word on Trevor Bauer, for what it’s worth). Headline: They’re getting another starter.
  • Another back-up catching option gets taken off the board:

  • I don’t want to overplay the importance of the back-up catcher, but some solid options have been taken off the board rather quickly. If the Cubs want someone else in the mix besides a still-developing Victor Caratini, the quality options are dwindling.
  • Speaking of catchers, Craig Mish has the latest on one of the market’s biggest trade candidates, J.T. Realmuto:

  • If the Braves do wind up landing Realmuto, which doesn’t feel likely given the Marlins apparent efforts to keep him out of the NL East, perhaps Tyler Flowers becomes expendable … and available to the Cubs. Flowers was among the best pitch framers in baseball last season, and, as a 32-year-old veteran, could be a nice pairing with Contreras – even as a guy who can take more reps than the usual backup (which should help Contreras stay in tip-top form throughout the entire season). [Brett: Put me down in the extreme WANT category for Flowers.]
  • Of course, the Braves aren’t the only team hot on Realmuto, as the Phillies have apparently joined in along with the Mets, who could include Amed Rosario. Mish still recognizes how difficult it could be for an NL East team to pry Realmuto from the Marlins, but maybe the growing four-way arms race makes one of them do something crazy. It wouldn’t be the first time. The Rockies have also checked in on Realmuto, but haven’t made much progress yet. If the Cubs were ever actually involved in the Realmuto talks, it has become an incredibly crowded landscape.
  • After missing out on Josh Donaldson, the Cardinals are expected to step up their pursuit of Mike Moustakas, who could make plenty of sense for the them especially if they (please) don’t land Paul Goldschmidt in a trade, as discussed this morning. I’ll tell ya what, having someone who’s capable at first and third like Matt Carpenter gives the Cardinals a lot of options this winter to add a bat.
  • Madison Bumgarner is among the more interesting starting pitchers available in trade this winter, and the Brewers remain involved in that market. Of course, now that the Phillies have missed out on Corbin, they could jump in, as well. Indeed, according to Jon Morosi, they’ve already contacted the Giants. That’s what I call acting fast.

Author: Michael Cerami

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