Winter Meetings Final Update: Chasing Realmuto, Harper Expectations, Relief Market, More

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Winter Meetings Final Update: Chasing Realmuto, Harper Expectations, Relief Market, More

Chicago Cubs

While some of the stuff we’ve covered this week is already stale, a lot of it is still on-going/worthwhile. You might find some value, then, in circling back through the updates to see the latest on any one, individual rumor: Monday morning, Monday afternoon, Monday evening, Tuesday morning, Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday evening, Wednesday morning, Wednesday afternoon, Wednesday evening, Thursday morning …

… And right now:

  • The Mets are still pushing hard to get J.T. Realmuto away from the Marlins, but clearly the Marlins aren’t digging whatever it is the Mets are willing to give up. So after early rumors of a three-team trade with the Yankees, another, different three-team rumor has popped up with the Padres:

  • In both cases, the Mets have seemed willing to ditch Noah Syndergaard if it means Realmuto is coming back. Which sure seems like it should be enough to get it done (using a third team’s prospects/players for Syndergaard to fill in the gaps), but we’ll see if it ultimately works.
  • According to Clark Spencer, the finalists for Realmuto is “essentially down to six teams:” Reds, Mets, Rays, Braves, Dodgers, and Padres. The Reds involvement is a bit hard to sort out, because at one point they were trying to pry Syndergaard away from the Mets, who were, themselves, trying to use him and the Reds to get Realmuto. But if both teams also want Realmuto, that’s one jumbled mess. Last we heard, the Reds were drawing a line at Nick Senzel, though it’s unclear where we’re at now. The bottom line: Realmuto *will* be traded and it’ll probably be to one of those six teams.
  • Whenever we discuss Bryce Harper’s potential contract, we usually mention three items: (1) his goal to beat the highest ever AAV awarded ($~34M, Zack Greinke), (2) his goal to beat the highest total dollars in a deal ($325M, Giancarlo Stanton), and (3) his floor of 10 years/$300M (the offer from the Nationals he turned down at the end of the 2018 season).
  • But maybe that wasn’t not entirely accurate. As we know, the Nationals love to defer money in their offers, and according to Bob Nightengale the actual dollar value of Harper’s “$300M deal” was closer to $284M. That would beat out Alex Rodriguez’s record setting $275M deal (for a free agent), but I think Harper has his heart set on topping Stanton’s extension (in terms of total dollars) – and, of course, the $28.4M in AAV is not really all that close to the highest we’ve ever seen. Perhaps most importantly, we need to re-adjust what we consider the “floor” for the moment. Harper may well still get his $300+M deal, but $284 is officially the price to beat. You’re only worth what the market will give you, after all.
  • The White Sox are still involved in this race, though, and Fancred believes that Harper, not Machado, is their main target. The Phillies, meanwhile, “remain a competitor for both star players,” but are apparently not confident they’ll land either. The Dodgers are seen as competitors for Harper too, according to Heyman, but are apparently disinterested in going past $300M, which sorta tracks with this comment:

  • Remember, even ignoring the Dodgers early desire to stay under the luxury tax threshold and their continued efforts to trade away salary, they are run by Andrew Friedman (formerly of the Rays), who has never been particularly keen to massive, lengthy deals.
  • Heyman also suggests that the Yankees interest in Harper “seems to be nonexistent – at least for the moment,” as they focus on Machado. The Yankees keep saying how out they are on Harper and I’m inclined to start believing them. As for the Cubs, Heyman has just this to say: “The Cubs have pulled some surprises before, but even though they won 95 games again last year, they seem to be looking more cautiously at the market after a couple missteps in last year’s market.”
  • Honestly: the stage is set for the Cubs to land Harper, but they’ve still got to do their part and so far we’ve had exactly no indication that they will. My best guess is that Harper will give the Cubs and Dodgers a chance to get their money right (both internally and in an offer to him) before picking some other team (White Sox/Phillies, most likely).
  • This is a somewhat strange/out-of-nowhere suggestion:

  • Is Rosenthal saying that getting Alonso would make Machado more likely to sign somewhere he otherwise wouldn’t have? Because if so … meh. Maybe it’s a tiny factor, but as we’ve seen with the Harpers/Bryants, it’s not everything. For what it’s worth: Luis pointed out that Alonso might be more available now that they Indians have landed Jake Bauers and Carlos Santana, which, sure, that part I believe. It’s just the Machado connection that makes me skeptical of the relevance.
  • According to ESPN, the most relievers signed to big league deals in any single offseason was 43 (2003, 2010). Last winter, by comparison, 39 relievers signed Major League contracts. This offseason? 72 relievers are available on the free agent market. Even if some retire, some don’t find deals they like, and others accept Minor League offers, this is slated to be a record-setting year – and that’s very good news for the Cubs.
  • By most accounts the Cubs will avoid the top tiers of free agent relievers this winter (perhaps checking in on the three-headed monster of Adam Ottavino, Zach Britton, and Andrew Miller), focusing instead on multiple deals for lesser arms. And as the raw number of free agents shows, this is the offseason to do just that. Read all about the available arms and market in general at ESPN.

Author: Michael Cerami

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