Lukewarm Stove: SD Playing It Big? MIL on Kluber/Bumgarner, NY Starters, PIT Limbo, More

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Lukewarm Stove: SD Playing It Big? MIL on Kluber/Bumgarner, NY Starters, PIT Limbo, More

Chicago Cubs

I’m currently reading – well, listening to (we millennials don’t actually know how to read) – this book called “The Way of Kings,” and I gotta say it’s absolutely awesome. Probably one of my favorite books, full stop.

It’s basically a Game of Thrones-style story, but with a ton of originality and far fewer characters, so it’s a lot easier to get through and keep up along the way. You can get the audiobook version (for free, if you’re new to Audible) right there, or just go straight for the analog version (so #retro lolol). I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Here’s some rumors.

  • Although this winter’s free agent ice-out is officially as bad as last offseason’s, I’m not sensing quite as much angst among players, agents, fans, etc. Obviously, we’re all annoyed as hell, but it really feels like people are just numb to it now.
  • For example, just look at this tweet from Jon Morosi:

  • Obviously, the news is important – and we’ll get to that in a second – but a credible baseball news guy is out there saying Manny freakin’ Machado does not have a deal imminent one day before FEBRUARY. And one of the teams he’s apparently courting (or is it the other way around?) hasn’t even met with him yet. Meanwhile, we’re all sitting here like Oh, gee, another day, another nothing. It’s really wild, man. Two years ago, this was unheard of.
  • As for the Padres, specifically, they remain quite the enigma. It’s not entirely clear if they plan on going all out this year, but based on the rumors we’ve seen, they’ve certainly set themselves up to do it (Corey Kluber, J.T. Realmuto, Manny Machado, and, most recently, Bryce Harper have all been linked to San Diego at one time or another). Indeed, if you recall back about a week, you might remember that their owners recently refinanced in an effort to set aside more money for payroll than debt-interest payments. So if they want to spend, they probably can. But will it be Machado/Harper or perhaps that catcher from Miami:

  • I suppose you could argue that by landing J.T. Realmuto for prospects, the Padres would be in an even better position to strike on Machado/Harper. And if they do manage to get both Realmuto and one of the big FAs – unlikely, but clearly not impossible at this point – they would probably become immediate contenders for 2019, and really well set-up for 2020, too. Indeed, this isn’t a bad year for an NL West team to push a bit (especially in the Wild Card race), given that the Giants and Diamondbacks seem like non-factors, the Rockies are hanging on for life, and the ultra-competitive NL Central and NL East are going to cannibalize wins from within.
  • On Realmuto, the latest is that trade talks are in “advanced stages” with the Padres, Reds, Dodgers, and Braves. Kinda seems like that’s been true for months.
  • For what it’s worth, Jon Morosi recently brought up the Padres past interest in Corey Kluber, but added that GM A.J. Preller is more focused on Machado than the Indians starter. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Kluber won’t get moved – and I don’t think you’re going to like the most likely landing spots: Dodgers, Brewers.
  • The Indians are apparently looking for young outfielders in a trade for their ace-starter, and from the Dodgers that would mean top prospect Alex Verdugo (#35 to MLB Pipeline). From the Brewers, however, that return would be less clear. None of Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, or Christian Yelich is going to be moved in a deal like this, Domingo Santana was traded to the Mariners, Brett Philips was traded to the Royals, top prospect Lewis Brinson was traded to the Marlins last offseason, and their only top-100 prospect is infielder Keston Hiura. Hiura is a tip-top prospect, but the Indians have a pretty loaded infield and are looking for outfielders, so … I don’t know. Could they get a deal done? Probably, but at a minimum the match is not obvious.
  • But don’t celebrate, because Morosi crushes your spirit further: “sources say the Brewers remain involved in trade discussions for top starting pitchers. If they don’t acquire Kluber, it remains possible that Milwaukee could strike a deal to acquire Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.” 2019 Bumgarner is not 2019 Kluber, but that’s still a dude who could turn it on in a competitive environment.
  • Also looking for outfielder: The Pirates. Just not a sexy outfielder:

  • The Pirates have been in a weird state of limbo since losing to the Cubs in the 2015 NL Wild Card game. I keep expecting them to have that big offseason (either selling off, or buying players with prospects), but they haven’t really made it happen. They added Chris Archer half-way through last season, but haven’t done much else to turn their team into a contender. They’ll continue trying to get by with a small budget and smart moves, and they’ve got a great rotation, but with the way the Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, and Reds are shaping up for 2019, I wouldn’t be surprised if they wind up lagging the pack.
  • Whatever, Yankees, it was more fun when you spent indiscriminately:

  • Andy Martino jumped into the conversation, adding that Gio Gonzalez, Francisco Liriano, Doug Fister, Ervin Santana and even Dallas Keuchel (if he had to settle for a one-year deal, though Martino doubts that) could be in play for both the Yankees and Mets this winter.

Author: Michael Cerami

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