MLBits: Maldonado Just Wants a Deal, Verlander Will Pitch Forever, Dodgers DFA Useful Reliever, More

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MLBits: Maldonado Just Wants a Deal, Verlander Will Pitch Forever, Dodgers DFA Useful Reliever, More

Chicago Cubs

I don’t know if you caught the brand new BN Top Prospect rankings, but Bryan did such a good job, I find myself genuinely – and justifiably, I think – excited for the top five prospects in the Cubs system.

For the first time since, I don’t know, 2016, the Cubs have a multiple top positional prospects at important positions (catcher, shortstop) and a few pitching prospects with a real shot at contributing sooner rather than later, and a few others that are further away, but with even taller ceilings. Sure, the full impact from this wave of prospects might not be felt until 2020, but that makes 2019 a crucial season for development and progress. Hopefully, by this time next year, we’re wondering where Nico Hoerner will start come Opening Day. (And, hey, he went 3-3 yesterday with a run, an RBI, and a triple! And he can play defense up the middle! Eeeeeeeeek! I’m getting excited just thinking about it. #NicOMG)

  • On a sadder note, Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver has been diagnosed with dementia and has chosen to retire from public life. We obviously wish him and his family the best in the years to come.
  • Bryce Harper and Manny Machado might’ve gotten the sort of contracts for which they were looking, but that doesn’t mean all is well on the free agent market:

  • It’s March and a 31-year-old left-handed former Cy Young Award winner who tossed 204.2 innings last season with a 3.74 ERA, 3.69 FIP, and 3.6 WAR, who also won his FOURTH Gold Glove, can’t do better than a one or two-year contract. Dude.
  • Brett’s favorite (remaining) offseason veteran backup catcher, Martin Maldonado, has split ties with Scott Boras’ agency and has signed on with Dan Lozano (Manny Machado’s agent) instead. Wowza. As for rumors, Maldonado has been connected to the Mariners, Rockies, and Royals this offseason, but word has it he’s merely trying to get a guaranteed big league contract at this point. Why the Cubs wouldn’t jump all over that clearly affordable and extraordinarily low-risk upgrade is beyond me. Perhaps they know something we don’t. Perhaps they really like Victor Caratini.
  • Personally, I’d rather pair Contreras with an elite, veteran, defensive catcher like Maldonado, while letting Caratini start everyday at Iowa. Then, if Contreras gets hurt or needs an extended breather, you let Caratini come up as the starter, with Maldonado still behind him. If all you need to get Maldonado is a guaranteed big league contract, why aren’t more teams getting on this?
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

  • At SNY, Andy Martino discusses the importance of MLB promoting its charismatic – and still talented – black stars, pointing to Adam Jones’ current lack of employment as a big, longer-term problem for the league.
  • Justin Verlander wants to keep playing after his contract ends following this season. He isn’t expecting to land a deal with Houston this Spring, but he is open to returning as a free agent after the year. Verlander, 36, is also aware of the current free agent climate and will be prioritizing annual salary, given what his contract might mean to other free agents on the market.
  • From that same article: Clayton Kershaw, slowed by shoulder issues this Spring, threw from flat ground yesterday. His progress has been good, but missing some time at the beginning of this season is starting to feel unavoidable.
  • An interesting reliever, Josh Fields, has hit the market unexpectedly:

  • In 2017, Fields, now 33, had a 2.84 ERA over 57.0 innings. And last year, he had a 2.20 ERA over 41.0 innings. As Brett guesses, it sure feels like something must be physically wrong with Fields, because it’s otherwise difficult to explain the drop (Fields was set to make just $2.85 million this year). Not sure there’s realistic room on the Cubs for Fields – they have quite a few guys who *should* be decent, and if Fields now comes with risk for whatever reason, he might not be an upgrade – but you’d think plenty of teams would be interested.
  • Jayson Stark wonders if Cardinals’ reliever Jordan Hicks has the greatest fastball ever … Mike Maddux, brother of Greg and current Cardinals pitching coach, thinks he does. I, on the other hand, think it’s the most boring fastball of all-time, so … yeah. It’s really a split decision, if you think about it.
  • Craig Edwards covers the MLB teams with the most dead money on the books in 2019 – i.e. players you’re paying, who aren’t playing for you that season – and the Cubs … are not included. Instead, the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Padres lead the pack by a LOT, and are followed by the D-Backs, Mets, Tigers, Rangers, Twins, Cardinals, Mariners, Indians, and Rays. But by the time you get to the end of that list, we’re talking about less than $5M in dead money. The Dodgers, by contrast, are up over $40M in dead money as part of their accounting games.
  • Hard not to love this to the max:

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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