Mini-Free Agency Rumors: Keuchel Close with Yankees? Kimbrel Suitors Quiet?

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Mini-Free Agency Rumors: Keuchel Close with Yankees? Kimbrel Suitors Quiet?

Chicago Cubs

I gotta admit, I expected a really significant flurry of rumors immediately upon Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel reaching a second mini-free agency when the draft started (i.e., the moment they no longer cost draft pick compensation). But, for the most part, it’s been pretty quiet.

In retrospect, that was my own dumb fault for not considering just how occupied front offices are when the draft is going on. To think that they would all dig way in on very price free agent moves at the busiest time of the year was a little foolish. My bad.

That said, the rumors are going to be percolating this week, and there are a few to get into today …

  • Keuchel, who had been rumored as a target for both the Brewers and Cardinals, is trending toward a match with the Yankees, and maybe soon:

  • Both the Braves and Yankees are in playoff contention and have obvious needs in their rotation. I’ll pull for the Yankees, not only because it keeps Keuchel out of the NL, but mostly because I think he’s gonna look super strange without that beard.
  • As for Kimbrel, the only significant snippets that’ve come out are that the AL-Central-leading Twins have sincere interest in both Kimbrel and Keuchel, and the Phillies would have interest in Kimbrel in a short-term, lower-dollar deal. But that said, there should be a host of interested teams – including the Cubs – and I suspect things are just being held tightly under wraps.
  • The Mets, who invested significantly in the bullpen in the offseason only to have it disappoint, do not sound like a serious contender for Kimbrel’s services.
  • My guess is that negotiations could either proceed quickly later this week and we might even just get an announcement of a signing without much in the way of build-up, *OR* we’ll see continued slowness, as Kimbrel’s camp continues to seek a multi-year deal and suitors eye what could be a very robust bullpen trade market. Since Kimbrel might take three to four weeks to be ready to go, I could see a little bit of chicken being played, as some suitors see if they can jump the bullpen market in trade to get a “better deal” than signing Kimbrel – teams flush with prospects, but not cash, for example. In other words, even though Kimbrel is available right now for only money, there still might be a number of teams out there viewing him as merely an alternative to the trade market, which might not develop for several more weeks.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.