Some Friday afternoon rumor bits for your consumption, as you await the arrival of the first Cubs-free weekend since February … I just made myself sad.
- Speaking of being sad, this would be sad because rumors are fun:
Brodie: Diaz and Syndergaard will be with the Mets next year.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) October 3, 2019
- I openly wondered about the possibility that the Cubs could target Noah Syndergaard and Edwin Diaz as a combo deal from the Mets, given their apparent willingness to deal Thor for years (two more years of control) and Diaz’s bizarrely disastrous year in New York (reclamation opportunity). The GM is currently saying unequivocally that both will be back with the Mets next year, and obviously they are trying to be competitive in 2020. But if they were looking to reshape things in the same way the Cubs are? I’m still just sayin’: there might be a good ole fashioned baseball trade there involving big league pieces.
- Speaking of teams that made 2019 moves with an eye on competing in 2020, the Reds brought in guys like Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer, and Kevin Gausman (if they tender him) this year so they’d have them next year. Now, the Reds are openly saying they aim to get better via free agency, so you can expect them to do some spending. They’ll probably have to add aggressively to be a serious contender next year, given that it’s really hard to know what they have on offense right now: Eugenio Suarez was awesome for the third straight year, but elsewhere it was Joey Votto slipping, tons of youngster disappointing, and Aristides Aquino falling off badly after his scorching start.
- So anyway, yeah, definitely keep an eye on the Reds when it comes to making positional additions in free agency. They’ve already been linked to Yasmani Grandal.
- Transitioning awkwardly … the clearly biggest positional free agent is Anthony Rendon (I don’t see the Reds going that far), and the clearly biggest pitching free agent is Gerrit Cole. It’s interesting just how much they loom large over the rest of the market. And on Cole, his current team, the Astros, have an owner out there saying they’re not sure they can afford to take a “legitimate run” at re-signing their star: “We’ll see where we end up after the year,” Jim Crane told the Houston Chronicle. “We may make a run at it. We’re not sure yet. We’re going to wait and see what else unfolds and who else is going to stay on the team.” The Astros have a lot of big raises coming, and they’re trying to stay under the $208 million luxury tax cap next year because reasons. (Reminder: the Astros aren’t some plucky small market club – they are in the fifth largest metro area in the country, and they don’t share their city with another team.)
- All that said, with Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke making big bucks, it would make for an extremely pricey front three for the Astros to commit $30 million annually to Cole, too. (He says, quietly hoping that the Cubs are ready to at least talk about making that kind of commitment …. )
- Even the Giants are reportedly interested in Cole in free agency, and with a new front office group that ain’t keen on enormous contracts, that should tell you something about just how many clubs might be in on Cole.
- The A’s are “likely” to trade or non-tender formerly dominant closer Blake Treinen, and my ears perked right up. When he was healthy and effective, he may have been my most singularly favorite pitcher to see work – his 99 mph sinker was otherworldly, and his other pitches were nasty, too:
- To be sure, Treinen, who made $6.4 million in 2019 and would therefore get a healthy raise in arbitration, was terrible in 2019: 4.91 ERA (10% worse than league average), peripherals fell off a cliff, and he ended the season on the shelf with a back injury. He’s 31, and his 2018 season was his only ridiculous season, with “decent” and “good” seasons coming before that.
- But boy freaking howdy is it luscious to think about that 2018 season: 0.78 ERA over 80.1 innings, 1.82 FIP, 31.8% K rate, 6.7% BB rate, 3.6 WAR (AS A RELIEVER). I don’t think you can justify trading for him and tendering him a contract that could wind up over $8 million in 2020, but I do think he’s worth going after if he’s non-tendered. You might get a low-ish cost lottery ticket with the floor of a meh middle reliever and the ceiling of a dominant setup man.
- If you missed it earlier, thoughts on Pedro Strop returning to the Cubs (kind of a similar lottery ticket situation, but with clubhouse import).