The World Series will conclude tonight, which means The Offseason arrives tomorrow. That’s your road map for dates, deadlines, and all that.
Here’s the latest from the rumor mill as the the offseason arrives …
- The Chicago Cubs may soon begin their offseason of change, but nobody can touch the expected turnover of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have already dropped their manager *and* general manager *and* president this Fall. And with no obvious hopes for near-term contention – plus a sidelined Jameson Taillon until 2021 (Tommy John surgery) – the Pirates should be as open for business as any team in baseball this winter.
- But although just about everyone on their roster will be available, there’s one player on which to keep your eye: Starling Marte. At the highest level, Marte, 31, is a center fielder with a solid bat (career 116 wRC+), who doesn’t strike out often (under 19.0% each of the last three years), who can play solid outfield defense, and runs the bases very well. He also comes with two years of affordable team control ($11.5M in 2020, $12.5M in 2021). For those reasons alone, you can imagine the Cubs would be interested. And as it turns out, they were mentioned among the “might be interested” parties in Matt Kelly’s latest at MLB.com: Mets, Reds, Cubs, Blue Jays, Phillies, Rangers, Braves. Intra-divisional trades are rare, but they’re not impossible, especially when one team is heading towards a full-on rebuild (or whatever it is the Pirates are doing). I wouldn’t hold your breath, but it’s not nothing!
- Moving on … we already thought he might be posted, but now we know it’s happening:
Add another name to this winter's free agent crop: Japanese star Yoshitomo Tsutsugo will be posted in November, sources tell ESPN. The 27-year-old left-handed hitter is a 1B/LF. Perhaps best comp: Kyle Schwarber. With Yokohama, he consistently has posted near-.400 OBP with power.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 29, 2019
- For all the reasons Brett has already laid out, Tsutsugo remains a tough fit for the Cubs offense right now, but that will impact the market … which could be both good (more options is good for buyers) and bad (alternatives to trade candidates like Kyle Schwarber) for the Cubs.
- The Red Sox got themselves a new President of Baseball Operations (well, that’s not his title, but whatever, it’s his role), Chaim Bloom, and they’re already talking about long-term sustainability and shedding salary, “which might come at the expense of J.D. Martinez and/or Mookie Betts,” according to the Boston Globe. Shockingly, Bloom has said that “conversations surrounding Betts,” occurred before he even took the job, which is quite telling about the Red Sox intentions with him this winter, I’d think. It’s obviously not a lock that the Red Sox would trade a talent like Betts, but as we look around the league and see guys like Kris Bryant and Francisco Lindor in similar circumstances, it’s not impossible to imagine Martinez and Betts could both be on the move – especially with a new boss in town. Might be a crazy trading winter.
- The Cubs, of course, were pegged as a possible Mookie Betts landing spot just a week ago, even if we have our doubts on the fit.
- The Brewers may have made the playoffs this year, but they didn’t win the division and they didn’t get where they wanted. With Christian Yelich coming off an injury, Lorenzo Cain getting older, Josh Hader becoming human, the Cardinals surging, and the Cubs looking to re-set with a still-talented roster, the Brewers will have to make some crafty additions if they hope to compete again in 2020. To that end, there are some rumors and they’re very Brewer-y:
Brewers expressed interest in José Iglesias last offseason before he signed with the Reds. Wouldn’t be a surprise if they remained interested. https://t.co/wB6PBlbQVV
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) October 29, 2019
- Iglesias wasn’t great at the plate last year (.288/.318/.407, 84 wRC+ last year), but he’d still be a dramatic upgrade over Arcia (.223/.283/.350, 61). And Iglesias remains a superlative defender at short. As for landing Seager, well, that may depend on if the Dodgers are able to get a deal for Francisco Lindor done first.
- And finally: I love how unexpectedly and legitimately international free agents can change the landscape of an MLB offseason (I mean, Lindblom is from the states originally, but still):
Sources: Free agent Josh Lindblom (@JoshLindblom52) is drawing interest from @MLB teams after winning the Korea Series with the @doosanbears1982. He is drawing Merrill Kelly comparisons and led qualifying KBO starters in IP, wins, SO, K/BB, K/9, WHIP this year. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 29, 2019
- As we’ve seen, guys like Kelly or Miles Mikolas have had success going overseas to work on their game after washing out in the states.