Lukewarm Stove: Padres, Braves, and Dodgers Sniffing Around the Cubs, Ozuna, Darvish, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Padres, Braves, and Dodgers Sniffing Around the Cubs, Ozuna, Darvish, More

Chicago Cubs

I know we’ve pushed Disney+ a lot around here over the last 24 hours, but it does help keep the lights on if you sign up through our link. So on behalf of Brett, Luis, Eli, Bryan and myself (and our families!) … Thanks for indulging!

With that said … Oh man, did you watch ‘The Mandalorian’ yet? It was so good. It’s basically a straight space-western about a bounty hunter, taking place immediately after the original trilogy ends and the Empire falls (spoilers from 1983 … sorry). I’m a huge Star Wars fanboy, and this series has completely won me over in one episode. It’s legitimately excellent.

OK. Baseball rumors …

  • Yesterday, in the stove, we took note of how the Cubs’ dream trade partners, the San Diego Padres, were apparently itching to make big moves this winter, perhaps as soon as this week. And as it turns out, Padres GM A.J. Preller has taken notice of the Cubs, too: “Considering what those guys [Cubs players] have done, you’re going to have interest,” San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller said via ESPN. “You’re going to want to have those conversations about those types of players.” Reminder: the Padres are looking for a left-handed bat and/or a switch-hitting bat who can play in the outfield, and might also be looking for a catcher upgrade. And Preller has already admitted to being “in the process” of having those how do we line up conversations with the Cubs (and others) already.
  • But the Padres aren’t the only “dream” trade partners for the Cubs this offseason. There’s also the Atlanta Braves, whose third base job is “wide-open,” according to their own GM. And as Jesse Rogers points out, they also have a need at catcher. Obviously, the Cubs two most-rumored trade candidates this offseason – Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras – play third base and catcher, respectively. Even the Dodgers are reportedly keeping an eye on what the Cubs may be doing with respect to the available stars on their roster.
  • Now, listen, I’m as nervous as anyone about the Cubs getting these trades “right,” but let me tell you: having the Padres, Braves, and Dodgers sniffing around your roster for a big trade is about as good as it gets (in terms of a potential return).
  • The Brewers and Cardinals appear to be – at least – signaling an inability to spend big this winter, while implying they don’t expect the Cubs to take a step back in 2020. It’s an informative read here at the Tribune, but all a little too from the horse’s mouth to be taken at face value. I just don’t trust the leadership of the Brewers and Cardinals when they’re telling us exactly what we want to hear. Something doesn’t add up.
  • A little FYI:

  • I think the Nationals are a threat to retain either or both of Strasburg/Rendon, though I think the latter is more likely (which stinks, because I’m still dreaming of him in Cubbie blue, like an idiot).
  • The Astros are going to need major help in the rotation next season, but more so at the back-end (in terms of eating innings) than the front end. And with a smaller chance of big money being thrown at free agents plus a still-great overall system, a trade could be more likely. The Cubs need starters themselves, of course, but Jose Quintana could be the sort of affordable, innings-eater for which the Astros seem to be searching (not that he’s their type of pitcher, per se). But again, if the Cubs traded *anyone* out of their rotation, they’d be in serious trouble for 2020 without significant additions at the ready. So I wouldn’t count on the Cubs trading away a starting pitcher.
  • The Reds are also intent on adding pitching this winter, per President Dick Williams: “We will add pitching. Now, we will have to be opportunistic whether it’s starters or relievers, where in the food chain that fits. One impact player versus two or three lower dollar (players). We just don’t know yet until we really dig in on the market.”
  • But don’t be surprised to see them cast a wide net (in terms of targets), in an effort to be legitimately competitive in the NL Central next season:

  • Ozuna has generated a ton of interest already this offseason, and I get it … but only to an extent. He’s still on the right-side of 30 and has been an above average offensive contributor in 5 of his 6 full big league seasons, but I don’t think he’s ever coming close to that big 2017 ever again, so he’s more just a “nice” player, than an impactful one.
  • Circling back to the Padres for a beat: they’re reportedly trying to ink Fernando Tatis Jr. to an extension this winter, which isn’t much of a surprise, given how good he looked last year. Now, we just have to see if Tatis rather bet on himself in the future or take what’s behind the curtain right now.
  • In the last two months alone, the Cardinals won the NL Central and re-signed Adam Wainwright for 2020. Now, there’s news that Yadier Molina wants to play past his current contract and through 2021 *and* 2022. I just want them to go away. I’m so sick of the Molina-Wainwright Cardinals.
  • And finally, the New York Post discusses some Yankee alternatives to Gerrit Cole/Stephen Strasburg and the Cubs come into play … as in the Cubs trading the Yankees Yu Darvish. The thought behind the trade is that the Cubs, in service of avoiding Darvish’s contract(?) would take on what Jacoby Ellsbury is owed, would get some prospects, and maybe might get some use out of Ellsbury. But … nah. It’s not happening. That would be the sort of full-on “rebuild” or “sell” trade I just don’t think the Cubs are interested in at this time.


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is the butler to a wealthy werewolf off the coast of Wales and a writer at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami