Lukewarm Stove: Padres Prospects, Gray Drawing Interest, Bumgarner Noise, Donaldson, Betts, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Padres Prospects, Gray Drawing Interest, Bumgarner Noise, Donaldson, Betts, More

Chicago Cubs

Theo Epstein recently mentioned that returning Tyler Chatwood to the starting rotation is “certainly a possibility” in 2020. The Cubs have a hole in the 5th spot, after all.

But while I can see the arguments in favor of the #return, I’m a little worried about taking Chatwood out of the swing role in which he thrived all year (76.2 IP, 3.76 ERA). And with Mike Montgomery now gone, the Cubs will need someone like Chatwood as the long-man/swing-starter in the bullpen anyway.

But, hey, if you really believe in Chatwood’s potential impact next season, I think it would be easy to get him another, say, 15-20 innings on top of the ~75.0 IP he got last year, right? If the Cubs gave him a slightly longer leash outside of cleanup innings, pop-up starts, and emergencies, he might be an extremely useful pitcher. Maybe that could be ideal.

  • Of course in that scenario, the Cubs will still need to land at least one starter – given the vacancy in the five-man and the relative uncertainty surrounding Jon Lester and Jose Quintana. Fortunately, this market is FULL of free agent starting pitchers – from the uber-free agents (Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg … don’t get your hopes up), to the mid-tier arms (Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dallas Keuchel), to some other guys with interesting pasts (Michael Pineda, Julio Teheran, Rick Porcello). Point being: If the Cubs wanted to get an arm in free agency, there’s talent available at all sorts of price points.
  • Of course, there’s also the trade market and one name has been on our mind for the Cubs already: Jon GrayUnfortunately, he’s been on a lot of minds:

  • I am concerned about the Padres making moves – generally speaking, they have the sort of minor league talent rivaled by few and the sort of big league talent ready to go off with the right additions – but I just doubt they end up with Gray. In-division stuff happens sometimes, but … I don’t know. That one seems unlikely (maybe I’m just wishcasting here, because if you’re going up against the Padres in a trade war, you’re going to lose).
  • On the flip side, if you’re trading with the Padres (the Cubs could find themselves in that position), you’re going to be a happy camper. And to that end, Dennis Lin (The Athletic) has the three prospects the Padres absolutely will not trade and the five that could be on the table. But although top prospects MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino are considered among those unavailable, the third untouchable was shockingly not Taylor Trammell. According to Lin, the Padres would be hard-pressed to deal Trammell this offseason, but if I’m reading him correctly he’s not out of bounds.
  • Madison Bumgarner has already received interest from the Braves and Phillies, who could be trying to keep the formerly dominant southpaw from each other, but the Yankees could ultimately become big players for him, as well. For what it’s worth, the Braves – a least in terms of rumor-strength and volume – appear to be the front runners for now (Bumgarner grew up outside of Atlanta). The Padres are also said to have interest in Bumgarner and either already have or are planning to meet with his agents soon (it’s a little unclear).
  • But back to the Braves … They’re set to lose Josh Donaldson, who had a monster season in 2019 (132 wRC+, 4.9 WAR). But they aren’t just giving up. According to Jon Heyman, the Braves would like to retain Donaldson, but are allowing him to shop around first, before engaging on a multi-year deal.
  • Although it’s a logical move, it’s a risky one, as Donaldson has already begun drawing interest from the Texas Rangers (Bob Nightengale, Heyman), Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, and Philadelphia Phillies (Los Angeles Times). Those are some deep pockets for the Braves to battle.
  • With that said, they do have a back-up plan:

  • And as for the Dodgers/Nationals, Donaldson might actually be their backup plan, as both appear more interested in a pursuit of slugger Anthony Rendon.
  • For what it’s worth, if the Cubs are just plainly out on the Rendon sweepstakes (a mistake, in my opinion), I wouldn’t mind taking a swing at Josh Donaldson. Heck, I called for it multiple times last offseason, when he possibly could’ve been had for even cheaper over 2-3 years.
  • Red Sox-Yankees deals are extremely rare, but with a player like Mookie Betts on the trade block and new Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom in town (from the Rays, no less), maybe it won’t be off-the-table. Both Bloom and Yankees GM Brian Cashman made the same “whatever’s best for our team” argument, and honestly 99.9% of the time I wouldn’t buy a word of it. But with a new guy like Bloom around, I honestly wouldn’t put anything out of reach (but also … it ain’t happening). Here’s the Boston Globe talking about the possibility … with a pretty ridiculously Red-Sox-favored proposed deal.
  • For what it’s worth, Jim Bowden sees the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Braves as the most likely landing spot for Betts, if he’s to be moved.
  • Ken Rosenthal dropped a bunch of rumor-y notes yesterday, including a case for Mike Moustakas (I’m listening) and some trade interest in Mitch Haniger (also listening). Neither player is a sure-thing to provide impact, but both have had big seasons in the recent past and could play positions of need for the Cubs next season (depending on what else happens around the roster). And since Jerry Dipoto (Mariners) is always willing to deal and Moustakas can be had for just money, count me interested in either player if it comes to it. The Cubs are not in a position to rule to many possibilities out just yet.
  • For what it’s worth, Dipoto is counting on Haniger in his Opening Day outfield as of now, but he was semi-available last offseason, and like I said … Dipoto is always willing to deal anyone. And Haniger, coming off an injured/disappointing season ahead of his first arbitration salary bump is perfectly moveable.
  • Big rumor dump at MLB.com if you haven’t gotten your fill (you animals).
  • Just for the back pocket:

  • The Marlins continue to show interest in Nick Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna, but Jon Heyman believes the price tag will bet too high on each. If that’s true, the Marlins ain’t doing anything this winter (they’ll already have to overpay to get someone to go there right now).
  • Yeah, they’re doing nothing:



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