The owners meetings are going on this week, which means you’re less likely to see huge transaction rumors percolating as opposed to rules/league structure/CBA-type rumors. It’s possible we’ll get confirmation this week that the league has approved the expected rules changes for next year (26-man roster, limit of 13 pitchers, minimum batter rule for relievers, etc.).
In the meantime, some rumors for the afternoon …
- An odd bit of speculation from Gordon Wittenmyer that maybe the Cubs would try to trade Craig Kimbrel this offseason, given the thin reliever market. And, interestingly, Joel Sherman was proposing a hypothetical Kimbrel trade just today on the MLB Network. Is there chatter on this behind the scenes? It would be a weird one, given that guys generally aren’t tradable after a half year of stink following signing a free agent deal.
- The gist of Sherman’s hypothetical, by the way, was Kimbrel for prospects and Zack Cozart (as a money offset). To be sure, I don’t really understand the point unless the Cubs are really, seriously selling off in advance of 2020. You aren’t going to get any kind of real value for Kimbrel right now, and so his best value is likely to the Cubs, who have to bet on him returning to form anyway. They *need* Kimbrel, again, unless they’re not even trying to compete in 2020 (which is not the case). In other words, the Cubs aren’t going to try to dump Kimbrel’s salary just so they can … try to add more salary in the bullpen elsewhere? I really don’t see this going anywhere, and I’m psychologically on board with Kimbrel having a normal offseason, a normal Spring Training, and being a perfectly solid closer next year.
- In his latest Q&A, Mark Gonzales gets into a range of topics worth checking out, but his discussion of Kris Bryant certainly stuck out for how absolutely plain he puts it: “I still believe Kris Bryant will be traded after the Major League Baseball Players Association’s grievance on his behalf is resolved.” That’s, uh, pretty stark.
- Gonzales notes the interest around the league in a player like Bryant – lots of competitive teams need third basemen – with a little extra discussion of the Padres (we see them as a near perfect fit for a deal) and the Rangers (a previously-rumored Bryant landing spot, and a frequent trade partner of the Cubs). I don’t think I could go as far as to say that I think Bryant *will* be traded, but I do think we have known for a while that the conversations will be serious this year (on the trade and extension front). All the more reason to hope his service time grievance is resolved as soon as possible.
- More love for Drew Pomeranz, who should be the Cubs’ top relief target if they can find the dollars (modest eye roll):
Drew Pomeranz had a 5.68 ERA for SF this year, was dropped from the rotation for a player you've never heard of … & then was so good as a MIL RP that he's almost certainly going to get a multi-year deal.
He's the best RP available. Here's why.
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) November 18, 2019
- Zack Wheeler might be the most attractive starting pitcher on the market below Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, and his market is clarifying a bit, with Jon Morosi reporting that the Angels, White Sox, Padres, and Twins his leading suitors. Maybe the Padres land him and then become more flexible in dealing their young arms …