Lukewarm Stove: Things Got a Bit Hot Today, Eh? Lotta Rumors and Movement to Get Into

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Lukewarm Stove: Things Got a Bit Hot Today, Eh? Lotta Rumors and Movement to Get Into

Chicago Cubs

I’m writing this post on an airplane to Mexico. I’m going to Mexico for Thanksgiving. And I’m taking a plane there. And, so, I’m writing this post on an airplane to Mexico. Intro completed.

  • In the oh, I don’t know, 20-min window between having cell-service on the ground and Wifi in the air, the San Diego Padres made a dumb trade that likely helps the NL Central Brewers more than it does themselves (obviously they’d disagree). And then signed the one relief target, Drew Pomeranz, I was hoping the Cubs would go after this winter. I’m now mad at the Padres, even as they remain a high-value theoretical trade partner for some of the Cubs’ most valuable, available players.
  • Speaking of the relief market, there’s really not much left out there that intrigues me, at least enough to go out and commit significant dollars. Though, for what it’s worth, MLB Trade Rumors did project Will Harris to the Cubs for two years and $18M. The 35-year-old righty has been very good for going on five straight years now, posting a 2.36 ERA (2.99 FIP) over his last 297.0 IP. Harris has relative big strikeout numbers, doesn’t walk many guys, and has averaged nearly 60 innings per season, but he’s also on the older side and I just can’t see the Cubs giving him $9M in AAV – unless something changes – whether he’s worth it or not.
  • MLB Trade Rumors also projected starter Kyle Gibson to the Cubs for the same deal, but nope …

  • Of course, as Brett points out in that post (among many Cubs-offseason implications), MLBTR was more so projecting this type of free agent pitcher, of which there are several. Gibson might be a bit more of a sure thing, but he’s hardly someone you must have to the extent that you’d jump the jumpers of the market. Like Brett, I prefer the Cubs try to add a starter via trade this winter, where the potential impact is likely to be much stronger.
  • Beyond that, based on what we’ve seen and heard this offseason – and the potential flattening of the AL West, as the Astros come back to Earth and the Angels improve – you might expect the Rangers to be particularly busy this offseason. And as a frequent Cubs trade partner, that’s something to keep in mind.
  • Old friend alert, and good for Carl:

  • The fact that Edwards got a big league deal at this point means the Mariners – as with the Kendall Graveman signing – are content to take some low-risk bets with their 40-man roster this offseason.
  • According to Mark Feinsand, the “Orioles are working to trade RHP Dylan Bundy,” this winter and while no deal is “imminent” one does appear to be “getting close,” which is a mighty fine distinction. With that said, Bundy, 27, strikes me as someone the Cubs would jump to acquire, given the remaining upside – Bundy was the No. 2 overall prospect in MLB back in the day, even as he hasn’t quite fulfilled that potential. And with two arbitration-eligible seasons left, he shouldn’t be particularly pricey ($5.7M projected in 2020) if you want to gamble on the big stuff. We’ll keep an eye on this one.
  • Jon Morosi believes Josh Donaldson will be the next big free agent off the board, and he thinks he might even land a 3-4 year deal:

  • I don’t think the Cubs will come knocking – though I did suggest they target him last offseason … you know, just before he went on to slash .259/.379/.521 (132 wRC+) with 37 homers – but that doesn’t mean it’s not relevant. For now, I just want to note that Morosi suggests Donaldson as the next piece to fall, because a lot of teams are looking for third basemen, which obviously touches on Kris Bryant’s rumored availability. Donaldson and Anthony Rendon could be had for just money, but Bryant is at least as good as either one, is younger, more projectable, and financially cheaper. If a middle-market team with prospects to spend, but fewer financial resources wants a third baseman, Bryant could be the best fit.
  • Let’s call it educated speculation, but after the apparent availability of catchers Willson Contreras and Omar Narvaez, Jeff Todd (MLBTR) wonders if the Yankees (Gary Sanchez) and Marlins (Jorge Alfaro) might make their catchers available in trade, too. The Rockies, as we’ve discussed, appear interested in trading for a catcher and we’ve guessed that Contreras may already be at the top of their list – if not, at a minimum, because he’s the most talented catcher available – though, if you’re willing to assume a little, there’s probably a lot more than just passing interest going on.
  • Recent Rays DFA Matt Duffy is officially a free agent and the Cubs should check in on the potential utility man.
  • Remember when we learned that high-contact, center fielder Starling Marte was a potential Cubs trade target this offseason? Well, so are the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to Mark Brown, who adds that the asking price is expected to be quite high (perhaps even higher for an intradivisional trade). It’s not clear how speculative this is, but Brown does take a stab at a potential return: “… the Diamondbacks may part with pitcher Luke Weaver, first baseman Christian Walker (if the Pirates decide to move Josh Bell), or David Peralta, a Gold Glove recipient.”
  • For context, Weaver, 26 (and the pitcher the Diamondbacks got from the Cardinals in the Paul Goldschmidt deal last offseason) is a young arm that had some success last season (2.94 ERA), but was shut down due to a mild right flexor pronator strain and a mild right UCL sprain (he made only 12 total starts). Walker, 28, had a 112 wRC+ in his first full professional season in 2019, plays good defense at first, and isn’t even arbitration eligible until 2022. But still, he’s an older guy who established himself late, so you have plenty of questions. And Peralta, 32, was a Silver Slugger in 2018 and a Gold Glover in 2019, but may have left his best seasons behind him thanks to injuries. He’s also a free agent after this year, with a projected $8.8M salary in arbitration.
  • In any case, I bring this rumor up for two reasons: 1) the potential Cubs involvement, as we’ve discussed, and 2) Brown’s next point. If the Diamondbacks find the price for Marte too high, they may turn their attention to frequent-Cubs-rumored-target Shogo Akiyama.


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