Lukewarm Stove: Early Action Real or Just Smoke? Big Interest in Wheeler, Braves Need a 3B, Padres, Marte, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Early Action Real or Just Smoke? Big Interest in Wheeler, Braves Need a 3B, Padres, Marte, More

Chicago Cubs

I’m trying not to jinx it, but this offseason’s early action continues to be miles better than the last two years. It’s still not quite up to the pre-2018 levels, but we’ve already seen several relatively major free agent signings (Yasmani Grandal, Travis d’Arnaud, Kyle Gibson, Drew Pomeranz, and Will Smith) and at least one major trade (Brewers/Padres).

Indeed, those five signings alone account for almost $200M committed in free agency before December/Winter Meetings. That’s legit.

I mean, look how much Pomeranz is getting for just two great months of relief (after a lot of bad results starting):

But, hey, it’s good for the players and it’s good for the fans (and, you know, teams trying to win). So keep it up, MLB.

Well, not you Brewers. That’s about enough out of you.

  • And to that end, here’s your reminder that the non-tender deadline is this Monday (December 2), which means we could actually see even more trade activity and/or early deals signed by non-tender candidates over the weekend. Stay tuned! Baseball winter might just be fun again!
  • … oh, but before you get excited, Jayson Stark has a big bucket of cold water to throw on us, because he does not believe any of this action is a trend or a sign of good things to come. He thinks all the early moves were just a product of circumstance and we’re about go right back into the hibernation we’ve gotten used to. Fun. Thanks, Jayson. Remind me not to invite you to any parties.
  • Earlier this offseason, we learned that free agent lefty Kwang-Hyun Kim was reportedly drawing interest from the Chicago Cubs, and yesterday, we learned that he was officially posted. You can learn a lot more about Kim from our two previous write-ups, but in short, he’s a 31-year-old left-handed starter who was an ace in the KBO last year, but is otherwise expected to be a solid back-of-the-rotation or quality relief type in the U.S. He’s also projected to land a contract in the two-year, $10M-14M range.
  • For what it’s worth, Patrick Mooney re-confirmed the Cubs interest in Kim at The Athletic earlier today, so it’s fair to assume the Cubs are legitimately involved. The only rub is that, because Kim will be going through the posting system, he basically must sign by just after Christmas, and in a market with so many other back-end rotation types available in free agency, the Cubs might prefer to wait even longer for a guy in that tier.
  • Speaking of the free agent pitching market …

  • Teams looking to avoid the high costs of Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole appear to be stumbling over themselves to throw money at Zack Wheeler, an apparent value option in free agency. Even the White Sox have been repeatedly mentioned as potential, serious suitors. He’s going to get a big deal, even with the qualifying offer attached.
  • So much for the Cubs becoming the Padres’ trade partner for a left-handed outfield bat, but San Diego isn’t finished yet:

  • Of course, the Cubs need a starting-caliber second baseman and some more relievers of their own, so that’s not much if a fit for those two areas, but they can certainly offer some outfield depth – from starters to bench pieces. The Cubs and Padres haven’t quite been able to match up on a trade – despite plenty of superficial fits over the years – but maybe that will change, as both sides appear more motivated than ever this winter.
  • Rumor has it Pirates center fielder Starling Marte is on the move this winter, and both the Diamondbacks and Cubs have been mentioned as possible landing spots. You can include the Mets, as well – and Marte seems to want to be moved:

  • For what it’s worth, Shogo Akiyama has been considered an alternative to Marte for both the Diamondbacks and Cubs, so perhaps we can include the Mets in that conversation, as well, since they are known to be looking at center field.
  • Mark Bradley wants us to know that the Braves want us to know that they’re spenders again … but also – now that they’ve already committed $38.25M over six signings for next season, alone – might be done with most of the heavy lifting. With that said, Bradley does suggest that “they figure to have at least one more major signing in them,” with Josh Donaldson or his cheaper alternative (Mike Moustakas) a possible target. Put that another way: the Braves are looking for a third baseman. Just something to keep in mind, as we’ve mulled possible Kris Bryant fits there before.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami