Wake up, see a bunch of transactional news, write up a whole swath of new rumors from the ensuing fallout, rinse, repeat.There’s a lot to get to today – it seems like teams might be a little more active than usual to reduce the desperation/add some leverage next week at the Winter Meetings – so let’s dive on in.
Here’s the latest …
- Already this morning, the Rays and Padres came together on a deal for outfielder Tommy Pham, the Cubs signed a reliever, and catcher Alex Avila signed with the Twins, but we might not be done, even before lunchtime:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2019
- Howie Kendrick, 36, may be on the older side, but he was a monster at the plate last season, slashing .344/.395/.572 (146 wRC+) over 121 games for the Nationals. He was theoretically a Cubs target in that plays second base, doesn’t strike out often, was apparently quite affordable, and carries a big stick, but those rumors never really got off the ground. And in any case, it seems he turned down multiple two-year offers elsewhere to return to D.C., o this one was probably never close at any point. Given his relatively small deal, I don’t think re-signing an infielder like Kendrick moves the needle on Anthony Rendon in either direction for the Nationals.
- Presumably, the teams that whiffed on Kendrick are looking for an impact, infield bat, but likely not at the Rendon/Josh Donaldson level costs. Keep that in mind when you think about the teams that missed.
- In case you haven’t heard (they might as well take out ads at this point), the New York Yankees have made signing Gerrit Cole their top priority this winter. Cole has already met with the Yankees this offseason, apparently promising that he has no West Coast bias in this process (but he prolly does). Earlier this week we heard that Angels owner Arte Moreno would do anything to get Cole and today, we learn that the Yankees have ownership-level approval to offer him a record-setting deal.
The New York Yankees have made signing right-hander Gerrit Cole their top priority and have ownership-level approval to offer him a record deal, sources tell ESPN. News story on the coming bidding war on Cole and the huge contract he's going to command: https://t.co/4dt1mE4xle
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 6, 2019
When Manny Machado was a free agent, there were many voices in the room during Yankees org meetings saying this wasn’t the guy to give the megacontract to. With Cole, no such debate. It’s just a matter if he’ll agree to come.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 6, 2019
- The Dodgers also have interest. Cole is going to get paid massive dollars this winter, even if it were only those three teams knocking at his door.
- According to Jeff Passan, Cole’s deal will “reach well beyond $250M,” which would absolutely obliterate David Price’s $217M record deal, while Strasburg is expected to get “at least $180M.” For what it’s worth, I’d probably take Strasburg at $180M over Cole at, say, $280M. Both are obviously really significant contracts.
- The Tigers are among the teams interested in Addison Russell. Ok.
- As we know, Starling Marte is a popular Cubs (and likely Diamondbacks, among others) trade target this winter, but now that the asking price is becoming clear, our interest is cooling off. For example, Sahadev Sharma writes, “[T]he prospect cost to acquire Marte is likely too much for a team looking to restock its system, not deplete it in win-now trades.”
- And it’s not hard to know who this would be about in the Cubs farm system:
Starling Marte is said to be available but there’s no evidence trade talk has gained much traction yet. Word is that the Pirates covet a top catching prospect in trades.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 6, 2019
- If it isn’t clear to you, this seems to suggest that the Cubs price for two years of Marte would be one of their top prospects, catcher Miguel Amaya. Amaya was fourth in Baseball America’s recent update to the Cubs top 10, but he’s going to be a top 100 type to many of the services, and, if you asked Brett, is arguably the Cubs top prospect. So the question becomes … Are you comfortable moving 6+ years of control over Miguel Amaya for two years of Marte? And to me, the answer is a pretty easy “no.”
- With that said … it’s not that a two-time Gold Glover and former All-Star like Marte isn’t worth a catching prospect like Amaya in a vacuum – he might be – it’s that for the Cubs, right now, that just doesn’t make much sense. Marte comes with just two more years of control, and if the Cubs aren’t otherwise committed to pushing all-in on this first year (particularly in the rotation) – when Marte is likely to be at his best – then it’s not really a deal worth making.
- Indeed, Sahadev Sharma says as much in his latest at The Athletic, even as he acknowledges that some other options – like signing Shogo Akiyama or platooning Ian Happ with someone like Kevin Pillar – are imperfect. Center field is an issue.
- Interestingly, Sharma goes out of his way to note that Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras are on the trade block in an offseason where “some intriguing center field prospects blocked in other organizations” could become available. And that reminds me of that proposed deal (just a pundit’s idea) with the Braves, which sent Bryant to Atlanta in exchange for starter Max Friend and center field prospect Drew Waters, among others. Waters, 21 this month, is a switch-hitting center fielder who can have an impact on both sides of the plate, steal bases, and stick in center field long-term. He reached Triple-A last season and is one of the top 25 (or so) prospects in all of baseball.
- Blake Treinen is my fingers-crossed relief target for the Cubs this offseason, but he’s apparently a very popular guy with a couple of deep pockets, his former team, and … everyone else:
Blake Treinin is a very popular guy on the non tender pile. Yankees, Dodgers, his former A’s, many others.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 6, 2019