It’s Wednesday afternoon (Day Three) at The Winter Meetings and we’re still humming along – er, at least, we’re trying. My brain is basically a big pile of rumor-mush – the intertwining of third base and starting pitcher markets has been particularly exhausting – but at least some of this smoke has paid off in terms of major deals on the pitching side (Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler). So I guess let’s start there.
- Immediately after the Gerrit Cole signing last night, Ken Rosenthal suggested that the Dodgers could quickly turn their attention to Madison Bumgarner in free agency. But then, word out of San Francisco was that the Giants would do anything to prevent that from happening (for obvious reasons). But then Ken Rosenthal said, oh, hey, maybe the Dodgers will actually turn to Anthony Rendon and Hyun-Jin Ryu instead!
- But then, Rosenthal said this:
#Dodgers pessimistic on chances of landing free-agent third baseman Anthony Rendon, sources tell The Athletic. #Rangers remain heavily involved. #Angels also interested, too. #Nationals a long shot; Rendon balked at deferrals in their initial seven-year, $210M-$215M offer.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2019
- See why my brain is mush yet? But then, but then, but then, but then … all in about 14 hours.
- In any case, the typically trustworthy Rosenthal has been pretty tapped into the Dodgers all offseason long, so if he’s hearing about pessimism regarding Rendon, I tend to believe it. And although he says the Rangers remain heavily involved, my bet is that the Angels end up with the big fish (Rendon) after missing out on Cole, while Texas lands the fallback (Josh Donaldson). That wouldn’t be the worst outcome in the world for the Cubs – it would leave the loaded Dodgers and Braves interested in Kris Bryant – but I can’t help but shake the feeling that the Angels might get desperate enough to part with Jo Adell if they missed on Cole, Strasburg, Rendon, and Donaldson. And he might be the best singular player the Cubs could get in a deal for Bryant. Likely? Definitely not. Possible if the Angels are desperate? Maybe.
- More on what the Cubs could be looking for in a deal with Bryant right here.
- On a related tangent, the Dodgers are apparently “engaged in serious trade talks” with the Indians for Francisco Lindor:
The Los Angeles #Dodgers and Cleveland #Indians continue to be engaged in serious trade talks for Cleveland All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, with Cleveland seeking a package of Dodgers prospects including Gavin Lux and Dustin May.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 11, 2019
- That’s notable and important for all the obvious competitive and trade reasons, but also because this *could* signal the Dodgers’ willingness to move top youngsters Gavin Lux and/or Dustin May this offseason. Lindor has more trade value than Bryant, but they’re not far off and both of these prospects are of the caliber you’d love to see in a Bryant deal (I mean … Lux is a freakin’ dream).
- After writing everything above, this tweet was sent out into the world:
Have heard that the Nationals have not been kicking the tires on a Kris Bryant trade with the Cubs. That could change, of course, but they are waiting for the free agent market to play out before considering trades, especially one of that magnitude.
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) December 11, 2019
- Just like the Braves, the Nationals are playing the “we’re totally not interested” game with this message. I mean, do I think a deal with them is any more likely than it is with any other theoretical suitor? No, probably not. But there’s always a flurry of reports of interest and then a ton of back-tracking, where the specific language “kicking the tires” is more important than the underlying message: they’re interested.
- These Mets and Pirates rumors regarding Starling Marte and Brandon Nimmo have been circling the Winter Meetings, but I don’t quite know what to make of them:
One possibility in Pirates-Mets talk: Marte for Nimmo plus. Ultimately tho Pitts prefers to get a young catcher. Dbacks could also be a fit for Marte (which could give them a 2 Marte outfield) @martinonyc on it
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 11, 2019
- I guess I can remind you that Marte has been a rumored Cubs target this offseason, but those rumors feel pretty dead about now. Meanwhile … why would the Mets prefer Marte over Nimmo, let alone whatever else they’d have to attach to get a deal done? I just don’t get it. Nimmo is younger, cheaper, controlled longer, and honestly about as good, right? I’m clearly missing something.
- The catching market has slowed down considerably after a ton of rapid, early movement. But there could be some more action, as free agent Robinson Chirinos draws interest from the Tigers:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 11, 2019
- The Rockies, Astros, Padres, and Rays are known to be looking for some catching help, so to the extent you’re hoping the Willson Contreras market improves, another option going to not-those-four-teams is a good outcome.
- Another relatively brand new rumor is the interest in former Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun:
Interest in free agent OF Kole Calhoun is solidifying, with the #BlueJays, #Reds, #Brewers and #Marlins all showing interest, sources say. He’s coming off a career-high 33 HR season with the #Angels. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 11, 2019
- Kalhoun has been slightly above average offensively since his breakout 2014 campaign and plays fine, not great corner outfield defense. Given his 25.6% strikeout rate last season and position, he’s really not a threat to join the Cubs. With that said, two NL Central teams (Reds, Brewers) have shown interest, so it’s something to keep in mind.
- Old friend Michael Wacha is joining the Mets:
When finalized Wacha deal will guarantee $3M for 1 year with $7M possible in incentives.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 11, 2019
- Why do I say “old friend” when Wacha was a Cardinal, not a Cub? This is why:
Michael Wacha in 98.1 innings against the Chicago Cubs:
6.50 ERA, 5.48 FIP (lol)
.284/.362/.525; 21 HRs
Cardinals fans used to be so high on Wacha, but the Cubs have always crushed him. https://t.co/8URet9jvdJ
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) December 11, 2019