You know what I hate about life after Winter Meetings? The lack of structure. From the end of the World Series until the the Rule 5 Draft (which happened earlier today), Major League Baseball seems to have these invisible bounds by which deals are expected to get done … and often do. I like that. Structure is comforting.
After today, however, there’s not much of it left. Sure, there’s some pressure to get things done before the holidays, but then it’s just the Wild West until pitchers and catchers Report. And in recent years, even that has proven to be the benchmark it once was. Then again, with Kris Bryant’s grievance still undecided (decision next week?) and even Shogo Akiyama’s price tag out of the Cubs “comfort zone,” maybe there’s little reason to care about structure anyway.
- For what it’s worth, Jed Hoyer seems to believe that Christmas has historically been a bit of a soft-deadline for free agents and thinks we could be back to that this year, which sounds great, until you realize what he means by that: “That would leave the rest of December and January as more of the trading season.” I don’t doubt that the Cubs are waiting for free agency to clear up before they make their moves, but there’s really only one free agent left standing in their way, so … tick-tock.
- I’m going to shorten this pre-amble, because we’ve done it a thousand times already: The teams that were interested in Anthony Rendon and are interested in Josh Donaldson will be interested in Kris Bryant. And one of those teams, the Rangers, feels especially bummed to have missed out on their first choice:
Jon Daniels on missing out on Anthony Rendon…."I am not going to sugarcoat it….it sucks."
— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) December 12, 2019
- Great, right? The Rangers were *clearly* in on Rendon, which means they should be more than able and willing to turn to Donaldson, leaving the MUCH more suitable Dodgers and Braves in the market for a third baseman trade … except maybe not. According to Levi Weaver (The Athletic), “sources indicate that the price on Josh Donaldson has exceed the Rangers’ comfort level, and they are likely out.” Thud. I can’t really imagine Donaldson asking for so much that the deep-pocketed, ready-to-spend, 3B-needy Rangers are now out … especially because who, then, would be willing to pay that price (Nationals? Dodgers?)? But I guess we’re here. The good news is the Braves are certainly not going to out-bid the Rangers, so if the Rangers say the price is too high, the Braves likely will too.
- In any case, Rangers GM Jon Daniels is out there signaling his preference for a trade anyway:
Daniels has an oft-repeated hard-and-fast policy of not discussing specific players who aren't (yet) Rangers, so I'm *guessing* a bit here, but the "year or two of control" here certainly makes my Kris Bryant alarm start buzzing.
— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) December 12, 2019
A possible hint from Jon Daniels regarding #Rangers' next move at third base: "I wouldn't assume that we necessarily view the options exactly as they are portrayed publicly."
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) December 12, 2019
- This could all be genuine … or it could be some last-minute attempts at leverage to get Donaldson to come down on his ask. That feels more likely, because I really do not think the Rangers have what it takes to swing a Kris Bryant trade on their own.
- The Tigers have come to an agreement with free agent catcher Austin Romine (1-year, $4M), which sort of reminds me how quiet the catching market has been since it’s explosive start a couple weeks ago. Once upon a time, the catching market and Willson Contreras trade rumors were far louder than the KB stuff. Boy has that changed. My guess? The asking price on Contreras is ridiculously high (as it should be), because the Cubs are less anxious to move him than it initially appeared (as they should be).
- The Blue Jays are warming up to the idea of Hyun-Jin Ryu, though Ryu, like Madison Bumgarner and Dallas Keuchel, has gotten a lot more attention lately as Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole, Zack Wheeler, and Cole Hamels have all signed.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 12, 2019
- My best bet for Ryu? The Dodgers, though the Angels, White Sox, and Twins could all be in play.
- Speaking of the Dodgers, they might be the ones to target outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, who could be a slugger, but doesn’t quite fit the Cubs needs in more ways than one this winter:
Source: #Dodgers showing interest in LF Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, who is viewed by many as a better fit for the American League. Tsutsugo faces a Dec. 19 deadline to sign in @MLB after being posted by the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of NPB, for whom he hit 29 HR this year. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 12, 2019