It’s been a relatively frustrating start to the day, eh? First, we were forced to sit helplessly as rumors of the Reds trading for Francisco Lindor trickled out (thanks, I hate it), before watching the Brewers improve with yet another quality, low-cost signing (they are building a legitimate NL Central contender on a budget).
I guess, for now, we’ll have to get by on the fumes of possibly being linked to Steven Souza Jr. and maybe finding away to move enough money and players to re-unite with Nick Castellanos (more on that below). It’s not much, but it’s something. And hey, it’s been like – what? – a whole day without a Kris Bryant rumor! That’s new!
Here’s the latest …
- Scott Boras has done work this offseason, but he still has several more free agents to go. Among the most notable are Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dallas Keuchel, and Nick Castellanos. And at MLB.com, Mark Feinsand has an update on that trio.
- Let’s start with the pitchers. Thanks to a highly-active market and no draft pick compensation, Ryu and Keuchel have been drawing a ton of interest. In fact, Boras goes as far as to say he is “deep in negotiations” on both and that a deal “could happen soon.” Now, normally this wouldn’t directly impact the Cubs – even though they are looking for starters, they haven’t been seriously connected to these two – but that’s no longer the case: “the Padres, Cardinals, White Sox, Angels and Cubs are said to be in on Keuchel,” per Feinsand. Oh.
- This isn’t technically the first time the Cubs have been connected to Keuchel this offseason, but we had some doubts when it was brought up by Bruce Levine earlier this month. But with another, non-local source, Feinsand, echoing those rumors, I suppose it’s officially a thing. We still have our doubts about how likely (let alone wise) going after Keuchel is right now, when the price is still not expected to be within a range with which the Cubs are comfortable (and given the type of pitcher he is), but hey, that’s two sources, several weeks apart. It’s something.
- If you want to know more about Keuchel’s attractiveness, expected price tag, and fit with the Cubs, I encourage you to check out Brett’s earlier post right here. Everything in there still stands with the exception that we’re a little later in the offseason with a few more options off the board – for both sides.
- Feinsand doesn’t stop there, though. He also effectively confirms Sahadev Sharma’s latest that the Cubs and Nick Castellanos could still be a match: “Castellanos has been attached to a number of teams including the Giants, Cubs and D-backs this winter.” Unfortunately, he points out that none of those teams have gained enough traction to feel like a deal is close … Then again, maybe that works to the Cubs benefit. We more or less know that the Cubs are trying to move money around right now – indeed, it seems even signing obvious-fit, low-cost free agents like Shogo Akiyama is dependent upon opened up funds – so if Castellanos’ market is moving slowly, the Cubs will have some much-needed time to get those deals out of the way. And, indeed – without getting the red string out – it’s not tough to link those efforts to a Kris Bryant trade and that, in turn, is tied to a grievance resolution.
- But let’s go back to Castellanos, because there’s more.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) December 19, 2019
- Rosenthal seems to acknowledge the Cubs chances at Castellanos here, while adding the Rangers (via Sharma) to the list alongside the Giants and D-Backs. But that’s not the most interesting part. This is: “I suspect he’s going to do well [on a contract]. Maybe not crazy-well, because he’s just not that kind of player, he’s really not that much of a defender, but he’s going to get a longer deal, I believe, because of his age, and because of the [length of the deal] the money will be pretty big.” Well, now we’re talking.
- When the rumors of the mutual Cubs-Castellanos’ interest popped back up, there were two issues: positional fit (defensive liabilities with a Schwarber-Heyward-Castellanos outfield) and the money. Of course, the Cubs money situation is more of a short-term, luxury tax issue that it is an actual, available dollars issue (whether we agree on that or not, is besides the point … that’s what the Cubs are clearly signaling). HOWEVER, if Castellanos, 28, really is looking for a longer deal, he might ultimately have a pretty low AAV, which could improve his financial fit in Chicago. That’s a whole lot of wish-casting, but if true – and we now have Rosenthal, Sharma, and Feinsand reporting this interest – I can start to envision something working out.
- There is still the defensive liability/alignment issues, but let’s tackle one thing at a time.
- Interesting, but feels very unlikely:
One interesting effect of Yoenis Céspedes' contract restructuring: the Mets have had teams reach out the past week regarding his availability in trades, according to a source. Nothing close or imminent or even all that likely, but some initial conversations have taken place.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) December 19, 2019
- According to Robert Murray, the Indians are now drawing interest in starter Mike Clevinger from the Dodgers and Padres (among others), but the asking price is apparently “crazy high.” But for however unlikely such a deal may be, the outcome seems categorically tied to Francisco Lindor. In other words, the Indians are either going to try to compete in the first-half of 2020, in which case both guys are staying put, or they could move both players before the start of the season. Considering the Reds (Cubs division) and Dodgers’ (KB trade market) interest in Lindor, I hope they hold onto both. Clevinger comes with three years of control, by the way.