It’s a tricky time, this period between Christmas and New Years, especially with each holiday falling on a Wednesday. The White Sox did manage to ink a deal with Edwin Encarnacion on Christmas Day, but the rest of the momentum – at least publicly – seems to have stalled out. Wonder if that lasts through the end of the month.
Of course, with some significant free agents still out there waiting to be signed (Josh Donaldson, Nick Castellanos, Marcell Ozuna, Corey Dickerson, Shogo Akiyama, Yasiel Puig) plus a vibrant trade market (Kris Bryant, Francisco Lindor, Mookie Betts, Willson Contreras, Starling Marte, Mike Clevinger, David Price, Jon Gray, Jose Quintana, etc.), there’s still so much work to be done.
The Cubs, in particular, might look more different one month from today than any other team in MLB transforms during that period – that is, if the Bryant service time grievance is ever decided. If that doesn’t happen, or if the Cubs don’t make any other trade that moves out salary, then the Cubs might actually look more identical one month from today than any other team in MLB.
Here’s the latest from the stove …
- According to Jon Heyman, the Mets and Pirates have exchanged names on the long-discussed Starling Marte trade, with Brandon Nimmo’s name popping up as a possible return … which doesn’t really make all that much sense to me for either side, really. Perhaps that’s why Heyman’s also reporting the Pirates’ apparent preference for prospects in return for Marte (which also explains why those Cubs/Marte rumors from earlier this offseason have completely vanished (oh, well, and also the money)).
- The Mets aren’t the only team to check in on Marte, though, with the Padres, D-Backs, and Rangers also thought to be involved. The Diamondbacks have been looking for an outfielder all offseason (including overlapping interest with the Cubs for Shogo Akiyama), but they did just sign Kole Caloun, so they might be all set. The Rangers, meanwhile, have traded away outfielder Nomar Mazara and still have three starting option in Willie Calhoun, Danny Santana, and Joey Gallo, but it’s not like you couldn’t make room for Marte in that outfield and coordinate the rest. The Padres are an interesting mention, because they’ve been connected to Kris Bryant in trade, but only as an outfielder, not a third baseman (they’ve got a big infield already Machado – Tatis Jr. – Profar – Hosmer), so if they’re still looking for an outfielder, it’s fair to wonder if Bryant is still in play for them, or if they’re specifically looking for a center-field-capable replacement for Manny Margot.
- Speaking of outfielders, the White Sox were briefly connected to Nick Castellanos and Yasiel Puig (as recently as yesterday), which didn’t make a whole lot of sense to us given the makeup of the rest of their roster, and it turns out … yeah, no. It’s not happening:
The Chicago White Sox have zero negotiations going on with Yasiel Puig’s people according to MLB sources .
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 27, 2019
The #WhiteSox, making dramatic improvements after spending $195.5 million in free agency this winter, will now focus on improving the bullpen. They're not actively involved in the free-agent derby for OFs Yasiel Puig or Nick Castellanos, saying they're committed to Nomar Mazara
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 27, 2019
- The Cubs haven’t really been connected to Yasiel Puig at all this winter (though I’d love if they took a flyer – that’d be fun!), but Castellanos remains this sort of mystical possibility … if he can just hang out until (1) Bryant’s service time grievance gets resolved, (2) Josh Donaldson signs a contract somewhere, (3) the Cubs find a suitable trade for Bryant, and (4) the Cubs also find a suitable trade involving one of their corner outfielders, too. Other than that, though, it’s a no-brainer lololoolololololcrylolololol.
- And one more on the outfield: no recent updates to refute the report out of Japan that suggested the Reds and Shogo Akiyama are likely to marry up at some point soon, so that’s a bummer.
- This week, Jeff Passan jumped on the Big Swing Podcast to talk about the MLB offseason and among the notable bits was his belief that Nolan Arenado is actually the perfect fit for the Dodgers, though a trade would never happen because of the shared division. Passan does go onto mention, however, that Bryant would also be a good fit, implying that he’s sitting out there for the taking. So I guess this is a reminder that the Dodgers are still technically a possibility for Kris Bryant, even as most of their rumors are about Francisco Lindor and Mike Clevinger of the Indians.