Lukewarm Stove: Betts-Dodgers Heating Way Up, Bryant Extension Offers, OF Free Agents, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Betts-Dodgers Heating Way Up, Bryant Extension Offers, OF Free Agents, More

Chicago Cubs

Well, I guess we’ve got our answer: No, Kris Bryant will not be traded *immediately* after his grievance is resolved. I still think that was a fair guess this winter – and perhaps especially so at this point in the offseason – but if there actually was any serious behind-the-scenes work for a deal, it clearly wasn’t enough to strike immediately after the news came down.

Now, a trade still feels perfectly plausible (if not likely), but with the Braves seemingly content, the Rangers without enough to get it done, the Nationals having moved on via free agency (and otherwise unwilling to include the necessary pieces), and the Dodgers/Padres focused on Mookie Betts … I’m not sure exactly what realistic offer will be out there. I guess there’s always that insane – but apparently quite real – Kris Bryant for Nolan Arenado one-for-one swap.

Stay tuned, I sincerely doubt the Cubs offseason is over.

  • Speaking of those Mookie Betts rumors, the heat continues to dial up. And Ken Rosenthal is now reporting that a deal is more likely than it has been all offseason, presumably between only the Padres and Dodgers:

  • Rosenthal also reports that although a Mookie Betts/David Price package has indeed been discussed (with respect to the Dodgers), that’s actually only one of several combos that’ve been thrown around. Basically, the Red Sox will likely try to pair Betts with someone, while keeping an eye on getting under the threshold, and the quality and price of that someone will help dictate their return (with respect to L.A.).
  • With the Padres, by contrast, there seems to be a little more math involved, as they aren’t only unwilling to take on a contract like Price, but might actually need to move out the money owed to Wil Myers in any completed deal. I suspect some combination of their (1) awesome farm system, (2) collection of young MLB talent, and (3) desire to drive up the price on the Dodgers is keeping them in the game.
  • And the Dodgers holding Gavin Lux and Dustin May off the table (as they should) probably doesn’t hurt:

  • With all of that said, the Betts-Dodgers smoke is just so high right now and from several different sources. Here’s Buster Olney guessing that something does get done before Spring Training, even:


  • According to NBC Sports Chicago, the Cubs have offered Kris Bryant extensions in the past, but word is that they’ve been for significantly less than what other top third baseman in baseball have recently signed for. Part of the problem, of course, is that two main deals that come to mind (Nolan Arenado and Anthony Rendon) are not particularly apples-to-apples comparisons. For starters, Rendon was a free agent, able to negotiate with any team in baseball in an offseason FULL of ridiculous contracts coming off a career year. And Arenado was one year younger than Bryant and one year closer to free agency when he signed his extension, also coming off arguably his best season at the time.
  • So whether or not you think Bryant is as good as those players is kind of irrelevant. Unlike Arenado, he’s a year older with two years of control to go. Unlike Rendon, he’s not a free agent. Throw in the untimely injuries (and the effect they’ve had on his performance) and the fact that he’ll be a free agent at 30-years-old and, frankly, I’m just not surprised to see his offers coming in less than that of Arenado/Rendon. That isn’t to say he isn’t worth a TON or that the Cubs should find a way to make it happen, but it’s just not as easy as saying he should definitely get as much as those guys.
  • As for the reported lack of a no-trade clause in the offer, well, the way I see it, that actually doesn’t matter too much. If extended, Bryant will eventually reach his 10-5 no trade rights with the Cubs and if they do extend him, they likely wouldn’t want to trade him before that point anyway. A small issue? Yeah, maybe. Sure. The reason there hasn’t been a deal yet? Nah. I don’t think so.
  • With Steven Souza Jr. in the fold, I can’t imagine the Cubs will be hunting in the free agent outfield market – all things equal – but let’s just keep tabs on this for now. With the extra man on the roster and the potential need for some additional quality center field defense from the right side of the plate, you just can’t cross anything off:

  • Elsewhere on the free agent market:

  • The Cincinnati Reds signed Shogo Akiyama out from under the Cubs and stole Nick Castellanos and Pedro Strop directly from them. I am now sad.

  • And they’re not the only NL Central teams poaching relievers … not that this one hurts quite as bad:

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami