This offseason has largely been defined by our expectations for tomorrow (i.e., the non-tender deadline). As you’ve read over and over by now, COVID-crunched budgets could produce a record number of non-tendered players, which could wholly transform the free agent market with new players. However, players (and their agents) are also aware of this possibility and some are more risk-averse than others. Point being, we might even see a record number of pre-tender agreements, as well:
Have heard from multiple people today who expect there to be more pre-tender deals “than ever before” ahead of the non-tender deadline on Wednesday.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) December 1, 2020
Some guys simply won’t want to risk finding themselves without a job in 2021 if there’s an offer on the table right now.
At MLB Trade Rumors, Steve Adams has begun collecting the pre-tender deals, which includes Pedro Severino (Orioles), Joe Ross (Nationals), Jesse Hahn, and Franchy Cordero (Royals), among others, but they also have this really handy (and totally public) non-tender deadline Google Doc, which could be very interesting over the next 24 hours.
(Ken Rosenthal also got into Pre-tender deals right here … he also guesses that Tommy Pham may be one of the surprise NON-tenders tomorrow. Which, interesting, but also, he’s had three surgeries since August.)
The Cubs will have some notable non-tenders tomorrow, but if I had to guess, the most expensive guys (Kris Bryant, Javy Báez, Kyle Schwarber, and Willson Contreras) all get tendered.
Springer/McCann on Mets Radar
Although we’ve been conditioned to believe the Mets are in on everything from trading for Francisco Lindor to signing Trevor Bauer, the latest and greatest from MLB’s new financial powerhouse is that outfielder George Springer is their No. 1 offseason target. Springer is MLBTR’s third best free agent this offseason, with a projected 5-year, $125M price tag next to his name. That feels a little too healthy for Springer, 31, in this market and at his age, but the guy has done nothing but hit throughout his career. He’ll get at least $100 million somewhere.
And, hey, it doesn’t hurt that the Blue Jays (the second-most likely to spend team) are also prioritizing the former Astros outfielder.
Meanwhile, while Mets fans have been pining after J.T. Realmuto all offseason, Andy Martino (SNY) has heard from sources outside the organization that James McCann is the preferred catching target. McCann may have played himself into a really nice position over these last two years. He’ll likely sign after Realmuto, if I had to guess.
The driving force behind Ken Rosenthal’s latest at The Athletic is ostensibly about the Red Sox, but whenever the concept of “buying prospects” comes about, I can’t get the idea out of my head (in short, Team A agrees to take on a big, expensive contract in trade, because TEAM B also attaches an intriguing prospect to the deal for a minimal return).
Unfortunately, the Cubs tell us that they are in the exact opposite position to perform such a deal (financially speaking), and even when they weren’t in such a tenuous position, they were never quite able to make one of these agreements work despite the obvious appeal.
In any case, Rosenthal lays out a whole bunch of options for a “prospect buying” deal this offseason, most of which are high -riced pitchers: Carlos Carrasco, Sonny Gray, Danny Duffy, Alex Cobb, Carlos Martinez, Zack Greinke, Madison Bumgarner.
And although the Cubs are unlikely benefactors for any such deal, they were connected to Carrasco, Gray, Duffy, and Cobb in the recent past, and Gray/Martinez play in the NL Central. It just felt worth sharing/discussing, even if the Cubs won’t avail themselves of the opportunity. (And heaven help us if the Cubs ship somebody’s contract out WITH a prospect to save themselves money.)
New Reds SS
Well, I do resent the fact that Jon Morosi doesn’t mention the REIGNING NL Central Champs, but DOES mention the Cardinals when he discusses the Reds efforts to win the division in 2021. Anyway, he does have some good points about the Reds needing a shortstop.
And the fact that they’ve discussed just about every single possibility, from Lindor to Trevor Story, to bringing back Didi Gregorius, and more only serves to reinforce that fact:
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) December 1, 2020
I don’t have much to add to something simultaneously vague and specific, so we’ll just recap: The Reds are looking for a starting shortstop and there are a ton available this offseason (and next). Good luck.
Mike Minor Got Paaaaaid
Even though I’ve long been the leader of the Mike Minor fan-club (we Meet on Mondays and drink Many Mini Mimosas), even I think this is a surprisingly healthy deal for the 33-year-old left-hander after a moderately disastrous 2020 season:
Mike Minor's deal with the Royals is official, sources tell ESPN. It will be for two years and $18 million guaranteed and includes a $13 million club option for the 2023 season with a $1 million buyout.
SP market has been good. Morton $15M, Smyly $11M, Ray $8M, now Minor $18M
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 1, 2020
I still think he’ll be worth it, but yo. Dude got paid, especially for this market.
I hate to keep saying this, but it sure seems like a really good time to trade a starting pitcher IF you already know you’re not “going for it” next season for one reason or another.
Ha-Seong Kim Delayed
Our favorite offseason Cubs target – precisely because he can help the Cubs in 2021 *and* beyond – is 25-year-old shortstop Ha-Seong Kim. Unfortunately, his posting process has been delayed until later this week because of some paperwork … mistakes? Medical issues?
But MLB has not yet processed the KBO’s request. Kiwoom general manager Kim Chi-hyun told Yonhap News Agency Tuesday that the procedure has been delayed because MLB has asked for additional medical documents.
“MLB asked for papers that we didn’t think would be necessary,” Kim said. “Kim Ha-seong went for tests at three different hospitals on Monday and we sent those results to the KBO today.”
I know it seems like this could be an attempt to hide some sort of medical concern, but a deeper dive doesn’t really land in the same place. I think this was genuinely just a mistake, but we obviously don’t have a ton of insight from where we’re sitting. Maybe it was COVID-issue-related?
In any case, Kim will be posted later this week and his window to get a deal done will extend just beyond the new year. Stay tuned.