Lukewarm Stove: Realmuto, Bradley, Bauer, Hernandez, Ozuna, Cruz, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Realmuto, Bradley, Bauer, Hernandez, Ozuna, Cruz, More

Chicago Cubs

Friday night! Rumors! Lettttt’s go.

Braves/Realmuto Update and Silly Theories

The hottest rumor (or is it misdirection?) of the hour is the Braves potential interest in signing free agent catcher J.T. Realmuto, despite the presence of Travis d’Arnaud and the more pressing need for a right-handed hitting left fielder/third baseman. Brett discussed it earlier today.

I have a sort of extremely outrageous theory that includes the Braves signing Realmuto and the Cubs trading Kris Bryant to the Braves in exchange for d’Arnaud+ to be their starting catcher when they eventually trade Willson Contreras, but it’s so convoluted and also I hate it so much I don’t really want to think about it.

Howeva … that unlikely combination of events does get the Cubs a starting catcher, and it does get the Braves a right-handed third baseman/left fielder, and it does open the door to move Contreras to whichever team has now missed out on Realmuto (and d’Arnaud), which should make his market even stronger, considering that the Braves were never considered a realistic landing spot for the free agent catcher in the first place.

And, sure, taking on d’Arnaud’s $8 million in a Bryant deal doesn’t seem like something the Cubs would want to do right now, but they’d be moving out other contracts and maybe could still compete in an uncompetitive 2021 NL Central, well ….

Also … doesn’t swapping out Contreras for d’Arnaud give you swapping out Darvish for Davies vibes? Contreras and Darvish are both better and controlled for longer, but Davies and d’Arnaud are still pretty good, cheaper, and controlled for just one season. Okay, I’m way beyond how much I actually wanted to discuss this so let’s drop it.

The Braves won’t like pony up enough for Realmuto in the first place (especially if they’re taking on money for Bryant) and this was probably just pressure on the Phillies from Realmuto’s agent or the Braves or whomever.

Other Braves Moves?

I guess it’s worth pointing out, though, that the Braves are also “at least perusing the closer market,” which included a quiet pursuit of Liam Hendriks and Kirby Yates before they signed with the Sox and Blue Jays. Jon Heyman points out that Alex Colome, Trevor Rosenthal, and Mark Melancon are all left on the free agent market, but I don’t think anyone would be surprised to find Craig Kimbrel’s name available in trade, either.

Jackie Bradley Jr., Mets and Bauer, and the Other CF Market

Meanwhile, the Mets are still looking for a center fielder in the wake of the George Springer-Blue Jays deal, and I think Jackie Bradley Jr. would have to be near the top of their list, given the rumors, though they do reportedly prefer a righty.

In addition to New York’s NL team, the Phillies, Red Sox, Astros, and Rockies are all still “monitoring” center fielders, according to Heyman, which, I mean … the Cubs should be too (but whatever LOL … I’m dead inside).

Heyman goes on to add that while the Mets are still shopping all around, they aren’t “rushing” to sign Trevor Bauer, and Andy Martino adds a connection between the JBJ pursuit and Bauer for the Mets:

Meanwhile, if the Mets are truly in on Brad Hand, Robert Murray believes they’ll have to beat out the Dodgers, who are lurking at the periphery of his market.

And if they want to move on to Kiké Hernandez, there’s trouble there, too:

Nelson Cruz Offer/NL

Meanwhile, the Twins have reportedly upped the dollars in their one-year offer to Nelson Cruz, though he continues to be patiently awaiting the results of the universal DH decision. Considering that multiple NL teams are already showing interest in anticipation of that decision, I’d say that’s a smart bet.

And, indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marcell Ozuna is thinking something similar *and* that’s forcing the Braves hands a bit here (i.e. Ozuna wants to wait to see if he can get a better deal than whatever the Braves are willing to do when the NL knows for sure if they’re going to have a DH in 2021). That could help explain some of the recent noise on Realmuto and the need for a right-handed third baseman/left fielder. Heck, maybe the Realmuto stuff is as much about putting pressure on Ozuna as it is about putting pressure on the Phillies?


I guess some organizations take care of their legends AMIRITE:

Jake Odorizzi is one of the best pitchers left on the market after Bauer:

Author: Michael Cerami

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