Lukewarm Stove: Turner and KB, Yamamoto a Cubs Target? Phillies Not Done, Pirates Still Selling, Reds on Rosario, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Turner and KB, Yamamoto a Cubs Target? Phillies Not Done, Pirates Still Selling, Reds on Rosario, More

Chicago Cubs

The Pittsburgh Pirates are going to get in trouble for what they’re doing over the past two years.

I’m being serious:

That organization is no stranger to player grievances given their spending habits (indeed, they actually MUST spend a certain percentage of money on free agents every year, because of their revenue-sharing agreement with the league), and I suspect we’re nearing another problem.

This offseason, the Pirates have already declined the option on Chris Archer, DFA’d Trevor Williams, Nick Burdi, and Jose Osuna, and traded Jameson Taillon, Joe Musgrove, and Josh Bell. I know the Cubs have been pretty big offenders, themselves (and perhaps it’s worse given the market discrepancy), but the Pirates have just THREE MILLION in financial commitments beyond this season. $3 million. For a player buyout! That’s bad. The players association and the larger-market clubs are going to be ticked.

Anyway, Frazier, 29, is a left-handed hitting second base/outfielder with a league average high-contact bat, solid defense, and is set to make $4.3M in 2021. I’d expect there to be interest out there, since the Pirates assuredly just want to dump the salary.

Turner to Bryant

It’s become increasingly clear that the primary hold up on the Kris Bryant trade market is the on-going free agency of Justin Turner. In terms of a short-term, right-handed, offense-first profile at third base for a relative healthy financial cost in 2021, they offer similar value. But it’s more than that. The Dodgers, specifically, are thought to be prioritizing Turner over Bryant and the Cubs may not want to pull the trigger on a different Bryant deal until they know if the Dodgers are in or not.

So this does not surprise me:

Given how quickly the infield market has been spinning lately, I *really* wouldn’t expect this to drag on much longer. Turner probably signs soon-ish, and then we find out soon-ish after that whether Bryant is going anywhere.

As for Nolan Arenado, well, that’s a little trickier. We know he’s available, but we also know he’s due roughly $200 million over the next six years with an opt-out after this season. Moving that contract, even if he’s flexible with the timing of the opt-out, will be difficult. Of course, the Rockies are seemingly anxious to pivot those dollars into a long-term deal with Trevor Story (an impending free agent), so maybe they’ll be extra motivated to get something done.

Cardinal Updates

There are a handful of notable Cardinals updates in Derrick Goold’s latest worth discussing …

•   The Cardinals have offers out to both Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, although both are for less than they were guaranteed in 2020, which is pretty logical, considering Molina (would have) made $20 million last season and Wainwright $5 million. The Cardinals are largely expected to up their offer to Molina, mind you, and I still expect him to stick around.

•   Wainwright, by contrast, might have some other options to consider: “Wainwright has received several competitive offers, and one of the current offers is from the San Diego Padres, the Post-Dispatch confirmed.” Going to play with an obvious contender like the Padres could be exactly what Wainwright is looking for as his career winds down, while the Padres would probably love to have someone with his experience in the organization to help out with some of their younger pitchers.

•   Meanwhile, Carlos Martinez has been pitching for the D.R. in the Caribbean Series, and apparently feels good. He’s entering the final year of a five-year, $51 million contract with the Cardinals. What a weird turn his career took.

Reds Trade? Any Implication?

The Reds have been seeking a starting shortstop all offseason, with rumors ranging from a free agent signing of Didi Gregorius to, now, a trade for Indians infielder Amed Rosario:

Rosario, 25, is a glove-first shortstop, who came to the Indians in the Francisco Lindor trade earlier this month. He has yet to live up to his offensive success in the upper-minors, but he’s still young and was pretty valuable as a league-average offensive contributor in 2019 (99 wRC+, 2.7 WAR). He’d probably be a pretty good addition for the Reds.

Phillies Not Done

Even after signing J.T. Realmuto to the richest free agent contract for a catcher ever, the Philadelphia Phillies are not done yet. Citing needs at shortstop, the bullpen, and their starting depth, Corey Seidman (NBC Sports Philly) writes that “Dave Dombrowski isn’t finished.”

Moreover, he did the math and discovered that they still have upwards of $30 million worth of space beneath the first luxury tax threshold, seemingly with an intent to use at least some of it.

He also pointed out something that kind of surprised me, but really shouldn’t have:

I didn’t necessarily expect the Phillies to be the most active/spendy team coming into the offseason, but once they had Dave Dombrowski on board and thus a clear directive to max out their current window, keeping pace with the Braves, Nationals, and Mets, I should have known. This team is likely going to use more of its luxury tax space to improve on the margins, and, hey, who knows, maybe they have one big trick left up their sleeve.

As it relates to the Cubs and the Phillies needs, that could be a deal for Kris Bryant or Craig Kimbrel, I’d guess. But probably will mean more free agent targets.

Marlins DFA Yamamoto … Sup Cubs?

After signing Anthony Bass a two-year, $5 million deal with a $3 million club option for 2023, the Marlins have designated 24-year-old righty Jordan Yamamoto for assignment because of the 40-man crunch, and you have to wonder if the Cubs might be interested.

Yamamoto, a former notable prospect included in the Christian Yelich trade, hasn’t yet had a ton of success in the big leagues, but he’s still young, he had a 25.2% strikeout rate in 78.2 innings back in 2019, and the spin rates on his fastball and curve are pretty excellent:

The velocity, you’ll note, was down a couple clicks in 2020, which may have been an artifact of the weird season, or may have been related to a forearm injury he suffered in 2019. So there’s certainly risk there.

If you think the velocity isn’t necessarily gone forever, then this is pretty much exactly the profile of the sort of arms the Cubs would LOVE to target this winter (young, cheap, tons of upside, and a great foundation of tools for the pitch lab scientists to mold). The Marlins will have a chance to trade Yamamoto over the next seven days, and the Cubs are certainly not the only team in a position to target someone like him, so we’ll have to see how this plays out. Yamamoto has a minor league option remaining, too.

Odds and Ends:

•   This may have been the most likely outcome all offseason, but especially since the Yankees signed Corey Kluber to a surprisingly large deal. Masahiro Tanaka is leaving MLB and heading back to the Rakuten Eagles in the NPB:

•   There is “deferred,” and there is DEFERRRRREDDDDD:


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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