Lukewarm Stove: Toronto on Walker, No Trade for Story for Now, Another Flurry of Transactions, More | Bleacher Nation

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Lukewarm Stove: Toronto on Walker, No Trade for Story for Now, Another Flurry of Transactions, More

Chicago Cubs

Being a Chicago Cubs fan over these past three offseasons has not been fun. We know this. Aside from a frustrating lack of improvements to the roster, we’ve also had to deal with seeing the Cubs lose the division late in 2018, miss the postseason entirely in 2019, and an extraordinarily quick exit against one of the worst playoff teams in 2020 (to say nothing of all the farewells piling up this winter).

Maybe it wouldn’t have felt so bad if we knew that the roster wouldn’t change much ahead of time. But early in this stretch, we still fully expected the Cubs to be operating in the deep end of free agency, supplementing a good, young core to hold open a window we didn’t know was closing.

And now we sit here on February 12th, less than a week before pitchers and catchers report for the 2021 season hoping (1) that the rumors on Willson Contreras are dead enough to forget, (2) that the Kris Bryant rumors are nearing a conclusion, and (3) that Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney is correct and the Cubs might actually have enough money left to add an older, cheaper, innings-eating starting pitcher in the Jeff Samardzija-tier. Cool.

Blue Jays and Taijuan Walker

Speaking of available starting pitchers, Taijuan Walker was among the names Brett listed earlier today, but he’s likely going to wind up out of their price range.

That’s partly because the Cubs seem content to accept whichever pitcher falls to them among the remaining names, but also because more spendy teams like the Blue Jays need Walker more and are showing recent, renewed interested (Robert Murray):

The Toronto Blue Jays have shown recent interest in free-agent pitcher Taijuan Walker, according to sources with direct knowledge.

The Blue Jays have maintained a dialogue with Walker for most of the offseason, but the two sides have not lined up on the length of a contract. A deal is not believed to be close, though with the team needing another starting pitcher, they have made it clear that they would like to bring him back if the price is right.

According to Murray, free agent lefty James Paxton is also on the Blue Jays radar, but he’s currently seeking more than $11 million annually (Andy Martino) and that’s further than Toronto is willing to go.

No Trevor Story Trade (For Now)

The Colorado Rockies took a TON of heat this offseason, not only for trading away Nolan Arenado, but for getting so little in return *and* for putting themselves in that position in the first place. The only saving grace for Rockies fans, I presume, was the expectation that any money saved from Arenado (which probably wasn’t as much as they had hoped) could be redirected to an extension for the new face of the franchise … and impending free agent … Trevor Story.

For now, it appears Story is safe from a trade, which is notable in itself, but Jon Morosi stops short of guessing he’s in Colorado for the long haul:

Frankly, I’m not even sure what the Rockies *should* do here.

On the one hand, trading away a star shortstop barreling towards free agency when you’re one of the worst teams in baseball in one of the toughest divisions in baseball makes sense. But on the other hand, you just traded away a star player, you floated the idea of an extension, you still have to pretend to try, Story is popular, and most importantly, the trade market right now is probably pretty thin. Also, there are SO MANY top shortstops going to be available next winter that you might not even find a team that is eager to trade substantial assets for Story right now so that they have a chance to extend him.

Odds and Ends

•   The Brewers had shown some interest in free agent outfielder/first baseman Shin Soo-Choo, but with Keston Hiura possibly at first base post-Kolten Wong, it’s unclear where their interest lies now. Relatedly, the Brewers are reportedly still in on Justin Turner.

•   A minor four-player trade between a couple of teams in California:

•   Neuse is an interesting utility man, and it probably doesn’t MEAN anything that the Dodgers are picking him up. But it’s at least some protection for the possible loss of Turner (and loss of Enrique Hernandez).

•   David Robertson is still out there throwing for teams, and Jon Heyman thinks he looked pretty good. I wouldn’t expect the Cubs to be involved, but still fun name to see making a comeback:

•   Last night, Brett recapped a flurry of lesser transactions, including former Cubs players Billy Hamilton and Jon Jay, theoretical Cubs offseason target Brad Miller, and former Cubs target Ken Giles. There are some more transactions with familiar players to account for today (clearly, guys want to get their ducks in a row before next week):



Author: Michael Cerami

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