Lukewarm Stove: Cubs Predictions, Merrifield and Money, Nationals Relievers as Cubs Competition, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Cubs Predictions, Merrifield and Money, Nationals Relievers as Cubs Competition, More

Chicago Cubs

So much to get into that I couldn’t let it bleed into tomorrow. Thus, a Sunday Night Stove … during Sunday Night Baseball … where Buster Olney offered his best predictions that Craig Kimbrel would wind up on the Dodgers, one of Kris Bryant or Javy Báez or Trevor Story would wind up on the Mets, and Anthony Rizzo would wind up on the Red Sox. Wild stuff, and I can dig into it more soon to determine where there could be legs. But for now, I just take it as a guy doing some prompted speculating during a live game broadcast.

Frazier and Merrifield and Money

The San Diego Padres surprised everyone by trading for yet another versatile position player (they would like to have them all and figure out the rest later), taking Adam Frazier off the market from much needier teams. To the extent the Cubs want to market their own position players, then, that is probably a good outcome for that trade.

Meanwhile, the Frazier deal seems to have shaken a little something loose with the Mariners and the longest, oldest rumor in the universe – a Whit Merrifield trade:

Merrifield is now 32 and is posting the first below-average offensive season of his career since he was a rookie (and no, I still don’t think the Cubs will ever trade for him).

And now a report to bring these two items together, and make a point about the Cubs:

Folks. If the PITTSBURGH PIRATES are out there eating salary to improve their trade return, you better BELIEVE the Cubs need to be out there doing the same thing. Concededly, the Cubs can’t *make* a trade partner prefer cash to their best prospects – it takes two to tango, and you ultimately take the best deal you can get. But if that is at all available and on the table from any partner, the Cubs – who have said they could’ve added salary at the deadline – better be all over it. Lest they feel the fiery wrath of, um, well, words typed on a keyboard. But they will be angry, bolded, maybe even CAPITALIZED words!

Starting Pitchers

When even the team that just traded away a starting pitcher is in the market for a starting pitcher, then you know it’s a deeply needy market. I’m referring to the Rays, who sent Rich Hill to the desperate Mets, but are apparently still themselves looking to add a quality starting pitcher.

About that trade, then? It likely is just that the Rays were content to save nearly $1 million by sending Hill out (especially given his recent struggles post-sticky-stuff-enforcement) for a modest return, and the Mets reportedly preferred to grab a starter with cash (rather than prospects) anyway. They’re still gonna want to add a more impactful starting pitcher if they can, but I wonder if they’re going to try to just add salary rather than use quality prospects? That would fly a little counter to the rumors that they want to stay under the luxury tax (which they’re something like $5-7 million away from).

Meanwhile, the starting pitching market took a theoretical hit with Max Scherzer getting scratched this weekend. The Padres want to add a starting pitcher now that they’ve traded for Frazier.

Teams are still looking at Danny Duffy, even though he might be out another month:

And this guy is definitely gonna go:

Anderson’s numbers are not appreciably better than Zach Davies’, by the way, which is all the more reason to expect Davies to be traded, even if not for a huge return.

Yankees Have Won Enough to Buy?

The rumors just keep on coming about the Yankees, and they keep on being on the buy side:

In the AL East, even after a good week, the Yankees are still 9.0 games out and behind two teams. But they’re now only 3.5 games out in the Wild Card race, so maybe it doesn’t make sense to sell? Even then, I have a hard time seeing it make sense for them to give up meaningful prospects to rent Story.

Nationals Relievers as Cubs Competition

CLEARLY the Nats want everyone to know these two relievers are available, because that’s three different reporters:

Daniel Hudson has been pretty darn fantastic this year, and obviously has had a number of great years in the past. I could see him right there with a guy like Ryan Tepera, and maybe even commanding a better return given the greater past success. Hudson’s salary this year is $6 million, though, and Tepera’s is $800,000.

Brad Hand’s peripherals absolutely tanked this year – which is what many feared on his trajectory (remember how he didn’t get claimed by anyone?) – but the results have still produced a sub-3 ERA. A concern there, though, is that he’s a guy whose spin rates have plummeted since mid-June. If you were trying to compare him to Andrew Chafin – just for context – it wouldn’t even be close for me. I’d want Chafin.


The annual Jose Ramirez trade rumors, which will assuredly go nowhere, but could hold up other parts of the market for a few days:

No extension doing with Byron Buxton, so now the question is whether they shock everyone and trade him this week, or maybe in the offseason (his final year of team control is 2022). A healthy Buxton is a top five player in the game. But, well, you know.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.