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Lukewarm Stove: Reliever Signings, Freeman and Semien, Reds and O’s, Frazier Hits Free Agency, More

Chicago Cubs

Just a flurry of stuff to get through on the rumor front, so I’m just gonna plow through bullet-style …

•   The Angels signed lefty reliever Aaron Loup to a two-year deal worth $17 million guaranteed, a very healthy contract for a soon-to-be 34-year-old with a relatively short track record of top-tier success. Loup was outstanding for the Mets this past year, but before that, you have to go back to his rookie season in 2012 to find another year with the same level of dominance. The Angels are certainly trying everything they can to maximize the next couple years of Troutani. I don’t blame them, but they’re paying a premium for it, between this one and the Noah Syndergaard deal.

•   The deal is similar in AAV to the one Kendall Graveman is getting from the White Sox. Hey, good luck and God bless. It’s just not where I’d be using that kind of money, and it’s certainly not where the Cubs are going to be spending their dollars, so whatever – none of my business!

•   As referenced earlier in the Seager-Dodgers post, Ken Rosenthal got into a buncha stuff today here at The Athletic. Freddie Freeman gets a lot of attention, having not yet been re-signed by the Braves, despite widespread expectations that it will happen eventually. The Braves have reportedly offered five years and $135 million (just topping the 5/$130M Paul Goldschmidt got from the Cardinals at the same age), but you wonder if another big market is out there lurking and ready to bid him up. I would still call it a 95% chance that a deal eventually gets done with the Braves. Can’t see him anywhere else. (Inserts obligatory comment about Anthony Rizzo not being with the Cubs.)

•   Also in there from Rosenthal, word that Marcus Semien could be looking to top $200 million, which is surprising given his age (31) relative to the other top shortstops, who are all several years younger. But it is true that Semien has arguably been the best of the bunch, overall, the last three years. He is, of course, not going to top Carlos Correa and Corey Seager, but maybe he’ll wind up getting a whole lot more than folks are expecting. (Related report has the Giants and Mariners as possible big bidders on Semien.)

•   Don’t forget, according to Rosenthal: since the Mets have two first rounders in 2022 for failing to sign Kumar Rocker, the pick they’d lose to sign a qualified free agent is 14th overall. A steep, steep price. They might not be willing to pay it for any qualified free agent.

•   I don’t really buy that the Reds aren’t opening to moving Luis Castillo after years of being open to it:

•   The real story, I suspect, is that Castillo is coming off a down (for him) season, and is set to make quite a bit less in 2022 than Gray. Thus, the Reds would probably PREFER to move Gray. But if a great offer comes in, I really do think the Reds are in sell-anything-not-nailed-down mode.

•   You might’ve thought he’d be an obvious trade target for the Cubs, but the second half fall-off and shoulder issues definitely scare me:

•   Means was also a guy whose spin rate dropped massively midseason, which could’ve been a sticky stuff enforcement thing, or it could be the shoulder injury. Either way, it’s concerning enough that giving up major prospect talent for three arbitration years of a guy with a mixed track record is not all that appealing. Consider why the Orioles, who should finally be trying to come out of their half-decade-long rebuild and have no salary on the books, are trying to trade him.

•   Clint Frazier was not claimed on waivers ($2.4 million arbitration estimate), so he’s now a free agent. The powerful 27-year-old outfielder will have no shortage of reclamation suitors, and if the Cubs hadn’t already added Harold Ramirez I would have said they were a no brainer option to try to break him out. Even as it stands, although you don’t prefer to add another righty power bat to the mix, the Cubs are in a spot where they can take chances, and Frazier does still have considerable talent. It’ll depend a bit on his health (he’s had some unclear issues) and how many teams out there are willing, if any, to give him a clear path toward everyday starts in a corner outfield spot.

•   “Everyone knows we desperately want Carlos Correa … somebody SAY something”:

•   So much for the Zach Reks idea. The Rangers traded for him from the Dodgers today (along with former Cubs prospect Billy McKinney – they must really want lefty outfield bats from the Dodgers!). The Cubs’ Ramirez acquisition would’ve made the outfield situation a little tighter as it is, but I wonder if the Cubs were in on Reks but decided on Ramirez instead, or the Dodgers decided the Rangers’ cash offer was better.

•   Stay tuned for Matz-ness, as it seems like the lefty will be able to choose from among EIGHT offers today and/or tomorrow if he wants to sign before Thanksgiving.



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.