Lukewarm Stove: Cubs on Suzuki and Correa, Castellanos Wanted MIA, Rays "Serious" About Freeman, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Cubs on Suzuki and Correa, Castellanos Wanted MIA, Rays “Serious” About Freeman, More

Chicago Cubs

I wonder how that meeting between the Cubs and Seiya Suzuki went last night? According to Kevin Acee (San Diego Union Tribune), there are some within the Padres organization that are feeling optimistic about their chances, but Suzuki was adamant that he had not made a decision yet and there are “at least a half-dozen teams” still in the running. Including the Cubs. Keep those fingers crossed, my friends.

They DID sign Chris Martin, though!

Meanwhile …

Cubs Need a Bat

I’m trying my best to balance the fact that the Cubs still *desperately* need to add serious offensive talent to this lineup with the fact that there technically still are a ton of options available in free agency. The big one, of course, is Carlos Correa.

Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma cracked that door back open a few days ago, but a lot has changed since then — including, especially, the reemergence of the Astros.

Houston’s name started popping back up in a big way over the last two days, to the point where owner Jim Crane was getting involved. Worse, there were multiple reports of serious offers not in that 10-year range (a six year deal with an opt-out after one?), which would sting a little more for Cubs fans who were told this was the range in which their favorite team would be comfortable. Either way, the rumors have started getting specific. And the Cubs aren’t out of the race yet.

Here’s the latest from Mooney and Sharma, once again pulling us back in:

Are the Cubs going to check in with agent Scott Boras on Correa? Absolutely. Are they going to win a bidding war for his services? Nobody would bet on that. But then again, there doesn’t appear to be a big-market team bidding for his services, and that could be an advantage.

The rest of the conversation pivots back to their pursuit of Suzuki, whom “the Cubs are hoping they can sway,” but it’s not clear if this is meant to be presented as an either/or situation. In reality, I would think adding one of the two would increase the desire to grab the second, perhaps by the same amount as missing out on one would reduce the same odds.

Both Suzuki and Correa are just 27-years-old. If you can add both, that’s probably more in line with one potential path forward for the Cubs than adding just one or the other. But I don’t want to get your hopes up. The Cubs do have interest in signing both players, but actually landing either one still feels like a long-shot.

Castellanos Wanted the Marlins, Too

Given the timing of Derek Jeter’s departure from the Marlins (right before the lockout ended) and all that’s happened since, I’m not surprised that we all sorta moved on from the story without much more discussion. But come on, that’s still a big deal. And another chapter was just added. Or, rather, the last one was confirmed?

When Jeter left, the rumor was that he wanted to sign Nick Castellanos, but the Marlins showed no interest in spending on the outfielder, or anyone of significance at all. Well, as it turns out, not only was that true, Castellanos felt the same way.

That is a tough look for Miami. And another tough break for Castellanos. All the guy does is hit, but every team he apparently loves (yeah, I’m looking at you too, Cubs) is just fine to move on without him. ZiPS has Castellanos projected for .287/.340/.534 (124 wRC+) next season.

He’ll find a home. (Note that Castellanos is tied to draft pick compensation. Just as an FYI.)

Meanwhile, we’ll believe this when we see it.

Latest on Freddie Freeman

Every offseason, there’s always one free agent holding up the market. Usually, it’s the guy expected to take home the biggest price tag. Not this year. Freddie Freeman’s total bag will probably be beat by at least Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and maybe also Javy Báez. But he is still lingering on the market, even after his former team traded for his replacement, Matt Olson, last night (and then has already him on an eight-year deal!). So what’s the latest on this winter’s lynchpin?

Well, the most likely outcome – just in my opinion – is a deal with the Dodgers. But there are other teams involved. No, I’m not talking about the Cubs, who were mentioned yesterday, but likely for little more than leverage. A belief strengthened by the fact that the same guy, Jon Heyman, just updated Freeman’s market and oops! Forgot to mention the Cubs this time, less than 18 hours later:

I suppose do believe the Rays interest is increasingly legitimate, for however out of character it may seem. Ken Rosenthal underscored their interest earlier this morning. And while he agrees it sounds unlikely, Rosenthal really hammers the point home:

Yes, the Rays are serious about signing free-agent first baseman Freddie Freeman, major-league sources say. Yes, they believe they can make it work financially. Will a deal actually come together? Probably not, but just as is the case with their on-field strategy, the Rays’ approach to player acquisition is unique.

I tend to think any teams coming out of the woodwork now are mostly seeing if they can take advantage of Freeman suddenly not having the option of a reunion with Atlanta. But, hey, maybe (1) he doesn’t actually want to play in L.A., or (2) the Dodgers are sticking to one of those super shorter-term, high-AAV deals they love to float with big free agents. Who knows. “Is Freeman to the Rays a longshot? It goes without saying. Their pursuit, though, is not without logic. Rays logic. The unique logic that defines this franchise.”

Odds and Ends:

•   In case you missed it last night, the Rockies are pushing hard to land Kris Bryant, and multiple reports reaffirmed those efforts this morning:

•   The Brewers may have gotten their “bat,” and while we all like Andrew McCutchen, he’s not as scary as their rumored alternatives (Kyle Schwarber or Nelson Cruz):

•   Speaking of Kyle Schwarber, the Blue Jays are reportedly “making a big push” to get him in Toronto:

•   The Reds teardown continues:

Author: Michael Cerami

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