Lukewarm Stove: Another Nimmo Suitor? Yankees High Bidder on Judge? Tigers Catching Plans? More

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Lukewarm Stove: Another Nimmo Suitor? Yankees High Bidder on Judge? Tigers Catching Plans? More

Chicago Cubs

I don’t think Alexander Canario’s (serious) injury is going to torpedo the Cubs chances of building a playoff contender next season — they were never going to be banking on his big league production (or if they were, it’d be a problem). But I also don’t think we can pretend like it’s not a significant loss. Canario had emerged as a legitimate, near-term contributor in center field, potentially with some true and immediate impact. And if not that, he could have helped facilitate a trade of significance for a big-league caliber player — either as the centerpiece of a deal, himself, or by way of the Cubs more confidently moving some other upper-level outfield prospect in a deal, or even Ian Happ.

The good news is that the Cubs already have two very good corner outfielders, Happ and Seiya Suzuki, under contract for at least next season (I don’t think this has much of an impact on an extension with Happ, for what it’s worth). But I can’t help but thinking about those Brandon Nimmo rumors that popped up yesterday in conjunction with the Cubs. Maybe that just became a bit more plausible?

Brett got into all of that and more yesterday — needless to say, the impact is significant:

Meanwhile, from around the MLB rumor mill …

Rockies Want Brandon Nimmo

This week the Cubs were included among the “other teams that might be interested” in signing free agent center fielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s coming off a monster 5.4 WAR season. The other teams mentioned, by the way, to varying degrees of likelihood: Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers, Rangers, Marlins, and Blue Jays.

Not long after that post, a Rockies mailbag at The Denver Post revealed another team that could be interested, as well as some potential contract terms: The Colorado Rockies reportedly have Nimmo on their “preliminary wish list,” though the competition is potentially going to be stark. Nimmo is apparently from Cheyenne, Wyoming, which is just under a 2-hour drive from Denver, for whatever that’s worth.

So what does that all mean for the potential length and cost of a deal for Nimmo? Here’s Patrick Saunders: “Estimates that I’ve seen predict that Nimmo will land a five-year deal around $115 million-$120 million, although he might seek a longer deal.”

That projection is on the lower side of what the writers at The Athletic had bracketed, but Nimmo remains attached to draft pick compensation and has an extensive history of injuries. Before Canario’s injury (and Brennen Davis’ general soreness), I would have guessed probably not for the Cubs. But now? … I don’t know. I think I could get on board, depending on how aggressive the Cubs were elsewhere.

After all, we’ve been consistent in our belief that the Cubs need to add TWO bats this offseason, not just one. Especially if they’re going to lose Willson Contreras.

Yankees High Bidder on Judge?

Before we get into the more specific rumors, I think this article at SNY on the toxicity of being a New York Yankee, and the impact that has on free agents, perhaps especially Aaron Judge, is worth reading. Remember, Judge was *booed* in New York during the postseason, after setting a new AL single-season HR record. That’s not “high expectations in New York,” or a “spoiled fanbase.” That’s sh*tty and toxic and a very understandable reason to want to avoid that team if all else is equal.

Okay, now onto the latest on Aaron Judge’s free agency via Jon Heyman at the New York Post, who reports on opposing perspectives from inside and outside the organization:

“I would expect him to be a Yankee,” one rival says, echoing the thoughts of many. Another says he believes it would take a “screwup” for the Yankees to lose a legacy player like this….Even so, there appears to be some real concern within the Yankees’ ranks about their chances to keep Judge.

There’s real, internal concern about the Yankees chances to keep Judge? That’s news to me, though maybe it pairs well with that report of Yankee toxicity? In any case, Heyman says that the Yankees “expect to be the high bidder,” so perhaps it’s all moot. And to further clarify Judge’s expected earnings: “A source suggested he didn’t see why he should be below Anthony Rendon’s annual $35 million pay….”

And lastly, Heyman listed his the potential non-Yankees suitors in order of likeliness, doubling-down on his prior report that the Cubs are at least theoretically in the fight:

  1. Giants – prepared to spend”whatever it takes”
  2. Dodgers – could become “serious players”
  3. Mets
  4. Red Sox
  5. Cubs – main competition along with Giants and Dodgers?
  6. Rangers
  7. The Field

Heyman clarifies that while the Cubs “promise to spend, it’s hard to see them spending this big.” And I tend to agree, in a sense: it just doesn’t feel like Judge is the route they’re taking. And I think they can still have a HUGE offseason without him. But, I mean, yeah, they’ve been mentioned a couple times. So I guess we’ll leave the light on.

Odds and Ends:

  • The Cubs aren’t going to most of their damage in the catching market this offseason, but they likely do need to sign a part-time starter to pair with Yan Gomes. And with Willson Contreras dangling on by the qualifying offer, this particular positional shop has my attention. At The Athletic, Cody Stavenhagen discusses who’s available all within the context of the Tigers’ desperate needs at the position. It doesn’t sound like Contreras is going to be a realistic option for financial reasons, but that means that the guy they do go after could overlap with the Cubs’ targets.
  • What would you do if Cubs didn’t get one of the top-4 shortstops this offseason? This is all just speculative – not actual rumors – but Jim Bowden did his best to project where each guy would end up and he places NONE of them in Chicago. I think I might lose my head: Carlos Correa (Giants), Trea Turner (Braves), Xander Bogaerts (Mariners), Dansby Swanson (Red Sox). For what it’s worth, I think his contract projections are all totally off, some way too high, some way too low, and I think it’ll be surprising if all of the Dodgers, Cubs and Braves don’t come away with one of these guys. That’s just not going to happen.
  • In case you missed this yesterday, the Dodgers are very much setting themselves up for a run at a shortstop this offseason. Jon Heyman thinks Carlos Correa is option 1-A, but doesn’t rule out a trade, either.
  • I feel like I’m the only person interested in seeing Noah Syndergaard among the Cubs targets this offseason. Not as *the* big pitching addition, but as the lesser of two? Why not.
  • Speaking of Syndergaard, he’s the latest former teammate of Jacob deGrom to bet on the Mets to re-sign the ace.

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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