Context on the Massive Diaz Deal, Cardinals Coaches, Happ's Ump Praise, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Context on the Massive Diaz Deal, Cardinals Coaches, Happ’s Ump Praise, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The offseason is now 36 hours old and the Chicago Cubs still haven’t traded for Shohei Ohtani. Not really sure what the holdup is. The GM Meetings start today, though, so deal should be done by this evening at the latest.

  • Do I have to say I’m kidding? In all seriousness, I still have doubts that Ohtani is even made available this offseason, even absent an extension with the Angels, because of the pending sale. It’s very hard for me to imagine the Angels greenlighting an Ohtani trade before the sale is complete (his presence and his value are part of the sales pitch), and it’s also very hard for me to imagine the sale being complete before next season. It seems highly likely that we’ll see a new buyer come in sometime next year, and immediately make a very strong push to extend Ohtani. Hopefully that doesn’t happen.
  • About that AAV, though. Depending on HOW long-deferred the money is, the actual AAV might be a million or two or three lower:
  • Basically, the Mets get to lower the AAV for luxury tax purposes (because of the time value of money), but Diaz and his camp get to SAY it was a massive record AAV. We’ll see if and when the actual calculation of the contract’s value comes out from the Players Association. Never forget this element when big deals are reported – sometimes a “$100 million” contract is actually worth only about $90 million because of all the deferrals.
  • Also of note there? If the Mets care about the AAV at all, doesn’t that suggest they are at least THINKING about trying to stay below a certain tier of the luxury tax? The highest tier is $290 million, which the Mets can’t realistically get under unless they let several guys walk and then aren’t particularly aggressive in free agency. Then again, even if they’re over that tier, every dollar spent above that tier comes with a 90% tax, so maybe they just want to save a little money.

Only five pitchers this millennium have thrown at least 50 innings with a sub-2.5 FIP in four or five consecutive years: Kimbrel in 2011-14, Greg Holland in 2011-14, Kenley Jansen in 2013-17, Chapman in 2012-16 and Andrew Miller in 2014-17. (Pedro Martínez did it too, if you needed more reasons to worship at that altar.) Miller is the only one of those relievers to do any of it during the years covered by a free-agent contract. All were substantially worse in the five years after those runs of excellence.

  • Being that Diaz is already on three straight sub-2.50 FIP seasons, Law reasons that it would take something historic from Diaz to actually be worth close to that contract. There is certainly some logic there. It turns out that you *could* argue the only four or five-year deal given to a reliever that wound up being a big win for the team was the one the Yankees gave to Mariano Rivera, the best reliever in history.
  • All that said, the deferred money helps, as does Diaz’s age (he’s still just 28). The other factor is that you simply have to pay a premium to get a guy to sign THIS close to free agency, but before he can even entertain offers from other clubs. Keeping Diaz from even getting to market … is that worth a 10% bump? Because you know you need him and crazy things can happen once a guy hits the market? I could see that argument.
  • Figured this would be coming soon: it’s early Black Friday deals at Amazon, so head over and start flipping around to see if there’s anything you were already thinking of getting. Might find that it’s now on a Black-Friday-like deal. #ad
  • Ian Happ with praise for one of the best umps in the game:
  • The Cardinals have announced their new coaching staff (this happened so quickly that they must have already had all these moves lined up when the other coaches left last week), which includes Matt Holliday returning to the organization:
  • The college-pitching-coach-to-big-leagues pipeline seems to be continuing, with Iowa’s pitching coach poached for an assistant gig with the Tigers:
  • Because he pitched rather anonymously back with the Royals, I could not tell you as I sit here how Zack Greinke did in 2022. So I’m looking now, after Jon Heyman reported that Greinke is expected back with the Royals in 2023 for his age 39 season. He was solid: 3.68 ERA over 137.0 innings, with a 4.03 FIP – both were right around league average.

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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.