GM Meetings Rumors and Thoughts: Rizzo Getting the QO, DBacks Trade Target for Cubs, Eflin Interesting, Jays and Senga, Options Decisions, More

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GM Meetings Rumors and Thoughts: Rizzo Getting the QO, DBacks Trade Target for Cubs, Eflin Interesting, Jays and Senga, Options Decisions, More

Chicago Cubs

With executives and agents and media gathered in Las Vegas for the GM Meetings this week, there’s a lot that comes out throughout the day that I find mighty interesting, but that I can’t get to in a dedicated post (and that didn’t show up in this afternoon’s Lukewarm Stove).

Thus, a Bullets-style round-up at the end of the day serves to try to keep you all abreast of the things I saw that are worth sharing, in my opinion …

  • No surprise here, as opting out of his deal was only the first step in this dance, and I’m sure the Yankees would be all too happy to “risk” Anthony Rizzo accepting a Qualifying Offer:
  • When attached to draft pick compensation, it’s hard for me to see Anthony Rizzo landing a huge deal. So he seems to be a guy in that sweet spot where negotiating a new deal with his current team could make the most financial sense for him AND the team. Something like 2/$35M?
  • I was reading a list of possible trade candidates over at CBS, and the glut of left-handed-hitting outfielders on the Diamondbacks/at Triple-A for the Diamondbacks sure caught my eye, given that finding a lefty center fielder for the Cubs would be great. Then I remembered Greg Zumach had tweeted something about that a few days ago, and I went back to find his thread. It’s a long one, so I won’t embed the whole thing, but it does make a lot of sense that the Cubs might want to have a guy like Fletcher available in the mix this Spring, and the Diamondbacks may not have a spot for him (he’s Rule 5 eligible):
  • Greg goes on to lay out the fit with the Cubs, since the Diamondbacks might be looking for right-handed power (Patrick Wisdom? Nelson Velazquez?) and big-league-ready bullpen arms (Rowan Wick? Michael Rucker?). Could be a fit here.
  • So, Dusty Baker is getting a new one-year deal for 2023, to be announced tomorrow per reports, but World-Series-winning GM James Click – who is there in Vegas! – still doesn’t have a deal:
  • Add the Astros to the list of teams that’ll look at Willson Contreras in free agency (makes sense, since they did try to trade for him … but then again, who will actually be in charge of baseball operations this offseason?):
  • This was just a stray thought I had when I saw that Zach Eflin had opted out:
  • What I mean by that last point is that you’d expect Eflin to seek – and teams to want to offer – a shorter-term deal. He could get a higher AAV, and teams could limit risk on a guy who has dealt with injury issues and hasn’t really shown huge upside in the results. But I wonder if there’s a team out there that just wants to take the chance on a healthy four-year deal, believing they can unlock him and then they get a steal of a deal (4/$40M or whatever; I’m just shooting from the hip). I guess I just always remember that with the Twins and Phillip Hughes back in 2013, when everyone knew he was going to get a one-year prove-it deal, and suddenly the Twins came out of nowhere and gave him 3/$24M. Huge risk at the time. But they unlocked him, and it was a steal.
  • No, you are not allowed to do this:
  • Obviously I know the Cubs won’t be the ONLY suitor for Kodai Senga, but … I would like them to be?
  • This surprised a lot of folks:
  • Pollock, 35 next month, was solid for the Dodgers in a part-time role in 2020-21, but he hit just .245/.292/.389/92 wRC+ with the White Sox, and rated out pretty meh defensively in the outfield. That he would choose to hit free agency instead of just guaranteeing himself that $8 million is indeed a surprise. Maybe some team offers up … slightly more in the hopes of a bounce back? Either way, I guarantee you the White Sox were dancing a jig when he informed them of his decision.
  • This one was less surprising, but I don’t know that I would’ve predicted it, given the Brewers’ need to make additions on a tight budget:
  • The Brewers wisely platoon-protected Wong, and he hit righties very well. The defensive metrics fell off a cliff, and I’m not sure what that’s about. It’s possible the Brewers will shop Wong around, but it’s also possible they’re happy to just let him remain the part-time starter at second base for 2023.
  • Stray note on free agent relievers, if you’re looking at Stuff+:
  • I thought Michael had an interesting way of thinking about the relative values of current and former Cubs outfielders, and how it could impact contracts:
  • If Happ repeats his 2022 in 2023, I think he’d definitely be shooting for a Schwarber/Castellanos-level deal. You wouldn’t give that to him a year in advance, though, because that’s the whole thing with an extension: you’re taking on risk in exchange for a better deal, and the player is potentially limiting his upside in free agency in exchange for a big guarantee. It’ll be interesting to see if the Cubs do wind up engaging Happ in extension talks around arbitration time in January/February. I think there are versions that make a lot of sense for the Cubs, but may not be enough money for Happ to forgo free agency in his prime.

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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.