Lukewarm Stove: Market Impact of Today’s Deals, Will Blue Jays Trade Hernández? Brewers Saving Money, Judge, Senga, More

Lot of news and rumors to share today …

  • Willson Contreras (and 9 others) rejected his qualifying offer becoming a free agent — two guys accepted, including former Cub Joc Pederson.
  • Two separate reporters — one local, one national — connected the Chicago Cubs to free agent shortstop Carlos Correa. We also learned that the Cardinals could be in on one of the free agent shortstops (boo!), but that the Braves are probably in on ONLY Dansby Swanson (hooray!).
  • The Cubs and Rays made a trade.
  • Anthony Rizzo signed a multi-year deal with the Yankees.
  • Tyler Anderson kicked off the starting pitcher market on a three-year deal with the Angels.
  • And the Cubs added four prospects to their 40-man roster.
  • Impact of Rizzo and Anderson

    Let’s start with the two free agent deals, Rizzo and Anderson, because they’ll have some impact around the league.

    Anthony Rizzo: Two Years, $40M guaranteed

    The deal was technically for two-years and $34M including a $17M club option ($6M buyout) in 2025. But that’s $40M guaranteed over two years, so that’s how we’ll discuss it for the purposes of the following conversation.

    As Brett pointed out in his initial writeup, there wasn’t a TON of immediate impact from Rizzo’s deal, in part because he was always expected to re-sign with the Yankees. If he had signed with the Astros, they would’ve been taken out of the Jose Abreu market, but it just never felt all that likely. So, whatever on that front.

    HOWEVER, that does not mean there’s zero impact on Abreu’s market (and, by extension, the Cubs).

    Abreu may be 2.5 years older than Rizzo, but the former Southsider (137 wRC+) had a better offensive season than the former Northsider (132 wRC+), and has had a much stronger last three seasons:

    Rizzo: .234/.341/.451 (119 wRC+); 1,367 PAs
    Abreu: .289/.366/.489 (137 wRC+); 1,600 PAs

    Abreu (369) has also played in 40 more games than Rizzo (329) during that stretch. So if Rizzo was able to get what is effectively a 2-year, $40M deal, I think Abreu can probably match or beat that. Just something to keep in mind for a guy who has been connected to the Cubs a fair amount over the last few weeks.

    Tyler Anderson: Three Years, $39M

    Again, Brett got into some of the immediate impacts of this deal in his dedicated post right here, but something else has popped up since he published:

    Last night, Ken Rosenthal connected free agent starting pitcher Justin Verlander to the Los Angeles Dodgers — especially, he said — if Anderson rejected his QO. Which he did. So there ya go. Also helping this cause: Verlander is not connected to draft pick compensation and the Dodgers are a perennial contender (makes sense for a 40-year-old).

    Remember, back in 2017, when the Cubs could’ve had Justin Verlander, who wanted to come to Chicago? Since then, he’s made 102 starts with a 2.26 ERA and 825 strikeouts in 652 IP. Lol.

    Teoscar Hernández is Available

    We already know the Blue Jays are looking to trade one of their young catchers this offseason, but Jon Morosi hears about another player that could be available in Teoscar Hernandez:

    Teoscar Hernández, who I think is one of the best trade candidates out there this offseason…. He is entering the final year of his contract before free agency, so the Jays have some decisions to make. They also have … a very right-handed dominant lineup…. So with Hernandez entering free agency after this season and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., as well, there is a belief that one of the two could be moved to either bring in a pitcher or get a bit more left-handed or both.

    Morosi went onto note that the Mariners are a team to keep an eye on, and even specifically name-dropped Chris Flexon as a potential return.

    Before you go shopping for the Cubs, note that Hernandez and Gurriel are right-handed both corner outfielders. The Cubs are looking for a center fielder and *also* want to get more left-handed. They’re also not really in a position to trade pitching (unless it was for some true impact, multi-year talent).

    So could the Cubs and Blue Jays get together on one of the catchers? Yes. Absolutely. But for one of these outfielders? Eh, not so much.

    Predictions for Judge, Bogaerts, Senga

    We’ve already discussed Gordon Wittenmyer’s big prediction (Carlos Correa to the Cubs!), but he had some other useful tidbits at NBC Sports Chicago. Among them:

  • Giants President Farhan Zaidi “absolutely” loves having hometown guys, because those players end up being “more invested and engaged in the organization and community. He also said “from a financial standpoint, there’s nobody that would be out of our capability.” Free agent outfielder Aaron Judge grew up a Giants fan in California.
  • Wittenmyer echoed Jon Heyman’s recent report that the Phillies could be interested in Xander Bogaerts (though I still believe Trea Turner is their top target). Wittenmyer also said to keep an eye on the Mariners and believes Bogaerts could be a backup for the Cubs.
  • Senga is in San Francisco for a recruiting visit and, separately, Seiya Suzuki has already reached out to recruit him for the Cubs.
  • Odds and Ends:

  • I’m reading between the lines a bit, but Ken Rosenthal seems to imply that the Brewers might want to “reconfigure their payroll” a bit this offseason. And to accomplish that, they could consider trading Kolten Wong (1-year, $10M remaining) or Hunter Renfroe (1 year, ~$11.2M). By contrast, they are NOT likely to trade shortstop Willy Adames, which does take a theoretical alternative off the market (albeit from a MUCH MUCH lower tier).
  • With the Rangers threatening on Jacob deGrom, the Mets are reportedly considering Justin Verlander (which aligns with Rosenthal’s reporting) and Kodai Senga: “The idea of signing Verlander to a high average annual value contract like Max Scherzer’s has been floating around the Mets front office for months, and it remains a topic of discussion.” Also, Senga “will meet with the Mets” soon, according to SNY.
  • Two more deals for the Rays, plus the one with the Cubs, makes three:
  • Another trade:
  • In case you missed all these other shortstop rumors from earlier today:
  • written by

    Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

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