Verlander or deGrom? NL Central Spending Woes, New Outfield Target, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Verlander or deGrom? NL Central Spending Woes, New Outfield Target, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I couldn’t watch the USA-England match yesterday, even in the background while I worked, because I had been summoned to the DMV to fix an error on my driver’s license renewal. The error? They forgot to include my middle name on the final form (even though I had included it in my paperwork). Why that becomes a multi-hour, IN-PERSON process is one huge DMV cliche joke waiting to happen. You have my middle name right there on the form. Just update it. Why on earth do you need me there again?

  • This is a thoughtful question to ask, because, although I know what my answer would be, it’s pretty darn close and difficult:
  • In the anonymous survey, the results were 7-3 in favor of deGrom for the same reason I would go with deGrom: yes, there’s more risk of injury and lost time there, but the upside potential is just that much higher. It’s worth the risk to get the absolute best of the best. And I would add in that Verlander, while extremely durable except for the Tommy John surgery, is neverthless five years older, and that’s gotta count for something in the risk department, too.
  • One report out of New York connected the Cubs to deGrom, but I know it’s very unlikely that they pursue him to the level necessary to get him, AND that he actually would choose the Cubs right now. As for Verlander, there actually have been a couple guesses that he could wind up with the Cubs (here, and on the Reporters on Marquee), but no rumors connecting the two. As with deGrom, I can absolutely make the argument that the Cubs need immediate impact at the front-of-the-rotation, which could help yield a very competitive team in 2023, when paired with other key moves. Making the argument that an older veteran like Verlander (or deGrom) should roll the dice on the Cubs at this moment, when he might have only another year or two or three to win as many championships as possible, is much harder. I hate it, but that’s just true.
  • As noted by MLBTR, the Carlos Santana deal last night was the Pirates’ largest free agent signing since 2016. The deal is reportedly for $6.7 million. Total. THAT’S THEIR LARGEST DEAL IN SIX YEARS. For all the “the Cubs don’t spend!” stuff, the Cubs added six players LAST OFFSEASON ALONE at that price level or higher. That isn’t a defense of the Cubs, by the way – it’s just underscoring how hard it is to do what the Pirates have done. It’s ridiculous.
  • Speaking of spending questions, the Brewers dumped Hunter Renfroe this week to save some cash, and everyone wonders who is next. I have seen that shortstop Willy Adames mentioned possible extension talks with the team, so it probably won’t be him. That got me considering the roster a bit, and obviously the other two big-money, big-value trade candidates are starters Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff. That, in turn, made me realize that all three of Adames, Burnes, and Woodruff are going to make $10-11-ish million in arbitration this year, their second-to-last go at it. Which means, if the Brewers do nothing, they will be paying about $45-$50 million for just those three players in 2024, their final years of team control, before all three would walk in free agency if not earlier extended. They’re gonna have to be proactive in navigating this transitional period.
  • Gotta put it somewhere before I forget it: minor league free agent Jason Martin seems like a no-brainer signing for the Cubs if they can get him on a minor league deal. The then-26-year-old lefty batter hit .285/.374/.564/128 wRC+ at Triple-A for the Dodgers last year, hit 32 homers, has good speed, and can play every outfield spot. You wouldn’t sign him to “take over” in center field, but as an option behind the option? With Alexander Canario out for a long time, with Brennen Davis having missed so much time with the back issue, and with Darius Hill coming with questions about whether there’s enough power or the ability to play center field? This is obvious. Go get him, Cubs.
  • This was great:
  • Cubs should get:
  • I am kidding, of course (the Cubs are Reds are not getting together on a financially complex Joey Votto trade), but I do like that guy a lot. I hope he bounces back healthily this year.
  • This is just incredible:

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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.