Lukewarm Stove: A Record-Setting Offer for Judge, Deals to Expect Next Week, Conforto's Market, Rays Talking deGrom!? More

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Lukewarm Stove: A Record-Setting Offer for Judge, Deals to Expect Next Week, Conforto’s Market, Rays Talking deGrom!? More

Chicago Cubs

In case you missed it earlier, we wrapped up all the latest rumors on the four free agent shortstops, because HOOOO boy there were a lot.

Among the topics: (1) How the Yankees could become involved, (2) how much Carlos Correa and Trea Turner are expected to make, (3) who will sign first, (4) the market for Xander Bogaerts market and his connection to the Cubs, (5) the Padres asking for a positional change, (6) the length of Dansby Swanson’s deal, (7) whether the Cardinals are actually involved, (8) where Turner is projected to end up, and more.

Yeah, it was A LOT. So if you’re looking for info on that market, for which the Cubs are heavily involved, check out that post right here. We’re going to go over all the non-shortstop stuff below.

Yankees Offer for Judge

We’ve already been warned a few times now that the Winter Meetings could get a little crazy next week — as in, the dam breaking and transactions pouring out. And it seems that all depends on Aaron Judge — at least, according to Jeff Passan: “Once Judge’s decision is made — or, better put, once the Yankees’ intentions are set — the rest of the high-end market could move, perhaps quickly, sources said.”

Specifically, Passan’s sources believe a whiff on Judge could make the Yankees pivot quickly to the free agent shortstop class, but we covered that earlier. Let’s stick with Judge, who’s got some mighty specific details trickling out about his new offer from New York:

“The New York Yankees, whose chief desire this offseason is to retain Judge, have an offer on the table in the neighborhood of eight years and $300 million…” Expectation is that he re-signs, but Giants are “willing to push the market.”

I tend to think that 8 years and $300 million (if that were the offer) could wind up a doable offer for Judge, as it would make him the highest paid position player on an average annual value basis ($37.5M). And I wonder how much higher the Giants would really be willing to go. I guess we’ll see if he wants to play for one team his entire career or move a little closer to home on the West Coast.

But let me underscore, again, what Passan’s sources are saying: Yankees or otherwise, Judge is “primed” to agree to a deal next week, at the meetings. Please.

What Else Will Happen at the Winter Meetings?

On the pitching front, Passan has heard that each of Carlos Rodon, Jacob deGrom, and Chris Bassitt are expected to sign next week. Meanwhile, Taijuan Walker, Jameson Taillon, and Ross Stripling are “possibilities to come off the board” before the end of the Winter Meetings. By contrast, Noah Syndergaard’s market has been cold and quiet (I wonder if that leads to an interesting value play at the end of the offseason…).

The Cubs, of course, should be very aware of those trends, as they’ve been connected to each of Taijuan Walker, Jameson Taillon, and Chris Bassitt over the offseason. Passan didn’t have an update on the expected timeline of Kodai Senga, unfortunately.

On the positional front, Passan sees conclusions for Michael Conforto and Mitch Haniger in the near-future. But it’s the trade market that might get really nuts.

  • The Diamondbacks could trade one of their left-handed hitting outfielders, anyone except Corbin Carroll is available (Cubs have been connected here, at least speculatively).
  • The Blue Jays will likely trade one of their three catchers (Cubs have been connected here).
  • The A’s “are going to move catcher Sean Murphy.”
  • Former Cubs Alex Lange (Tigers reliever) and Gleyber Torres (Yankees second baseman) are also both available.
  • And so are Mariners starters Marco Gonzalez and Chris Flexen!

That’s not even all the players Passan lists as available! Mayhem is coming! I kinda love it.

Michael Conforto’s Market

Since Michael Conforto is one of the players expected to sign as soon as next week, let’s take a quick look at his market.

According to Jon Morosi, Conforto is heading towards a one-year/pillow contract (no surprise there). And there are at least three teams in, most notably the Seattle Mariners:

However, given that the Yankees are one of the other teams in on Conforto, Morosi believes he’ll wait to see what happens with Judge. If the Yankees can’t get Judge, Conforto might be more of a priority. Obviously, Conforto is not Judge, but you can see the general logic there, positionally speaking.

Odds and Ends

  • Speaking of the NL Central, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says that the team’s “No. 1 priority” this offseason is acquiring an everyday catcher, not adding a shortstop. Among the sexiest options out there? A trade for Sean Murphy or one of the Blue Jays catchers (which tracks with the Cardinals M.O. of targeting top players via trade). But there’s also Willson Contreras, who had been connected to the Cardinals more often earlier in the offseason. If they do want him (I’m not longer convinced they do), it seems like they’ll have to go through the Astros, first:
  • Apparently, the Tampa Bay Rays have checked in on … Jacob deGrom, whose next deal on an average annual value basis should be about half of the Rays franchise-record player budget in 2022 (… $83.9M). That rumor is coming from two places: (1) straight out of New York and (2) in Ken Rosenthal’s latest, so it’s not totally ignorable. However, Rosenthal makes the interest sound like something closer to due diligence than anything else. At the same time, the Rays did offer Freddie Freeman two deals last offseason, one of which was worth up to $150M. So they are ramping up a little, it seems. Plus there’s the thing where deGrom reportedly would like to be in Florida if possible. Also, with the Florida-tax advantage, they don’t even have to be the top bidder to have a strong deal.
  • I do not like this one bit and I hope they are wrong:

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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