Winter Meetings, Sunday Night: Cubs and Kluber, Mets and Verlander, Marlins Listening, Rosenthal Talks, More

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Winter Meetings, Sunday Night: Cubs and Kluber, Mets and Verlander, Marlins Listening, Rosenthal Talks, More

Chicago Cubs

Everybody kinda stopped on a dime earlier this evening when Mark Feinsand reported that a Sean Murphy trade was close, but we’re still waiting for that to actually shake loose. All we know for now is that the A’s catcher won’t be traded to the Braves, and the Cardinals, Rays, Guardians, and Red Sox are among the teams involved.

I hope that goes down tonight, because I want some ACTION. Also, is that Cubs offer to Xander Bogaerts going to come through, or was that indeed just some negotiating smoke?

Some other things to chat about …

The Cubs have checked in on two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, who is close friends with Cubs catcher Yan Gomes and is more open-minded about Chicago after his recent free-agent decisions prioritized staying on the East Coast. Following the injuries that wiped out almost all of his 2019 and 2020 seasons, Kluber has made 47 starts (4.17 ERA) across the last two years with the Rays and New York Yankees. Kluber could also be an asset for an organization that’s trying to help a large group of young pitchers take the next steps in their careers.

Having reinvented himself, Kluber is more of a solid back-of-the-rotation type, and maybe a good veteran presence to have around.

The 2022 ERA wasn’t great, but the peripherals were certainly interesting: 20.0% K rate (contact managerrrrr!), 3.0% BB rate (wow), 6.9% barrel rate (nice), 26.6% hard contact rate (great). He has completely reinvented himself in his later years as the velocity has gone, now barely throwing his fastball at all – instead, his cutter is his base fastball now, and he throws his curveball more than a quarter of the time (two-seamer is about 25%, and changeup is about 10%). You’d love to have more strikeouts, but he has the profile of a guy who can stay off the barrel.

FanGraphs projects Kluber to get a one-year deal for around $11 or $12 million, and I say sign me up. There are no bad one-year deals, and the Cubs need rotation arms, period.

  • When I wrote that, about a month ago, I liked the Cubs’ chances to ALSO land a front-of-the-rotation type a lot more than I do now. That is to say, Kluber in isolation would be a fine, if unsexy, addition for the Cubs. But if he is one of, say, two additions in that same third tier? I would not love that.
  • Carlos Baerga claims the Mets are close on Justin Verlander, and he cites a very specific price tag:
  • We know that the Mets and Verlander were heavily engaged after Jacob deGrom signed with the Rangers, and we also know that $43.4 million would be a new AAV record (topping Max Scherzer’s $43.3 million), and we ALSO know that other suitors have been reluctant to go to three years on Verlander. So maybe Baerga knows something, or maybe someone merely slipped him an educated guess.
  • The Marlins are listening on everybody except Sandy Alcántara:
  • Whether the Cubs go after one of these arms or not – I could make a good argument for all three of Pablo Lopez, Jesus Luzardo, and Trevor Rogers – I would hope their presence on the market could create opportunities for the Cubs to bring in their preferred starting options (in trade or free agency).
  • Ken Rosenthal podcasted about the start of the Winter Meetings, and one of his main messages was that it’s going to be nuts:
  • Rosenthal reminded folks that these situations are all fluid and changing constantly, which is why he tries to never say a thing will DEFINITELY happen until it’s done. It might be annoying to you, but it’s just the reality. The example he gave is that just a couple weeks ago, he heard from reliable sources that the Rangers were scared off by the high price tags being bounced around in the starting pitching market, so they were readying to pivot. But then something – unknown what – changed, and suddenly the Rangers were going WAY over the top of the market to land deGrom.
  • The Yankees are trying to move out infielders – definitely Josh Donaldson, possibly Gleyber Torres – mostly to make space for Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe. Fine by me, though I can’t help but wonder if the Yankees DID manage to move one or both of those guys very soon, whether they wouldn’t go after one of the free agent shortstops (regardless of what happens with Aaron Judge). I just don’t trust the Yankees.
  • Ugh. Rosenthal wonders if part of the reason the Dodgers are staying short-term, high-AAV on all their interests this offseason is because maybe they are the team waiting to really go big on Shohei Ohtani next year.

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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.