Winter Meetings, Monday Evening: Judge Arriving, DBaX, Cardinals and Catchers, Dusty Wants Willson, Heaney Market, More

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Winter Meetings, Monday Evening: Judge Arriving, DBaX, Cardinals and Catchers, Dusty Wants Willson, Heaney Market, More

Chicago Cubs

I could be wrong, but with Justin Verlander and Trea Turner having signed today – two of the few remaining big-time free agents whose markets AREN’T really having to wait on anything else – I feel like Aaron Judge has to be coming soon. He’s in the same boat as those two, and like I said earlier, you’d think the pressure from the Giants and Yankees is going to come soon.

  • Is this a sign that a deal is expected tonight or tomorrow:
  • I don’t know that Judge would need to be there personally for the final negotiations, but he might want to be there personally for final signing and media pomp. As he should be. Judge is one of the biggest stars in the game and he’s about to sign one of the biggest contracts in baseball history, if not the biggest. So I hope shows up in time for the deal to be announced, and there’s some attention for baseball.
  • It would be deeply, deeply annoying if a surprise team swooped in and landed Bogaerts (or Correa or Swanson, frankly). The Diamondbacks would absolutely have to give the Cubs a young center fielder for nothing as compensation.
  • Robert Murray has the Cardinals still in on catcher Sean Murphy of the A’s (James McCann from the Mets as a backup plan), which is interesting to me in relation to the recent Cardinals shortstop rumors:
  • The reason I connect the two things in my head is that if the Cardinals were to sign one of the top shortstops, they could VERY easily part with shortstop prospect Masyn Winn in a deal for a catcher like Sean Murphy.
  • The Cardinals have been attached to Willson Contreras, also, of course. But so have the Astros. This sounds to me like the kind of thing you say publicly if you really do want a guy, but you want him to not hate you for the stuff that came before:
  • Waiting for the terms on this one, because he was a vogue name out there and I bet he got a strong contract:
  • UPDATE: It’s always the second after I click publish:
  • That tier of relievers – old friend Chris Martin among them – is still doing very well. Have been for the last few years. I remember when spending $7 million annually on a non-closer, non-elite setup man was considered nuts.
  • Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that Andrew Heaney’s market could be coming to a head, with more than 10 teams interested, and offers coming in (including from the Blue Jays). The 31-year-old lefty saw a dramatic uptick in his strikeout rate last year with the Dodgers, though he also saw a huge spike in his barrel rate and managed only 72.2 innings due to shoulder issues.
  • A whole lotta teams would love to see if they can just keep Heaney healthy next year, and I expect the Cubs are among them. When you talk about going out of your “comfort zone” to get a guy, this is a perfect example. Heaney offers a tiny track record of recent very high-upside success, but has also struggled badly at times and dealt with multiple arm problems. Are you prepared to make him a three or four-year offer and take the chance that you might get nothing at all from him over those years? Well, if you don’t say yes, you probably don’t get him.
  • Random report that although the Red Sox did offer Jose Abreu three years, like the Astros did, their offer was for $15 to $20 million less! So they offered, what, like three years and $40 million? It’s kinda unfair to do that and then later leak out that you were totally right there with the Astros making a three-year offer. We never heard exactly what the Cubs offered Abreu, but I can take a pretty good guess that it was close to $40 million over just two years – which is better than the “three-year offer” mentioned there. In any case, the point here might be that the Astros blew away the other offers?
  • If you were wondering why there haven’t been any Cubs minor league deals yet – or many around baseball at all – Bryan has heard a bit:
  • In a typical year, the Cubs – and similarly aggressive teams on the minor league market – would have targeted a few preferred minor league free agents almost as soon as the offseason started and gotten them signed to above-market minor league deals. That didn’t happen this year. It was odd. Sounds like deals are coming soon, though.
  • WHICH REMINDS ME: when it comes to the deals we hear about this week, the chronology doesn’t matter. Just because we hear first about – for example – some minor league signing, that doesn’t mean it is the most important or biggest signing coming. It’s just the one that happened to come across the wire first. So relax. Save your freakout for when all the preferred big league targets go off the board …

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.