All I want for Christmas is Carlos Correa, Christian Vázquez, another starting pitcher, and some relievers. Is that really so much to ask?
What Does Christian Vázquez Want?
What’s going on with Christian Vázquez, anyway? His market felt like it was barreling towards a conclusion heading into the Winter Meetings, but things then seemed to cool off. Despite those early reports, I’m willing to bet the plan was ALWAYS to wait out Willson Contreras, who set the market nicely, particularly in terms of years, with his five-year, $87.5M deal in St. Louis.
So what does Vázquez actually want? According to Dan Hayes (The Athletic), Vázquez is seeking starter-level playing time and a deal no shorter than three-years in length. He also believes a decision is coming soon, an opinion shared by Ken Rosenthal just yesterday.
Rosenthal counts the Twins, Padres, Cubs, and Astros as in on Vázquez. And while the Cubs maybe can’t offer as clear of a path to contention as the other teams, they do have the clearest opportunity for starting-caliber playing time. Yan Gomes is here and he is good. But he is old, he’s missed time, and he isn’t expected to take the lion’s share of reps behind the plate.
Also, I don’t think a three-year deal is at all out of the question for the Cubs.
I’ll add that while a potential trade for Sean Murphy is even more exciting than signing Vázquez, it would be an incredibly difficult thing to pull off. The upshot is that the Cardinals have taken themselves out of that conversation entirely and so would whoever signs Vázquez (and probably also Omar Narváez). So maybe the Cubs can back their way into a more reasonable deal? That’s risky. I don’t love it.
Carlos Correa’s “Massive” Offer
But while Vázquez may be the Twins primary target behind the plate, Carlos Correa remains their priority No. 1 overall. And it sounds like they’ve taken significant strides to make that happen (via Aaron Gleeman), with an offer on the table.
It’s clear the Twins believe they’re firmly in the mix for Correa, and have offered him a massive contract far beyond anything in franchise history (only Mauer is close, as you said), with a willingness to get creative with the structure if that’s what it takes. But it’s also clear he has other suitors in similarly hot pursuit, many or perhaps all of whom have the ability to blow the Twins’ offer out of the water if they choose.
Based on the context of the full conversation, it seems as though the Twins offer for Correa will exceed Joe Mauer’s (inflation-adjusted) $252M deal, but maybe come up short of the $300M mark. Gleeman includes the Giants, Red Sox, Cubs, and Yankees as “other” Correa bidders.
But wait, there’s more! The Twins may have prioritized Correa, but they also can’t wait forever. It sounds like they expect to find out soon if they need to pivot to Dansby Swanson (or someone else entirely).
On a podcast, Neal also seemed to indicate Correa’s potential desire to prioritize average annual value (presumably over years?) in any free agent deal this offseason. I find that a little difficult to believe, but it’s not out of the question. And if that’s true, you’d have to like the Cubs’ chances a little more — the prevailing wisdom is that they’re willing to be at or near the top of the market in terms of AAV, but less so on total years/commitment. We’ll see.
Giants Still Want Rodon
Last night, the San Francisco Giants reportedly signed free agent starter Sean Manea, but that doesn’t mean they’re done adding in the rotation. In fact, they still have their sights set high with Carlos Rodon, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Slusser offers some specifics: “Rodón, an All-Star with San Francisco this year, is looking for at least seven years on a deal that is expected to head over the $100 million mark.”
Seven years for a 30-year-old Rodon … woof. I like him a lot, but there’s a lot of risk there. He had a good season at exactly the right time.