Fulmer’s Coming Deal and Role, Former Prospect Trade, Reyes Signs, and Other Cubs Bullets
Today officially marks the end of the football season. Yes, it’s The Big Game and all that, but for me personally, since I’m not as into hockey or basketball, today marks the end of football season and the page getting turned to baseball season. Obviously I cover baseball obsessively throughout the offseason – and thus very much during football season – but it isn’t until football is over that my mind FULLY engages with the season ahead as the game action that I am, as a fan, solely focused on. So, farewell football season. Hello, baseball season.
- Bruce Levine suggested on the radio that new Cubs signee Michael Fulmer could be the early favorite for save opportunities, if manager David Ross looks to have a semi-set “closer” in place. Makes sense to me. Fulmer has the stuff and the constitution to do it, he has a little experience doing it, he joins a bullpen that doesn’t have an obvious closer already, and he may have been pitched on the opportunity in the courting process.
- All that said, I wouldn’t draft any Cubs reliever to be your fantasy closer this year. Fulmer might get the first crack (he might not), but I suspect lots of guys will get looks based on rest and match-ups. It’s possible someone else internal (Adbert Alzolay?) just explodes in a way that makes him the obvious choice from June on, or whatever.
- Fulmer’s deal won’t be official until sometime this week, by the way, because I’m thinking the Cubs will finalize when they can move someone else to the 60-day IL (taking that person off the 40-man and opening a spot for Fulmer). We still don’t have the details, but I’m going to be fascinated to see what he got relative to Andrew Chafin (who got just over $6 million guaranteed, plus a club option for 2024). Until the Chafin deal, I was expecting Fulmer to get something like $5 million, but given the Chafin deal – and thinking back on Brad Boxberger (very similar success) getting only $2.8 million – now I wonder. Surely the Cubs won’t also land one of the other lefty relievers, right? Surely the markets for Zack Britton or Will Smith or Matt Moore or Brad Hand won’t have sunk so low that the Cubs could get him on a really modest deal, right? Right? (*crosses fingers because why not*)
- Oh, also, you should assume that Fulmer’s deal will be one year plus a “mutual option” for 2024, but that’s just because the Cubs always do that. As usually, you can just ignore the mutual option and think about it like having a little bit of the money deferred to next offseason.
- Interesting trade of former top prospects here:
- Puk wound up having to move to the bullpen as he reached the big leagues, but he’s got the look of a very good reliever (or at least that potential). Bleday is a former big-time prospect with the Marlins (I remember his name coming up a lot in the Willson Contreras rumors before the 2022 season), but he is now 25, didn’t really hit in his first crack at the big leagues, and the scouting reports have started to really sour. I can see why the A’s would take a chance, though, especially at the cost of a few years of a reliever.
- Puk and his new teammates will be wearing some throwbacks this year, as the Marlins are bringing back the teal on Fridays:
- Because Cuban prospects often aren’t declared free agents until off-periods in the usual IFA cycle, it can be hard to predict where they will sign – most teams don’t have any IFA bonus pool space available. That’s part of the reason so many wind up with the White Sox, because they never seem to spend their full bonus pool on signing day. Which is to say, don’t expect the Cubs to be in on these guys:
- Comeback player of the year on the way:
- I kid, because the arm issues make it impossible to think Reyes will be back to an impact level (even after he finally came back to the Cardinals as a reliever, he wasn’t really an impact guy), but pre-injuries, he was just such an impressive young arm. Could see the Dodgers getting something out of him this year, and now they have a pretty cheap option for next year, too.
- It’s amazing how plans can change, though. In 2016, it looked like the Cardinals were going to have Reyes (then 21) and Carlos Martinez (then 24) fronting their rotation for a long time, as Adam Wainwright rode off into the sunset. Seven years later, and Reyes is trying to bounce back, Martinez is basically out of baseball, and Wainwright is the one still going strong.
- Clever pull today:
World Baseball Classic Getting Awesome, Stroman’s Start, Mancini’s Clever Move, Relief Prospect Factory, and Other Cubs Bullets
Another Day, Another Extension for the Not-Cubs (Corbin Carroll Gets a Huge Deal from the Diamondbacks)
Ruiz Extension, Gomes the Coach, Bellinger’s Approach, Painter’s Injury, Marlins Signings, WBC, and Other Cubs Bullets
Cubs Prospect Notes: PCA and Mervis, Cubs Hitting Development Takes Off, Unheralded Prospects, Mastrobuoni, Marquez, More
The Second Cut is the Top Prospectiest: PCA, Davis, Alcántara, Seven Others Sent to Minor League Camp