Well, day one is in the books for the Winter Meetings(at least business hours-wise), and the Chicago Cubs have not yet acquired every major pitcher available via trade and free agency. What’s going on!!! In case you missed anything…you can find it on the thread here.
It’s true that the Cubs have been linked to just about every major pitcher available through trade, they have also been linked to “big-name closers”, and free agent outfielders galore. All this and the one move made on day one is the resigning of Trevor Cahill. Blah, blah.
Cahill is actually a really big move, however. On a one year deal for 4.25 million dollars with a chance to start in the back of the rotation, the Cubs open the door to moving Jason Hammel and freeing up potential cash to sign some big names available on the market.(Cough: Jason Heyward: Cough) But still. Fans wanted more. Fans NEEDED more! Good News, guys. We have Theo Epstein and, in Theo we Trust!
Day one was about casting lines, getting feelers, seeing which teams were serious about making moves and which teams were the Cincinnati Reds.(NO RENIGS!) The good news? No, the Great news??? The Cubs got A LOT of interest. A ton of interest. With the price of pitching being so high teams across the big leagues with controllable pitching depth are looking to capitalize on the current market by moving one of their controllable arms for a surplus return of value in position players.
In case you weren’t sure, the Cubs have spent 4 years accumulating those MLB-ready or near-ready controllable position players.
So let’s look at some of the big rumors from the day SPECIFIC to the Chicago Cubs.
- Tampa Bay is serious about moving a pitcher. The question is: Who?
The Cubs and Tampa Bay appeared to be in serious talks in a package centered around Tampa Bay’s pitching and Javier Baez. Names were being thrown around like a blow-up beach ball at a minor league baseball game. Jake McGee for the bullpen with Matt Moore as a bounceback guy. No, It’s Jake Odorizzi and Brad Boxberger for a package of Baez and multiple prospects. Odorizzi is getting an extension? Perhaps then it’s Baez and Soler for Archer? I like it!
The only real takeaway here is that the conversations were serious. There were multiple reports from Jesse Rogers and Ken Rosenthal that acknowledged the Cubs and Rays were in talks that were more than exploratory. That is good news to me.
With the likelihood of losing Chris Davis this offseason, the Orioles will be looking to create a new identity offensively. They have Manny Machado at 3rd base and Adam Jones in CF to help create that new identity. They are rumored to be seeking cost-controlled hitting and covet both Jorge Soler and Javier Baez(surprise, surprsie). In return, it is rumored that 24 year old starter Kevin Gausman may be on the table. His strikeout and walk rate seem suggest he is set up to be very successful in the future and he will be controllable through the year 2020. I would not mind moving Baez or Soler in a deal for Guasman as it would keep another major bargaining chip in our pocket and likely take care of our pitching need.
Based on today’s rumors there are a few things we can count on from the Chicago Cubs and Theo Epstein. They will be making multiple trades this offseason. Some of those trades will be to shed salary, some of them will be to acquire pieces for the Major League club. In my opinion, the front office is working hard on being able to sign a major free agent.
I say that because lesser moves like that of Parra or even Span very likely could have been had today if the Cubs wanted those players as their primary targets. It appears the Cubs are hoping to get their trades completed early on so that they know where they stand financially before really diving in on making offers. That is a risky game to play, but I still believe the Cubs end up signing a major free agent position player. And I think that is Jason Heyward.
We’ve talked before about how it is all about timing when making moves. It appeared as if the Cubs had less leverage in trade negotiations yesterday because of how the free agent pitching cost had exploded. However, after today what I see is the Chicago Cubs have more leverage.
While it will be pricey to acquire cost-controlled pitching, there are multiple teams that are making cost-controlled pitchers available. Conversely, the Cubs hold the cards when it comes to cost-controlled Major League position players that are available. That was their goal from the get go. It appears that they timed it right.
Now on to some fun stuff… Here was some reaction from Cubs Nation as the Winter Meetings were progressing: