With the first day of General Managers Meetings in the books, all 12 free agents who received qualifying offers have rejected them.
Most were expected to do so, other than possibly LHP Francisco Liriano. But in the end, Liriano decided to test free agency.
Will the Cubs have any interest? I have mixed feelings. Liriano could still be an effective part of a starting rotation at age 31. He pitched well for the Pirates over the past couple years, putting up an ERA of 3.38 this year and 3.02 the year before.
The worry about Liriano, however, is with his health. He missed a month this season with a hamstring injury and has had arm troubles in the past.
A bit of a shock
In a fairly surprising move on Monday afternoon, the Mets signed outfielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer to a two-year deal.
Because Cuddyer rejected a qualifying offer from the Rockies, the Mets will have to surrender their first-round pick (15th overall) in next year’s draft.
This is a bit of a curious move to me. Cuddyer is 35 and only played in 49 games in 2014. In the injury-shortened season, he did fare well at the plate — .332/.376/.579 with 10 home runs. But keep in mind he played his home games at Coors Field.
If the Mets pull off another move, this time for a shortstop perhaps (Troy Tulowitzki?), the Cuddyer signing could be an interesting one. But I’m not so sure it would be worth giving up the draft pick given the injury/age risk.
* Maybe the Red Sox aren’t out of the Jon Lester sweepstakes after all? ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reports the Red Sox may be willing to offer six years to sign Lester. Most of the reports out of Boston thus far have said the Sox are not in on him. We’ll see if this rumor picks up any steam.
* The Tampa Bay Rays are likely to trade Jeremy Hellickson to a team in the National League this week, according to Joel Sherman. I’m not a huge fan of Hellickson, so I wouldn’t want the Cubs to go after him. However, I highly doubt the Rays will be making any trades with the Cubs anytime soon (Given the Joe Maddon tampering sour grapes).
* The Reds are listening to trades involving their starting pitchers (with the exception of Johnny Cueto, most likely), writes Jon Heyman. Do Mike Leake or Mat Latos do anything for you? Latos could be interesting, although he seems a little unlikable personality-wise.
* Could Ryan Howard end up on the Royals? Not sure why, but it sounds like Kansas City is interested, according to Bob Nightengale. He also writes that the Mariners will be looking to add a bat or two, including Hanley Ramirez, Victor Martinez or Torii Hunter.
* Jesse Rogers writes about how the Cubs are now being viewed by opposing executives. “It’s probably the first time agents can come into our suite without having to look both ways to make sure no one sees them coming in,” said Theo Epstein to reporters on Monday at the GM meetings. “We’re no longer the runt of the litter, I guess.”
* Rogers expects talks with Russell Martin to pick up shortly after the meetings, and says there’s mutual interest with the Cubs and pitcher Jason Hammel. Epstein also said there’s “a good chance” the Cubs make a significant trade over the next 15 months, but that they’re not in a rush to trade away their top positional prospects.
* The Cubs are not on Cole Hamels’ no-trade list, according to Buster Olney. We don’t know what teams are on the list, other than the Red Sox. Hamels could use the no-trade clause to make a team agree to pick up his 2019 option.
* The MLB Rookie of the Year Awards were announced on Monday: White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu for the American League and Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom. Abreu was fun to watch this year. I don’t think anyone expected him to have the year he had. Looks like the White Sox got a steal with that guy. On the NL side, the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks received two third-place votes. That’s pretty cool considering Hendricks wasn’t expected to be such a big contributor to the Cubs this year.
* As Evan wrote yesterday, the Rays have requested that MLB look into tampering charges against the Cubs for the Joe Maddon hiring. Theo Epstein met with reporters Monday at the GM meetings, saying, “We welcome the MLB investigation. There was no tampering whatsoever. I’d rather they investigate so we can clear our name and move on from this quickly. We’re giving our full cooperation and we welcome it” (CSN Chicago). It sounds like Epstein is annoyed by the whole situation, as I’m sure we all are.