The Rundown: Stanton Trade, Cubs Ready to Make Moves, Rays Expected to Deal Several Players

I stayed up all night on #GiancarloWatch and was not disappointed. According to Jon Heyman (first to report at 6:52AM CST), the Yankees and Marlins have a deal in principle. Who knew that Derek Jeter would make the Yankees the AL East favorites with his second big move of the offseason? What a nice gift to Brian Cashman in celebration of his new contract. Maybe Jeter gets a sixth Yankees championship ring come November. Can I say that?

Former Cub Starlin Castro appears to be included in the Stanton trade to the Yankees. That poor guy can never catch a break and I hope Miami flips him to a contending team. I mean, Bob Nightingale even referred to him as Juan Castro this morning. Bob made a huge mistake.

This all came about as a result of Stanton’s flat-out rejection of of the Cardinals and Giants. Giants fans, I empathize. Your team is entering the same stage the Cubs were in when Theo Epstein took over: bloated payroll, no decent prospects, and no hope. Do I feel badly for Redbirds fans? Not so much. For the love of Branch Rickey, nobody wants to play there and I celebrate that.

So now the Yankees are stacked, Ohtani is Mike Trout’s understudy, and we are off and running on Hot Stove 2017-18 just as the Winter Meetings are about to commence. 

And let me just take a second to say, “I feel ya, dog” to Jerry Dipoto. He traded away three of his best prospects for Dee Gordon and what now amounts to Monopoly money just to sign Ohtani, and he got kicked to the curb. Hashtag been-there-done-that: Ask the guys in my fantasy league when I traded Rafael Devers last year for a one-year rental pitcher just to finish in sixth place.

How did the Yankees swoop in on and obtain the reigning NL MVP? On Friday afternoon, as the fallout from Ohtani signing with the Angels dissipated, a general manager wondered whether the next domino would be a trade of Stanton to the Yankees. His rationale for their pursuit of Stanton was simple and succinct: “Because. They. Can.”

Back to St. Louis, which I now mockingly call the Orphan City because it really isn’t the destination city that St.Louisans seem to think it is. Chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt released an awkward public statement after Stanton declined to accept a trade to the Cardinals. Redbirds fans are still in denial. If you are reading while waiting for your Jimmy Dean’s breakfast order to arrive, please watch this again. 

Even $230 dollars and a bevy of prospects couldn’t get them the slugging outfielder they so desperately crave. Collars may be a little tighter in that front office this morning and I am sure the price for Evan Longoria just went up a bit. If they want J.D. Martinez, GM John Mozeliak better be prepared to outbid the Red Sox, Giants, Orioles, any number of real or fabricated mystery teams, and the sky-high demands of uber-agent Scott Boras. There is no joy in Missourah today, though I am sure Branson is popping with any number of Christmas concerts performed by any number of stars who haven’t had a hit since the doo-wop era.

And aren’t the stars aligning nicely for a Cubs pursuit of Bryce Harper? Too soon? Am I breaking any tampering rules here? Chicago is a destination city. With #OhtaniWatch and #GiancarloWatch being 86’d in the span of 24 hours, I will admit to getting the warm fuzzies dreaming of #BryceHarperWatch18. 

Cubs News & Notes

The Cubs’ presentation to Ohtani was said to have included a virtual reality experience illustrating what life as a Cub might look like and was allegedly amazing, but it wasn’t enough to lure the Japanese phenom to the North Side. Theo Epstein did not comment during the process or after its conclusion Friday, which is admirable. He may have been consoling Dipoto.

Good news here in Lake View: I’m sure this morning’s blockbuster trade will put an end to the Kyle Schwarber/ Yankees rumors. That’s not to say that rumors in general will stop, as John Smoltz made this horrifying statement on MLBTV last night: The team should trade Schwarber and his four years of control to the Orioles for a single year of Zach Britton. How do these guys get the jobs that I so deserve?

“I’ll happily endorse him as the type of player we want to win with, here with the Cubs,” Epstein said of Schwarber recently.

“Power is not everything,” Epstein said. “I think he fell into this year becoming more of a slugger and less of a hitter than he is. That’s important for him to get his identity back as a hitter and a dangerous hitter. We feel he has the potential to be an all-around hitter on the level of an Anthony Rizzo.” Dig deeper on War Bear and more in Carrie Muskat’s most recent Cubs Mailbag.

Speaking of MLB Network, Intentional Talk’s Chris Rose continues to spout his man-love for Ian Happ and hopes the Indians can somehow acquire the slugging sophomore. Kevin Millar indicated the Chatwood signing was “sneaky good” and thinks more moves are coming from Epstein.

The Cubs front office expects to meet with the agents for Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis next week in Orlando.

Cubs fans will get to see Ohtani first hand in spring training games March 2 and 9. The team next plays the Angels during the regular season in 2019.

Friday Stove

Since I have been up all night, it still feels like Friday to me. Here’s what’s happening in your world (pause for Anchorman effect) this morning.

Chris Iannetta signed a two-year deal with the Rockies.

If you’re tracking non-Stanton, non-Ohtani offseason moves, here’s the complete list up until this morning.

Angels players are as giddy as schoolgirls after the Ohtani signing. I don’t blame them one bit. There are some great tweets in this post that make it worth reading.

Mike Axisa of CBS has Winter Meeting Wish Lists for all 30 MLB teams.

It may be an interesting Winter Meetings for the Washington Nationals. 

GM Dan Duquette of the Orioles similarly has a challenging offseason ahead.

The Rockies are eyeing closers Alex Colome and Zach Britton in possible trades.

These Rays players are most likely to be dealt next week. Would they take Albert Almora Jr. straight up for Kevin Kiermaier? Happ for Colome?

The early nominee for next week’s Mystery Team is the Athletics. The Braves could be a wildcard too.

Will the Red Sox counter the Yankees big trade with a move or two of their own? You can bet Boras has been up in Dave Dombrowski’s grill already, and if he hasn’t, I am sure he will when he holds court upon arrival in Orlando. 

Saturday Walk Up Song

All Eyez On Me by Tupac Shakur. Earmuff the kids.

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