The Rundown: Cubs Have Myriad Hot Stove Options, Contreras All But Gone, Smyly Declines Option, Mets Expected to Be Very Aggressive
The Cubs are at the forefront of the rumor mill at this year’s GM Meetings and will likely play that role all winter long. Jed Hoyer has a lot of work to do, the Cubs have significant roster decisions to make, and their minor leaguers are progressing a little faster than most expected. A blue wave is coming to Chicago in the next 1-3 seasons, so Hoyer has to manage his roster through the 2025 season starting this winter.
The front office has a lot of options this week and beyond, and it’s probably going to take one domino to fall to open the path toward Chicago’s 2023 roster. Koudai Senga could be that first move, as the Cubs seem to have been pretty aggressive on that front already. The president of baseball operations is reportedly also very interested in José Abreu.
The shortstop market may take some time to develop. That’s a product of both supply and demand, as Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson should have plenty of options. Aaron Judge will undoubtedly slow the free-agent market, too. The Red Sox could move Rafael Devers and a number of teams would love to add the 26-year-old, power-hitting third baseman.
Keep an eye on the Brewers as well. My source in Milwaukee said that Corbin Burnes will be a hot commodity in trade talks and that the NL Central runners-up may kick off their rebuild a year earlier than expected. Brandon Woodruff and Eric Lauer could also be traded. By the way, I was told the Cubs are exploring possible trades for Tyler Glasnow and Shane Bieber.
It should be noted that my friend is not an insider, per se. He’s privy to information that is not available elsewhere, but there is no guarantee that it is more solid than speculation. But, kicking the tires on Glasnow and Bieber is a great exercise in due diligence anyway, so there’s most likely a lot of truth to both.
Cubs News & Notes
- Reports circulated Tuesday that Willson Contreras had been offered and declined the qualifying offer. The Cubs actually have until Thursday to extend the QO and will do so then. It’s expected Contreras, 30, will reject the offer and become a free agent, but none of it is official yet.
- Drew Smyly turned down his mutual $10 million option, but the Cubs could bring him back on a new deal. I don’t see that happening, especially if the front office adds two new starters. Smyly probably doesn’t want to be a swingman and the Cubs have Keegan Thompson in that role, anyway.
- It appears Abreu is Chicago’s priority at first base. Bruce Levine reported that the Cubs will “express strong interest” in bringing the former White Sox star to the North Side. The marriage of player and team has been a big source of speculation and rumor for weeks, and Levine is as attuned to both franchises as anybody. With that in mind, I actually expect the Cubs to sign the veteran.
- Marlins starter Pablo López would be a fantastic get by the Cubs, but even better if Hoyer can convince Miami to take Nick Madrigal. It’s not that I dislike Madrigal that much, I just value the 40-man spot a little more.
- Seiya Suzuki is recruiting Senga to Chicago. That’s a lot bigger than you may think, but the Yankees and others are in play as well.
- The link above redirects to a story by Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago. In the same article, Wittenmyer reports that Codi Heuer is progressing well in his rehab from Tommy John surgery.
- In an interview from Las Vegas on MLB Network’s High Heat, insider Jon Morosi said he believed the Cubs and Correa could be a fit.
- The Cubs and Braves are listed by FOX Sports as the best fits for Swanson. Unfortunately, the article groups a number of players together so it’s tough to get a read on the rest of the top free agents.
- Hoyer admitted that he doesn’t particularly like conducting contract extension talks once spring training starts. That will affect Ian Happ most certainly, but Nico Hoerner is also a player the team would like to extend.
- The Cubs promoted Dustin Kelly to hitting coach simply because they like him better than his predecessor. Hoyer said that Greg Brown “wasn’t the right fit.”
- David Ross has formally finalized his 2023 coaching staff.
- Either the rumors were incorrect or Tom Ricketts did an abrupt 180, but the Cubs chairman is reportedly not interested in buying Liverpool FC from Fenway Sports Group.
- CubsCon ’23 ticket packages go on sale tomorrow. I will not be attending unless Chicago signs Verlander. I kind of have a thing for Kate Upton.
Odds & Sods
Perhaps the Angels should give Mike Trout a few players who can get on base. Kris Bryant had a similar issue with the Cubs.
Obscure stat of the day: Mike Trout is the only player to have multiple seasons with 40+ HR and 90 or fewer RBI.@Angels | #GoHalos pic.twitter.com/GC3NBJjA5X
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) November 9, 2022
The Athletics are “most likely” going to trade catcher Sean Murphy.
There reportedly is a sizable gap between the Red Sox and Devers in their negotiations on a new deal. Boston apparently raised its offer to at least $200 million, but the third baseman is seeking at least $300 million.
A source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand that the Rangers are “very big on the high-impact starters,” referring to Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodón, and Justin Verlander.
Texas will also pursue Clayton Kershaw if he decides he is willing to engage with teams other than the Dodgers. Texas is clearly in win-now mode with 67-year-old Bruce Bochy returning to MLB after a three-year hiatus, but the club has a lot of work to do after going 68-94 in 2022. Martín Pérez is leaving as a free agent, so at least one rotation opening exists.
Kiley McDaniel of ESPN+ predicts Judge will get a nine-year, $324 million deal ($) in free agency. He ranks Turner as the top available shortstop (8/$272 million), followed by Correa (8/$265M), Bogaerts (6/$168M), and Swanson (6/$150M).
Add the Mets as teams interested in signing Turner, who reportedly prefers to play on the East Coast.
Look for GM Billy Eppler to strike quickly as soon as free agents are free to discuss deals with other clubs. The New York GM is all for an NBA or NFL-style type of market.
The race between Judge and Shohei Ohtani for AL MVP has officially begun. Yordan Álvarez is the third finalist.
The Mariners will not extend a qualifying offer to outfielder Mitch Haniger.
The Astros declined options on outfielder Trey Mancini and reliever Will Smith.
Chris Antonetti of the Guardians was named MLB Executive of the Year.
The Cardinals may explore the Pacific Rim for offseason additions to their roster.
Shift limits are changing the way that front offices evaluate talent.
MLB Trade Rumors turned 17 years old this week, and that’s significant because the site created a seismic shift in baseball reporting that allowed independent blogs like Cubs Insider to establish firm footing as credible sources of information.
It looks like Jackson Frazier has a new gig.
Anunciamos la contratación del OF Clint Jackson Frazier con el conjunto taurino. Frazier ha militado en MLB con Yankees y Cubs. pic.twitter.com/pdHcJrkAAz
— Toros Del Este (@TorosdelEste) November 7, 2022
Wednesday Morning Six-Pack
- Playmakers Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Khalil Herbert, and David Montgomery have made the Bears a must-watch option on Sunday afternoons.
- Voting has ended and control of both chambers of Congress is still unknown. Key races remain too close to call while many votes still need to be counted.
- Check your portfolio this morning. In the year following every midterm election since 1950, the S&P 500 has risen no matter which party won. A divided government means a 13% annualized average return, historically speaking.
- Anheuser-Busch became the first Fortune 500 company to buy a Major League Pickleball team.
- One unidentified person from California will take home the entire $2.04 billion Powerball Jackpot. I hope it’s CI reader Torque. I won $7. Again.
- Cornell University suspended frat parties and social events following allegations of drug-laced drinks and sexual assault at an off-campus location.
They Said It
- “The more I do it, the more I think it causes tension. Guys want to start the season. … I just don’t think it’s a great way to start the season. I’d like to push that up a little bit. And if we get it done, great. But [not] doing it in spring training, at least [not] starting the process and trying to end it.” – Hoyer
- “[Correa’s] overall market value is back to being roughly where it was a year ago, and I look at a team like the Cubs. They’ve always been linked to him in the past a lot. I think the Cubs and Correa will be one of those pairs we’ll probably talk about for weeks to come.” – Morosi
- “Going with a guy in Dustin Kelly that we think the world of and has relationships with all those young hitters, that was really important. We felt like Dustin was the right fit.” – Hoyer
Wednesday Walk-Up Song
It’s got to be a bit of a rude awakening to be non-tendered.