Top Of The First
A lot of news and rumors during the first day of the Winter Meetings but not a lot of movement. As of this writing, we’ve had just one trade and one free agent signing. Mostly links today but a couple stories bear some elaboration.
Two teams are interested in Javier Baez and as the evening turned into very early morning the Cubs seemed to be getting aggressive in their pursuit of Jason Heyward. And of course there was some unexpected — and disturbing — news regarding Aroldis Chapman after it was reported he was traded to the Dodgers and then subsequently not traded.
Busy On The Periphery
The Cubs signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year deal reportedly worth just north of $4 million dollars. This is a good signing for the Cubs because Cahill likes it in Chicago, where he experienced somewhat of a resurgence after being moved to the pen. Cahill is a swing man at this point of his career, and he adds depth to the bullpen while giving some length to the rotation. He will be given an opportunity to compete for a job in the team’s rotation but I think the Cubs prefer Cahill as a long reliever and spot starter.
The hot news coming out of Nashville came from separate reports indicating the Rays and the Braves were showing interest in Javier Baez. Tampa would reportedly send a starter and possibly a reliever to the Cubs for Baez. Of the names mentioned, I’d prefer Matt Moore and Jake McGee, but there was indication late yesterday that the Cubs were more interested in Alex Cobb. Other suggested options include Drew Smyly, Jake Odorizzi and Brad Boxberger.
Atlanta continues to state that Shelby Miller is not available, but I don’t think anybody is buying that and the Cubs and Braves may be a lot closer on a deal than had been previously reported.
According to late night Twitter the Cubs seem to be a little more aggressive in their pursuit of Jason Heyward. A contract for Heyward could go as high as 10/$250M so the Cubs would need to get a little creative to make that work. Jesse Rogers says the Cubs have no problem going that high for Heyward. We’ll see. Obviously the Cubs are exploring options with Heyward, as they should. I just don’t see it happening. In defense of Rogers, he said that a bunch of trades were going to go down in the next 24 hours and that the Cubs were in the middle of all of it. The pro-Heyward Twitter faction immediately equated that to signing Heyward for some reason.
The Aroldis Chapman Fiasco
The morning started out at a brisk pace with an immediate trade between the Reds and the Dodgers regarding Aroldis Chapman. The trade was never confirmed and then reports broke about some alleged legal issues with Chapman.
The first report detailed a domestic incident this past October between Chapman and his girlfriend where the star closer allegedly fired eight gunshots in his garage after an argument with his girlfriend in which she told police she was choked and pushed up against the wall.
Major League Baseball told Yahoo! that the October incident is under investigation, which complicates the pending trade talks involving Chapman. The Reds declined comment on the matter when reached by Passan and Brown.
An older report (from 2012) resurfaced where Chapman was stopped and arrested for driving 93 MPH while operating a vehicle with a suspended license.
Another older report, also from 2012, resurfaced in which Chapman’s girlfriend was arrested for falsifying a police report after an incident at a hotel in which the woman complained that she was robbed of her purse which she claimed held $200,000.00 in jewelry. Claudia Manrique, 27, of Silver Spring, Md., was initially charged with making false reports to police, a misdemeanor. She was eventually fined $164 and the charge was reduced to disorderly conduct.
Obviously Chapman may carry quite a bit of baggage. What seemed to be a busy day promising a lot of activity crashed to a halt after the Chapman news. We’ll see if things pick up tomorrow while everything is sorted out.
Fact, Fiction, Truth, Or Rumor
Update (12:35 AM) – The Braves and Cubs are close to a deal that would involve righty Shelby Miller going to Chicago and slugging infield prospect Javier Baez headed to Atlanta in the return, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. I would think there would be more to the trade than just those two players.
Update (12:47 AM) – Other sources tell Wittenmyer that no deal between the two sides is close. Jorge Soler is still a part of trade discussions between the Cubs and Braves.
Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says that his club continues to pursue Jason Heyward. He also expects to see movement in the free agent outfield market this week. The Cubs have been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Heyward as well.
In the only trade of the day (thus far), the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners struck a deal. Badly needing a starter after losing Hisashi Iwakuma to the Dodgers, the Mariners acquired Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro from Boston in exchange for Roenis Elias and Carson Smith.
Chris Young turned down the opportunity to sign a three-year deal elsewhere to return to the Royals on a two-year pact, according to Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star. The Royals are also close to signing Joakim Soria.
The Astros are said to be interested in bringing back SP Scott Kazmir. Eight to ten teams continue to show interest in the pitcher, including the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Nationals may consider Jimmy Rollins until Trea Turner is ready if they cannot sign Ben Zobrist. The Nationals have also fielded calls regarding Yunel Escobar.
Philadelphia closer Ken Giles is drawing plenty of interest.
For the seventh day in a row, the Marlins have stated that SP Jose Fernandez is not available. We’ll see. Meanwhile Jason Stark reported that the Marlins were making significant progress with an unspecified team on a trade for Fernandez. Ahh, Winter Meetings.
There are five teams in on Justin Masterson, including the Pittsburgh Pirates. Twelve teams are allegedly in on Henderson Alvarez. I don’t believe the Cubs are interested in either pitcher. For what it’s worth, a dozen teams are also in on free agent reliever Steve Cishek.
Joe Nathan wants to pitch again. The former closer is coming off a second elbow surgery and is 41 years old.
Bottom Of the Ninth
Nobody wants to go to sleep because everybody wants to break the news of the next big trade or free agent signing. Late night Twitter during the Winter Meetings is so much more enjoyable than daytime Twitter. Things are percolating, no doubt. A lot of it is deflection while some rumors have legs. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.