Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new notes column that contains quite a few Hot Stove related items. Some highlights from his latest piece…
- There’s a belief in the industry that the Cardinals’ new television deal — which begins in 2018, when it will net the team $50MM and continue to rise to about $86MM, per Forbes — could allow the team to sign two premium free agents. Rosenthal adds, though, that the Cardinals could nonetheless be uncomfortable making the top bid for David Price or Jason Heyward and might be “reluctant” to commit the type of dollars Chris Davis will command.
- Meanwhile, the Cubs probably only have the financial firepower to add about $20MM to their annual payroll this winter. Sources tell Rosenthal that the club’s payroll will be in the $130-140MM range for the foreseeable future. Based on the numbers at Cot’s Contracts and MLBTR’s arbitration projections, the Cubs are a bit over $110MM in 2016 when including league-minimum players. That leaves some wiggle room for two adds, but probably not if one of those players is Price or Zack Greinke. Rosenthal notes that the Cubs could add a young pitcher via trade, possibly for Jorge Soler. That wouldn’t impact payroll much in the near-term and would free the club to pursue Heyward or Alex Gordon to reduce the team’s overall strikeout rate (and improve the outfield defense).
- The Dodgers have at least discussed the possibility of signing both Greinke and Price internally, according to Rosenthal, but they’re unlikely to go that route. Even the Dodgers and their seemingly limitless budget aren’t keen on the notion of paying three starters in the vicinity of $30MM annually, and they already have one such pitcher in Clayton Kershaw.
- That J.A. Happ landed a $36MM total from the Blue Jays could serve to increase the leverage that teams like the Indians and Rays have in talks for their starting pitchers. One exec told Rosenthal that “mediocre pitching” now costs a minimum of $30MM total. While that’s true enough, I don’t know that the Happ signing necessarily brought that realization about. We’ve seen players like Jason Hammel, Jason Vargas and Ricky Nolasco clear the $30MM barrier in recent seasons, after all, and Happ’s final push in Pittsburgh shows he’s at least capable of pitching at a high level if those adjustments can be sustained.
- The D-Backs’ interest in Johnny Cueto stems, in part, from the fact that he’s not tied to draft pick compensation. Arizona selects 13th overall next season and values that pick, Rosenthal writes. The team is reluctant to part with one of the top overall unprotected picks and probably isn’t likely to part with it for a second-tier starter (e.g. Jeff Samardzija, Wei-Yin Chen). Arizona has already been tied to both Mike Leake and Kenta Maeda, either of whom could bolster the rotation without harming next year’s draft.
- The Padres are still receiving plenty of interest in right-hander Tyson Ross but are only willing to move him for a “monster package,” as Rosenthal terms it. Ross is controlled for two more seasons, and MLBTR projects him to earn $10MM in 2016.
- Prior to Colby Rasmus accepting their qualifying offer, the Astros considered making a run at Brett Gardner or a similar type of player to fill the club’s leadoff slot, per Rosenthal. Now, however, they’ll likely use Jose Altuve there as the primary option again in 2016.