The red-hot free agent pitching market will only help the Indians in trade talks, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. With so many top starters commanding giant salaries, the Tribe’s collection of young arms becomes more attractive both to teams who are hesitant to overspend on pitching, or to teams who missed out on their free agent targets. President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti could be making a career-defining move, Pluto believes, if he chooses to deal one of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar or Trevor Bauer for a big bat since such a trade could put the Tribe over the top as contenders.
Here’s more from the ever-shifting pitching rumor mill…
- The Giants are still interested in Mike Leake, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets, even after signing Jeff Samardzija. Leake’s market is “now more defined” with so many other top pitchers off the board. The Giants may not be willing to give Leake a Samardzija-esque deal, however, as reported by Andrew Baggarly of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter). This could take them out of the running for Leake given how several other teams also have interest.
- Also from Olney, the Royals are in the mix for starting pitching. Chris Young has been the only starter directly tied to Kansas City in reports, though there has been speculation that the World Series champs could aim higher in their search for rotation help.
- The Dodgers and Giants both fell short in their search for Zack Greinke, but MLB Network’s Peter Gammons wonders if the two arch-rivals could compete again for Hisashi Iwakuma. Both teams have already shown interest in the Japanese righty, and while the Mariners also have a long-stated interest in re-signing Iwakuma, I would guess the presence of these two big-market teams could drive Iwakuma’s price out of Seattle’s comfort zone.
- There has been speculation in the Japanese media that Kenta Maeda would prefer to pitch for the Dodgers, according to NPBTracker’s Patrick Newman (Twitter link). The Dodgers have a long history with Japanese talent and they have a need in the rotation, so a connection makes sense. L.A. will get a chance to negotiate with Maeda if they’re one of the teams who posts a $20MM bid for his services.
- Wei-Yin Chen has become a “hot topic” for the Cubs, 670TheScore.com’s Bruce Levine tweets. Chen is another free agent whose market should benefit from other pitchers disappearing off the market. Chicago, for instance, had interest in Price, Zimmermann and Samardzija before all of those pitchers signed elsewhere, though the Cubs already made one rotation-bolstering move in signing John Lackey.
- The Marlins are exploring a wide range of pitching options as they head to the Winter Meetings, president of baseball operations Michael Hill tells MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. Frisaro suggests that James Shields or Wade Miley could be trade targets since Miami has been interested in both pitchers in the past, though the Marlins are trying to hang onto their core position players in deals (presumably trade candidate Marcell Ozuna isn’t necessarily part of this equation).
- The Marlins are open to the possibility of signing Cliff Lee, Frisaro reports. Presumably Miami would be one of several clubs interested in seeing if the former Cy Young Award winner has anything left in his comeback attempt.
- The Astros could look to deal 26-year-old lefty Brett Oberholtzer, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). Oberholtzer has a 3.94 ERA, 2.86 K/BB rate and 5.9 K/9 over 253 2/3 career innings, all with Houston since 2013. He’s one of many young arms the Astros have on hand beyond the five-man rotation, and the southpaw could be expendable if Houston is satisfied with its other depth options. Heyman speculates that the Orioles, Phillies, Rangers and Reds could all be fits as trade partners.
- The Twins aren’t one of the reported 10 teams interested in Henderson Alvarez, 1500ESPN.com’s Darren Wolfson tweets.
Get off your butt and do something Mo.
Ideally, sign Leake or Kazmir.
I wonder how you came up with those two, they’re so different.
I personally believe they are the best two options left. This is assuming that the Cardinals are unable to sign Cueto, which is the case.
True, Leake and Kazmir are different. Leake would better fill the void of Lynn in terms of workhorse pitcher.
I don’t know if they wouldn’t be more unwilling than unable to sign Cueto, given their mutual history.
Doug, that is exactly what I meant by unable. They will not even reach out to him.
Are you a Cards fan? Who do you want? Aside from Heyward, of course.
Agreed, it’s like they’re so afraid of getting into a bad contract they won’t take even the most minimal risk.
Leake or Kazmir, Buerhle, maybe even Maeda, but they need to make a move now, before the options are gone.
There are an enormous number of pitchers available. They will not disappear, they will get cheaper. Plus they have the expendable assets to trade foot someone decent even if they don’t sign a pitcher.
While there are a number of pitchers available, the quality looks like it drops off pretty quickly after the top 4 or 5 remaining options.
Chen on a 3 year deal would be ideal though quite unlikely. I like the idea of a high floor on the rotation. Hendricks in a swing role is perfect with Hammels a FA after ’16.
I like Chen to the Cubs, but I think he will get a 5 years 100 deal.
Chen isn’t a good match for Chicago – his weakness is giving up homers, so the Friendly Confines wouldn’t be friendly to him. Better he go to a team with a big park and the wind blowing in.
Why put Hendricks in a swingman role though? He was really good last year as a starter. I don’t think the cost of Chen is worth bumping Hendricks from the rotation. And on another note, I thought somebody else was the odd man out if they added a starter. Isn’t Hendricks their #4?
I forgot about Lackey. My bad. Still don’t think Chen is worth the upgrade.
I think the Cubs might look to upgrade their pitching through trades since they have the best position prospects.
Hendricks is the Cubs #3 talent wise that’s with Lackey on the team
Since lackey has a 2.77 era was 2.13 against central and has most career active playoff wins and pitched a win vs Cubs in nlds and goes deep into games and hendricks can’t go 6?
Chen on a 3-year is a joke.
Velasquez, Appel and Oberholtzer for Ken Giles and Roman Quinn
No way Houston would do that.
If the Red Sox were to move Wade Miley, I would want Ozuna in return. There isn’t much on their team that would interest me outside of him, their four stars, and a couple of their relievers.
What do you think of Miami Chi Cubs trade of Hammel and Vogelbalm plus Candela Szur for Ozana and minor league pitcher ? What do you think?
makes little sense for Miami. Miley is about to get expensive, he’s not a top tier pitcher, Ozuna is cost controlled–very cost controlled, and has a greater upside.
Wade Miley is not going to “get expensive”; rather, he’s very cost-controlled, making about $15MM total through 2017, with a $12MM team option for 2018. Considering the increasing cost of pitching, it’s pretty clear that Wade Miley is a positive asset.
He may not be the flashiest or best pitcher on the planet, but he’ll give you solid middle- to back-of-rotation production for relative peanuts. Ozuna for Miley is probably a pretty fair trade. The Red Sox may even be on the losing end of it.
Love how the Indians beat guy lumps Trevor Bauer in with the big three SP’s in Cleveland. One of those things is definitely NOT like the others.
Bauer actually was better than the other three at the start of the season but he struggled late in the year and he is also the youngest and has very good stuff. Bauer’s issue and maybe his potential strength is he thinks way to much. He tries to many things and doesn’t seem to keep things simple. If he matured he will end up being a pitching coach after he retires
All quiet on the Pittsburgh Pirates Front!
As it will continue to be, the pirates don’t have the money to burn to pay these high priced free agent deals. My hope for them is to pick up Henderson Alvarez on a two year deal, get Aaron crow and David hernandez to help replace bastardo and soria, and trade for either Justin bour or Adam lind to platoon at first with morse. I would love for them to have a go at either maeda or Chris davis, but it’s just the way things are.
Over the last 2 seasons:
Wade Miley: 3.90 FIP, 3.79 xFIP, 4.1 WAR, 7.5k/9, 395 IP
Shelby Miller: 3.95 FIP, 4.25xFIP, 4.0 WAR, 6.9 k/9, 387 IP
Miley’s 3/36mil left on contract must seem great to teams, considering Samardzija got 90mil, and Leake/Chen are asking for around 75mil.
Miley should fetch a solid return if dealt.
Not sure where 3/36 is coming from, as Miley is actually cheaper than that ($14.8MM total next two years, $12MM team option after). Even with last year factored in, Miley only makes $31MM+ over a four-year span. That’s a super nice contract.
I fully agree with you, though. Miley may be a pretty league-average SP, but at those prices, the guy is an absolute bargain. If traded, he should fetch a decent haul.
Egads, I hope the Giants don’t bring Leake back. The guy is a league-average starter – he’s always been league-average, and he’ll likely always be league-average. And you don’t sign league-average pitchers to five-year deals for $80M (MLBTR projection for Leake) – you sign them for 3Y/$28M. Let someone else overpay for a #4 starter – I’d rather SF brings up someone from Sac. and gives the big deal to Heyward or Cespedes.
Makes sense for the Dodgers to go after Iwakuma and/or Maeda. I’m a fan favorite of Iwakuma,