The White Sox have long been connected to both free agents and trade targets that can help the club in the corner outfield, and Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago/670 The Score writes that the Sox aren’t done searching for upgrades. The Sox could turn their focus to Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez and Reds right fielder Jay Bruce, per Levine, though his report makes no indication that there have been trade discussions about either player. One rival general manager told Levine that the Rockies asked for his top two minor leaguers, plus a big league player and absorption of most of the remaining $37MM on Gonzalez’s contract. Of course, that’s a highly subjective statement; for instance, the top two minor leaguers for a club like the Angels — a team that has been linked to outfield trade targets — would be considerably less valuable than the top two minor leaguers for a club like the Rays or Cardinals, each of which was linked to outfield trade targets this winter as well. What’s clear from the anonymous GM quoted by Levine is that the Rockies’ asking price would be steep, and the team seemingly doesn’t have much interest in eating salary on the deal.
A bit more on Chicago’s two clubs…
- The Cubs finalized contracts with all of their pre-arbitration players today, the club announced, and the Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer notes that the pre-arb agreements should take the Cubs’ payroll north of $150MM for the first time. While the team presently sits just shy of that mark at $149.232MM, awarding the final roster spot to a player like Rex Brothers or Shane Victorino, who have base salaries of $1.42MM and $1MM, respectively, would push the Cubs beyond that milestone. Somewhat notably, Wittenmyer points out that reigning Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant was renewed for a healthy $652K — a considerably larger sum than most pre-arbitration players (especially players with less than a year of service) would receive.
- While Bryant and his pre-arb peers were forced to take whatever the Cubs decided to give them, others have reportedly chosen to come to Chicago despite receiving similar or greater offers elsewhere. Jesse Sanchez of ESPNChicago.com says that held true of Dexter Fowler, who rejected offers from multiple other clubs “for multiple years and more money.” While the magnitude of the contract discounts in some Cubs’ free agent contracts seem to have been somewhat overplayed — indeed, in some cases, factors such as length and the presence of opt-outs in alternative offers make it unclear whether there was a true discount at all — this report certainly suggests that Fowler had plenty of opportunities to earn a good bit more elsewhere. “You create the right culture,” said manager Joe Maddon, “you would get guys wanting to stay with you longer, irrespective of money.”