The Brewers are not ruling out significant additions on the pitching market, it seems. When asked yesterday about the possibility of landing a premium-cost starter, GM David Stearns said that “it makes sense to cast a wide net,” as MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports. That guarded phrasing hardly promises a major move, but it keeps things open, and that’s what Stearns says the focus is right now. He explained: “Generally, at this stage of the offseason, you try to determine what might be realistic, what might make sense, and then you plot your offseason strategy from there.” MLBTR’s Steve Adams previously highlighted Milwaukee as a potential pursuer of top pitchers this winter.
Here’s the latest from the NL Central:
- At this stage, at least, reports of interest in Reds closer Raisel Iglesias probably ought to be taken with a grain of salt — not because there isn’t much interest, but because it’s so widespread. Per president of baseball operations Dick Williams, “the fair assumption would be that two-thirds of the teams would have interest without having them have to call,” as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. While the club surely won’t be rash in dealing Iglesias, Williams does note that the team isn’t “holding on to him out of fear of what the rest of the bullpen would do.” At the same time, other clubs are being given the sense that Cincinnati intends to keep Iglesias, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, so it seems likely that it’ll take a significant offer to gain traction in talks.
- The Reds do recognize they are well-stocked in the outfield, though Williams suggests it’s more depth than a true “surplus” from which to trade. That appears to be a fair take; while Cincinnati could end up with a bit of a playing-time logjam if things break right, that’s also far from a given. Generally, the team’s top baseball decision-maker says to expect “an opportunistic approach” to the offseason — which may also require some patience from fans.
- Patrick Mooney of NBC Sports Chicago provides an interesting overview of the dynamics that will shape the Cubs’ efforts this offseason. GM Jed Hoyer tells Mooney that the team is approaching trade talks both with an open mind and with a loyalty to the players they’ve developed into the core of a winning club. That said, Hoyer stressed that the front office’s “No. 1 loyalty” is to Cubs fans and positioning the team to win another World Series. That, Hoyer says, could put the team into an unenviable position of having to consider trades of young players they value highly. “Certainly, I’d love to have an offseason where we didn’t have to do anything like that,” says Hoyer. “But in order to get better and make improvements in certain areas, we might.
- Meanwhile, Mooney looks at the team’s chances of re-signing closer Wade Davis as a free agent. Chicago viewed Aroldis Chapman purely as a rental when they acquired him in 2016 and let him walk as a free agent accordingly, Mooney writes, but they view Davis in a different light. President of baseball ops Theo Epstein says the Cubs “think the world” of Davis and will make an effort to bring back a player they feel is important both on and off the field. As Mooney points out, a number of big-market clubs already have high-priced closers, which could take some of them out of the running for Davis.
- Hoyer confirmed to reporters that right-hander John Lackey has indeed signaled that he aims to pitch once again in 2018 (Twitter link via ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers). Re-signing Lackey is “certainly” something the Cubs are going to talk about, per Hoyer. It remains to be seen how aggressively Chicago will pursue Lackey coming off a generally disappointing season in which he yielded an NL-high 36 homers. But, the Cubs stand to potentially lose both Lackey and Jake Arrieta this winter, so they’ll assuredly be in the market for multiple arms.