The Cubs should offer a package centering on shortstop Addison Russell to the Orioles for Manny Machado, Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com argues. While the Cubs would be parting with four years of control over Russell for a season of Machado, the latter would improve their chances enough in 2018 to make it worthwhile, reasons Rogers, who points out that Chicago would perhaps have a shot to re-sign him by next winter. Even if Machado left the Cubs a year from now, they could conceivably spend big money on another free agent (Bryce Harper?), move Javier Baez from second base to shortstop to replace Machado and use Ian Happ and Ben Zobrist at the keystone.
A few more notes from around the game:
- The Giants expressed some interest in Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the Winter Meetings, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia (Twitter link). It’s unclear, though, whether the two sides engaged in any substantive talks. The 25-year-old Franco’s value clearly isn’t at its peak, as he has fallen flat since a terrific 80-game debut in 2015. He’s now coming off a season in which he hit a woeful .230/.281/.409 in 623 plate appearances. Franco will try to rebound in 2018, his first of four potential arbitration years (he’ll earn a projected $3.6MM).
- Free agent Todd Frazier has played the overwhelming majority of his career at third base since debuting in 2011, but he’d consider moving to the keystone in 2018. “I’m open to anything,” he told Brendan Kuty of NJ.com on Saturday. “Even second base, without a doubt. When I first came up, I was a utility guy. I’m not afraid to go back to playing another position. I’m comfortable playing any position any team wants me to play.” The 31-year-old Frazier’s comments came on the heels of a report that some teams believe he’s capable of handling second. As for where he’ll sign, Frazier said he’d “love to play for any team,” including the Yankees, with whom he spent the second half of last season. Unsurprisingly, the New Jersey native’s seeking a multiyear contract, Kuty reports.
- Six teams are showing interest in free agent left-hander Wade LeBlanc as a swingman/long reliever, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets. As a Pirate last season, the 33-year-old LeBlanc threw 68 innings of 4.50 ERA ball with 7.15 K/9, 2.25 BB/9 and a 45.9 percent groundball rate. That performance didn’t win over Pittsburgh, which declined LeBlanc’s cheap option ($1.25MM) in favor of a $500K buyout.