The Cubs were known to have made “one last call” to Jake Arrieta’s agent Scott Boras before signing Yu Darvish, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman provided some new details on that exchange. Theo Epstein proposed a “theoretical” offer of six years and $120MM to Arrieta if, and only if, things did not work out with Darvish. Epstein reportedly didn’t seriously think Arrieta’s camp would take the offer, and the executive was “just making the call to show respect” to a player who was such a major factor in Chicago’s recent success. Even if Darvish had turned the Cubs down, it still doesn’t seem as if Arrieta and the team would’ve been able to come to an agreement, as Arrieta simply wanted a larger average annual value than Chicago was willing to offer (due to their desire to stay under the luxury tax threshold). The Cubbies also are said to have put $48MM over four years on the table for Alex Cobb earlier in the winter before putting pen to paper with Darvish, and Heyman speculates that the Cubs might have eventually become interested in Alex Cobb had they missed out on both Darvish and Arrieta.
Here are a few items from Heyman, in his latest notes column…
- The Nationals could potentially be contenders to sign Jonathan Lucroy next offseason. Matt Wieters is in his last year under contract, and Washington had some interest in Lucroy this winter despite Wieters still being on the hook for $10.5MM this season. Of course, quite a bit could happen to affect this interest between now and next winter, particularly since Lucroy is looking to rebound with the Athletics after a very inconsistent 2017 season. If Lucroy does bounce back and the A’s are out of contention this year, I would think it possible that the Nats could even target Lucroy at the trade deadline.
- In some Tigers agency news, righty Franklin Perez is joining Beverly Hills Sports Council while infielder Dixon Machado is now with Octagon. You can track the latest representation information with MLBTR’s agency database.
- Speaking of agents, Yasiel Puig has been in talks with “several agencies” about representation since the Wasserman agency cut ties with the Dodgers outfielder in February. Puig has also been considering having one of his current financial advisors represent him, though the MLBPA has “strongly advised” Puig to work with an established agency.
- “It was very much a split decision” within the Royals front office to re-sign Alex Gordon to a four-year, $72MM deal in the 2015-16 offseason. Gordon’s return to Kansas City was seen as something of a surprise at the time, though he had a strong personal desire to return to the team and the Royals were willing to spend extra to retain a key member of their World Series-winning team. Gordon was entering his age-32 season at the time, however, and some in the organization felt “he had had worn down by that point” and wasn’t a good investment. These concerns seem to have been well-founded, as Gordon has hit just .213/.300/.343 over 1071 PA through two-plus years of that contract.
- Reliever Francisco Rodriguez is determined to continue pitching at age 36, even if it means going to an indy ball club. He was released by the Phillies last month after spending most of the spring with the organization on a minor league deal, and K-Rod posted a 5.40 ERA over 6 2/3 Grapefruit League innings.
- Shortstop Luisangel Acuna, the younger brother of star Braves prospect Ronald Acuna, will be a sought-after name in the next July 2 international signing period, Heyman writes in a separate piece. The Rangers are one of multiple teams interested in the younger Acuna, who could receive a bonus as high as $500K. This estimated price tag will keep the Braves out of the running, as they are limited to spending no more than $300K on any single international prospect for the next July 2 period. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez writes that some scouts feel Acuna will eventually have to move to second base, and he “has shown some power and has the potential to be an average-or-better hitter with proper instruction, but he’ll have to grow” beyond his current 5’9″, 160-pound frame.