The Cubs have been linked to the reliever market, though they may wait until January before making any new acquisitions. As one source speculates to the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales, the Cubs might first need to clear some payroll space before adding to their bullpen. Rumors of a lack of a spending capacity have loomed over Chicago’s offseason, and the crunch could be tighter than anticipated if the team will have to move other salaries to afford even mid-tier relief pitching signings. Gonzales runs through a few of the names on the Cubs roster that could possibly be dealt in salary-clearing moves, though he notes that several of these options don’t look too feasible, as players are either coming off down years (i.e. Brian Duensing, Brandon Kintzler) or they’re coming off good years (i.e. Jose Quintana, Ben Zobrist) and thus still have value to a Cubs team looking to contend in 2019.
Some more trade rumblings from around the Winter Meetings…
- The Athletics have some interest in Tigers left-hander Blaine Hardy, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports. Hardy started 13 of his 30 appearances in 2018 and posted some generally solid (3.56 ERA, 3.00 K/BB rate) numbers, though he didn’t miss many bats with a 6.9 K/9. Hardy is only projected to earn $1.2MM next season and he is controllable through two more arbitration-eligible seasons beyond 2019, making him a particularly good fit for the budget-conscious A’s. With a rotation still dotted with injury question marks, the A’s could use Hardy as a swingman again, deploying him as a starter on occasion or possibly coming in to pitch after an “opener” starts the game. Despite this need for pitching, Oakland could be playing the waiting game on starting options, as Slusser notes that the club has yet to contact free agent arms like Derek Holland, Gio Gonzalez, or Lance Lynn. Also from Slusser’s piece, he notes that the Athletics will still look to re-sign catcher Jonathan Lucroy even after acquiring Chris Herrmann yesterday.
- There have been a number of names on the Red Sox roster (some surprising) mentioned as trade candidates within the last 24 hours, and the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo mentions that Brock Holt is another name that has received interest. A deal seems unlikely, however, as the super-utilityman is slated to handle second base if Dustin Pedroia isn’t ready for the start of the season. Holt rebounded from a poor 2017 campaign to hit .277/.362/.411 over 367 PA for the World Series champs last season, spending most of his time as a second baseman but also making starts at shortstop, third base, first base, and both corner outfield slots.
- As usual, a ton of trade speculation has swirled around the Yankees, and GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including George A. King III of the New York Post) that he has been asked about virtually every player on his roster. That list even includes James Paxton, as teams checked in to see if New York would consider flipping the star southpaw after acquiring him from the Mariners last month (needless to say, the Yankees declined). Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were the only two players Cashman said he hadn’t yet been asked about.