We already checked in on some notes from the American League today. Now let’s take a look at the National League.
- A Willson Contreras trade won’t do the Cubs any favors in 2020, but it’s more preferable than moving any of the team’s other star players, opines Sahadev Sharma of the Athletic. Some rival organizations believe Chicago will indeed make that move this offseason, and there would surely be ample interest in the 27-year-old catcher if the Cubs put him on the market. Contreras is one of baseball’s best offensive catchers, and the Cubs maintain that he’ll improve as a pitch framer, although as Sharma notes, he continues to rate near the bottom of the league in that category. Parting ways with a franchise catcher isn’t ideal, but the Cubs do at least have a strong internal replacement available in Víctor Caratini. The same can’t be said for shortstop, third base, or first base, so a trade of Javier Báez, Kris Bryant, or Anthony Rizzo is tougher to envision. The Cubs don’t have to trade any of those players, Sharma points out, although ownership seems unlikely to green-light a major payroll increase and the MLB pitching staff and minor-league system both need augmenting.
- Nationals outfield prospect Nick Banks put together a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League. He credits some of that success to Ken Joyce, a hitting coach in the Yankees organization, with whom Banks worked in the AFL, reports Byron Kerr of MASN. A fourth-round draft choice by Washington out of Texas A&M in 2016, Banks hit well across two levels, reaching Double-A Harrisburg this season. He’s never been regarded as a top prospect (topping out as Washington’s #31 prospect after 2016, per Baseball America), although perhaps his solid 2019 season and postseason mechanical work with Joyce will turn some heads in the organization. The 24-year-old will be Rule V eligible if he’s not added to Washington’s 40-man roster by November 20.
- The Mets are set to interview Twins assistant pitching coach Jeremy Hefner for their top pitching coach position. Their interest in bringing him on staff isn’t new, as SNY’s Andy Martino (via Twitter) reports that New York offered him an interview for bullpen coach last offseason. The former Mets’ pitcher was then already locked into his position with Minnesota, but he’ll sit down with New York brass this time around for an opportunity to lead the entire pitching staff.