Colorado Rockies – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-02-20T12:12:05Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jeff Bridich On Relationship With Nolan Arenado]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190853 2020-02-19T06:07:39Z 2020-02-19T06:07:39Z We’re nearing the one-year anniversary of the mammoth extension the Rockies awarded superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado last February. The club gave Arenado a franchise-record $234MM over seven years on a deal that won’t take effect until this season. There have already been trade rumors centering on Arenado, though, as well as a rift in the two sides’ relationship.

Arenado said last month “there’s a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of,” and it’s not because his name has surfaced in trade talks. Rather, Arenado is reportedly annoyed that the Rockies haven’t made a clear attempt to better themselves after going from back-to-back playoff berths in 2017 and ’18 to a 71-win showing last season. The 28-year-old five-time All-Star remains a Rockie, however, and he assured last week that he won’t do anything behind the scenes to disrupt the team if he does stay in place.

Arenado’s beef is largely with general manager Jeff Bridich, who discussed the relationship he has with his franchise player Tuesday at Cactus League media day (via Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post). Bridich and Arenado haven’t sat down to clear the air yet, “But I trust that we will,” Bridich said.

The GM added that he’s hoping he and Arenado will get past their issues “through communication.” Regardless, Bridich emphasized that the goal is for the team to put together a much better year in 2020. Whether Arenado will be a part of it may be in question, but with seemingly no clubs making strong pushes to acquire him or his enormous contract (which includes an opt-out after 2021), it does seem he’ll at least start the upcoming season in Colorado.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Nolan Arenado Discusses Relationship With Rockies]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190514 2020-02-15T03:46:59Z 2020-02-15T03:45:53Z It hasn’t even been a full 12 months since third baseman Nolan Arenado signed a whopper of an extension with the Rockies, but the relationship between the two has already grown frosty. Arenado said late last month that he felt “disrespected” by the Rockies. Trade rumors were swirling around Arenado at the time, but that wasn’t the problem. Rather, he was reportedly irked because the Rockies made little effort to improve in the offseason after winning just 71 games in 2019.

With spring training in its early stages, there remains a “disconnect” between Arenado and the Rockies, he admitted to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. While Arenado isn’t thrilled with Rockies higher-ups, the relationship isn’t necessarily irreparable, nor will Arenado be a disruptive force behind the scenes if the team does retain him.

On the contrary, Arenado said to Brown: “To be honest with you, there is a disconnect right now, right? There’s a little bit of a disconnect. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. It doesn’t mean that I’m not gonna go out there and play hard for my teammates. Or be a negative presence in that locker room. That’s just not me. It’s not how I’m going to do things. I’m not going to be there trying to show them I don’t want to be there. I’m not going to be that way. That’s not fair. That’s drawing attention to me.”

That’s good news for the Rockies, who inked Arenado to a franchise-record seven-year, $234MM contract before last season. However, Arenado noted that he doesn’t regret anything he has said this offseason. The bottom line remains that the five-time All-Star wants to play for a contender.

“I’ve been to All-Star Games. I’ve done some special things, you know? I’ve won Gold Gloves,” he told Brown. “Those all mean a lot to me. At the end of the day the goal is to win. They signed me to win. And I want to be on a winner. If that’s in Colorado or somewhere else, I want to win.”

The Rockies made playoff appearances in 2017 and ’18, the first two of Arenado’s career, but they’ve fallen flat since then. The club, led by owner Dick Monfort and general manager Jeff Bridich, has signed just one major league free agent (unproven righty Jose Mujica) since last season ended. Thanks in part to that, the Rockies aren’t favored to push for a playoff spot this year.

While there’s certainly a case that Arenado’s within reason to be upset, that doesn’t mean he’ll be going anywhere before the season opens. Among his potential suitors, the Cardinals have indicated they don’t have payroll space for such a mega acquisition; the Rangers don’t expect anything to come together right now; the Nationals like their third basemen; and the Cubs probably aren’t moving Kris Bryant for Arenado.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rizzo Downplays Nationals’ Interest In Trade For Third Baseman]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190490 2020-02-14T21:51:45Z 2020-02-14T21:51:45Z While we’ve heard some chatter suggesting the Nationals remain interested in trading for a top-shelf third baseman, Nationals president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo downplayed the possibility in comments to assembled media members including Todd Dybas of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link).

Rizzo didn’t exactly stamp out the possibility of a late-breaking addition. But he certainly poured a bucket of cold water on recent hints that the Nats could still be talking with teams like the Rockies (Nolan Arenado) and Cubs (Kris Bryant).

“We’re not looking to make a trade,” says Rizzo. “It’s nothing that’s been a priority for us in the offseason.”

It would be foolish to assume that those comments are decisive. After all, no executive would fully commit the team’s direction through the media. And Rizzo in particular has acted counter to his public indications in the past.

That said, the Nats’ multiple, smaller veteran infield additions run counter to the concept of a major trade for a third baseman. It’s possible to imagine a reshuffling of the roster that would accommodate a new star player, but the organization might’ve stayed its hand a bit more with its earlier moves if it saw that as a plausible outcome.

As things stand, the D.C. organization will seek to defend its crown by relying upon a gathering of options at third (and second) base. The team hopes that youngster Carter Kieboom can lock up the job in camp, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com writes. Otherwise, it’ll be a matter of mixing and matching. Another inexperienced player, Jake Noll, also has a 40-man spot and could push for a shot with a big spring. Veterans Asdrubal Cabrera, Howie Kendrick, and Starlin Castro all have spent time at the hot corner. Adrian Sanchez and Wilmer Difo will compete for a utility gig with veteran Emilio Bonifacio.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Cubs, Kris Bryant]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190137 2020-02-14T00:47:49Z 2020-02-14T00:47:55Z TODAY: Casting further cold water on the Bryant/Arenado rumors, a source tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that this speculation could be “media noise” from the Cubs themselves, trying to spur on better offers from other teams (i.e. the Phillies, Nationals, Braves) that could have interest in Bryant.

FEBRUARY 12: When Major League Basbeall’s offseason started, the Cubs looked like one of the sport’s most intriguing teams. After collapsing last season and finishing with 84 wins, there was an expectation the Cubs’ roster would undergo a drastic makeover. That hasn’t happened at all, though, and the Cubs have largely been quiet this winter. They’ve made no earth-shattering acquisitions (apologies to Steven Souza Jr., Jason Kipnis and Jeremy Jeffress) or roster-altering trades, though they have lost a few notable players – including Nicholas Castellanos and Cole Hamels – since the winter began.

President of baseball operations Theo Epstein addressed the Cubs’ offseason Tuesday, saying (via Jordan Bastian of MLB.com), “I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been as much turnover as we expected.” Epstein noted, though, that the Cubs aren’t going to make changes for the sake of it, and he still has high expectations for the team as it’s currently constructed.

Chicago does indeed have quite a bit of talent still on hand, and third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant may be atop the list. The former NL MVP continues to be the subject of trade rumors, however, and dealing him and his $18.6MM salary would enable the Cubs’ maligned ownership to get under the $208MM luxury-tax threshold in 2020. As things stand, the Cubs are projected for a tax payroll just south of $214MM, per Jason Martinez of Roster Resource and FanGraphs.

If the Cubs are more worried about competing than ducking the tax, the 28-year-old Bryant could remain an important cog in helping them rebound in 2020. However, multiple teams have shown interest in acquiring him. The Rangers, Rockies, Nationals and Phillies have discussed Bryant with the Cubs recently, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com.

Aside from the Rockies, who have the disgruntled Nolan Arenado at third base, those teams could use upgrades at the hot corner. There has been talk of an Arenado-Bryant swap, but that has always seemed far-fetched, and there aren’t indications that Bryant will wind up with anyone else imminently. The Cubs could instead choose to keep Bryant, attempt to push for a playoff spot this season and see where they stand around the July trade deadline. Considering that Epstein still believes in the talent the club still has, Chicago may well go that way.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Win Arbitration Hearing Against Tony Wolters]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190112 2020-02-12T01:41:33Z 2020-02-12T01:40:55Z The Rockies have won their arbitration hearing against catcher Tony Wolters, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports (via Twitter). He’d been seeking $2.475MM but will instead receive $1.9MM for the 2020 campaign (as reflected in MLBTR’s 2020 Arbitration Tracker).

It’s the second year of arbitration for the 27-year-old Wolters, who earned $960K in 2019 and will be eligible twice more as a Super Two player. The light-hitting backstop is known far more for his defensive abilities than his bat, although he improved over his 2018 production substantially this past season (.170/.292/.286 in 2018; .262/.337/.329 in 2019).

In parts of four MLB seasons, all with the Rockies, Wolters has managed just a .239/.327/.324 output in 1123 trips to the plate. Offensive production from the catcher position — or a lack thereof — has been a problem for the Rockies for the past several years, but they appear content to proceed with Wolters and one of Dom Nunez, Elias Diaz or Drew Butera serving as the primary options behind the plate after a quiet offseason.

The Rockies’ win over Wolters further tips the 2020 scales in favor of teams, who have gone a perfect 4-for-4 in hearings against players. In addition to Wolters/Rockies case, the Braves have topped Shane Greene, the Dodgers have won over Joc Pederson and the Twins have bested Jose Berrios.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cubs Still Discussing Kris Bryant Trade Scenarios]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190019 2020-02-11T14:54:14Z 2020-02-11T14:54:14Z Spring Training is already getting rolling, but it seems there’s still some possibility for a big deal or two. The Cubs are still talking through possible Kris Bryant trade scenarios with rival organizations, according to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic (subscription link).

There’s still no indication that Bryant is particularly likely to be dealt, or that talks are especially hot and heavy with any given team. But the Chicago organization is not only “still active in the trade market,” per Mooney, but is “feeling a sense of urgency to do something” to improve the roster.

Potential landing spots remain as obvious as ever on paper — and as obscure as ever in terms of firm public knowledge. Mooney says the Rockies and Cubs still haven’t “completely dismissed” sorting out a wild swap involving Nolan Arenado, but it remains awfully hard to see that coming together.

Otherwise, we can only assess reasonable fits based upon an analysis of rosters, balance sheets, and tangential reporting. The Rangers make a good bit of conceptual sense as a match. It seems fair to wonder whether the Padres could engage the Cubs after missing on Mookie Betts, with the idea of utilizing Bryant in the corner outfield. The Phillies certainly could stand to improve at third base; the Braves and Nationals also make some degree of sense.

As much as anything, the still-open situation makes for added intrigue as the Cubs prepare to launch a fascinating spring. The team is not only attempting a cultural re-boot, but still has quite a few roster and playing-time situations to sort through. And there’ll be no shortage of scrutiny after another deafeningly quiet winter on the transactional front.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Sign Ubaldo Jimenez, Tim Collins To Minor League Contracts]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189464 2020-02-05T22:54:29Z 2020-02-05T22:28:49Z The Rockies announced a series of minor league signings Wednesday, most notably revealing a reunion with right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, a new deal with righty Tim Melville and an agreement with veteran lefty reliever Tim Collins. They’ll all be in Major League camp with the Rockies during Spring Training, as will several other veterans whose signings have been previously reported (e.g. Chris Owings, Drew Butera, Elias Diaz).

It’s been more than two years since the now-36-year-old Jimenez appeared on a Major League mound and nearly a decade since he last donned a Rockies uniform. From 2008-10, Jimenez was a bona fide top-of-the-rotation arm for the Rox, pitching to a combined 3.43 ERA (3.42 FIP) with 8.2 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 in 638 1/3 innings in Colorado. Given the hitter-friendly nature of Coors Field, Jimenez’s park-adjusted production was 37 percent better than that of a league-average pitcher (by measure of ERA+). Colorado eventually traded him to the Indians for a prospect packaged headlined by Drew Pomeranz.

After a rough year and a half in Cleveland, Jimenez peaked at the perfect time, tossing 182 2/3 innings of 3.30 ERA ball in his walk year with the Indians. He set out into free agency and landed a four-year, $50MM contract that quickly proved to be a misstep for the O’s. Jimenez gave Baltimore one season of league-average innings (184 innings, 4.11 ERA, 100 ERA+ in 2015) but was otherwise one of the least-effective starters in MLB throughout his time there. He hasn’t appeared in the Majors since throwing his final pitch for the Orioles in 2017.

Melville, meanwhile, started seven games for the Rockies just this past season, tallying 33 1/3 frames of 4.86 ERA ball with a 24-to-14 K/BB ratio. The 30-year-old journeyman was signed out of the independent Atlantic League and wound up making a combined 24 starts between Triple-A and the Majors, although his minor league numbers were rather unsightly. In 96 1/3 innings with Triple-A Albuquerque, Melville limped to a 5.42 ERA and yielded an average of 2.2 homers per nine innings pitched.

Collins, also 30, pitched 8 2/3 innings with the Cubs and surrendered three runs on nine hits and three walks with four strikeouts in that short time. His work in Triple-A similarly left plenty to be desired, as he walked 19 batters and served up seven homers in just 31 innings.

It’s of course worth noting that both the Triple-A International League and Pacific Coast League in 2019 were a nightmare for pitchers, as Triple-A hitters teed off on the same juiced ball that led to the massive home run spike we witnessed in the Majors. Collins, in particular, had a sharp Triple-A track record prior to 2019 and was at one point a quality reliever with the Royals (2011-14) before multiple Tommy John surgeries slowed his career.

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TC Zencka <![CDATA[Rockies Notes: Monfort, Murphy, Hilliard]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189058 2020-02-01T18:24:09Z 2020-02-01T18:24:09Z The Rockies lost 91 games in 2019, and they haven’t signed a single major league free agent, but Chairman and CEO Dick Monfort predicts a 94-win season in Colorado, per The Denver Post’s Kyle Newman. That would be a franchise high for the Rockies, who thrice have won 90 games but never exceeded 92. And of course, they have yet to capture their first NL West crown. Let’s stick with the Rockies…

  • Monfort cites the 2007 to 2009 Rockies as precedent for his projection, who sandwiched a pair of playoff teams around an 88-loss unit in 2008. The core of the Rox’ 91-win team from 2018 remains largely intact (for now) with Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon leading the offense, while Jon Gray, German Marquez and Kyle Freeland front the rotation. Of course, questions abound for that group, from performance to health to Arenado’s recent comments about the team. The Rockies were a top-10 unit by measure of runs scored even in 2019, so a turnaround isn’t impossible. Significant, wholesale improvements from the pitching staff would have to figure heavily in a turnaround after the staff ranked 29th in the majors with a 5.58 ERA in 2019.
  • Daniel Murphy will be a key player to watch in 2020, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Murphy seemed like a great fit for Coors Field heading into 2019, but an injury slowed the start of his season and the offensive numbers never really surfaced. Murphy doesn’t bring a plus glove at first base, so his contribution needs to come with the bat. A .279/.328/.452 line was his lowest mark across the board since 2015.
  • Of the young players, Sam Hilliard has a chance to break into the everyday lineup, per MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. The lefty masher put up a 1.006 OPS in 27 games last year, an impressive audition. He’s a candidate to take the strong end of a platoon with Ian Desmond in left. Hilliard will have to prove he can make enough contact to see his name on the lineup card daily, but with his combination of speed and power, the physical gifts are there.
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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies Agree To Two-Year Contract With Trevor Story]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=188222 2020-01-31T23:43:47Z 2020-01-31T23:10:54Z January 31: The Rockies have now formally announced Story’s two-year deal. Feinsand tweets that Story will be paid a $2MM signing bonus, an $8MM salary in 2020 and a $17.5MM salary in 2021.

January 24, 8:39pm: It is indeed an arbitration-only contract, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan tweets. Story will receive $27.5MM over the two-year term. The Rockies will not gain control over any prospective open-market seasons but will gain some cost certainty as part of the deal.

8:36pm: The Rockies are closing in on a “multi-year deal” with star shortstop Trevor Story, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Jon Morosi (Twitter link). It is not yet clear whether the contract would cover any potential free agent seasons or merely settle multiple arbitration campaigns at one time.

Needless to say, a long-term extension would be a fascinating development given all the recent chatter regarding fellow star Nolan Arenado. If it’s merely an arb work-out, it’d be a notable but hardly headlining development.

Story has filed for a $11.5MM salary, with the Rockies countering at a $10.75MM offer. He’s in his second season of arbitration eligibility after earning $5MM in 2019. Story is slated to reach free agency at the end of the 2021 campaign.

Regardless of the contract specifics, the 27-year-old Story figures to be a monster again on the field in 2020. He’s coming off of a second-straight 30+ homer, 5+ fWAR effort. Story strikes out more than you’d like and only draws walks at league-average levels, but is still an exceptionally well-rounded performer. He hits for average with loads of power, contributes value on the bases, and is an outstanding defender at short.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rockies Sign Zac Rosscup]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=188967 2020-01-31T21:00:17Z 2020-01-31T21:00:17Z The Rockies have brought left-handed reliever Zac Rosscup back to the organization on a minor league contract, tweets Thomas Harding of MLB.com. He won’t be in big league camp, so he’s presumably ticketed straight for Triple-A Albuquerque.

Rosscup, 31, tossed 18 Major League innings between the Mariners, Blue Jays and Dodgers in 2019, allowing 10 earned run (5.00 ERA) on 22 hits and 19 walks with 26 strikeouts. That type of production has been fairly typical for Rosscup, as he’s traditionally been able to rack up strikeouts in bunches but has also frequently struggled with his control. In 83 2/3 innings at the big league level, Rosscup has punched out 113 hitters (12.2 K/9) but also issued 55 walks (5.9 BB/9), with the result being a lackluster 5.16 earned run average. Rosscup does have a career 2.74 ERA in 115 Triple-A frames, where he’s also managed an impressive 12.7 K/9 mark.

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rockies Hire Peter Bourjos As Advance Scout]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=188826 2020-01-30T19:59:22Z 2020-01-30T19:59:22Z The Rockies have hired longtime outfielder Peter Bourjos as an advance scout, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link).  The hiring would seem to indicate that Bourjos, who turns 33 in March, is hanging up the cleats after a 14-year professional playing career that included 10 years in the majors.

Bourjos both began and ended his career with the Angels, who originally selected him in the 10th round of the 2005 draft.  He spent his first four MLB seasons with the Halos before moving on to stints with the Cardinals, Phillies, Rays, and Braves before once again landing back in Anaheim on a minor league contract last offseason.  After appearing in 26 MLB games for the Angels last season, Bourjos was released in May.

Best known for his quickness and defense, Bourjos was an often-outstanding center fielder, posting +40 Defensive Runs Saved and +11.9 UZR/150 over 4080 1/3 career innings up the middle.  This glovework made him a valuable part-time and bench commodity for teams looking for backup at all three outfield positions.  Bourjos hit .237/.293/.376 over 2334 plate appearances, and his offensive resume includes an AL-leading 11 triples during the 2011 season.

We at MLBTR wish Bourjos all the best as he moves into this new phase of his baseball career, and congratulate him on a successful decade on the field.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[The Latest Example Of Why An Arenado Trade Won’t Be Easy To Execute]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=188734 2020-01-30T04:02:56Z 2020-01-30T04:02:56Z Uncertainty surrounding Nolan Arenado’s future with the Rockies has become one of the prevailing storylines of the offseason, given the perennial MVP candidate’s recent expression of discontent with the organization — general manager Jeff Bridich in particular. Recent drama notwithstanding, however, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes in his latest mailbag that a trade prior to spring training is “highly unlikely,” citing multiple sources.

Saunders notes (as others have suggested) that a summer trade of Arenado will become quite a bit more plausible if the Rockies don’t play well in the first half. Any trade involving Arenado, he adds, would need to center around an established Major Leaguer coming back to the Rockies in addition to multiple high-end prospects; owner Dick Monfort is not interested in simply clearing salary.

That line of thinking clashes with an afternoon report from ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers, who during a radio appearance on ESPN 1000 indicated that the Rockies and Cubs have at some point “discussed a one-for-one deal, Kris Bryant for Nolan Arenado,” with the Rockies absorbing substantial salary. Perhaps that’s a scenario to which the Cubs are amenable, but Rogers himself even made a point to later indicate he doesn’t expect a deal to come together and to stress (on Twitter) the distinction between something that’s “been discussed” and active trade talks.

Cubs fans have obviously taken a particular interest in that rumored exchange, but taking a step back and looking at the whole picture, it’s hard to imagine how such a deal would appeal to the Rockies or fit within the budgetary constraints under which both teams have been operating — let alone both. Even if the Rockies were to absorb the $7-8MM annually that Rogers suggests, the Cubs would still be adding $8-9MM to their luxury tax commitment.

Chicago already projects to be about $6.5MM north of the $208MM luxury barrier (per Roster Resource), so taking on that portion of that Arenado deal would push their luxury line into the $223MM range. That’s within striking distance of the $228MM point at which the second tier of penalization begins, which would leave the Cubs with minimal room for in-season additions. That could also become problematic if some of the non-roster players in camp earn spots on the MLB roster and start locking in the salaries on those deals. Players like Brandon Morrow ($1.25MM) and Hernan Perez ($1MM) will push that number north if they break camp with the team. And, of course, other players on the team have incentives in their contracts that can further elevate the number.

None of that sounds like much for the Cubs of years past, but they’ve been a much different team in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 offseasons. The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma even reported back in December that the Cubs had interest in lefty reliever Alex Claudio but would’ve needed to clear some money to sign him, so he instead went to the Brewers on a one-year, $1.75MM deal. In total, the Cubs have signed off on $1.85MM in guaranteed salary to free agents this winter. Suddenly taking on Arenado and his nearly $34MM annual salary — even with the Rockies including cash — would be a radical about-face.

To this point, we’ve only looked at things from the Chicago organization’s point of view — but the Rockies obviously need to be considered as well. From their vantage point, the primary function of the rumored Bryant/Arenado swap would be salary relief — the very type of deal to which Monfort is opposed, per Saunders. Even if they sought to immediately reinvest some of those savings, the free-agent market has been mostly picked over. And looking purely at the optics, how should the Rockies plan to sell to their fan base that they’re paying Arenado $8MM annually to play elsewhere, with the return being a very good but lesser replacement at the hot corner?

The timing of Arenado’s comments and Bryant’s service-time resolution will surely link the two for the remainder of the offseason or until a transaction involving one of the two (likelier Bryant) takes place. A team interested in adding a potent bat to the lineup and/or improving at third base will explore trade scenarios involving both players, and it’s certainly possible that even the Cubs and Rockies themselves could explore a more layered swap involving multiple pieces. But the Rockies began the offseason by declaring a lack of payroll flexibility, and similar sentiments from the Cubs have been readily apparent since the onset of free agency. Drawing up a scenario that works financially for both parties without significantly worsening either roster is extremely difficult, and even that would assume that the Rockies are motivated to move Arenado — which Saunders stresses not to be the case.

Suffice it to say: there are innumerable intricacies involved when trying to draw up realistic trade scenarios involving players of this stature and this level of compensation. Both are likely to continue to circulate the rumor mill, but it’s immensely difficult to envision both changing hands in the same transaction.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Free Agent Spending By Team: National League]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=188591 2020-01-29T07:45:35Z 2020-01-29T07:02:42Z With the clear exception of the still-unsigned Yasiel Puig, free agency is almost devoid of high-upside contributors at this point. The majority of players capable of securing guaranteed contracts have already come off the board, making this a good time to check in on which teams have spent the most and which clubs have paid the least via the open market. We’ve already gone through the same exercise for the American League, where the Yankees have returned to the top of the heap as the biggest spenders in their league and in the sport in general. Meanwhile, over in the Senior Circuit, reigning world champion Washington clearly isn’t resting on its laurels after a storybook playoff run…

Nationals: $316.75MM on 10 players (Stephen Strasburg, Will Harris, Daniel Hudson, Starlin Castro, Yan Gomes, Howie Kendrick, Eric Thames, Asdrubal Cabrera, Ryan Zimmerman and Kyle Finnegan; financial details unclear for Finnegan; top 50 MLBTR signings: four)

Reds: $164MM on four players (Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas, Shogo Akiyama and Wade Miley; top 50 signings: four)

Phillies: $132MM on two players (Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius; top 50 signings: two)

Braves: $116.25MM on nine players (Will Smith, Marcell Ozuna, Cole Hamels, Travis d’Arnaud, Chris Martin, Nick Markakis, Tyler Flowers, Darren O’Day, Adeiny Hechavarria; top 50 signings: five)

Diamondbacks: $109.65MM on five players (Madison Bumgarner, Kole Calhoun, Hector Rondon, Stephen Vogt and Junior Guerra; top 50 signings: two)

Brewers: $48.38MM on eight players (Avisail Garcia, Josh Lindblom, Justin Smoak, Brett Anderson, Eric Sogard, Alex Claudio, Ryon Healy and Deolis Guerra; financial details unclear for Healy and Guerra; top 50 signings: two)

Padres: $48MM on three players (Drew Pomeranz, Craig Stammen and Pierce Johnson; top 50 signings: three)

Mets: $24.35MM on four players (Dellin Betances, Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha and Brad Brach; top 50 signings: three)

Marlins: $23.855MM on five players (Corey Dickerson, Brandon Kintzler, Francisco Cervelli, Matt Joyce and Yimi Garcia; financial details unclear for Joyce; top 50 signings: one)

Giants: $17.775MM on four players (Kevin Gausman, Drew Smyly, Tony Watson and Tyler Anderson; top 50 signings: one)

Dodgers: $15.25MM on three players (Blake Treinen, Alex Wood and Jimmy Nelson; top 50 signings: one)

Cardinals: $15MM on three players (Adam Wainwright, Kwang-hyun Kim and Matt Wieters; top 50 signings: one)

Cubs: $2.5MM on three players (Steven Souza Jr., Jeremy Jeffress and Ryan Tepera; top 50 signings: zero)

Pirates: Signed OF Guillermo Heredia and C Luke Maile (financial details unclear; top 50 signings: zero)

Rockies: Signed RHP Jose Mujica (financial details unclear; top 50 signings: zero)

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Jon Daniels Discusses Rangers’ Remaining Offseason Needs]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=188296 2020-01-26T01:29:06Z 2020-01-26T01:29:06Z Speaking at the Rangers’ “Peek At The Park” fan event on Saturday, GM Jon Daniels gave MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan and other reporters a seeming hint about the club’s offseason direction, stating “I would think that if we do make any significant acquisition, a trade is more likely than a free agent….just the discussions we’ve had make me feel that way.”

Daniels’ comment would seem to diminish the chances of a deal between Texas and Nicholas Castellanos, the top free agent left on the board and a player who has already emerged as a Rangers target.  As MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently detailed, a few teams are speculative fit for Castellanos at this point in the offseason, though all of these clubs seem to have at least one significant obstacle — a crowded outfield, lack of payroll space, etc. — standing in a way of a signing.

Texas arguably has the least-daunting of these positional obstacles, as Castellanos could be installed at first base or in right field, thus relegating either Ronald Guzman or Danny Santana to part-time duty (and Joey Gallo into a primary center field role).  It’s possible, therefore, that money could be the holdup in talks.  MLBTR projected Castellanos for a four-year, $58MM deal at the beginning of the offseason, though it could be that the Rangers or other teams aren’t willing to meet such a significant multi-year price given the narrowed market for Castellanos’ services.  Marcell Ozuna, often considered Castellanos’ closest peer amongst free agent corner outfielders, recently had to settle for a one-year/$18MM pact with the Braves, though Ozuna was also impacted by draft pick compensation via the qualifying offer.

If a big free agent signing isn’t happening, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Rangers are set to make a splashy trade for the likes of a Nolan Arenado.  While Texas has been linked to the Rockies third baseman on the rumor mill, Daniels called it “unlikely” that a deal would be worked out.  Rockies GM Jeff Bridich seemingly put the Arenado rumors to rest earlier this week, only for speculation to re-escalate once Arenado went public with what he felt was “disrespectful” treatment from Bridich in particular and the Colorado organization as a whole.

Offense continues to be the Rangers’ primary target, with Daniels saying that he has had talks with almost every team in baseball about potential lineup acquisitions.  Pitching is a lesser concern, as Daniels said that is more apt to add relievers on minor league deals than on multi-year Major League contracts.  This might not bode well for the Rangers’ chances of signing Pedro Strop, though Strop wouldn’t necessarily require a multi-year deal.

Texas could also add veteran starters on minor league deals, though Daniels is pretty satisfied with his team’s in-house options, saying “I’d rather go to Kolby Allard than most of the guys who are available to us.”  Daniels revealed that the Rangers had interest in signing Jerad Eickhoff before the righty inked a minor league pact with the Padres earlier this month.  Eickhoff is a known quantity to Daniels, as the Rangers made Eickhoff a 15th-round draft pick in 2011 before sending him to the Phillies as part of the trade package for Cole Hamels in July 2015.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Checking In On Last Season’s Worst Bullpens]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=187992 2020-01-23T06:45:42Z 2020-01-23T06:45:16Z We’ve gone over how the five worst offenses and rotations of last season now look with the offseason nearing completion. We’ll do the same here with the quintet of bullpens that had the most difficulty preventing runs in 2019. Judging a bullpen just by ERA is an admittedly crude method, though each of the relief units in question here also posted subpar fielding-independent metrics. The bottom line is that they struggled. Let’s see how they stack up now…

Baltimore Orioles (5.79 ERA/5.38 FIP; current depth chart)

  • No surprise to see the Orioles at the bottom, considering the rebuilding outfit’s myriad difficulties last season. The Orioles didn’t get particularly impressive production from any of their relievers. Even their No. 1 option, Mychal Givens, had trouble at times, though he did strike out better than 12 batters per nine. Givens is on track to open the season with the Orioles, but he could certainly be an in-season trade candidate. If they move him, it would further weaken a bullpen that hasn’t added anyone of note this offseason.

Washington Nationals (5.68 ERA/4.94 FIP; current depth chart)

  • The Nationals proved last season that you can have a bottom-of-the-barrel bullpen from a statistical standpoint and still win the World Series. However, general manager Mike Rizzo’s in-season tinkering with the group proved effective, especially the acquisition of flamethrowing closer Daniel Hudson at the trade deadline. Hudson remains in the fold, having re-signed in free agency for two years and $11MM. In an even bigger move, the Nationals signed Will Harris – a former Astro whom they upended in the Fall Classic – to a three-year, $24MM pact. With those two and the returning Sean Doolittle, Washington appears to be in nice shape late in games, but it’ll need more from Hunter Strickland, Roenis Elias, Wander Suero and Tanner Rainey.

Colorado Rockies (5.18 ERA/5.12 FIP; current depth chart)

  • There were few oft-used bright spots last season in Colorado’s bullpen, which didn’t get much from anyone but Scott Oberg and Carlos Estevez. The good news is that it’s hard to imagine Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee pitching much worse in 2020 than they did last season. And even if they do, they’re all entering the final guaranteed season of their onerous contracts, so they shouldn’t be the Rockies’ problem for much longer. In the meantime, the Rockies are going to need bounce-back efforts from them because they haven’t meaningfully addressed their late-game setup this offseason.

Kansas City Royals (5.07 ERA/4.55 FIP; current depth chart)

  • Kansas City’s another team that has been quiet in the past few months, despite its less-than-stellar output a year ago. There are a couple bullpen trade candidates on hand in Ian Kennedy and Tim Hill, arguably the Royals’ two best relievers, but nothing has materialized on those fronts thus far. Kennedy was terrific last season in his first year as a reliever, though the fact that he’s due $16.5MM in 2020 has likely scared off interested teams.

New York Mets (4.99 ERA/4.71 FIP; current depth chart)

  • The Mets were extremely busy in trying to repair their bullpen last offseason, when they traded for ex-Mariners star Edwin Diaz and signed Jeurys Familia and Justin Wilson. The latter pitched well during an injury-shortened campaign, but Diaz and Familia fell off a cliff, which is why the Mets are on this list a year later. At least in Diaz’s case, though, it would be reasonable to expect a much better performance in 2020. He struck out over 15 batters per nine and maintained his 97 mph velocity last year, after all, and isn’t going to surrender home runs on 27 percent of fly balls again this season. Regardless of how he does, the Mets have added some notable support to their relief unit in the past several weeks. They signed former Yankee Dellin Betances, one of the elite relievers in recent memory (albeit one coming off an injury-ruined year), as well as the accomplished Brad Brach. They also have the newly signed Michael Wacha as a potential long relief option, not to mention holdovers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman.
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