Hot Stove - Cold Heart
Like many of you, I am still recovering from the annual holiday overdose of cookies, eggnog, and family. While I have been sitting around on my ever growing fanny and wondering if I should go play golf, or, grab that brownie I saw my wife somehow left on the counter, I noticed that Cubs fans, and media, have been hyperventilating over who is being traded and who is being extended by our beloved.
I normally don't like to worry about baseball in January since I have a six month stomach ache worrying about it all summer, but the drumbeat from friends and family have left me no choice but to pipe in now on the craziness.
Let's start with the Kris Bryant is being traded media frenzy. This is not going to happen unless some general manager has completely lost his mind and is willing to tear apart his minor league pipeline and at least sacrifice one major league starter. Frankly, if anyone is willing he should immediately be beaten and locked in a room to think about what he is doing.
I love Kris Bryant, but his agent just signed $1 billion in contracts for his clients. Do you think he is not going to grab a Brinks truck for his biggest client still out there? Additionally, the cloud of how many years the Cubs, or another team, would have for Bryants services still has to be resolved before any team is going to do anything and that is still weeks away.
We are already hearing, and reading, reports from GM's that Bryant is not the player he was two years ago. Some have stated that he is not even a top 30 player in baseball right now. That guy needs his head examined, but another story for another time. There is no doubt the Cubs want to cut payroll but trading Kris Bryant is not going to make that happen because the other team is going to still want the Cubs to help with salary.
Mark this as a no.
Next up on the crazy train, Willson Contreras is available. Of course he is, everybody in baseball is available if you are willing to pay stupid for them. Current reports have the Cubs asking for 37 minor leaguers, 3 starting pitchers, and a new team jet for Contreras. If anyone is willing to come up with this package I will personally drive him to the airport. It is not going to happen.
Contreras is arguably the next best catcher in baseball going forward and why would you trade him for anything less than stupid returns? This one has never made any sense to me and Theo Epstein must be laughing at these reports every time he hears a new one. This would be on par with the Reds trading Johnny Bench or the Cardinals trading Yadier Molina.
Undoubtedly he will be asking for big money when his contract expires, but you can expect the Cubs to find a way to sign and keep him then. Mark this one as a big fat no too.
Now things get interesting. When asked if he thought the Cubs would ever consider trading Javier Baez a former GM told David Kaplan, "He is a great talent but he is their most marketable player and I would be stunned if they traded the number one guy they have that connects with the kids in their huge fan base,” the executive said. “Can you imagine, with all of the bad press they have been getting over the past 18 months if they traded their number one asset in Baez? No way they are doing that."
I respectfully disagree, to an extent. I agree he is their most marketable player and I agree the kids would be devastated if he was traded, but, Theo traded Nomar Garciaparra who was the Red Sox version of Ernie Banks so never say never.
The surprising debut of Nico Hoerner last fall makes this a bit tricky of a possibility. Hoerner showed he can play major league shortstop and that makes the Cubs slightly more comfortable filling that slot should someone be willing to pay a king's ransom for Baez.
Now, do I think the Cubs will actually trade him, not really, but I'm marking this one down as a maybe.
What the Cubs would really like someone to do is take off their hands Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, or Ian Happ, including any combination of the three of them. Clearly they need to move salary and these three guys would help lower the tax threshold, and create some space in the outfield for them too.
As I said earlier, January is not the time to start predicting rosters but recent news reports forced me to put in my two cents worth. I would not expect any big news coming from the Cubs between now and spring training other than they finally signed an agreement with Comcast for their new Marquee Network.
You may now resume your post holiday diets.