The Rundown: Money for Nothing and Your Twins for Free, Schwarber Rumors, Giants Bad at Recruiting

Good grief. Have you ever gone out of your way to impress somebody, or perhaps spend beyond your capacity, because you thought it might make you look more attractive? The Minnesota Twins took advantage of two overzealous teams yesterday, trading away IFA bonus slot money to the Mariners and Angels in exchange for prospects.

The Twins had no use for the money since they had been declared out of the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes almost immediately, and apparently had no interest in the flock of Braves prospects declared free agents by commissioner Rob Manfred last week. So they leveraged $2 million worth of what essentially amounts to cryptocurrency to acquire OF prospect Jacob Pearson from the Angels and C prospect David Banuelos from the Twins. A nice haul for nothing.

It looks to me like the Twins took advantage of a panic-buying situation to help pad maximum IFA bonus allotments for both teams. Still, and again, money isn’t a factor and even if it were, neither team leapfrogged the Rangers in available funds. Do we even have to handicap the pursuit of Ohtani by max bonus?

  • Rangers $3.53M
  • Mariners $2.56M
  • Angels $2.315M
  • Cubs, Dodgers, Padres, and Giants  $300,000

If none of this makes sense to you, join the club. It’s entirely possible that the Twins played the three teams that aren’t bonus-restricted against each other and walked away with two decent players for of potentially worthless credit. Meanwhile, none of the seven finalists has been officially eliminated. The brief flurry of activity lit hot stove Twitter up for a few hours, but in hindsight this was nothing more than yawn-inducing and possibly meaningless news for anybody except Minnesota fans.

Cubs News & Notes

For the third consecutive day there has been some minor buzz about a potential trade between the Cubs and the Yankees featuring Kyle Schwarber. Truth be told, the Schwarber trade rumors have been on semi-rampant autopilot since the big slugger blew out his knee in the opening series of 2016. There have never been any legs (sorry) to those rumors, nor do I think there are any now.

Theo Epstein has an almost big brother/little brother relationship with Schwarber, who has been hard at it in the gym this winter slimming down. It’s possible he’s trying to prove something to the team so that he is not traded, but it is more probable that the Cubs asked him to work on his conditioning so that he can be a permanent fixture in left field next season. The Cubs aren’t going to sell low on War Bear and despite a mild surge after returning from the minors last year, it was pretty forgettable season for the young power hitter.

If there is a story here, it is the press running with a hypothetical trade mentioned by John Harper of the New York Daily News simply because most sportswriters see Schwarber as nothing but a designated hitter. The Cubs love this kid and the kind of left-handed power that he possesses does not grow on trees. I don’t think the Yankees have enough pitching available in trade to entice the Cubs front office. Tommy Kahnle is interesting and cost-controlled, but I’d want a proven major league starter, too. As much as I like Chance Adams, he can’t be the centerpiece in this type of trade because he is still unproven.

Javier Baez was must-see TV in 2017. Revisit this great Baez article titled The Art of the Tag if you are baseball jonesing like I am.

The Cubs made SportsNaut’s list of eight teams that they love to see lose, comparing the team to Ross Geller of the Friends fame.  C’mon, really? Personally I see the Cubs as more of a Joey. Hey, how you doin’?

The Cubs have plenty of options available to give Shohei Ohtani a significant  number of outfield starts if he were to sign with the team. So much Shohei rehash. I hope he signs soon.

Wednesday Stove

Giants GM Brian Sabean does an awful job of selling San Francisco to potential free agents. If the pattern of the last few winters holds, a humiliating rejection of a desperate front office seems possible when it comes to Giancarlo Stanton (and Ohtani). The reigning NL MVP indicated he would give the Giants an answer by the start of the Winter Meetings. So at least he is thinking about it.

Jordan Shusterman and Jake Mintz, co-founders of Cespedes Family BBQ, believe the slugging OF will accept a trade to San Francisco.

Cardinals fans truly believe that St. Louis is a destination franchise. The narrative of the past three or four seasons speaks of something entirely different. It has been reported that Stanton would likely reject a trade to the Cardinals, and the Redbirds have lost out on Albert Pujols, David Price and Jason Heyward, most recently. They did, however, sign Miles Mikolas, and I want to go on record as saying he will be a bust. I can understand the alleged lack of love by free agents for St. Louis. Going to games at Busch Stadium is like watching baseball in a retirement community.

A proposed new stadium for the Athletics near Laney Community College hit a major roadblock yesterday.

MLB already has its own two-way player in OF/RP Anthony Gose of the Texas Rangers.

Rafael Palmeiro is considering a comeback to the major leagues, which will surely inspire something similar from Sammy Sosa. Maybe the Orioles will sign both.

New Yankees manager Aaron Boone was hired on the basis of a single interview. A nice story, but the Yankees reportedly did not conduct a second round of interviews with any of the candidates.

The Red Sox placed once-heralded pitching prospect Henry Owens on outright waivers yesterday, leading many to speculate that another move is imminent. The Red Sox have been linked to J.D. Martinez on a number of occasions this offseason.

Thursday Walk Up Song

Sarsaparilla Girl by Dr. Pants. Fun stuff.

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