The Rundown: Preliminary Free Agent Predictions, Cubs Early Favorites to Sign Senga, Ohtani Staying Put For Now
I’m not much in the mood for creative writing this morning but I did spend a good part of last night thinking about free agency. Though I believe the Cubs will be more active on the trade market than they will at the MLB player superstore, significant signings are coming. I mean, why else would the organization agree to resume its fan convention this year?
With that in mind, I thought I’d make some preliminary predictions. I’ll do a deeper dive later this month, but for now, here’s my high-level look at 25 of the top free agents.
- Aaron Judge – Rangers
- Jacob deGrom – Red Sox
- Carlos Correa – Dodgers
- Trea Turner – Cubs
- Xander Bogaerts – Yankees
- Justin Verlander – Cubs
- Brandon Nimmo – Mets
- Carlos Rodón– Rangers
- Dansby Swanson – Red Sox
- Clayton Kershaw – Dodgers
- Willson Contreras – Mets
- Anthony Rizzo – Red Sox
- Kodai Senga – Cubs (this week)
- Chris Bassitt – Blue Jays
- Michael Brantley – Guardians
- Jameson Taillon – Giants
- José Abreu – Cubs
- Kenley Jansen – Dodgers
- Andrew Benintendi – Giants
- Christian Vázquez– Cardinals
- Kevin Kiermaier – White Sox
- Jurickson Profar – Padres
- Nathan Eovaldi – Tigers
- Michael Conforto – Brewers
- Josh Bell – Astros
The Cubs will find a closer, catcher, and outfielder in trades with other clubs and as I’ve already said, I favor Liam Hendriks and Sean Murphy. I also wouldn’t hate a trade with the Orioles for Cedric Mullens. Blake Snell really intrigues me, too, in case Verlander or Senga sign elsewhere. Lastly, if the Cubs don’t sign a shortstop, I do hope they intend to replace Nick Madrigal at second base.
Cubs News & Notes
- Jed Hoyer has a big to-do list, and what to do with Contreras sits at the very top. Per Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago, Hoyer has called this year’s 40-man crunch the most challenging he’s seen in two decades as an executive, exacerbated by 60-day injured list players who must be reinstated, including Kyle Hendricks and Codi Heuer, and trades for Rule 5-eligible prospects such as starting pitchers Hayden Wesneski and Ben Brown.
- I said it yesterday and I still believe that the Cubs’ president of baseball operations will be actively seeking trades this week.
- The Cubs are searching for power bats, and though big-ticket free agents might be an option, the front office may tap into the team’s farm system instead. Matt Mervis, Brennen Davis, and Alexander Canario could provide power at a tiny fraction of what it could cost to sign Correa or Abreu.
- Mervis spoke with Lance Brozdowski of the Marquee Network about the adjustments he made at the plate this year.
- Canario had surgery on his ankle last week, and next week he’ll have a procedure on his shoulder soon.
- Davis is close to full health, Miguel Amaya should be ready by spring training, and Ed Howard is close to resuming baseball activity.
- According to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic, “the Cubs have to do something“ ($) became a refrain Monday as executives, agents, and reporters filtered through the Conrad Hotel in Las Vegas for the GM meetings.
- The Cubs might be the early favorites to land pitcher Senga.
- Rizzo is officially a free agent. The former Cub has officially opted out of his contract with the Yankees.
- A Rizzo-Cubs reunion is not likely to happen according to Jared Wyllys of Forbes.
- Turner has been linked to the Cubs in plenty of offseason rumors, and he has a promotional reel narrated by actor Jon Hamm.
- I don’t put much stock in these types of things, but Swanson has unfollowed the Braves on Twitter and Instagram. It doesn’t mean he’ll sign elsewhere, like with the Cubs, but doing so does help filter a lot of the offseason noise.
- Most of baseball’s biggest stars, including a few who have been linked to the Cubs, are exercising their opt-outs and entering free agency. That includes deGrom and Rodón.
- If you’re keeping a scorecard at home, MLBTR is updating its list of 2022-23 free agents as announcements are made.
- Fenway Sports Group is selling Liverpool Football Club and according to one insider, the Ricketts family has expressed interest in purchasing the franchise. The bidding war mainly consists of American investors.
Odds & Sods
Dear Derek Jeter, stethoscopes and EKGs can measure heartbeats but, yeah, I dig the message regardless.
Derek Jeter believes Baseball today has gotten far too Analytical. You cannot judge a players heart beat. I explained this the other day that players are humans, numbers cannot dictate all of that. #MLB pic.twitter.com/n1Jq30zjij
— Pete Simonetti (@SimonettiSource) November 8, 2022
The Angels front office stated that the team will not be trading two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani this winter.
Jon Heyman believes the Angels will definitely be sold this winter. “The sale is serious and will happen.” Heyman wrote. “Word is, Arte Moreno should receive a record price, above Steve Cohen’s $2.4 billion Mets purchase.”
The Red Sox have the money to sign Judge and it might be an option they’ll consider. Keep an eye on the Rangers. I believe they may have stolen Crane Kenney’s wheelbarrows full of money.
I googled “MLB” this morning and got a screen full of digital fireworks. Day made.
There is only one significant change to the qualifying offer this year, and that’s that it has been increased to $19.65 million. The tender system began after the 2012 season and only eight of 110 players have accepted. Among the 14 players given the option last year, only Giants first baseman Brandon Belt said yes to the $18.4 million offer.
We are officially four weeks away from the first-ever MLB draft lottery and the Cubs have a 1.1% chance of winning the drawing. Picks 19 (Rays) through 30 (Astros) have been set now that a champion has been crowned. All first-round picks are protected this year, by the way.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced the eight players who’ll be considered for induction by the Contemporary Era committee, but that list does not contain Sammy Sosa or Mark McGwire. However, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were included.
Sliding Into Home
Depression is at its highest rate this time of year. If you feel overwhelmed, go for a walk, meditate, journal, and practice gratitude. I’ve been there and those are the keys to rising above feelings of worthlessness. But please call for assistance before you do any of that. I’ve struggled the past two weeks and I’ve called Wisconsin mental health services a few times. It’s tough being sick and alone, but they really helped.
Scott Effross will be missed but Wesneski is a keeper.
2022 PitchingNinja Award for the Most Unfair At Bat (under 95mph).
Winner: Scott Effross 🏆
"Death by Two Seamers" 💀 pic.twitter.com/arJcNpJ0Hi
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) November 8, 2022
Tuesday Morning Six-Pack
- Roquan Smith is gone but not forgotten. The All-Pro linebacker thanked Chicago fans, his teammates, and coaches before suiting up for the Ravens Monday night.
- The McCaskeys still have a number of hurdles to clear, but they took a giant leap yesterday evening toward a new stadium in Arlington Heights.
- It’s Election Day and Control of the House and Senate is up for grabs. As soon as you’ve finished reading this, please go vote for your candidates of choice. If you live in Chicago, vote early and often. Slavery might be an issue you thought we settled in 1865, but Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont will ask voters whether to outlaw it in their state. Why? Prison reform advocates are hoping the bans, which have passed in some other states, could help end forced prison labor.
- Pumpkin spice is everywhere this time of year but most pumpkin pies aren’t made from scratch. I have some good news though. You still have time to learn how to make your delicious Thanksgiving dessert from pumpkin guts. By the way, Cool Whip or Redi-Whip? Which way do you lean?
- Zuck is about to can thousands of employees this week in the first mass layoff since he founded Facebook. But don’t worry, the U.S. economy is strong as hell.
- Have you ever seen the Netflix movie “Don’t Look Up?” I don’t want to drop any spoilers, but it seems a couple of brainiacs from Boston and Cambridge have developed a method for creating a technologically advanced element that can only be found on meteorites. Sit tight, and then assess.
They Said It
- “For all of our guys at the Double-A and Triple-A level, once you get to that stage of your career and you’re performing at a high level, you’re within striking distance. You saw with guys like Christopher Morel or Brandon Hughes, things can happen fast. You can get on the radar fast and then be up in the big leagues getting everyday playing time in a hurry. It’s definitely possible for a lot of guys in the system, so we just try to make sure they’re all focused on being ready for whenever that opportunity comes.” – Jared Banner, vice president of player development
- “I try not to think about [a promotion]. I took everything during the season day-to-day and tried to have a good game. I’m doing the same thing here and controlling what I can control.” – Mervis
Tuesday Walk-Up Song
I have no problem with Tom Ricketts buying Liverpool FC as long as he runs that credit card up on Turner, Verlander, Senga, and Abreu.