Just when you think you’ve settled down from the Vizcaino/La Stella bombshell, you get 3 more of them.
First, the Jays signed Russell Martin to a 5 year, $82,000,000 deal. A 16.4 AAV deal for 5 years was probably too much for the Cubs to swallow, and I’m sort of glad that the Cubs didn’t sign Martin if that’s the price for him. It’s good to see him go to the Blue Jays, which is far away from the Cubs, seeing as the Blue Jays probably won’t even make the playoffs next year. In fact, the Blue Jays are probably my favorite landing spot for Martin, as it takes them realistically out of the Melky Cabrera sweepstakes. Cabrera is probably a Mariner, but I like his potential as a mid-tier FA pickup this offseason and the fewer suitors the better. Cabrera will more-or-less get this same deal, though. If it gets that high, it’ll be a hard pill to swallow.
(dying laughing) Russell Martin now makes more money than Yadier Molina.
— Aisle 424 (@Aisle424) November 17, 2014
Basically one minute later, the Braves traded Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden for Tyrell Jenkins and Shelby Miller. It’s a shockingly low return for a year of Heyward (which makes me think/hope he won’t sign an extension with St. Louis), and Jordan Walden is pretty darn good in his own right. All it cost the Cards is a pitcher that lost it towards the end of 2013 and a “who cares” prospect in Jenkins that projects no better than a 4/5 starter (and is no lock to get there either). It is unquestionably a great trade for the Cardinals, who dealt again from their organizational strength to shore up the weakness created by the passing of Oscar Taveras. EDIT: Unnecessary diversion. I apologize.
Lastly, Bill Mueller took a job as the assistant hitting coach for the Cardinals. It’s a punch to the balls, seeing as it is a straight-up demotion from his previous job…hitting coach for the Cubs. I know there was some unpleasantness surrounding his departure (when his own assistant hitting coach was reassigned), and he had to find work somewhere…it is just ripe for entertainment at the Cubs’ expense.
Going forward, it looks like the Cubs are meeting with Jon Lester, but not until he meets with the Red Sox. It seemed unlikely at one point that the Red Sox would re-sign them, but I feel like they are probably the favorites. There has been relatively little chatter on either Shields or Scherzer around the league, which is pretty interesting to me. Two theories: one, teams are waiting for a decision on Maeda’s posting (it was once presumed, now it’s very much a 50/50 proposition, and maybe even leaning towards no), and teams are just waiting for Lester to “set the market” before deciding where to bid on the other guys (seeing as Lester already has 3 serious suitors in Boston/Chicago/Toronto). Seeing as Hoyer said “no multiple 9-figure contracts” and Maeda/Shields/Scherzer/Lester will all get one, I think you’re very much looking at a Lester/McCarthy/Billingsley offseason with a possible Montero trade in there somewhere. I don’t hate that offseason (rotation: Lester/Arrieta/McCarthy/Hendricks/Wood, with some wild cards in there if Billingsley recovers and makes it interesting), and it’s maybe $24 MM for Lester, $14 MM for McCarthy, and $6 MM for Bills. That puts the Cubs right at $110 MM (+$13 if they trade for Montero), which is both expected and reasonable.