Here we are, the week after Thanksgiving and before the Winter Meetings, and very little has happened not just for the Cubs, but for all of MLB. I think we don’t have to officially freak out until after the Winter Meetings have concluded, or maybe not even until Spring Training since the rhymes-with-schmollusion is delaying free agent deals in recent memory, but as fans, this is rather frustrating. Anyway, let’s look at the major league signings we do know about.
- Joc Pederson (Giants) and Martín Pérez (Rangers) accepted the qualifying offer and thus remained with their original teams, so obviously they’re off the board.
- Anthony Rizzo re-signed with the Yankees after rejecting their QO, so that’s a long-shot 1B option off the board. He got two years and $34MM guaranteed with a third year option so that tells you something about that level of free agent.
- Tyler Anderson moved to the suburbs as he rejected the Dodgers QO by default and signed with the Angels, setting a mark of $13MM AAV for a middle-of-the-rotation type pitcher on the free market (three years overall for $39MM).
- Jeimer Candelario just signed with the Nationals, with a $5MM base with $1MM in incentives for basically around what the Cubs spent on Jonathan Villar last season, although I think Jeimer would’ve been a far better option than Villar ultimately proved to be, but now that’s over with. UPDATE: Apparently the Nats also signed Stone Garrett, which is a hell of a baseball name. Gotta have fringe players when you’re in a rebuild, right? And the fact that the Cubs haven’t signed a fringe player yet suggests they either A) intend to sign non-fringe guys or B) that they’re going to rely on their own in-house fringe guys.
- The Pirates signed Carlos Santana to a one-year deal worth $6.725MM, setting a mark for shitty washed-up first basemen in free agency.
- The one that kind of hurts is Jose Abreu, who got poached by the Astros on a three year deal worth $58.5MM ($19.5MM AAV) so that’s probably the most expensive first base option this offseason as no one else comes close to what Abreu can offer in my opinion.
- Luke Maile, a backup catcher formerly with the Guardians this past season, signed with the Reds for $1.175MM, so if there’s a backup option out there to Yan Gomes, that’s probably the scale we’re looking at. I still hope Yan is the backup as there are non-Willson Contreras catchers out there that could probably hit better than Yan.
- The Mariners did sign Trevor Gott, who got nontendered by the Brewers, but we don’t know the details at the time of this post. My guess is he gets no more than $2MM, which sets the floor for a meh reliever.
- The White Sox used the money they won’t be paying Jose Abreu to sign Mike Clevinger instead. Clevinger was somewhat pedestrian for the Padres last season but apparently will earn over $8MM, and maybe $12MM if you believe Jim Bowden, for his one-year deal. So that establishes a price point for a reclamation project type pitcher who used to be good and happened to lose the 2016 World Series to the Chicago Cubs.
- The Red Sox signed Joely Rodriguez, basically an older journeyman reliever who played in Japan for a bit and bounced over the league over the past couple seasons, to a base $2MM guarantee with incentives and an option/buyout for 2024. Just another price floor to work with.
The slow burn continues to be slow, and hopefully it ramps up next week. So far it’s mostly been minor league deals, guys deciding to go to Japan or KBO, and the Jose Abreu deal was probably the most surprising but also indicative of the philosophy that if you pay a guy enough, he’ll sign. It just so happens that the team (i.e., the Cubs) has one number while the player has his own number, and perhaps this early in the game, the team just has to guess the right number to get a signing. I guess we’ll take a wait-and-see approach, but I didn’t expect much to happen until next week anyway for a multitude of reasons.