The Rundown: Trade Talk Getting Absurd, Top 5 Cubs-Cardinals Moments, Nats Sign Top Reliever

Things are just getting a little too ludicrous as far as rumors go these days and it has got to be due to the lack of trades. For those expecting or demanding to see some player movement, I suppose we have Josh Donaldson to blame. His refusal to accept any of the contract offers that have floated past him has put 30 front offices into the baseball equivalent of the Dark Ages.

I suppose the decision on the Kris Bryant grievance is another reason — and shame on us for expecting an arbitrator to work through the holidays — but the two stories have been welded together all winter, and so we wait. Still, what happened to the trade activity surrounding players like Mookie Betts, Francisco Lindor, Starling Marte, Willson Contreras, and, to a degree, Nolan Arenado? What do any of those trades have to do with Donaldson or Bryant? Maybe the player movement traffic jam is being caused by the demands of the front offices that currently hold the rights to those players.

I decided to tune out the theater of the absurd yesterday when the Cubs were connected to Arenado. Heck, I’d bet I’m more tired of writing about Bryant than most of you are of reading about him. Nothing is breaking, nothing seems imminent, and everything is starting to border on the preposterous. It’s enough to drive me to the NFL for a few weeks.

Pitchers and catchers report in 38 days, and though spring training trades are possible, moving players of the caliber of those mentioned above prove to be a little tougher as spring approaches, especially when so many players and prospects are likely involved. In the meantime, what is going on with Donaldson? If the teams pursuing him back out and instead pursue other players in trade it could hurt his market value. The rumor is he has at least two four-year offers but now he allegedly wants no less than $100 million. Will teams pay that for a 34-year-old third baseman who had an incredible resurgence in a year when it seemed like half of all players hit at least 20 home runs?

It’s not my money, but I wouldn’t. I completely understand that front offices are loath to part with premium prospects or established, team-controlled players, but I’d rather roll the dice on making a trade than giving a guy $25 million or more per year to be my third baseman when he is 37 years old.

Cubs News & Notes

  • The way things are looking, the decision on the grievance that Bryant filed could come on the eve of this year’s Cubs Convention. That should make for an interesting weekend in the unlikely event the judge rules against the organization.
  • As much as the Nationals would love to trade for Bryant, it doesn’t look like they’d be willing to surrender outfielder Victor Robles to the Cubs as part of any package to acquire the third baseman.
  • In case anyone wonders how Bryant feels about this mess of an offseason, he would like to remain with the Cubs until the end of his career. Can we please stop the narrative that the team’s best player intends to bolt as soon as he is a free agent out of spite for the organization’s alleged service time manipulation?
  • Why wouldn’t the Cubs trade for Arenado? He makes a helluva lot of money and can opt out of his contract in 2021, ahead of his age-31 season. Who is going to empty the farm for that?
  • For the second consecutive day, someone has connected Nicholas Castellanos to the Cardinals.
  • More on Brennen Davis: The prospects writers at all expect the young outfielder to break out this season.

Friday Stove

Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty might be the biggest bargain in baseball right now.

The Reds may be focused on adding  Marcell Ozuna in free agency, and appear to be among the frontrunners to sign the outfielder.

Reliever Will Harris and the Nationals have agreed on a three-year contract that will pay the righty $24 million. That may take Washington out of the running for Donaldson or Arenado. Harris actually gave up the pivotal home run to Nats second baseman/outfielder Howie Kendrick in the seventh game of the World Series.

The White Sox and prospect Luis Robert have agreed to a six-year deal that will buy out the outfielder’s arbitration years. The $50 million deal comes with two additional options that could make it an eight-year, $80 million contract.

Robert says he is dreaming of multiple championships with the White Sox.

Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán has been suspended for 81 games, the fourth longest penalty for domestic violence in MLB history. He will miss the first 63 games of the 2020 season with 18 games credited for “time served.” The incident which led to Germán’s punishment remains undisclosed by all relevant parties, including MLB, the Yankees and Germán himself.

The Red Sox and Dodgers could be cooking up a monster trade that supposedly involves Betts and David Price.

Apropos of Nothing

Sorry for the late arrival today, I legitimately thought it was Saturday. Damn holidays.

Extra Innings

Now that Ted Simmons has been elected into the Hall of Fame, I thought it might be fun to look back at one of my favorite Cubs-Cardinals memories, which just happens to involve the recently inducted catcher. If I had to name my top five moments between the two teams the following would make the cut:

  1. The bomb hit by Kyle Schwarber in Game 3 of the 2015 NLDS. Schwarbs actually called his shot.
  2. The Ryne Sandberg game in 1984 that effectively clinched the MVP award for the second baseman.
  3. Kyle Hendricks 81-pitch “Maddux” last season.
  4. The time Yadier Molina had so much stick’um on his chest protector that a pitch actually stuck to him.
  5. The video below.

Friday Walk Up Song

I’m Shakin’ by Jack White. This remake of a Little Willie John song is number ten on my Best of the Decade list.


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