Things went from calm to crazy this week on the Hot Stove. Unfortunately, the Chicago Cubs’ biggest move of the winter involves a backup infielder.
If you’re reading this hoping the Chicago Cubs pulled a rabbit out of their proverbial hat overnight, you’re going to be sadly mistaken. The biggest news on the Hot Stove remains Friday’s blockbuster deal between the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers.
That deal brings left-hander Alex Wood and outfielders Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to Cincinnati while sending Homer Bailey and two prospects to Los Angeles. For the Dodgers, it purely represents a cost-cutting measure – and frees up some outfield depth that could, at least in theory, allow a Bryce Harper signing this offseason.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, wants to prove they belong in the conversation in the National League Central. The St. Louis Cardinals have taken huge strides in their offseason moves and calling this anything but a multi-team race at this point would be foolish.
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One of the Cubs’ other division foes, the Milwaukee Brewers, cleared up an outfield logjam of their own by trading Domingo Santana to the Seattle Mariners. Of course, the Brewers still boast the likes of Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Keon Broxton and Eric Thames – so they’ve still got plenty of depth in that regard.
In recent days, the Dodgers officially announced their three-year deal with reliever Joe Kelly, the Rockies announced their signing of former Cub Daniel Murphy and Tampa Bay announced a two-year deal with former Astros hurler Charlie Morton.
As far as the Chicago Cubs go, all remains quiet on the rumor front. Currently, it looks like the team will be comprised largely of the same guys we saw win 95 games last year.
Payroll limits seem to be a very real thing so, barring some creative work on the part of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, expect more Daniel Descalso-type moves rather than a Bryce Harper signing in the coming weeks and months.
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With Manny Machado and Bryce Harper still seeking their next team, those storylines will continue to dominate the conversation as 2019 dawns. We already know Machado has no intentions of making his decision until after the New Year.
In the meantime, the Cubs will likely look to shore up the bullpen as they seek to get back to the top of the division next season.