In the 2014-15 offseason, after the Cubs signed Joe Maddon to be their manager, they made a big splash in free agency by signing the pitcher considered to be the top free agent at the time, Jon Lester.
Maddon is now managing the Angels, and Wednesday night they made a similar big splash by signing the hitter considered to be the top free agent this winter:
Anthony Rendon got seven years and $245 million from the Angels, source tells ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 12, 2019
That will help the Angels’ offense, no doubt about it, pairing Anthony Rendon with the best player in the game, Mike Trout. The Angels still need starting pitching, though, and they say they’re going after it:
Source: #Angels still planning to add a significant starting pitcher. They’re pursuing Bumgarner, Ryu or Keuchel in free agency or #Rockies RHP Jon Gray (among others) on trade market. @MLBNetwork @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 12, 2019
Here’s another significant move made Wednesday:
Right-hander Blake Treinen is in agreement with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a one-year, $10 million deal, sources tell ESPN. Treinen had multiple offers in that range and chose the Dodgers.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 11, 2019
And, early Thursday morning, a starting pitcher did go off the market:
Porcello gets $10M, 1-year deal with Mets. Resets for free agency a year from now.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 12, 2019
RHP Michael Wacha: One year and a reported $3 million (plus $7 million in possible incentives) with the Mets after posting a 4.76 ERA in 126 2/3 innings and dealing with injuries with St. Louis in ‘19.
RHP Josh Lindblom: Three years and a reported $9.125 million (with a total possible value around $18 million with performance bonuses) with the Brewers after spending most of the past five seasons pitching in Korea.
I would have liked the Cubs to sign Lindblom. The money listed there would have seemed affordable for the Cubs. Think of Lindblom as a pitcher similar to Miles Mikolas, who has had success after returning from Japan. The Cubs will likely have to face him five or six times this season, so now I’m hoping they will be able to hit him.
And meanwhile, the Cubs have done nothing this week. This little hint dropped Wednesday evening:
That’s... interesting. A Cubs team supposedly contending in 2020 is going to take a chance on a Rule 5 guy? Or, maybe in the minor-league rounds, for organizational depth? Or, possibly, could they select a player that another team that’s lower in the draft order wants and pulling off some sort of trade? The Cubs’ 40-man roster currently stands at 37.
The Rule 5 draft happens at 11 a.m. CT. If the Cubs select any players, or lose any players, there will be a front-page article when the draft is complete. The Rule 5 draft is the final event of the 2019 Winter Meetings.
Lots of money has been spent on big-name players so far this winter, and even some mid-range players (like Rick Porcello) have gotten employment. This is far different from the last two offseasons, where action was very slow until almost the time players reported for spring training. The reasons for this are uncertain.
It’s just 72 days until the Cubs take the field in Mesa for the first spring game against the Athletics. Hopefully, a major move or two will happen before then.