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December 7, 2016

Rumor Roundup

Another Party at Napoli's?

by Emma Baccellieri


Closer to closing time for closer market

Mark Melancon has been the highest-paid reliever in baseball for just two days, but his reign will almost certainly be over soon—with not just one name, but two, ready to take his place. In Monday’s Rumor Roundup, Demetrius Bell noted that the Marlins could be ready to give Kenley Jansen an $80 million deal. On Tuesday, reports surfaced that the Yankees could be ready to give Aroldis Chapman a similar contract. And on Wednesday, rumors kept swirling around both of them.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that offers for Chapman had passed the $80 million mark, with the Yankees, Dodgers, Marlins all in the mix and the Nationals a possibility, too. Later came a report that at least one of those offers was well over $80 million, with Bob Nightengale of USA Today citing a source who claimed that an offer for Chapman had clocked in at $92 million. There was no indication of who that offer might be from, but a Heyman follow-up said that the Yankees were “going hard” and “determined” to land Chapman after dealing him to the Cubs at the deadline.

A cheaper back-up option potentially available via trade? Wade Davis, whom the Dodgers have inquired about even as they’ve stayed in the discussions for Chapman and Jansen. His name also surfaced in a potential trade to the Cubs, in which he would go to Chicago in exchange for outfielder Jorge Soler—a move that could possibly happen as soon as today.

Napoli and Cleveland split on contract length

Cleveland is looking to continue the Party at Napoli’s, but they apparently don’t want to stretch it out too long. While the team is looking to re-sign the first baseman for one more year, according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Mike Napoli would prefer something that could last two years or longer. If Cleveland’s not interested in making that happen, there are other teams who might be: the Mariners, the Rangers, and (pre-Mitch Moreland signing, which therefore probably means not anymore) the Red Sox.

The 34-year-old enjoyed something of a resurgence in his first season in Cleveland. Napoli’s year was most notably a party for his power—a career-high 34 home runs—but also his health. The assorted maladies that have plagued him in the past, such as avascular necrosis and sleep apnea, were nowhere to be seen as he played in more games than he ever had in a year. (Also perhaps making his year a party was his love of Las Vegas, but that shouldn’t figure in contract negotiations.)

Yankees still listening on Gardner

“He’s here not because I can’t move him; he’s here because I’m not comfortable moving him, or haven’t been satisfied in my asks that would make me move him.”

Here’s a game. Is the above quote from: a) someone switching apartments, talking about how he’s definitely eventually going to get that couch down the stairs, or b) a general manager, talking about one of his corner outfielders?

Possibly both, but definitely the latter. Brian Cashman is listening to offers on Brett Gardner again this year, but he apparently hasn’t heard anything that has him ready to part with the 33-year-old just yet. Gardner has two years and $25 million guaranteed remaining on his contract with the Yankees, and while his performance last year didn’t position him as too exciting of a choice for a trade, it’s possible that he could meaningfully catch someone’s eye once the bigger free agent outfield names are off the board. Or maybe the couch just isn’t worth moving this year.

Emma Baccellieri is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Emma's other articles. You can contact Emma by clicking here

1 comment has been left for this article.

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