Chapman reportedly wants $100 million
After playing a prominent role in helping to end the Cubs’ 108-year title drought, it’s reasonable to believe that Aroldis Chapman is probably in line for a pretty big payday this offseason. A reliever with a fastball that goes over 100 mph with alarming regularity who proved that he can be relied upon in high-leverage situations (Game 7 of the World Series, aside) is worth big money nowadays, and Chapman will certainly fit that bill.
Chapman and his camp are shooting for the moon when it comes to what they believe he’s worth. Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago reports that Chapman’s camp is going to be asking for $100 million. For reference’s sake, the last time a closer got significant money like that was when Jonathan Papelbon signed his big-money deal with the Phillies. That contract was for $50 million, though, and now Chapman reportedly wants double that.
It’s not an impossible goal, though. If the big-money, big-market teams like the Yankees and Dodgers get into a war for his services, then maybe things could get crazy enough. That probably won’t happen, though. It could very well just be posturing on the part of Chapman’s camp, and then there’s also the fact that teams would have to deal with the PR hit of giving out a nine-figure contract number to a player who has a domestic violence case on his record. He’ll still get plenty of money despite this, but $100 million may be a bridge too far.
Pirates willing to move McCutchen, Nationals could be trade partners
The Nationals saw their season end in the NLDS again, and it’s not too wild to think that they’re probably tired of exiting the playoffs that early and might be willing to make a blockbuster deal that could hopefully put them deeper into October. I’d say that dealing for Andrew McCutchen would qualify as a blockbuster deal, and there are reports that the Pirates and Nationals were indeed having discussions about a potential swap at the trade deadline.
According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, the talks during the summer were pretty brief and didn’t go far, but there’s always the possibility that the two teams could revisit those talks. As Ken Rosenthal also noted, Mike Rizzo is an aggressive GM, and a move to bring in a star outfielder like McCutchen would definitely be aggressive. The Nationals apparently want an offensive upgrade in the outfield, and McCutchen could be the solution.
However, Rosenthal also noted that it’s unlikely the two teams will return to the table to discuss McCutchen this winter. “Unlikely” doesn’t necessarily mean “impossible,” though, so we’ll have to see what the rest of the Hot Stove season has in store. Plus, Pittsburgh was still in the midst of the Wild Card race at the time of those trade talks, so they had even more reason to not really go deep into discussions.
Still, it’s very interesting to see that the Pirates are at least exploring the possibility of trading Andrew McCutchen. He may be under contract through the 2018 season, but it seems like Pittsburgh could be preparing for life without the face of their franchise.
Dodgers exploring trading Kendrick, who wouldn’t mind being traded
As the Dodgers made their way toward the NL West title and into the postseason, they did so with Howie Kendrick playing a lot of left field instead of his usual second base. Additionally, his overall role with the team diminished, and he basically turned into a utility player for the Dodgers as the season came to a close. With usual second baseman Chase Utley possibly returning to the Dodgers, Kendrick probably saw the writing on the wall when it came to his future in Los Angeles and that’s likely what led him to preferring a trade, per Jon Heyman.
For what it’s worth, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Dodgers are actively shopping Kendrick. The position of both parties makes sense here–the Dodgers have plenty of options at the positions Kendrick plays, so they can afford to put him on the market and see what they can get for him. Meanwhile, Kendrick obviously wants more playing time and, although he proved that he was willing to play another position, it sure seems like he’d prefer a role with more stability than that of utility player.
The stumbling block to any potential trade is the fact that Kendrick’s production at the plate took a decent dip in 2016. Kendrick had an underwhelming slash line of .255/.326/.366 with eight homers and a TAv of .255. Defensive metrics also seemed to suggest that he’s on the decline in that facet of the game, too. He’s still a perfectly serviceable player, and his contract is short enough (one year) and cheap enough ($10 million) to where there should be a fair amount of teams willing to take a look.