While there is certainly something to be said about it being a negotiating tactic, those out there hoping that the Cleveland Indians were going to be moving Francisco Lindor may have to find a corner to get bawl up in. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported had this earlier this afternoon.
Hear Indians prefer not to deal Francisco Lindor, to wait a year on a trade. Which really isn’t surprising. Interest has to be huge, however.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 9, 2019
This doesn’t say that they won’t deal him, of course. But it certainly suggests they are willing to wait until next year. Lindor would solve just about every problem that the Reds are looking to solve. He plays a position they are looking to upgrade, shortstop, and he’s an elite hitter who would fix their offensive woes.
With two years remaining on his contract before free agency, he would be an outstanding acquisition. He’s due about $17M this upcoming season in arbitration according to MLB Trade Rumors. That’s probably half of his true market value in dollars. Probably less considering you only have to commit two years to him and there’s just less risk involved there of a deal going sour.
Of course, paying Francisco Lindor is one reason why Cleveland feels like they need to move him. They are cheap and don’t want to do it. But they also want to move him, as a result of said being cheap, not being willing to re-sign him and instead wanting to try and trade one of the very best players alive for lesser players who won’t cost as much money. They are going for the quantity over quality plan – one that at times can work.
With how good Francisco Lindor is, the tweet from Heyman suggests you’d have to pay through the roof right now to get Cleveland’s attention. But that makes sense given how good he is – why wouldn’t you expect to have to give up big time players in return for Francisco Lindor?
Perhaps this is all just posturing by Cleveland’s front office to try and get a little more leverage in a deal. But even without the leaked information, I can’t imagine teams were expecting to offer a B-caliber prospect and take on the contract for Lindor and get the deal done, either.
Marcell Ozuna rumors
The Reds have been linked to having interest in Marcell Ozuna this offseason. Earlier this morning there were reports coming from multiple sources in the Dominican Republic that he was going to sign today with the Chicago White Sox. But this afternoon saw owner of the White Sox, Jerry Rainsdorf, make a statement that seems to debunk those rumors.
Jerry Reinsdorf had a laugh about Marcell Ozuna reports. He said he called Sox GM Rick Hahn and asked him, “Am I having a senior moment? Because I don’t recall any conversation about Marcell Ozuna.” He said Hahn assured him that it wasn’t a senior moment and there is no such deal
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 9, 2019
The whole “don’t recall any conversation about Marcell Ozuna” is certainly interesting. That’s more than just “we aren’t signing him today”.
Didi Gregorius updates
As mentioned above with Francisco Lindor, the Cincinnati Reds have reportedly been looking at upgrading the shortstop position. Didi Gregorius is the only shortstop on the free agent market that seems to be a starting caliber guy for a contending team. That is, of course, if you believe his 2019 season in which he was coming back from an injury was an outlier, and the few seasons before that were what you should expect going forward.
Jon Heyman is reporting that it seems like the former Yankee shortstop is going to get $14-15M a year and a multi-year deal. It seems, though, that he is speculating that would push the Reds out because they have Freddy Galvis. If you’re only looking at the 2019 season, then Freddy Galvis and Didi Gregorius are similar players.
But if you look beyond that, it’s clear that they haven’t been the same kind of guy in the past. Galvis has never once been a league average hitter, and only in 2019 with a juiced baseball, has he ever topped a .700 OPS. Gregorius has topped a .700 OPS five times in his career, including the last four seasons. And in both 2017 and 2018 he was an above-average hitter. In 2018 he posted a 124 OPS+, which means he was 24% better than the league average hitter. To put that into perspective, Mike Moustakas has never topped a 119 OPS+ and last year he was at 114 when he hit 35 home runs and 30 doubles.
Madison Bumgarner rumors
Joel Sherman of The New York Post is reporting that left-handed starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner is telling teams that if they want to sign him that it’s going to require a 5-year deal to get it done.
As we noted last week, the Reds were among the teams that were showing interest in the former World Series champion. MLB Trade Rumors predicted it would take a 4-year deal worth $72M to bring Bumgarner into the fold.
Could the Reds take any pitchers in the Rule 5 Draft?
One of the last things that happens at the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft. The Reds currently are eligible to draft a player – the only eligibility requirement is that you have a spot open on the 40-man roster, and the Reds are sitting at 38 players as I type this. Over at RedsMinorLeagues.com I took a look at two interesting names that could be options for Cincinnati. And the two guys couldn’t be any more different.
The 3-batter minimum reliever rule is coming
Bob Nightengale of USA Today is reporting that teams are now being told that the rule for how many batters a reliever must face before being replaced is coming.
Teams are being told to plan on the three-batter minimum for pitchers being in effect in 2020. There was discussion at the owners' meetings to change it to a 2-batter minimum, but it was voted down, and pitchers will have to face at least 3 batters or finish the inning.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 9, 2019
This isn’t surprising. We heard that this was coming during the regular season in 2019. But it seems that it’s basically official now. Goodbye, sweet and precious LOOGY. You were useful while it lasted.
Reds outright R.J. Alaniz to Triple-A Louisville
In a strangely timed move, the Cincinnati Reds have outrighted reliever R.J. Alaniz to Triple-A, getting the 40-man roster down to 38 players. The timing here is what’s interesting, because there’s not really a reason that the move would have been made specifically when it was, unless there was a plan to use that spot on the roster. But since the roster already had an open spot, any theoretical plan would mean two additions to the 40-man roster.