Chicago Cubs: John Arguello (@CubsDen) of The Cubs Den released an article detailing how Charlie Blackmon could potentially fit into the 2017 lineup if the Rockies and Cubs were able to reach an agreement on a trade. Arguello surmises that Blackmon could fit into a platoon Alberto Almora or even become the full-time centerfield option for Joe Maddon. He is a hit first, play defense late type of guy. It is worth monitoring the outfield situation in Chicago with the Dexter Fowler likely out of town to cash in after a solid 2016.
St. Louis Cardinals: Brian Walton (@B_Walton) of The Cardinal Nation Blog expresses his concern over recent reports surrounding the future of Yadier Molina’s contract situation. Molina’s agent Melvin Roman, who has his client signed through 2017 with a mutual option for 2018, shared that he would like to approach the organization about Molina’s contract prior to the start of the 2017 season. The objective is to keep the 34 year old catcher in St. Louis for the rest of his career, but the threat of Molina departing after the 2017 is legitimate.
Walton laments the thought of Molina finishing his career elsewhere, but understands it may not be prudent to give an aging catcher a final long-term team. However, Molina (as Walton points out) appeared in more games than ever last season (147) and with a manager who is a former catcher in Matheny, the trust between the two will likely weigh heavily in determining the outcome. While a resolution is not expected in the coming days, Walton points out that this is a situation to monitor going forward.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Travis Sawchik (@Sawchik_Trib) of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Bucco Blog reflected on Ken Rosenthal’s report that the Pirates are listening to offers on a number of players, including Josh Harrison. After signing Harrison to a four year extension after his breakout 2014 season, Harrison has been just above league average. With $17.5 million due over the next two seasons, Sawchik believes it will be difficult to find a buyer.
On Andrew McCutchen, Sawchik conversed with Mike Petriello via Twitter to learn more about how McCutchen would fit into RF (as Buster Olney has suggested). Sawchik believes that despite McCutchen fading defensive metrics, that the move could actually help the 30 year old outfielder who moves better to his right than his left.
It remains to be seen whether or not McCutchen will be traded, but we at BoT feel that it would be selling low on a player that is poised for a bounce back season.
Milwaukee Brewers: Travis Sarandos (@travis_mke) of Disciples of Uecker (I love the name) published an article yesterday detailing the Brewers upcoming decision on whether or not to tender catcher Martin Maldonado. Maldonado, 30, became the primary backstop for the Brewers after the Jonathan Lucroy trade. Sarandos cites MLBTR’s prediction that Maldonado will probably receive $1.6 million. For the money, despite not being the best long-term option for the club, Sarandos believes it is worth the money to keep him around as a “serviceable backup.”
Cincinnati Reds: Jason Linden (@jasonlinden) of Redleg Nation believes that the 2017 matters for the Reds. Linden points to a plethora of middle infielders that need playing time rather than the aging Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart. Linden also cites a number of starting pitchers (eight) that should be competing for five starting rotation spots. Jesse Winker, a top-tier outfield prospect, should also be getting a legitimate shot at regular playing time to prepare him for the everyday duty in the 2018 season.
For Linden, 2017 matters. Evaluating and deciding on the the meaningful pieces for 2018 must occur at the Big League level in 2017.