Publishing later that usual today...actually had to do some work. Hardly seems fair.
The trade market continues to heat up before free agency as we saw a couple trades go down today. The big move was the Braves sending Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons and C Jose Briceno to the Angels in exchange for IF Erick Aybar, LHP Sean Newcomb and RHP Chris Ellis. Simmons is the best defensive shortstop in the league and will replace Aybar in Los Angeles. Newcomb was a first round pick in 2014 and according to John Manuel, becomes the Braves top prospect. Ellis was a third rounder in 2014 and was rated as the Angels #3 prospect.
The Braves had reportedly been shopping Simmons to an NL West team last night and reportedly asked for Matt Harvey in return when discussing a deal with the Mets. Joel Sherman reported that after being rebuffed, the Braves countered with OF Michael Conforto and a young arm (Jacob deGrom or Steven Matz).
- Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs are more likely to spend on pitching this winter than on positional players, but that the spending could come on an extension for Jake Arrieta. A long-term deal would make sense for Arrieta since he "has transformed from a struggling quadruple-A player to superstar in two short years".
- Heyman also says that Starlin Castro will be the Cubs second baseman next season and that the team is fielding interest in Javier Baez in an attempt to break my heart.
- As John reported this morning the Cubs have interest in Red Sox CF Jackie Bradley Jr., but they are not the only team as Jon Morosi Tweets that the Mariners have also expressed interest.
- Buster Olney Tweeted that the Cardinals are among the teams eyeing a multi-year deal for utlityman Ben Zobrist, with Grant Brisbee adding the Giants to the list of suitors. There are reports of as many as 12 teams interested in Zobrist, including the Cubs.
- The Diamondbacks continue to look to upgrade their pitching staff and have inquired on a trade for Yankees closer Andrew Miller says Ken Rosenthal.
- Arizona has also inquired on free agent SP Yovani Gallardo Tweets Heyman.
- Rich Hill is a popular name so far, with the Padres being among the most interested in the veteran left-hander.
- The Padres don't believe that current SP Ian Kennedy will accept the Qualifying Offer by tomorrow's deadline, but Buster Olney has been told by rival GMs that he should.
- Dodgers SP Brett Anderson is another name Olney is hearing could accept the QO which would allow him to be a free agent again next winter in a weaker FA class.
- The Padres did make one change to their pitching staff today, trading RP Joaquin Benoit to the Mariners in exchange for RHP Enyel De Los Santos and INF Nelson Ward. The deal saves San Diego $7.5M in salary this season, but doesn't explain why they didn't trade Benoit in July.
- Colby Rasmus became the first player to ever accept a QO and will accept a $15.8M deal from the Astros for 2016. In the previous three seasons, the QO had been extended and rejected 34 times. Rasmus cannot be traded until June after accepting the QO. However, he can still work out an extension with the Astros and would then be eligible to be traded immediately.
- The Red Sox are doing background work on Reds closer Aroldis Chapman according to Ken Rosenthal. The Red Sox have been rumored to be looking for an upgrade over Koji Uehara at the back end of the bullpen and will likely be connected to multiple closer options.
- Peter Gammons has heard from multiple sources that Chapman will be moved by the end of the weekend.
- Detroit is another team looking for bullpen help and is casting a wide net. Jerry Crasnick Tweets that the team has shown interested in Joakim Soria, Darren O'Day, Ryan Madson, Shawn Kelley and former Cub Tommy Hunter.
- Speaking of former Cubs relievers, the Phillies signed LHP James Russell to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
- The Yankees are expected to make a serious run at Orioles FA starter Wei-Yin Chen says Mark Feinsend New York Daily News.
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