Well, it is 1:30 A.M. out west and for some strange reason, i decided to have one of the delicious key lime squares my wife baked earlier....with a cup of coffee. That probably wasn't a good idea because, as many of you already know, the ability to quickly fall asleep isn't one of my strong points.
Well now it may have actually paid off...at least as far as still being up for the latest news -- and this little update will get Cubs fans (if any are still up) discussing, debating, and dissecting into the wee hours of the morning and beyond.
The Tampa Bay Times Marc Topkin is reporting that the Rays are targeting the Cubs slugging infielder Javier Baez. The Cubs are said to want pitching in return.
Specifically, it appears the Cubs may get one reliever and one starter in return. In Topkin's words,
The Rays have pitching depth to deal from - either of their two late-inning relievers, Jake McGee or Brad Boxberger, and a starter from the group of Drew Smyly, Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi and Erasmo Ramirez.
We mentioned both of those relievers yesterday along with starters Moore and Odorizzi and that Baez was one of three possible targets. Smyly and Ramirez are two new names in the mix. I had mentioned I didn't think Odorizzi was likely, in part because my guess was the Cubs would shoot for upside, with Moore specifically being a name I had heard mentioned earlier n the offseason. Odorizzi, however, has a better recent track record both in terms of production and health, though his upside may be that of a #4 starter on a good staff, maybe a 3. He certainly is the pitcher with the highest floor on the list of starters.
Smyly, however, bounced back strong after his injuries, making 12 starts and regaining his low 90s velocity in the process. Smyly's injury was to his shoulder, but he managed to come back with rehab work instead of surgery. Obviously there is some risk, but if he is healthy again, he would certainly fit nicely in that 4th spot as well. Smyly, a LHP, went 5-2 with a 3.11 ERA (3.97 FIP) with 10.4 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per 9 IP. He pitched 66.2 innings in all. Smyly doesn't become a free agent until after the 2018 season. He is arb eligible this year.
Ramirez is a 25 year old, stoutly built RHP who went 11-6 with a 3.75 ERA that nearly mirrored his FIP (3.76). He doesn't miss as many bats as Smyly, but has solid stuff with a low 90s FB, slider, curve, and change to go with good control (2.2 walks per 9 IP). He doesn't become a free agent until after the 2019 season but is arb eligible this year.
Both pitchers have more control than Moore, who becomes a free agent after 2 more seasons. Odorizzi doesn't become a free agent until after the 2019 season and is not yet arb eligible, making him more valuable to the Rays. RP Boxberger has the same control years (as Odorizzi) while McGee, like Moore, has just two years of control left.
There are a lot of factors here and the teams may be looking to come to agreement on the right mix of control, ceiling, and floor with the two pitchers.
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