FFUD’s Baseball Staff Winter Meetings Roundtable

We pulled together our baseball quadrant–Adam Hess, AJ, Wes French, and yours truly, to gauge where we are as the Winter Meetings heat up.

Welcome FFUD Baseball staff. It’s Winter Meetings time, and I’m surrounded by three Sox fans feeling their oats while I’m the lone, nihilistic Cubs fan. Pretty sweet so far, right? Grandal in tow, and at least what seemed a credible run at Zack Wheeler (although it’s always credible after the fact with the Sox, isn’t it?). Where are you and what would you like to see happen now?

AJ: My initial reaction to missing out on Wheeler basically had a “these fucking idiots did it again” kinda feel to it. Now after looking at how it all played out in the cold light of day I’m happier that the Sox at least had the highest bid (which was creeping towards the Overpay, but whatever it’s not my money).

The Sox still need at least one starter and a right fielder. With the Nats basically saying they can only afford one of the Strasburg/Rendon pair the Sox should hope it’s Rendon (it probably should be, looking at how much the Nats have already spent on pitching) and go all in after Strasburg. If not him, Ryu would be an excellent consolation prize.

Wes: Greetings, and let me open with a sentiment I share with Blake Snell:  I wish it was White Sox slapdick prospect Nick Madrigal heading to TB for Tommy Pham instead of him packing for San Diego. Not sure how my Sox counter parts here feel about little Nicky, but I Say deal him now before he’s a mediocre MLB slap hitter in 2021.

Grandal was a great first step, and while it’s a disappointment to lose out on a guy like Wheeler I think it’s more of a disappointment that he was plan A.  Cole and Strasburg may have told the Sox no thanks from the jump, but they have more than enough of Manny Machado’s money laying around to change minds. The only silver lining here is we haven’t been subjected to Kenny Williams getting on camera to boast about offering a baseball player a contract that didn’t get him signed. I’d be very pleased with Ryu and Keuchel in that order and if they stay all the way out on MadBum.

 You feeling any tingles over Dan Winkler signing for the Cubs, Fels? 

 Fels: Well, honestly unless you’re getting an absolute sure thing in the pen (hello Drew Pomeranz and even he might not be) you’re better off going cheap with guys who have great stuff who you think you can mold. Just line up like nine guys who throw 117 MPH and see if you can’t get five of them to find the plate in your pitching lab. So Winkler seems to be that. But obviously it’s not what I want.

But honestly what I want from the Cubs at these meetings is what I don’t want them to do. Don’t make a rash trade just for the sake of it. Don’t trade one of THE FIVE simply to save Ricketts money down the road. I’m sure there are plenty of good baseball deals for Willson Contreras out there, but you’re also trading what, the second best offensive catcher at worst in the game? With improving framing skills (according to some). With a new mentor as manager. Tread lightly. Basically I’m going to spend the week with my head under a pillow.

 Speaking of Rendon…where is it the Sox would play him, exactly?

 Wes: 2B. Or move Yoan back to 2B. Or RF, I mean he seriously can’t be any worse than the clown show they’ve trotted out there for years. Things in right were so bad in 2019 the usual blog/personalities covering the Sox were pining for the days of Avi Garcia. If Rendon will take your checks you just sign him and sort out positions later. I really don’t think he’d have a problem with 2B at this stage, having been there previously and diminishing a bit at 3B last season. Plus you can roll him into the DH convo and play Leury there in a pinch.

 But lets be real, Rendon is going home to Texas so all that was pointless. I DEMAND STARLING MARTE AND KEONE KELA. Send em Madrigal and Collins and Stiever and be done with it. And Hess, if you wanna argue with me about Stiever (and I have no reason to believe you do but just assume so cause arguing is fun!) you are wrong. There isn’t a pitcher in this org that I’d hold up any deal for that isn’t named Kopech.

 AJ: Wherever he wants to play, basically. He’s a plus defender at third and Moncada can move back to second opening up Wes’s favorite prospect for a trade for a RF or SP.

 Going back to what Wes mentioned, I don’t quite get the hate for MadBum. I get that he’s a mostly fly ball pitcher, but so is Giolito. MadBum improved the spin rate on his four-seamer almost as much as Lucas did, and while he didn’t have the same results the stuff is still there. Sure, he’s logged more innings than anyone else on the market, but it’s because he’s won WS rings. That kind of experience could be greatly beneficial to a young staff like the Sox have.  Plus he’s fucking crazy and I feel like him and Tim Anderson on the same team would turn into the ultimate buddy cop movie. Bare minimum it would be worth watching.

 What do you guys think?

 Wes: I think the miles on MadBum are what turn me off, and I counter your Tim/MadBum with Eloy/Ryu as a the pranksters of the clubhouse angle as more fun than MadBum getting redass at anyone that takes him deep and inevitably hits the Goose. 

 AJ: I’m certainly not against Ryu by any stretch of the imagination, but by the same token of MadBum’s miles are the multiple issues Ryu has had with his shoulder.  I wonder if Hahn pivots now to focus on RF in the market since the best “not Cole or Strasburg” option at SP is off the table. I’m still not sold on Castellanos but honestly I’d take anyone who can un-suck RF at this point.

 Hess: Hi folks, long time listener, first time responder here. Keep Madison Bumgarner away from here, not just because of the mileage, but because his numbers the past few years are alarmingly similar to James Shields’ were the years before he got his big contract in San Diego.

 And while I’m late to this, Wes I have to admit your idea of trading for Tommy Pham is a good one, but trading Madrigal for him would’ve been outrageous. Even if Madrigal is a slap hitter in MLB in 2021 (and don’t kid yourself, he will be in MLB at some point in 2020) his contact abilities and baserunning, plus his defense, are going to make him a certifiable MLB player. He just doesn’t have a ton of power upside with that bat, but he probably will be a 110-115 wRC+ type with plus defense. While I’m certainly not opposed to trading him, I need a hell of a lot more than Tommy Pham there.

 Wes: I’m really not into Castellanos or Ozuna at this point, mostly because the Sox have essentially locked up DH at bats for the next few years by locking up Grandal/Abreu together for at least the next three seasons. They’re definite upgrades over the status quo, but the idea of either remaining in RF for the duration of a deal is kind of horrifying. 

 Fels….I feel like we’re leaving you out in the cold here. I know you’d rather NOT see the big five dealt and I’d rather NOT have to worry about what Hess alluded to in Jerry dealing with Boras as the only hope for SP – yet here we all are. The Cubs are determined to move someone for some reason, so what kind of deal would piss you off least?

 Fels: If I have to stomach one, and I will maintain to my dying day (next week) that the Cubs absolutely should not trade any of their central players, but Contreras for a genuine starting pitcher and maybe another piece probably would keep me from taking a 2×4 to something. The Cubs have a decent fill-in in the form of Caratini, with a promising kid in Amaya not too far behind. Willson is a lot to give up, and you’ll get some debate on whether his defense is eroding or improving. He’s also the emotional heartbeat of this team, but whatever. That one I could handle, barely. Anything else and I’m puking. But the idea of trading him or Bryant for merely prospects to “extend the window” is pure lunacy and any Cubs fan that finds that line of thought acceptable should be defenestrated twice, just to make sure.



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