It’s December, when we long for the extended holiday break and some extra news as MLB clubs restock and retool for 2018. The major pieces of news seem to be focused on two players in Giancarlo Stanton, who is possibly on the cusp of being traded by his apparently cash-strapped team, and Shohei Ohtani, who is being courted by any team that hasn’t all but disclosed that they’re broke.
In the case of Stanton, the frontrunners are pretty obvious, and Stanton himself is holding out hope that the Dodgers can make it easier for him to waive his no-trade clause:
Sources: #Marlins have agreed to general framework of Giancarlo Stanton trades with both #STLCards and #SFGiants; the deals are on hold, while Marlins wait for Stanton to inform them whether he’d accept either trade. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 3, 2017
I suppose I don’t have to tell you that it would be better for the Cubs if Stanton were to avoid St. Louis. This could be resolved as soon as the Winter Meetings next week, or it could be that Stanton waits for next summer to improve his leverage.
UPDATE 5:57 PM: It would appear the Stanton story is going to resolve quickly:
Source : Stanton trade expected to be finalized in the next 2-3 days.
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) December 3, 2017
As for the other guy:
Ohtani has told #yankees they won’t sign with them, Cashman says
— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) December 3, 2017
Re: Ohtani… Cashman said that if he was a West Coast team in a smaller market, he’d be excited right now.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) December 3, 2017
I don’t know if this is a smokescreen or not, but I would assume that Brian Cashman doesn’t just say that the Yankees are out if that isn’t actually true. If this is true, then Ohtani does prefer being closer to Japan (ergo, West Coast) and staying a bit out of the fangs of big-market media. This would seem to eliminate the Cubs, but they haven’t been eliminated yet, and I think they have a lot going for them to change his mind about Chicago.
Back to searching for gifts on Amazon…
UPDATE 5:39 PM: Well, maybe the Cubs are in?
Sources briefed on Ohtani cutdown tell me "heavy West Coast" flavor to final list. #Cubs a possible exception along with SEA, SF, SD and both LA clubs.
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) December 3, 2017
They’re certainly not “out” yet, so we shall see in the coming weeks. Ohtani has to sign by December 22 per the new posting agreement. The Cubs are probably still going to be okay even if they can’t sign Ohtani, but it certainly would make things more interesting and exciting if they could.
UPDATE 9:08 PM: The Cubs seem to have gotten their foot in the door:
Hearing Rangers, Cubs are only 2 non-West Coast teams on Ohtani's meeting list. Rangers not saying a word.
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) December 4, 2017
To be part of the inner circle despite being a big market not-West team is a pretty big deal. Now it’s time for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to wow Ohtani with their recruitment pitch.