I’ve got a lotta stray tabs open that I need to clear out, so let me hit you up with some bits from the rumor mill here in the wee hours …
⇒ In the immediate wake of the Anthony Rizzo trade, Jesse Rogers was on with Waddle & Silvy. Among his comments, the changes of the Cubs re-signing Rizzo after the season are better than, for example, Kris Bryant. Likely? Probably not. But possible. As for what comes next, it’s still up in the air on Kris Bryant, and it didn’t sound like Rogers thought it was close. Craig Kimbrel’s market was probably slowed by the NL West push to land Max Scherzer (which is what I was guessing, too).
⇒ Interestingly, Rogers shared an anecdote about how he got okie-doked by some Yankees scouts this week, who showed up and asked him questions about Kris Bryant … but it turns out that they were apparently there to see Rizzo all along.
⇒ Gordon Wittenmyer wrote about the end of the era today, and unlike Rogers, he’s hearing that the Cubs don’t have plans to pursue Rizzo in free agency: “But sources say the Cubs consider this a final divorce, with no plans to revisit talks when Rizzo becomes a free agent. If watching the Cubs trade the face of the franchise Thursday seemed disorienting, let that one sink in.”
⇒ That is definitely rough to read. I don’t have any reason to doubt Wittenmyer’s sources, but it still feels like a we’ll see when we see situation. I’m not gonna freak out about it today when we’re months away from free agency, and with a new CBA on the way. Even if the Cubs right now plan to move on, believing they know enough about Rizzo’s expected rate to know that it’s over, who knows? Rizzo might find his market so soft, and might find a Chicago reunion so desirable, that whatever the Cubs’ plans were, they decide to revisit. Or maybe something else changes between now and, say, January (the CBA really might hold things up for a while). I don’t think it makes sense to go overboard today about a somewhat unknowable future.
⇒ THAT SAID, from where I sit, it’s hard to ignore that the Cubs have Alfonso Rivas breaking out at first base at Iowa, and also had Patrick Wisdom starting at first base today. There are likely some guys that the Cubs will want to at least consider as internal options at first base next year. I think the free agent market – outside of Rizzo – will also be explored, and the presence of the DH in the NL will open things up a bit. I just tend to think it’s all kinda wide open, and since guys who are traded so rarely actually come back and re-sign, I wouldn’t bet on it. That’s a big part of why today was so jarring, after all.
⇒ I didn’t get a full chance to discuss this earlier, but it’s pretty clear what Acee is implying:
The one thing consistently heard the past few weeks (and as recently as last night) is once the Cubs actually start dealing the big names, the Padres will be on that.
So now that Anthony Rizzo has left a hole at first base in Chicago…
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) July 29, 2021
⇒ In other words, Acee has heard that if/when the Cubs started moving pieces, maybe they would be open to being the team to take on Eric Hosmer’s contract. As we’ve discussed, the rumor there is that the Padres want to move Hosmer out, and send prospect(s) along with him to get the contract out the door. For the reasons discussed in that post, the Cubs *should* be a team in on that if it means “buying” some big-time prospects. And now with Rizzo traded, it’s even more conceivable that you pull off the trade – primarily to get the prospects – and then, what the hell, see what Hosmer can do into next year before you decide whether to cut bait. (ORRRR you acquire Hosmer to get those Padres prospects, and then you send Hosmer to the Red Sox to be their new first baseman, while eating the salary to also get a prospect from the Red Sox; boom, GM’d).