Lowdown: Brewing an Offer

David Shovein
Christopher Crawford discusses the various implications that come from Yu Darvish signing with the Cubs in the latest Offseason Lowdown

Lowdown: Hey Yu, You're a Cub

Christopher Crawford discusses the various implications that come from Yu Darvish signing with the Cubs in the latest Offseason Lowdown

Brewing an Offer

Reports from Yahoo Japan came out on Sunday night indicating that the Milwaukee Brewers had made a formal contract offer to free agent right-hander Yu Darvish. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic later confirmed those reports.

The length and financial terms of the offer have yet to be disclosed.

The 31-year-old hurler recently took to Twitter, claiming that his list of potential suitors had been narrowed down to six teams. He listed those as the Cubs, Astros, Rangers, Twins, Yankees and a mystery team which had been believed to be the Dodgers. It looks like that club could be the Brewers.

Of those teams, it’s hard to envision the Astros still going after Darvish after trading for Gerrit Cole last week. If they acquire another upper-echelon starting pitcher, they’d have to bump Lance McCullers or Charlie Morton from their starting rotation, which doesn’t seem likely.

The Yankees are also believed to be firmly in the mix. They may have even preferred Darvish over Gerrit Cole, who they were in talks with the Pirates to acquire before he was eventually dealt to the Astros.

The Twins have maintained consistent interest since the offseason began, and of the suitors they’re the team that most desperately needs an upgrade at the top of their rotation, though it remains unclear if they can compete on price with the large market clubs in the mix.

As far as the Brewers, they seemingly fit in the same class as the Twins. A smaller market club in the upper Midwest, but one that has a tremendous need for a top of the rotation starter to lead a young staff. They aren’t typically big spenders in the free agent market though, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of offer they have put on the table.

The 31-year-old registered a 3.86 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 209/58 K/BB ratio across 186 ⅔ innings between the Rangers and Dodgers during the 2017 regular season before struggling in the postseason. He was, however, reportedly tipping his pitches, which is an issue that he should be able to correct heading into 2018.

To the Great White North

The Cardinals, faced with a logjam of outfielders, made a deal to send Randal Grichuk to the Blue Jays on Friday. In return, the Cardinals received Dominic Leone and Conner Greene.

For the Cardinals, Leone should function in a middle relief role, but could work his way into higher-leverage situations if he pitches well. He was outstanding for the Jays in 2017, posting a 2.56 ERA and 81/23 K/BB ratio over 70 ⅓ innings. He’s still just 26-years-old and under team control through the 2021 season.

Greene is a bit raw and was hit hard at Double-A in 2017, but the 23-year-old can touch triple digits with his fastball and is an intriguing talent if the Cardinals are able to refine him. It’s hard to envision him making meaningful contributions at the big league level in 2018 though.

The real winner of this deal, from a fantasy perspective, is obviously Randal Grichuk. The 26-year-old has tremendous raw power and has clubbed 63 home runs in 357 games over the past three seasons. His power should play even better in the friendly confines of the Rogers Centre.

The struggle with Grichuk has always been consistency. When he’s hot, he’s a force in the middle of the lineup and can carry a team on his back. When he’s bad, he’s awful, which has led to demotions to Triple-A in each of the last two seasons.

As currently constructed, it looks as though Grichuk should see fairly regular playing time in right field for the Blue Jays. He’s going just inside the top 400 in early NFBC drafts and his stock should rise considerably now that he’s in a much better situation.

He isn’t going to hit for a high average, and could even wind up being a drain in the category, but the power is legit and definitely makes him worth a look in the later rounds of mixed league drafts. He also swiped six bases in seven attempts last season, so he isn’t a complete one-trick pony.

Proven Closer

Twins’ manager Paul Molitor confirmed Friday that veteran right-hander Fernando Rodney would open the 2018 season as the team’s closer.

After all, most managers seem to lean towards veterans who have proven to be effective in the ninth inning before, and Rodney has racked up 300 saves in his big league career. He survived the 2017 season as the man in the ninth inning for the Diamondbacks, securing 39 saves in 45 attempts while compiling a 4.23 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 65/26 K/BB ratio across 55 ⅓ innings.

While he’ll be moving to a much more pitcher-friendly home ballpark in Minnesota, Rodney will be 41-years-old at the start of the 2018 season and you have to believe that the wheels are going to fall off at some point. With Addison Reed behind him as a viable replacement, job security could turn into a major issue if he struggles out of the gate.

To Rodney’s credit though, even at his advanced age he hasn’t lost much velocity on his fastball and he still has one of the best changeups in all of baseball.

Saves are a very valuable commodity in fantasy leagues, which means that Rodney will certainly be mixed-league relevant so long as he’s getting the ball in the ninth inning. His current price in early drafts looks to be fair, going around pick 250 in NFBC drafts to date. It’s not a pick for the faint of heart though, as there’s substantial risk of him losing this job.

Quick Hits: Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported Saturday that the Indians had discussed a potential Manny Machado deal with the Orioles last month, but are no longer actively discussing him… Jung Ho Kang has entered the Dominican Republic to apply for a United States work visa, though it seems getting it approved will be a long shot… Koji Uehara plans to retire if he does not receive a major league offer… Eduardo Nunez claims to be fully healthy and worked out in front of Red Sox’ representatives in the Dominican Republic… Anthony DeSclafani is fully recovered from his elbow injury and won’t have any limitations at the start of spring training… David Wright told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com that he still plans to continue his playing career… Mike Clevinger has his sights set on winning a spot in the Indians’ Opening Day rotation. To do so, he’ll need to beat out Danny Salazar or Josh Tomlin… Yandy Diaz won’t require surgery for the sports hernia that he sustained while playing winter ball in Venezuela… Hanley Ramirez wants to play another 10 seasons in the big leagues, which would take him through age-44. He also believes that he has 30 homers and 100 RBI in him this season… Drew Pomeranz indicated that he’s interested in a long-term contract extension with the Red Sox, but has yet to have any discussions with the club about it… Martin Perez (elbow) plans to be ready for Opening Day after suffering a broken elbow during a freak accident with a bull this winter… Josh Donaldson said Sunday that he has yet to talk to the Blue Jays’ brass about a possible contract extension… Devon Travis (knee) expects to begin running within the next month… Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reported that the Orioles have expressed interest in Jarrod Dyson… Rockies’ manager Bud Black said Saturday that David Dahl (back) will be a “full-go” at the start of spring training… Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported Sunday that the Brewers are getting close on a trade. They have been shopping Domingo Santana this offseason and he could be involved… The Twins have yet to talk about a long-term contract extension with Brian Dozier, who is entering the final season of his deal.

What to Read Next