To quote President Ford: “Our long, national nightmare is over.”
Jon Lester, the free agent roadblock finally – mercifully – made his decision. He’s going to not win World Series for the Cubs.
Personally, I haven’t given a damn about Lester and his indecision. The Royals weren’t players (duh) so whatever. What has annoyed me is the fact he’s presumably setting the market for just about everyone else without a contract at this point of the offseason. The second tier of starters is waiting for someone in the top tier to get a benchmark contract. The third tier is just hoping someone notices them. The position players have been in a holding pattern because they need to make sure someone has cash left over. And Max Scherzer is on some other planet.
It’s made for a dull winter meetings.
The big news from San Diego yesterday was that the Royals are allegedly attempting to move second baseman Omar Infante. Infante is owed just over $25 million over the next three years. (That includes a $2 million buyout on a club option in 2018.) That’s a horrible contract. No other way to parse that one. Horrible. So of course the Royals are looking to move on from something so unpleasant. Sadly, I can’t imagine any takers.
Except is seems they already have their sights set on a replacement in free agent Asdrubal Cabrera. That’s a nice idea and all, but Cabrera will get at least the cash that is owed to Infante. Industry estimates peg Cabrera in line for a three-year deal anywhere between $25 and $33 million. Sure, he could be an upgrade, but the Royals know there’s zero chance of bringing him on board if Infante is still around. And how do you trade Infante if you don’t know exactly who will replace him. I suppose the fallback option would be Christian Colon. For the amount of money he would make – close to the major league minimum – I suppose that’s a decent guy to have as Plan C. I’m not sold on Colon as an everyday guy, but if the Royals were able to move Infante and use his salary for a starting pitcher or right fielder, I’d be willing to give it a shot.
Meanwhile, word came out the Royals were not looking to break up their three-headed bullpen monster of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. Smart posturing by the club, if you ask me. With David Robertson and Andrew Miller off the board, the top two bullpen options are now with new teams for 2015. Like the starting pitching market, teams can either look to the second tier of relievers such as Sergio Romo, Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano, or they can look to work a trade.
Personally, I think the Royals are smart in saying their trio isn’t available. At this time. It only builds a demand and a market. That demand and market will only grow when the second tier of relievers is signed. While Herrera-Davis-Holland aren’t on the move today, that doesn’t mean one of them can’t be dealt tomorrow.