6:17 PM CST: Yanks allegedly making a late push for Lester. I think it went something like this.
Cashman checks his twitter account and reads, " Lester's agents waiting to see if one of his suitors will go to $150 million."
Calls Lester's agent, "Cute Seth, you can just call me next time. Do I make the check out to you or Lester?"
5:18 PM CST: Rosenthal says Lester choosing between Giants and Cubs "barring late change." Then Lester's agent said that is "totally false...liar, liar, pants on fire. We'll totally take anyone's money still as long as it's the highest offer." (I might have paraphrased a little there).
2:20 PM CST: A little last-minute money squeeze by the agents, as it's being reported that Lester and Co. are hoping to get someone to pony up 6/150M to get the deal done.
1:37 PM CST: Apparently Hammel can void the 2017 club option, but must reach some very high performance-based thresholds to earn that right.
1:21 PM CST: Mooney says the 3rd year option on Hammel is for $12M, so 3/30M if the Cubs pick up option or 2/20M if they buy him out.
Once upon a time, I rocked the the updates during Winter Meetings, feverishly updating the site with every little bit of bullshit that was spewed. Those were different times of course, finding those sources, meant about 20 open browser tabs and constant reloading of rotoworld, NSBB forum, MLB trade rumors, the Chicago papers, etc, etc, etc. I felt like I was providing a service to you rumor-hungry readers.
Now everything is on twitter and I just favorite it, and it's up in the left sidebar for you two seconds later. I have as much use as a switchboard operator now...ah, how times have changed.
Regardless, since I have a bit of time this morning, here's a few tidbits.
- The Cubs will sign RHP Jason Hammel on a 2/18M deal with a 3rd year club option. There's a $2M buyout on that option so Hammel is guaranteed $20M over 2 years. I haven't seen Year 3 numbers, but good presumption it's in the $9-$10M range. Hammel put up a beaut of a 2.81 ERA/3.19 FIP line with the Cubs in 17 starts before heading over to the A's with Samardzija and netting the Cubs Addison Russell. With the A's, he was just awful, leaving him with a 3.57 FIP on the year, which is still better than his career average of 4.27...but of course a lot of that was at Playstation Park in Colorado. Ultimately, he's a guy that should settle in that 3.50 ERA area with flashes of brilliance at times. It's a helluva cheap deal for a guy that should be a solid 2 WAR pitcher and easily tradeable if necessary.
It does leave the Cubs now with 8-11 starting pitchers (Arrieta, Hammel, Hendricks, Jackson, Wood, Wada, Doubront, Turner, Straily, Jokisch, Beeler) on their 40-man roster and that's without their ace that they'lll acquire eventually...at some point...over the next 2 seasons. Some will get sent to minors, some will go to the bullpen, some will get cut and some may get traded...but I still find the signings of Wada and the contract tender of Travis Wood to be curious decisions.
- Rumor be that Jon Lester will make his decision by tonight or early tomorrow. It seems Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox and Cubs are all in the mix and unsurprisingly, the World Champs made a good impression on Lester during their meeting, dragging dreamboy Buster Posey along.
- Report from last night was that the Cubs are telling teams Starlin Castro is not available. You never know how much truth is behind these reports, but if the Cubs are in the mix for some high end free agents, it's tough to sell that you're ready to compete now if you're trading your All-Star shortstop, regardless on whom may be coming up soon. There's still enough room on the diamond to fit everyone that's ready for another year or two. The risk is that Castro doesn't quite have as good a season as last year, but the risk for other teams is that Castro gets even better. Regardless, until Bryant and Russell are up, there's plenty of room for Castro still and I'm not 100% sold that Baez or Alcantara won't be seeing the minors for a brief bit next year either.
- Jeff Samardzija to White Sox rumors are heating up again, Alexei Ramirez, Tim Anderson and Marcus Siemen seem to be the focal points on the A's return at this point.