While a handful of high profile free agents have already found new teams to play for, the trade market around baseball has been pretty quiet so far. It would seem trade talks will really pick up in the coming weeks as the Winter Meetings draw closer. Here's a look around the league as the calendar flips to December.
Cubs weighing options with Jeff Samardzija
It seems like the Cubs aren't entirely sure what they want to do with Jeff Samardzija right now. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Chicago would prefer to sign him to a long-term contract extension to keep him past 2015, though they are also considering a trade if the right deal comes along.
Trade talks have been going on and when push comes to shove, he might get traded. But the Cubs' No. 1 preference would be to re-sign Samardzija and lock him in beyond 2015 and build their future around him, according to a major league source. The Cubs will continue to work on both fronts until the culmination of a long-term extension has been reached or if the extension is improbable.
Samardzija, 29 next season, is coming off a pretty rough year if you take a quick look at his numbers. His 4.34 ERA was pretty mediocre for a guy who has the stuff to be a front-end starter, and he won just eight games despite making 33 starts. Dig a little deeper, though, and you'll find a guy who was a bit unlucky. He posted a very solid 3.45 xFIP, which helps neutralize bad defense and Wrigley Field's propensity to play as a hitter's park. Samardzija also allowed a .314 batting average on balls put in play, which was 17 points higher than his career average. That number should regress moving forward, which can only help.
Regardless of where he's pitching, Samardzija should be in for a pretty solid payday once he gets a new contract.
Twins could add another starter
The Twins have been very active early on in the offseason to shore up what was one of the worst rotations in baseball last year. Even after signing Phil Hughes to a three-year deal over the weekend and adding Ricky Nolasco earlier in the week, they could add one more veteran to the mix.
Despite agreements with Nolasco and Hughes, Twins not necessarily done upgrading rotation. Could add one more veteran.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 1, 2013
Minnesota's rotation was probably the worst in the American League last year, ranking last in ERA, innings pitched, quality starts and hits allowed. Hughes and Nolasco will certainly help, but the addition of yet another veteran wouldn't be a bad idea if they want to try and challenge the Tigers in the Central next season.
Red Sox tender contract to Andrew Bailey
With the non-tender deadline just a few of hours away, the Boston Red Sox have decided to give reliever Andrew Bailey a one-year deal in the range of $4 million.
A person I trust said #Redsox will tender contract to Andrew Bailey: Uehara insurance/trade chip/just 1-yr commitment at $4M range— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 1, 2013
Bailey likely won't be back until the All-Star break as he recovers from July shoulder surgery. As Sherman notes, Bailey has closing experience and would slot in for Koji Uehara should he get hurt after a breakout season in 2013. This seems to be a solid low-risk depth move for the Red Sox, especially for a reasonable price. Bailey has a career 2.64 ERA and averages more than a strikeout per inning.
Many teams interested in Bronson Arroyo
Few pitchers in baseball are as consistently solid as Bronson Arroyo is. He's thrown upwards of 199 innings every year since 2005, and his ERA has been between 3.74 and 3.88 in four of the last five seasons. He won't blow anyone away with his stuff on the mound, but he makes up for it with an impressively low walk rate.
As he hits the free agent market this offseason, Arroyo, who will be 37 in February, has already received quite a bit of interest.
seven teams have now called on Bronson Arroyo. None of them have actually made a contractual offer.— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) December 1, 2013
Corey Hart likely looking at one-year deal
Corey Hart missed all last season after undergoing knee surgery. Here's the latest from Nick Cafardo once again:
The Brewers want him back and he'd love to go back, but not on a long-term deal. Hart may be facing this everywhere after he missed last season after knee surgery. Plenty of teams are looking at his medical reports to determine how long they would feel comfortable committing to him. Most teams would give him one year, but because there are multiple teams in on him he might get two years.
Hart really is an intriguing option, especially for teams who need to add a corner outfielder. He'll be 32 next season, but he'll be just a year removed from belting 30 home runs and driving in 83 runs. Teams will be cautious with him when negotiating a possible deal, but a one-year contract with incentives and an option year added on could make a lot of sense for both sides.