Welcome to another new week in the Major League Baseball offseason. The expectation is that things will start to pick up later this week, as the non-tender deadline (Wednesday night) ought to encourage a flurry of activity. That doesn't mean we're without hot stove rumors until then, however. To wit, let's touch on some of Monday's most interesting speculation.
Marlins acquire Cimber, DFA Urena
The Marlins acquired relief pitcher Adam Cimber from Cleveland in exchange for cash considerations, both clubs announced Monday evening. As a corresponding move, the Marlins designated starting pitcher Jose Urena for assignment.
Cimber, a 30-year-old right hander, had a 3.97 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings last season. He has a 3.89 ERA (113 ERA+) in 152 career relief appearances.
Urena was the Marlins' Opening Day starter in 2018 and 2019, but he's pitched to a 5.25 ERA combined in the last two seasons. A third-year arbitration player making a lot more money than the Marlins wanted to pay him, Urena was bound to be non-tendered on Wednesday anyway. His time with the Marlins was coming to an end one way or another.
Bryant trade unlikely by Wednesday
If the Cubs are going to trade third baseman Kris Bryant, it's likely to come after the aforementioned non-tender deadline, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi. While that isn't too surprising, it does indicate that the Cubs are likely to tender Bryant a contract. Our own Mike Axisa included Bryant as part of his non-tender deadline preview, writing the following:
Wouldn't it be something if the Cubs non-tendered Bryant after all the service time shenanigans (and the grievance that took nearly five years to resolve)? It's insane Bryant, a 28-year-old former MVP who played at an All-Star level as recently as 2019, is being discussed as a non-tender candidate -- teams that are trying to contend don't even entertain such ideas -- but such is the state of Chicago's finances, or so owner Tom Ricketts claims. Bryant had a miserable 2020 season while playing hurt and, if the Cubs are unable to find a suitable trade prior to Wednesday's deadline, they very well might cut him loose. I think it's far more likely they keep him and hope he rebuilds value next year so they can flip him at the trade deadline (or, gasp, contend), but it is not set in stone. Chicago has several non-tender candidates and Bryant is easily the most notable.
Bryant, who is a year away from free agency, still appears more likely than not to have played in his final game with the Cubs.
The Yankees, Mets, Angels, Cardinals, and White Sox are among the teams showing interest in free-agent backstop James McCann, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. McCann, who has expressed a desire to join a team where he would be the No. 1 option behind the plate, entered the winter ranked as the No. 2 backstop available in our estimation, behind only J.T. Realmuto.
Here's what we wrote at the time of that ranking:
The two winters ago, the Tigers non-tendered McCann without hearing much backlash. He had frequently underperformed at the plate, and he was a liability behind it despite his strong arm. Now, after a pair of successful seasons with the White Sox, McCann will hit the market as one of the better backstops available. He continued his hot-hitting way from the year prior, stinging the ball time and again to bring his Chicago career line to .276/.334/.474 (114 OPS+) in 587 plate appearances. Equally as impressive were the gains McCann made behind the dish. He spent the winter working with Jerry Narron to improve his presentation on balls down, and it's clear that attention to his craft paid off, as he graded as an above-average framer for the first time in his career. It's fair to be skeptical about McCann's approach, or his newfound defensive prowess; it's also fair to concede that he looks like a different player than who he was a few years ago, and that he should be rewarded with a multi-year contact and a chance to be a team's No. 1 backstop
Several of those teams have also shown interest in Realmuto, suggesting that McCann's market could be determined by when and where Realmuto signs -- or, perhaps, vice versa.
Reds seeking shortstop
The Reds are in the market for a new starting shortstop, and they have their sights set high. According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, Cincinnati is pursuing Cleveland's Francisco Lindor and Colorado's Trevor Story in trades, as well as Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons, and Didi Gregorius in free agency.
It's unclear if the Rockies would be willing to part with Story. Colorado is known to be willing to discuss third baseman Nolan Arenado in trades, however, suggesting the franchise could be entertaining a large-scale rebuild.