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Jeffrey Todd
Howdy! Did ya'll miss me?
We took the kids out to Colorado for a stretch so I missed a few chats ... back now and ready to talk some ball. Leave some questions, we'll get moving shortly.
Which free agent drops in price to Cleveland's range by spring training?
Jeffrey Todd
We know they will be searching for value -- that's sort of a given at this stage of the offseason for that organization. What's interesting about the situation there is just ... what level of payroll will they carry? We don't know. They have shaved salary. Maybe they can build back toward (if not all the way to) what they spent last year. Maybe they need to clear more if they want to add. Totally unclear.
With the Phillies threatening to spend all this “stupid money”, do you think some teams have just decided to stay out of the mix for Harper and Machado to avoid overpaying?  It seems like they have this imaginary value that was set by an off-the-cuff comment instead of by the interest and offers being made.  I don’t remember another team ever having this impact without an offer on the table.
Jeffrey Todd
No, I don't think that's happening. If the belief is the Phillies will outbid any offer, then wouldn't any team still want to put their price on the table so at least the Phils had to beat it? You don't want your competition getting a bargain.
Is Pollock still holding out for 4 years?
Jeffrey Todd
I don't know why he'd necessarily be giving up on that, though that'd all depend upon what his reps are seeing out there and what they expect to be able to drum up.
As I wrote about just recently, Pollock is still the dude if you want a CF. That helps. The Cain deal didn't come through until late Jan last year.
Hot Stove Junkie
Do you think the Grandal contract will have other top FA's reconsidering their contract demands, particularly length of contract?
Jeffrey Todd
There are always guys who have to settle. It happens every year. It's something we talk about when we do our predictions ... of course, we opt not to guess as to who it'll happen to in pegging numbers.
If anything is going to force lower demands on length of contract, it'll be the broader developments we've seen over the past two years. It is very notable that contract length has gone down, b/c it was a notable aspect of the prior ~6-7 years (I know b/c I looked back at every FA deal) that length had been flying through the roof.
As for Grandal, it's hard to know exactly what happened and why he bit on that offer. He might've preferred to prioritize the annual take and cut off the risk that he saw after numerous clubs that might've been expected to be involved fell out of his market.
Jeff Bridich
With Brian Dozier now going to the Nationals and Jonathan Schoop previously going to the Twins, I've missed out on both the "premier" 1 year rentals at 2B. Any options left for me on the market?
Jeffrey Todd
Still loads of 2B options out there. And I'm not sure the Rox really need to add at that position with a few internal options. They could also just not have much room to spend, honestly. All those big reliever contracts have added up.
Mets will add one more bat won't they? Seems like if Cano misses any time and Ramos has a day off the lineup is dangerously thin.
Jeffrey Todd
They appear to be in the bargain aisle at the moment. Easy enough to bring in some slugger type on a minor league deal to compete with Dom Smith in camp, sure. Not sure I see another MLB deal for a position player, though.
Chicago gets both Harper and Machado, Cubs and Sox respectfully . Am I crazy?
Jeffrey Todd
There are obviously a few dozen potential scenarios for those two players, at least if we stretch beyond the narrow number of teams rumored to be involved right now. I'd say a double-Chi is among the lower-likelihood outcomes among the ones that have some level of plausibility.
What's the market like for Jeremy hellickson?
Jeffrey Todd
I imagine he's just hanging out, enjoying the offseason with his family knowing that he is going to come right up to camp (if not into it) before he knows if he'll get a MLB offer or not. That's what happened last year -- he didn't get a roster spot but got a big incentive package and near-promised MLB job -- and I imagine it'll happen again this time around. Some team will have a hole and either give him some guaranteed money or do something like what the Nats did, in all likelihood.
Vote for Pedro
We definitely missed you. Almost forgot about you, in fact ;)

Regarding Jose Berrios, if the Twins believe him to be a #1 - which by all accounts, they do - is now the time to extend him?
Jeffrey Todd
Wait ...
Ha. Look ... they don't have to believe he's a true #1 (not sure they do) to see the value in an extension. 2+ service class extensions of good starters have historically worked out pretty darn well for teams and I imagine the Twins would have to have interest, esp with a blank future payroll slate.
Lots of writers that cover the Yankees are saying they would give Harper the money over Machado...What would it take to make that a reality?
Jeffrey Todd
The one thing that seems reasonably safe to say about Harper but NOT Machado is that the former has $300 mil + if he wants it from the Nats. Maybe that isn't a perma-offer, etc, but that is propping up his market as a starting point. So ... for the Yanks, I guess, they'd have to come in somewhere near that point -- or perhaps offer a knock-your-socks-off AAV on a shorter term -- to get in the game. Machado, they could perhaps still see the value in laying back and hoping the market forces him into their arms.
(Assuming they are really interested in Bryce, of course.)
That does raise a worthwhile point re Harper and Machado ... it is surprising that there are so few teams, sure. But maybe it shouldn't be. Maybe there are some with genuine interest that are laying back b/c they are afraid of pushing the market up with an all-out bidding war. Lots of strategies could be at play out there.
Do Cubs and Cards feel pressure to respond to Brewer's pickup of Grandal (Reds and Pirates included I suppose)? If so, where are the looking?
Jeffrey Todd
I really don't think that most teams in most years view the market in that manner.
You could argue there's added pressure this year in STL, but that's already the case, right?
If the Phillies miss on Machado, would you consider Moose an upgrade over Franco?
Jeffrey Todd
Could conceivably carry both. Hoskins could DH in interleague games or play a bit of OF here and there to let Moose get some time at first base against right-handed pitching.
Otherwise ... meh, hard to say -- Franco probably has a bit more ceiling at this point but Moose is obviously a much surer thing.
Puig will be a fan favorite in
1 out of 10 being the highest, chance the Reds sign Keuchel
Jeffrey Todd
I'm not sure how to use your scale, but I can see a legit connection there if only bc I don't know that any traditional spenders are going to offer him a big contract. If a team like the Reds is willing to go beyond its usual comfort zone, perhaps he'll have to do it (though rumors persist that he would like to be in a big city).
Zack Cozart
If the Cubs cut Russell, does a bad contract swap involving me and Tyler Chatwood make any sense?
Jeffrey Todd
Not sure it does. Cozart was just hurt -- Chatwood was not really a big league starter last year despite being at full health (so far as we know).
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