UPDATE: As I suspected, the Yankees deny that they ever offered Chapman a thing. Olney quotes Brian Cashman: “We never made an offer… Never.”
6:16 AM: This tweet from SI’s Melissa Segura is interesting:
The FL lawsuit v. Hendricks/Fernandez says Yankees made “offer to Chapman valued at more than $54 million” Chap signed 6yr/$30.25 mil w Reds
The only lawsuit of which I was aware against the Hendricks Brothers regarding Aroldis Chapman was the one filed by Chapman’s original agent, Edwin Mejia and his agency Athletes Premier International alleging, basically, that the Hendricks stole Chapman as a client. That was filed in Massachusetts, however, and as far as I know had been settled.
It’s possible that this is an offshoot of that first suit. The actual nominal agent of Chapman was Rodney Fernandez, the Fernandez referenced in the Segura tweet. He was the Hendricks employee who was just charged with stealing money from Kendry Morales. He lives in Florida, so he could have been sued there in his individual capacity.
But regardless of the specific nature of the suit, I’m skeptical of that $54 million offer from the Yankees. It’s substantially higher than that which Chapman ultimately signed for and it makes little sense that he’d leave that kind of money on the table no matter who his agent was. At the same time, in any lawsuit against Hendricks/Fernandez involving representation of Chapman an incentive exists to make the money Chapman could have received,were it not for the Hendricks’ bad acts, seem as high as possible, because the plaintiff is looking for a chunk of the deal.
I suspect we’ll hear more of this soon. It would not surprise me at all if the next thing we hear is a denial from someone with knowledge of the Yankees’ operations that there ever was a real offer for Chapman as high as $54 million and that — shockingly — a plaintiff in a lawsuit is overstating the amount of his losses in his complaint.
During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.
The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.
The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.
The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.
It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:
We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.
While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.
Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.