The first five weeks since the Chicago Cubs captured their first World Series title in 108 years have generated one of the most action-packed starts to an MLB offseason in recent memory. From blockbuster trades to lucrative free-agent signings, contenders haven’t hesitated to make splashes.

Now, the question is whether the frenzy will continue straight through the holidays and into the new year or if the movement will begin to calm down following the hectic initial surge. For the sake of entertainment, most baseball fans are probably hoping for the former.

So let’s check out some of the latest rumors making their way around the league and analyze what the potential moves could mean for the players and teams involved.


Multiple Teams Check on Jose Quintana

Quintana, who often got lost in the shadow of the recently departed Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale, was quietly one of the best starting pitchers in the American League last season. He ranked seventh in the Junior Circuit with a 3.20 ERA while striking out 181 batters in 208 innings.

The 27-year-old Colombia native has also been one of the most reliable starters in baseball since breaking into the majors in 2012. He’s never finished a campaign with an ERA above 3.76, and he’s taken the mound at least 32 times in four straight years.

With the White Sox trending toward a complete rebuild, however, he could become the next high-profile asset shipped out for a package of prospects. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros are among the teams showing serious interest.

The Astros are a perfect fit on paper if they’re able to acquire the talented lefty without having to give up any crucial pieces from the major league roster. They own one of the most potent lineups in baseball, thanks to new additions Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, and they feature a strong bullpen.

While the rotation is solid, led by Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh, it’s the one area where they could still use another high-end asset. Quintana fits the bill after last season, and it makes sense to make a strong push to acquire him with the rest of the roster ready to contend.


Cardinals Set High Price on Kolten Wong

Wong is coming off a down year offensively for the St. Louis Cardinals. While he posted a career-best .327 on-base percentage, the second baseman contributed just five home runs and seven stolen bases. Both numbers were roughly half the production he provided over the previous two years.

Add in the fact the Cardinals are overcrowded in the infield—with seven players to fill four spots—and other teams may view the situation as a chance to buy low on the slick fielder. It doesn’t appear the St. Louis front office is going to bite on the offers, though.

Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reported the Los Angeles Angels expressed interest in Wong during the league’s winter meetings. But he noted the Cards are “unlikely” to trade him away and are still asking for a lot in return to even consider it.

It could be a bit of posturing by St. Louis, though. The team likely needs to do something to alleviate the infield logjam before the start of next season, and moving Wong this winter after the drop-off in his offensive involvement would help do that.

Meanwhile, the Angels could use an upgrade at second base, as Cliff Pennington is penciled in as the projected starter. Wong would represent a nice upgrade for a team that ranked in the bottom third of baseball in fielding percentage last season.


Alex Colome Joins Group of Reliever Targets

Colome was nothing short of dominant in his first season as the Tampa Bay Rays closer. The converted starter posted a microscopic 1.91 ERA to go along with a 1.02 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 56.2 innings en route to 37 saves with just three blown opportunities.

Those numbers are even more valuable because he’s part of the most coveted group of players this offseason: relievers capable of pitching multiple high-leverage innings. Each championship hopeful wants one in its bullpen after the success of Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller in the playoffs.

Whether the Rays would move Colome is unclear because he’s still under team control for an additional four years, per Spotrac. It’s at least being discussed, though. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported the Nationals have spoken with Tampa about the closer.

Washington has been linked to virtually every notable late-inning reliever on the free-agent and trade markets since the offseason got underway. It’s a spot of definite need for the reigning NL East champions, who otherwise have a roster built for success once again in 2017.

A Colome trade would come with legitimate risk. He only has one full season of bullpen work under his belt, and the asking price is likely high due to his age (27) and favorable contract situation. But it’s a chance a team like the Nats may feel is worth taking to fill a key void.


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