Cubs News and Notes: Pena, Pujols, Zambrano, Soriano, Headley

Lots of buzz going on with Albert Pujols but still nothing much on the Cubs.  I'm hoping that Pujols is the first domino to fall, then Fielder, then the rest will follow...

  • The Marlins started getting pretty serious about Albert Pujols last night, and according to one rumor, may have offered as much as 10 yrs/$250M, though that sounds a little high based on most reports.  The Cardinals are said to have upped the ante to 10 yrs/$220M and are now considered the favorites to land their superstar.
  • Carlos Pena has decided not to accept salary arbitration.  That's no surprise, of course.  Both Boras and the Cubs brass believe that Pena can earn a multi-year deal.  The Cubs likely won't be one of those teams based on things Epstein and Hoyer have said.  My feeling is that if they do re-sign Pena, it would be if he cannot find another deal and is willing to drop his initial demand.  The Cubs seem to like Bryan LaHair enough to give him a chance and his production, while it may not match Pena's, would likely represent a much better value for them unless Pena reduces his price tag.  Given that Scott Boras is ready to position Pena as the best option after the big two sign, that just doesn't seem very likely.
  • According to a tweet by Joe Cowley, the Marlins had, "....a visit with the Cubs for the asking price on Carlos Zambrano."  Try to temper excitements on any kind of return, though.  Zambrano pitched like a 5th starter last year and even if the Cubs pick up as much as $12M, you're talking about a $6M pitcher who was less effective than some of the small signings we talked about here (i.e. Capuano).  Why would a team give up much if they could sign someone equally effective from the free agent bargain bin and not have to give up a player?"  There's some upside with Zambrano, so the Cubs might get something, but don't expect too much.  For what it's worth, Zambrano has told friends, he believes he's staying, according to Paul Sullivan of the Tribune.
  • The Baltimore Orioles inquired on Alfonso Soriano, but now appear to be out.  According to a source of mine, the Orioles were willing to have the Cubs pay a lesser part of the contract than we have estimated here, which has been about 80%, in what would effectively be a salary dump.  The Cub would get a marginal prospect and move on.  That deal appears to have died down right now.
  • Nothing new on the Chase Headley front but there are some rumors out there that San Diego might require the Cubs to take on Orlando Hudson.  That may have seemed okay a few years ago, but Hudson's defense and offense have been on the decline and he makes $6.5M, still I may be willing to take him on for a year if it means giving up a lesser prospect in return.  Bruce Levine has said that the Padres may, in fact, be more interested in Jeff Russell than Sean Marshall because of the smaller price tag and more years of team control.
  • Dave Van Dyck of the Tribune is reporting that the Cubs may be pursuing a Cuban ballplayer, but it's not Yoennis Cespedes or Jorge Soler.  It's Geraldo Concepcion, a 19 year old LH pitching prospect who would obviously need seasoning in the minors. While winning Cuban rookie of the year honors, he struck out 53 in 1012/3 innings and posted a 3.36 ERA.  The Rangers, Phillies, and Yankees are all said to have some interest.


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    Any word on a deal for Wood and do you have any thoughts john on targets that were not tendered contracts by other teams

  • In reply to Bryan Bell:

    No word on Wood yet but I feel very confident he'll be back.

    Deadline for Non-Tenders is the 12th so teams will wait as long a possible to see if they can deal those players first. Of the candidates, there's Ian Stewart, of course. James Loney may also be non-tendered and could create competition for LaHair. I like Tony Gwynn, Jr as an excellent defensive OF'er, but he's pretty bad on offense, except against the Cubs. OF'er Jeremy Hermida has some past connections with Epstein.

    As far as pitchers go, Joe Saunders can provide some innings, but I like Chris Volstad as a guy who may still have some upside. Mike Pelfrey also showed promise as a starter at one point.

    Wouldn't be surprised to see the Cubs bring in some arms for competition.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, one intriguing name I saw recently was John Garland. I know he is coming back from surgery, but I think he is worth throwing into the SP mix if he is indeed healthy again.

  • what happened with soriano?!?!?
    IMO getting rid of him needs to be priority number one, we dont need to get any serious prospects back. just eat the money and trade him already. getting out of this with 12-15 million to spare is a huge win in my mind.
    why has this not happened already?

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Because teams aren't all that eager about taking on Soriano. There's interest probably only if the Cubs pay 80% of the contract. My speculation is that it hasn't quite gotten to that point yet.

  • In reply to John Arguello:


    I am a little puzzled about the interest in Soriano. If the Cubs are willing to eat a major portion of his contract why in the heck wouldn't an AL team want a guy that hit 26HRs and 88RBI's for a horrible team. Isn't that production worth 5-6mil a year for 3 years at DH? Are the cubs holding out for less money to pay in the deal?

  • I read that the Pujos signing is holding everbody up in making moves.
    Hopefully he will sign soon so trades and FA signings can start.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    The domino could be...

  • That's what botering me the most, that the Pujols spectacle is holding evrything else up. At this point I hear it's the agent, who is trying to extract as much from the Cards as he can before he can go back to the Marlins .

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    It definitely seems to be holding up Fielder. No reason for the Cubs to wait on Pujols unless they think they have a shot at Fielder.

  • This circus will be followed the Boras one. I hope Theo sets a time
    limit on how long he will wait to hear on Fielder. As someone once said
    "I don't play that game"

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I guess the Cubs do benefit a bit here, though, by extending those negotiations but they need players.

    I'm going to predict the Cubs make a move today.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hope so, John. What would you guess if they do make a move, a FA signing or a trade?

  • I'm going to guess a FA signing, but not a big one. They've been playing misdirection for a while now, something has to come from it soon.

  • Ken Rosenthal quotes a source saying the Cubs still involved in Pujols. If true, this could only be about driving up the price at this point.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This works for me.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I am not sure I buy the argument that the Cubs are just trying to drive up the price of Pujols.

    Assuming they have genuine interest in Fielder. There will likely be a pretty strong correlation between Pujols' contract and what Fielder gets.

  • So do I, just have to wait and see what approach Theo and Jed take
    in rebuilding the Cubs. I'm still hope they take someone that can
    help the team, now or in the future, in tomorrows Rule V draft.

  • Marlins getting ready to make announcement at 11:15 but Pujols is still in a meeting with the Cards. My guess is that the Marlins are out.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    meeting is about reyes, damn........

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    i meant he anouncement is about reyes*

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    They moved it up, which may be interesting...or it could mean nothing.

  • And the Circus continues ...LOL

  • Interesting to see what our roster is going to look like at the end of March. HOT STOVE BABY!!!

  • John, did you see How Hanley Ramirez is already complaining about moving to 3rd base? Said he doesn't want to do it, what a team guy.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Lots of people asking me if Cubs should go after Hanley and I'm inclined not to. I don't think he'd be a good influence on young players, particularly Castro, and it would cost too much to get him. By the time the Cubs are contending he'll be a FA.

    I know some Cubs fans are excited with our front office and think it means we'll get star players, but that's not how it will work -- at least not this year. Cubs will improve incrementally with value players first, then homegrown players, then it's time to add the big names.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    and you're right, Ramirez is exactly the kind of player I don't want, the kind of players we are trying to get rid of in changing our culture. As bad as some of our problem guys are, they're nowhere near Ramirez's level.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    ChiRy, despite all his talent, H. Ramirez is NOT someone I would want on my Cubs, even if we did not already have a top-rate SS. I prefer to like (or at least not intensely dislike) the players on the team I root for.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Whoa whoa whoa! Not saying we should go after him at all, quite the opposite. Just saying that guy's a cocky head case, I wouldn't want him on my team, and I see the Marlins as a sinking ship in a few years. Someone needs to humble Ramirez' ass.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    ChiRy, I knew you weren't saying that we should go after him, I was just trying to support your POV. Sorry if it came off wrong.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Oh it's cool, and I absolutely agree with you. What is this kid's problem?

  • On the long shot that the Cubs land Pujols, it would be extremely weird for me. It was strange seeing Edmonds play for us, this would be a lot stranger.

    I like to see how the Cubs are building this thing. They aren't tearing it down, but instead building around structurally sound pieces, filling in the cracks. Next year, they should be much more in play for a big name. I am not counting them out yet because if Lahair doesn't work out this year, what is plan B? Plan A should be Pujols or Fielder, then Lahair. I like that he seems to be a stop gap but there is no guarantee he doesn't hit under 200.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    I think the Cubs would be wise to get some kind of insurance for LaHair, but at the same time you have to put him out there and let him play without having someone looking over his shoulder. If it doesn't pan out, you could look for a veteran stop gap mid-season.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, I would think they could trade mid season for a mediocre replacement should he falter. I think it would give him confidence if T/J showed faith in him by not bringing in a vet right away. The Cubs have bigger holes than 1st base, & LaHair at the least proved in September that he deserves a shot. Doesn't cost the Cubs anything either.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    The only catch I see there is that there isn't much on the horizon in terms of free agent position players likely to be available next year.

  • In reply to WGNstatic:

    Agreed, there really isn't much. Seeing two stars the caliber of Pujols and Fielder on the market is a rare occurence.

  • MLBTR has Bedard going to the Pirates. It would be nice to see the Cubs do something in addition to the DeJesus signing, especially in terms of much needed starting pitching.

  • In reply to RSBeast:

    Just saw that and posted a new notes column. I'm starting to get antsy but I'd rather the Cubs wait in the weeds rather than do something foolish.

  • Dullest winter meetings ever.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    So far it's been a disappointment, but Cubs say they're working hard and making progress. We'll see if that leads to anything.

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