So this is the first full day of the Winter Meetings and the Cubs are still in the talking stage. They're not coming out aggressively but as described by the Sun-Times' Joe Cowley, the "Cubs have been talking to a lot of people today, but more first-round jabs as they try and get a feel on the market."
Theo did talk and, of course, we'll listen. Here's what he said plus some other Cubs-related notes...
- Theo did admit to talking to Albert Pujols' agent, but as Carrie Muskat notes, " Epstein confirmed he did talk to Pujols' agent,but noted Dan Lozano also represents Rodrigo Lopez, whom #Cubs want back"
- Yes, the Cubs do want Lopez back and believe it or not, he has apparently received some interest. My guess is that the Cubs would like to sign him to a minor-league deal and keep him in AAA in case of an emergency instead of scrambling to find starters like they did last year.
- Epstein seemed to confirm this when he said, "You see [Pujols' agent] going into someone's room,it's not always that you're there to talk about the big Kahuna"
- Bruce Levine wrote in his ESPN blog and in it he states that Epstein anticipates patience. Epstein says, "I think the thing with the Cubs is their fans are ready. It's not a market where they're looking to tear the players down. It's not a market where they're cynical by default. I think they're looking for the team to do some things. They want to believe in the players. They support the guys who go out there every day. I just think it's a place that's ready for a plan. It might take maybe a little longer than people think, but I think they're ready to support an organization and players that will work real hard to do it the right way." Hmmm. Maybe they don't plan on signing Fielder after all. I know that I am definitely ready for a plan. Especially as Epstein reiterated that the plan would revolve around player development.
- Epstein had great stuff to say about new manager Dale Sveum. "I think the thing that stands out to me about Dale is he's not easy on players. He's not an enabler. He's not someone who's afraid to talk to players. He's going to tell it like it is to players. Ask a lot out of them. Bring them out there for early work, challenge them, even established big leaguers to raise their play, improve their weaknesses. And yet players don't back away from him. They end up respecting him because of that, and they end up admiring him, and they end up loving him. They have great relationships." The more I hear about Dale Sveum, the more he sounds like the right choice for this team.
- Peter Gammons mentioned Matt Garza as someone "who will be traded eventually." Normally I'd dismiss that as a careless comment but if Epstein is preaching patience, maybe he's more willing to trade Garza then he's let on.
- According to a Padres blog, "(The) Padres are/will ask for moon on 3B Chase Headley. Doesn't mean they won't move him. Means it will cost a lot if they do." Not sure what they meant by moon, but presumably it's not a Matt Garza sized moon. Still, as much as I like Headley, not sure I want to send top prospects to get him.
- Speaking of 3B candidates, Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets that the Rockies' Ian Stewart is swinging lightly off tee. Wrist is healing. He's in Calif now working w hitting coach. Hopefully, that that should lower his price a bit. It's bad enough that Stewart is coming off a year where he hit .156 with 0 HRs, but the fact that he's not fully healthy yet means I'm much more comfortable giving the Rockies Blake DeWitt in exchange.