Latest on Vitters, Cespedes, Marmol

Talked with one of my sources tonight about the Theo compensation, the Cubs pursuit of Yoennis Cespedes, and other Cubs items.

It seems the Cespedes thing is getting rather pricey, but the Cubs have had him as their main offseason target all along. They will at least go down swinging if they don't land him.

The Cubs think pretty much the same way about Jorge Soler. The Cubs aggressively targeted all three (Cespedes, Soler, Gerardo Concepcion) top Cuban free agents, and two out of three would definitely not be bad.

As far as the ever dragging  Theo/Boston compensation saga goes, the name Josh Vitters is totally realistic I'm told. If not Vitters, it will be someone in this range of names.

This way Boston gets to boast they got a former first round pick, even though his stock isn't all that high anymore. The Cubs brass has lukewarm feelings on Vitters anyway I'm also told. At this point, it's more of a principle issue.

On the subject of Vitters, I heard he wasn't the pick Tim Wilken wanted to make in the 2007 draft anyway. Wilken wanted to draft switch hitting catcher Matt Wieters but it would have taken some over slotting, to which the ownership at the time said no.

Expect to see Geovany Soto to join Marlon Byrd and Ryan Dempster as pieces the Cubs would like to move before the deadline.

On the other hand, the Cubs still hope to move Matt Garza this spring.

Carlos Marmol has been put on notice that he needs to come to camp in shape. He was letting his conditioning slide quite a bit.  Some have said he got plain "fat".

I still think he would be another candidate to move if he has a good first half.




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    I KNEW IT!!! I told John a long while back in one of our Facebook chat sessions that, when you looked at the kind of guys Wilken had drafted during Toronto's heydays, the kind of guys the Cubs were taking didn't necessarily fit the profile. He was being forced by ownership to take players he knew he could sign.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Yep, sad. Glad that is over now.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    It was a joke. They'd spend all this money on the payroll but skimped out on the draft. They did a great job of selling that Vitters was their man all along. Heard the second choice (under the saving money guidelines) was Jarrod Parker.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I remember, I watched that 1st round on TV (was the first one televised in years?) and Matt Wieters was the guy I wanted.

    I would be seriously bummed if we had to give Vitters as compensation though. I think he is in for a breakout this year.

    Also agree with Still Love The Cubs below, love the new dynamic duo!

  • Good stuff Tom. I'm really lovin' the new dynamic duo of the Den!

  • Thanks for the updates Tom, good stuff. I just can't get enough Cubs talk. It would be nice if you and John had a weekly Radio call in show. Especially during the off season to keep the hot stove talk burning.

  • In reply to Cliffy46405:

    We are looking into all that kinds of stuff, almost for sure doing a weekly on line chat on Mon or Tue.

  • In reply to Cliffy46405:

    We'll be adding a few new wrinkles that we hope to add, some of them by the start of spring training and some later. Tom mentioned a chat, but a podcast or a radio type show via the internet are certainly things we're considering. Thanks for the feedback, Cliffy.

  • If it's Vitters in the end, I'm okay with that. I just don't thik he will ever be more than a little above average.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    I'm okay with it too in the grand scheme of things. It's just a matter of principle with me. They should be getting someone in the Clevenger range. If both Vitters and Middlebrooks pan out, no way Vitters plays 3B. Means he'll move to either 1B where his arm is wasted or the OF where his lack of speed makes him fringy, or a DH, which is the mostly likey, imo.

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    In reply to Steve Flores:

    Vitters seems at best a Jeff Francoeur type of hitter in the majors.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    While that may be true, I think Vitters is too much. I base this on the McFail precedent, whereby the Cubs sent Hector Trinidad to Minnesota. Trinidad never saw the inside of a major league stadium without a ticket. Vitters most likely will play in the majors. The compensation should be someone who is less certain of actually playing in the majors, IMO.

  • Lets settle the comp issue, also to SD, and start spring training
    with this done. I still see the Cubs picking up another non-roster

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Not much left out there as far as non-roster guys. I'm more interested in the guys we have right now.

  • DAMN! Now that's a way to start off my Friday morning!

    Thanks for the update Tom. I really don't mind seeing Vitters go. As for the other guys on the trade block, ff Theo & Jed can get some talent for Soto, Demp and Byrd, then do it! This is more rebuilding and getting the right pieces in place, so I'm all for it.

    Good stuff, Tom. Thanks again.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Doesn't sound like Demp wants to go but let's see what happens come deadline.

  • According to Cubs Den's aggregate list of the Cub's top 25 prospects, Vitters is #9. I'm surprised the Red Sox would get a top ten prospect. I had thought they'd get someone of less (potential) value.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    I'm still not sure it Vitters, but people I talk to wouldn't be surprised one bit.

  • I'm still holding out hope it's someone like Carpenter, destined for the bullpen, over a guy like Vitters, who could be a useful 3rd baseman if he puts it together.

    Sucks to hear we could have Wieters now. Imagine having a young stud like that behind the plate.

  • In reply to bwenger:

    Yes, I would love a switch hitting catcher like that. not a big Soto guy.

  • In reply to bwenger:

    im hoping it isnt someone like carpenter, but a lesser bullpen prospect or someone like steve clevenger who profiles as a backup. i dont want it to be vitters either, but carpenter has 100 mph stuff and could evolve into a nice closer, i dont want to give up someone with potential like that.

  • You mean Wieters could have brought is Wieters facts to Chicago?!?! I don't know if we should be blaming Denis Fitzsimons, Sam Zell, or someone else in that cadre of evil, but they can all go to hell.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Cubs passed up a lot of guys over the years. It's why the Cubs real "curse" has been bad ownership. Maybe this is blasphemy, but I think even Theo would have a hard time winning with PK Wrigley or Zell.

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    When you go back to the 2006 Draft, Wilken's first with the Cubs, and you look at who they took starting then versus who they might have taken, it's not hard to understand why the Cubs have failed so miserably over the years. Ownership has never been willing, until now, to spend the kind of money other large market teams spend on acquiring and developing amateur talent. It didn't matter who ran the front office or the dugout. They were always set up to fail by ownership.

    Toronto, under Wilken, was a pioneer in the draft strategies that were recently banned by the new CBA. One of the reasons Wilken came to the Cubs was that he had been promised he would have the freedom to do what he did in Toronto. Honestly, he might have been better off staying in Tampa and working under Friedman and Hunzicker, because they chose to do what the Cubs promised him they would do but didn't.

    Go back to the 2006 through 2009 Drafts and see who the Cubs took versus who they might have taken, and it's enough to make you sick, and I'm sure it left someone with as competent a history as Wilken just shaking his head in disbelief over what might have been.

    In 2006, the Cubs took Tyler Colvin, whom by all accounts had no business going in the first round. The Cubs might have taken Travis Snider, Chris Parmalee, Kyle Drabek, Daniel Bard or Joba Chamberlain.

    In 2007, the Cubs took Vitters ahead of not only Weiters, but also Jarrod Parker, Jason Heyward and Devin Mesoraco.

    In 2008, the Cubs took Andrew Cashner when Casey Kelly, who had signability issues, was available. We all know who actually drafted Kelly. Cashner wasn't expected to go as high as he did. Kelly should have gone higher.

    I can't bitch about 2009. Brett Jackson went right about where he should have, but if you go back before Wilken, it's the same story with few exceptions. Signability played a heavier role than it should have for a large market team.

    In 2009,

  • Selig is going to take the path of least resistance in the compensation issue rather than making a tough decision. The Red Sox won't get as much as they want and the Cubs will give a little more then they intended.

    I'm okay with Vitters going the other way. I just don't want to give them the satisfaction. I have a Red Sox fan buddy who STILL thinks the Red Sox should get Garza or Brett Jackson as compensation. He thinks the Red Sox are getting robbed for us stealing an executive under contract and we should be made an example of. I tried explaining the whole "Just Say No" campaign if you want to keep your executive for the length of his/her contract. He just wasn't having any of it.

    I think the Cubs system can overcome the loss of a bat easier than overcoming an arm. I'd like to see how the new philosophy or "Cubs Way" will help a pitcher like Carpenter. If he can get his control under control (see what I did there with the wordplay :) , he can be the power guy we need in the bullpen in the future.

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    In 1993, the Cubs had three picks out of the first 50. They took Keischnick 10th overall ahead of Billy Wagner, Derrek Lee, Chris Carpenter, Alan Benes, Torri Hunter and Jason Varitek. They took John Ratliff 24th overall and Kevin Orie 29th overall ahead of Jamey Wright, Scott Rolen, Jeff Suppan and Chris Singleton.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Wow, that is all kinds of bad.

  • I still think Vitters is high end, as is Carpenter, not to say those guys won't be involved. Lucchino's plan to exort the Cubs for Theo Epstein failed, but he still feels entitled to something he can brag about. Those two could easily be spun into outstanding acquisitions by the Boston media.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You mean Cafardo :)

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Pretty much! Cafardo will turn these guys into top prospects overnight.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    My hope is that Selig see Lucchino's play for what it really is as and acts accordingly.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I wonder what the Cubs response would have been if Vitters' name came up as compensation BEFORE the Red Sox gave them permission to speak with Theo.

  • In reply to Alex:

    I'm sure they would balk at first just for bargaining purposes, but probably would have relented on him.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    It would have been nice if both sides would have agreed on compensation beforehand. That would have been better than the black cloud hanging over the Cubs this offseason.

  • In reply to Alex:

    I truly believe Lucchino wanted to wait until there was an agreement so he could have more leverage. I don't think it was an accident. Selig eventually took that leverage away, but he still wants that big player.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hope that Bud is aware of Lucky Larry's ploy when he makes his decision.

    That's just bad business practices and shows how Larry is trying to save face now.

  • In reply to Alex:


  • Lucchino is going on Jim Bowden's MLB radio show shortly to talk about the Theo compensation. Should be a good listen.

  • In reply to jpp0621:

    Did anyone catch this? I missed it. Does Larry still want Garza?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It hasn't happened yet. Bowden just tweeted again that Lucchino is coming up on his radio show.

  • I'm surprised it's taking Selig this long.

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