The GM meetings passed and the Cubs didn't get anything done as far as addressing their key needs (SP, OF, 3B) on the roster. That doesn't mean we have to necessarily wait until the December winter meetings, however.
I don't think there's going to be a void of news between now and Nashville," the Cubs' Jed Hoyer said before departing the warm desert setting. "I think we'll have some deals. (December's) a long way off. It always seems things bust around Thanksgiving. I'm sure we'll get some stuff done during the course of November."
Think of these GM meetings as sort of like the first couple rounds of a heavyweight boxing match. GMs are feeling each other out, trying to determine their best approach. The Cubs have had many conversations and they've laid some groundwork, but nobody is ready to make that first strike...yet.
Here is a review of what some of that groundwork we've heard about so far. ..
- The Cubs just barely missed out on two starting pitchers. The first was when a deal for Dan Haren fell through, reportedly because of health concerns but also possibly because of some finacial concerns -- or some combination of the two.
- The Dodgers, who are rapidly becoming baseball's new evil empire, outbid the Cubs for Korean star Hyun-Jin Ryu.
- The Cubs are looking to lock up Jeff Samardzija long term.
- Teams are rumored to have made immediate contact with RHP Brandon McCarthy, with the Cubs rumored to be among the interested parties.
- They have also shown interest in Shawn Marcum as a possible buy low candidate.
- They've extended an offer to free agent Francisco Liriano, according to Jim Bowden. But judging by his inaccuracies at the trade deadline, I'm not inclined to buy in. If it did happen, the time lapse since the offer suggests he's still looking.
- The Cubs, along with Toronto, Texas, Boston, and the Twins, have inquired on injured RHP Scott Baker.
- They've shown some interest in my personal favorite darkhorse, Scott Feldman, per Bruce Levine. In case you missed it, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs called Scott Feldman a "poor man's Brandon McCarthy."
- Rumors were floated that top prospect Trevor Bauer was made available but the Diamondbacks have shot that down recently. A baseball exec once told me that sometimes these names are floated out there by the team, not so much because they really plan on trading him, but to send a message that the player isn't untouchable. Given the concerns the D'Backs have had with Bauer, it makes sense to me that this may have been the case here. A trade won't happen right now, but if problems continue, look for this rumor to resurface later, perhaps around the trade deadline if the D'Backs are in contention or next offseason.
- We haven't heard much here. Paul Sullivan mentioned Coco Crisp and that makes sense as long as the A's are more interested in clearing his salary and creating roster space than getting a good prospect in return. The Cubs strongly considered Coco Crisp last year. The Cubs, in general, seem to be looking for a good defender, preferably LH, who can switch positions, presumably in anticipation of the time when (and if) Brett Jackson becomes ready to take over.
- Nyjer Morgan has elected free agency and fits the Cubs criteria as a LH hitter who plays good CF defense. He could work as an inexpensive stopgap solution.
- Theo Epstein has said not to expect a blockbuster deal, so we shouldn't hold our collective breath that the Cubs will pursue Justin Upton. Phil Rogers recently broached the subject of a Starlin Castro-Justin Upton deal. That is not going to happen.
- There are slim pickings on the free agent and trade markets, so Jed Hoyer suggested the Cubs "may have to be creative" to fill the hole. Yesterday we suggested that making a move for the more MLB ready Lonnie Chisenhall, perhaps in exchange for similar prospect Josh Vitters, would make some sense for both teams.
- The Cubs aren't likely to pursue Kevin Youkilis.
- Speaking of getting creative. I was surprised to read that the Cubs asked Bryan LaHair to try 3B last year but he wasn't interested. Wonder if he'll change his mind since that appears to be his best opportunity to play these days.
- The Cubs will not pursue Chase Headley (see Justin Upton above).
Winter League Notes
Plenty of stuff happening on the field this offseason that may affect some of the Cubs decisions this winter...
- Speaking of 3B, Junior Lake is performing well down in winter ball, though he's likely to begin the year in AAA. He could be a midseason solution along with Josh Vitters.
- It turns out Josh Vitters will indeed play winter ball (h/t Cub Fan Paul). The news is timely as yesterday I expressed concern that he was not on any roster despite the strong suggestion by manager Dale Sveum that he participate this year. It's good to see as Vitters needs the work on his defense and approach at the plate. Tony Campana will also play.
- The Mesa Solar Sox are 5-1 since Logan Watkins joined the team. He is off to a good start. He's hitting .316/.409/.526 in his first 19 ABs. He has walked 3 times and has even HR'd. Watkins is certainly a player to watch at Iowa next year and could make Darwin Barney expendable before too long. A grinder with good athleticism and OBP skills, it's not hard to picture Watkins quickly becoming a fan favorite.
Filed under: Cubs Rumors