This was intended to be a news and notes piece with the Starlin Castro-related piece being my favorite, but it's been a fairly busy day for Cubs related news and rumors, so it has morphed into a rumor thread. We'll cover them here in bullet point form for now, but a couple of these subjects potentially warrant their own dedicated article in the near future...
- 10:13 PM: You've heard by now that the Anibal Sanchez deal may not happen but it's possible that the latest deal from the Pacific Rim, Chang-Yong Lim, is still up in the air. Patrick Mooney of CSN said, "The Cubs have not commented on the reports, though sources said the money has been overstated, cautioning that if they close the deal, it would be a two-year minor-league contract that contains only a small amount guaranteed. It would not come with a spot on the 40-man roster." As of today, the deal is not done and it's fair to speculate that there may be some issues here as well.
- 4:12 PM: Ken Rosenthal bring up an interesting point about Peter Bourjos, comparing him to Ben Revere. Bourjos has a slightly higher career OPS but one year less of cost control. Revere brought back a cost-controlled starter with some success in Vance Worley and the top Phillies prospect heading into last season in Trevor May. I don't think it justifies the same return but you have to think the Angels took notice of that Phillies-Twins deal. At that price, or anything close to it, there is no chance the Cubs would bite on Bourjos.
- 2:47 PM: Thank to many Cubs Den readers ("den"izens?) for the info that Jeff Beliveau has been DFA'd. He has a chance to sneak through waivers but free young lefties tend to be pretty popular (see Scott Maine, John Gaub...both of whom were lost on waivers). I think the Cubs have a good chance to lose Beliveau one way or the other, so perhaps something is in the works. The Cubs do have a window to make a deal and perhaps they can target a CF'er. A low cost LH reliever with some upside for a certain overpriced 4th OF'er, perhaps?
- 2:30 PM: A source tells Newsday's Marc Carig that neither Trumbo or Bourjos would be a fit for the Mets and dismisses the idea of trading R.A. Dickey for either player.
- 2:20 PM: Danny Knobler tweets that Texas is shaken up by the Josh Hamilton signing with the Angels. They are not thrilled with any of the remaining options, leading some to speculate whether Alfonso Soriano could become a low cost short term option for them. I don't think they'd love that idea either, but I'm expecting Texas to make a counter move at some point in the near future.
- 2:18 PM: Buster Olney tweets that the Angels are saying that Mark Trumbo is not available.
- (2:10 PM): The Angels have signed Josh Hamilton which will have a ripple effect on the market. Mark Trumbo is said to be off limits but Peter Bourjos may be an enticing name for the Cubs, who are seeking an everyday CF. It also has a ripple effect in that it takes another power hitting OF'er off the market -- and to a team that wasn't going to go after Soriano anyway. As FAs like Nick Swisher and Cody Ross become overpriced as the last remaining power hitters on the market, Alfonso Soriano may start to sound like a more viable option for some teams.
- (2:00 PM) The Red Sox have agreed to sign Dempster for 2 yrs/$26M. Looks like Demp fell short on all his preferred criteria, but that's a pretty good deal for him, in my opinion.
- The Cubs are said to be among the finalists for another veteran RP, Mike Adams. The other teams are the Nationals, Jays, Phillies, Rangers, and Brewers. Adams is said to be making a decision in the next couple of days. The potential move holds with some patterns we've seen this offseason. The Cubs are trying to buy low on bullpen arms and/or players coming off of injuries. They are also trying to build a strong bullpen, which can be an inexpensive way to build a strong team if you do it with value signings. A strong bullpen benefits the rotation, which has good potential as well. With the Cubs seemingly building around pitching and defense for 2013, it's imperative to have a strong bullpen as the team figures to be in a lot of close, low scoring games.
- Buster Olney drops a couple of encouraging tweets about the Cubs. The first is that the Cubs rebuilding process is drawing good reviews around the league. Other teams like the way the Cubs are building from the ground up, methodical as it may be.
- Olney also suggests that the Cubs will be in a good position to target David Price next year. He doesn't expect the Cy Young winner to be available this year, but the Rays seem likely to try and shop him next season. By then, the Cubs should have more depth at the upper levels of their farm system and perhaps have the prospects it will take to entice the Rays. The team itself should be in a position where they believe they can contend in the next few years.
- Dan Szymborski is becoming one of my favorite under-the-radar writers at ESPN. I tend to be a fan of guys who are not just stats-oriented, but also guys who have what I consider to be a good feel for the game. Szymborski fits that description for me. Anyway, I was very pleased to see that he came out with an article of the next 10 great young players and potential Hall-of-Famers (insider only) and that number 7 on the list is our own Starlin Castro, whom Szymborski calls the most underrated young player in the game right now. Castro ranks ahead of Stephen Strasburg on the list. Players ahead of him include Giancarlo Stanton (you can probably guess who some of the other guys are). He thinks Castro is the player most likely to make a run at 3,000 hits and that he has solid range at SS with the ability to make highlight reel plays despite the occasional blunder.
- One of my under-the-radar guys, Andres Torres, has decided to re-sign with the Giants where he'll likely share time in the OF. I thought he'd be a nice fit as a potential platoon partner/defensive replacement for David DeJesus in CF, but it appears the Cubs may be looking more for a full-time player there -- which, of course, means I have to remind you all of my obsessive idea that Coco Crisp would be the perfect trade target and fit for the Cubs in CF right now. The Cubs should have plenty of bullpen arms to deal which, combined with salary relief, should be enough to get a deal done, in my opinion.
- Ryan Dempster appears to be nearing a deal with the Boston Red Sox, according to Ken Rosenthal. Dempster has made his preferences known -- a 3 year deal with an NL team that has a spring base in AZ -- so if he's signing with the Red Sox, the guess here is that he's at least getting a 3 year deal since that is the only criteria they can possibly meet.
- Patrick Mooney of CSN writes that the Cubs contract with RP Chang-yong Lim would be a 2 yr. minor league deal without a lot of guaranteed money.
- Lastly, I think I need a creative name for my bullet point posts....any ideas?
Filed under: Rumors/Speculation