Day 3 starts us off with the kind of mega deal you won't see from the Cubs this season. The Dodgers and Rangers appear to be in a bidding war for Zach Greinke's services. Kind of fun to watch a couple of heavyweights go toe to toe on the best FA. Many believe the final amount will exceed CC Sabathia's $161M.
There is also talk of a big 3-5 team swap involving the Rays, Rangers, Indians, and Diamondbacks with players like Justin Upton, Trevor Bauer, James Shields, and Asdrubal Cabrera being in the mix. Meanwhile, on with Cubs-related stuff...
- 8:23 PM: Carrie Muskat writes that the Cubs will continue to look for a 3B and will platoon if they have to. Ian Stewart is still on their radar. "We feel we have a good relationship with (Stewart),” Hoyer said. “He went through a tough time with his wrist. We have no issues with how he handled himself.”
- 8:05 PM: Bruce Levine writes that the Cubs have talked with Ryan Dempster on the parameters of a deal should he want to come back and pitch in Chicago again. Dempster has some offers out there but has been hesitant to sign any of them. The Cubs have 5 starters right now but Dempster would add some stability and flexibility. With Baker out for the first month or so and Garza still a question mark, the Cubs could use some depth. I'm just surprised that it's Dempster who's name has come up again. If he comes to Chicago on a deal that provides value and with the understanding that he could be traded (not that he can do anything about it now), I'm okay with it.
- 7:17 PM: Bruce Levine tweets that the Cubs will emphasize pitching in the Rule 5 draft tomorrow.
- 6:45 PM: We hinted at this yesterday but it appears that the Cubs are taking offers on trading their #2 pick in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft. I like the idea. There are some pretty good prospects but most aren't ready to make a significant contribution right away. Perhaps the Cubs are better off saving the roster spot and getting a prospect instead.
- 6:40 PM: Carrie Muskat tweets, "#Cubs did talk to free agents Keppinger, Chavez, who both signed today. Betancourt not in mix. No 3B yet. Hoyer says: "We'll keep looking" I actually tweeted earlier wondering out loud if Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were just messing us with the Betancourt rumor. It just made no sense. The rumor has debunked and I can't help wondering if those guys had a good laugh at our expense.
- 3:11 PM: Hearing from a source that the Cubs have "genuine interest" in RP Jason Grilli. This doesn't appear to be a situation where the Cubs are kicking the tires and looking to buy low. The ball is in Grilli's court, if he wants to come to Chicago, the Cubs will bring him in.
- 3:00 PM: Slow news day so far. An interesting nugget on some old news though. Bowden (I'm presuming ESPN's Jim Bowden) said that RHP Dan Haren's hip is bone on bone, and that's ultimately why the Cubs turned it down. Amazing that Haren can pitch effectively as he does with what must be an extremely painful condition.
- 1:33 PM: While I never thought he was coming to the Cubs, I'm a bit surprised to see that the Yankees did not re-sign 3B Eric Chavez. The Diamondbacks swooped in and stole him. Yanks options dwindling. Who'd have thought they'd be getting outspent and outmaneuvered? Apparently the White Sox inquired on Chavez first but Chavez, who probably would have retired rather than take a situation he didn't want, wanted to be closer to home. D'Backs may have been the only team that could have stolen him from the Yankees.
- 1:10 PM: It appears that Jason Bay is going to sign with the Seattle Mariners per Jon Morosi. I don't think a whole lot of Cubs fans are going to grieve about this development. It seems Bay was offered guaranteed money and possibly a roster spot. I can't see Theo doing that on a pure flyer candidate.
- 12:24 AM: The White Sox have signed Jeff Keppinger to a 3 year deal per Jon Heyman. There was a lot of competition for Keppinger so he went from bargain bin guy to someone looking at a multi-year contract in the 8 figure range. Good signing by our cross-town rivals in that they badly need a 3B and Keppinger one of the better ones in a weak market. He'll probably be their everyday guy and maybe that makes the contract worth it for them, but it's a lot for a guy who's been a platoon/utility player throughout his career. UPDATE: Deal for Keppinger is for $12M. Overpay, but I guess Sox trying to win now and, for better or worse, he'll be a full-time starter.
- 11:45 AM: Phil Rogers says his people tell him the Cubs are zeroing in on Stanford’s Mark Appel and Indiana State’s Sean Manaea with the second overall pick in this June's draft.
- 11:01 AM: Two players connected with the Cubs, RP Jason Grilli and OF Jason Bay, are reportedly close to making a decision.
- 10:34 AM: Bruce Levine writes that the Cubs are pleased with the amount of interest they are getting in both Carlos Marmol and Alfonso Soriano. He also says there is some optimism that the logjam will break before the meetings are over. We'll see. I hope he's right on this one. Other sources expressed pessimism that Soriano could be dealt but Levine believes there are AL teams with interest. Marmol may be the easier to deal of the two.
- 10:25 AM: This may put the final nail in the coffin on any Jacoby Ellsbury to the Cubs speculation but Olney quotes a rival official that says the Red Sox aren't motivated to deal him and will only do so if a team overpays. Now whether or not you think the Cubs should make a deal for Ellsbury to begin with is up for debate, but overpaying to acquire his services at this stage of the rebuild would be a bad idea.
- 9:41 AM: Well, here's a first and it comes via Joel Sherman, a guy we trust here. The Indians are in the lead for Jason Bay with the Mariners 2nd, but the Cubs are "on the periphery" for his services. Since the Cubs are not in the lead and seemingly laying in the weeds, I'm guessing that they're offering less than the other two teams, at least on a base deal. Bay hit .165 with 8 HRS, but interestingly, Bill James projects him to hit ..247/.343/.417 with 17 HRs next season. It also includes an above average wOBA of .332. That OBP is solid and there's some power there as well. Typical flyer type signing who may gain a lot of value as season wears on -- or be a complete dud. But that's why they're flyers.
- 9:15 AM: Per Ken Rosenthal via Twitter, the Padres will not extend Chase Headley at this time because he has all the leverage and the timing isn't right for them. This almost certainly means they will hang on to Jed Gyorko as an insurance policy. It was speculated here that Gyorko might make a nice fit for the Cubs if they could find a match with the Padres.
- 9:00 AM: Buster Olney believes the Cubs are not a fit for Jacoby Ellsbury (insider only). Rather he sees him going to win now teams in search of a leadoff hitter such as the Braves and Reds. He speculates that the Red Sox would require young pitching in return.
- 9:00 AM: Per Joel Sherman of the NY Post, as many as 6 teams are in on Jeff Keppinger, a utility infielder who was non-tendered last season. The Yankees appear to be driving up the bidding and it's now said that Keppinger is seeking 3 years/$12M, though may settle for 2 years/$10M. They are looking to platoon Eric Chavez and Keppinger at 3B in the wake of Alex Rodriguez's latest injury. According to Ken Rosenthal, the White Sox are one of the 6 teams involved.
Filed under: Rumors/Speculation