Cubs fans are itching for some real news but the rumor mill has been quiet lately. That's just the way Theo and Jed like it.
That said, I'm going to present you with some wild speculation based on some pretty vague information. It's based on something I've been asked about by different readers/followers, but I'm putting a different twist on it. It's more about a topic of discussion than news. It's not even a legit rumor, for that matter.
Okay, so I've had a few people ask me about a Jed Hoyer radio appearance on MLBN radio that comes via Bleacher Nation via one of their readers.
The reader, "Jacob", sums up the radio interview thusly...
- With length of the deal as the question about position players, he said the Cubs are looking at a position player with a ‘similar type of deal’ (As EJax (Michael Bourn?)).
- When asked directly about Bourn – “Can’t comment on individual free agents.” “Center field is a position both short term and long term that we’ll be looking to improve.”
- Said that they’re pretty much done adding pitching, now will focus on position players.
- Looking to mold after the A’s/Orioles and build while contending. Won’t look past any one year, but will focus on making moves that improve the future. Won’t make moves that hurt the future for 2013.
Jacob admits it may not be word for word and because of that it's subject to all sorts of interpretation, including Jacob's own speculation/guess that Hoyer is referring to Michael Bourn.
My first reaction? It's too vague.
Now, let's assume this is all true as written. If Hoyer is specifically talking about free agents, then the only free agent who makes sense in terms of "similar type deal (as EJax)" and position player and a genuine need for the Cubs, then it must be Bourn.
But...that's not exactly what it says according to the provided transcript. I don't have context (was the topic specifically free agency?) nor word-for-word accuracy (if you do or have heard the interview, please let me know). I can only go with what's provided above and I'm only interpreting based on that information.
Here are my issues with the statements as written...
- It only says the Cubs "are looking at a position player 'with a similar type deal (as EJax)'.
- The Cubs CF response stems from a direct response to a follow-up question by the interviewer and is not necessarily connected to the prior statement.
- It says later that the Cubs want to focus on improving the future. They won't sacrifice the future for 2013. Well, as we learned yesterday, giving up a draft pick is sacrificing the future as far as the Cubs are concerned. And while it could be said the Cubs could sign Bourn beyond 2013, his impact is likely to lessen beyond that year. Signing Bourn wouldn't only be about 2013, but that is likely to be where the Cubs would get the most value.
So even if I assume that the reader heard correctly, there's still not information to assume this is necessarily about Michael Bourn. If anything, there's too much contradiction between the individual statements made by Hoyer, not to mention Theo and Jed's words on draft pick compensation/free agency yesterday.
So what else could it mean?
This is what we think we know based on the interview...
- The Cubs are pursuing a position player...
- ...with a deal like Edwin Jackson's
- The Cubs want to add long term pieces. They do not want to hurt the future for just 2013 and prefer not to give up a draft pick.
- The generic statement about CF was not made as part of the response to the one about pursuing a position player. It was a response to a follow-up question and we cannot say with any certainty that there's a connection. So for this exercise, I'm throwing it out.
So, if not a free agent, then...trade?
My mind then started racing to think of position players who may be available for trade, and with a deal like Edwin Jackson's, and who would be about helping the future, not just 2013.
One name fit that criteria. Justin Upton.
- He's a position player.
- He has a deal very much like Edwin Jackson's. Jackson signed a 4 year/$52M deal. Take away the $8M signing bonus and it's a 4 year/$44m deal. Upton has 4 years and has just over $45M left on it.
- The move wouldn't be just for 2013. In fact, at just 25 years old, his peak years start around 2015, when the Cubs expect to contend. The Cubs wouldn't have to give up a draft pick.
The Diamondbacks already have their long-term SS, so Starlin Castro isn't in the equation. He would not be even if the D'Backs hadn't traded for Didi Gregorius. But with SS out of the discussion, the Cubs may have more of a genuine interest now.
I'm not going to speculate too much on names, but there's this tweet earlier in the offseason from Ken Rosenthal where the D'Backs were alternately interested in a SP. In this scenario, the pitcher was from Tampa (presumably Jeremy Hellickson or James Shields before he was traded to the Royals).
There's also the speculation earlier on MLBTradeRumors that the Rangers may be interested in dealing Derek Holland in an Upton deal, and then Buster Olney tweeted the Braves might have an advantage because of their "surplus of pitching".
The Cubs could use Matt Garza as a centerpiece.
He doesn't have the long term value that Holland or the Rays or Braves young pitchers do, but he is in the same class of talent, perhaps more. Even still, the Cubs would likely have to add a prospect or two to give the D'Backs back some of that long term value they lose with Upton. Using Garza as a centerpiece, however, will reduce the amount of prospect value the Cubs would potentially have to give up.
So that's my wild speculation...what's yours? (By the way, if I get this right, I'm buying a lottery ticket the very next day).
Filed under: Rumors/Speculation