Winter Meetings Thread: Day 3

Winter Meetings Thread: Day 3

We're halfway through the meetings and things are starting to pick up for the Cubs.  We'll start with a lesser rumor.  Joel Sherman says the Cubs are in on Logan Morrison and would put him in the outfield.  Sherman says the Marlins are prioritizing 3B.  This makes sense on a lot of levels.  First, John said a week ago that the Marlins were interested in the Cubs 3B prospects.  Second, we've talked about the need to add an impact left-handed bat to the mix, and Morrison certainly provides that.  Outfield is interesting as Morrison was never a great defensive outfielder and two knee surgeries doesn't seem likely to help that.  They'll almost certainly stick him in left.  Morrison is a former top prospect (#20 on BA's 2010 list) who has really struggled to get going in the majors.  After a hot start in 2010, he has really struggled but he has two things that would really endear himself to the Cubs.  First of all, as already mentioned, he's left handed.  Second, he consistently takes walks posting a career OBP almost 90 points higher than his career BA.  He's also cost controlled for the next three seasons.  Morrison has quarreled with the Marlins and certainly that's understandable given how crazy things are on that team right now.  The question for the Cubs is how much he's at fault for and how much is on the Marlins.  I imagine the memory of Ian Stewart is guiding the Cubs moves in this situation.

The big story, of course, is Jeff Samardzija.  As John said last night, there is some speculation within the industry that Samardzija could be traded by the end of the day.  The Cubs have scheduled a meeting with him today.  The meeting could be to appraise him of the situation or to give him one last chance to accept the Cubs extension offer.  There are said to be four or five teams in on him.  Rumors are sprouting up about Samardzija's likely landing spot but we can't confirm any of them at this point.  This could become a very big day for the future of the Cubs.  In other news,

9:00 UPDATE: We have to come up with titles now?

  •  (Mike) Either the Yankees love Brett Gardner or dislike Brandon Phillips, but they reportedly turned down a one-for-one swap.

7:00 UPDATE: We have a signing!!

  • Maybe it doesn't warrant the exclamation points, but the Cubs signed LH reliever Tommy Hottovy to a minor league contract with a spring training invite.  Hottovy is a former Red Sox farmhand and has had a cup of coffee with them in 2011 and the Royals in 2012.  He's a finesse lefty with a fringy fastball, a curve, and a change.  He'll be added to the mix and perhaps provide depth to the LH relief core.

 

UPDATES 5:00 PM

  • Sahadev Sharma is in Orlando and got some great quotes from Theo.  Theo says 2 most important forms of currency in game right now is massive payroll flexibility and surplus of young major league ready talent. (1)  If you look at Cubsright now, we’re not yet where we need to be in either of those areas ... But we’re going to, we’re getting there. (2)  We bring in lots of revenue already, but there’s potential for so much more. Between the TV negotiations & the Wrigley project we’re going to realize a lot more revenue. It’s going to happen, hopefully with a winning team helping too. (3) I promise you, when that happens, we will be significantly more active. I’m not going to promise you that we’ll run out and sign the most expensive free agents or do 9-figure deals left & right. But I promise we’ll be in a much better position to put a very deep and very talented team on the field with lots of depth and redundancy. (4)  Theo says he has an 'internal feeling' of when this will happen, but they lack certainty because development of kids isn't guaranteed. (5) As well as variables on business side: how quickly Wrigley and TV situation are resolved. (6) He's essentially restating his comments from prior years about how the baseball plan and the business plan are lining up.  Once he gets the minor league system he wants, the revenues need to be there to give him payroll flexibility.  At least from this, it sounds like he's confident it will happen, even if it's clearly causing frustrating among Cubs fans both on the boards here and in the bars along Clark St.  For those who say that we can't count on prospects because there are no guarantees, Theo acknowledges that in this quote.  But he sees that as a delay and not a failure.
    This is ugly work.  This was a complete renovation and a lot of things need to be fixed.  Not just the scouting and development but also making Wrigley a modern park both in terms of amenities and the team's ability to monetize it.  But, for tonight anyway, Theo is telling us that the work is proceeding and sees the finished product coming together.

UPDATES 4:00 PM

  • (John): On the other hand, there is no imminent deal with Samardzija on any front.  Carrie Muskat had a couple of quotes from Theo Epstein here and here,
    ""There's no trade imminent, and we'll see what happens. We hope he's here for a long time. The situation now is Jeff's our Opening Day starter and that's how we're moving forward".  Translation: The Cubs have not gotten the kind of offer it would take to make them trade their best starter.  For all the talk about trading Samardzija, it's obvious the Cubs value him very highly and aren't going to settle for less than they believe he's worth.  One by one we've heard teams drop out today -- a clear indication that the Cubs have no intention of panicking and settling on an offer.  It's pony up or wait until the deadline -- or maybe the Cubs get a deal done.  Whatever the case, not trade is happening below the Cubs asking price.  (Mike)  I'm getting serious deja vu between this situation and the Matt Garza situation two years ago.  We have the favorite (Tigers, Blue Jays) who is involved in serious talks with the Cubs, some great young players names being thrown around (Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos & Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman), and pundits were writing columns about Theo overvaluing his pitcher.  At the end of the day, Theo didn't get the offer he wanted and Matt Garza started the season on the Cubs.  But for supremely bad luck, that would have brought in Martin Perez and Mike Olt and did bring in C.J. Edwards.  I have to believe that Jeff Samardzija will follow in Garza's footsteps so we can do this all over again in July.
  • (Mauricio) And of course, in the context of all the stuff we've heard about Roberto Hernandez and the Cubs pursuit of him, Gordon Wittenmyer gives us news that the Cubs have a few offers out and a potential trade offer is on the table. (John) To add to this Sahadev Sharma tweets that the Cubs have offers out on a RP, a SP, and a trade offer on a position player. Any guesses?
  • (Mauricio) Amanda Rykoff brings us the news that the MLB Rules Committee has banned home plate collisions. Ruling is subject to final review.

UPDATES 3:00 PM

  • The Cubs are interested in Roberto Hernandez, whom you may know better as Fausto Carmona.  I had him on my list of 5 pitchers the Cubs could pursue back in early November.  The Cubs are expected to bid on the first choice (Masahiro Tanaka) and they did pursue 2nd choice Josh Johnson.   Tanaka and Hernandez are the two unsigned pitchers left from that list.  Here is what I said back then, "No, not that Roberto Hernandez.  This one is the former Fausto Carmona, which we can all agree was a much more interesting name.  There are some more ghastly results-oriented numbers here as Hernandez went 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA.  But as always, those kinds of numbers don't tell the whole story.  Carmona is no longer the hard throwing pitcher he once was, but he can still work in the low 90s which he plays up with an effective change-up.  Hernandez had all sorts of issues with the long ball (a huge 21% HR/FB rate), but if Bosio can work with him to help pound the lower part of the zone as he has with other Cubs pitchers, we could see a drastic improvement.  He can be a solid 4 guy who puts up an ERA in the 3.50-3.75 range if he can keep the ball in the park better."  I also mentioned him in our winter meetings preview.  One scout I spoke with liked him as a buy low candidate with potential for a bit of upside, though he did worry about how his propensity to leave the ball up would play at Wrigley.
  • Much ado about Scott Boras' comment.  In response to Jesse Rogers question, "Asked Scott Boras if there was any indication the Cubs would spend money right now. He answered with a sly smile: "Well, It appears as though we're looking at the all day sucker so maybe next year."  He then claimed that all-day sucker was his metaphor for the rebuilding process -- that it "would take a long time to dissolve".  Maybe, but I can't help thinking he didn't mean it that way.  Could be interpreted in a lot of ways, but I'll leave it at that for now.  I will say Boras makes a living parsing out words and meaning, so when he says "all-day sucker", I hardly think it's an accident.

UPDATES 2:30 PM

  •  Jim BowdenJed Hoyer would not confirm or deny that Cubs are a mystery team on Choo SXM.  He's really not saying a whole lot here and this office is so secretive I doubt Jed would come out and say they aren't in on Choo even if they aren't.  But... we do know that Choo is exactly the kind of player the Cubs would like to add.  Left handed outfielders are a need as partially reflected by the interest in Morrison.  Personally, I don't see it at the numbers being thrown around but this at least raises the possibility of a Choo acquisition.

UPDATES 2:00 PM

  •  (Mike) Forget LoMo.  Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald has Morrison going -- where else -- to Seattle for RHP Carter Capps, who has a 5.04 ERA but a much stronger 3.53 xFIP underlying it.  However, he was victimized by home runs in Seattle, which makes me wonder if xFIP might be a little deceiving here. (John) Can someone please explain to me what's going on here?  The Marlins non-tender a perfectly good young, in prime RP in Ryan Webb, then go out and replace him by trading Logan Morrison?  They just gave up one of their few trade chips for a lateral move they didn't have to make.  As for the Mariners, they also signed 1B Corey Hart.  It seems they almost have to trade for David Price now and it's probably going to cost them Walker if they do.

UPDATES 1:30 PM

  • (Mike) Ken Rosenthal with an interesting tweet.  Sources: #BlueJays have looked into #Rays' Price, #Cubs' Samardzija. Consider prices to be too high. Asked often about Sanchez, Stroman.  First of all, it tells us something we've suspected, the Cubs are unwilling to make a move with Toronto without one of their two top prospects, possibly both.  However, one way to interpret the tweet is to say that the Blue Jays want to look for a cheaper option before buying on Price or Samardzija.  If the Blue Jays do drop out, it obviously decreases the odds that Samardzija is dealt over the offseason.  The Pirates, however, would still be in play and they have the prospects and the needs to match up well with the Cubs.
  • (Mike) Cross Justin Masterson off the available pitcher list.  Terry Francona apparently called Masterson personally this morning to tell him he was staying put.
  • (Mike) Typed with one hand as I eat my nutritious lunch of Krispy Kreme doughnuts: Jon Heyman reports that Corey Hart is going to the Mariners on a one-year deal where he will hit behind Robinson Cano.  In addition to the obvious "Welcome to Seattle, Robby" jokes, this might open things up a bit.  The Brewers and possibly other teams were supposedly waiting on Hart to make a decision.

UPDATES 12:00 PM

  • (Mauricio) Scratch the Nationals off the Potential Russell Suitors list. They acquire Jerry Blevins for Billy Burns. Blevins is a weird lefty in that he has reverse platoon splits. He's better against righties. Burns was the Nats MiLB player of the year in 2013.  (Mike) Blevins is also an ex-Cub farmhand, going from the Cubs to the A's in the Jason Kendall deal back in 2007.  Another one of Billy Beane's nice gets in seemingly forgettable trades.
  • Heard that both the Royals and Diamondbacks are out on Jeff Samardzija but there is still interest from a few teams, including the Jays and Pirates. (Mauricio) I guess my half baked and totally illogicalYordano Ventura dreams are shot to hell.

From earlier...

  • (Mike) Jon Heyman has the Twins and Angels in on Garza, as well, though he points out that nothing is imminent.  The Twins and the Angels would be a better landing spot from the Cubs perspective because neither team is seriously connected to Jeff Samardzija.  The Twins are probably the best because there is no chance they will move prospects in a Samardzija deal.  From Theo's perspective, the ideal situation would be the Diamondbacks left looking for a pitcher with Samardzija the only option on the market.
  • (Mauricio) We're hearing some rumblings that the Cubs will be involved with Masahiro Tanaka again. This FO plays it tight to the chest but it makes sense that they're interested.
  • (Mauricio) Jeff Passan tweeted that Max Scherzer is "definitely in play." This could affect the market for Jeff Samardzija if teams would rather focus on Scherzer. Earlier today David Price also indicated that he's not interested in signing an extension with the Mariners if he were to be traded there. (John):  If the Tigers trade Scherzer, I'm confused.  Wasn't the point of the Fielder deal and then taking their lumps on a Fister trade to free up salary space to extend Scherzer?  I'm not exactly sure what the Tigers are doing anymore.
  • (Mauricio) According to Ken Rosenthal Drew Stubbs is possibly seen as surplus in Cleveland. Given the Cubs current OF situation and the possibility that Nate Schierholtz is traded I would be interested in seeing Stubbs in a Cubs uniform for 2014.
  • (Mike) Bob Nightengale has Shin Soo Choo asking for a 7-year, $140 million contract.  We'd heard last week the Cubs were interested in bringing in Choo but there's no reason to believe they would be at all interested at that price point.
  • (Mike) Ken Rosenthal reports that 2B Brandon Phillips is on the table this offseason.  As a Dusty Baker-style player who clashed with the media under Baker, it's easy to see why both sides may want to move on.
  • (John): Spoke to one scout who believes Logan Morrison would be serviceable in the OF and believes in that bat.  Feels he could use a change of scenery.  We mentioned Morrison as a potential Cubs target last month though we had some reservations about his ability to play the OF.  If he can be serviceable, I'd be very interested in taking a flyer on that bat.
  • (John): An interesting player that is available for a starting pitcher is Colby Rasmus.  Rasmus is a talented player entering his prime years and had a 4.8 WAR season in 2013.  He hits LH with some pop and discipline, but can play much better defense than Morrison.  Rasmus isn't a buy low candidate, however.  He's arguably coming off his best season and he only has one year of cost-control left.  But with the Cubs lack of LH prospects in the minors, could Rasmus be agreeable to an extension and fit long term?
  • (John): Some more stuff on Kenta Taeda. One scout said that Maeda needs his movement and offspeed working and when it is, he can pitch like a #3  or #4 guy, but could also work as a change of pace type in the bullpen.  Another scout was a bit lukewarm.  Said Taeda sits 89-90, peaks 91 and may not have enough oomph on that fastball to survive in MLB.   Pegged his ceiling as a #4 and may be more of  a bullpen arm.
  • Jim Bowden says the Angels offseason moves have saved the team roughly $10 million, which may allow them to add Matt Garza or Masahiro Tanaka at $14-15 million next season.
  • Ken Rosenthal had a series of tweets on the Price to the Mariners rumor: Just saw David Price's agent, Bo McKinnis, in lobby. Asked if Price would consider extension with #Mariners. Said no. Asked McKinnis if Price would consider extensions with other teams. Said yes. Asked which clubs. He declined to answer.  McKinnis' comments do not rule out a Price trade to #Mariners. Price under club control two more years. M's would have him for that long. This certainly doesn't help the trade any, as the Mariners would likely want to extend Price after giving up significant talent for him.  Jon Heyman reported yesterday that, while the Mariners may have taken Taijuan Walker off the table, Mike Zunino could be on it.
  • Jayson Stark says ex-Cub Matt Garza could sign soon.  The Diamondbacks appear to be major players.
  • Chris Cotillo has a list of guys to watch for signings today: Jerry Hairston Jr, Bronson Arroyo, Jamey Wright, Corey Hart, Omar Infante, and Matt Garza.

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  • fb_avatar

    Luke Adams of MLBTR reported that the Dodgers are out on David Price. That could have Samardzija implication if Tanaka doesn't get posted or if Tanaka were posted but the Dodgers didn't get him.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I also saw multiple reports on Twitter that Price says he won't sign an extension with Seattle if he's traded there. The top of SP market seems to be in a holding pattern until there's a Tanaka decision.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Theo said today that Shark is our opening day starter; he's putting all the trade rumors to bed. Shark will not be traded; no surprise actually since all we were offered were 4th/5th starter types like Skaggs and etc.

  • This is the Joel Sherman Tweet that caught my attention this morning.

    Joel Sherman ‏@Joelsherman1 2h
    One exec said #Cubs are meeting again with Samadzija on extension. Should tell u Chi not hearing what wants on trade mkt. But heard (cont)

    Joel Sherman ‏@Joelsherman1 2h
    Samardzija not anxious to commit long-term when not sure when #Cubs will contend, plus Chi execs know can always try to deal again in July

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    The Cubs will likely contend a lot sooner if he extends. It's a double edged sword.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Thanks Irish...added that on. Missed it this morning.

  • Please, please, please stay away from Logan Morrison. His defense in the outfield is atrocious, it'd probably make him a below replacement level player.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Agreed - he's really only a decent defender at 1B at present, and we have a better option already under contract at 1B now. He would be a bad add (IMO) defensively in the OF, and doesn't add much to the offense over what Bogy, Lake, Sweeney and Schierholtz add to the mix.

    And although I 'get' the grousing he has done while playing for the Marlins (they are very grouse inspiring) - I get worried about character any time that sort of thing pops up.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Have to think the Cubs must think he can play there and one scout I spoke with thinks he can be serviceable out there.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I agree! Just how much do we need an average hitter (at best) who is hobbled out in the field and has a big mouth? I can't believe that it is even being considered.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    He was traded to the Mariners already.

  • fb_avatar

    LoMo's knee surgeries don't really bother me. Sori's leg's were a mess in his later days here and he was able to play a servicable left. There's not a lot of ground to cover out there.

  • The Cubs big move this off season is going to be getting a left fielder that has posted a .707 and .709 OPS the last 2 seasons....lovely. Who is going to be available at the top of the 2015 draft?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    OF Daz Cameron, Mike Cameron's kid is the projected #1 for 2015

  • In reply to Ike03:

    It's an upside play. He's capable of much better than that when he's healthy.

  • I know that the price for .500 pitchers has gone up, but I would
    not sign Jeff for the money he wants.

  • fb_avatar

    Wow. I didn't expect the cubs to make any earth-shattering news this week (although was hoping for Choo) - but also didn't expect a big fat zero. I've been looking forward to this week since last May. Seems we're standing pat on a 96 loss team. I'm a little stunned to be frank.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    It like going to the grocery store and all that's left is Spam and eggs , Problem is the fridge at Wrigley isaleady full of spam and eggs, why buy more?

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    We could have spam, spam, spam and eggs

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    that's a wholatta Spam lol

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Worked for Monty Python

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    and there goes a cow over the castle wall

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    That'd be like looking at my e-mail acct.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Most teams haven't done anything at the winter meetings so far.

    Just because the Cubs don't do something at the winter meetings doesn't mean they're not going to. Still a long way to go in the offseason.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SKMD:

    With you. Really kind of disgusted at this point. I don't believe you should make a deal for the sake of making a deal but certainly there is nothing wrong with improving your team. The Cubs could upgrade at almost every position though I am willing to hand out mulligans to 1B and SS.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    You have to hope the FO has its eye on 2015 as far as when everything is going to start to come together, but a lot has to go right for that to happen. If they lose Samardzija, who we still don't know is more than a No. 3 starter, don't snare Tanaka (which I think we can almost assume won't happen) and Wood comes down from a 2013 in which he had a lot of luck, it isn't going to matter if Bryant and Baez put up numbers like Mike Trout right out of the gate.

    On the other hand, if Castro continues to struggle, Rizzo fails to reach the level anticipated for him and Bryant and Baez have growing pains or don't pan out as stars, do we have the patience to wait for the next group of prospects to arrive?

  • Toronto is rumored to be shopping Colby Rasmus for a SP. After a quick glance at his #'s... this dude has regression to the mean written all over him. No thanks!

  • No to LoMo!!! He is no better than Sweeny or BB unless they plan on trading Nate. How much is Hart asking for?? He is right handed and can spell Rizzo against lefties.

  • In reply to Rock:

    You're looking at the same situation if you trade Nate and then take on Hart. Hart and LoMo should have a race and the winner is our next outfielder.

  • Also in the say no to LOMo category. Cant play defense and appears to also have character issues.

  • Not that we would want to make the trade but the Cubs are definitely one team Price would agree to an extension with. (This is based on information from a friend of mine that knows Derek Johnson.) The Rays will never let Price get to free agency in 2016 but this is the only way I'd want the Cubs to acquire Price - we can't afford to give up the prospects necessary to acquire him. IMO, such a move would be a huge set back to our rebuilding process & our desire to be a perennial contender.

  • Why oh why do my Cubbies keep going after players that have had knee, elbow, shoulder surgeries? Isn't there anyone out there that's HEALTHY? They signed 3 players last year that were coming off TJ surgery, and Fujikawa only played 12 games before he had the dreaded ulnar tendon mess. Quit signing guys that makes our team look like a M*A*S*H* Unit. I realize injuries happen. Forget Morrison, Scott Baker et al.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to LRCCubsFan:

    Because they are cheap, have higher ceilings and if they come close to reaching those ceilings they are tradable at the July 31 deadline.

  • fb_avatar

    If they sign Joba Chamberlain and trade for a .240 hitting 1b they stick in LF, this will be a horrible off-season.

  • I don't get the LoMo hate when you look at the rag-tag bunch of outfielders we are currently going to start. He's had injury issues but speed isn't what got him in the majors anyways. Power hitter with good OBP and only 26. All depends on what the Marlins want for him.

    Also sounds like he is a big character rather than a bad character. For example Nick Swisher big character and Milton Bradley bad character.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bochedda:

    Not a power hitter. Sorry. He sees a lot of pitches. Doesn't strike out much. Contract fits the Cubs' meager budget, even with a potential arb raise. He offers no protection for anybody in the Cubs lineup. Ho hum. Trying to spin this potential pickup as a positive move is slightly above laughable. Any offense he gives you is negated by his horrible defense.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    In 2011 LoMo hit 23 HRs in 462 ABs, Last year Rizzo led the cubs with 23 HRs in 606 ABs. Not sure if that makes LoMo a power hitter or points out the cubs don't have a power hitter but it should say he has the potential to hit for power and thats more than I can say for most of the team.

    If he puts up a healthy season I think he has the potential to provide alot of value. Isn't that what this front office is about?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bochedda:

    OK - he hit 20+ home runs once. As far as what it says about Morrison, Rizzo, or the Cubs power deficiencies, it is very telling from all sides.

    Logan Morrison is no better than anybody they've got. Hell if Donnie Murphy had 462 at bats last year he probably could have hit more home runs than both Rizzo and Morrison. Morrison has 42 home runs in 1479 career PAs. He has a career ISO of .178 which is slightly above average but if you remove 2011 his ISO is .154 which is pedestrian at best.

    Worse his career UZR as an OF is NEGATIVE 26.9.

    I got ripped for saying Mark Trumbo would be a good addition on this team. No way Logan Morrison is a better addition. Of course the Cubs had no interest in Trumbo - and allegedly the Cubs do have interest in Morrison - so that must be the difference maker between POS A and POS B.

    And if this is the kind of value that the Cubs front office is all about then the Cubs have obviously hired the wrong people. If it looks like sh*t and smells like sh*t, then it's probably sh*t.

  • In reply to Bochedda:

    He might be the worst defensive outfielder in baseball and he doesn't hit enough to make up for it.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Try saying that again after considering Dunn in the outfield,just saying.

  • Playing in the marlins stadium has been killing Morrison.
    He could be a 25 hr a year player for cubs. Good value play.

  • fb_avatar

    Logan Morrison's career slugging percentage outside of Miami is exactly the same as home. His Avg and OBP are also almost the same. He's consistent - he's a 4th OF at best and his defense is George Bell - level bad. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=morrilo01&year=Career&t=b#hmvis

  • fb_avatar

    Many years ago I heard this advice, "when someone keeps showing you who they are, believe them."

    LoMo is Adam Dunn without the power and without the ability to even stay healthy. 4 years of history. He's miraculously going to change by being traded? Nope. He's already shown what he is.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Just Win:

    For The Win.

  • If the Cubs land Stubbs, then they should keep Schierholtz, unless they trade for Logan Morrison, IMO... I see Stubbs more like a platoon guy in CF with Sweeney.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Stubbs cant get on base, has no plate discipline. Too bad, if he ever learned some, hed be a worthwhile player, since he does have 20HR/30SB type ability. Career stolen base pct is about 85%. Just strikes out way too much, mostly on bad pitches. Id take him if I didnt have to give up something decent.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Good points on Stubbs,.... and if that is the kind of player that the Cubs are looking for in the OF,.... they already have a much cheaper (although less proven) version of him in Brett Jackson.

  • fb_avatar

    my .02 on Smardzija: If he's not dealt by spring training he will be on the team long term.
    There are 2 possible outcomes in July 2014.

    1) Shark muddles along, flashes his usual brilliant stuff occasionally but never puts it together to show he's a #1 or #2 pitcher on a good team. In this case, either his price comes down and Hoyer signs him to his price as a #3- #4 pitcher, or (less likely) they trade him for whatever they can get for him. What's the point of that, you'll be a year away from being a decent team, how long can you keep selling assets?

    or 2) he pitches lights out. In which case why wouldn't you sign him long term? He's not over the hill, he'll be what, 30 next year but with not a lot of miles on his arm - he'll still be pitching well in '15, '16 when the cavalry arrives. The only way he gets traded in that scenario is if we get bowled offer with an offer we can't refuse.

    Theo and Jed are trying to have it both ways: they don't want to pay Shark like an ace (which he's not) but they do want to trade him like an ace. The reason they haven't had any great offers for him this week is because, well, he's just not that great - he has very good innings but then loses his focus and blows up. The only one who doesn't see it is Smardzija, and maybe his agent.

  • LoMo=pass
    Stubbs=pass
    Samardzija=keep
    Say thanks and go home!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Gotta agree 44.

    I am hoping that he Cubs stand pat - maybe see if Grady Sizemore is interested in signing to a MiL contract and getting a ST invite.

    I don't see Stubbs or Morrison as being much of an improvement over the 4-5 OFs we already have on the ML roster. They (that 4-5 in hand) each have holes in their game (although I think Sweeney can be surprising if he can stay healthy). I also want to see if Vitters can grab a spot in the OF for himself (even if only as a platoon guy and emergency 3B/1B).

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Like it with the exception of Stubbs. We need a plus defender in center. Stubbs doesn't check every box but he checks that one. Plus the fact he's RH with a little pop. I like Stubbs.

  • Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs 48m
    Can he pitch? RT @chibears99: @ESPNChiCubs any truth to rumor of samardzija for Morrison #cubs #marlins

    I feel like we need to bring this guy in for an intervention. 1) He thinks that rumor is possible. 2) He thinks Jesse Rogers knows anything about baseball.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    LOL!!!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    Haha. No kidding. That scenario is laughable at best. I think someone's been self-medicating.

  • fb_avatar

    Jerry Hairston Jr retired today. Took a broadcasting job with the Dodgers. http://www.truebluela.com/2013/12/11/5200244/jerry-hairston-dodgers-tv-analyst

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Phil James:

    Scott Hairston retired after the 2012 season. He just forgot to tell the Cubs.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    hahaha

  • Corey Hart close to signing today. If he's healthy enough for OF, hope its with the Cubs. Also can give Rizzo a spell at 1B.

  • In reply to Indy57:

    Hart - as you said, if healthy enough to cover RF or LF with regularity - would be a good add if had at the right price.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to drkazmd65:

    John, any rumors out there about the Cubs and Hart?

  • In reply to Ray:

    Sounds like Mariners or Brewers. Not sure he can play OK anymore.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Not that I've heard, no. But can't rule out either.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Looks like Hart is signing with the Mariners.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Dang - there goes the 2nd of the two OFs I had on my Cubs FA signing list for 2014......

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Too bad about Hart. I wanted to see him as a Cub.

  • I think Its a little bit of a misnomer to label Logan as an impact bat. He's a nice enough player at the right price (low) who has had impact before but I'm not sold that he'd be a fit. Hate this one.

  • Anyone else get the feeling that the FO is not happy with Spellcheck's approach to being a Cub? Hence, the continued effort for trading him?

  • In reply to TobaccopouchinIvy:

    I wouldn't say that. Mostly a timing issue. If we were going for it in the next 2 years they'd pay him and he'd sign without a NTC, but we don't want to pay him for big bucks for 2 years where we don't compete. He on the other hand doesn't want to sign w/ the Cubs at a discount only to find himself in Arizonz for 5 years. I don't think there is any negative feelings.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Even worse: Pittsburg for 5 years.

  • Logan Morrison has been worth exactly one WAR in almost 1500 career plate appearances. JustWin said it better than I could have, so I'll just register my opposition to LoMo and move along.

  • Wouldn't it be nice if they were talking to Marlins about Stanton and not LoMo. Jeff and Nate for Stanton.

  • Not Winter Meetings related, but something I still feel can be appreciated here: They're making a Bull Durham musical:

    http://news.yahoo.com/musical-film-39-bull-durham-39-eyes-atlanta-174137512.html

  • Should I blame Boras and Tanaka for making these Winter
    meetings so slow and boring

  • Jayson Stark ‏@jaysonst 1m
    Mitchell Boggs attracting interest from #Phillies, #Indians, #Mariners, #Cubs & #Mets. Had a 2.28 ERA & 6.9 H/9 IP in 2012. Intriguing guy

    So rare to find a guy who pitched worse after leaving St. Louis...

  • Given the circumstances of his departure from St Louis, I'd be mighty leery of Colby Rasmus.

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    Looks like Blue Jays are out on Shark as well...per Ken Rosenthal.

  • Saw that too...they don't want to give up Sanchez or Stroman. Won't be a deal without Toronto giving up one of those two. Starting to sound like a July trade is more likely.

  • I would rather Jed and Theo slowplay the hand than go all in holding crap. Shark will get a good package maybe just not this week. Oh well .

  • Best case scenario for everyone is that LoMo gets traded to the Brewers to play 1B now that Hart is going to Seattle.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    They're looking at Loney, as well.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Loney - Him I have always liked,.... Doesn't really fit with what the Cubs need though.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Was referring to the Brewers.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Oh never mind then Ray,....- still like Loney,.... might be a fit for the Brewers since they have apparently lost out on Hart.

  • LoMo to Seattle...

    Brett Taylor ‏@BleacherNation 35s
    RT @clarkspencer Source: #Marlins trading Logan Morrison to Seattle for RHP Carter Capps

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Glad he is not coming here.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    Heyman is reporting the same thing. I'm not disappointed he isn't coming to the Cubs. I like the potential of the bat, but I doubt he could've been a decent left-fielder.

  • Between LoMo and Hart (which one is playing OF?), I'd say Morales is gone from Seattle. I had hoped he'd resign and the Mariners wouldn't get the comp pick. It's kind of ridiculous that the 4th pick of the 2nd round is #52...so every pick lost moves that up a little.

  • fb_avatar

    "Carter Capps...was victimized by home runs in Seattle,"

    Falling victim to HR in Seattle is like falling victim to a lion in Chicago. It can happen but you'd have to jump the barrier at Lincoln Park Zoo. It's your own damn fault.

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    Am not in a rush for Cubs to do something for the sake of "doing something". I will take incremental improvements over flashy any day.
    Best outcome of winter meetings would be an extension for Shark and a bid in the Tanaka pool.
    Securing the rights to Tanaka would allow Theo/Jed to offer EJax to Yanks for Gardner.
    I would love to see if Cespedes is available in Oakland. It seems his name was mentioned earlier.
    If I were to take a flyer on 2-3 players it would be Joba, Ackley and Gutierrez.

    Or the Mariners may be willing to trade big for Shark and the whole thing blows up.

  • Damn, you know the Phillies are going to take Mateo just to spite the Cubs with that 4th pick in the Rule 5 Draft. Too bad the kid couldn't wait until the spring to start throwing upper 90's again.

    "However, Cubs right handed reliever Marcos Mateo is emerging as maybe the most fascinating name because of what he’s doing in the Dominican League this offseason. Mateo, who ranked three different times among the Cubs’ top 30 prospects, pitched reasonably well in the big leagues with Chicago in 2011. He then missed all of 2012 and a significant part of 2013 recovering from an elbow injury.

    Mateo, now 29, has been absolutely electric in the Dominican Republic, featuring a high-90s fastball and a filthy slider that sits in the upper 80s. He’s got results to back up the stuff, having gone 3-0, 0.98 for Estrellas de Oriente, with 22 strikeouts, seven walks and 11 hits allowed in 19 innings. In his last six appearances as teams finalize their Rule 5 pref lists, Mateo has struck out 12, walked none, allowed five hits and no runs in six innings over six appearances."

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Bummer for us if he does get snagged via "5" - but good to see that he is making a recovery.

    Seemed good kid, and was an excllent prospect before the elbow problems. I hope he prospers against everybody,.... Except the Cubs.

  • fb_avatar

    News flash: Cubs are bringing Larry Biittner out of retirement! Backup at 1B, outfield, and yes-- even pitching (since he pitched that game in the later innings against Montreal !)......(just trying to lighten things up...we all could use it)

  • In reply to Bob from Salem:

    Can Gary Gaetti still play 3rd in case Olt doesn't hit in the spring?

    He's 55, but he always had that quick first step ;-)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bob from Salem:

    Ha - I remember watching Biitner pitch in that game. He threw one pitch so hard his cap fell off his head. Not that a smoking 75-MPH fastball is "hard", just that it took maximum effort to make that throw.

  • In reply to Bob from Salem:

    Ha!,.... I remember watching that Game on the TV.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to drkazmd65:

    I remember the graphics on the screen said Larry Biittner piittchiing.

  • Cubs need to build towards "sustained success." There is absolutely no need to make trades or sign a free agent for the sake of making some news. Cubs need to stay focused. Things are going to "light up" at Wrigley Field sooner rather than later.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    You use the term "building". That means taking action. We cannot possibly be building towards anything but more losses if we continue with the exact same group we currently have.

  • In reply to Jake Smallhorn:

    For "sustained success" Cubs need to do "bottom up" building. Which this FO has been doing for the past 2 years. The results will show at ML level in the next 1-2 years. These results will be for long term success. My point was, let's not get narrow vision of movement at the ML level only.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    You use the term "building". That means taking action. We cannot possibly be building towards anything but more losses if we continue with the exact same group we currently have.

  • In reply to Jake Smallhorn:

    Disagree!

  • In reply to Jake Smallhorn:

    Can't say I agree with your logic Jake.

    We don't have 'exactly' the same group that we had at the beginning of last season (thankfully).

    We don't have 'exactly' the same group that we had at the end of last season (Navarro is gone at the very least, there have been other shifts in the 40-man roster as well). There is a new Manager and (also thankfully) new hitting coaching as well.

    We most likely won't open the season with the same roster that we have now. I expect that at the least Olt will be getting time at 3B, and expect at least one or two other pitchers being added to the staff before April.

    Most likely - the roster that we open the season with will also change as next seasn comes.

    That's kind of part of the point of what you see during a rebuilding phase.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I haven't seen any front office quote indicating Olt will play third next year. Just seems like an educated guess. I would like to be wrong. The whole situation just seems a tad disheartening to me because we have no impact players at the ML level.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    Well, they have sustained losing down pat.

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    Choo is interesting. It would make more sense if the Cubs extended Samardzija and signed Tanaka. I definitely wouldn't want to see him get a NTC, and it would be best if the contract were front-loaded to make it easier to trade him later. Still, I hate to give up a draft pick, and I doubt this FO would when they're not that close to contending. This could be the Cubs doing Boras a favor and driving Choo's price up with the understanding that the favor will be repaid down the road.

  • Bob Melvin on trading Cespedes: "You just made me twitch a little bit. Barring injury, he's a 30-100 guy waiting to happen."

  • fb_avatar

    Wouldn't be surprised to see the Cubs' contingent head out tonight.

  • fb_avatar

    I remember when Biittner pitched-- Arnie Harris put up that graphic on WGN channel 9

    "Biittner is piittching!: LOLOL!!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bob from Salem:

    was LOL a thing in Biittner's time? I wouldn't think so.

  • Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 2m
    Sources: #Cubs among teams showing interest in free-agent RHP Roberto Hernandez.

    The former Fausto Carmona...I'm assuming it's not the White Sox reliever from 10 years ago...

  • Boras: The baseball ops people, I’ve known them for a long time. I think they want to win today. But they also work for people …

    Boras "It has nothing to do with the baseball pple or how the org's run. It's that u have a major market team .with dramatically more revenue than most clubs that do take this type of approach.

    I can't even post this is some Cubs message boards because it will just feed the trolls...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    its Beth Murphys fault , pitchforks and torches people , lol

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Also this...

    Boras on Cubs: "The Cubs have the capacity to sign any player they want at any time. The question is whether they think it fits their plan

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Yes...I think in essence he's saying the Cubs have the money. All this stuff about the park and waiting for revenue is misdirection. It's more of a question of want -- and the Cubs don't want to spend right now. I think it frustrates him because it removes one possible suitor from his list, but I think he'll be fine.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Of course Boras doesn't like it when Organizations stick to their plan, don't overpay on free agents, and don't outbid other teams at all costs.

    It's his job to create a feeding frenzy, get teams to lose their heads, and stretch payouts to the breaking point of all reason.

    I for one hope the Cubs NEVER pay a free agent $25 million at age 40 - no matter how good he was in his prime.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I have been saying for months that the yes, the Cubs have the money there. And they are going to go after Tanaka HARD. I think we the new rules, they have a seat at the negotiating table and they will throw some big numbers at him.

    Which would you rather have -
    Tanaka or Choo?
    Tanaka or Cano?
    Tanaka or Elsbury?

    Tanaka with JS and Wood gives you a very solid TOR with bats coming down the pike.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    ? is will we outbid the Stankees or Dodgers? Only good news there, LAD has to pay TOR kingpin Kershaw huge $ shortly. Kershaw may be the first $300 mill baseball player ever. That leaves the Stankees.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Haha. There are some revealing quotes about where Boras is really coming from.

  • Theo and Jed are making Kirk Ferentz look aggressive . Paint still drying

  • Mark Feinsand ‏@FeinsandNYDN 42s
    Sandy Alderson says MLB rules committee has decide to eliminate collisions at home plate.

    Big time change to the rules...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Big change. I remember the talk about after Posey got hurt.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    about time.

  • pansies, rub some dirt on it, don't like it . Give the players skirts.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    grow up.

  • In reply to good4you:

    I dont like the rule , so i am supposed to grow up? Maybe you think the NFL should be touch football or no fighting in hockey too, oh and no retaliation if your guy gets beaned, dont forget your estrogen treatment there Martha .

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Let's keep it about baseball, guys.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    my original post was baseball related, his response was not , he can disagree but blocking the plate had been an integral play since the game was created, i dont like the rule. perhaps i shouldnt have retorted questioning His/Her estrogen level, that i apologize for.

  • Patrick Mooney ‏@CSNMooney 2m

    Theo met with Samardzija's agent and says several outcomes possible. No trade imminent but also no fundamental change in contract talks.

  • Sahadev Sharma ‏@sahadevsharma 9m
    Theo says team has offers out on a reliever, a starter & trade offer on a position player.

    Any guesses? I'm gonna say Axford, Baker, and Ackley...but I'm probably aiming too high.

  • Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 6m

    Theo said Samardzija has been informed of three options (trade, sign extension or stay for now), opening day starter, for now.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Be a shame if he gets the opening day nod. Wood earned it, not Smudge.

  • Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 2m

    Theo met w/Samardzija's agent today, called talks amicable. Will end daily updates to media once leaves Winter Meetings. #Cubs

    Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 3m

    Theo said: "The situation now is Jeff's our Opening Day starter and that's how we're moving forward" #Cubs

  • Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 2m

    Theo re: Samardzija: "There's no trade imminent, and we'll see what happens. We hope he's here for a long time" #Cubs

  • Lets hope Jeff still has as much value by Aug 1. Also Boras
    should just worry about his clients and not anything else

  • If the price is low enough, the Phillies are apparently "selling the (expletive)" out of Papelbon. I'd give them a mid-to-back of the rotation prospect if they'll eat a chunk of his salary. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better closer out there. Eat a bit more of his salary at the deadline and come out ahead.

  • Have to say the lack of any movement is frustrating to us true believers. Winter meetings continue through Friday afternoon??

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to JimmyLeeMcMath:

    Rule V draft tomorrow.

  • Ken Rosenthal: Sources: #DBacks' No. 1 target is Tanaka. Continue to explore trades, free agents as they await decision on whether Tanaka will be posted.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Assuming he is posted, he is probably everyones #1...

  • The position player is the most interesting.

    I'm assuming the pitcher is a one-year filler; the reliever is a bounce-back candidate ... but the hitter? I DOUBT they would trade for a bench player. It'll be a player that is ready to contribute right away.

    Perhaps a 2B? C, 1B, SS are for sure filled, and beyond that, anything can happen. Outfield? It's possible. Nate is in right, and I fully expect Junior Lake to win a position in the outfield, so it could be an outfielder.

    A name that is reportedly being shopped that could potentially be a fit with the Cubs is Matt Joyce from Tampa Bay. He's 29-years-old, arbitration-eligible until 2015, and he played both corner outfield spots (though I don't think he is very good defensively). However, he does have a lifetime OBP of .340. He takes walks. Interestingly enough, he had 117 AB out of the #2 hole this season, and he had an OBP of .403. That's ridiculous.

    Oh, and my DREAM off-season acquisition at this point is Chase Headley. He is a match made in heaven for the Cubs. If we could somehow pry him out of San Diego WITHOUT giving up any major league talent (say, a package headlined by Vogelbomb and Villanueva for example), I say make it happen!

    1. Castro SS
    2. Joyce LF
    3. Rizzo 1B
    4. Headley 3B
    5. Schierholtz RF
    6. Castillo C
    7. Lake CF
    8. Barney/Watkins 2B (unless there's another addition)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    With you on Joyce. I'd be okay with him in LF.
    But not with you on Headley.
    We're looking at higher upside with Baez. And Headley's not all that much better than Olt. The inconsistencies of Headley scare me.
    I think Vogelbach's value will skyrocket once he's mashing in AA.
    But I would be open to dealing Villanueva. We already have a surplus at 3rd.

  • I may have just missed the boat on this entirely to this point, but what is the situation with Tanaka getting an agent? Does he have one from Japan that he will keep through the process? Or is there a certain point in the posting where he will jump on with one of the big agencies here? I just know if it ends up being Boras, who would probably push unbelievably hard to get him, the price to acquire him could turn almost comical.

  • I think this is a smokescreen. Dbacks can expect to compete with the big boys for Tanaka.

  • If the Cubs Front Office does wait to trade Samardzija (assuming no extension) until next year before the trade deadline this could end up being a very shrewd and lucrative move.

    Consider this...

    Jeff Samardzija's stats Apr. 1st - Jun. 1st last year :

    12 Gms / 2.96 ERA / 1 CG / 79 IP / 28 BB / 90 SO / .203 avg against

    If Shark has those same numbers come this June, the Cubs should see some very nice offers.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    While I agree that could make some desperate teams bite, I have a feeling shark is the kind of pitcher that would match that in the second half on a contender.

  • Chris Cotillo ‏@ChrisCotillo 9m
    #RedSox and #Cubs front offices mingling in the lobby.

    Could just be Theo talking to his former colleagues but maybe something might be happening

  • Nightengale says 2 agents got in fistfight in parking lot. Un named of course .

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I heard it was Boras and Jay-Z, and Jay-Z put a cap in Boras' ass.

  • Season saved....

    Cubs sign MiLB pitcher Tommy Hottovy. LHP, 32 years old, came up in Boston system.

    Looks like a Minor league contract with invite to ST.

    Source - the HS wonder kid...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Tell me this is not a thing right? Please? Irwin - come on buddy. Please tell me you made this up. I never even heard of this guy and I've heard of almost everybody.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Future bullpen coach.

  • this signing is almost as good a Iowa's Kirk Ferentz punting from Nebraska's 30 yard line. Getz a rise!!

  • fb_avatar

    Per the S.F. Chronicle, the Cubs are interested in Kurt Suzuki.

  • Winter meetings = underwhelming . oh well .2 days twitter watching I'll never get back .

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    Indifferent to Lo Mo. Agreed that we need an outfielder with some pop. Morrisson in LF would be awful. But the bat would have been some good protection in the lineup for when the kids come up.

    Mitchell Boggs wouldn't be a horrible move.
    Ole' Fausto would be a nice piece at the right price. He's a bounce-back candidate! A trade deadline lottery ticket!
    Jason Hammell would be terrible. Do not want.
    Not interested in Choo, unless he takes a 4 year deal.

    As for Samardzija, there's no reason to settle now. Let him build up value. We're a major market. If Samardzija earns his money, we can pay him. And if a contender overpays at the deadline, you can sell high. The only wrong answers are settling on a poor trade package, or overpaying for promise beyond performance.

  • Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan 7m
    Sources: Teams believe reliever Joaquin Benoit's likeliest destinations are Cleveland, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago Cubs or New York Yankees.

    Another back of the bullpen option...still quite a few available...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Theo has said they've talked to just about every reliever out there. We'll have to add this one to the next thread. Tomorrow is the last day and it usually only goes on for half a day or so before execs start heading home.

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