Are the Cubs Planning a Roster Overhaul?

Could the Cubs’ new front office be planning major changes to the roster they inherited?

Jim Bowden reported over the weekend that the Cubs “have been very aggressive with a wide range of free agents and have been in on trade talks with at least a dozen clubs.” Bowden has heard that the Cubs “conversations have not been limited to long-term solutions” but have “included everyone from prospects to one-year stop-gap players.”

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have reportedly been listening to offers on their players since the GM Meetings. David Kaplan hinted the Cubs could be working on numerous changes. Could Epstein and Hoyer be working on deals that could include trading players such as Matt Garza, Carlos Marmol, Geovany Soto and Randy Wells?

According to Kaplan, the Cubs appear to be kicking the tires on free agent outfielder David DeJesus and numerous reports have the Cubs in the mix for Prince Fielder. Plus, are the Cubs interested in Ian Stewart or Chase Headley for the vacated third base job?

Here’s the update …

Matt Garza
The Cubs are listening to offers on Matt Garza and what has gone from just a question to a full blown rumor is starting to look like a reality.

According to Buster Olney, the belief among teams are that the Cubs are open for business on Matt Garza and the expectation among some of those teams is that Garza will be dealt this winter.

The Cubs would have to be blown away in order to deal Garza. The Cubs are paper-thin in the pitching department but Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are dangling Garza to “acquire an infusion of youth into the organization” according to David Kaplan.

The Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Tigers are among the teams that figure to bid for Garza’s services. Joel Sherman tweeted the Yankees would be interested but are not in “high-level trade talks with any team about starting pitching.”

Bruce Levine reported that the Cubs would want “a package of four or five players in return for Garza” and mentioned the Rangers as the “most-prominent team” that may be involved in the talks for Garza.

Levine brought up the four-player deal that Texas had on the table last off-season for Matt Garza before Jim Hendry pulled off the deal for him. The Rangers have the prospects to trade for Garza and a package from Texas could include first baseman Mitch Moreland.

Matt Garza has two more seasons of arbitration eligibility and figures to make between $8 to $9 million next season after receiving $5.9 million for 2011.

Who’s on Third?
While the Tigers and Brewers are rumored to be the two teams with the most interest in signing Aramis Ramirez, Jed Hoyer is busy exploring options to replace him at the hot corner for the 2012 season. Two names that keep popping up as possible replacements are Ian Stewart of the Rockies and the Padres’ Chase Headley.

George Ofman tweeted about the Cubs interest (for the second time) in both Stewart and Headley and Troy Renck of the Denver Post confirmed the Cubs interest in Stewart … Renck is not sure to what degree the Cubs’ interest in Stewart actually is.

The Cubs’ new GM is very familiar with Chase Headley, who had a decent line outside of PETCO Park last year … .330/.399/.465/.864 with 18 doubles and three home runs in 54 games.

Ian Stewart, who many think is a non-tender candidate, had a horrible 2011 season and spent time in the minor leagues.

The Cubs would have to trade for either Ian Stewart or Chase Headley.

Carlos Pena
The Cubs will find out on December 7 if Carlos Pena has accepted arbitration or not but in the meantime, the speculation is that Pena will decline the Cubs’ arbitration offer. Scott Boras is reportedly looking for at least a two-year deal for his client, not another one-year contract. There is still a chance Pena could re-sign with the Cubs as Comcast SportsNet reported, but it would be on a multi-year contract.

Prince Fielder
According to multiple reports, the Cubs are one of the teams interested in signing Prince Fielder … but the Nationals have made Fielder their primary target. According to Ken Rosenthal, talks between the Nationals and Fielder hit “a significant roadblock on Monday.”

Some in the industry believe the Cubs are in rebuilding mode and will not be in on Prince Fielder but others believe that the Cubs are right in the middle.

Scott Boras needs the Cubs to stay in the mix (at least in the rumor mill) for Prince Fielder … and the Cubs need for Fielder to remain unsigned until after December 7 (deadline for players to accept or decline salary arbitration from their previous team).

David DeJesus
According to a report from David Kaplan, the Cubs appear to be kicking the tires on David DeJesus. DeJesus is a free agent and “fits in with the Cubs new approach to driving up pitch counts.”

After a decent run in Kansas City, DeJesus struggled in his first year with Oakland and put together a .240/.323/.376/.376 line in 131 games with 20 doubles, five triples and 10 home runs. DeJesus made $6 million last season and has a number of suitors according to Kaplan. DeJesus could be looking to a sign a two-year deal in the $4 million range per season.

Sean Marshall
Several teams are rumors to be interested in trading for Sean Marshall but according to David Kaplan, sources close to Sean Marshall believe that the Cubs are not interested in moving him and they consider Marshall an integral part of their bullpen.

Marshall could bring a nice return but if the Cubs are shopping Carlos Marmol they would need a reliable option to close out games. Kerry Wood, Andrew Cashner and Jeff Samardzija are expected to be in the mix for jobs in the backend of the pen … but Wood and Cashner have injury concerns and Samardzija has one decent season under his belt.

It does appear the Cubs’ new front office likes what they’ve seen from Sean Marshall the reliever. There has not been any indication that Marshall would return to a starting role at this point … but that could all change as the off-season continues to unfold.

News, Notes and Rumors
The Cubs may still be interested in Yu Darvish, if he is posted. Darvish is trying to decide if he wants to pitch in the States or stay in Japan. But there could be another hurdle. Darvish is going through a difficult divorce and his ex-wife could get part of a contract he signs with a Major League team … which could hit the $60 million mark. A significant difference between the $4.2 million he was paid for the season that just completed in Japan.

According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Cubs are open to moving Randy Wells.

During his Monday show on XM Radio, Jim Bowden said he would not be surprised if Carlos Marmol is moved this off-season.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Nationals view Yoenis Cespedes as plan B if they are not able to sign Prince Fielder.

Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times stated his case as to why he thinks Ron Santo will make it in to the Hall of Fame next week.

According to a report from Rotoworld, Matt Murton will continue his career in Japan.

The A’s could move into the Cubs soon-to-be-vacated training facility and Spring Training home in Mesa. The A’s are currently located in Phoenix (about 20 minutes from Mesa) and have entered exclusive negotiation rights with the City of Mesa that could result in a move. The A’s would play their spring home games at HoHoKam Park and use the current facilities at Fitch Park. Not long after the announcement was made about the A’s entering negotiations with the city, the Giants said they would not allow the A’s to move because they own the territorial rights. Stay tuned …

Ernie Paicopolos from Fenway Nation emailed the CCO about his side blog and asked us to pass along to our readers. His new blog is based on Theo Epstein’s move to the Cubs … Boston Theo Watch.

Well, that’s the update … and I’m sticking to it!

For the latest rumors and news on the Chicago Cubs … Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @The CCO

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