Weekend Update … Big Decisions for the Cubs in Big D

Baseball’s Winter Meetings officially begin on Monday but many are already in Dallas getting an early jump on the week ahead … and that includes the Chicago Cubs’ new front office. According to Tom Ricketts, a big contingent of the Cubs’ regime, including Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, are in Dallas preparing for what figures to be a big week for the Cubs.

The Cubs are one of the teams that many are expecting to be very active during the meetings. Epstein and Hoyer have a lot of holes to fill and could wrap up deals (trades or free agent signings) they’ve been working on since the GM Meetings.

On Wednesday (December 7) the Cubs will also find out if Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena have accepted or declined salary arbitration from the Cubs. Both players are expected to decline arbitration and sign multi-year deals with other teams. Three to four teams are said to be interested in Ramirez’s services and the interest in Pena has picked up over the last week … but there is still a possibility that the Cubs will re-sign Carlos Pena.

Dale Sveum’s coaching staff is expected to be announced this week as well as the compensation packages for Theo Esptein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod. The meetings conclude with the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning. A handful of players the Cubs left unprotected could be selected … Ryan Flaherty, Marwin Gonzalez, Jay Jackson and Dae-Eun Rhee.

There is another big announcement that is expected during the Winter Meetings. The Golden Era Committee (1947-1972) met Saturday and will meet again on Sunday to discuss which players will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame this year. Billy Williams is in Dallas making the case for Ron Santo. The committee will announce the results on Monday at 10:00am CT. If Santo is elected it will be a bittersweet moment for the Santo family and a call that is a year and two days too late.

Here is the update chalked full of rumors and speculation of the moves the Cubs could make while in the Lone Star State …

Cubs Pitching Options
The Cubs are looking for starting pitching … to put it simply, right now they have four big league starters on the roster and that number includes both Matt Garza and Carlos Zambrano.

Jeff Samardzija could be in the mix for a starting job this spring according to Bruce Levine and that is if Carlos Marmol is not traded. According to Levine, if the Cubs move Marmol this off-season then Samardzija and Chris Carpenter could compete for the closer’s job this spring. Levine thinks teams will be coming after some of the Cubs’ relievers and that could open up opportunities for other pitchers to step into more prominent roles.

The Cubs are expected to add pitching depth and still have interest in Mark Buehrle but he might be pricing himself out of the Cubs’ range. According to a report from Bruce Levine, it appears likely the Cubs will go after free agents like Aaron Harang, who might come at a more reasonable price … Levine’s report is not the first time the Cubs have been connected to Harang this off-season, not to mention the familiarity Jed Hoyer has with Harang from last year.

Tom Ricketts on Talkin’ Baseball
The Cubs’ Chairman joined Bruce Levine and Fred Huebner in the final hour of Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) on Saturday morning and discussed a variety of topics during a nearly 20 minute interview. Here are the highlights …

  • From a fan’s standpoint, Tom Ricketts is excited about the upcoming Winter Meetings.
  • Ricketts stressed nothing happens overnight, it takes time to build a winner and he feels over time the Cubs will have a great team.
  • When asked about the how the transition is going for the new front office, Ricketts said it is going well. The front office has been working 15-hour days and it has been difficult with their families in other cities. The new regime has been scrambling preparing for the Winter Meetings.
  • Ricketts pointed out that the Cubs’ previous regime were doing some things well and that Randy Bush, Oneri Fleita and Tim Wilken have fit in very well with the personnel that Theo Epstein brought in.
  • Ricketts thinks the Cubs have the best front office team in baseball.
  • On the possible election of Ron Santo into the Hall of Fame, Ricketts said the Cubs have done as much as they can to get him in this year. They have sent info out to the 16 voters (takes 12 votes to be elected) and they are really hoping it happens this time. Ricketts said Santo’s election would be bittersweet but hopefully they receive good news and he has to travel to Dallas on Monday.
  • Ricketts is working on a contract extension for Crane Kenney and he’s hoping to keep him with the organization for a long time. Ricketts does not understand why Kenney has been treated the way he has in the media … he said some people might be looking for a bad guy to blame for the problems the Cubs have had. Ricketts wants all of the Cubs’ fans to know how good of a job Kenney has actually done.
  • Ricketts said with Theo Epstein in charge of the baseball side and Crane Kenney running the business side of the Cubs that he feels his has the best team in baseball.
  • Epstein and Ricketts do not talk about how much is going to be spent on the big league team.
  • The money for baseball operations is determined after all of the overhead is taken out then it is up to Epstein and Hoyer on how to allocate those dollars between the big league team, the draft, player development and facilities.
  • Ricketts said the Cubs will not comment on how they are going to build the team or the free agents they may or may not be talking to. All of the rumors are just noise … but he did add, “Who knows. We could end up with a high end guy, or not.”

Jed Hoyer
Former GM and current XM Radio analyst Jim Bowden looked at all of the new general managers throughout the game and the possible moves they could make during the Winter Meetings. Bowden expects the meetings to be very active in both free agent signings and with trades. Here’s what he had to say about the Cubs’ new GM.

Quick profile: Hoyer is a measured and polished individual. Like Dipoto and Cherington, it will be his first winter meetings as a GM. Hoyer firmly believes improving the big league club is a completely separate issue than rebuilding the farm system. He certainly has autonomy as a GM, but the Cubs’ new president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein, will be hovering closely.

Possible moves: Hoyer and Epstein keep moves close to the vest, but they have talked to the agents for Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, as well as Mark Buehrle. Shortstop Starlin Castro might be the only untouchable. They don’t want to deal Matt Garza, Carlos Marmol or Sean Marshall, but they will listen to teams. And just because they are “rebuilding,” do not think they won’t sign a big free-agent. It could be a very busy winter meetings for the new Cubs contingent.

News, Notes and Rumors
According to Bruce Levine (Talkin’ Baseball on Saturday morning), Chase Headley or Ian Stewart will be the Cubs third baseman before the end of the Winter Meetings.

Troy Renck of the Denver Post was on MLB Radio Network/XM Radio on Saturday afternoon and spent a little time with Jeff Joyce and Jeff Nelson discussing Rockies’ baseball. Renck thinks Ian Stewart needs a change of scenery and his days in Colorado should be over. Renck brought up the Cubs interest in Stewart and said it would take more than Blake DeWitt to make a deal work. Renck mentioned Tyler Colvin as a possibility again. If the Rockies are able to land Colvin that could open up other avenues to improve their team for next year. From the way Renck was talking, Stewart is no longer in the Rockies’ plans. Nolan Arenado is considered to be the Rockies’ future third baseman and he could take over as soon as next spring.

According to Bruce Levine, Mark Buehrle’s agent, Jeff Berry (CAA Sports) is looking for a big pay day for the veteran southpaw. Levine is hearing either three years and $45 million or four years and $60 million.

During Talkin’ Baseball on Saturday morning, Bruce Levine said he spoke with Scott Boras this week about Prince Fielder and what it could take to sign the slugger. Boras told Levine they are looking for at least a seven-year deal.

Matt Garza addressed the off-season rumors during the tree lighting ceremony at Wrigley Field on Saturday night. Garza’s agent told him to watch television over the next week because it is going to be an active Winter Meetings. Garza said he was going to be in Italy. Garza said he’s been through this before (last six years of his career) and is used to the rumors. According to Comcast SportsNet, Garza is open to a future with the Cubs.

According to Ken Rosenthal, Yu Darvish is likely to be posted after the Winter Meetings. Once Darvish is posted, teams will have four days to submit sealed bids to Darvish’s Japanese team. The team with the winning bid would secure exclusive rights for 30 days to negotiate a contract with Darvish. It is not known for certain if Darvish will be posted … but if he is, the Cubs are rumored to be one of the many teams interested in bidding for the right to negotiate a contract with the right-hander.

UpdatedKen Rosenthal updated his report on Darvish late Saturday night with information that Darvish might not post until mid to late January. Darvish’s father told the Japanese news service Sponichi that his son could wait a month or more to make his decision.

According to a report from ESPN Chicago, teams may approach the Cubs about Geovany Soto. The Cubs may be hesitant to trade him because Welington Castillo and/or Steve Clevenger might not be ready to be a full-time big league catcher.

Bruce Levine reported, “Outside of a wild shot at Prince Fielder and Mark Buehrle or C.J. Wilson, the Cubs may decide to spend their time in Dallas looking for trades and adding more players like David DeJesus who are versatile and less costly.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

With the Winter Meetings getting underway, remember to check back with the CCO for constant updates throughout the week and to follow on Twitter for up to the minute news and rumors … follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

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  • Anonymous47701

    Would Justin Upton, Brett Jackson and David DeJesus starting in outfield be a good idea?

    • Woody34

      It would be, but there’s no chance the DBacks trade Upton.  The Cubs would have a better chance at BJ Upton than Justin.

      • Anonymous47701

        I guess it’s either BJ or Cespedes in my book.

  • Spoda17

    Nice update Neil

  • Ripsnorter1

    Ian Stewart: if he costs more than DeWitt, forgetaboutit! This guy has major problems with his swing. Lots of holes. He may very well be DONE. His glove is slightly below average at 3B. That .156 BA last year–with ZERO HRs in 122 AB–may not have been a fluke at all. Bobby Scales was much better. 

    Buehrle: Has 4 times led the league in HITS ALLOWED. Wow. Wonder how that would work out at Wrigley where the fences are shorter, and the basket above the outfield wall can catch deep flies….Combine those factors with the big contract and the head problems it causes, and Buehle becomes a 7-8 game winner in 2012. NO.

    The last 6 years, Buehle has won 15 games once, and 13 games 3 times, plus a 12 win and a 10 win season. He’s going down with this contract.

    Carpenter as your closer?  AAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA! He’s not ready for that. IF the Cubs deal Marmol, then there’s Cashner or Samardzija. Let Carpenter learn in middle relief. He has great difficulty finding the strike zone already (cf. Carlos Marmol). How does that improve anything?

    And look at the Cubs admit that Castillo and Clevenger may not be ready for a fulltime ML job. 

    THIS IS GOING TO BE A VERY INTERESTING WEEK.

    • Tony_Hall

      I agree Stewart could be too low of a Buy low candidate, but it Dewitt brings him over for a shot to see what he’s got then that’s fine.  

      Buerhle – I think he will keep pitching for awhile, as he has never been the power pitcher, that will lose his stuff. Just can’t imagine a scenario, where all of his preferred destinations are not available, and he says the Cubs are his top choice.

      Bruce Levine did say Cashner, Samardzija and Carpenter as options to be the closer, if they traded Marmol.  Carpenter has been talked about as a future closer.

      The Cubs didn’t say that Castillo and Clevenger weren’t ready, Levine did.  Maybe, just maybe if the QBall would have played them instead of Hill, we would already know the answer to this question.

      • Ripsnorter1

        QQuade wasted two–count ‘em, TWO!–opportunities to find out what we had at AA and AAA. “Thanks, QQuade.” I would think that both of them could successfully platoon at the ML level. Note the key phrase was “fulltime ML job.” And the scouts say that game calling is where Castillo is challenged. That affects the pitching staff’s ERA. 

        • Tony_Hall

          I can’t wait until the Q era is a distant memory…

          I also don’t buy the game calling, pitching coaches or managers, can call every pitch if needed, pitchers can shake him off.  I do agree that a catcher who is a good game caller is a huge asset, but there are ways to work with that.  

          I believe that if Soto gets traded, Castillo and Clevenger, could be our 2 catchers, with both getting 50% of the playing time, and if one shows he is better, than give him a more playing time.  But with neither being asked to start 5+ times a week, it will give them time to learn more, by being a part of the game calling on their days when they don’t start.  I would have the catcher not starting, sit right next to Bosio.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I am willing to trade Soto for a starting pitcher. I am willing to platoon Castillo and Clevenger. I am willing to trade/cut K. Hill.  

            BUT ARE THE CUBS??

          • Tony_Hall

            I think they are willing to trade Soto, and that is the only way I can understand Hill still being on the roster.  Having Castillo/Hill start the year, Clevenger at AAA, then after a month or 2, see how Castillo and Clevenger are doing before cutting Hill.  

            There is no other explanation for Hill on this roster still.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Well. there is one other explanation, but Kool-Aid drinkers are not going to like it.

            “They don’t know what they are doing.” LOL
            Or they are keeping him for injury insurance in ST.

          • Tony_Hall

            I’ll buy the injury insurance.  Until they fill the 40 man roster, they really don’t need to cut anyone.

            Getting Skinny again.

          • cubs1967

            there is NO way the cubs should be trading soto or marmol; you don’t trade plaerys on down years who have had success the year before.  soto is up/down each year.  next year should be up.
            marmol still can pitch like he did in 2009. no reason to move him on a down year.
            cashner needs to start; his stuff is too good; if his arm cannot hold up; then in 2012 you make him a releiver.
            smardz has NEVER shown any consistency to start; if the SP is gonna be iffy; (although a healthy cashner and a better year from demp could make it not the case); strong bullpens cover up SP warts.
            and finally, thanks to quade and JH NOT telling him what to do; we have NO clue what castillo or clevenger can do since they were never given a chance .  one or both of them need to be geo’s backup this year to find out.
            unless the cubs are overwhelmed; garza, marmol, soto need to stay. and overwhelmed means prospects now ready for the majors.
            i’ve posted since october; headley is the dude.  .865 OPS outside petco, positive UZR rating…….but the padres are waffling on their prospects; darnell and forsythe.

            good luck ronnie; here’s hoping there is a heaven heel click around 10 AM monday!!!

          • Tony_Hall

            You do if teams are willing to pay you, based on the good years.

            I agree though, that the window to trade either has passed and they need to wait for the next window.

            I believe they are going to gauge interest in Soto, and have Castillo has the back-up to start the year.  If  Castillo plays well enough and Clevenger keeps playing well, then, if the offers are good enough, that is the time to trade Soto.

            I agree that Marmol can have a better year, IF Bosio can figure him out.

          • Tom U

            Tony, when Castillo went down with an injury and Iowa’s catching was turned over to mainly Chris Robinson, with Clevenger also getting reps, the Iowa  starter’s ERA went down by nearly a run.

          • Tony_Hall

            That will keep him from ever being a starter, until he gets better at calling games, but isn’t that something that can just be taken away from him, and have the coaches call the pitches?  You hear announcers (especially ex-catchers) talk about how they use to call all of the pitches, and today, coaches do so much more of the game calling.

      • cubtex

        One thing I have been seeing alot on these post is buying low on players. While from a financial standpoint obviously that makes sense…..but if the player is an average or below average player….it still will not make your team better. So you get a player with a 2 WAR at below market??? Wouldn’t you rather get a player with a higher WAR at market value or slightly higher market value. An average or below average player at a bargain price is still an average or below average player. So the Cubs might have a bargain in RF or 3B? So what……. if they are still average or below average players.

        • Tony_Hall

          Buy low, doesn’t mean the player is awful, it usually means their stock is down.  

          Soto right now is a buy low option.  Teams may feel they can trade for him and not give up as much as he can be worth.

          Headley won’t necessarily be a buy low option. I am quite sure they will want fair compensation for him.  

          Stewart would be a good buy low candidate (especially if he has 1 option year left), as you can always cut him, if he doesn’t work out.  That’s how buy low works out best, when the risk is minimal.  If he works out and can fill 3B for 2012, and Vitters or someone else internally can take over in 2013, you may be able to trade him and get a decent return, better than Dewitt or Colvin that you may give up for him.

          It’s not always the splashy headline grabbing moves that make a team better, it’s a lot of little moves that can give an organization needed depth.

          And of course buy low is always better than JH’s buy high approach.

          • cubtex

            Of course buying low can mean the player is average. If you pay $1 for a $2 steak. It is still a $2 steak. That is my point. So now you have DeJesus for 2 years at 10 mil as your RF. What if they could have gotten Jason Kubel for RF at 2 years at 11 mil?? And what if Kubel hits 25 HR’s and drives in 80 as your RF as opposed to DeJesus hitting 12 HR’s with 65 RBI?? What if the Cubs miss the playoffs by 2 games and with Kubel’s production over DeJesus…he could have meant the difference in making the playoffs or not.

          • Tony_Hall

            I know you dislike WAR

            But….

            Jason Kubel
            2011 – 1.3
            2010 – 0.5
            2009 – 3.4
            2008 – 1.9

            Total 7.1  

            DeJesus was 11.0

            We bought Dejesus as a 2-3 WAR player for the cost of 1.0 WAR.

            That’s a good deal.  

          • cubtex

            I know…I looked at that but that is not my point. Sure…based on WAR….DeJesus is a better bargain but if you are paying slightly above market for basically the same money that you are giving DeJesus for more production…..Which is better??? I would rather have a better ballplayer. That is my point. We are the Cubs. We don’t need to shop at the Clearance rack at Walmart.

          • Tony_Hall

            I get it, but who  in this market would be a better overall player than DeJesus to have signed this year?

            Beltran
            Crisp
            Cuddyer
            A Jones
            JD Drew
            Kubel
            Ross
            Willingham

            Everyone has their ups and downs, but best overall player?  Beltran, but you are talking big dollars and injury risk.

            I don’t know, can’t say, that any of the names work that well for me.

          • daverj

            Betranand Cuddyer and  better than DeJesus, but it looks like both those players will be overpaid this offseason.

            The other players are similar in value to DeJesus or worse.Coco Crisp is one of the most overrated players.  His steals are great for fantasy baseball, but they don’t translate into Wins in real baseball.

            I’d take DeJesus over Crisp all day long.

          • daverj

            It’s pretty questionable as to whether Kubel is better than DeJesus once defense is taken into account.

            I agree with your point that teams need to overpay for great players and not just find bargains, but I don’t think the Cubs are in a position to do that yet.  The Cubs need to build a team of value players (either young players that don’t command high salaries yet like Castro) or undervalued vets like DeJesus, and then overpay for the stars to put them over the top in another year or two or three.  It’s just not time for that this offseason.  That was the mistake of the Hendry regime … trying to build a team in free agency.  It’s not a plan for sustainable success since you always have to overpay and burden the payroll down the road.  Guys like Fielder, Pujols, Wilson and Buehrle always look enticing at the time and we dream of how our roster will look with them, but the big free agent contracts are almost always long term losers for the team … smart organizations make those investments at the right time … poorly run organizations try make those investments at the wrong times when they are tempting by the short term excitement of adding big names and big stats.

          • cubtex

            If you compare fielding % with Kubel and DeJesus for RF. Kubel .990 with 9 assists in 50 plus games. DeJesus is .983% with only 6 assists in 100 plus games.

          • daverj

            That was 2011 only.  The career numbers tell a different story.  Also, those stats don’t take range into account.

          • John_CC

            DeJesus can play anywhere in the OF. If they could get Kubel too, then move DeJesus to LF or CF.  My point is that I don’t think the Cubs are neccessarily locked into DeJesus in RF. For now, yes, because it’s what they have…but they are by no means done acquiring players.  I expect the entire OF to be new this year, at some point, maybe even on Opening Day.

            So as Tony consistently points out, DeJesus is a good pick-up based on his value. But also based on his versatility.

            Kubel is interesting. But he is a hack in the OF, I think.

          • cubtex

            Then why does Hoyer come out and say he will be starting in RF and batting leadoff? If there could be other possibities the GM usually would say that DeJesus gives them flexibility and we don’t know yet how things will shake out.

  • Tony_Hall

    I would much prefer Chase Headley over Ian Stewart at 3B.  His home ballpark, skews his numbers.  

    Outside of Petco
    2011 – 330/399/465/863
    Career – 303/364/441/805

    AT Petco
    2011 – 243/348/326/674
    Career – 229/319/336/655

    That is not a typo, his slugging at home last year, was less than his OBP.  This guy deserves a chance in a different park!  Not sure I have ever seen a home/away split that was this drastic, where the player’s home park wasn’t the positive (ex. Coors Field players)

    The best part of Headley, is he would be tradeable, down the road, if Vitters proves to be the real deal, Castro needs to go to 3B, etc., as he has 3 years of arbitration left. 

    Not sure what it will take to get Headley, but Jed, obviously knows the Padres needs, and should be able to work out a deal.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Yes, I’d think Headley is the better choice of the two. I agree that Hoyer will know what it takes to get him. 

      Ian Stewart ought to be free. 

      • Tony_Hall

        LOL – Stewart might become free, as they may waive him anyway…but then again, we think they should just waive Dewitt, so maybe it is a good swap.

        • Tom U

          Rather have them option DeWitt to Iowa, he has one option left.

          • Tony_Hall

            Rather then swap him for Stewart or release him.  With an option left, they would definitely put him at AAA, before releasing him, but I would take a chance on Stewart for Dewitt, not really giving up much.

            Do we know if Stewart has any options left?  Or is that why they are looking to trade him now, he is out of options?

    • John_CC

      I’d like to see him too, with the Cubs that is.  His career road split is really solid, and last year he flat out raked.

      Colorado is playing hardball with Stewart based on his distant past and the expectations he has never risen to. They can try to make demands but it won’t last long. I wouldn’t be terribly sad to see Colvin go, but he is way better than Stewart.

      I’m glad Hendry isn’t at the helm. Just had to say that out loud again.

  • Tony_Hall

    Ju Darvish
    Yoenis Cespedes
    Jorge Soler

    Why do I feel that we will end up with one of these guys?

    The more players from Cuba and Japan that come to the US, gives us a better idea of how these players will perform in MLB. But, just as in can’t miss prospects, it doesn’t always translate to the next level.  

    I get the hype with Cespedes, he looks to be a very good ballplayer.  But, with having to pay him like a FA, versus a drafted player, requires a lot risk.  It’s like having the #1 pick in the NFL, with no clear cut #1 player, you are going to pay him like he is a clear cut #1. To get Cespedes, you are doing to have to pay him like a above average free agent OF, and looks to be one of the best talents that has come out of Cuba.

     Ju Darvish – Same thing he is getting a lot of hype, looks to be better than what we have seen from Japan, but same thing, he is going to cost  a lot of money, after paying the posting fee to his Japanese club, then paying him.

    Jorge Soler could be the best deal.  But he is younger and will not be an immediate help to the big league club. And as teams fold on the high priced guys, it could up the ante for the Soler.

    Plus, no one know the true age of these guys.  Cespedes is 26, which is good.  Soler is 19, great.  But what if Cespedes is really 29.  Now that contract will look really bad, really quick.

    No matter what, the FA market is always expensive, and the Cubs will always be players in it, as they have a large enough payroll  to have these players.   The key to making it work, is to have players coming off  the books every year, so you can always have players to trade off, to get more prospects, or just having payroll freed up each year, so that you aren’t handcuffed to add a player that you may need.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Looks like a lot of Funko-risk in these guys, doesn’t it?

      What great stars from Japan have really panned out when you factor in the cash? Dice-K was a bust (for the money). Funko? Could I please have my $47 million back? Chan Ho Park? Not really. He had one real good year (2000, 18-10, 3.27). And he had three Buehle years (13, 14, 13, 15 wins). But one 13 win year was with a 5.37 ERA. And all his pitching was done in the most pitcher friendly park in all of MLB: Dodger stadium. 

      How about the Cuban/Latin America side? Several of them aged rather rapidly–gaining as much as 3 years in a single sentence. “I’m not really 32, I’m 35 years old” etc.

      Lots of risk for unproven ML talent. 

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree, I wish they would all go throught the draft, and teams could put them at AA or AAA for a season, to see what they could do.  Instead, teams give all this money to players from other countries, based on playing against single A competition at best.

      • John_CC

        Looking at these three, pitching is a lot different. You can see what kind of “stuff” a guy has, how hard he throws, etc.  Sure, the number of Ks may not transfer if hitters are better in the MLB than in Japan but the ratios should stay the same. The problem with Dice-K is not his stuff, it’s hit make-up.  Darvish looks interesting.  Everyone says he is better than Dice-K, better stuff, way more competitive, better work ethic.

        You cannot just pan all Latin players because some have aged rapidly. Come on, man, there are so many great players that came out of Latin America that is just lame critique.  

        • Ripsnorter1

          John,
          Don’t miss the point: Latin American players come from countries that do not have reliable birth certificates. Unlike the USA, where we can say with certainty how old a player is, many Dominicans, for example, understate their true ages when speaking with a scout. Therefore a player that says he’s 19, but is really 23, may project a lot differently than a true 19 year old player. 

          • John_CC

            I got your point. That’s a pretty wide stereo type.

            I think you missed mine; are you discounting the value of all Latin American ballplayers because they may or not be lying about their ages?

          • Ripsnorter1

            I am saying, if a player says he’s 19 and the scouts PROJECT that he will improve because he is still very young,  and in fact he is 23 years old, then said player has cheated the system. Teams will pay more for a 19 yr old over a 23 with the same performance because they anticipate more improvement. It is a proven fact that the younger a player is when he makes it to the MLs, the greater his performance will be.

      • Gary J

        There’s this guy in Seattle – plays RF – I hear he’s been pretty good for them

        • Ripsnorter1

          Ichiro has been a stud–no question about it.

          But look at the money.3 yr, $14 million. It wasn’t the crazy $50+ million dollar contracts we are seeing now. 

      • EqDoc

        Chan Ho Park is from South Korea, not Japan.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Heath Bell signs with Miami. 3yrs (club option 4th) at $9 million per.

    He’s 34 already. I wonder if the wheels will fall off the wagon this year due to age and contract.

    • Tony_Hall

      Factor in, pitching fastballs at Petco, to going to a new park, that we don’t know how it will play.  

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yes. If it’s a hitter band box (like Milwaukee), he’s in trouble. He’s a fly ball pitcher.

    • Schwimmer

      There is always at least 1 “outlier” Team that is willing to “overpay” or make a very stupid “signing.”  (e.g. JASON WERTH and the NATIONALS…What on earth was their GM…thinking to pay sooooooo much money for a player of his caliber?)  That’s a good example of what happens when “stupid people” have access to lots of money!!!

      There are very few players that are worth taking the risk to “over-pay” on a contract.  ADRIAN GONZALEZ was a good risk.  And, JOEY VOTTO would be another.

      PUJOLS is not worth 9 years at $22m to $27m per year.  I am sure that the CARDINALS have come up with some “cock-a-mamie” logic for why they can offer 9 years at $200m.

      But it makes no sense to be paying a guy (playing in the National League) $22m+ when he’s 39 or 40!!!!!!   Someone…please tell me where I am wrong on this point?

      And, I don’t think that PUJOLS would accept $30m on a 6 year contract.  That is why most baseball experts think he’ll re-sign with the CARDINALS.  They have offered him the best contract he’ll ever get!

      FIELDER is only worth $20m per year for maybe 5 or 6 years.   BORAS has backed away from an “8 year contract.” Now he says he wants a minimum of 7 years.  I’d rather see the CUBS pay him $22m to $25m on a 5 year contract than risk signing him to 7 years.

      I say to THEO…try to make a deal for a Super Star.  But if you think you’ll have to “over-pay” for “too long of a contract” — then, let some other foolish team sign that player. 

      Just like catching a BUS….there will always be another Super Star to sign.  

      Besides…I think it is a very clever strategy to let other teams use 10% to 15% of their payroll on an “over-priced” signing.  That means that they will not be competing with you as much in future years.

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree on the length of deals, but if you are willing to go 5 years $25M/year, why would you be against this deal

        2012-2016 – $25M/year
        2017 – $8M
        2018 – $7M

        That is 7 years at $140M, AAV $20M, paid out more in the first 5 years.

        If Fielder will accept a 7 year/$140M contract, that is close to how I would structure it, to pay more in the beginning of the contract, and make the riskier last years, not so bad on the budget, and easier to trade if he is just a DH.

        • Schwimmer

          I like the way you’ve laid out the payment schedule for FIELDER.  That kind of signing may make sense.

          Maybe you should consider being a GM? :)

          • Tony_Hall

            Or an agent :)  

            The next step the agent would take is, since you are willing to go $25M/year, then we need to add in ways for years 6 and 7 to get up to $25M, based on continued performance levels and/or add in an opt out clause after year 5.

            See how during negotiations, teams can end up paying too much?

    • cubtex

      I think they will regret that contract.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yeah, me too. 

  • Ripsnorter1

    Extending Crane Kennedy…..GAG!

  • Ripsnorter1

    IT’S A NO-BRAINER…..

    Trade Soriano (plus some cash) to the White Sox for Adam Dudd. Why?Sox need the cash.
    Dudd was a dud on the Southside, and may not improve in 2012.

    Cubs need a LH power bat.Dudd hits in the NL and esp. so in Wrigley.
    Both have 3 years left.Both teams need rid of their current player.
    Cubs need a 1B.Sox need a DH/LF.

    It could work. 

    • Tony_Hall

      It could work, but as much as we complain about Soriano, Adam Dunn was not bad last year, he was absolutely horrible.  

      Now, I do believe his health issue, caused alot of the problems, that got him off to a bad start, but he actually had a worse 2nd half

      1st half –  160/292/305/597
      2nd half – 158/293/226/519

      By the way, I googled Adam Dudd and it went straight to his baseball reference page.

    • ldsteam2011

      Dunn at 1b NO WAY!!! 

  • Schwimmer

    QUESTION to Neil (or anyone else who knows the answer):

    With the new CBA…it seems to me that the idea of limiting teams from having more money available for minor league signings…has ONE big implication.

    And, that would be that they want to force MLB Teams to pay even more money to players who have already made it to the Major Leagues.  And, they want to stop that money being spent to sign minor league prospects.

    If I am correct — that means that players who are already being paid “ridiculous” amounts of money — will now be in an even better position to be paid even more money.  Because, teams will not have to limit the amount of money they spend in the Draft.

    Am I correct, in thinking this to be the real logic of the newest CBA???

    If I am correctly interpreting the major change in the newest CBA — I can see how this would be devastating to “small market teams” that have to depend on “growing their own superstars.”  Because they can’t be writing $20m checks to sign Superstars.

    I understand why the Players Union would want this change in the new CBA.  But…Why would the OWNERS and Bud Selig agree to making this change in the CBA.  After all, it would only drive MLB contracts and budgets higher than they already are!

    Please explain this to me.  Maybe I am not understanding the new CBA correctly?

    Thanks

    • Tony_Hall

      I think you have a good theory on how this could work.  But another way to look at is, that the next tier down of players, who have major league experience, and are average, to slightly above average players at the major league level, are now worth more money, as they are able to play at this level.  

      Small market teams, I feel, can benefit in this new CBA, as they no longer have to worry about the Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees, out bidding them for their draft picks.  That is how the Cubs had such a good draft, players were thought to be tough to sign players, so small market teams had to pass on them, as they need to sign their picks, and don’t always have the cash to go over slot.  Now, small market teams (all teams for that matter) can take the best available player, further spreading out the talent in the draft more equitably.  

      Why do you think the Red Sox and Yankees have such good farm systems?  They have done what the Cubs did this year, and take chances on players that are thought to be tough to sign.

      • Anthony

        The new CBA is aso a windfall for the college programs as more talent will be infused into that system that otherwise may have been overpaid to buy them into MILB.

        These soon to be college players will get their instruction there versus the low minor leagues, and with a round reduction to 40, I would expect teams to stop drafting even earlier than that.

        You may see a draft in 2012(called average talent) that cherry-picks the few premier high school kids first, the best of the college crop, then many “courtesy/legacy” picks that have no intention to sign. You may also see plenty more high school kids go the JUCO route to remain draft-eligible.

        I haven’t analyzed the CBA yet to the point of its effect on college baseball, the minors, and the draft to predict how scouting directors are pre-planning, but on the surface, they may accelerate current minor league players, purge out older ones to create roster space and opportunity for younger and newer guys because it appears the new CBA has a built in Attrition system to it, i.e more out, less in, then less out annually.

    • Anthony

      Correct. The ML current and former players I know personally said it was all about giving stupid monies to kids who are unproven versus guys who climbed the ranks and earned their way to the show.

      This new model in the CBA is a twisted way toward a hard slotting system, which was what they wanted.

      As I mentioned before, the timing was good because of the depth of the 2011 Draft. Why do you think the Cubs, and other clubs spend highly in this draft? Yes, the talent depth, but mostly because they all had the knowledge that the shopping window was going to tighten up.

       
       
       
       
       
       

  • John_CC

    Great update, Neil, thank you!

  • Anthony

    Ok, make corrections where needed:

    They published the Top 10 rounds aggregate pool at $185M, some clubs get a little more, some less, but for illustrative purposes, assume it even at $6.17M

    Ballpark figures spent in 2011 Draft:
    1st Round $103M including supplemental
    2nd Round $26M
    3rd Round $16M

    $165M/185M or 89% of the pool for 10 rounds spent before the 4th round.

    The Yankees, who had no 1st round pick spent a mere $4M in the top ten rounds in 2011

    The Red Sox spent around $9M

    The Cubs spent around $5M, but inked Dunston for over a million in round 11, who under the new rules would have to be in round 10, so they spent according to pool, per se

    The Nationals spend over $16M in the top 10 rounds…..not anymore!

    What does this mean?

    Well, you can’t pay the Phenom the whole wad anymore, $6M bonus is a no-no, as is the guise of a MLB contract, eliminated. If the phenom is a high school kid, does he settle for a $1.5M bonus or go to college? The college star has to take it because it won’t get any better.

    The other key part is the Cap of $100,000 on rounds 11-40 as any excess invades your top 10 round pool of spending dollars, so no more overslot deals for high school kids like Dillon Maples in RD 14.

    Gonna digest this and project what it does to the minor league landscape, and for the majors, these changes also assist the 20-40 ranked players on current rosters, which are the ones who I heard needed the most benefit from the agreement?

    • Dorasaga

      Fine summary, Anthony. I was wondering about the same thing. But I don’t see clubs necessarily allocate more resources on free agents, as one CCO post mentioned before. The timing is bad (the economy and massive replacement of high managements). I’m seeing clubs not willing to spend overall.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    I’ve been waiting for this one … from Phil Rogers, so please consider source.

    Hendry almost signed Kuroda before #dodgers. Now I’m hearing #cubs’ epstein is
    interested after dodgers’ seeming goodbye

    • AFox

      I like Kuroda but wonder if he’ll be asking for Buehrle $$$, maybe not quite as much because he’s 37, but he’s coming off some pretty strong seasons in LA.  I’m guessing 2yr/20M?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Rumors were he was looking for $10/year from Dodgers and that is why they signed Capuano … same $10 million but two years, not the same pitcher though. Your estimate is probably right.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Here ya go … from Buster Olney: Sounds like Hiroki Kuroda looking for a
        deal in the $12-$13m a year range. Which he should be able to get,because it’s
        not a long-term deal.

        • Dorasaga

          Not for the Cubs. His moment had passed.

          • cubtex

            I like Kuroda too but I agree. For 12 or 13 mil a year for a 37 year old…he doesn’t make sense this year.

  • AFox

    MLBTR says three teams have made offers to Buehrle, two being National League teams.  Cubs one of them?

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/12/three-teams-made-three-year-offers-to-buehrle.html

  • paulcatanese

    As I had said in late 2010 and 2011 the aqusition of Q by JH and the lack of direction by Ricketts to grab the bull by the horns have cost the Cubs dearly with time wasted.
    The failure to play these guys at the end of 2010 and 2011 (more of 2010) pushed the development away for another full year.
    When JH was let go, why did Ricketts not tell Q he wanted the youngsters to play to see what they had?
    Now the Cubs have Theo here to do many of the things that should have been done prior, and the value of a lot of the players have dropped on top of that.
    I see all of this happening now and I ask myself over and over again, why,The Cubs have thrown a season and a half away.
    Catching would have been solved, as well as many of the other spots that are still question marks.
    I am sure Ricketts is asking himself the same questions as now he has had to spend millions to bring Theo and his crew in to straighten this mess out.

    • Anthony

      paul, very well put

    • SuzyS

      Paul, I used to post multiple times on a daily basis. Now, you might see me once per week…for exactly the reasons you just stated.
       JH literally made me sick….combined with Ricketts indecision and inability to move in a timely fashion…well anyone could see the disintegration of a once hopeful franchise.

      Here’s the thing…Ricketts DID wake up when he saw his 850 million investment losing value before his eyes.  Now there is HOPE again. BUT another 1 1/2 years of (morassity)???

      It is going to be a slow process…and mistakes will be made.
      BUT you will see me posting more often again….because I really think the Cubs…In all of my lifetime…finally have a real
      management team in place…better then the previous best…
      “Dallas Green”.

      Another World Series is coming.

      • paulcatanese

        Nice to see you post again Suzy. And I agree, Ricketts did wake up, and I am just crying over spilled milk.
        I was just pointing out the frustration of all the wasted time and poor judgement that took place. So many issues would have been resolved.
        But as you say it’s a new day and I am sure Ricketts feels the same.

  • paulcatanese

    Just wanted to say 1957 was a great year and DeJesus has nothing on me.

    • cubtex

      Good looking couple Paul! You look like you could have been swinging with Frank Sinatra!

      • Anthony

        a little DiMaggio there also?

        • paulcatanese

          Anthony, funny you should mention DiMaggio,
          my avitar is of my wife when she played at Doris Day’s Motel, Palo Alto Ca. Met DiMaggio  and YA Tittle at a sports banquet back in the early 60’s. 

          • Dorasaga

            Is your wife a singer? or the pianist?

          • paulcatanese

            Violinist, soloist, former concert, before commercial.

          • Dorasaga

            Impressive. Again, great share!

          • Anthony

            paul, what happened to our game?

          • paulcatanese

            Sorry Anthony, I got lost in the moment, but I do like you’re analysis of the college and high school draftees. We could have a few posts on that. Four siblings Div 1 one drafted and one football draft.
            A lot of things can happen.

          • paulcatanese

             By the way Anthony, that same bowling alley featured the Chicago Cubs bowling team that I watched,
            Andy Pafko, Phil Caveretta, and Charlie Grimm, that was a thrill.

          • Anthony

            get me your email

          • paulcatanese

            That
            would
            be fine
            but think it has to go thru Neil
            if he oks it
            i would be happy to.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Anthony, send me your email and I will forward to Paul

            neil@chicagocubsonline.com

      • paulcatanese

        Thanks, that was 54 years ago and were still hanging out. The photo was taken at Ray Shalks bowling alley in Evergreen Park. (Ray was an ex White Sox catcher)

  • paulcatanese

    Just saw where “Manny” wants to play again, Cubs cant use him, theres no bathroom in left field, now their a defensive player someone can use.

    • paulcatanese

      That picture of my wife and I was only supposed to be on one time, If anyone knows how to take it off, I would appreciate the help. 1957 was a long time ago and one picture is enough.

  • RynoTiger

    From Rotoworld.com:

    Matt Loede of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland reports that Prince Fielder has
    narrowed his choices of where he will sign this offseason to the Blue Jays,
    Rangers and Brewers, with the Blue Jays thought to be the favorites.

    The report is rather obscure, so take it with a big grain of
    salt. If Loede is correct, then we would have to think Fielder would essentially
    be down to the Blue Jays and Rangers, as the Brewers don’t look to be willing to
    go past a six-year, $120 million offer, which almost surely will not be enough.
    The Nationals, Cubs and Marlins have also been linked to Fielder.

    • John_CC

      The Blue Jays?? Over Texas?  I’m having a hard time believing that. And who the h-e-l-l is Matt Loede?

      • daverj

        I’ve read in a few places that the Jays are making signing Prince a priority.  It wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up there.

    • Anthony

      An agent would never reveal his clients hole cards as it drives the price down

      A local reporter, from a city unaffiliated with the player, is trying to generate self interest

  • cubtex

    As RIP often says…..Everyone put down your Cubbie Blue Kool Aid for a minute and honestly ask yourself this question…..

    IF….Theo was not the GM and we just signed David DeJesus as our starting RF and just traded for Ian Stewart to start at 3B…..How many of you would be happy????

    • Anthony

      well, it tells me that Theo feels the other AA/AAA outfielders are unqualified, and that Vitters/Flaherty/ and any other that profile are unqualified

      It would confirm under the old regime that they also refuse to test/play the farm players

      In my opinion, if that is the case across the board, then trade Vitters/DJ/Flaherty

      Clear space for younger outfielders to at least be tested at the higher levels, in other words, expedite the process

      Adduci, Perez, Wright, Burgess, etc. etc. at this point are destined for nowhere it appears based on lack of movement

      The cycle does its thing anyway, so expedite it in addition to the new system doing it also

      The minor leagues will be shrinking(talent compression) from the CBA anyway for at least the next 3 Drafts, that based on a reduction in rounds and more kids opting for college now for 3 years.

      As I keep analyzing the new CBA, the more I think most blue chip high schoolers will go to college, more college stars will get paid better collectively in the 1st 10 rounds, and many more college players will supplant HS kids after round 10.

      On average every Draft, the 1500 or so kids are split between HS and college, and 1/2 overall sign.

      Look for the distribution to eventually be 3/4 college and 1/4 high school, meaning the minor leagues will have more older and experienced players infused, but all with a shorter window of opportunity. The gristmill is coming and will turnover faster than ever, and the days of the AAAA player are ending.

      That, of course, is if my interpretation is accurate!

    • Tony_Hall

      IF…IF…IF….IF…

      If it was Jim Hendry, it would have been 3 years $24M, with a full no trade clause and a vesting option for Year 4 at $10M based on making 50 AB’s in Year 2.

      Did I miss something on Stewart?

      • cubtex

        No Tony. Forget who the GM is. Just go with the players at the same salary. Are you happy with that? With Stewart….I have a feeling something will happen soon with him. That is why I included him.

        • cubtex

          With LaHair falling flat on his face in Venezuela….how can Theo honestly not try to sign or trade for a 1st baseman?

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t think he can.  He needs to be active in Fielder and hopefully be able to structure the contract properly.  I tend to believe he will ask for and receive and opt out clause to be able to test FA again, in his early 30’s.  I don’t like the idea of Pena coming back, unless it’s another 1 year deal max.  Pujols just scares me, Cardinal fans seem to not mind if they don’t sign him back, especially after winning the World Series again.  They say they have seen his lower half slowing down already.

          • Anthony

            don’t knee-jerk

            baseball is designed for short window failures and success

            when you add it up over a longer period, you get a better indication

            the “kid” deserves a shot to be a MLB regular

          • J Daniel

            Maybe Theo is listening to everyone on here complaining on how LaHair has never gotten a fair chance and would be a stud if he did.  

          • Tom U

            Here’s how some other major leaguers are faring this winter:

            Wily Mo Pena – .190
            Michael Martinez – .115
            Jake Fox – .229
            Jorge Cantu – .194
            Ryan Spilsborghs – .250
            Alex Cora – .253
            Yorvit Torrealba – .111

            LaHair at .237, 8 home runs (tied for second), 17 RBI

          • cubtex

            Tom…Look at those names you are throwing out there. Will any of those players be on a mlb roster this year? Alex Cora and Spillborghs?

          • Tom U

            Of the top ten hitters in the VWL, only Brandon Belt has any major league experience. Most of the others are Triple-A players, none of whom had as good a season as LaHair last year.

            LaHair wanted to leave last week because he wasn’t getting enough work. After his hot start, teams just pitched around him. He was persuaded to come back and blew the pitcher away in his first game. Then he was pitched around again.

            Try not to rely on information from someone who calls himself Pepe Beisbol.

          • cubtex

            OK Tom. I didn’t know the source but I guess the source of the name says it all! Pepe Beisbol…Wow! :)

          • paulcatanese

            not
            enouf
            room
            sorry
            no
            reply

        • Tony_Hall

          I have no problem bringing in Stewart for Dewitt.  Upside with little down side. I prefer going and getting Headley.

          DeJesus’s signing is a good overall value, for a slightly above average player.  If he bombs, so what, it’s not that much money per year and he can be nice versatile bench player.  If he bounces back to pre-2011 numbers, it’s a very nice signing.

          • Anthony

            utility

        • RickinMSP

          I guess I assumed that 2012 would be a transitional year and there would be some disposable/stop-gap players on the field, which is how I view Stewart.  My assumption regarding DeJesus is that he will utimately be a heavily used fourth outfielder.  Heavily used because he can play all three outfield spots.  If DeJesus is still our regular right fielder going into 2013 that is when I’ll be upset about his signing.  Despite statements to the contrary, I don’t think he was signed to be the Cubs starting right fielder for the next two and potentially three years.  I don’t think the Cubs are going to sign him then immediately dismiss him as insignificant

          • cubtex

            I have no problem signing DeJesus as outfield depth. I have a problem signing DeJesus and naming him a starting rightfielder and leadoff hitter on December 1st.

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t believe they named him the lead-off hitter, I think that is just where he has batted the most and reporters have speculated he would bat.  

          • John_CC

            You should know better than taking everything said so completely literal. Do you think it would have been realistic, or even very fair to the newly signed player for Hoyer to have said: “DeJesus is going to be our 4th OF. He just isn’t good enough to be a starter, though he has been for the past 7 years, we just don’t believe he is good enough to start for the Cubs. We like this signing as such. We are still looking for a RFer…”?

          • cubtex

            John….Are you serious?????

          • cubtex

            What kind of credibilty will your gm have with the players around baseball if he promises a player a starting job to sign for your team and then changing their role. What other free agent would want to play for a gm that goes back on their word??? This is not fantasy baseball John. You are dealing with mlb players. Do you think DeJesus would have signed if he wasn’t guaranteed what his role would be?

          • Tony_Hall

            That doesn’t mean he was guaranteed RF.  

          • John_CC

            Are you serious? What guaranteed?

    • John_CC

      You just can’t let it rest, can you?

      The point is Jim Hendry is NOT the GM. So some of us are holding back judgement until all the moves are completed. Stewart is not going to be the starting 3B…unless he has some amazing ST…otherwise lets just slow down.

      • cubtex

        The players play the game. If they trade for Stewart this offseason…..Hell yes he will be the starting opening day 3rd baseman. Why else would they trade for him??? Take off those Theo rose colored glasses for a moment and be objective.

        • Tony_Hall

          I wouldn’t assume that.  

          Wasn’t Baker and Dewitt battling to be starting 2B in spring training last year?

          Darwin Barney changed that.

          Even QBall figured that out.

          • cubtex

            It will be Stewarts job to lose if they trade for him. He will be the opening day 3B. If he flops…then they will put someone else in there.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree, it will be his to lose, but he could lose it.

            Just like it was Baker or Dewitt’s job to lose.

            If a player is outplayed, he is outplayed.  They will have no allegiance to Stewart.

            I think they want Headley and are using the Rockies and Stewart to get a better deal.

        • J Daniel

          Come on . . . completely agree with John . . . give it a break and see what happens.  You can have an I told you so but why keep pounding it?  Really?

          • cubtex

            I don’t want an I told you so. I want people to be objective on the offseason moves. This is not a low budget team.

        • John_CC

          Look man, I just see it differently. I simply do not agree. Yes, I have faith in Epstein and Hoyer and trust that they are taking a long view. 

          The endless, cynical, jaded take on every single thing that is done is tiresome. What’s the point?

    • cubs1967

      agreed; dejesus for 5M is a waste; not worth more than 3.5M; that’s the eyetest; screw WAR on him.
      stewart hit .156; there’s a problem.
      headley is better. so would prince.

      103 freakin years folks………….there is NO grace period for tommyboy and family or team Theo.

      5 teams make the playoffs next year; hello!!

      • Tony_Hall

        What would you have done for next years OF?  We needed to add somebody.

        • J Daniel

          Would have added Sarge, Dernier, and bring back Sosa.

          • cubtex

            Now that was a good outfield! :)

          • paulcatanese

            Hey, I had just as much fun watching Lowry, Pafko and
            Swish in the outfield.

        • Anthony

          down on the farm

          you never know what you got till you take a chance

          • Tony_Hall

            Names please, that is way to general.

        • cubtex

          Here are what I think will happen this offseason with the outfield. As we know…DeJesus will be in right. I honestly believe Byrd will be in CF because they do not want to start with BJax. Soriano will be dealt and they will look at another low cost stopgap option for LF.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree on CF – Jackson will take over mid-season, to get an extra year of control and Byrd will most likely be traded.  

            I believe they will do everything they can to trade Soriano (and get someone to pay $10-$12M of his contract :)

            They will then, if looking for a stopgap, will put Lahair in LF, if they signed Fielder.  If Lahair is at 1B, then I could see them using a internal player to fill LF or RF, depending on defense, until they fill RF, with a more traditional RF.

            There really is no FA out there that is that great to add, for anything more than a stopgap. 

    • Ripsnorter1

      ANSWER: 

      NONE!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Jon Paul Morosi: Teams that have inquired on Ian Stewart
    include the Orioles. Cubs, Mariners, Pirates and Angels, source says.

    • Anthony

      Vitters should retire

      Those inflated Rocky Mountain HR’s are a taint!

      $5 hot dogs and a $8 glass of beer

  • Anthony

    well, from reading many posts, there are a few who remember baseball from the pre-roid days as well as MLB filled with baseball players versus projects(paul chime in)

    all this banter is understood and most is born from frustration

    many of you deserve a WS Title

    I came on board with a different view. At this point, I have no emotional involvement with the Cubs as a WS contender, but that may change if all the tumblers click, so my interest is far different than most of you, but, the process frustrates me because the advanced electronic age skews reality, the money causes poor decision, and the hype created by all these experts clouds reality.

    Most baseball writers are journalist majors(BA, etc.), but they love the game and try to influence it even though the insiders chuckle at their takes on the matter, but it sells papers.

    Some takes by me:

    LaHair dominated, but yet not good enough for a regular spot and a chance.

    Vitters, a 1st rounder sitting at home saying hey, they are going to hold me back for a retread?

    Flaherty, hey, I am exposed to be re-drafted, have done well waiting for a chance, and blocked once again by my empoyer telling me I ain’t good enough.

    How many more stories do you want?

    Those guys were 1st rounders in many eyes, but the experts prefer retreads? Go figure, and in the meantime, dollars are spent on players because they played football?

    Football is a game that requires lunacy and minimal gifts given by their God. The process is F’d up more than you can realize.

    paul, what happened to our game?

    What a Joke.

    • Tony_Hall

      Lahair will only be, not given a chance, if they sign Fielder or Pujols, and a long shot of bringing back Pena.

      Vitters is expecting to be on the AAA team to start the year, and should be happy they bring in Stewart over Headley, as Headley will be harder to displace.  Either way, he is still very young, and shouldn’t have any worries about getting to Clark and Addison, except to keep hitting.

      Flaherty has never been a highly ranked prospect, but has always put up decent numbers.  If he gets an invite to ST, he could open up some eyes there, as he has the versatility teams like to have on the bench.

      There is a difference between players who have proven to be average at the major league level, versus, players who struggle when they move up a level.  Hopefully with a new system, for how to play the game, we will see a smoother procession through the different levels, to more consistently produce major league ready players.

      • cubtex

        Remember another 1st baseman the Cubs had in AAA in 2008?

        Look at these numbers….

        .362 Avg .393 OBP  25 HR and 100 RBI

        Guess who?   Micah Hoffpauir

        I have a feeling LaHair will be following Hoffpauir to Japan.

        • Tony_Hall

          I agree, there usually is a reason a guy stays in the minors for as long as he has, and it’s not always because he is blocked.  

          I also believe we actually have 1B prospects that could be ready soon, and Lahair may be able to fill 1B this year.

    • paulcatanese

      Anthony, I agree, pre roid days were the best. Today’s players and the way contracts and free agency is structured leaves little time for the public even to get to know the players on the team as they will be gone as soon as they can.
      Now there is no loyalty at all in the game, either from the players or the owners, and where the tremdous amount of exchanged monies has come from all of this is literaly destroying the game.
      There was a day when I could recognize players in the restaurant or on the street because they stayed around for a longer period of time.
      Pujols and Fielder along with guys like A-Rod are a disgrace to the game. So is Cespedes, what in the name of anything gives them the right to demand the money they are asking for?
      Its true Pujols and Fielder are talented, but where did they get the opportunity to develop those skills?
      Oh yes and then we have Pena,”I love Chicago, love the city, want to stay here forever” as soon as he has the chance to opt for free agency, he wants it. Not that I want him back as it will cost more for another average season.

      And yes football requires lunacy as I had three (son,two grandkids) choose football ever baseball, all three had major surgerys and one choose baseball.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Interesting scenario from the Denver Post: If
    Rockies acquire Tyler Colvin in a deal for Ian Stewart, what if Rockies could flip Tyler Colvin and Seth Smith for Martin Pradohttp://tinyurl.com/7kvo5fa

    • Tony_Hall

      This answers the question on Stewart’s options, he does have options.

      From the link above.———The Ian Stewart situation continues to create questions and options. The most likely scenario remains a trade. But Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd has told opposing executives he won’t give Stewart away. The reasons? Stewart has minor-league options remaining, and his arbitration contract is not guaranteed. So O’Dowd doesn’t have to blink yet. As many as four teams have touched base about Stewart, including the Cubs and Diamondbacks.The Rockies’ idea of fair value? They have offered Stewart for Pedro Alvarez andChase Headleyand would take Tyler Colvin in a deal. The Cubs’ Colvin creates an interesting scenario. What if the Rockies could flip Colvin and Seth Smith for Martin Prado? It’s something to think about with the winter meetings starting Monday.

      • cubtex

        Colvin is from Georgia so the Atlanta spin makes sense.

    • RynoTiger

      Rather than settling for Stewart, it would be smart of Jed and Theo to then just use Colvin and someone else to get Prado for the Cubs at 3B.

      • cubtex

        Now thats more like it!

      • Demitri

        If they take Colvin, who else do we include?

  • Tony_Hall

    Looks like Reyes is going to Miami

    6 years $111M

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/12/marlins-offer-reyes-six-year-111mm-deal.html

    No thanks on that contract and injury history.

    • cubtex

      I saw that. I couldn’t respond to the earlier comment because it was sooooooo skinny but to answer your question. If DeJesus was not promised a starting job do you think he would have signed with the Cubs? And…if there was a chance he could play LF or CF….Hoyer would not come out and specifically say RF. He is our starting RF.

      • Tony_Hall

        He was obviously promised a starting job, but they said RF, because that is the only current opening. He will play whatever OF spot, his defense allows, based on who else is starting. 

        Who knows, maybe they will trade Soriano, and go with DeJesus in LF, Byrd in CF, and B Jackson in RF.  Until we know the 25 man roster on Opening Day, we just don’t know who will be the starters.  There is going to be a lot of new starters in 2012.

        • cubtex

          He would have just said he would be one of our starting oufielders for next year then.

          • Tony_Hall

            We have gone over this so many times, I would really think you would have gotten it by now.  

            They haven’t traded Soriano yet.

            RF is the only spot that is open.  

            If he said he will be one of our starting OF’s, it would mean they will trade Soriano, no matter what before the year starts.  That would reduce their leverage on getting even $10-$12M back.

            If you still disagree, fine. We will have to agree to disagree.

          • John_CC

            I guess I should have read this first before writing the same thing…it seems so apparent…

          • John_CC

            This is what I was talking about and you had to ask if I was serious…why do you take it so literally?  Why would Hoyer say “he’ll be one of our starting outfielders”?  What would that imply? Do you think the GM should say publicly that they are trying to get rid of their left and/or center fielders?

            Yes, I am serious.

          • cubtex

            I am exhausted with this talk. GM’s do not lie to the media. They don’t always show their hand but they will not be this specific. Please read how he specifies RIGHT. Wouldn’t he say his defensive ability at ALL positions.

            “He does a lot of things very well,” Hoyer said, pointing to DeJesus’ career hitting against right-handers, his defensive ability in right, his base-running and plate discipline.
            “All those are areas that we’re looking to improve,” Hoyer said. “David helps to do that.”
            DeJesus could make $15 million over three years if the Cubs pick up a $6.5 million option in 2014 (that includes a $1.5 million buyout for that season if the option is not exercised). He will receive $4.25 million in 2012 and 2013.
            Though DeJesus hit .240 in an off season in 2011 for the A’s, he’s a career .284 hitter over nine years, including eight with the Royals. Hoyer said DeJesus was not brought in to platoon in right, though the Cubs probably will add a right-handed hitting outfielder who can play the corners.
            DeJesus hit only .174 against left-handers in 2011, with a .227 on-base percentage and a .231 slugging percentage, playing primarily in right.
            “We don’t see him as a platoon player,” Hoyer said. “Does that mean he won’t get days off against tough lefties? I’m sure we’ll try to provide that support and flexibility for (manager Dale Sveum).”

          • John_CC

            that makes at least two of us! let’s move on, this is so nit-picky, I don’t want to do it anymore.

          • Tony_Hall

            Amazing!  We have said over and over why he says RF, and doesn’t publicly say, “We envision in him LF, once we trade that over-priced contract we have left from the previous regime, and once we find a real power hitting, strong armed RF.  Let’s face it, even if Soriano is traded, if may be Brett Jackson that moves DeJesus out of RF, and maybe after Szczur takes over CF.

  • Tony_Hall

    Good article on a lot of different story lines going on.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove11/story/_/id/7311816/poised-big-week-winter-meetings-big-d

    “Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer view the Cubs as a long-term urban-renewal project. So they’ll be listening on just about everybody.”

  • Ripsnorter1

    Wily Mo Pena hit .204 in 2011; .205 in 2008 (his previous season). In other words, he is currently performing like he would in MLB.

    Jake Fox, at .229, is about what he hit in limited action in 2010 (.220). he hit .246 in 2011. In other words, about where he is in MLB.

    Michael Martinez hit .196 for the Phils in  2011. 

    My point: these guys are hitting like they would in MLB. So perhaps LaHair is, too. .237 is about what I’d expect out of him. He looked lost at the plate his last six-seven games. Pat Hughes commented on him walking back to the dugout, after fanning three times in a row, shaking his head. “He’s been doing that this last week. He has gone hitless, and after striking out, he’s been walking back to the dugout, shaking his head, ” said Hughes.

  • paulcatanese

    Seems to me that only 2nd tier free agents are the ones being sought after, less money. With the stats that they have teams should just stick with what they have.

    • Tony_Hall

      Not really, it just takes longer when you are talking about $50M, $75M, $100M, $200M 

      Little deals that max out at $15M don’t take as much time.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From CBS Sports: Other teams believe Cubs will try for Pujols, but only with shorter term offer
    with high AAV (avg $ per yr)