Winter Meetings Day Three: Cubs Rumored to Be Working on Moves

The final full day of the Winter Meetings in Dallas came and went without the Cubs making any moves. Leading up to baseball’s annual gathering, most thought Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would be among the most active over the three-day period.

The Cubs made a lot of noise while denying most of it and they saw some of their rumored targets sign with other clubs. The most notable as of this update … Mark Buehrle.

Mark Buehrle inked a four-year, $58 million contract with the Marlins. Theo Epstein said the Cubs checked in on Buehrle early on. Despite the fact Buehrle is a pitcher the Cubs would have liked to have on their roster, the money involved was too much for the Cubs.

Epstein and Hoyer have been connected to Prince Fielder and would reportedly like to sign him to a short-term contract with a high AAV. If the Cubs lose out on Fielder to the Marlins, many think the Cubs could go after Gaby Sanchez while possibly using Carlos Zambrano as part of the deal. Ozzie Guillen made a few interesting comments about Zambrano on Wednesday that seemed to kick the door wide open for the Cubs to try to work out a deal with the Marlins for Zambrano.

Jed Hoyer said the Cubs “have been really productive” over the last three days with agents and other teams. Hoyer admitted, “Obviously we haven’t done anything yet, but it’s not through lack of trying, and we’ll keep going.”

Reports late Wednesday night indicated the Cubs are working on a few small deals but not any big ones right now … then the report surfaced that the Cubs have discussed a deal with the Rangers for Matt Garza.

The Winter Meetings conclude Thursday morning with the Rule 5 draft. The Cubs are slotted sixth in the draft but due to the fact teams cannot participate in the draft that do not have an open spot on their 40-man roster, the Cubs pick fourth … and 11 teams will not be able to make a selection.

Who would have thought two months ago that all of the free agents in baseball would also take their talents to South Beach, here is the update from day three …

Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena
According to multiple reports, both Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena declined salary arbitration with the Cubs prior to Wednesday’s deadline. If Ramirez and Pena sign deals with new teams, the Cubs will receive sandwich picks in next June’s draft for both players.

Carlos Zambrano
According to a report from the Tribune, Carlos Zambrano has told friends he is looking forward to pitching with the Cubs again. Zambrano thinks he can return to the Cubs after meeting with Theo Epstein a few weeks back.

The Tribune reported that Zambrano wanted to see Mark Riggins and Jim Hendry leave and now they are gone, Zambrano is out to prove himself next season.

Ozzie Guillen thinks if Zambrano wins some games then the fans will forgive him. Guillen said he has a bet with someone that Zambrano would win more than 14 games next season.

In typical Guillen fashion, the former Sox skipper said if the Cubs wanted to trade Zambrano then he would take him in Miami.

If the Marlins’ spending spree continues, Guillen could get his wish. Multiple reports have indicated that if the Fish lands either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder then the Cubs would go after Gaby Sanchez … possibly using Carlos Zambrano as one of the trading chips to land the first baseman.

Gaby Sanchez
Gaby Sanchez does not have the power many teams would want from their first baseman and many have mentioned using Sanchez in a possible platoon with a lefty first bagger.

If the Cubs were to land the 28-year old first baseman, his numbers are better than many give him credit as to having.

Gaby Sanchez compiled a .266/.352/.427/.779 line in 159 games with 35 doubles, no triples and 19 home runs. His numbers on the road and at home were virtually identical but there is a dip against right-handed pitching. Sanchez hit very well in the cleanup spot of the Marlins’ lineup (.294/.390/.478/.868 with 20 doubles and 11 home runs in 77 games, 342 plate appearances.)

Gaby Sanchez fits the type of player the Cubs’ new regime is looking for … young, athletic, knows how to work a count (3.90 P/PA in 2011, 21st in NL) and can take a walk.

Geraldo Concepcion
Another young player from Cuba is on the Cubs radar according to the Tribune. Geraldo Concepcion is a 19-year old southpaw that is creating a lot of buzz. Concepcion recently defected from Cuba and has applied for signing eligibility with Major League Baseball.

The Yankees, Phillies and Rangers have also expressed interest in the lefty who struck out 53 batters in 101 2/3 innings last season while winning the Cuban rookie of the year award.

The Rule 5 Draft
The annual Rule 5 Draft is the last event at the Winter Meetings. The Cubs have the sixth slot in the draft but will have the fourth pick. Two of the teams ahead of the Cubs (Orioles and Royals) have a full 40-man roster and 11 of the 30 big league teams will not be able to take a player in the Major League portion of the draft.

Of the other 19 teams, four have one open spot and five have two open spots.

There has been a lot of speculation that the Cubs could lose Ryan Flaherty as well as Jay Jackson and Dae-Eun Rhee in the draft. Players selected must stay on the active 25-man roster of the team that drafts them for the entire season … or at least until the team can hide the player on the DL.

News, Notes and Rumors
The Tyler Colvin-for-Ian Stewart rumor popped up again on Wednesday … but Wednesday afternoon Dan O’Dowd, the Rockies’ GM, said he expects Ian Stewart to remain in Colorado for the 2012 season.

According to a report late Wednesday night from ESPN Chicago, the Cubs were still working on a trade with the Rockies for Ian Stewart that could include a package of Tyler Colvin and D.J. LeMahieu going back to Colorado.

Could the Cubs be shopping Randy Wells? The Tribune asked the question on Wednesday morning because there has been no mention of the right-hander by the Cubs’ brass while discussing the Cubs’ starting pitching options for next season.

According to Phil Rogers, the Cubs are very interested in signing Yu Darvish, Geraldo Concepcion and Yoenis Cespedes … if they become available.

Kerry Wood would like to re-sign with the Cubs … he would also like to be paid more than his $1.5 million salary from a year ago.

The compensation packages for Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod are expected to be settled after Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. The Padres are expected to receive a low-level prospect for Hoyer and McLeod. As for what the Red Sox will receive for Epstein, speculation has varied over the last two months.

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

For the latest Cubs news and rumors, follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"The riches of the game are in the thrills, not in the money." – Ernie Banks

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  • Neil

    Nothing is official, but according to several reports Yu Darvish will be posted tomorrow.

    • daverj

      Probably not good news for Cubs as another high end starting pitcher on the market reduces the possibility of a team overpaying for Garza.

      • Clark_N_Addison

        Not really.. It may mean one less team, but there are still plenty of options out there. The Rangers are today’s hot rumor.

        The Cubs are in no hurry to jump at a deal. If the right one comes along, then a deal can be made. If the Rangers and Cubs don’t match up on a deal, we move on. It won’t be the first time teams have walked away from a deal. 

        If the Rangers lose out on Darvish, I would love to see what JD is willing to part with then. The Angels with CJ Wilson will have the best rotation in the AL West (by far) and the Rangers will need to close the gap.
        I wouldn’t get mad if Theo/Jed kept Garza and locked him up for 5 more years; but if some team exceeds what the Cubs are looking for, they would be foolish to pass it up.

    • Dorasaga

      It’s official. His current team, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters announced to post him since today (Thursday, Tokyo Time):
      ニュース | 北海道日本ハムファイターズ

      • Neil


      • paulcatanese

        Thanks alot, like Japanese is my second language:):)

        • Dorasaga


          Yeah, I was lazy to translate the details.

  • daverj

    Why are so many fans upset about the lack of moves by the Cubs?

    Which free agent that have signed so far do you wish the Cubs had signed?  Capuano at $10 million, Reyes for $106 million, Buerhle for $58 million, Papelbon for $50 million, or Harang for $12 million.  Or should they offer a 10 year deal to Pujols or an 8 year deal to Fielder? … both would be Soriano type signings.  These types of deals don’t make sense.  They would be Hendry type moves to make the team pretty good in the short run but never bring a World Series home to the North side.

    As for trades, we have very little to trade that is of value.  We can propose all sorts of trades, but almost everything I’ve seen proposed by Cub fans isn’t fair to the other teams so it is no wonder that the deals like those proposed aren’t getting done.  It’s funny how Cub fans think that it’s fair to get Profar, Olt and Perez for Garza while if you read the Rangers boards, they propose all sorts of “fair” deals that do not include any of Profar, Olt, Perez or Ramirez.  Rangers fans seem to be in agreement that none of their top 4 prospects should be involved in a Garza deal.  We all seem to overvalue our own teams players …I’m not a huge Epstein fan, but I think he’s better than Hendry and I give him credit for waiting and not making any big moves so far.  By getting 2 draft picks out of ARam and Pena, he’s already improved the team.  DeJesus is a good value addition that will help in 2012 and not hurt in the future.

    If we can get Fielder for a reasonable deal, let’s get him.  If not, let him go.

    As much as Cub fans blasted Hendry, the majority of Cub fans I know are either:

    (1) “Hendrys” themselves – looking to sign current big thing for whatever it takes so we can win more games in the upcoming season; or

    (2) completely unrealistic – They think the Cub’s GM needs to be “creative” to structure free agent deals and trades in ways that will benefit the Cubs … when the real problem is that the free agents and the other teams don’t want to make those deals.  Any time I see someone post about a “creative” suggestion, it usually a proposal that makes no sense for the free agent to be signed by the Cubs or the other team trading with the Cubs.

    This is about long term sustained success, not 2012.

    The Cubs need to make good long term decisions and avoid any bad long term decisions.  That is how free agent moves and trades need to be judged … not by the line-up and rotation that is put on the field in 2012.

    • Calebsdaddie


    • Teluton

      Thanks for your very sane,sensible post. Of course we longtime fans are exasperated with the state of our team. Like too many shallow people we expect instant gratification.
      As for free agent signings you said it all in your first paragraph.

      As I recall smart organizations(the cardinals) wait late into winter before
      making signings;there may be a few players worth pursuing
      after the meetings.

      I may be one who’s guilty of overvaluing our own talent.I can only imagine what little value Dewitt, Baker and the like have for prospective trade partners. I guess I’d be really happy if we could unload Soriano, Byrd and Hill etc.before 2012,especially for a young prospect or two.

    • Hoosierboy3423

      FYI, the report said top prospects were being discussed.  All I did was name their top prospects and say that If a possible deal included them, then we should do it.  I didnt pull a move like everyone else here and say such and such and such and such for the world.  I said, if any  of them are involved, make the move. At the same point, the rangers have guys in the majors blocking those prospects path.  Beltre, Andrus, they could be willing to overpay for Garza, they wanted him last year and lost out not for lack of effort. 

       Otherwise I agree that the lack of signing players to this point should not be worrisome.  Theo is trying to build a sustained winner not a one year wonder by overpaying for the likes of Buehrle.  A Garza deal “IF” it includes some of their top prospects as was reported, is my favorite choice on the way to procede.  Their farm system makes ours look silly, just sayin.  Mooreland and Harrison are not what we want back from them, they have more riches then that to be had in the minors.

      • daverj

        Hoosierboy – I wasn’t addressing your posts on Garza specifically … just posts in general I have seen on this and other websites.  I apologize if it came off that way.

  • victor t

    Cubs ownership keeps saying they are going to keep payroll the same and put all money back into the team and the payroll keeps dropping every year. Pretty depressing 

    • Tony_Hall

      You are only looking at the major league payroll.  They are talking about all of Baseball Operations.  They have very publicly stated they plan to build a top notch player development system, that will produce players for the major league team on a consistent basis.  

      Also, because they aren’t throwing insanely huge dollars at 30 something free agents, should be a breath of fresh air.  I have no doubt that if this team was 1 big bat away or 1 above average starting pitcher away, they would spend the money to bring in the 30 something free agent, at way way too much money.

  • Tony_Hall

    It seems like we are in the best position to add some players in the Rule V draft.  We have plenty of open spots on the 40 man roster, we have a lot of guys, who we still don’t need anymore.  With Theo and Jed having knowledge of 2 other systems, I would expect them to be looking at the guys, their former underlings didn’t protect.

  • Tony_Hall

    I posted this last night, but with Darvish being posted, I thought I would show it again.

    MLB Channel did a segment on Yu Darvish.  He looks pretty good.

    2011 – 1.44
    2010 – 1.78
    2009 – 1.73
    2008 – 1.88

    25 years olds

    6′ 5″  Weight 185 lbs

    As a baseball fan, I want to watch this guy pitch in the majors.  Not sure about the posting fee and then the contract as far as total cost goes, but he looks pretty solid in his mechanics.  

    Bobby Valentine loves this guy, he got to see him up close while he was managing in Japan.

    • paulcatanese

      If thats the case Tony with Bobby Valentine so high on him, do the Red Sox get in the mix for him?

  • Tony_Hall

    It seems obvious at this point, that Zambrano was told he has no more rope, that when he shows up to Spring Training, he may be having to do a few things to show he is a changed man.  But unless a team is willing to pay a good portion of his last year of his contract, he will be in the rotation.  That doesn’t mean he won’t be traded to Miami, before the trade deadline, but a deal gets easier after half the year is past, and half his salary has been paid.  Teams will also pay more in June/July as they will be able to see how he has pitched and acted, and where they are in the standings.

  • Tony_Hall

    I am fine with Stewart for Colvin.  Both guys could use a change of scenary.  Colvin may like hitting in Denver and Stewart gives us an option at 3B, and he can be sent to Iowa, if needed, as he still has 1 option year left.

    • cubtex

      It makes sense for both teams. Both former 1st round guys who have fallen on hard times. Both could use a change of scenery. Colvin is expendable and if Stewart fails they didn’t give up anything….and as you say…one of the keys is he has an option left.

  • Tony_Hall

    Garza isn’t going anywhere, unless we get back a lot.

    @Ken_RosenthalKen Rosenthal Sources: #Rangers not at all confident about chances of landing Garza from #Cubs. Consider asking price to be too steep. #MLB

    • Hoosierboy3423

      Good, thats how it should be.  As rich of a farm system as the Rangers have, I for one would not be happy if we got back Moreland and or Harrison.  I like that they have made Garza available but are not willing to give him away.

  • Tony_Hall

    Cubs offered arbitration to Pena and ARam, and walked away with 2 compensatory picks.

    Milwaukee, not so much.  KRod accepted arbitration from the Brewers.  Say good by to any thoughts of ARam, Fielder, and of staying on budget.


    Earlier tonight, Francisco Rodriguez accepted arbitration from the Brewers, making him one of three free agents to do so (David Ortiz and Kelly Johnson being the others). Rodriguez now stands to earn approximately $13MM via salary arbitration, a decision which isn’t without impact on the dealings of his team.Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes that GM Doug Melvin says the club did not make a miscalculation in offering Rodriguez arbitration. According to Melvin, he and owner Mark Attanasio were prepared for the possibility that he would accept the offer and considered it a “no-lose situation….Beyond that, Melvin added that the Brewers are likely withdrawing their pursuit of Takashi Saito “for now,” and that it’s “possible” that this will have an impact on the club’s ability to pursue Aramis Ramirez, for whom they were a reported favorite.Haudricourt also points out (via Twitter) the irony of the fact that the decision of Rodriguez, a Scott Boras client, essentially further guarantees that the club cannot afford a reunion withPrince Fielder.

  • Chadaudio

    I’m fine with the Cubs not making any moves, but I TOTALLY bought into the gossip that the Cubs were going to make a “splash” at the winter meetings.  I also completely bought into the idea that Pujols was going to sign yesterday… I’m such a sucker :)
    Welp, now that the winter meetings are over, what other Cubs/baseball gossip will I waste my day on now?  What’s next?

  • Craig Y

    Pujols to the Angels!! Wow the NLC just got weaker… Plus Fielder will be leaving the Brewers most likely..

  • Aaron

    Wow…wish just granted…10 yrs, $250 million…wow…that’s tremendous that he’s gone and the Cubs didn’t have to pay…not only gone, but out of the league.

    Trumbo or Morales are likely to be dealt to the Cubs now

    • Reggie

      What a truly revolting price. A quarter of a billion dollars over 10 years?  The Cardinals did well to steer clear of that hell hole of a deal.

    • cubtex

      I was totally wrong! I though PuJols was back to St. Louis for sure. Better the Angels and get him out of our league. I wouldn’t mind looking at Trumbo. He has big time power.

    • Nathan

      I would love to have Mark Trumbo

      • Nathan

        his stats are not that good though, should work on that on-base percentage

    • paulcatanese

      One other wish out there for me, maybe Fielder will go the same way.

  • Aaron

    Cubs just lost Flaherty to Orioles….that sucks

    • Neil

      Aaron, I still question if he will stick.

  • Anthony

    Congratulations to Flaherty and MG on making it to the show

    • J Daniel

      They have not made it to the show yet, they still need to earn it in ST or be sent back.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    Have not been here in a while , but Pujols is gone and we did not pay him all that money , he can not torture the Cubs anymore!

  • Neil

    Orioles selected Flaherty in Rule 5 draft

    • roguesqr09

      I thought the orioles didn’t get a pick since they have a full 40 man?

      • Neil

        Not supposed to be able, might have a deal in place. Duquette said yesterday he had “stuff” in the works.

    • Hoosierboy3423

      Can we get a breakdown of Lendy Castillo?

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    Cubs just loss Marwin Gonzalez to the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft

  • Aaron

    Cubs just lost Marwin Gonzalez to the Red Sox

  • Neil

    Red Sox selected Marwin Gonzalez in Rule 5 draft

    • carmelo

      Just remember, both Flaherty and Gonzales were taken in the rule 5 draft, they haven’t made the teams that drafted them yet—strong chance they don’t, and are returned to Cubs at the end of spring training.  Very hard for position player taken in rule 5 to stick—can they contribute/hit at big league level?

  • Aaron

    losing Flaherty and Gonzalez….both of whom could’ve been compensation for Epstein and Hoyer sure makes it seem like a dumbass move to not protect them….ESPECIALLY Gonzalez, whom the Red Sox selected….makes you wonder who else they have to give up

    • Zippy2212

      Red Sox taking him makes me wonder if he isn’t part of the compensation.  Sox keep him and don’t have to worry about him staying on 25 man roster.

    • cubtex

      I guess the Cubs farm system isn’t as bad as everyone has been saying!

  • Anthony

    Congratulations to Flaherty and MG on making it to the show

  • Tony_Hall

    Congrats to Flaherty and Gonzalez on getting a chance to make a major league roster this spring.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    Cubs pick Lendy Castillo from the Phillies

    • Kojak Osborne Jr.

      my bad he is a converted pitcher

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    Cubs select Ricky Alvarez a third baseman from the Angels

    • PleaseStopLosing

      where are you finding this stuff at? says we picked Lendy Castillo– RHP from Phillies?!?

      • Kojak Osborne Jr.

        on twitter from Carrie Musat

        • Hoosierboy3423

          Ok so theres 3 different reports on who the Cubs took, Leandro Castro, Lendy Castillo, and Ricky Alvarez.  Does anyone know which is correct?

          • Kojak Osborne Jr.

            It is Ricky Alvarez and Lendy Castillo

          • daverj

            Lendy Castillo was take by the Cubs in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft.  Ricky Alvarez was taken by the Cubs in the Triple A phase of the Rule 5 draft.  The Cubs took both of them.

    • Aaron

      Wow…TERRIBLE selection (I know it’s only the AAA phase, but still). Hoyer and Epstein must’ve already been infected by the “Hendry virus” floating around the offices at Clark and Addison. First of all, if they really wanted a 3B, they should’ve protected Flaherty. Secondly, Alvarez might as well be Abner Abreu if you look at his player page (absolutely ZERO plate discipline):

      • Kojak Osborne Jr.

        yes that was a bad selection, I think a trade must be coming

        • Kojak Osborne Jr.

          Red Sox just trade their pick to the Astros

      • roguesqr09

        Aaron, or whoever. Do you think MG and RF weren’t really Epstein type of players? And that’s why they weren’t protected?

        • Kojak Osborne Jr.

          I believe a lot of trade might be coming up and they were not part of the future but I have a feeling RF will be returned to the Cubs because I do not think that he was ready for the majors yet.

    • The Maven

      Are these players being selected in the Class “A” phase?

      • Kojak Osborne Jr.

        No Alvarez  was taken in the Triple A phrase of the draft and Lendy Castillo was taken in the major league phrase.

  • Neil

    Sorry guys, will have the Rule 5 update up soon. Kinda shocking news side tracked me.

  • cubtex

    Any chance the Cubs could have taken any of these 2 for another team as part of a trade? Neither one of them(based on numbers) look like they are ready to crack a mlb roster.

    • Zippy2212

      Honestly I have to say I hope so.  Like Aaron said, why not just protect Flaherty?

      • Dorasaga

        So weird…

      • daverj

        I don’t know much about Alvarez, but it could be because Flaherty is 3 years older and the Cubs see more upside in Alvarez.

  • Neil

    The Red Sox are trading their Rule 5 Pick, Marwin Gonzalez

    • Neil

      Gonzalez traded to the Astros

      • Calicub

        So if a player is traded by the team that drafts him in the Rule V, does the final team have to keep that player on their 25 man roster all year? Or are the stros now free to do with MG what they want?

        • daverj

          Astros would have to keep him on their major league team all year or he gets offered back to the Cubs.

          • cryinmybluecoolaid

            It should be easy to stash MG on that Astro’s roster.

        • Neil

          Thanks Dave for answering … Cali, he’s 100% correct

  • Tom U

    Padres Drew Cumberland can be a high-risk, high-return Rule 5 draftee

    • daverj

      I would have liked the Cubs to select him, but I think he went undrafted.

  • Dorasaga

    Just want to throw this in:

    If Fielder will accept a five years deal, then I can see the Cubs topping the offer to $25M x 5 years, and perhaps write in some incentives and team option for a sixth and seventh year.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    It look like the Angels just signed C.J. Wilson as well

    • Kojak Osborne Jr.

      Wilson got 5 years 75 million dollar from the Angels , I believed they over paid for him.

      • Dorasaga

        I guess that’s how they do business at Orange County, CA.

        *Just want to add it’s not the per year amount but the amount of years that looked overblown. The per year looks less than Zambrano’s, but Wilson was only converted to start two seasons ago. He had injury and landed DL for a year. I don’t know how long his shoulder can stand, and how many “miles” are left in his career.

        • Kojak Osborne Jr.

          Yes but that moved might help us , maybe the Rangers will get desperate now and give up all the prospects that we want for Garza

  • Michael

    Pujols to Angels, too many first baseman…lets ask what they are wanting for Trumbo. Cant hurt to ask.

  • Bryan

    I believe Theo & Company are now scouring the rosters at Thillens stadium for “secret talent” with promising upside. 

  • Neil

    From Peter Gammons: Cubs say they do not have cash to sign Fielder

    • GaryLeeT

       Where did the Ramirez, Fukudome, and Grabow money go?