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.

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Quote of the Day

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