Weekend Update … What Moves are Brewing for the Cubs?

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were expected to be very active during the Winter Meetings, even the chairman of the team publicly stated his excitement of what could happen prior to baseball’s annual event last week. While the Cubs did not make any moves in Dallas they did complete the trade for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers … and according to Jed Hoyer, more is in the works.

Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Dale Sveum worked hard on deals into the early hours of Thursday morning according to the Tribune. Hoyer said, “A lot of this week was spent pushing things forward. You always see things get done a day or two or even a week after these meetings. We think that will be the case for us. We think we are in a good place and hopefully some of things will come to fruition soon.”

After the Ian Stewart, Casey Weathers trade was announced Hoyer discussed the deal and shed some light on the front office’s plan.

“This was something that was teed up for a couple of days. We’ve got some deals that we’re working on. A number of agents, a number of teams we’re talking to. I wouldn’t characterize anything as close or imminent. But certainly I feel like we made a lot of progress this week and hopefully we can carry that into next week.”

Monday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players (three-six years of service time). The Cubs have a couple of non-tender candidates that could reduce their 40-man roster, which currently stands at 37 players … also the players non-tendered from other teams figure to give Team Epstein a few more options.

Here is the update … including more from the Prince Fielder rumor mill.

Prince Fielder
While the Cubs are not saying publicly that they are interested in signing Prince Fielder, many in baseball think the Cubs will be in the middle of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes … including Fielder himself.

According to a report from Bruce Levine, Fielder recently told a former teammate that he feels the Cubs would make the biggest push for him.

Bruce Levine addressed the Fielder rumors during Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) on Saturday morning. Levine discussed several reasons as to why he thinks the Cubs are interested in signing Fielder.

According to Levine, the 27-year old Fielder is the type of young, dominant player the Cubs would like to build a championship team around and he expects them to be more aggressive in a smart way toward signing Fielder.

Levine brought up the agreement Theo Epstein and Scott Boras had in regards to the Cubs offering salary arbitration to Carlos Pena. There was an agreement in place that the Cubs would offer salary arbitration to Pena and he would decline in order for the Cubs to receive a draft pick once he signs with another team.

While Boras needs the Cubs in play for Fielder it would be a big risk for his other first base client (Carlos Pena) to walk away from possibly a $12-13 million one-year contract. According to Levine, Pena will be held back from signing until Fielder inks his new deal … and Levine also mentioned that the Cubs either have a deal with Boras to compete for Fielder or a deal in place to sign Pena if Fielder signs elsewhere.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer talked about investing their resources in young, impact players and not paying for past performance during their introductory press conferences. With the lack of talent in the Cubs minor league system, coupled with the very thin free agent market in the coming years and the changes in the CBA, Prince Fielder seems to fit the bill.

To Tender or Not to Tender
The Cubs have seven players with three-six years of service time that is arbitration eligible for the 2012 season and rumors have suggested at least two could end up being non-tendered by Monday’s deadline.

Jeff Baker, Blake DeWitt, Matt Garza, Koyie Hill, Geovany Soto, Ian Stewart and Randy Wells are the seven players arbitration eligible for next season.

Jeff Baker was paid $1.175 million last season and will be a free agent after next season. Matt Garza figures to get the biggest jump after earning $5.95 million in his first year with the Cubs. Geovany Soto was paid $3 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility and Ian Stewart is figured to be paid around $2 million for next season. Randy Wells is arbitration eligible for the first time.

The two non-tender candidates are Blake DeWitt and Koyie Hill. DeWitt is arbitration eligible for the first time and Koyie Hill was paid $850,000 to backup Geovany Soto last year. Hill was a favorite of the previous regime and if Team Epstein sees value in keeping Hill around he could probably be signed to a minor league contract with an invite to big league camp.

News, Notes and Rumors

According to Bruce Levine (Talkin’ Baseball, ESPN 1000), if Prince Fielder signs with the Marlins the Cubs will try to trade for Gaby Sanchez.

The Cubs will be looking for a new TV deals when their current contracts expire in the next two-three years according to Bruce Levine. In the wake of the Angels new TV contract, look for many of the big market teams to explore new deals or possibly start their own network. The Cubs have been looking to start their own network for a couple of years but their current contracts would not allow them to do so.

According to Bruce Levine (Talkin’ Baseball, ESPN 1000), the Cubs talked to the Rangers and three other teams during the meetings about Matt Garza. The Cubs are really not interested in trading Garza and wanted to know what other teams thought of him. The Cubs would have to be blown away to trade Garza. Levine mentioned that a five-for-one deal could get a trade for Garza done … but the Cubs would have to receive two top prospects very close to the big leagues, a current Major Leaguer that filled a hole and two other top prospects from that team’s system.

Casey Coleman told his hometown newspaper that he is prepared for whatever the Cubs have in store. Coleman explained that not being prepared to start games coming out of camp last spring. Coleman said he was not trying to use that as an excuse but felt that led to his struggles early on. The Cubs have not addressed his future with him and Coleman has no idea of what his upcoming role will be … reliever, starter or both.

The Angels announced on Saturday that they would be tendering a contract to Kendry Morales for next season.

According to a report from Bruce Levine, the Cubs will make a bid for the right to negotiate a contract with Yu Darvish.

According to a report from Bruce Levine, the Cubs will take a run at outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Seven or eight teams are known to be interested in Cespedes … and it could cost as much as $50 million to sign the Cuban outfielder.

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

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  • Brp921

    I like Matt Garza but if he would bring what Levine mentions then how could the Cubs say no.

    • Calicub

      They can’t that’s why he’s still on the roster..

      • Tony_Hall

        But that is why they have made it known what it would take.  Some team may get desperate if someone else signs a player (Pujols to the Angels), or even during the season, it will be known what it is going to take to trade for him.

        • Calicub

          That was my point. They are asking for all this in return, and if someone caved to that then they would ship him off in an instant. But they haven’t which is why he’s still a cub, and probably will be on opening day

  • Calicub

    If the cubs trade garza or fail to sign feilder I think its clear that 2012 will be a rebuild year despite the dream teams assurance that big teams can’t rebuild.

    If the cubs compete this year I see the line up on opening day:

    DeJesus RF
    Castro SS
    Fielder 1B
    Soriano LF
    Byrd CF
    Soto C
    Stewart 3B
    Barney 2B
    Garza P

    Come the trade deadline byrd, and barney will be sent out and upgraded:

    BJAX CF
    DeJesus RF
    Fielder 1B
    Castro SS
    Soriano LF
    Upgraded 2B
    Stewart 3B
    Soto C
    Pitcher

    I see no reason why that line up couldn’t compete in 2012 (asuming DeJesus and Stewart have come back years, soriano brings the same bat as last year, the cubs are able to upgrade 2B, Soto has another one of his even year blooms, BJAX has a year ala buster posey in 2010, basically an if at every position literally, and that’s taking for granted the badassawesomness that is starlin castro)…..

    Uh oh.

    I know its early in the offseason but that’s a lot of ifs. And I didn’t event touch the starting rotation..

    • Whotookthegoodnames@gmail.com

      The lineup that I see for opening day is:

      RF DeJesus
      SS Castro
      CF Cespedes
      1B Fielder
      3B Stewart
      LF Soriano/Byrd
      C. Soto
      2B Barney

      This lineup would immediately be good enough to win the NL Central.

      • Adam

        Also the pitching staff could look like this:
        Darvish
        Garza
        Dempster
        Zambrano
        Cashner

        And if they find a taker for Garza, send Barney with him and get a solid, athletic 2B in return with a major league starter and 5 top prospects.

        • Cubluv

          Imo they aren’t in any position to sign fielder,but if they do so then they wont put up the money to get in the bidding wars for darvish or cespedes. This is something I guess all of us will have to get used to REBUILDING

        • Tony_Hall

          You just spend $300M in a couple of minutes. That ranks right up there with ole Arte.

        • GaryLeeT

           That is the exact rotation I am hoping for too. It would be even better if they subtracted Zambrano and added Jackson. Then, next year, subtract Dumpster, and add Cain. Now there is a young rotation that could compete for a WS for many years to come.

      • Calicub

        Idk how I feel about cespedes, he seems like too much hype. I’d prefer not to add another guy to the already crowded outfield depth. Plus new young money for someone with an ego is a dangerous thing, no thanks.

        Call me a dreamer, but I think Big Z will do great things this year. I think players are going to recognize that they don’t have the leeway of JH#1 and co. and step their ish up.

        If darvish is all they say he is, a rotation with him in addition to garza demp a refocused big Z andcashner/wells/samarj could be an outstanding comparison to last years circus show that was the 9 man starting rotation.

        • Calicub

          I’d like to disclaimer the cespedes comment by saying a sixty million dollat outfielder flop would be awful for what’s going on in the minors

        • GaryLeeT

          You’re a dreamer. I mean, I wish you were right about Zambrano, but having watched him all theses years we know he doesn’t have the work ethic to get into good physical shape, or the mental capacity to stay focused for an entire game, let alone a whole season.

          • Calicub

            I may be a dreamer, but I’m not the only one… sorry John Lennon Day three days ago

            A focused carlos zambrono is a dangerous carlos zambrano. What more can I say? He’s had flashes of of great and flashes of of terror. But imagine, if the cubs do pick up darvish Z will effectivelly become the number four on this team on a bad year three on a good year. Even if z is horrible to start the year but dominates down the stretch as he did in ’10, he would more than pull his weight.

            The sad thing is is that this team remains set in ifs rather than realities. If fielder gets 1B if 2B can be upgraded if ian stewart flourishes if soriano has another 2011 if BJAX is able to come up and preform if DeJesus has a come back year if soto has an even year flourish if they sign darvish if they keep garza if big z has a come back if dempster remains sevicable and 2011 was a mark riggins fluke if they can bring in a 5th starter if samardj/cashner/wells can step into the #5 starter. If marmol can find his rhythm once again. The only things giving me sleep at night is starlin castro and the bullpen and that’s IF they don’t move sean marshall, if wood doesn’t finaly break down, if russell isn’t shipped off as trade bait.

            I remain hopeful that a tighter grip and the threat of effective management will really light a fire under some of these players @$$3$ because this team has potential to compete in a weak central. Although I can imagine reds fans are lookin mighty hungry right now…

      • Zelnio

        Levine said yesterday that he expects castro to hit third.  If we get Fielder, the I see

        DeJesus
        Barney
        Castro
        Fielder
        Byrd 
        Stewart
        Soriano/LaHair platoon
        Soto

        If BJax makes club, move him to leadoff, DeJesus to 2nd, Barney to 8 and Byrd 4th OF

  • Ripken Boy

    Kendry Morales for 1B and spend the rest on starting pitching (Edwin Jackson and Joel Piniero) and another relief pitcher (Todd Coffey). The Cubs also need to find takers for Soriano, Byrd and 86 Koyie Hill and sign Jason Varitek to back up Soto.

    • J Daniel

      I would like to see them sign Varitek as well but to back up one of the young guys after trading Soto.

  • Chuck

    Two players that have not been mentioned are Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer.  Cuddyer is a very versitile player and Kubel adds some power.

    • J Daniel

      Would like to see both of them!

  • Tony_Hall

    I was discussing the Angels yesterday, and we started talking about the TV contract. The Angels have a great fan base in Southern California, maybe even the southwest.  And they are receiving $3B over 20 years.

    The Cubs have a national fan base, even world wide as seen on this site.  How much on the open market,would the Cubs get for a 20 year, TV contract?  $3B…at least, $4B maybe.

    You want to say game, set, match, to the NL Central.  There is no other team in the division who could compete with them.  

    Now, the question I have, How much money did the Tribune company make off of the Chicago Cubs, from the TV end of it, if the Angels are going to receive $3B over 20 years, and you have to assume, they expect a ROI from this contract?

    Neil – I thought the Tribune wrapped up their TV contracts for the next 15-20 years, before or during the sale of the team?  Is this the contract for CSN Chicago that will be up in 2-3 years?  Or is the WGN contract up as well?

  • Tony_Hall

    The only non-tender candidate I see is Hill.  Neil’s example of giving him a minor league contract and invite to camp is the most I could see them doing with him.

    Dewitt still has an option, so he could bounce back and forth, if needed from Iowa this year, and could regain some value in a trade, if he hits in Iowa, everyone hits in the PCL.

    Wells is still in the rotation, at this point, so they need to keep him around.

    Everyone else they will move forward with, but that does’t mean they will be at Opening Day.

    • cubtex

      I still don’t know the reason Hill was protected on the 40 man roster?

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree.

        Someone, I thought it was you, said the only reason they could think of was for an injury in ST.  But to me, that is not a reason to keep him.  Minor league contract, invite to ST, is more than enough.

        • cubtex

          Right. They have 4 catchers on the 40 man roster. That is insane.

  • Tony_Hall

    Let’s look position by position

    C – Soto, Hill, Castillo, Clevenger

    1B – Lahair, Baker (FA’s Fielder, Pena – Trade targets still many)

    2B – Barney (need upgrade, but is adequate until then, will be a nice 
    Utility Infielder), Baker, Dewitt

    SS – Castro, Barney

    3B – Stewart, Baker, Dewitt

    LF – Soriano (until they find a taker and a replacement)

    CF – Byrd until B Jackson is ready

    RF – DeJesus (until Soriano is gone and the replacement is a RF)

    IF Bench – Baker, Dewitt, Bianchi

    OF Bench – Campana (need another, maybe Byrd stays, when B Jackson is ready and is the 4th OF)

    They need to address 1B, 2B, and one corner OF still. The decision could be to go with what we have, or they could look for an external option.  

    The other position, that I believe will be changed is catcher.  But they need to use the 1st half of the season to see if Castillo or Clevenger are ready.  I expect one of them to be the back-up to Soto.   Soto will be offered in trades, once they think they can replace him with Castillo and Clevenger.

    • The Maven

      I would not be surprised if Baker was non-tendered and DeWitt is offered a contract. Here’s why.

      As you stated, DeWitt has an option, which can make him somewhat valuable. However, the organization may be looking to sign Craig Counsell for a one last fling contract with the intent on him being part of the coaching staff next year. If that happens, Baker will be gone.

      Soto will probably be tendered with trading him as the intent. If you look at Jason Varitek’s numbers last season, they are almost comparable to Soto’s. He’ll turn 40 after opening day, but he can be a good transitional player for Castillo or Clevenger, with a possible coaching/managing gig in the organization next year.

      • Tony_Hall

        I see no way that Baker is non-tendered. He hits lefties very well, and will start against lefties somewhere, 1B, 2B, 3B.

        If they sign Counsell, Dewitt will be in Iowa and Counsell and Baker will be the 2 IF’s on the bench.

        I have advocated for trading Soto for years, and am all for it.

        • cubtex

          Baker is a valuable player. He gets bashed but as you said….he crushes lh pitching and can play multiple positions. He is a ROLE player and a very good one.

          • Chadaudio

            I agree that Baker get bashed too much… he’s good if used correctly.  The problem was, when the Cubs had a stretch of LH pitching last year, both he and Reed were hurt… they weren’t available when we needed them most.  Hope they can both bounce back again for the right price.

  • Tom Olson

    I don’t quite get Bruce Levine sometimes.  Does he just hypothesize as much as possible to keep the hot stove burning or does he really have connections/sources to back up his statements?

    Here’s why I ask:

    “Levine also mentioned that the Cubs either have a deal with Boras to
    compete for Fielder or a deal in place to sign Pena if Fielder signs
    elsewhere.”

    and

    “According to Bruce Levine (Talkin’ Baseball, ESPN 1000), if Prince Fielder signs with the Marlins the Cubs will try to trade for Gaby Sanchez.”

    Okay, so no Prince = Pena and Sanchez?   Color me puzzled.

    • Anthony

      notice the word “IF” in all the quotes

      its called throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks

  • Shelbymenge

    from shelby menge, sign prince fielder very very soon as possible and very soon.

    • Tony_Hall

      Wow, that is just an illiterate sentence.

    • Reggie

      You’re solid gold Shelby, always good for a laugh.

    • EqDoc

      I think Shelby is either 12 years old or Scott Boras…

    • Calicub

      Classic shelby menge.

      Someones got the hots for the chocolate teddy bear :)

  • Aaron

    Call it a hunch but I can very easily see Darvish and Fielder signing with the Rangers and it makes sense on so many levels with them losing Wilson and Moreland’s wrist surgery….and furthermore, with their fanbase being reenergized by 2 straight trips to the World Series ….they want to keep that momentum going forward.

    Signing those 2 is an absolute pipedream…one I’d love but ain’t happening

    • Anthony

      YOUR “HUNCH” is pretty Spot-On, and I agree

      Fielder will thrive in that stadium.

      It needs to be a transitional year, and will be, as some of the posters referred to Theo and his history of cleaning house, or advanced “tinkering”.

      I reviewed the current status of the minor league system and depth, and they have room on the AAA roster to accept position players. The question is, will they fill them with current AA guys or keep cleaning and inject minor league free agents?

      I anticipate an abundance of “acid test” cases on some current minor leaguers by being accelerated to provide quick decisions. I also expect releases and some included  in trades. The releases may be what some call AAAA players, or career A+ players, guys in a minor league system that have stalled instead of being blocked.

      If you go back and refer to Theo and how he assembled “pieces and parts” in Boston, one common theme are picking up sidetracked early round selections. On the major FA front, he did pay for past performance on guys like Drew and Crawford.

      ChiC has the cash to make a splash, but it appears the timing isn’t right. Me thinks the money may be spent when the roster turns and players like Byrd, Soriano, Barney, eventually DeJesus, and the utility spots are upgraded.

      If LaHair is given his opportunity, and succeeds, then 1B may be covered for 3-4 seasons with him. If he fails, then look for a trade or future FA replacement, or a guy like Ridling.

      If Theo fills 1B with a free agent in 2012, then the position is once again covered and LaHair gets sushi with Tom Selleck as the new Mr. Baseball.

      IF—————–Prince does become a Cub, then the whole dynamic changes, and despite the bullcrap with Soriano, his bat becomes important on either side of Fielder, and you can get away with a non-profiled average hitter in RF and deal with Byrd until they decide on Jackson.

      In the future, if Szczur can get his hit tool in order, he appears to be a Theo type CF, and Jackson will probably end up a LF at some point.

      2012 full season should provide tons of information on our minor league system. It will be the 1st year with the Theo Handbook on how to play baseball, and the first full season with our 2011 excellent Draft, from pick 1 and down the line, and I expect a new, and surprising list of Top Prospects afterward.

      • Dorasaga

        I don’t know why, but I like “ChiC”:

        No Pujols; chics won’t pay Latinos.

        Sorry about the pun, but it won’t get out of my mind.

    • cubtex

      I think the Rangers will go all in for Darvish. Of course they need to win the blind bid first.

    • Chadaudio

      I feel the same way… even if the Cubs somehow offered Fielder more money, it makes sense that he would want to sign with a winner.  The Cubs aren’t going to be a winner again for a little while yet.  Same goes with most any high-dollar free agent this offseason.  We would have to WAY over pay.

      • Calicub

        I agree that the cubs aren’t ready to compete next year barring a very long line of ifs,

        But would fielder want to sign in texas or seattle where he once more has to compete w/ pujols in the same division?

        With the moves the angels have made this offseason, they will be the team to beat in the AL west for the next five years, not the rangers. I just can’t imagine wanting to play your entire career in the same division/ shadow of pujols. That is why I think the cubs are the favorite.

    • Hoosierboy3423

      The worst part of the Rangers landing Darvish will be that they will no longer want/need Garza.  And they have the best prospects we could get back in any deal for him. If they land Darvish and Fielder we would clearly have to go to the longer term rebuilding phase and that lack of prospects from the Rangers would really hurt that.  Best case scenario if we cant land Darvish and Fielder is that the Rangers only land Fielder and the Rangers still want pitching and come to us for it.

  • John_CC

    If Braun’s positive PED test stands, and there is no reason why it won’t – no positive test has been overturned to date – the Brewers first 50 games of the season are going to be brutal. How pathetic is that team without Braun and Fielder? 

    And another sad day for MLB.

    • cubtex

      More reason that this offseason is extremely important for the Cubs. Top 2 teams took a major hit in the division!

      • paulcatanese

        You are correct about the division and would be very possible even with what they have right now. Of course its just as easy for the Cards, Reds, and Pirates.
        The division looks to be so weak that no matter who wins it I dont think they will get past the first round in the playoffs.
        The Cubs must improve the defense, thats paramount, as that will improve the pitching.
        One hitter (Fielder) will not do it.

  • Tony_Hall

    This is amazing, Pujols never had a face to face meeting with the Angels brass.

    Buster Olney states, that means he was unhappy with the Cardinals.

    I say it means it was all about the money.  Yes he was unhappy with the Cardinals, but only because other teams were offering more money.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/olney_buster/id/7341015/ryan-braun-trouble-clearing-name-even-reported-positive-test-false-mlb

    “How ready was he to leave the St. Louis Cardinals? Well, think about it: He agreed to terms with the Angels without a single face-to-face visit with the L.A. brass, or to the Anaheim area, after a decade with the Cardinals. This speaks strongly to the unhappiness Pujols felt about the way the negotiations with St. Louis played out.”

    • Anthony

      The Cardinals are no duufus organization, usually competitive, two recent trophies.

      To maintain being competitive, tying up so much cash, and effectively being saddled with 5 years of “baggage” and over $100M on a guy 37 thru age 41 is bad business, and bad baseball. The Cards got what they wanted from the guy, and in the long-term, whether intentional or not, preserved their identity with Stan the Man.

      Despite the recent report on Braun, whether true or false, this news, and the more stricter tests under the new CBA as far a cycling timetables HOPEFULLY will eliminate the temptation to cheat Father Time. In other words, Pujols won’t be able to pull a Bonds/Manny, etal career extension/enhancement program. His numbers will decline, arthur-itis will start settling into that damaged wrist, etc etc etc.

      Anaheim was really the only suitor will their TV monies.

      Why did NYY and BOS take a pass? In prior years, they, especially NYY would have been the destination for Pujols. Instead, NYY finally is getting smarter(AROD MESS) and they also know that PEDS or whatever you want to call the Cheat Juice will eventually be purged out.

      STL did the right thing. I was hoping that everyone would have done the right thing and put the clamor on Pujols. He would have been great in Japan.lol

      Like walking down the street and seeing an old girlfriend you dumped. You tend to avoid.

      It appears STL made their pitch according to their plans, and it wasn’t good enough for Albert, because the FACT is simply this:

      Pujols wanted payback for years 6-10 for the “bargain” he was in years 1-11

      Albert Pujols got jilted and took his bat and ball and went home.lol

      • Tony_Hall

        I think this played out the way the Cardinals wanted it to play out.  If they wanted him in his mid and late 30′s, they would have done it sooner.  They received his peak years, at a bargain, as you put it.  

        They look like they did everything they could and Pujols is the bad guy.  And now he won’t be in the Cardinals future for the next 20 years, or probably ever.  

        The Yankees and Red Sox didn’t have a spot for him.  Both have a 1B and the Yankees have lots of DH candidates on the roster already.  

        • Anthony

          when AROD jumped to the Yankees, the season prior in Texas, he was still a SS

          He joined NYY with some guy named Jeter at SS. The NYY accomodated him as a 3B

          NYY passed on Pujols for the right reasons and “didn’t have a spot for him” is the out, or Company Line, and not the reason. On a 5 year deal, NYY would have been a participant.

          • Tony_Hall

            A little different, they had an opening at 3B.  They now have Teixiera, who is pretty good, plus a team full of DH’s, that are under contract for many years.   

            On a 5 year deal, most every team would have been interested, but that didn’t even get you in the door to talk.  

            The Yankees passed for many reasons, not knowing what they would do with him is a big one, not wanting to go 10 years is obvious.  But that is why these agents do what they do, it only takes one over zealous owner and GM to set the bar even higher.

    • John_CC

      Maybe he wanted to be named player/manager, follow in his mentor’s footsteps…which he probably should have considering the hire.

      Seriously, I think LaRussa retiring was the final straw.

  • Mac

    I got an idea lets raid the Padres some more for Mat Latos lol.

    • Mac

      or back to my Fielder rant why don’t we trade for Teixeira hes got 5 years left and by my count owed about 23mil over next 5yrs so that’s cheaper than the 25mil Fielder would cost and not to mention we would get better Defense.
      What do you think Neil.

      • Tony_Hall

        I know you asked what Neil thinks, but there is zero chance the Yankees will trade Teixeira.  

        Why would they?  

        And who would you be trading them, that they would want and need?

        • John_CC

          Garza and Marmol?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Mac, I really don’t think Teixeria is an option. He has a full no trade to the best of my knowledge and plus it would cost the Cubs a ton of money for declining numbers.

  • cubs1967

    anyone ever notice the Cubs spelled backwards it Bucs (move the S).

    just sayin……..Chicago Bucs; moves the Pirates would do with Dejesus and Stewart.

    a real team; one with no WS since the model T; would:

    sign Prince
    sign Darvish
    realize; 85M is off the payroll this year and next
    realize the Cards lost a HOF mgr and 1b
    realize the Brewers will see their MVP suspeneded 50 games and take away their 1b
    realize tix prices went up 2 years while payroll dropped 30M 2 yrs combined (145 to 135 to 125)
    realize there won’t be any more 2.5M bonus for 14th rd picks like dillion maples so spend the monies on the MLB team
    realize…………..3M fans every freaking year deserve better

    OR

    stay the Chicago Bucs………….and sign Rodrigo Lopez.

    • Tony_Hall

      You always mention the major league payroll has gone down, but you never mention that they have spent those dollars in the draft.  All the money comes out of the baseball operations budget which has been almost $200M for the last few years.  That number hasn’t decreased.

      I have no problem signing Prince and would love to see Darvish.

      Looking at 2013, there is just shy of $60M committed already, estimating arbitration players.  They will have plenty of room to overpay to get some players.

      No matter how impatient we are, we are still a long ways from Spring Training.  Fielder could be another month or so, before he signs, he is a Boras client.  

      Also, I would think they will sign Lopez to a minor league contract and have him at AAA, for starting pitching depth.

      • Skeldor

        Problem is there won’t be players like Fielder or Darvish in 2013 so all that money but nobody to spend it on

        • Tony_Hall

          There are over paid players available every year.  Whether via free agency, or teams wanting to trade, due to financial reasons, or having a young player coming up, etc.  Teams with money to spend, can always add players.

          What I like to see is a front office that doesn’t spend all the money right now, just because it became available.  Knowing when to spend and on who is the biggest part of running a team.

        • daverj

          Agreed on Fielder.  But Cain and Hamels are better options that Darvish and likely available in 2013.

    • Ripsnorter1

      They NEED Rodrigo Lopez  no matter if Fielder signs or not.

      Our pitching is a WRECK.

    • John_CC

      Maybe if Harry Carry is doing the backward spelling.

    • Rational Logic

      Agreed – just go out and sign Prince and sign Darvish. It’s literally that easy. 

      Realize the offseason isn’t over and that you’re not on team Theo. Give ‘em time – we’re not winning anything this year – I’m happy to have a mediocre year to build a good system and compete for a decade.

      We’re not just looking to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to try to win it all this year, don’t you read anything? Epstein is trying to build a solid baseball organization and that may mean a mini-rebuild. He doesn’t have a ton of cash to throw around, and it’s not as easy as just signing a FA….that’s what Hendry did, Theo is thinking long term, as we all should.

      Don’t jump ship because we didn’t sign 3 of the best 5 FA’s. 

  • paulcatanese

    I havent posted lately because their just isnt anything to post about. The few signings that the Cubs have made so far leaves a lot left to the imagination. Its as though here’s the Cubs, you’re second chance, come to us even though you have taken gas the last couple of years, and the injuries are going to melt away and you are miracously going to have career years here.

    It’s as though the Cubs are just spinning their wheels, a signing here and there, but nothing to say we are on the way.

    I do agree with whoever posted that they expect the Cubs to make a large investment on someone just to prove that they are trying.

    If the Cubs do sign Fielder it would be a mistake. The defense would collapse and I dont care how many home runs he hits it wont make up for the amount of runs that are let in. He just dosent have the feet to move around the bag to pick up errant throws.

    The infield needs someone to solidify the defense, not add to its woes. I am not impressed with what Fielder seems to bring with his bat and for the money, I would expect a complete player, and that he is not.

    • The Maven

      Like your new avatar Paul

      • paulcatanese

        Notice, I am using a driver on a par 3  fifty yard hole.

    • jw

      Also isn’t he pretty much clogging up the bases if he gets on?

      • paulcatanese

        Thats true, although he is a pretty smart runner. Its more his defense around the bag, not much lateral movement. Balls in the dirt are not his expertise either.

        No doubt he can hit the ball, no question their, but who backs him up or protects him?

        With the present lineup the Cubs have it would be a poor investment to bring in one hitter to hit home runs, especially if their is no one on in front of him or be able to get pitches to hit if no one is behind him.

        • Dorasaga

          I totally agree on the baserunning and lack of feet on defense, Paul.

          But let’s remember that a 5-year contract is a long term investment. I’m not saying if it’s right or wrong to sign Fielder this year, but the Cubs might be looking to contend in 5 years, when Fielder would still be around.

          We don’t know what the team needs in 2-years, albeit 5-years. Will the Cubs go more defense-pitching driven, or a slugger-house, as the recent Cardinals had proven that works to their Glory?

      • jw

        Thanks Paul. I did not realize he had baserunning smarts…I do think he s a pretty good ball player and a tough out at the plate. I agree with you that there is no one in the line-up that can protect him and with your comment that he doesn’t have much range and has problems with low throws. I agree it would be a poor investment at this time unless Ricketts feel he would add revenue and interest while the team rebuilds. I believe he will sign elsewhere to another over market contract.

        I think the Cubs need to get control of the TV revenues in a couple of years and then they can play with the big TV contract teams if they play their cards right…maybe the Ricketts knew this all along that this would take 2-4 years.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Craig Counsel on a ML roster?

    Only a Jim Hendry-esque type GM would do such foolishness.

  • KevininSanDiego33

    I have a 3 team trade that may work, it help today and tomorrow. Its a little Crazy:

    Rangers get Garza, Marshall, and Barney.

    A’s get McNutt, Szczur, Vitters, and Martin Perez from Rangers

    Cubs get Gio Gonzalez, Neil Ramirez, Mike Olt, Robbie Ross and Luis Sardinas.

    • Ripsnorter1

      You forgot to throw in Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig to the Cubs.

      LOL

      • KevininSanDiego33

        I don’t think its that far off. Because I suggested Garza for Neil Ramirez, Mike Olt and Robbie Ross to the Guys at Baseball Prospectus and they said it wasn’t enough. So I came up with this.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Kevin, I heard you on XM the other night ask the question. I was glad to hear the guys say they feel Garza is worth more.

          • KevininSanDiego33

            My orginal thought was Martin Perez, Neil Ramirez, Robbie Ross and Mike Olt but I want to look like a stupid Cubs. Fan asking for too much

        • Ripsnorter1

          Gio Gonzalez:

          16-12 in 2011…age 263.12 ERA (Lefty, too).Worth more than Garza alone….

          • KevininSanDiego33

            Have u looked at his away numbers? His Era is a full point Higher and the ALW if you take out Texas was a worse Offensive division then the NLC.

          • cubtex

            I agree and look at Gio Gonzales’ walks the last 2 years. That is just more pitched this guy throws each year and that will catch up to him. I’ll take Garza over Gio.

          • KevininSanDiego33

            Hell I would take Martin Perez, Neil Ramirez, Mike Olt, Robbie Ross and Luis Sardinas for Garza.

          • KevininSanDiego33

            Also meant to Throw in Lake to the A’s also.

  • Baron_S

    Off Topic — Marion Barber is as dumb as Manure!

  • Dorasaga

    Indians To Sign Felix Pie

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/12/indians-to-sign-felix-pie.html

    I don’t know if anyone realized this, but the former #1 prospect for three years on the Cubs system, Pie, is still age 26.

    He’s three years younger than Bryan LaHair, and five years younger than David Dejesus.

    Positive?

    • Anthony

      Please tell us what makes a ML player versus a filler.

      • Dorasaga

        At age 26, he still has upside. Maybe not as a full-time starter, Pie still can run and glove center field (not great, but capable). Between Pie and Bret Jackson, the Cubs are left with the likes of Byrd and Lahair as outfielders.

        • Anthony

          please describe your perfect RF, CF, LF with no drugs/PEDS/HGH, etc.

          • Dorasaga

            I didn’t start this discussion to define anything. Maybe you can suck some blood out of Pie and send them to the WADA lab.

          • John_CC

            Is that possible, Anthony? 

            Or did you mean: Williams, Mays, Robinson?

  • Spoda17

    I think we all should remember Pie… Theo would have trade Pie when he had worth… so be patient faithful… our time will come…

    • Dorasaga

      The trade of Pie stapled the kind of Jim Hendry ‘s Cub Way. Top prospects were either not given Major League time to develop or just never good enough to handle the highest level of competition. I don’t want to criticize the old man anymore. He’s never a “bad GM,” just never good enough to build a long-term contender and bring us a World Series appearance.

    • cubtex

      Kind of like Theo did with LeMahieu??  :)

      • Spoda17

        LeMahieu will be an also-rand like Pie…  all these so called 5-Tool players that never pan out… one guy… one guy… in the last 10 years… name him..?  Walton? Smith? Pie? Patterson? Who do we have..?  Need a new look on what worth we have…

        • cubtex

          I didn’t say LeMahieu will be great….I am questioning how you think Theo sold high on him?

          • Spoda17

            didn’t say Theo sold high, he just sold… and went for a new fresh face, and let’s give t a chance…

        • John_CC

          I like DJ a lot and hope he succeeds. But he was not a 5 tool player, or even a 3 tool player – no power, no speed and no real position on the diamond. 

          And cubtex, you know he was not considered a #1 prospect like Pie was. Now you can argue the merits of the system at his time, etc. but that isn’t the point. LeMahieu was not the prospect that Pie was…as far as prospect rankings and ratings.

          • cubtex

            Look. I am willing to give Theo a fair shake this offseason and hope he improve that dreadful team from last year…but this Theo reverence that he knows when to hold the cards and when to fold them everytime is nuts. So far….he has picked up 3 players who have had down years. Can they bounce back and improve?? Of course! Can they produce like they did last year?? Also of course! Let’s wait and see but noone(not even Theo) knows for sure

          • John_CC

            I agree…with the second part of your comment. But when you say that – and I assume this is directed at me – that I have some sort of “reverence” for Epstein and believe that every decision he makes is infallible, well that just is not true! YOU keep saying that. All I keep saying is “let’s wait and see”. You and others here want to damn every move thus far before anything has happened.

            “Can they bounce back and improve?? Of course! Can they produce like they
            did last year?? Also of course! Let’s wait and see but noone(not even
            Theo) knows for sure”
            –your words…like I said, let’s wait and see…

            What happens when you condemn every move before it pans out, and argue so vehemently, is that eventually you start to root for the failure so that you can be right. I’d rather hold out optimism, it’s the first time in a long time I feel like it is even a remotely honest hope.

          • cubtex

            If you look back what I said about the Ian Stewart trade is that I called it “fair” I did not comdemn it. I do question the fact that Ian Stewart was going to be non-tendered and they should have just insisted on Colvin for Stewart instead of adding the other part of the trade.

          • John_CC

            Fair enough.

          • Jay from sandwich

            I think you should take a closure look and think mark grace when you talk about this kid. I believe that is his potential a 320 singles and double gap hitter that is a little fast and versatile in the field than mark grace. This kid in Rockies field will proble have a few more homers than grace now. I hope he prove me right so I can rub it in team theo fan

          • John_CC

            Thanks for proving my point, Jay from sandwich.

            I hope DJ succeeds too, because I think he is a good ballplayer and he I’d just like to see him do well.

          • Tony_Hall

            You are comparing DJ Lemahieu to the hits leader of the 1990′s. 

            I was all for DJ being our starting 2B this year (if he beat out Barney in ST, which I think he would), but to compare him to a near Hall of Famer, and a guy who out hit all players during the 1990′s, is just a little over zealous for me.

            DJ has zero power and will have a hard time keeping a starting job at the major league level, without some power.

  • Dorasaga

    This is fun stuff, taking Boras and his Words of Gold in full “context”:

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/12/boras-talks-prince-fielder.html

    Can you believe this?:
    “three first basemen have had this many home runs (230) through their age-27 season: Fielder, Foxx and Albert Pujols.”

    • Dorasaga

      By the way, I just read like the first 30 comments under this analysis, and I’m a bit surprised that people take that 26-32 prime as truth.

      It was Bill James who first brought this up in 1979, with facts, statistical analysis, numbers of the players in that decade. I posted a James email interview that was from 2011, and the same result:

      Baseball prime is age 26-29, as hitting goes. There will be a graduate decline afterwards. Almost all position players tumble down a cliff, performance-wise, when they past age 32.

    • cc002600

      interesting article. If Boras is expecting someone to pony up 8-10 years at 25M a year, I think he is going to be disappointed. I don’t see it. Does anyone else ? If yes, who ?

       Not many teams can afford that, and the ones that can (red sox, yanks,angels) aren’t interested. I still think cubs have a shot at getting him for 6 years.

      • Tony_Hall

        I just don’t see it, without those extra years being all team options, that can kick in as he keeps playing at his current levels. Of course, I said that is how I would structure his contract at the beginning of the FA period, as was told that he would get long term offers, due to his age.  I just don’t see anyone going more than 6, with 5 being the preferred term.

  • Nathan

    Gordon Beckham anyone?

    • cubtex

      Why not???? Seems like a perfect Theo and Hoyer pickup. Former #1 pick. Hit .270 his rookie year then .252 and .230 last year. Can you imagine the Cubs infield batting average if they resign Pena?? Ha! Stewart at 3rd coming off a .150 average…. Castro at SS(thank god for Castro!) Beckam at 2B .230 average and Pena at 1st .230 average. WOW! But I am sure they would say that Beckham was a good value pickup.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Yes, I’d take him. He just turned 25 in Sept, 2011.

      Plays both 2B and 3B.

      He’s been beat down by Ozzie. His closest comparison player in MLB history, for his age, is Don Money.

      Now I like Don Money.

  • Spoda17

    Well, all, Imma say it… stop with the “never given a chance”… yo! either you can play or you can’t… Did Griffey Jr. need extra time, did, Doc Gooden need extra time, did Castro need extra time,,?  Jeesh, I am sick of our rejects needing extra time… or it’s Q’s fault… Q sucked, I agree, but if you can play, even Q cant hold ya back.. our system sucks.. time to move on…

    It is what it is… we need to move on from our non producers and except that we may need a whole new crop…

    • The Maven

      Doc Gooden had 31 starts in his first full season. Griffey Jr. had 455 at bats in his first season.

      Pie only had 177 at bats in his first year. He wouldn’t even reach 455 total at bats until he was traded to Baltimore. After his first season with the Orioles, he had 512 total at bats for his career and a .244 career average, only 20 points lower than Griffey Jr.’s first year.

      Pie was never considered to be the type of player Griffey Jr. was, however his minor league numbers weren’t far off of his. The difference was that Seattle was a sixth place team Griffey Jr.’s first year, while the Cubs were in first in Pie’s rookie year. Griffey Jr. was given a chance to grow, while Pie was given just enough rope to hang himself by the Cubs.

      • Spoda17

        If you can play, you can play… the excuse of not having “time” to show it does not wash with me… I appreciate your numbers, but I was not comparing Pie to Griffey… I was saying if you can play, your skills will outweigh your lack of playing time…

        • Dorasaga

          But not with the Cubs when Jim Hendry made the calls, which is the point.

    • Brp921

      Q only batted Colvin against lefthanders to start then not at all throwing him into a season long slump. That was Q’s fault. I think Colvin will prove he can hold down a major league job in Colorado.

  • cc002600

    Here’s a thought to ponder. Now that Braun has been caught taking flintstone vitamins, does this change your thinking on Prince ? 

    Should we be so naive to think that one of them was taking peds and the other one wasn’t, given that they have been very close teammates for years now ??   I dunno.

    • John_CC

      I thought about that, too.  Also, what about Sveum?? I guess the point is we STILL have no idea who is doing what and who knows.  Really disappointing.