A Full Field of Cubs Rumors and Notes

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have said countless times they like keeping their decisions close to the vest. And while not much is coming out of the offices at 1060 West Addison, the Cubs continue to be connected to free agents and linked to possible trades. Most think the Cubs are interested in Prince Fielder, Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes despite the fact they’ve said they do not have the money to sign a high-dollar free agent.

The Cubs’ new regime has a lot of holes to fill on their big league roster … as well as decisions on possible minor league free agents that will help fill out the rosters down on the farm.

The Cubs have yet to officially announce Dale Sveum’s coaching staff. According to reports during the Winter Meetings, Sveum has filled all of the positions with the exception of first base coach. Dave McKay was mentioned as a possibility for the job last week and would join Jamie Quirk (bench coach), Rudy Jaramillo (hitting coach), Chris Bosio (pitching coach), Pat Listach (third base coach) and Lester Strode (bullpen coach) on Sveum’s staff. Sveum discussed a coaching job with Craig Counsell prior to him deciding to play another season.

As the Yu Darvish bidding deadline approaches (4:00pm CT on Wednesday), here’s the update …

Prince Fielder
The power-hitting first baseman continues to be the main topic of conversation when it comes to the Chicago Cubs. Will the Cubs add the slugger to a lineup that is void of power? Or maybe, the better question is: Will the Cubs outbid teams such as the Mariners, Rangers and possibly the Dodgers and Marlins for his services?

According to Phil Rogers, Theo Epstein has been reluctant to make a huge commitment to Prince Fielder for several reasons … Fielder is a poor defensive first baseman, he’s only been a major force in two of the last five seasons and his conditioning is a gamble on a long contract.

Scott Boras is marketing his number one free agent with a 73-page book of all of Fielder’s accomplishments and why Fielder should be signed to a mega-contract. If Boras is able to get $2 million per page, that would be a $146 million contract … and at seven years, that is an AAV of $20.857 million.

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on ESPNChicago.com, here are the highlights:

  • Scott Boras is starting with a seven-year deal for Prince Fielder, but he could be willing to take a shorter contract if the AAV is equal to or above Albert Pujols’.
  • The Cubs are not going to get into a bidding war for Fielder … the Cubs do not have the money to do so.
  • Theo Epstein could wait until the other teams submit their offers for Fielder and make one offer once he knows what he is bidding against.
  • Levine thinks the Cubs are in on Yu Darvish.
  • Matt Garza was never on the trading block. The Cubs listened to offers and if they had heard a package of players they feel could have helped to improve the team they probably would have considered trading Garza.
  • The Cubs have not decided if Jeff Samardzija and Andrew Cashner will be relievers or starters next season.
  • The Cubs were never close to trading Alfonso Soriano at the Winter Meetings.
  • Edwin Jackson is looking for $10 million-plus per season. According to Levine, if the Cubs could add Joe Saunders and Edwin Jackson they might have a competitive rotation.
  • Despite all of the rumors during the Winter Meetings about the Marlins interest in Carlos Zambrano, there were not any teams interested in trading for Carlos Zambrano.
  • Levine does not know if the Cubs have enough money to sign both Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes.
  • Levine indicated Yoenis Cespedes could be looking for a $60 million contract.
  • The Cubs could bring back Carlos Pena … and Levine confirmed the Brewers’ interest in Pena as well.

Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano participated in the Venezuelan Winter League’s annual home run derby on Monday. Zambrano hit two dingers, the same amount as the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez. Zambrano talked to the media after the event.

Zambrano said he is preparing for next season like when he was a rookie and he would like to finish out his contract with the Cubs.

From Cubs.com: “I’m preparing like when I was a rookie, climbing mountains, running on the beach, and exercising hard so that I can arrive at Spring Training in optimal shape. I want to stay in Chicago for two seasons I still have with the team. I’m not a coward who would take the back door out of the Majors.”

As for his return to the mound, Carlos Zambrano is expected to pitch on Wednesday night.

News, Notes and Rumors

Fangraphs gave a late May, early June ETA for Brett Jackson.

Phil Rogers thinks the two biggest free agents on the Cubs’ radar are Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes.

Former Cubs’ top pitching prospect, Angel Guzman has signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Guzman pitched in the Cubs’ minor league system last season and received a non-roster invitation to big league camp.

Guzman was not the only former Cub to receive a minor league deal from the Dodgers … Jose Ascanio and Scott Rice also inked minor league contracts that included a non-roster invitation to big league camp.

Lou Piniella has left the Giants organization and has re-joined the Bronx Bombers. Piniella signed a deal to be an analyst on YES Network next season. Piniella will also serve as a Spring Training instructor for the Yankees.

The details of Aramis Ramirez’s backloaded contract were released on Tuesday. Ramirez will receive $6 million in 2012, $10 million in 2013 and $16 million in 2014. There is a $4 million buyout on the mutual option for 2015 … $6 million of the $36 million contract Ramirez agreed to will be deferred, interest free, until 2014.

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

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Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein