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.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
Share on Fancred
  • Tonydann1984

    Lets bring d lee back. He is good in the club house and will be less money than fielder or pens! A 1-2 year deal sounds good to me for derick lee, if we can find a young player with some upside!

    • Tony_Hall

      DLee can’t hit anymore…sorry.

  • Dorasaga

    Neil, the Cubs CAN easily outbid the Marlins, Rangers, Mariners and esp. the Dodgers, for the following reasons:

    – Texas and LA are both in a difficult financial situation. They don’t have enough African customers for Prince to allure to spend at the ballpark.

    – That last line explains why the Miami Fish and the Nintendo (based in Kyoto, Japan) Mariners are not into Fielder as his super-agent would have suggested to the media. The Fish wants a Latino icon. Nintendo wants another big Asian face (it’s a West Coast thing).

    – Nintendo is not making money, either.

    – Miami and Texas want pitching. They have enough bats. The M’s are still rebuilding by strengthening their already glorious Defense and Pitching strategy.

    ***

    Now, about Darvish Yu. I am against outbidding him for several reasons. I already exhausted my points:

    “Overused, overpriced”
    http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2011/11/cubsnewsrumors_18.php#comment-365006061

    “Mentally, a suspect (think Ron Santo’s words for what takes to be a Major Leaguer”
    http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2011/11/cubsnews111611.php#comment-366515052

    *Darvish is still disturbed by his recent divorce, according to Japanese source.

    “Compared to Matsuzaka DiceK, more on Cespedes”
    http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2011/11/cubsminor112111.php#comment-369715182

    **I would love the Cubs to bid for Despaigne, by the way, if the latter man ever was allowed to leave Cuba.

    “Observations of Darvish’s pitch”
    http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2011/12/cubsrumorsnews_1.php#comment-383931818

    I rest my case.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Now this was an excellent case against Darvish Yu. 

      He’s guilty!

      We don’t need him. 
      Nice post!

      • Coolpdxcubsfan

        Disagree, we need him! Whether we can afford him is another matter.

    • GaryLeeT

      That’s an awfully weak, and one sided case built mostly around your “gut feeling” with no stats to back it up. He’s not just a good pitcher in Japan, he’s the best….by far. His numbers are beyond sick, and if he were 75% of the pitcher here as he was in Japan, he would be a bargain. I mean 276 SO to only 35 walks for a 0.83 WHIP. He has pitched at that level for 5 years, so he’s no fluke. He’s only 25 and his Japanese numbers are MUCH better than the World Series ring wearing Dice Ks were. He did very well in the WBC so he can be judged by having gone against hitters outside the Japanese league.
      The Cubs have no ace. A World Series won’t be won without one.The Cubs have no prospect for an ace to develop in their system in the next 3 years. You have to overpay to get an ace. You think the Darvish money numbers are crazy? What do you think they will be like when Yankees, Cubs, and Red Sox start bidding on Matt Cain next year?

      • Dorasaga

        Gary,

        Your belief of a K-BB ratio stands good for DiceK as well. In fact, DiceK’s K-BB, comparable to the Persian’s, is even MORE supportive for his case.

        – Seibu Dome, where DiceK plays, is a hitter’s ballpark.

        – Sapporo Dome, where the Persian plays, is a pitcher’s ballpark.

        I can think of TWO MORE insider’s facts (among many others), which you probably didn’t care to check online:

        – Japanese hitters actually hit more long balls (and more slugging) when DiceK was there, as opposed to Darvish’s era.

        – In fact, since two years ago, the Japanese leagues started to use a kind of baseball that bounces less; i.e. less flying distance.

        Like said in my last link, I don’t want to discount the Darvish’s ability to put his pitches into better location, because he sure could. But so could DiceK when he was in Japan.

        What changed after DiceK crossed the Pacific “straight”?

        Better hitting. More games. More tiring schedule. Darvish and DiceK pitched on 6 days rest, as opposed to 4 days in MLB. Japan is a big island, but still a quite homogenous environment from Hokkaido (Darvish’s ballpark, far north) to Fukuoka (Sadaharu Oh’s ballpark, far south). DiceK and Darvish are from a league that requires less than an hour and half of flight. No bugging flies and continental wind like Comerica and US Cellular. No zero degree rain like Boston and New York. No desert like Texas. MLB is tough. You go from a humid, low-run environment to an arid, high-run ballpark the next day.

        My argument can go on and on. How can we explain Saitoh’s and Kuroda’s fantastic successes, despite the former’s age and the latter’s low strikeout rate back in NPB*?

        *Japan’s major leagues.

        The simple fact here: No cherry-picking; consider ALL the facts before you bid for an unknown player from an unknown environment.

        You can tell that I’m not against signing or bidding any Japanese player in particular. Like I said before, I believe the Cubs should bid for Darvish’s teammate, the great hero and national icon, Yuki SAITO, when he becomes available be posted in six or seven years.

        By then, the Cubs would be competitive. More researches would have been done on the strength between Japan’s leagues and MLB’s. Theo would have figured out the secret of Wrigley Field. The Cubs will become an empire that is beyond boundaries.

        • GaryLeeT

            Still weak, and you are just throwing stuff out that contradicts itself. Like the deadball was added 2 years ago, but Darvish has sustained his numbers for 5? How long ago was it that hitters slugged more, and what was the percentage that it decreased? What years are you referencing.
           The number of games Darvish started, and innings pitched is a full work load, by any standard. You have no proof he won’t succeed.
           Look, If he were as good as DiceK, and without all the injuries (you pointed out their physical frame differences), then it would be a good deal for the Cubs. AGAIN, DiceK does have a World Series ring. He went 33-15 in his first 2 years, before the injuries started.
            Your 6 or 7 year dynasty plan can run parallel to the get good now plan, it does not have to be one or the other.

          • Dorasaga

            Your problem is that you are not doing your own research, and you are not proving anything. I can go back and dig out the numbers (it’s on the bis.npb.or.jp), but it’s not going to add anything to my educated opinion. You are deflecting my point and not proving I’m wrong with all the facts stated.

            I am happy even if the Cubs overpays for Fielder and Darvish, as long as they make sure they keep doing that like the Yankees, and go on to eventually win a World Series.

            But back to Japanese players, your comment is the kind of argument, or debate, or an exchange of knowledge that is not making the Cubs better.

            Since the Cubs had openly stated to not overpay, I cannot agree that bidding your Persian trophy makes any sense. He’s not any better than Matsuzaka.

            Facts, again: ballpark, equally good K-BB ratio, compared to other Japanese aces, a confused mind–Matsuzaka was determined to come MLB, and openly stated so years before he was posted; Darvish, no; The Persian actually stated years ago, as I’ve said before numerous times, he wants to stay in Japan. Darvish is too emotional right now, due to his own divorce fiasco. We’ve seen many times when those mental pressure hit players hard; sometimes it takes a season, and he will break apart.

            Like Fanny Lou said, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” If I must repeat all of these all over again in order to remind the good Cubs fans that there are more ways to win (and more in Japanese baseball that can be translated to a success in Wrigley Field), I will love to do this.

            But the third time, maybe I need to think again. I’ve been spending money and time doing extensive reading and watching Japanese ballgames. There’s no fun when I’m not getting anything from you as a response.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I think the bidders for Fielder are falling away. They don’t have the cash laying around. Offer him a three year deal for $10 million per and wait. Scott Boras needs to be humbled–big time. 

    • Tony_Hall

      Wow, even the Pirates would offer that contract.

      The minimum to sign Fielder will be 5 years. They want 7 and I think he will get it, with an opt out clause.

      The minimum AAV will be $20M, most likely over $22.5M, to get him to 3rd place on this list, and if he accepts a 5 year deal, it will need to be for over $25.4M, so they can say it is the highest 1B contract by AAV.

      Here are the top 1B deal by AAV.

      1. Albert Pujols, $25,400,000 (2012-21)
      2. Ryan Howard, $25,000,000 (2012-16)
      3. Mark Teixeira, $22,500,000 (2009-16)
      4. Adrian Gonzalez, $22,000,000 (2012-18)
      5. Miguel Cabrera, $19,037,500 (2008-15)

  • Ripsnorter1

    “The Cubs were never close to trading Soriano.”

    That was a no-brainer, smoke and mirrors rumor, most likely started by Theo in hopes of deluding some GM. Unfortunately, no fools were found…..
    “There were not any teams interested in trading for Zambrano.”Again, no fools were found.It says here that Carlos Pena will be a Cub in 2012. I don’t expect Fielder to become a Cub.

    • Tony_Hall

      Even with the Cubs offering to pay a majority of his contract, no one will trade for him….

  • Tony_Hall

    I think Fielder will be out there awhile.  Boras has no issue, waiting out the market.  

    Some teams have waited until January to fill holes, just to let the market play out and teams can get some better deals, if there are more players than jobs at that point.  The Cardinals have done this lately, and have benefited from waiting.  Some years, players are still looking for jobs and signing right before pitchers and catchers report in mid-February.

    • Schwimmer

      Great.   Let BORAS wait.  He’s a “pox” on the MLB.  Fortunately, most of the GMs have had a chance to see his b.s.   And, all the manipulation and 1-sided logic he uses to sell players.

      He is a master at playing Teams against each other.  And, I am quite sure that (by now) the Owners and GMs have talked about how “BORAS” manipulates and “plays” them.

      When someone signs FIELDER…I think it will be a 5 year Deal at $20m to $22m.   Adrian Gonzalez is a far, far better offensive and defensive 1st Baseman.  He got $22m.

      He was the guy that the CUBS should have traded for!!!!

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree with you on AGon.  I was all for going all out to get him, as when you looked at the top 1B, he was the best all around, when you factor in the age of the player as well.

        I get the hatred for Boras, but he does his job, advocating for his clients, extremely well.  I’m not saying his methods aren’t disgusting at times, but his job is to get the best deal for the player (the player ultimately is the boss and makes the decision) and not to be concerned with the teams end of the equation.  Negotiations are all about leverage, and he uses his as well as any agent out there.

        Now, if teams start calling his bluff and his clients don’t get as good of deal as they could of, because teams don’t want to deal with him, well that is the way the market works, and players would start choosing other agents instead, and he would become less of a factor, which I am in favor of happening.

        • Dorasaga

          Agreed. Sometimes, the owners want to be manipulated for their own benefit as well. The Teixeira deal was an example. Boras drove up the first baseman’s value by making the Yankees believed that both the Angels and the Nationals were trying to outbid New York.

          I really doubt. Boras had a dinner with the Nats owner, still-quite unknown to the public at the time, a day before the press released an offer of 200M/10 years from the Nats. The Nats were probably inquiring on Strasburg and Harper, more than they were interested at Teixeira.

          But it’s good business for the Nats. The owner showed off his wealth and commitment to win, gained some media attention for his property (the Nats), and fulfilled a part of his ego–This last part is purely my speculation, but it can well happen. Just how business goes. Donald Trump would have agreed.

          • Schwimmer

            The question is:  “How did BORAS ‘make them believe’ regarding TEX’s contract?”

            If it was outright “lying” — then I think that Owners probably have some sort of network in place to identify which Agents are the BIG LIERS!

        • Schwimmer

          My hatred for BORAS is that I have heard about his dishonest and manipulating tactics both publicly and privately.

          Let’s separate a highly ethical Agent working hard for his client from BORAS.  He is not in that category.

          And, let’s agree that if you are a baseball player, you probably don’t care what lies or manipulation your Agent performs on your behalf — as long as you get the longest contract for the most money!

          So, that’s not my point.

          My point (and hatred) for BORAS is that he is actually willing to totally lie and distort and give “mis-information” to each ball club to get the best deal for his client.

          That’s my point.  How do baseball Owners and GMs “check-out” the veracity of an Agent’s claims about “what” other teams are willing to pay for a player???

          Baseball’s “collusion” laws make it a bit difficult for Owners to get on the phone and say:   “Hey…just had BORAS in my office.  He said that you are willing to pay $XXXXX for FIELDER.   I can’t believe you could make such a ridiculously high offer!  Please tell me if BORAS is b.s.ing me or not!!!!

          However, I would imagine that “after a signing has occurred,” Owners might “casually” and “off-the-record,” compare notes and discover whether or not they were lied to.

          Maybe I’m wrong on this whole Agent/negotiating thing?   If so, please educate me…

          You are a keen observer of baseball…tell me:

          In the world of baseball Agents…is it considered ethical and professional to make up any story, or, any lie in your negotiation — in order to get your client the “most money” for the “longest contract?”

          Just curious if you know how MLB Agents are allowed to negotiate player contracts with Owners?

          One would think that their was a CODE of ETHICS  of some sort?

          • Tony_Hall

            Not sure if MLB agents have rules governing their acts to that extent, as in any negotiations, you are allowed to   tell the other side whatever you want, to push your point.  If they can prove it wrong, you lose your leverage.  Not sure how a system would work in baseball, any other sport, the business world etc., where the terms of your deal were known to all parties, so that others could make decisions, based on factual info, instead of what you think others are doing.  That is why I like a front office, that sets its value on players and that its the extent they are willing to go and then sticks to it.  Therefore, it can take longer to get things done.  Soriano signed quickly, how’d that work out for us.  Remember, agents are just lawyers, that advocate for their clients best interest.

            Maybe  we should turn MLB free agency into an auction.  Might be fun to watch and MLB TV could broadcast it.

  • Tony_Hall

    Josh Willingham signing with the Twins.

    3 years $21M

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/12/twins-agree-to-sign-josh-willingham.html

    The Twins figure to use him in left field, where UZR has consistently said he’s below average defensively.

  • cubs1967

    here’s the FA 1b if cubs choose to be their alter ego the “bucs” and not sign fielder.

    d lee-been there
    x nady-ditto
    m derosa-same ol’-same ol’
    c kotchman

    almost nothing.  1b would be there for lahair.  cubs would be bucs like with 95 loss team.  pretty sad.

    trade route:  good luck

    phils-howard-next
    braves-freeman-not gonna trade him
    nats-morse–nope- no trade there
    marlins-sanchez-ditto
    mets-i davis–cheap-was hurt-no deal

    cards-berkman-no
    astros-c lee-no way
    bucs-??..doesn’t matter
    reds-neither votto or alonso–alonso would cost brett jackson
    brewers-??

    dodgers-loney-no
    padres-banks or rizzo-no
    giants–huff-nope or sandoval-nope
    rockies-helton-next
    d;backs-goldschmit-no way they trade him

    yanks-tex-next
    bosox-agone-next
    rays-??
    o’s-c davis–sure–another bust prospect like stewart
    jays-??  adam lind—

    sox-konkerko-old
    twins-morneau-concussed
    tigers-cabrera-next
    royals-hosmer-never/butler–not now–need offense/cheap contract
    indians-laporta–bust prospect

    a’s-barton-bust/carter-not now
    m’s-smoak–could be if sign fielder/but team needs offense so may keep
    angels-trumbo-same reason as M’s to not trade plus hunter/abreu gone after 2012/morales-needs to play first/still injured
    rangers-moreland–would want garza/not happening

    So; other than clones of Stewart in Davis or Smoak; the good 1b will all be signed.  The rest are old or injured or not good.

    Not sure how you build a winner w/o power; and none of the cubs prospects project for 30HR potential/castro-jackson-vitters-scuzur-golden-lake.  in fact, cubs don’t have a 1b prospect. rebel reidling is 25. gonna be 26 if ready next year…….sounds like lahair.  vogelbach is at least 5 yrs away–see Vitters.

    should fielder get 7 or 8 yrs. NO.  but 6 or less-sure–i assume Theo knows he needs to make the playoffs twice in next 5 years-right?? even JH did in 3 times in 10.

    45M off the payroll this year.  40M next.  could save another 5-7 if Z or Sori gets moved.  Hmmmmmmmmmmm……who said the Cubs don’t have the money??

    103 and counting………..wondering………tick-tock……..

    • Tony_Hall

      Actually if they don’t sign Fielder or Pena, the trade market will change based on what team signs Fielder, as they won’t be needing a young 1B in the future.  So the main competition for Fielder seems to be the Rangers or the Mariners, would lead you to believe that the most likely place for him to sign is Chicago, as both teams will have a 1B to trade if he signs there.

      The off-season is long, and has the same amount of tick-tocks regardless of when Fielder signs.  When he does, either Smoak and Moreland will be available or the Cubs will have Fielder.

      Also Fielder is not the difference between winning 65 or 90.  He was worth 5 or 6 wins in his best season.

      • cubs1967

        never said fielder was the difference between 65 and 90; not signing him means they have NO intention of contending in 2012 or 2013.  they won’t go after edwin jackson or beltran……….basically 2 complete throw away years.  plus what FA would come here with this team then.

        second, as i pointed out, no guarantee bust prospect Smoak gets traded.  M’s need offense.  He can play first when fielder DHs.  and they would want a hitter back………..so who??
        same goes for texas on moreland…..they are gonna start on garza. that’s not happening.

        face it…….if they don’t pursue Fielder; and the 2013 FA class is week and lacks 1b; this team is in 5 yr rebuilding mode……….no intentions to contend for a while.
        fielder is 28 next year; in his prime and fits genius theo’s quotes  of playing for future performance.
        same goes for darvish…..25 and in his prime.

        maybe theo got a 5 yr contract; but a 10 yr handshake. why else would he buy a home for $250K over the asking price??…….and for 3.25M.  that’s equal to his salary.  trust me, as a vp of lending; that home is above his 5 yr contract.  he made less than 2M in boston.  no way in 5 years that home sells anywhere near the value ; at least a lost of 100K.

        so read what you want in theo saying a 10 yr plan……if “prime ” players like fielder or darvish don’t get signed…….sounds to me like  a 10 yr plan; blow it up. draft diffferent. hand out handbooks. 

        learn the phrase………..113 yrs and counting……..

        • Tony_Hall

          Fielder is the difference between the Cubs contending in 2012, if not they won’t be contenders until 2016, 5 years…I sure hope Boras doesn’t read the CCO…he will want $30M/year for Fielder if he is that good.

          And Theo’s home was 7.8% over the asking price, sounds different as a percentage.  I would assume his wife wanted the house, and there was another bidder or 2, in a very nice neighborhood.   And if it sells for 100k less that is only 3% less.  It’s all relative, and I’m sure he can afford it.

          • daverj

            According to many fans, Quade cost the Cubs 15 wins so if we bring Pena back and replace ARams production, the team is a division title contender.  No need to bring in anyone else.  Please note my sarcasm.

        • daverj

          I agree that Theo needs to make the playoffs at least 2 of the next 5 years … but that could be 2015 and 2016.  Fielder needs to be weighed (no pun intended) against players that will be free agents in the next few years.

          If Fielder becomes a .250/.260, 25/30 HR guy in his late 20’s like his father and we sign him for his asking price, the Cubs may not make the playoffs in the next 5 years.

          The Cubs don’t need to spend for 2012, the money could be spent in free agency 2013 and 2014 instead.

          • cubs1967

            and that’s my point……go to mlbtraderumors.com and look at the FA in 2012 and 2013…..building blocks like fielder and darvish are not there.  assume cain and hamels get signed. 
            i can’t help everyone on this site wants to throw the next 2 years; the facts are the FA class is weak till 2014…..so if fielder and darvish don’t meet the critieria at their age of paying for future performance; then don’t expect to get an building block FA till 2014 at the earliest……which puts the cubs in contention in 2015.  reality says not all of the prospects of lake-vitters-scuzur-golden make it.  pithcing depth is very weak. cubs don’t have enough trade chips now to make trades over FA.  theo needs at least 2 drafts to build that up.
            Aaron had a great scenairo on this site of contending in 2012 w/ fielder and other signings.  blow off fielder or davish……and reality says the FA classes will be weak, cubs don’t have enough trade chips and vitters-lake-szuzur and golden are 2013 or 2014 before MLB ready.  makes the cubs FA bidders for 2015.

            just sayin……..fielder and darivsh say alot about the cubs timeline….their age fits  to contend in 2013….not signing them says 2 yrs later……..how many more after 103 should it take?

    • Anthony

      Don’t get to hungup on 30HR players, as they will be a rarity as long as MLB truly wants to police the usage of enhancement drugs.

      As far as 1B prospects, start with LaHair, play him, trade him, or release him to Nippon.

      Ridling has outperformed his draft slot since Day 1, big, strong kid who backs up the HR’s with many doubles also, and a career .289 minor league average and also made many starts in LF for TENN and played it pretty well. Where the new management decides to play him defensively is unknown, but he is knocking on the door. Iowa fro 2012

      Justin Bour is another huge dude, and his 2011 season at Daytona was good. Again, outplaying his original draft slot, and showed good power hitting .277 with 23 bombs and 30 doubles, and an acceptable K rate of 20% for a power guy, should be the TENN starting 1B.

      Ryan Cuneo and Paul Hoilman will probably share 1B/DH duties in Peoria in 2012. Hoilman has real power, even if he was stuck in Boise due to Jones. My guess is Hoilman, if and when he settles in, could be a .275 BA type like the others mentioned, but with a higher HR count, and he is fine defensively, and athletic.

      Richard Jones had a great 2011 season and should be the starting 1B in Daytona. Needs more work defensively and some approach changes at the plate, 2012 solid season may get him more on the map, and if Hoilman has a hot 1/2 in Peoria, he will get to Daytona also and push for AB’s there.

      Can’t say much about Shoulders, never seen him play in person, just heard bottom-heavy with power in JUCO, I think, and for Vogelbach, other than showcases and HR derby’s, high school pitching and a few rookie at bats says little so far.

      These 2 will probably stay in Mesa until the Boise season starts.

      Then again, if the Cubs take the plunge on Fielder, the older prospects have to keep grinding for the other 29 teams hoping for a trade or eventual shot at RULE 5 when they qualify(Flaherty).

  • Boots

    Can someone explain the logic on Cespedes? 60 million is the number Levine through out. I just have a really hard time understanding how a guy, who is at least 26 by his claims, can come out of nowhere basically because of a viral youtube video and all of a sudden be in the market for a $60 million contract? Is it that hard to defect from Cuba that it took him this long to become a free agent? 

    I just am not sold on this guys value. If he is a five-tool player and the best to come out of Cuba in a generation, why has it taken him so long?

    • Anthony

      I guess the guys in the minors hitting .280 with 20 Jacks against good pitching is not good enough to afford a big league opportunity these days, so everyone thinks the talent is better in Cuba(not true), and that just because a player is beating up chump level pitching there, he is the “next best thing”.

      Maybe its the mystique aspect, who knows, who cares.

      As far as defection at an earlier age, have no idea the current political environment there, maybe the GOVT wants their “stars” intact for international competition, and when they outgrow that due to age, they are “set free”?

    • John_CC

      Can’t explain the $60M “Logic”, Boots.  Because it is illogically thinking.  You are the logical one!

  • John_CC

    I really appreciate the collapsible comment feature. It makes reading the comment thread possible these days.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    According to Phil Rogers, Cubs are interested in Jason Varitek and could be interested in Tim Wakefield

    • Anthony

      What is the average “pop” time for a 39 year old catcher?

      Sounds like a coaching move there?

      As far as a knuckleballer, why not, eat the innings up.

      • paulcatanese

        Anthony, more Red Sox alumni?

        • Anthony

          paul, no Crisp signing yet?lol

          • paulcatanese

            At this point it seems that Theo and Co. are leaning more towards American League players. Either they don’t respect the National League or they are not that informed about them.

          • Anthony

            no, they have DiceK-itis

    • cubs1967

      why??

      varitek is koyie hill?? why??

      let geo have his good “up” year (his career is up/downup/down) so if he is traded; the “asset” is valued higher and castillo or clevenger be his back-up; can they even play at MLB level.

      and why on wakefield………there is NO reason to even bother.

      Chicago Bucs………come on Theo……..

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    According to Phil Rogers, the Cubs put a bid in on Yu Darvish

    • Anthony

      Neil, is this pitcher from Nippon 200 times better than anyone in the minors?(100M/500K)

      There are about 3000 pitchers in MILB at any given time, and most have the same velocity as major leaguers, and off speed pitches also, generally speaking.

      Disregarding draft bonus monies, rooks start at about 1/2 million annual salary.

      This kid pitches against Japanese players, and I don’t see MLB scouring that league for a slew of position players, simply because they aren’t better than MILB position guys.

      Then again, it ain’t my money, but, it feels “undermining” and also sends another odd message to the rank and file?

      I suppose my peeve is simple. This guy should be begging to play in the US, and have to earn his way up proving himself in the same fashion minor league pitchers have to, at the same prices.

      Hey YU, here is a boatload of cash because you sure as heck can dominate Japanese hitters?

      Hey Yoenis, although some college pitchers chumped you in INTL play, but you feasted on high school arms in Cuba and against some rotten Euro teams, here is 50M, cause you are the next Ruth?

      Crazy

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Comcast SportsNet confirmed the Cubs put in a bid for Yu Darvish