Cubs Bid on Yu Darvish … and Other News, Notes and Rumors

The Chicago Cubs continue making headlines … from bidding on Yu Darvish to buying the McDonald’s property across the street from Wrigley to Prince Fielder and Coco Crisp, there doesn’t seem to be a dull moment this off-season. The last few weeks of the calendar year could be very interesting as the new front office tries to build a roster for the 2012 season.

According to multiple reports, the Cubs submitted a blind bid for Yu Darvish prior to Wednesday’s deadline. Reportedly the bids for the posting fee on Darvish were sky-high and could end up north of $50 million. One executive told Jeff Passan that he believes the Cubs posted the highest bid.

The announcement of the winning bid for Yu Darvish could come as early as Thursday but has to be made by Tuesday, December 20.

The Cubs could be interested in acquiring another Japanese player. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are one of the teams that like infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima. The Yankees won the exclusive negotiating rights to Nakajima in the posting process on December 7 with a $2.5 million bid. Nakajima is not interested in being a bench player in New York. According to Rosenthal, the Yankees could work a sign and trade for the 29-year old infielder … and the Cubs were mentioned as one of the teams that could be interested.

Here is the update that includes more info on Jason Varitek, Prince Fielder, Yu Darvish and Carlos Zambrano …

The Cubs Deserve a Break …
All bad jokes aside, the Chicago Cubs took the first step toward making improvements around Wrigley Field.

According to multiple reports, the Ricketts family purchased the parcel of land across from Wrigley Field that is currently occupied by McDonald’s. The family bought the land located at 3620 North Clark for $20 million to develop a mixed use entertainment project.

The specific plans for the one-acre were not discussed but the land is located across the street from the triangle-shaped parcel of land next to the stadium and will not affect that long-stalled development.

Yu Darvish
The Cubs are believed to be one of as many as ten teams that submitted a bid on Yu Darvish prior to Wednesday’s deadline. The Nippon-Ham Fighters, Darvish’s Japanese team, has until Tuesday, December 20 to accept the winning bid. According to multiple reports on Wednesday night, the bid was so high that there is little doubt the Nippon-Ham Fighters will accept the winning team’s posting fee.

Once the winning team is announced, the team has 30 days to negotiate a contract with Yu Darvish. If the two sides cannot reach an agreement on a contract, Darvish is returned to his Japanese team and the MLB team’s posting fee is returned.

Darvish comes with a lot of uncertainty. While the numbers he put up in Japan look good, how his skills will transfer to Major League Baseball is the $100-plus million question.

Yu Darvish’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Prince Fielder
Prince Fielder and Scott Boras are looking for an eight-ten year contract at roughly $25 million a year according to Dave Kaplan. Most do not think that Fielder will receive an eight-year deal much less a ten-year contract.

Kaplan reported that the Cubs have interest in signing Fielder but they are not prepared to go as long as eight to ten years.

The Cubs have been connected to Fielder on a daily basis by the mainstream media and many in baseball think Fielder will end up signing with the Cubs. Kaplan pointed out that Fielder fits the Cubs and he should take charge of his negotiations so he can end up in the best place for him as well.

Kaplan thinks a five-year deal worth $25 million per season with a sixth year option should get a deal with Fielder done.

Jason Varitek
The Cubs possible interest in Jason Varitek resurfaced on Wednesday. The Cubs have been connected to Varitek frequently over the past month and these rumors should gain more steam in the coming weeks.

Rumors have suggested the Cubs are listening to offers for Geovany Soto and if they are able to trade Soto, the Cubs would need a veteran back-up to mentor either Welington Castillo or Steve Clevenger.

The Cubs’ brass is obviously familiar with Varitek and what he could bring to the Cubs’ clubhouse … plus, the Cubs could have a productive back-up catcher for the first time in years.

Jason Varitek posted a .221/.300/.423/.723 line in 250 plate appearances (68 games) last year with 10 doubles, triple and 11 home runs.

Jason Varitek’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Keep in mind, Oneri Fleita has sung Welington Castillo’s praises for a long time. Fleita has often compared him to Yadier Molina. Castillo can hit and has a very strong arm but struggles with game calling and consistency. The addition of a catcher like Jason Varitek that knows his role and is willing to mentor a young catcher, like he did last season, could help Welington Castillo to take his game to the next level.

News, Notes and Rumors
According to Peter Gammons, the Cubs are willing to eat $15 million of the $18 million per season owed to Alfonso Soriano over the final three years of his contract in order to move him … Soriano for $3 million per year would have to be appealing for an AL team looking for a designated hitter/part-time outfielder.

According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Coco Crisp could be drawing interest from the Chicago Cubs … to play left field.

Peter Gammons also reported that a Carlos Zambrano trade might happen in the next couple of weeks … with Miami being a possible destination.

Speaking of Carlos Zambrano, Z returned to the mound on Wednesday night in Venezuela. Zambrano tossed four hitless innings, struck out one and walked a batter in his first action since being hit with a comebacker in November.

The mainstream media finally added the Cubs lack of starting pitching to Tim Wakefield’s availability and came up with the Cubs could be interested in signing the veteran knuckleballer.

Bobby Scales and Micah Hoffpauir discussed teammate Yu Darvish with Patrick Mooney of Comcast SportsNet.

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

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Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • paulcatanese

    IIf everthing goes as reported it looks as though the Cubs are willing to bet the farm for a winner in 2012, and not push it out over a few years.
    Have to hand it to them, its going to take a lot of guts to bring all of these guys in at one time, doesent seem to be no tight pockets here if all comes off as rumored.

    • Schwimmer

      I think you are right, Paul.  THEO & CO…are a bunch of very cool characters who stay “below the radar.”  They realize that they will have better negotiations by playing everything “close to the vest.”

      I believe that they want to make a statement with some very special signings.  I think we are going to be very “pleasantly” surprised with what they come up with.

      I, also like the fact that they have goals in mind with players.  And, they will not overpay just because an Agent like BORAS tries to sell them a “bill of goods” on how FIELDER is worth 8 to 10 years, blah…blah!

      I hope FIELDER gets involved with his own contract and hass the “cajones” to tell BORAS…”I want to play for the CUBS!  Get’er done!”

      The only thing I do NOT GET is the talk about the CUBS going after COCO CRISP?

      What is up with that?  He is a mediocre hitter who has played for a number of teams.  He’s 32 or 33?  What does he have that would cause them to want him as an “every day” Left Fielder????

      Please explain what their thinking might be?

      • Tony_Hall

        Coco Crisp would be the 4th or 5th OF.

        • cubtex

          where did you hear that? I am sure Crisp can get a starting job from another team if the Cubs are only looking at him as a 4. He put up better numbers than DeJesus last year.

          • Tony_Hall

            I’m sure he could get a starting job as well, just not with the Cubs.

            Crisp 264/314/379/693
            DeJesus 240/323/376/698

            Looks like a wash to me.

            And there is no comparison if you look  back 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, etc.

          • cubtex

            OK…but where did they come out and say that Crisp would be a 4 or 5?

          • Tony_Hall

            They didn’t, but look at the OF Soriano, Byrd, DeJesus, with Jackson waiting in the wings.  That is all he would be is a 4th/5th OF, as he generally has never stayed healthy enough to play full-time.

          • cubtex

            I think if they aquire Crisp it would be if they have a deal to move either Byrd or Soriano. Sorry Tony…this is another Theo guy. He got him for Boston in the past. I am with you though…an outfield with Crisp andcDeJesus on the corners is BRUTAL. I would have preferred Crisp ahead of DeJesus for his basestealing ability ability alone….but not both.

          • Tony_Hall

            I think we are seeingthe thought process that players that get OBP and are more line drive hittersthan fly ball hittersare going to be preferred. 

          • Ripsnorter1

            Crisp led the AL with 49 SB. 

            he’d start ahead of DeJesus.

    • Anthony

      the media must have read the Crisp reference from yesterday paul………

  • TR

    Looks like Epstein and Hoyer are going to try to make it exciting in the short-term, while they spend the next 3 years rebuilding the farm system.   I can see alot of moves coming up.

    Signing Darvish – is a roll of the dice.  Why Not!  We don’t have pitchers in minors to step in.  
    Sign and Trade with Yankees for a SS/2B from Japan.  Looks like Geo Soto.  Let Wellington Castillo and Steve Clevenger fight it out for starting C.   Sign Varitek as Backup C.  
    If we sign Darvish, keep Garza. 
    Trade Z to his buddy Ozzie.  For anyone.  
    Sign a Lefty Starter Joe Saunders from Ariz.

    Trade Sori to Seattle along with lots of $$$$$.   For anyone. 

    Sign Coco Crisp to play Left for 1 year.   Keep Byrd in CF.  just bat him in 2nd or 8th, since he can’t hit in clutch. 

    Sign Fielder.   6 years deal.   He will be walked alot in 2012, so we need a 5th hitter.   Hopefully one of the Cuban players, Soler seems to have a much higher ceiling – but is only 19, so a couple years away. 

    Defense is improved immensely.   Pitching improves.  More Speed.  Have to play small ball.  

    Give BJax time in AAA until summer.  

    Is this the Cubs?????

    • paulcatanese

      Byrd has to go, otherwise, good post.:)

    • Rdecarlo

      Why would the YANKEES trade for a catch when 2 0r 3 of thier top prospects are catchers?

  • Tony_Hall

    So there you go, if anyone will say yes to Fielder for 8-10 years and at $25M, it can be done today.  

    Honestly 5 years with options going up to 10 years, with a base of $20M, with escalators to get him to $25M is a way to bridge the gap.  Fielder fits the Cubs needs and the Cubs fit Fielder.  If he goes elsewhere, he will be in Washington, Seattle, etc and who would do that to themselves.

    • Texcubnut

      Mariners, no. Nationals, very possible. This is a team on the rise and could be a landing spot for Fielder.

  • Tony_Hall

    I am all for trading Soto and signing  Varitek and go with Castillo or Clevenger with Varitek as the back-up.  Varitek is basically done as a player, but can have great value as a back-up and mentor to the young catchers.

    • Texcubnut

      Tony, I can see where the Yankees and Cubs could become very close ‘trade partners’.

  • Tony_Hall

    Wow, Alfonso Soriano is so coveted that teams won’t even pay $9M over the next 3 years to have him as their DH, part time LF…

    C’mon AL teams, he is a super star player who is a huge asset to the clubhouse and will give it everything he’s got (what’s left) everyday.  He should be able to hit 20 HR’s in a season…what do you say.

    The only thing that should be stalling this from happening, is teams still have options available on the FA market, that won’t cost $9M.

    • J Daniel


      I believe you are one, as well as I, have said that is how much it would take to unload Sori and that teams would only pay $3M at best.  Others have believed  teams would pay up to $5M.  Looks like $3M.

      Shows how careful teams must be with long term.  Personally, I only go 5-6 on Prince.  I like your idea of escalators to get it done.  I do believe it will get done here but if they choose Seattle or Washington, good luck with that.  The little less the Cubs may pay him will easily be made up in endorsements.  

      I have said all along I would bring Z back (until value is high or release), trade Soto for prospects (sign Varitek) and go with a young catcher, trade Byrd for prospects, dump Sori for whatever, and start the rebuild.

      Looks to me like that is the way they are trying to go but it is just a slow process as they are waiting out the market and various moves hinge on who/when they sign (Darvish/Prince).

      If they are in on Darvish and Prince then they need a couple of cheaper guys (Stewart, DeJesus, Crisp) that can help fill the gap in the short term.

      These guys are competitors and in no way are interested in tanking it for a rebuild.  Their idea of a rebuild is short term guys, with a couple of studs, to be in the mix now.

      A good comparison of body type, which I am sure Boras is making, is Big Papi.  I say get the deal done with Prince if possible and then keep building around him.


      • TR

        I believe that Theo and Jed are trying to start with the “Cubs Way” in 2012.   So they have to let Sori and Z go.    Attitude will be the reason for adding Varitek.  We have not had Team Leaders in a long time. 
        – so I have another crazy rumor for you –  I am in Philly today, so there sports talk shows are nuts.  But they spent 20 mins on Jimmy Rollins.  The Phillies can’t sign him because some Mystery team is talking to him on a 3 or 4 year contract.   Whenever I hear Mystery team – I think of Theo and Jed. 
        –  If we don’t get Darvish,  we will not go after the Japanese infielder from Yankees.   We may go after Rollins and move Castro to 2B.   This would give us better defense and speed up the middle, even with Rollins getting older.   

        Just wanted to share a hunch. 

        • John_CC

          I doubt this will happen TR, but if it did, Castro would be moving to 3B and Stewart to 2B.  Right Paul?? But it won’t happen, because there is no way they move Castro out of SS for a 34 year old rental player who will have to be replaced in year or two.

  • Tony_Hall

    Yu Darish is going to get his opportunity to come to the majors.  His team is going to accept the bid (obviously) and then it will be fun watching the team negotiate with Darvish, trying to use the posting fee against him, as if that goes to Darvish.  Any way you look at it, Darvish’s deal will get done, most likely during the last day or 2 of the negotiating window, and we will get to see him pitch against major league hitters.

    I think he will be a #2 guy immediately, and has the potential to be an ACE, if his stuff translates well.  

    Here’s the thing, and what makes it so hard…no one knows for sure.  

    It’s not much different than a prospect, who has pitched well in the minors, we think he will be good in the majors, but until they come up and do it, we just aren’t sure.  

    The difference is, a high draft pick doesn’t cost $100M+.  

    If the Cubs win the bid, we will have lots of discussion over the next month, about how great a move it was, or how awful a move it was, but we won’t know for sure, regardless of which team he goes to, until he has pitched in major league games.

  • GaryLeeT

    I thought that the Cubs were really in the running for Darvish until I saw the report that the high bid went way above the others. Of all the teams that put in a bid, I think the Nats are the team most desperate to make a splash.

    • Coolpdxcubsfan

      I read that at least one bid was over 50 million.

  • Chuck

    I am all for a Wakefield-Varitek signing. As mentioned yesterday, it would much be like the old days of Maddux-Bakko.  These young catchers need a mentor in how to call a game.  Varitek may not be the greatest hitter but he can sure call a game.  For me, the catcher is the quarterback of the team; he can control the game and has the skills to communicate to the pitcher and knows where every player is positioned on the field.  To win, you need pitching and defense.

    • paulcatanese

      Chuck, I would worry with the two of them out there at the same time,older people have a tendency to doze off with no notice.:)

  • Anthony

    From Wik:

    Nakajima is an aggressive hitter that likes to swing early in the count, drawing few walks (though he has improved in this regard in the last few seasons) but often being hit by pitches. He is a spray hitter with legitimate opposite-field power and good speed on the basepaths.

    Although he has occasionally manned third base during his professional career, Nakajima’s primary position for the Lions is shortstop, relying on his great athleticism and excellent throwing arm to make highlight-reel plays. While he has been known to be somewhat sloppy at times, particularly on the throwing end, he has made strides in his glovework and won the Golden Glove award at shortstop for the first time in 2008.

    —–so he is not a 2B, more 3B when not at SS

    Is Vitters Rule 5 after 2012? If he is, look for a trade beforehand.

    Paying a ransom fee for the risk of Yu is silly as DiceK, but, it is monopoly money for Ricketts as a mere conduit for the real money, the fans money via all products related.

    Sign the Prince and get an indentity.

    Coco Crispies, uhm, NO

    • TR

      It looks like Theo and Jed has an overall goal of  Defense, Speed, and Starting Pitching.   They want to build the “Cubs Way”.   We will be a small ball team for a few years.  The wind blows in – half the time anyway.  

      –  Plan A is to get Darvish.   then either Kuroda or Nakajima.

      –  Plan B Kuroda, Saunders, trade for young pitchers but also go after Jimmy Rollins. for a 4 or 5 year contract and move Castro to 2B.      

      –  If they can sign Kuroda, they go after Rollins –  I believe the Cubs are mystery team in pursuit.

      Prince Fielder will be the only big bopper they chase after.  They may sign Soler (Cuban) for the long-term, he is only 19.

      The pieces will start to fall in place after we see who has Darvish.  

      Z and Sori are on the way out.     

      • cubtex

        So where does Ian Stewart fall into that “Cubs way” formula?

        • Anthony

          left out?

      • Aaron

        First of all…you do not move a SS like Castro that still has the range and arm to play 2B…typically they stay or go to 3B, especially if they have the bat.

        I believe the Cubs bid really high for Darvish because they need a true ace-caliber starter.

        I also believe if they are smart, they’d make an aggressive bid for Fielder based on the new CBA deal

        • paulcatanese

          Spoken like a true pitcher. I agree all the way. If they are going to for for one go for all. 

    • Tony_Hall

      Vitters will be added to the 40 man when he is ready to play on the 25 man roster, or when he needs to be added to not expose him to Rule V draft.  

  • jw

    Its a big bet for the Cubs to drop 100mm on Darvish (say 20mm over 5 years inclusive of the posting)… you had better know the player, especially considering the hit or miss quality of Japanese players in MLB. I believe the Cubs could get Fielder and he would help this team but 25mm again is a huge bet unless you have unlimited resources which they don’t. If you listen to Theo I don’t believe they are operating under the plan of having a spending spree on free agents…if there was a young player that they felt they could invest in and build around yes… I would expect that versus a Red Sox type assaulton the market…when they get control of a TV contract that will change imo

    20mm for 1 acre in the City…I imagine it was a price that made sense only for the Cubs but it is a smart investment and speaks loudly about where this organization is going and I like it.

    • paulcatanese

      JW, I may be off on this but don’t the Cubs have some monetary connection to Comcast? Don’t really know, but I thought they did.

      • jw

        I am not cerain Paul. One of the posters said they thought it was a part of the Trib sale and the Cubs could not create their own network or get a bigger share of TV moneys for 2-3 years. I googled it and I could not find anything about the TV contracts…obviously it could make a huge difference in revenue with the Cubs national appeal and a contending team…that’s why the Red Sox (also active in Japan promotion which helped them pay for DiceK)can spend more than the Cubs in a market smaller than Chicago…that’s why the Angels could overpay Pujols and why the Yankees with their network have 200mm to spend each year, imo.

        • paulcatanese

          Thanks for the research.

  • Coachdon

    There has got to be some more old Red Sox hanging around that we can sign. Or maybe some more old Brewers. And resign Fukodome and go one third Red sox/One third Brewers/one third Japanese players. Getting excited about the season just thinking of the possibilities…

  • Chadaudio

    I just don’t know who the Cubs have as trade bait for someone like Nakajima.  What would that cost?  BJax?  We could trade crap for crap (DeWitt, Baker) or trade a bad contract for another bad contract (Soriano, Zambrano)… but I don’t think we have enough depth to trade for someone like Nakajima.  
    Also, no thanks on Coco Crisp.  The outfielder isn’t as delicious as the cereal.

    • Chadaudio

      Also, I’m not sure I understand bidding on Darvish.  Isn’t Jackson almost as much of a risk/reward?… but half the cost?  Surely Darvish can’t be anymore of an “ace” then Dice-K?

  • Spoda17

    Like all the comments all.  Not going to regurgitate all of the ideas, I agree with a lot of them.

    So my comments for today (so far) are… No matter what happens, I really like the efforts by Rickets and team Theo.  From the Mc Donald’s property (and I live in PA…) to the activity on FAs and trades; regardless of the outcome.

    I would not go after Darvish, Fielder, or Crisp.  I think we have someone(s) in our system that could put up LF numbers that would be comparable to anything Crisp could put up.

    And to quote Peter Gammons… “BUT!”  If we go for one, we have to go for all, if we get Darvish, we MUST get Fielder and vice versa. 

    Would not make sense really go get one and not the other.  So the Cubs may be waiting for Darvish before they get serious on Fielder.  I think the Cubs would go 5 – $22 to $25mil with an mutual option for 6; and I think Fielder would take that, and tell Boras he wants that.

    Still, a lot of possibilities out there not named Darvish or Fielder that would make us a lot more competitive…  Just really nice to be mentioned and relevant again.

    • Anthony

      you are correct

      Crisp is not the answer, rather have Soriano despite the negatives, hope he rakes in 2012 to help whet the appetite of an AL contender when trading resumes.

      OR, as you say, promote a minor leaguer and see what you got!

      It appears as of now barring future trades and FA(crapcrop retreads) signings, many see a future OF with a Szczur-type, if not himself, in CF, and Jackson LF. I feel the future RF has not been identified yet, and the 2012 season should shed more light on the entire prospect landscape for all future position players.

      AZPh, who blogs about the minors seems to have his finger on the pulse and is usually right on spot with his take on the system from rookie league on upward. I enjoy his depth chart and the latest has a prediction of assignments.

      Most of you know where to find this stuff.

      The recent additions of DeJesus, Stewart, and to a lesser extent Bianchi are bridge signings. In his first season, Theo is plugging holes with ML experienced players for several reasons, the main one appears to keeping public trust by opting to the veteran signings versus what some have called a AAA lineup. He may also be unsure of what the Farm has until he actually watches them in Mesa versus paper reports and stats.

      Vitters, who was part of one of the best high school draft classes(per experts) in 2007, would only be entering his 2nd full season of minor league ball if he went to college first, and the players who did go to college from 2007 entered the system both 2010 and 2011, which is part of the reason the 2011 Draft was rich in talent, and depth.

      Where Vitters is today is about right for a high school 1st rounder, 5 years with a wood bat versus 3-4 with a metal bat that college guys need to ween off of. Vitters had a nice season, and a strong Fall season in 2011, and 2012 should deliver his call to the show, be it ChiC or as part of a trade, for PITCHING.

      Darvish and Fielder may be the fingers that push the first Domino to falling, but in the meantime others are waiting.

      Tying up potentially $45-50M annual salary on two players is tough to do when the rest of the lineup is suspect. You get into Yankee payroll levels, then you have to go all in, might as well sign Rollins for SS, move Castro to 2B, trade for Nakajima for 3B, trade for Josh Hamilton(lame-duck season 2012), have a $175M payroll and act like a big market team:


      You see how silly that looks:


  • Anonymous47701

    Possible Rotation Solution til July 2012


  • cubtex

    Does this lineup put any fear into an oppositions pitching staff???

    LF Crisp
    CF Byrd
    RF DeJesus
    3B Stewart
    SS Castro
    2B Barney
    1B Prince
    C Soto

    This is the reason I don’t sign Prince. This team needs a lot more than 1 great offensive player. If a pitcher has any brains all they would do is pitch around Prince and they should win the game.

    • Chadaudio

      I totally agree.  Plus, Prince is a DH at firstbase, and is only going to get more DH-y with each passing season.
      Man, our lineup sucks.

  • cubtex

    There are rumors floating around that the Blue Jays are the team that submitted the high bid.

    • daverj

      Makes a lot of sense for it to be the Jays.  They have a window of opportunity for a couple years where they may be able to compete with the Yanks, Red Sox and Rays with a couple key additions.  There are in a position where it makes sense to overpay … a position the Cubs will hopefully be in a couple years down the road.

    • John_CC

      It would take them out of the Fielder sweeps. Actually, all of the same teams are rumored, so something has to give…by next Tuesday.  The Mariners, Blue Jays and Cubs are the three teams that have mutual interest in Darvish and Fielder. If any of them wins the Darvish bid, they will be out on Fielder, opening up the opportunity for the other two to battle it out. So depending on how you would like the chips to fall, if Toronto or Seattle wins the right to negotiate with Darvish, I would say the Cubs will land Fielder, knowing that the other closest suitor cannot go 8 or 9 years, and cannot beat them on AAV, the Cubs could overwhelm with an AAV of 24$M for 5-6 years and get him.  Because Boras would know it too.

      On the flip side, if the Cubs win rights for Darvish, they will be tied up in a tough negotiation, Darvish already stating we wants to play on one of the coasts. It is possible the Cubs could not even finish the deal. And in the 30 day window, also lose out on Fielder with Boras seeing his best chance at the big payday out of the negotiations, and convincing Prince to sign with an AL team.

  • Michael

    Castro isnt going to move to 2b and I hope we were not the highest bidders on Darvish. Last time Theo and company spent 100 million yen on Dice-K they whiffed on that. No way to tell if his talents will translate to the MLB, every couple of year we hear this with foreign talent and almost always they do not pan out and are mostly hype. Save the cash and spend it on PROVEN talent at a better value.

    • Calicub

      Well since 100000000 yen is $1.2 million USD i’d be fine with that…

  • RynoTiger

    New update on Darvish situation: latest report is that many teams put in a bid, one bid will be accepted, that team will sign him, and then he’ll play in the U.S.   I cannot divulge my sources for this critical information.

    Neil, don’t be upset that I outscooped you on this latest news.

    • Neil

      I’m not …

    • Tony_Hall

      Where is your scoop?  I just don’t see it.

  • Anthony

    lets just say NO Darvish, NO Fielder

    What are the smart baseball moves that fit the Theo verbage of building two systems, the minors, and a competitive MLB team for 2012. Back to basics, pitching and defense

    We all know the FA retread list and the remaining quality FA’s available, but what would be a smart trade. Which near ready prospects are you willing to trade after(BOS/SD) compensation is identified, for a current MLB player position of need, assume LaHair is going to get his opportunity at 1B.

    Need a leadoff hitter, a SP, some additional corner power.

    • RynoTiger

      so what you’re saying is that you don’t want the Cubs to be competitive in 2012 or maybe years after that….

      • Anthony

        How many WS did Fielder win Tiger?

        There are pitchers at a way much lesser cost than an unproven Nipponese one that could be helpful toward winning. Some reports say the Darvish fastball is “arrow straight”

        A Nipponese contact type hitter does little damage, and a MILB player at A level can crush those, imagine what the MLB sluggers will do.

        Think about this in a math sense. Say you can up your team payroll to $125,000,000. Imagine a $15M annual salary on a 5 year deal, and a $60M ransom fee allocated(cash) for another $12M each of the 5 years.

        Take that $27M/125M

        You want to allocate over 20% of your budget to ONE UNPROVEN PLAYER? Bad Business/Bad Baseball

        Now add $25M for Fielder, and almost half your budget for two players., and I didn’t even bring up any cost/benefit analysis comparing production from an average salary/player versus a high-priced player.

        Isn’t Theocracy based on getting more for less?

        • RynoTiger

          He won 0 WS…but no one man wins a’s a team

  • diehardcubfan

    This is getting to be really interesting.  If the Cubs actually sign
    Crisp, then they of course will have to trade Soriano.  I also think the
    Cubs would then make a run at Carlos Beltran besides Fielder as they
    significantly lack power in the lineup.

    If all plays at the lineup would then look like this:

    Crisp (LF)

    Castro (SS)

    DeJesus (RF)

    Fielder (1B)

    Beltran (CF)

    Stewart (3B)

    Bianchi (2B) yes I think he will end up being the 2B over Barney.  If he
    is healthy he might also end up being the leadoff hitter.

    Castillo (C), yes Soto gets traded.

    If the Cubs win the Darvish bid and sign him then the Cubs should target
    Jackson and claim Saunders.  Priority after that is to trade Zambrano. 
    Starting rotation looks like this.






    I think that group would do well. 

    The primary concern for all this is that is there enough money?  The
    positive is that if all that happens then Vitters and Jackson get
    develop more instead of being rushed.

    This could get interesting.

  • John G

    $50MM dollars (or more) just for the right to talk to the guy??? That’s just wrong on so many levels. The money being thrown around these days just blows my mind. Whatever happened to the Al Kaline’s of the world. Remember how the Tigers offered him $100,000 salary and he turned it down because he didn’t think he deserved it? I guess it’s just a different time.

    BTW – It’s too bad Al Kaline wasn’t a pitcher or catcher, then he could have been part of the Battery.  

    • paulcatanese

      Agree John, also the 25% cut in salary allowed for no production. Many former greats were Kaline’s type.
      As I have been reminded that was a different time, too bad.

      • John G

        Paul, I realized I missed a chance with my Battery joke.

        It should have been,

        What do diehardcubfan and Al Kaline have in common?

        They both have a battery named after them.

  • Shelbymenge

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

  • Neil

    From Jerry Crasnick:There were signs today (I can’t say precisely what) to indicate the #Cubs are stepping up their pursuit of Prince Fielder.

    • Ryan W

      Hey Guys, in case you do not have insider here what Crasnick’s tweet linked to on espn indsider:

      There were indications Thursday that the Cubs are getting more involved in thePrince Fielder sweepstakes and might be ready to step up their pursuit of the free agent first baseman, a league source told’s Jerry CrasnickAlthough it’s uncertain precisely where the Cubs stand in their talks with agent Scott Boras, the source said the Cubs continue to gather information and could be poised to make a serious push for Fielder soon.The Cubs, Mariners, Rangers, Blue Jays and Dodgers have been mentioned as potential landing sites for Fielder, who hit 38 homers, drove in 120 runs and finished third in the National League MVP race this year behind teammate Ryan Braun and Dodgers outfielderMatt Kemp.Length of contract could be an issue for the Cubs and the other teams in the running.Albert Pujols signed a 10-year, $254 million contract with the Angels last week, and Boras is reportedly seeking a 10-year deal for the 27-year-old Fielder.

      • Anthony

        Like taking the Reading section of the ACT exam?

        “might be ready”
        “uncertain precisely where”
        “continue to gather information”


        Yu bid was insufficient
        less than 7 years
        didn’t Theo read Boras’ hard cover book he made?


        “a league source”?

        which league? I didn’t know the NL offices are attuned to deals before they are made?

    • Rational Logic

      Haha you see signs, but you can’t say precisely what, that indicate…? How do I get a job at ESPN? 

      • Anthony

        it would be like winning the lottery, get paid to do nothing

  • Denio

    I can’t see the Cubs doing a 10 year contract with Fielder..

    I feel if the Rangers lose out on the Darvish bid, they will go after Fielder hard with that money and try to trade for more pitching… Their future is now.

    Just my 2 cents…

    • Aaron

      That’s precisely what i was thinking. The thing that is scary from a Cubs’ perspective is the fact that the Mariners, Rangers, and Jays are all going after the same players in Darvish and Fielder…so no matter what someone is going to overspending or drive up the price on the guy they lose out on.

      Right now…just to be competitive the Cubs have to land at least one of them…I say both…but because the Brewers and Cards got worse…the Central is wide open so one might be enough…problem is, once they get to the playoffs they’re likely the worst team there.

      The Cubs opened the offseason with the following gaping holes:
      CF (Byrd sucks…let’s face it)
      2 starting pitchers (at least)

      The have “solved” 2 of those holes with 2 guys coming off injuries and horrible seasons…so they have to have someone like Fielder to limit risk offensively ….

      It’ll be really interesting

      • Anthony

        good comments aaron, so as much as I don’t like the system, forget that, and lets assemble some payroll dollars, and where these additions would take the payroll over the next few years. I believe a ransom fee is charged to the scouting and development account, not payroll, so add 35M for Fielder/Darvish.

        Lets talk of the potential additional revenues these two would bring:

        jerseys/souveneirs/MCDonald’a Alley?

        anything else? not ticket revenues unless Kenney pushes it, concessions are already a rapenpillage, and any post-season revenues are not guranteed.

        Now, the beanheads might be advising the owner and baseball guys that the CBA and draft changes may save a few million each season, maybe 15M total over 5 years that defrays the ransom fee?

        What are the exiting contracts post-2012?

        How much does the Farm suffer?

        Still not sold on Yu because hitters here will crush a straight fastball, then you get into nibbling, more pitches thrown per outing, more offspeed junk stress on the elbow, etc.etc.

        The Nippon game, and hitters are NOT like MLB, that is a fact. The guys in MLB history who were/are able to pitch to contact have all had the same thing.

        Unusual and off the charts MOVEMENT

        Bill of Goods
        Snake Oil

        same for the Great Centipede, or Yoenis whatever, crushes pitchers who come from lands where snow skiing and speed skating reign………

        and, lol

      • daverj

        I agree that to be competitive in 2012 the Cubs need to land both Darvish and Fielder, but I don’t see either of them ending up with the Cubs.  The Cubs won’t be competitive in 2012.  Given the costs that it would take to sign those two guys, I think it’s the right long term move for the Cubs.

  • Coolpdxcubsfan

    The Cubs are probably talking to Boras about Pena and all the rumor guys  are thinking they are talking about the other Boras greedmonger.

  • matthew8510

    (@nickcafardo) Cubs are not major players for Prince Fielder. Not ready to spend big

    • Anthony

      a Boston rag writer, makes you feel good that he has an inside view of the Chicago Cubs Baseball Club financial operations……………….lol

    • Tony_Hall

      If spend big means 10 years $254M+ then that would be smart, not, not ready to spend big.

  • Demitri

    I think the Cubs actually put a good offer for Darvish. They might as well start building a rotation because we don’t have any quality starters in the minors ready to come up.

  • Spoda17

    It’s funny that in a matter of hours you see the “experts” say the Cubs have stepped up there efforts to sign Fielder… then those same experts two hours later say “it appears the Cubs are NOT in the race for Fielder…”

    So here is the predictions ladies… we will not get Darvish or Fielder… which I am not disappointed about…

    I think we should go for a few more stop gaps, not Crisp, and call it for this year and get some young talent…

    • Anthony

      I am the only male on this site, wow.

      • Anthony

        Spoda, I agree with your post, and that comes from the only gentleman as everyone else are “ladies”??

        did you mean, Laddies?

        • Spoda17

          lol… just messin around Anthony… spice it up a bit…

          • Anthony


            by the way, the Cubs signed Manny Ramirez to a minor league contract, and will spend the 50 game suspension learning 1B in Mesa, as he is in transit to Camp Colvin/Theo
            and is excited

    • daverj

      Agreed.  Teams that win over the long haul are not built through free agency.  They are built on (1) major league players developed in the organization, and (2) major league players acquired in trades by dealing young talent.

      Castro is a great start.  Now we need to develop a few more for us and handful for trades.  With the exception of Brett Jackson, we don’t have prospects that would generate much interest around the league.

  • Anthony

    The best GM’s in baseball history Post-Free Agency have made their mark with trades and the draft, and used FA to plug a few holes.(see early 90’s Cleveland).

    With a mediocre crop of FA’s currently, and over the next few years, lets see what these braniac suits can come up with. Over 100 years of losing, what’s one more, right?

    What I want to see these guys do:

    Properly evaluate the Farm, and provide the best resources money can buy to develop them, challenge them, accelerate the process.

    After evaluating the Farm players that have been in Pro baseball for at least a few years and are timetable/age ready, fast-track them, then cut bait where needed.

    As a sidenote, Boston used FA excessively, and the only real farm position guys injected were Youkliss, Ellsbury and Lowrie in the 04-11 seasons. The rest were plugs.

    The Cubs are in a Catch 22 phase. They signed or traded for a few question marks not only to try and compete, but to catch “lightning in a bottle” for potential future trade bait?

    How many teams are knocking on the door for Soriano, Byrd, Barney, Soto, etc etc. they are basically STUCK

    So this begs the question. How long is the rebuilding process knowing the FA crops for the next few years are mostly retreads?

    If Ozzie wants Z, what do they have in return?

    J. Hamilton is looking to get paid in Texas, from what I read, and wants a redo. Are there any trade possibilities there?

    Put the instant expensive no promise fix aside and ask yourself what would you do without selling out?

    I would rather see them parade each AAA player out there, one at a time, in no particular order, and see what they do.

    You get a funny feeling Pena will be the 1B while LaHair heads to Nippon? They will love him there. If Hendry limited his opps, what will Theoyer do with him?

    • paulcatanese

      Anthony you are right, the Cubs are stuck. But what sticks in my craw that Pena may be back at an increase in dollars. The Cubs gave a below par hitter 10 mil. and he turned himself into a sub-par hitter and now they would have to pay him more to even try to become a par hitter.

      • Anthony

        paul, me thinks we are the few who have experienced the game before the advent of free agency

        isn’t it difficult to deal with based on what we know?

        • paulcatanese

          I agree, it is difficult to place myself in the modern game of baseball and make palatble sense of it.

          The monies involved are so out of tune with what I remember along with the contracts that
          it reflects on the whole game for me.

          Thats one reason I only follow the Cubs, one team. I would give the game up if I were to include all of the other teams and what they were doing.

          Thats another reason I have been following high school sports, they are still relativly innocent, not all, but most.

    • daverj

      That’s exactly what the Cubs need to do.  I still think LaHair is our opening day 1B though … I’d prefer to give him a chance over bringing back Pena.

      I think we’ll sign a veteran starting pitcher and a 4th outfielder and that may be it for 2012.

  • Anthony

    TWITTER has freed many from the confines of Mommas basement

    DKnobler DKnobler
    The latest on Darvish, with Fighters expected to accept bid on Tuesday: is this guy?

  • daverj

    Neil –

    If Pena signs with the Cubs, will Cubs still get the sandwich pick?  If the Cubs would lose that pick, then I highly doubt Epstein would bring Pena back.

    • Neil

      No, the Cubs would not get the sandwich pick. They only receive if he signs with another team.

  • Aaron

    Just a hunch…but if Cubs lose out on Darvish ..methinks they will not bid on Fielder

    i am starting to get this feeling, because I believe they’re either “all-in” or they’re retooling. They won’t risk rebuilding…which sucks…but they can’t undo what they’ve already done with not protecting Gonzalez and Flaherty, as well as dealing LeMahieu. I believe if they were rebuilding, they’d keep them all and trade almost all their veterans…

    But I now believe based on the signing of DeJesus and the trade for Stewart, there is an almost certainty they are retooling, which means more solid prospects will be dealt in favor of marginal veterans…in other words…sadly not much has changed from the old regime.

    They also might be getting too cute with some of these trades/signings (code for “stupid”)…as they’re trying to make their imprint on the team.

    What has been said by many in the game is true…when any team hires management from another organization, they instantly value their inherited prospects less, while at the same time coveting their old team’s prospects more than they should. It was an almost universal opinion around the game that the Cubs had the most future MLB players of any organization.

    What i fear most is Ho-pstein will deal solid prospects for crap veterans…because they’re just trying to give the illusion that they’re competing while they try to rebuild through the draft and(which ain’t gonna happen anymore…at least quickly with the new CBA) int’l signings .

    The top free agents left in my opinion are:
    E. Jackson
    Zumaya (though he might not be healthy and Cubs really don’t need relief but he’d be tough to pass up if he still has the velocity)

    If the Cubs don’t land at least a couple of these guys….they have NO chance of competing, much less making the playoffs. This…of all years given the exodus of star players in the division plus Braun’s impending suspension…is the time to go for it and what’s incredible is they don’t have to sacrifice long-term goals either as just Fielder and Darvish would require more than 4 years….well probably Cespedes too.

    If they look ahead, there’s virtually no decent veterans available in the coming years so now is the time

    • Anthony

      BINGO, minus centipede, Yu Flube

    • paulcatanese

      Kind of agree Aaron and as I have said “too many Red Sox alumni”.
      Could it be that the management team feel’s more comfortable with what they know? I kind of get that impression.

    • Agustinrexach

      Aaron, I don’t know where you got the idea that “It was an almost universal opinion around the game that the Cubs had the most future MLB players of any organization”…. That is completely out of sync with my perception. Who ever said that? What’s the source? What I’ve read is that our system was getting better in the lower levels the last 2 years  and then Castro showed up but we still were/are not even average.  It has to be true that new management undervalues the inherited prospects…of course…”When the new Lion comes he kills the lesser males and starts new breeding from scratch “but our system pretty much sucks. We have No projections of any future star in the making other than Castro based on BA or BR or anyone.

      Me thinks Theo’s strategy might be to attack pitching since currently is in much better shape than hitting! He has a chance to add 2 starters[maybe Yu and trade for another], keep Z. G and D and have a solid rotation and with our above average bullpen we could have a highly competitive pitching staff. “Competitive enough to stay in the NL race that is”
      On offense, well there we die…but we could do well, as you said, by trading Soto,Marmol and even Marshall to maximize value for prospects while saving that money. We need to trade good stuff to get good stuff… Sign Woody cheaply to close-out games and insert Cashner in Marshalls role and see if he can stay healthy there.Marshall would be tough to let go of but I honestly doubt he can keep this excellence for any much longer, so it’s time to get good return for once. I would go all-in with Cespedes, keep Soriano[batting no higher than 7th] and resign Peña for two years untill Joey Votto time comes. We would lead the league in K’s but we would have some power there with 25+ HR potential with those three. Castillo has some pop and could surprise, Castro should rise that HR total to 20, Barney could hit >?<$#% just kidding…oh well something like that is what I expect. Let's see.

      • Anthony

        if your BA reference is Baseball America, the you backed the wrong horse on a bunch of writers who are cluless, and legends in their own minds

        do better than that, c’mon, rag guys who never entered the batters box?

        • Agustinrexach

          State your reference then sir.

          • Aaron

            My references:
            USA Today
            …and many other writer i have seen…even big ones like Rosenthal, Gammons, Olney , and Stark. I also saw a segment on MLB network talking about it. Now…problem is, most were written about in 2010 before injuries and the Gaza trade except for what aired on MLB network which aired a few months ago

  • Anthony

    While surfin waiting too see who decided to take one for the BLOODY team with YU, know where, the History Channel has a bunch of inbreds shrimpin

    I think I chose the wrong profession because if the banjo player from Deliverance can be a TV Star, then anything is possible

  • cubs1967

    this hasn’t been discussed much; but go to and read the international draft committee that is finally, way overdue formed.
    this will be another blow to the cubs.  no more 4M to 18 yr old dominicans who should of been drafted and maybe get 1M.
    as an american, this is good. why should american parents paying american taxes have their kids drafted, when dominicans can be FA.
    makes no sense. chapman got 30M and he sucks. strasburg; who was way more advanced, got 15M. anyone think the nats trade him for chapman. me neither.
    anyway, the point is ricketts is all proud of this new, never seen before, dominican facility; which may be too late. if the players are to be drafted, why good is a facility.  shouldn’t there just be MLB facilities, where players train, workout, get scouted and then drafted.
    come to american and play in short season rookie ball.
    not seeing how a “facility” will provide advantages anymore.

    this too, means, no more BS crap about baseball operational expenses being equal year to year; when we all know the payroll has gone down very yr ricketts had owned the team, but tix prices up.
    they cannot overspend on domincans or other int’l FA when this comes to fruition. same for overspending on draft picks from colleges or high schools.
    SO………spend it on the MLB team; the won that can win a WS. the minor league teams cannot.
    more reason to go after fielder, 6 yrs or less or maybe darvish; although i don’t think cubs won that silly bid process.
    fielder though…….

  • Dorasaga

    On the Darvish Derby…

    Confirmed 9 teams DID NOT bid. Only 4 teams confirmed to have participated in the blind bidding, so-called posting system:

    Blue Jays, Cubs, Rangers, and Yankees.

    The other 17 clubs, whether they bid or not, will create the market value of Darvish.

    I predicted a range between 32 – 50 million to buy that ticket of negotiating right with the Persian; a.k.a. posting fee. If a mere 4 teams bid–and those GMs know each other well–then we might expect a “post” closer to 32M, which is the kind of money those four ballclubs are willing to throw into nowhere* just to “talk” (contract) with a potential ace.

    *Very few but the Seibu fans know this–the whereabouts for the 51.111 M of post for DiceK Matsuzaka was never known. The beneficiary, Seibu Group who owned DiceK, made a press release at the time that they will use those money on the ballpark.

    Well, I was at Seibu Dome, the ballpark, a year ago, three and half years after Seibu accepted the post. Nothing changed (media report said “better toilets”). I can imagine that was what happened with the Wrigley money the Tribune made. A big chunk of them went to nowhere.

    • Tony_Hall

      D – Love your insights to this process and the Japanese players.

      One thing though, you make it seem like the posting fee is to just talk to the player.  The posting fee goes to the team (and they can do whatever they want with it, just like any other business), but the money only changes hands IF the player signs a contract with the MLB team. Otherwise the money goes back to the major league team, that I assume had to post the money into an escrow account.

      I know you know this, but many readers don’t.

      Just tweeted out that there is a report the Blue Jays won the bid for Darvish.