Three is Not Enough for Fielder … and Other Cubs Rumors

The noise and rumors surrounding the Cubs continue to be louder than the actual news coming out of the offices at 1060 West Addison. The Cubs continue to be connected to Prince Fielder by the mainstream media and the Matt Garza trade rumors will not go away.

Peter Gammons riled up Scott Boras late Tuesday night. Gammons reported that several general managers think Scott Boras could do a three-year deal for Prince Fielder worth $26 million per season. Gammons said Fielder would end up topping Albert Pujols’ AAV and would in turn be a free agent again at 30 years old.

Bruce Levine spoke with Scott Boras not long after Gammons’ report and Boras responded, “Not only is that inaccurate and delusional, but it seems that people have gotten into their New Year’s Eve stash just a little bit early this year. It appears some baseball people are just bored. That’s when you hear ideas like that floated.”

There are still upwards of six teams interested in Prince Fielder with the Cubs being one of them according to Levine’s report.

Here’s the update …

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

  • Levine thinks Marlon Byrd is still on the Cubs’ roster because they have not signed Coco Crisp … or acquired an outfielder from the Blue Jays system in a possible Matt Garza deal.
  • Levine has not heard much lately about the Cubs possibly re-signing Carlos Pena.
  • As for the Cubs signing Prince Fielder, Levine thinks the Cubs still have a shot at signing him. Levine knows they’ve continued talking with Scott Boras about Fielder and one of Levine’s sources has indicated the talks have been “more intense.”
  • Levine has heard the names Kyle Drabek, Deck McGwire, Jake Marisnick and Anthony Gose as possibilities coming back from Toronto for Matt Garza.
  • Geovany Soto is “better than most catchers out there right now” but the Cubs need to find out if Welington Castillo “can be a Major League catcher soon.” Levine thinks Castillo will get all of the reps at the Triple-A level when the season begins and Soto will likely end up as trade bait in the future.
  • The Cubs interest in Anthony Rizzo could depend on what the Padres want in return. San Diego is looking for pitching according to Levine and the Cubs do not have a lot to offer unless it ends up being some of the young relievers. It would not make sense for the Cubs to trade Brett Jackson for Rizzo. The Cubs need outfield help just as much as help at first base.
  • The Cubs are going to be in on both Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler according to Levine. Cespedes is going to be expensive ($45 – $55 million) but he feels the Cubs will spend the money. Cespedes and Soler are in the process of becoming residents of the Dominican Republic, once they are residents they will be eligible to be signed as free agents.
  • An American League team, like Baltimore, may take Alfonso Soriano if the Cubs are willing to eat most of the money owed.
  • Levine reiterated the Cubs think Ronald Torreyes is their future second baseman.
  • Bryan LaHair is the Cubs backup plan at first base if they cannot land another option.

Matt Garza
The Cubs are listening to offers for Matt Garza … and talking to his agent about an extension all at the same time. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are not sure if they should build around Matt Garza or trade him to improve the organization quicker.

Several teams are reportedly interested in Matt Garza … one of those teams is the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays lost out in the bidding for Yu Darvish and could have turned their attention to Matt Garza. The Cubs right-hander is appealing to teams in the AL East because he’s proven he can win games in that division … and in fact, a majority of the teams that have been connected to Garza are in the Junior Circuit.

Bruce Levine has heard several players that are involved in the talks with the Jays. Levine reported last week that right-handed pitcher Deck McGwire would be the focal point of any negotiations with the Cubs and Rays. Levine also reported before Christmas that the talks could include lefty Justin Nicolino and power-hitting outfielder Jake Marisnick.

Levine expanded the list in his chat Tuesday and included Kyle Drabek and Anthony Gose.

Toronto acquired Kyle Drabek in the Roy Halladay deal with the Phillies and Baseball America ranked Drabek as the Jays’ top prospect prior to last season.

Drabek had a rough time with Toronto last season and posted a 4-5 record in 18 games, 14 starts, with a 6.06 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP. The 24-year old right-hander is 4-8 in 21 career big league games, 17 starts, with a 5.83 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP.

Anthony Gose made it to Double-A last season playing a majority of the year at the age of 20. The 21-year old lefty hitting outfielder put together a .253/.349/.415/.763 line with 20 doubles, seven triples and 16 home runs in 137 games. Gose swiped 70 bases and in three minor league season he has stolen 194 bags in 262 attempts.

Baseball America ranked Gose the Jays’ fourth best prospect prior to the 2011 season.

The former high school pitcher was acquired in the eventual three-team deal that landed Roy Oswalt in Philly and Brett Wallace in Houston … the Phillies selected Gose in the second round of the 2008 draft.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are listening and appear to be waiting for a huge return for Matt Garza. Jim Bowden (MLB Radio Network/XM Radio) mentioned Tuesday afternoon that the Tigers called about Garza and when the Cubs’ brass asked for a package that included right-handed pitcher Jacob Turner and third baseman Nick Castellanos (the Tigers’ top two prospects), Dave Dombrowski thought that price was a little too high to pay for Matt Garza.

Manny Corpas
According to a report from Jon Heyman, Manny Corpas could earn as much as $2 million in 2012 with the Cubs … if he hits all of his incentives.

Corpas will make $1 million base salary if he makes the team out of Spring Training and can earn $700,000 for days on the active roster and another $200,000 in incentives based on games finished and total appearances.

The signings of Corpas and Andy Sonnanstine are low risk signings based on the fact they are non-guaranteed, split contracts. The Cubs need to add pitching depth at the Triple-A and big league level and “if” Epstein and Hoyer are able to buy low and sell high, they could add a few pieces next July that could help down the line.

News, Notes and Rumors

Jim Bowden (MLB Radio Network/XM Radio) thinks that the Marlins, Nationals and Cubs are the front-runners to sign Yoenis Cespedes. According to Bowden, Cespedes is young enough to fit the Cubs long-term plans. Bowden also stated “his gut” is telling him that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will make one big signing this off-season and it could be either Prince Fielder or Yoenis Cespedes.

Joel Sherman (MLB Radio Network/XM Radio) thinks Prince Fielder makes sense for the Cubs on a five to seven year deal. Sherman said Fielder would help Epstein and Hoyer rebuild the Cubs and make them contenders quicker. Sherman questioned where the Cubs will turn to find a power hitter when they feel they are ready to contend.

Seth Everett (MLB Radio Network/XM Radio) agreed with Sherman during MLB Roundtrip and said Prince Fielder fits with the Cubs for more than one reason … both on the field needs and from a marketing standpoint.

Forbes thinks Theo Epstein should call Jerry Reinsdorf to discuss the Cubs’ TV deal.

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

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver