Time for the GMs to Meet … and Other Cubs Notes and Rumors

The annual General Manager Meetings officially begin Wednesday in Palm Springs. The meetings run through Friday and these meetings usually set the groundwork for future trades and free agent signings. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod, Randy Bush and Shiraz Rehman made the trek out west and will continue conversations they’ve already had with other teams and agents.

The Cubs have significant flexibility and are going to be aggressive in free agency according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. Jed Hoyer said the team will not do things that might limit them going forward. The Cubs are looking to add at least two starting pitchers, an outfielder, help in the pen, a veteran back-up catcher and possibly a third baseman but Hoyer indicated they will not sign players to contracts that may hinder them down the road.

According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs are pursuing Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum to help fill the two open spots in the rotation. Both pitchers are coming off injury-shortened seasons and Marcum has been linked to the Cubs due to his relationship with Chris Bosio and Dale Sveum.

Minor League Moves
Baseball America released the list of 549 minor league free agents on Tuesday. All minor league contracts expired after the 2012 season and the Cubs have 21 players according to Baseball America that have not re-signed with the organization.

Pitchers: Jairo Asencio, Justin Berg, Rodrigo Lopez, Seth McClung, Blake Parker, Miguel Socolovich, Alvaro Sosa, Horacio Ramirez, Ryan Rowland-Smith

Catchers: Juan Apodaca, Brian Esposito, Nathan Maldonado

Infielders: Adrian Cardenas, David Macias, Diory Hernandez, Nate Samson, Alfredo Amezaga, Vladimir Frias, Matt Tolbert

Outfielders: James Adduci, Jeff Frazier

Jairo Asencio signed a minor league deal with the Brewers that included an invite to big league camp and David Macias hung up his cleats for a job in the Cubs’ front office. Macias was named the Cubs player development and international scouting assistant last month and helped recruit new minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson.

According to Baseball America, the Cubs re-signed right-handed pitcher Marcos Mateo and signed Edwin Maysonet to a minor league contract. BA did not indicate if Maysonet’s deal includes an invite to big league camp or not but chances are Maysonet will receive an non-roster invitation to Spring Training.

Edwin Maysonet played in 30 games for the Brewers last season and put together a .250/.297/.350/.647 line with a double, a triple and a home run. The home run came against the Cubs on May 12 … a grand slam off Chris Volstad.

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

  • Levine thinks Dan Haren will be looking for more money than the Cubs are willing to offer at this point. The Cubs will pursue Brandon McCarthy-type pitchers … players that might want one year with an option or former star pitchers trying to re-establish themselves. Levine feels the Cubs will go after pitchers such as Brandon McCarthy, Dan Haren, Francisco Liriano, Shaun Marcum and Scott Baker.
  • The Cubs have not shown any interest in Kevin Youkilis. Levine said Youkilis could be a possibility for the Cubs and White Sox but Youkilis could be looking for a longer deal than either team is willing to offer.
  • Levine does not think the Cubs will be involved in trade talks for Jeremy Hellickson … the Cubs do not have a lot to trade and they will not trade their top prospects.
  • Mark Reynolds is not the type of player that fits in with the Epstein-Hoyer program of OBP-type guys.
  • Levine brought up Jeff Keppinger again as a possible short-term solution for the Cubs at third base.
  • Levine was told that there aren’t any hard feelings between the Cubs and Angels after the Cubs pulled out of the Marmol-for-Haren deal.
  • The Cubs would not have both Casey McGehee and Ian Stewart on the roster and use the players in a possible platoon at third base.
  • Ryan Dempster will be looking for $10-$12 million per year. Levine thinks Dempster will not be looking for a short-term deal and he questioned if Dempster would put himself in a position to be traded again. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer do not hand out no-trade clauses or any type of no-trade protection.
  • The Cubs could hang onto Darwin Barney this winter. Levine thinks the Cubs might keep their Gold Glove second baseman but if he could be traded for a solid starting pitching prospect and a position player of the future, Levine thinks the Cubs would have to consider trading Barney.

Bob Brenly
Bob Brenly spent a little time Tuesday on the Waddle and Silvy Show (ESPN 1000) and discussed his time in the Cubs’ broadcast booth. Brenly said his only regret during his eight seasons of calling Cubs’ games was the remarks he made about Alfonso Soriano in May of 2008.

Alfonso Soriano botched two fly balls in Pittsburgh that cost the Cubs a game (think Brant Brown, just earlier in a season) the worst of the two came in the ninth inning with two outs and his error allowed the tying run to score … the Cubs ending up losing the game in 11 innings. Brenly remained Soriano’s toughest critic until last season when everyone paying attention noticed a difference in Soriano’s performance.

Bob Brenly enjoyed last year, his final season in the Cubs’ booth, despite calling a majority of the 101 losses. Brenly said he liked watching the beginning of the organization’s transition and the development of players such as Jeff Samardzija, Darwin Barney, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro.

News and Notes
Weekend passes for the 28th Annual Cubs Convention go on sale Wednesday morning at 10:00am CST on Cubs.com.

Baseball Prospectus’ list of the top 10 prospects in the Cubs’ system hits the world wide web on Wednesday.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"What scares me is what scares you. We're all afraid of the same things." - John Carpenter

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  • Ripsnorter1

    The FA 3B market is very thin. Youkilis, Keppinger, and Casey McGehee. If it comes down to a FA 3B, then I’ll take Keppinger.

    Haren: he was injured in 2010 and 2012. I don’t think he’s healthy, or at least, that a team can expect him to go all season without a trip to the DL.

    I do not want Shawn Marcum. Can’t live with this soft tosser. His fastball is in the upper 80’s. He’s too hittable. And Francisco Liriano is probably done.

    Sign Melky Cabrera to play CF. Sign Keppinger. Brandon McCarthy is okay…but often injured. Maybe we’d better make that 3 starters instead of just 2.

    • Tony_Hall

      Not sure what you are looking at with Haren. He started 35 games in 2010 and even going on the DL in 2012, he started 30 games. This guy is a workhorse.

      2005 – 34 starts

      2006 – 34 starts

      2007 – 34 starts

      2008 – 33 starts

      2009 – 33 starts

      2010 – 35 starts

      2011 – 34 starts

      2012 – 30 starts

      averaging just shy of 220 IP per year.

      Yes, last year he went on the DL, and it could be the beginning of problems, but this guy takes the mound more than anyone the last 8 years.

    • RynoTiger

      signing Melky would be a brilliant move. if he repeats last year, then you either keep him or have quite a trade chip at the deadline.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Arodys Vizcaino & Dan Vogelbach top Baseball Prospectus’ Cubs prospect list http://tinyurl.com/bev9mg6

    Will post full report on the site

    • DWalker

      4 pitchers, what a change that list is from last year.

    • calicub

      and 6 of the ten are Theo acquired

  • J Daniel

    Neil,
    Do you expect any moves to be made at these meetings or will a majority of action take place at winter meetings?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I do not expect any moves but it would not surprise if there
      was one made. They are talking to teams and I wonder how many are interested in Marmol beyond the Yankees.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Big news on Day 1 of GM meetings: Mets announce buyout of Jason Bay’s contract. He’s an unconditional free agent.

    Bay is getting all $21M he is owed, the $16M salary, the $3M buyout and the $2M left on a signing bonus. Some is being deferred

    • Tony_Hall

      Wow, the Mets paid as if he would hit 36 HR’s every season, but instead he only hit 26 HR’s over 3 disappointing seasons. Total of about $64M….

  • Tony_Hall

    ESPN Insider is doing recaps and early predictions for 2013.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove12/story/_/id/8602178/mlb-winter-forecast-teams-national-league-central

    The normal thoughts on the Cubs, can’t say they have anything new in the article.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove12/story/_/id/8602178/mlb-winter-forecast-teams-national-league-central

    Using ZIPS projections, they are predicting 84 wins to win the NL Central next year….seems a little low. Cubs at 69 wins.

    Of course at this time they are showing Casey Coleman and Chris Rusin in the rotation behind Garza, Samardzija and Wood and a lineup with Soriano, BJAX, Dejesus across the OF and an infield of Rizzo, Barney, Castro, Stewart and Castillo behind the plate.

    High AVG – Castro 294
    High OBP – Rizzo 349
    High SLG – Rizzo 503
    Best ERA – Samardzija 3.62

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs re-signed LHP Kyler Burke and INF Jonathan
    Mota to minor league contracts

    http://tinyurl.com/al45dtr

    • Tom U

      However, Burke, Mota, and Marcos Mateo will all be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.

  • Ripsnorter1

    About this Maysonet….FORGETABOUTIT!

    Why? He hit .208 in Nashville in 2012 in 269 PA. He’s a career .255 hitter in the minor leagues. He’s 31 years old. And that Grand Slam came off of Chris Volstad!

  • Tony_Hall

    For anyone that wonders why the need to have so many people in the front office, read this line again, and follow Neil’s link and go over the entire list of minor league free agents.

    Minor League Moves
    Baseball America released the list of 549 minor league free agents on Tuesday. All minor league contracts expired after the 2012 season and the Cubs have 21 players according to Baseball America that have not re-signed with the organization.

    That is just minor league FA’s. Not high school players, college players, and all the international players, let alone just the 750 major league players on rosters. All that need to be followed.

  • Tony_Hall

    He is just a minor league free agent. He may not even make it April for Iowa.