Winter Meetings Day Three: Cubs Add an Outfielder and Have Offers Out to Free Agents

The Cubs reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year contract with outfielder Nate Schierholtz on day three of Baseball’s Winter Meetings. The Cubs did see several of their off-season targets come off the board but reportedly have offers out to free agents and are working on several options to improve the roster.

The Cubs one-year contract with Nate Schierholtz is reportedly worth $2.25 million and includes an incentive package worth another $500,000. The Cubs have not confirmed the signing and will not until after Schierholtz passes a physical … and Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. According to a report from the Sun-Times, the team might not be done seeking outfield depth.

According to reports, the Cubs have offers out to free agent third basemen as they try to find a match after losing out on Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez. And one option could be Jack Hannahan.

The Cubs reportedly met with Ryan Dempster’s agent and discussed parameters of a deal. Not long after the report from ESPN Chicago surfaced, multiple reports shot down the Cubs interest in a reunion with Ryan Dempster. The Sun-Times described the conversation as a “courtesy meeting” and that the report from ESPN Chicago “grossly misrepresented the nature of those talks.” According to the Tribune, Dempster is not likely to return to the Cubs and does not fit into the Cubs’ plans dollar-wise or length-wise.

The Winter Meetings conclude Thursday with the Rule 5 Draft … but the Cubs would still like to add depth in the rotation and bullpen, an outfielder and a third baseman.

Who’s on Third?
Jed Hoyer acknowledged that the Cubs were in on both Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez. Keppinger and Chavez had been linked to the Cubs this off-season but both third basemen agreed to terms Wednesday on new contracts. Keppinger agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with the White Sox and Chavez signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Diamondbacks.

The Cubs also shot down reports that they had kicked the tires on Yuniesky Betancourt as a possible short-term solution at third base. The Cubs interest in signing Betancourt simply does not exist. According to Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs do not appear to have any interest in free agent third baseman Casey McGehee either … but McGehee would love to return to his original organization according to the Tribune.

The Cubs remain interested in re-signing Ian Stewart and Jed Hoyer told the Sun-Times, “We have a lot of irons in the fire when it comes to third base and we’re confident we’ll land someone that we feel good about.”

According to a report from the Sun-Times, Jack Hannahan appears to the best fit on left on the board. The 32-year old (March 4, 1980) lefty hitting third baseman was recently non-tendered by the Indians after hitting .244/.312/.341/.654 last season with 16 doubles and four home runs.

Reports vary on the Cubs possible interest in free agent Mark Reynolds.

Rule 5 Draft
The annual Rule 5 Draft begins at 9:00am CST on Thursday and the Cubs have the second pick in the draft. The Cubs are expected to make at least one selection but could end up trading the pick.

Jed Hoyer addressed the possibility of the Cubs arranging a draft-and-trade deal with another team. Hoyer said they planned on studying their options on Wednesday night.

If the Cubs take a player in the draft, one name to keep an eye on is Miguel Celestino, a 23-year old righty that pitched at the Class-A level in the Red Sox organization last year.

News, Notes and Rumors
According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs assured Carlos Marmol on Tuesday night that he will open the season as the closer … but prepared him for a possible move at the trade deadline. The Cubs are planning on moving Kyuji Fujikawa into the closer’s role around the trade deadline.

The Cubs were linked to free agent outfielder Jason Bay on Wednesday morning and by early afternoon Bay had a one-year deal in hand with the Mariners.

Jed Hoyer on Wednesday at the Winter Meetings

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Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • NickB

    I like the signing. He’s raked at Wrigley, albeit in limited at bats.

    Also, who’s going to be the last hitter on the bench? So far we have Navarro, Valbuena, Campana, and Sappelt. We need another backup infielder.

    • paulcatanese

      He may have “raked at Wrigley”, but so has everyone who visited the North Side.

      • daverj

        Well said Paul!

  • Aaron

    If I had a guess, it’ll be either Casey McGehee, or they will hope either Watkins and/or Lake (in which case either would play OF as well and they’d go without Campana) are ready.

    At one time, I thought maybe they’d try Figgins, or hope Kelly Johnson could play 3B, but I just don’t see that happening, as neither fit the bill of what they’re looking for.

    • Richard Hood

      There was talk about a link with Reynolds on another site. If the choice is between those 2 give me McGehee. At least he plays a decent 3rd base.

      • Neil

        I linked to a story from the Trib that they are still interested in Reynolds, reports vary on the interest.

    • Tony_Hall

      Actually, from everything I have read, they are saying both Watkins and Lake are going to Iowa to start the year.

      Figgins is done and has been done.

      There is just not that much out there for 3B this year.

  • TheWrongGuy

    Because 3rd basemen are at such a premium and everyone is searching for that guy. I wonder why no one is talking trade to the SF Giants on Conor Gillaspie a left handed bat blocked in a path to the major’s at 3rd with Panda there and he has play’d other positions, a former 1st round draft choice?

    his baseball ref page….

    • daverj

      Gillaspie was promising a couple years ago, but now I see him more as a future bench guy … maybe the Cubs feel the same way.

  • Tony_Hall

    Who would you rather have signed?

    Fujikawa, Feldman, Baker, Navarro, Camp and Schierholtz plus saving $13M versus the 3 year $39M for Victorino?

    I know everyone wants to see the big splashy moves and outrageous money contracts, but do you really think that the Cubs won’t get some value out of the players above, in terms of winning games, and be able to trade some of them to get value in return for prospects, more than what Victorino will provide over the next 3 years. The big splashy moves come with a hangover usually before even half way through the contracts.

    And don’t get me wrong, signing Schierholtz is not exciting at all. But this is pretty much all upside for value, as he is controlled for 2 years, and if he can be productive, he can fill the gap until Soler is ready to take over RF.

    • cubs1967

      who said we wanted Victorino? none of those players signed will be here in 2016; they are not gonna make the team .500 in 2013 or even 2014 (next year the FA class is really bad). they are just names and maybe one does well enought to be flipped like Maholm was (my guess is Baker).
      and there is NO guarantee Soler is ready in 2015. it’s all about the draft pick, probably 3rd next year since the Astros are bad and will get hammered in the AL West and the Marlins have launched all their ML talent. the splashy moves needed to be done last year so they could be built on this year; that ship sailed when theo and his Jedi made the team worse. there is NO way to spin losing on purpose. and theo and ricketts are arrrogant about it too; basically saying if we lose 100 games again so be it; there is a plan. 104 yrs of losing be damned!. it’s sad and disappointing for us diehards. now we know how the pirates and royals fans have felt the last 2 decades. 105 yrs and counting………

      • Tony_Hall

        His name was thrown around and it is just an example of the FA market and the cost of those players.

        I would hope none of those would still be here in 3 years, otherwise our farm system is not producing players, as that is how teams get good, by developing talent for the major league team, so that you don’t have to go out and sign players like these, with hopefully a few true difference makers mixed in.

        Funny you mention the Marlins, as they made all the splashy moves last year and ended up under 500 and busting up the team.

        Also, I am glad the FA class is bad next year (like this year wasn’t) so that maybe people will understand that the best players almost never hit FA, and you overpay big time on who is available.

        I am a diehard and I know many people who understand and are glad that the Cubs are finally taking a few years to rebuild the organization the right way. Losing for 5 more years but doing so as a 500 club would serve no purpose but to make you happier about the “chance” that they were in it longer and won 10-15 more games or not even 1 more a week.

      • daverj

        cubs1967 … Are you really Jim Hendry? You suggestions for last season sound eerily like the Hendry years.

        Which of last years free agents would you have liked the Cubs to sign?

        None of the big free agent deals last year made sense for the Cubs at the time … and in hindsight, they make even less sense. Signing big free agents last offseason would have set the Cubs back another 5-10 years.

    • Dorasaga

      Average closers who won’t save 50 games on a winning team or become an iconic postseason Ironman are only a few marginal wins. I’m all for trading relievers for younger minor leaguers who can produce on a consistent basis.

  • GaryLeeT

    So the Cubs couldn’t top the puny contract Keppinger got from the Sox, and I am suppose to believe they are trying to win more games this year, than last? There is no doubt that next year they will set the MLB record for the largest disparity between payroll, and revenue. Breaking their own record they set last year.

    • Tony_Hall

      You really wanted Keppinger for 3 years…check back in 2015 and see if you still do.

      If they signed Keppinger you would still be hearing people complaining that it was a bad signing on here….maybe even you.

      • GaryLeeT

        At that price, you could eat the contract, at any time.

        • Tony_Hall

          Going into last off-season, do you think you would have been wanting Keppinger on a 3 year, $12M contract and be disappointed that they didn’t get him?

          There are Yankee fans upset they didn’t sign Scheirholtz….most fans are just never happy…which is what is so sad about sports, most fans instead of getting enjoyment out of following teams, actually spend most of their time following their favorite team as a disgruntled fan.

          As far as being a Cub fan right now, we were all told what they were going to do. I just don’t get why people get so upset when they actually do it. I am assuming it is just because people didn’t realize what Theo told us and what it would look like.

          • GaryLeeT

            I don’t understand what you are asking me. Would I rather have had Keppinger or the string of AAAA players they ran out onto the field last year? Is this a trick question?

          • Tony_Hall

            No that wasn’t the question. The question was could you have ever thought you would be dissappointed that the Cubs didn’t sign a utility infielder?

  • Neil

    From Peter Gammons: Jason Grilli will decide between Cubs, Blue Jays, Giants and Pirates at 10 am, or earlier if one goes to 3 years

    • J Daniel

      Do you think he would be worth the third year? At some point they do need to bring stability, especially to the pitching.

      • Neil

        No I do not, I would pass on a third year. I am not big on giving relievers multi-year contracts, especially three-year deals.

        • Neil

          Toronto takes AA pitcher Alvido Jimenez from Cubs

        • J Daniel

          Maybe that is why he only has 2 year deals…I really appreciate all of the work you put in!

  • Neil

    #Cubs pick RHP Hector Rondon from Indians AAA roster

    Astros selected Josh Fields

  • Neil

    Cubs lost Starling Peralta, Arizona took him in the Rule 5 Draft

  • Neil

    Cubs passed on second round

  • Neil

    Astros selected Michael Burgess in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft

  • Neil

    Cardinals just selected Matt Cerda in the Triple-A phase

  • Aaron

    I would not be shocked in the least if the D’Backs dealt Peralta to someone like the Astros. If he stays with the D’Backs, I think there’s a reasonable chance the Cubs get him back, because their pen is a strong suit, and that’s normally where you put a Rule 5 guy.

    Cubs will miss Peralta more than most people realize given injury concerns with their SP in the minors: McNutt, Whitenack, and Maples all have injury issues. Peralta was durable and threw hard, and was starting to put it all together this year….that’s a big loss.

    • J Daniel

      Basically looking at a Rondon for Peralta trade. How would that trade look?

      • Aaron

        HORRIBLE….Let’s see….a guy that needs duct tape to keep his arm together, or a younger guy that throws just as hard who is just starting to put it all together….hmmmmmmmm

        • J Daniel

          Thanks…I don’t have the time due to profession to follow the lower levels and know you have a great understanding…that is why I asked.

    • Tony_Hall

      Peralta is a few years away from being able to pitch in the majors. He was at low class A this year. I see the Cubs getting him back or the Diamondbacks making a trade to keep him.