Shopping Soriano and Other Cubs Rumors

As Jed Hoyer pointed out in two different interviews last week, the Cubs are not done putting the roster together for next season. David Kaplan provided more information on what Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein may be working on shortly after multiple reports surfaced that the Cubs are talking to teams about Alfonso Soriano.

The Cubs discussed a deal with the Phillies that would have sent Alfonso Soriano to Philly for outfielder Domonic Brown. The Phillies like Soriano’s bat but his defense concerns them according to Jon Heyman. Jason Stark reported that the Phillies were initially uninterested when the Cubs approached them about Soriano but they are kicking around the idea of acquiring Soriano from the Cubs. Stark labeled the chances of the deal happening as a “long shot.”

The Cubs left the Winter Meetings, according to Kaplan, with “a handful of short term needs on their shopping list.”

Cubs Rumors
The Cubs rumor mill picked up on Tuesday. As Jed Hoyer stated on Saturday, the Cubs appear to have a lot of irons in the fire.

Bruce Levine held his weekly chat on ESPN Chicago and said he feels that the market for Carlos Marmol will increase as soon as the free-agent reliever market dries up. Marmol could end up being attractive to contending teams like the Tigers but not the Yankees according to David Kaplan.

The Cubs appear to be talking to the Rangers this off-season. Bruce Levine mentioned in his chat that Texas has always been interested in trading for Matt Garza and the two teams were close to making a deal for Garza at the trade deadline last July according to David Kaplan.

According to Kaplan, the Cubs have explored what it would take to acquire Mike Olt from the Rangers and he would probably be a Cub right now if Garza had not gotten hurt last July. The Cubs were apparently discussing a blockbuster deal with the Rangers that would have included Garza and Olt.

The Cubs are looking to add pitching, both starters and relievers. Bruce Levine defended his report last week that the Cubs talked parameters of a deal with Ryan Dempster. According to Levine, the Cubs discussed a one-year, $10 million contract with Dempster but never made a formal offer. Dempster is looking for a three-year deal in the $39 million range … he’s reportedly turned down two-year offers from both the Royals ($26 million) and the Red Sox ($25 million).

According to Kaplan, free agent pitchers on the Cubs list include Shaun Marcum, Jair Jurrjens, John Lannan, Joe Saunders and Francisco Liriano. The Cubs are trying to add a quality arm or two to the pen and rotation and they are not viewing adding a right hander or a southpaw as a priority … the Cubs are just looking for pitching.

Kaplan reported that the Cubs are “hoping to add a veteran centerfielder who can play regularly” which would “allow them to put David DeJesus back in his more natural position of right field.” Bruce Levine said just before the meetings that Michael Bourn could be an option for the Cubs but mentioned during his chat on Tuesday that “a Bourn type does not appear to be on their radar.” The Cubs might have to go the trade route to add a full time veteran centerfielder.

As for the other pieces the Cubs would like to add this off-season, outside of Mike Olt the Cubs have looked at Jack Hannahan and Casey McGehee as right-handed options to platoon with Ian Stewart. Kaplan shot down the reports from earlier in the off-season that linked Placido Polanco to the Cubs.

The last three weeks of the year could be very interesting for the Chicago Cubs as other pieces continue to fall into place throughout baseball.

Spring Training Report Dates
According to multiple reports on Tuesday, the Cubs pushed the reporting date for pitchers and catchers back a day to February 10. Previous reports indicated pitchers and catchers would report to Fitch Park on February 9 with the first on field workout set for February 10. Position players are set to report on February 16 with the first full squad workout scheduled for February 17.

  • Cubs Pitchers and Catchers Report to Spring Training – Feb. 10
  • First Workout for Pitchers and Catchers – Feb. 11
  • Cubs Position Players Report to Spring Training – Feb. 16
  • First Full Squad Workout at Fitch Park in Mesa – Feb. 17

The Cubs also announced Tuesday that they will be making a stop in Houston at the end of Spring Training before opening the 2013 season in Pittsburgh on Monday, April 1. The Cubs and Astros will play two exhibition games at Minute Maid Park on March 29 and March 30.

In is not unusual to see teams play in big league parks in the days leading up to season openers. For several years, the Cubs finished the exhibition season at Cashman Field in Las Vegas at the annual ‘Big League Weekend‘. The Cubs played a pair of games prior to Opening Day in 2009 at the new Yankee Stadium and wrapped up their practice schedule in 2010 at Chase Field.

News, Notes and More Rumors
Ian Stewart is working with Hall of Famer Rod Carew on his hitting this week. Stewart tweeted that is wrist is feeling good and he is not feeling any pain when he swings.

According to a report from CBS Sports, the Tigers are receiving a lot of interest in Rick Porcello. The Cubs have been connected to Porcello since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over baseball operations for the Cubs 14 months ago. Danny Knobler did not mention the Cubs as a possibility in his report but stated that “quite a few National League teams asked about him” during the Winter Meetings … but right now, Porcello is not available.

The Tribune reported Tuesday that the Cubs promoted Jim O’Boikowitch to manager of In-Game Entertainment.

And last, but not least … The last issue of the Sporting News printed this week. After 126 years the Sporting News will no longer be available in print form, just online.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt