A Full Roster, Two Contracts Pending and More Decisions on the Cubs Horizon

The Cubs claimed right-handed reliever Sandy Rosario off waivers on Wednesday and by doing so they used up the last open spot on the 40-man roster. What Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer may or may not be working on is unclear at this point. But the Cubs have two contracts pending and no room to add either player to the roster.

The Cubs have not announced the deals with Nate Schierholtz or Ian Stewart. Both players reportedly agreed to terms on contracts with the Cubs during the Winter Meetings. Stewart confirmed he re-signed with the Cubs on his twitter account.

So how will the Cubs clear the space to add Stewart and Schierholtz? Is a trade in the works that would include Alfonso Soriano? Or maybe a trade involving Carlos Marmol?

And the Cubs appear to be close to signing right-handed reliever Chang-Yong Lim to a split contract …

Chang-Yong Lim
According to multiple reports from Korea, the Cubs are on the verge of signing veteran reliever Chang-Yong Lim. The split contract (minor and major league contract) is expected to be for two-years and there have been mixed reports on the amount of the deal. One report speculated that the second year will include performance based incentives.

Lim is coming off his second Tommy John surgery (July of 2012) and is not expected to pitch next season. The 36-year old posted a 4-2 record with a 2.17 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 65 games in 2011 with the Yakult Swallows of the Japan Central League. In 62 1/3 innings, Lim struck out 69 and walked 22 while allowing 40 hits. Lim pitched in just nine games last year before season ending Tommy John surgery.

Chang-Yong Lim from Yonhap News:

“The Cubs expect to see me back on the field in 2014, rather than next year. Once the deal is signed, I will move to Arizona, where the Cubs operate a rehab center. My goal is to continue to rehab and get back on the mound by mid to late season next year.”

The Tigers, Orioles, Rangers, Red Sox and five other teams were also interested in signing “Mr. Zero“.

Report from KoreaRequires Translation

Chang-Yong Lim’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Alfonso Soriano
According to a report from Bruce Levine, the Cubs and Phillies did discuss parameters of a deal involving Alfonso Soriano but there is nothing going on between the two teams presently.

Levine’s report confirmed the Cubs and Phillies discussed a deal that included Alfonso Soriano but the Cubs would receive pitching in return. One of Levine’s two sources indicated those talks initially took place a month ago.

Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster could be on the verge of signing a contract with the Boston Red Sox. According to a report from Jon Heyman, the Red Sox turned their attention to adding starting pitching and will look at just about every free agent hurler on the market. The Red Sox are seeking value and will look at starters from Anibal Sanchez to Kyle Lohse and down. According to CSNNE.com, Shaun Marcum and Francisco Liriano are on the Red Sox’s list.

Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday afternoon that the Red Sox are pursuing Ryan Dempster and are in serious negotiations with him. Dempster has already rejected a pair of two-year offers believed to be worth around $25 million from Boston and Kansas City.

The Brewers are still interested in signing Ryan Dempster, who reportedly would like to ink a deal with a National League team that trains in Arizona. Rosenthal reported Dempster could sign elsewhere despite Boston’s efforts.

Shaun Marcum
Shaun Marcum joined Casey Stern and Jim Bowden during Inside Pitch on MLB Network Radio. Marcum said there are teams interested in signing him and he’s received some offers. Marcum mentioned he received a lot of calls as soon as free agency started. Marcum is waiting to see how things shake out now that his former teammate, Zack Greinke, has signed with the Dodgers.

Marcum told Jim Bowden that he feels great, the elbow feels great and there are no tears or structural damage in his elbow.

Marcum is looking to sign with a contending team. He said that is the most important thing for him this off-season. Marcum would like a chance to make up for the way he pitched in the 2011 playoffs. If signing with a contender is not an option, Marcum said he will go where he feels is the best opportunity for him. Geography does not matter to Marcum or his family. He wants a chance with a team that gives him the best shot of playing in October. Marcum mentioned only one team by name during the interview and he does not think the door is closed on him returning to the Brewers.

The Cubs have been linked to Marcum all off-season for several reasons. Marcum is coming off an injury-shortened season and fits with the Cubs modus operandi of buy low and try to trade high at the deadline. Marcum reportedly has a good relationship with Cubs’ pitching coach Chris Bosio and Dale Sveum plus the Cubs desire to add as much pitching as possible to the organization this off-season.

News, Notes and Rumors
The Reds added another former Cleveland Indian to their roster on Wednesday. Cincinnati inked Jack Hannahan to a one-year deal worth $2 million to back-up Todd Frazier. The Cubs were linked to Hannahan over the last few weeks to possibly play third base. Updated 8:07am CDT – Reds signed Hannahan to a two-year contract with a club option not one as previously reported. The Reds are expected to announce the deal on Thursday morning.

Bob Nightengale and Jorge L. Ortiz took a look at where the 10 best free agents that are still available might land this winter. Ryan Dempster was the only player linked to the Cubs, along with the Red Sox and Brewers.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

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  • Aaron

    Neil,

    I put this on the previous thread, but thought it was worth posting again here, because I just think something is brewing. They have a full roster right now, and quite a few intriguing arms…something’s got to give:

    So….right now, here’s what the Cubs have on their roster (42):

    Garza
    Samardzija
    Baker
    *Feldman
    T. Wood
    *McNutt
    Whitenack
    *Cabrera
    Concepcion
    Raley
    Rusin
    *Vizcaino

    Marmol
    Russell
    Fujikawa
    Camp
    *Rondon
    *Bowden
    Rosario
    Beliveau
    Dolis
    *L. Castillo
    **Lim

    *=could go rotation/pen either way
    **=Lim isn’t expected to be on 2013 active roster, which would likely explain his split contract, and the fact (if I am correct anyway), he wouldn’t need to be included on the 40-man

    C-Castillo, Navarro, Clevenger
    1B-Rizzo
    2B-Barney, Watkins
    SS-Castro, Lake
    3B-Valbuena, Stewart, Vitters, Villanueva
    OF-Soriano, DeJesus, Schierholtz, Campana, Sappelt, B Jackson, Szczur

    If you look at how the roster is constructed, it would appear that the guys most in jeopardy of being DFA’d would be: Rusin, Raley, Concepcion, L. Castillo, Clevenger, and Campana….there’s virtually no chance any of the other guys would be simply let go, as they’d try to find a trade for them….these guys they could let go, and likely not really miss them. While Rusin and Raley certainly contribute to lefty rotation depth, they still would have the option of going after Liriano, giving Antigua a true chance to start, and seeing how Kirk and Jokisch develop (both of whom made it to AA last year).

    • Dorasaga

      If Lim, the Korean prodigy*, can fully recover from his surgery and fight his aging body, then he might be one of the best “moneyball” signing for Theo & Co.

      *Lim was a long-time closer in Korea then NPB, Japan’s big league. He pitched for Yakult Swallow, home at a hitter’s heaven and one of the more extreme homerun-prone parks. With a lower quarter delivery, he used to feature a high-90 fastball and a devastating slider.

      • DWalker

        I was having a WTF moment when I read about signing Lim, but after reading a bit more it sounds interesting, at the miniumum giving a few things to think about. First off, the Cubs weren’t the only team interested, which means this isn’t the flyer it first looks like. “Tigers, Orioles, Rangers, Red Sox and five other teams were also interested” That is a lot of interest, even if half were just window shoppers, for a rehab project. Right now, this is nothing to get worked up over either way.
        But that brings up a second point, Theo has said that the new money ball is medicine ball, and Lim reportadly in part picked the cubs due to liking their rehab plan the best. Theo picking up rehab projects is nothing new now, but if they are putting an unusual amount of resources and money into making rehab work and getting results of cheap, effective players who can be turned into long term assets either by trade or contract, its worth it. it alo means the cubs may be able to avoid some injuries or at least make better recovories from the DL. Its about time the Cubs were cutting edge on something good.
        Lim himself is interesting as a pitcher and has been very effective. He has the potential to be very effective still, even at age 38. With a minor league split contract he’s very cheap to take a flyer on. If Lim bounces back from the surgery and looks good going into next winter, we have potentially an interesting and effective 2014 bullpen falling into place. If he doesn’t, next year this time the cubs are still looking for more bullpen help.

        • Dorasaga

          Yup, it sure seems like McThoyer is confident with signing more risky pitchers (health question). Look at Lim as somewhere between Okajima and Saito. Lim had a deceptive low-quarter delivery, but not as amusing as Okajima’s. Lim had the control but not as good as old Okajima’s. Lim had the fastball, but after injury, perhaps not as Saito’s at age 36. Lim certainly has the “age,” like Saito, who found himself a new life with the Dodgers. This will be an interesting project.

    • Ripsnorter1

      My choice would be Concepcion and Szczur (because I do not think Szczur will make it), but Team Theo will almost certainly DFA Campana (a real mistake, imo), and (much less certain) one of the LHPs Rusin or Raley (probably Raley).

      In fact, I would have never claimed Rosario. He gives up more hits than IP. He’s nothing special.

      Another stupefying move.

    • Tony_Hall

      Rusin can not be optioned until 20 days prior to the 2013 season, so if they are going to be trying to get one of Rusin or Raly to sneak through to Iowa, is will be Raley.

      They will have a 3rd catcher on the 40 man, so that should rule out Clevenger.

      Campana can’t steal 1st and sounds like he will be the odd man out.

      Concepcion should be able to pass through waivers due to the money, but Castillo would not make it through as he has 3 options left.

      Last in, first out could play here with the bullpen arms they just brought in, but most likely they are delaying the official signings of Stewart and Schierholtz, to buy time to make a trade. If they can’t pull off a trade, then you will see them make decisions on guys mentioned.

      Antigua, Kirk, Jokisch will be making their 1st appearance at the end of the year or in 2014, unless we have a lot of injuries.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Aaron, I keep leaning in Rusin-Raley direction. Excellent points as always

  • Ripsnorter1

    Let’s check the stats on Campana….

    Career stats…..262 BA….2012…..264 BA. He hits for a higher average than Brett Jackson or Josh Vitters.

    SB….30 SB in 2012/24 SB in 2011. That’s 54 SB with only 5 CS. That is ML speed. That’s his one identifiable ML skill. He’s one of the Best in all of MLB in this category.

    OBP….306 career….308 last year. BUT…BUT…BUT…
    He got on base 7 times via errors. Due to his great speed, they hurried so much he got on. In my opinion, you need to add that in as well. That’s a .346 OBP.

    SO you see, he doesn’t need much to really move that OBP up.

    He’s pretty consistent. This is what he is. A no power at all speed guy. And he’s got some value off the bench, at least.

    • Tony_Hall

      It is amazing that the Cubs can keep up with all the phone calls for Campana, you know with so many teams needing a true CF like Campana.

      • paulcatanese

        Cubs dont have time for Campana, they are too busy answering the hotline at hospitals looking for players
        with broken bones, Tommy John issues, and over the hill players that they keep trying to explain as players that will “bridge the gap” until whatever year they are ready to compete.
        How many different ways is that explained?
        Not my business, or money, they will do what they want with this strange “Money Ball” approach.

        • Dorasaga

          Haha. I don’t need to agree with you to find this comment witty.

          I believe there are more than one way to win a World Series. The Cubs at least picked one.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    A couple of tweets from Buster Olney this morning that should provide interesting reactions:

    Over the last week, have heard compliments from other teams about the way that the Cubs are methodically rebuilding, from the ground up.

    One more thing about the Cubs: I don’t think Price will be traded until next winter, but by then, they could be well-positioned to land him.

    • Tony_Hall

      Anyone who doesn’t understand that the Cubs front office is the envy of other front offices.

      Being able to rebuild, the right way, and to be a team that has the resources to keep the talent, trade for young elite talent, and buy FA talent on top of building a base of young talent over a couple of years, will lead the Cubs to being competitive year after year, as soon as next year.

      • cubs1967

        like signing Lim; a 36 yr old broken down pitcher who’ll never have value as a chip to flip; won’t be part of the 2016 team that will try to win, and some estimates of upwards of 5M for his contract; depending on any MLB time. why even bother? worry about moving Sori or Marmol; not a 36 yr old with zero MLB experience. such the envy……….

        and it’s not the right way to rebuild; it’s the cheap way with rookies; which NO major market team has ever done; so stop calling it the right way; there is NO evidence nor proof nor history to show it;s the right way nor has theo or his jedi done this.

        • Tom U

          J Daniel, I beg to differ. Before they were known as the “Evil Empire”, the New York Yankees finished dead last in 1990.

          They then set out on a slow, methodical rebuild, adding rookies and young vets they ended up either flipping or moving aside for better players.

          By 1996, they had players like Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Bob Wickman, and Mariano Rivera in place and won the first of five World Series’, losing two others and appearing in the playoff 16 of the following 17 seasons.

          • J Daniel

            Tom,
            I don’t believe I said they should sign FA’s. I am in full agreement with how they are doing this. They have had a HUGE mess to clean up.

          • Tom U

            This is what you wrote above

            “and it’s not the right way to rebuild; it’s the cheap way with rookies; which NO major market team has ever done; so stop calling it the right way; there is NO evidence nor proof nor history to show it;s the right way”

            Could you please explain what you meant?

          • J Daniel

            CUBS 1967 wrote that garbage…I have been in complete agreement with what they are doing. I think you just addressed to the wrong person.

          • Tom U

            I apologize then. My screen has you listed as the poster

        • J Daniel

          Suzy mentioned yesterday, I believe…negative, negative, and negative.

          Not to argue with you but to point out the position they will be in…they will have basically, ZERO dollars owed, young prospects on the way, and the freedom to do anything they want. They will also have built up a reserve of cash so when they need to OVERPAY on guys that will help put them into contention they will be able to do so.

          Oh, they can go overpay for a bunch of guys now, stay in the middle with a shot at lightning in a bottle, and most likely end up bad with a lot of contracts on the books for guys that don’t produce. DOES THAT SOUND FAMILIAR? ARE YOU JIM HENDRY IN DISGUISE?

          • Jim Hendry in Disguise

            NO! I’M JIM HENDRY IN DISGUISE!

          • J Daniel

            That is great!

        • Rational Logic

          How about the Rays? What is wrong with stock piling talent that can be flipped for proven players when the time is right (i.e. David Price maybe?). And, better yet, we are in a better position for the future now because not only will we have a robust farm system, but we will have a robust checking account to help. I really don’t see any problem with that at all.

          The perfect scenario for any organization is to have a solid farm system and a willing owner to spend money. We will have both in a couple years when we’re expected to be ready to compete for years at a time.

          What is wrong with that?

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          I love seeing 1967’s posts! As soon as I see it’s you I get a smile on my face and can’t wait to read. I don’t agree with pretty much 99% of what you say but you are entertaining. We could hear that the Cubs just signed an all-star team and it would be ripped to shreds and Team Theo called a bunch of jokers. Too funny! I imagine you’d be a fun guy to have a beer with. Probably hear some entertaining observations on life…

  • J Daniel

    To state the obvious, they either have a move or two brewing or there will be several dfa. If they do not make a deal Concepcion and Valbeuna should be released.

    Also, agree with Suzy’s post from yesterday. IMO, this is the last winter we will see this nonsense as better moves will be made. I think it is just another year for the high pick giving them 3 years in a row of high picks. Those high picks better pan out!

    • DWalker

      brings up an interesting point. I know there are mixed feelings on the strength of the class for the upcoming draft, but what about the class after? I know thats a LONG way out, but is it looking like a good class?

      • Ray Ray

        I would like to hear someone explaining how this 38 year old Korean pitcher for 5 mil who cannot pitch till 2014 is a good sign. If they signed him to flip to a contender in mid 2014, how much value does a 40 year old reliever have? Does Thoyer not see the market for RA Dickey? A starter who is coming off a CyYoung, a knuckleball pitcher who should be able to pitch another 4 years. This to me is the most ridiculous waste of money since Gerardo Concepcion. How about using that 5 mil and instead of signing Feldman for 6 mil, they could have signed an Edwin Jackson for around 10 mil for next year.

        • Rational Logic

          1. I think it’s pretty clear that the thought around baseball is Dickey was a ‘flash in the pan’ type and will likely regress to his average self – most times a Cy Young winner is on the block, he is gone. I, without looking, would think that the peripheral stats on Dickey are not good. Additionally, adding a knuckle ball pitcher in Wrigely isn’t a good mix. Lastly, and most importantly, it does not fit into the Cubs plans – which should be very obvious by now – why would we trade top talent for a 36 year old Knuckle Ball pitcher who has been below average his entire career outside of one year? Makes absolutely zero sense considering what we’d have to give up – core pieces of our future.
          2. Speaking of the “Cubs Plan” – 10M for Edwin Jackson for one year (if that’s what you’re proposing) doesn’t fit, either. As Hoyer stated, Feldman is one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball, and they feel if he can pitch to his potential, he could provide value and possible pieces in return.
          3. Conception argument is made in hindsight, so I won’t even address it. It’s been one year, he was highly touted, and even if he fails, it doesn’t mean that it was a complete waste of money – prospects don’t always pan out or they take time to develop.
          4. Lim – Nobody knows what exactly is going on here, but Hoyer and Theo are pretty shrewd and it’s a cheap (two-way) deal for a guy who has had a lot of success in the past. Hes a piece, not the whole pie. It doesn’t hurt us at all to take a chance on this guy outside of money, which isn’t really an issue anyway – so where is the downside here? He’s 38…Dickey is at least 36 and would cost us top talent…not sure how your argument holds up.

          • Ray Ray

            You misunderstood. I was not saying they should acquire Dickey. I was saying the value of Dickey is not great at his age, so Chang will have very little value in 2014 to flip.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Update on Hannahan, he signed a two-year deal that will be official this morning, not a one-year contract.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    According to Rosenthal, the Red Sox are close to signing Dempster

  • Ray Ray

    Of course the Cubs front office is the envy of other front offices. No pressure to win now which equals job security. Every GM would want this job.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    More on Lim … it appears to be a minor league deal without much guaranteed

    Sources: Cubs potential deal with Chang-Yong Lim would be 2-year minor-league contract without much guaranteed money: http://bit.ly/XhHFdq

    • triple

      I love when people bitch about stuff before they even know the facts! Seems like a great low-risk signing, if it is all true.

  • daverj

    I think Valbuena and Rusin are headed off the 40 man.

    I like the Lim signing. Successful Japanese closers have a history of major league success. He could be another guy the Cubs flip for a prospect in 2014.

    I love witnessing what the Cubs are doing. Complete opposite of the Jim Hendry approach. The organization is miles ahead of the place it was at a year ago.

  • paulcatanese

    And this latest signing keeps the re-hab center at Wrigley going.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    According to Ken Rosenthal, Dempster and the Red Sox are in
    agreement on a 2-year, $26.5 million contract. All that is left is for him to pass a physical.

    • Dorasaga

      Good to see ol’Demp twists his wrist one more time, or say, two!

  • scott

    Perhaps I’m being dumb, but if Stewart signed a non guaranteed contract, why do we need to clear room on the 40 man for him? Isn’t it essentially a non roster invite?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Not being ‘dumb’ at all. It is a Major League deal, not a minor league contract. If it is a Major League deal as reported, he has to be added to the roster. The reason it is non-guaranteed is based on service time.

      As we’ve learned today, nothing is official till it’s official.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Robert-Koenig/1295439291 Raymond Robert Koenig

    Beliveau DFAd. That’s 1 roster spot.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    According to the transactions page on Cubs.com, Jeff Beliveau
    has been DFA’d

  • paulcatanese

    The only thing I find amuseing about all of these multi-million dollar contracts is the fiscal cliff if passed would mean a great deal of money for the govt. Could pay off the National debt.

  • MikeT_2008

    Wow if reports are true talk about a bolt out of the blue regarding Sanchez