Edwin Jackson Down to Cubs and Rangers? And Other Cubs Notes and Rumors

The Cubs are one of two teams left in the mix for right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson. According to reports from Jim Bowden and Jon Heyman, the Padres are no longer interested in signing Jackson after being seen as the front-runner to land his services. Bowden reported Tuesday night that Jackson is down to the Cubs and Rangers.

According to both reports, the Padres backed out because Jackson’s price escalated and he is looking for a four-year contract. Jackson signed one of Scott Boras’ infamous pillow contracts last season with the Nationals and was paid $11 million on the one-year deal. Jackson put up decent peripheral numbers (1.22 WHIP, 168 strikeouts in 189 2/3 innings and 8.0 SO/9) but struggled with consistency again, especially on the road (4.78 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP). A contract for Jackson in line with what Ryan Dempster signed with Boston would seem to be more realistic than a four-year deal with an AAV of $12-$13 million.

Alfonso Soriano

While the Cubs do not appear to be interested in either Cody Ross or Nick Swisher, where the two free agent outfielders end up could have an impact on the market for Alfonso Soriano.

The Phillies, Rangers and Orioles have been rumored as possible destinations for Soriano this winter. While it remains to be seen if Soriano will waive his no trade rights, if one of those teams fill their needs through free agency, the chances of Soriano beginning the year in a Cubs’ uniform is near 100 percent.

Cody Ross has been connected to the Phillies while Nick Swisher has been linked to the Orioles, Rangers and Phillies, even with the Indians giving him the ‘old college try’ on Tuesday. According to Nick Cafardo, there is still a lot of interest in Cody Ross, but there has not been a team willing to sign him to a three-year contract.

The Phillies are “still trolling through the possibility of adding” a corner outfielder and reportedly had conversations with the Cubs about Soriano. One report suggested that the two teams discussed a deal that would include Domonic Brown, while another report indicated the talks focused on the Cubs receiving pitching in return for Soriano … but at least one of those pitchers was traded to Minnesota for Ben Revere.

Alfonso Soriano is coming off a good year and the Cubs have said they will not give him away. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer want value in return for Soriano … especially if the reports are correct and they are willing to send $26 of the $36 million owed to Soriano over the next two seasons. While Soriano figures to give a team much more production than Vernon Wells, the Angels appear to be looking for a place to unload Wells, and as much of his contract as possible, without receiving much in return.

Jim Duquette (MLB Network Radio) discussed possible landing spots for Soriano on Tuesday. Duquette feels an American League team could benefit by trading for Soriano and sees a fit in both Texas and Baltimore but he is not sure how much interest Texas would have in Soriano.

J.P. Howell

According to a report from Bill Ladson, the Cubs are one of several teams interested in J.P. Howell. Howell is coming off a good season with the Rays. In 55 games, Howell was a 1-0 record with a 3.04 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Howell struck out 42 batters and walked 22 in 50 1/3 innings. Ladson has heard the Phillies, Mariners, Nationals and Rangers are also interested and he doesn’t expect Howell to sign a deal until after Christmas

J.P. Howell’s Page on Baseball Reference

Rick Porcello

The Cubs are one of many teams rumored to be interested in Rick Porcello. According to Danny Knobler, the Tigers received almost a dozen calls within three hours of agreeing to terms with Anibal Sanchez. Knobler later reported that the Cubs tried to trade for Porcello but there is not a match between the Cubs and Tigers. The Tigers are taking calls on Drew Smyly as well but the Cubs have not been connected to Smyly, as of yet, this off-season.

As for those rumors that the Cubs could land Porcello for Darwin Barney, Bruce Levine doesn’t see that deal happening with Omar Infante firmly locked in as the Tigers’ second baseman right now.

News, Notes and Rumors

According to multiple reports, Anibal Sanchez’s deal with the Tigers included a club option for 2018. Sanchez and the Tigers made the five-year, $80 million contract official on Monday and according to a report from Jason Beck, Sanchez left money on the table from another team. Buster Olney reported that the Cubs never felt they were on the cusp of signing Sanchez.

The Angels may still have interest in Carlos Marmol according to Bruce Levine. Levine thinks Marmol could be traded before the start of the season for a small package of prospects.

Bruce Levine mentioned in his chat on Tuesday that the Cubs have “kicked the tires” on Shaun Marcum.

Former Cubs’ first baseman Carlos Pena signed with the Astros on Monday. Pena inked a one-year, $2.9 million contract that includes $1.4 million in incentives. Pena spent last season back in Tampa but still received $5 million from the Cubs as the deferred payment on the one-year contract he signed prior to the 2011 season … the Cubs paid Carlos Pena $10 million spread out over three calendar years ($2 million in 2010, $3 million in 2011 and $5 million in 2012).

The Dodgers named Pat Listach their new Minor League Infield Coordinator.

A few former Cub farmhands signed minor league contracts with new teams. Robinson Lopez, who the Cubs received in the Derrek Lee deal from the Braves in August of 2010, signed back with the Braves. The Cubs released him in February of 2012. Chad Gaudin signed with the Giants and Jacob Brigham re-signed with the Rangers after Texas non-tendered him last month.

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