What’s the Cubs Next Move? And Other News and Notes

It was relatively quiet throughout the game during the holiday weekend. Outside of Nick Swisher agreeing to terms on a four-year, $56 million deal (includes a $14 million vesting option for 2017) with the Indians, Cody Ross signing with Arizona (three years, $26 million with a fourth year club option) and the Pirates sending Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt to Boston for Mark Melancon, Jerry Sands, Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Stolmy Pimentel to free up payroll for Francisco Liriano, there was not much action.

The Cubs have yet to announce the deals with Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Jackson and it could be the New Year before both signings are announced. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer still have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster before they can officially add both players.

The Cubs are believed to still be looking for a right-handed platoon partner for Ian Stewart and help in the pen. Plus, are the Cubs still talking to teams about Alfonso Soriano?

Alfonso Soriano

As outfielders such as Cody Ross, Raul Ibanez and Nick Swisher come off the board, the market seems to increase for Alfonso Soriano. The Yankees, Orioles and Phillies are rumored to be interested in Soriano, could the Rays be as well?

The Yankees do not appear willing to add a multi-year contract to the books, regardless of how much of Soriano’s remained $36 million the Cubs are willing to eat. The Yankees also do not have the type of pitching prospects the Cubs are looking for in return for Soriano.

The Orioles have been connected to Soriano the past two off-seasons and he reportedly rejected a trade to Baltimore last year. Soriano has a relationship with Buck Showalter from their days together in Texas.

The Phillies seem to be a very good fit for Soriano and according to multiple reports, the two teams have discussed parameters of two different deals for Soriano … one that would include Domonic Brown and the other that would net the Cubs pitching in return for Soriano. The Phillies are looking to add a right-handed hitting corner outfielder that can hit in the middle of the lineup and split up Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.

The Rays would also seem to be a fit for Soriano, especially with the Cubs willingness to reportedly eat all but $10 million of the $36 million left owed to Soriano over the next two seasons. The possibility was discussed on MLB Network Radio during Power Alley on Wednesday morning. Both Mike Ferrin and Mike Stanton think that Soriano would make sense for the Rays if the Cubs are indeed willing to make him a $5 million per year player. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays are still looking for a “bat or two.”

News, Notes and Rumors

David and Kim DeJesus are hosting a fashion show on Thursday, January 17 to benefit ALS Research and Support (Lou Gehrig’s disease). The Strike-A-Pose Celebrity Fashion Show will feature current Cubs such as Darwin Barney, Shawn Camp, Tony Campana, Starlin Castro, Steve Clevenger, David DeJesus, Scott Feldman, Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, James Russell, Ian Stewart and Travis Wood. Kerry Wood is also scheduled to attend the event that is the day before the kickoff of the Cubs Convention on January 18. Those interested in buying tickets click here.

The Cubs have been connected to both Kyle Farnsworth and lefty J.P. Howell this off-season. While those rumors are a couple of weeks old, both relievers are still in the mix to fill a spot or two in the Rays’ pen according to the Tampa Bay Times.

An interesting article was posted on SI.com at the beginning of the month about Johnny Evers.

The Cubs Convention begins in just 22 days … and pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park in 45 days.

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  • Ripsnorter1

    What a dumb trade from the Pirates perspective! Another salary dump! And what did they acquire? A handful of minor leaguers who will not be anything more than role players in MLB. I’d say that maybe none of the four that they acquired deserve to be in MLB. And they did this to pay Francisco Liriano? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Jerry Sands: the best of the lot. Here’s his stats:

    Spent the summer in AAA–the PCL mind you, where the offensive stats as way inflated–and managed .296 BA with 26 Hrs. .375 OBP looks good.
    But in the bigs he showed not much power: .244 BA career, and .376 slug for his career (251 PA).
    He tops out as David DeJesus.

    The BoSox ROBBED the Pirates.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rich.hood.144 Rich Hood

      That’s strange Rip most of the talking heads think that it sets the value of Closers. If that is the case then we will have to wait and see.

    • daverj

      I thought the Pirates made a solid deal here. I think Melancon could have a similar season in 2013 to Hanrahan at a much lower cost. Plus, Sands may yet turn into an average major league first baseman.

      Furthermore, Hanrahan was shopped all over by the Pirates. Clearly, there were not better offers on the table. There is not much of a trade market for closers.

    • cubs1967

      I agree; unless Melancon pitches like he did in 2011; the other players don’t amount to much. Considering how dysfunctional the Red Sox were last year, Melancon could rebound and be a cheaper version of Hanrahan for the Bucs.
      The bad part, none of this does much to move Marmol………considering Hanrahan has had 2 better yrs than Marmol.

      • Ripsnorter1

        You are correct. And consider this: the Pirates main strength the last couple of years has been their bullpen. And they are emptying out their bullpen. Not good for their future.

    • John_CC

      You are such a crank! It is amazing.

  • Joshua Toulouse

    Thanks, Neil, for posting the link to the SI article on Evers. Great read. Keep up the good work. I love this site.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you, I’m glad you liked it.

  • Henry

    Great article on Johnny Evers. Interesting spin on Fred Merkle. There is a great book called Tinker, Evers, and Chance a triple biography by Gil bogen if anyone wants to read more about them. Fred Merkle was a tortured soul. He also had a hand in the Giants losing the 1912 W.S. Merkle was also the Cubs 1st baseman in 1918 the year the Cubs lost the W.S. to Babe Ruth and the Boston Red Sox. There were some that believed his connection was the reason the Red Sox, our beloved Cubs and the crosstown White Sox had not won a world Series in years. The 1918 world series was played in White Sox park because Wrigley was too small. Of course, nobody believes in curses!

    • cubs1967

      great article on Evers; the writer is a relative so it was a cool perspective. great read on when the Cubs were the dynasty.

  • Ripken Boy

    Lock up all the women in the bars in Wrigleyville if Farnsworth comes back.

  • SuzyS

    Neil, I just loved the Johnny Evers piece….what a special treat. Thanks!!!