Soriano Still an Option for Philly? And Other Cubs Rumors

The rumor mill heated up on Tuesday amongst all of the Hall of Fame debate … and the Cubs seemed to be right in the middle of the rumors.

Alfonso Soriano is one of many outfielders reportedly on the trading block. According to Ken Rosenthal, Soriano remains an option for the Phillies as they explore ways to add a right-handed corner outfielder to their lineup. But with Adam LaRoche re-signing with the Nationals on a two-year, $24 million deal, Michael Morse is now available and that could end up limiting the Cubs’ options on where they could trade Soriano … and what they might be able to receive in return.

Alfonso Soriano

The on-again, off-again Alfonso Soriano rumors appear to be on-again. Prior to the New Year, Jim Bowden reported that the Phillies had a deal on the table for Soriano but were waiting to see where Michael Bourn ended up signing. Bruce Levine shot that rumor down less than a week later by indicating that the two teams had not discussed a possible deal for Soriano in weeks but according to Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies continue to look at all options for a right-handed hitting outfielder. The Phillies have looked into signing free agent Scott Harrison (who is expected to choose one of the New York teams in a matter of days) and trades for Alfonso Soriano and the Angels’ Vernon Wells. Charlie Manuel likes Darin Ruf and the team has discussed starting the season with platoons in both left and right field.

Soriano reportedly would like to stay on the East Coast and while it is unlikely that the Nationals would trade Michael Morse to the Phillies, three teams that have been connected to Soriano are reportedly interested in Morse … the Orioles, Rangers and the Yankees. The Rays are also in the mix and while Soriano has not been connected to Tampa by the mainstream media, many feel Soriano would be a good fit in Tampa, especially if the Cubs send enough money with him to make him a $5 million per season outfielder.

According to Jim Bowden, there are 10-11 teams in on Michael Morse with the Mariners, Rays and Yankees being the most active trying to land the slugger. But according to multiple reports, Morse is “strong opposed” to being used as a designated hitter.

The Boston Globe reported Sunday that Soriano is likely to go elsewhere this off-season and could be “an effective, almost free player” if the Cubs can find the right value in return.

Alfonso Soriano is scheduled to be at the Cubs Convention, which begins a week from Friday.

Rick Porcello

A rumor surfaced Tuesday morning that the Cubs, Tigers and Orioles were discussing a three-way trade that would land Rick Porcello in Chicago. The Cubs would reportedly send pitching to the Orioles, and Baltimore would send shortstop J.J. Hardy to Detroit.

Baltimore is looking for pitching help according Roch Kubatko and the Cubs would need the Orioles involved in the trade because they do not match up with the Tigers in a two-team trade for Porcello. Kubatko questioned why the Tigers and Orioles would need the Cubs to make a deal work … but according to Ken Rosenthal, the Tigers and Orioles couldn’t find a match on a Rick Porcello trade.

Theo Epstein and the Cubs Future

Theo Epstein spoke with Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe and said he feels the Cubs are further along in the building process than they were this time last year. The Cubs had one core player, Starlin Castro, when Epstein took over baseball operations for the Cubs in October of 2011 and now they view Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija and others as part of the core moving forward. Epstein is hoping that prospects such as Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Brett Jackson and Arodys Vizcaino will all be in the big leagues together in 2015.

T-Mobile Partners with MLB

T-Mobile and Major League Baseball announced a multi-year technology and marketing agreement on Tuesday night. As part of the new partnership, T-Mobile will provide MLB with a new On-Field Communication System and the first use will be connecting dugouts to coaches in the bullpen.

Full Press Release from MLB.com

As Darren Rovell pointed out, the Cubs tried to use wireless communication between the dugout and the bullpen in 2006 as part of their agreement with Motorola … and it was a short-lived experiment.

Polls

This is the last day to vote on the Cubs’ best move of the off-season to this point. The poll will be closed Wednesday night.

What has been the Cubs best move of the off-season so far?

  • Signing Edwin Jackson (47%, 285 Votes)
  • Hiring Derek Johnson as Minor League Pitching Coordinator (16%, 94 Votes)
  • Signing Scott Baker (10%, 63 Votes)
  • Signing Kyuji Fujikawa (10%, 58 Votes)
  • None of the Above (8%, 46 Votes)
  • Agreeing to terms with Carlos Villanueva (3%, 18 Votes)
  • Signing Nate Schierholtz (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Re-Signing Shawn Camp (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Signing Dioner Navarro (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Signing Scott Feldman (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Minor league signings (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Hiring James Rowson as Hitting Coach (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Hiring David Bell as Third Base Coach (2%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 601

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News, Notes and Rumors

According to T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers haven’t ruled out signing Michael Bourn or Kyle Lohse.

Speaking of Michael Bourn, while the media continues to try and link him with the Cubs, the Braves have not closed the door on re-signing Bourn.

Matt Garza tweeted Monday that since it was a new week, it was time to set new goals and do what must be done to achieve them. As Jed Hoyer pointed out, the best way to know how Matt Garza is doing this off-season is to follow him on Twitter.

According to Rob Biertempfel, Francisco Liriano injured his right arm in December and the two-year contract that he agreed to with Pittsburgh is not done yet … and no deal is imminent between the southpaw and the Battlin’ Bucs.

The Cubs were rumored to have interest in signing Grady Sizemore last off-season before he re-upped with the Indians on a one-year deal. Sizemore did not play for Cleveland last year and according to Ken Rosenthal, Sizemore will not sign with a team until he is ready to play again. Sizemore had microfracture surgery on his right knee in September. The Cubs have not been connected to Sizemore by the mainstream media this winter, but don’t be surprised if those rumors start up, if he is ever healthy enough to play.

 Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

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  • Aaron

    Lots of interesting takes and proposals here with this most recent news:

    What we know is this…

    Cubs-Tigers-O’s “discussed” a 3-team deal involving Porcello and Hardy. Does that mean the Cubs are “close to acquiring Porcello”? Absolutely NOT! If you read the full context of the report from MLBTR, it doesn’t even look like Porcello would be going to the Cubs, as I (and plenty of others on here initially thought)

    http://www.masnsports.com/school_of_roch/2013/01/sifting-through-more-rumors.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+masnroch+%28School+of+Roch%29

    which could only mean this….

    The reason the Cubs might need to be involved is the O’s would need to replace Hardy’s offense. The Tigers don’t have much to trade them, or they’d decimate their own offense. Porcello might fill their need in the rotation, but OF is still a primary concern for them, which is why they’re still in talks with the D’Backs for Upton.

    That could be why the Cubs got involved….to try to unload Soriano. That being said, in that scenario, it wouldn’t even make much sense for the Cubs to be involved (just as the article suggests). They must bring something more to the table.

    I agree that when you first hear about this rumor, immediate thoughts go to the Cubs acquiring Porcello with Hardy going to the Tigers. But then what do the O’s get? They seemingly have no need for a guy like Lake (though the Tigers could use a versatile player like that), nor would they appear to need Marmol.

    However, they could certainly use Soriano, so that could make sense, but again, the article suggests that the O’s would acquire Porcello for themselves.

    What I think the Cubs should try for is a deal like this:

    Marmol, Lake, and Hardy to the Tigers

    Soriano, T. Wood, and Porcello to the O’s….

    Castellanos, Bridwell (#15 O’s prospect and has projectability), and Matusz to the Cubs

    some might say, “but the Cubs are giving up the most in that deal”, and I would say to that, yes, that is correct, but they’re also getting the best value. Matusz will likely do much better in the NL, and Castellanos solves their 3B problem right now. By unloading Marmol, Soriano, and Wood, and only receiving Matusz that would need to be on the 40-man, the Cubs actually gain 1 roster spot (remember, they still need to add Villanueva).

    Soriano to the Phillies for Brown (my ideal trade) just isn’t happening. Including Soriano in the 3 team deal is an absolute must from my perspective.

    Doing a deal like this also would allow the Cubs to keep Garza, versus including him in a deal for another 3B (Olt).

    Cubs would be smart to then sign Delmon Young on a 1 yr deal to be the LF.

    • TheWrongGuy

      BRAVO!!! Well thought out I like it except for Bridwell. I like Mike Wright more than Bridwell as Wright will produce more ground ball outs. He also if nothing else can pitch in long relief. Bridwell doesn’t get as many ground balls. But that’s just my opinion. Also I wouldn’t mind if the O’s said no to Matusz and us picking up Tillman either, again my opinion. And to add to “our BLUE KOOL AID FUN” why not trade Chris Rusin, and Valbuena in talks with the Nat’s for Morse or Rendon?

      Thats my 2 cents.
      And “cheer’s Aaron Blue Kool-Aid to YOU”

    • Ripsnorter1

      Give it all away for 3 prospects.

      Let’s see…Marmol is a certififed ML pitcher.
      Soriano is a certified ML hitter.
      Even Wood is a ML pitcher.
      Lake…maybe nothing at all. But you just gave up 2 All-Stars and a #5 starter (or Sean Marshall) for 3 prospects that may not even make it.

      Not a good deal.

    • Tony_Hall

      I was following you all the way to the end, where you keep thinking Young can play LF….

      • Aaron

        The reason I keep invoking the name of Young is because he is in the right age bracket, and has power. The main factor working against him is conditioning and pitch selection. In the minors, his slash line looks like this: .317/.362/.519

        In MLB, it is: .284/.317/.425

        In his best season (2010 with the Twins), he had 170 hits, 46 doubles, 1 triple, 21 hr, 112 RBI, and 28 walks vs 81 K’s .298/.333/.493

        Aside from the power numbers (…in full seasons 130+games which are usually around 27-38 doubles, 10-18 hr, and 69-74 RBI), the slash line is about right…

        If you take that guy at 27 yrs old (which he’ll be next year), and get him with Sveum, Rowson, and others in the organization, you really have to like your chances to improve him. You can sign him to a “prove it” contract of 1 yr with an option, and either keep him at the deadline, or trade him.

        In my opinion, he’s just like 99% of Cubs hitting prospects with his plate discipline, so what is really the difference? Power, and minor league numbers is what’s the difference. If you use his history, and start getting him to take more pitches, then you’re looking at a guy that could potentially have a .300/.350/.500 slash line…In my mind, THAT is the guy you take a chance on.

        If you look over the Cubs’ system right now, you’d be hard pressed to find a guy with a .317/.362/.519 slash line, and yet, that’s precisely what Young was in the minors, and he was promoted at age 20. He’s essentially the same player that Castro was, and yet everyone talks about Castro as a “core” player. What’s not to say that with some good coaching, he couldn’t really turn things on?

        • Tony_Hall

          Aaron – You are missing the entire point as to why I say no to Delmon Young…he can’t play defense. He could very well turn into the hitter that you think he can be, but there is no place on the field to put him. He is a AL player only, that is a DH and part-time LF. It is about the same as those that think Vogelbach could play LF….just not gonna happen.

          • cubs4ever

            Agreed about Delmon Young. Brutal defensively,lazy and a bad attitude. Would be a terrible influence on a rebuilding team.

        • cubs4ever

          Aaron, Did you also forget about his hate crime arrest in New York last year? And the time he threw a bat at an umpire in the minors? Apparently he was so intoxicated when he got arrested in NY that he had to be put in a holding cell to sober up before getting arrested. That would be an awful move

    • daverj

      Lots of good thoughts here. I love that trade proposal for the cubs, but if I’m the Tigers GM, there is no way I make that deal and I probably wouldn’t make it as GM of the Orioles (though that is a close call)

    • Denio

      Didn’t Soriano already say he doesn’t want to be traded to the Orioles… Could be wrong…

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        He reportedly rejected a trade to Baltimore last January, right around the convention.

        • mutantbeast

          That was last year, Neal. The Os weren’t considered likely contenders then. The Os improved immensely in 2012, and Showalter should be familiar with Sorry from his days in Texas.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            You are correct and I have pointed that out his relationship with Showalter recently.

          • Dorasaga

            Don’t get too excited. The O’s had no plate discipline, got lucky with taters, relied solely on bullpen but no rotation. It’s an anomaly that they made it to the postseason. They’ll want more on-base (Dejesus), not power (ol’Fonzi), which they had and shall have plenty.

    • mutantbeast

      Only one caveat. Catellanos has been moved to the OF, he was considered a poor defensive 3b.

      • Ripsnorter1

        You watch: he’ll turn into Josh Vitters, ie, can’t field, can’t hit.

  • texcubnut

    I don’t understand the frenzied desire on this site to trade Soriano while paying most of his salary. It seems to me that you have Soriano for two more years which just happens to be the ‘hoped for’ arrival of outfielders Almora and Soler. A pretty good bridge until then.

    • Tony_Hall

      In 2 years would you rather have nothing but 2 years of downward production from Soriano and spent $36M….

      or

      27 year old Domonic Brown and and 4 more years of control

      and

      $10M back in already spent payroll.

      Brown is just an example and $10M is just estimated.

      Now, we don’t need to trade Soriano now, but his value will never be higher than it is now. He will start slow and teams will worry that last year was it for him and give up much less.

      Keep Soriano, spend $10M that we could get back and win a few more games while not going to the playoffs or get back a young big LH batting corner OF whose best days are ahead of him.

      Yeah, I don’t get why we would want to trade Soriano either….

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

        Hands Tony a cup of coffee. “Breathe big man.”

        You are actually on the right track with this thinking but I am getting to the no movement point myself. I would love to get Brown. He is the classic change of scenery player. But I just think as more and more OF get shuffled around he does not have the value of some of the other guys that are more in demand.

        Until we see Bourne and Hariston signed the offers for Soriano and or DeJesus are not going to be what we want.

        • Tony_Hall

          I am not saying to trade for Brown, you might want to re-read the post and take a deep breathe yourself and slow down.

          “Brown is just an example…”

          An example to show texcubnut why we would want to trade Soriano.

          I would love to have Brown in our system, but not sure I want to trade for him, but if that is what the best offer is for Soriano and paying him down to around $5M, I take it before I let Soriano walk for nothing in 2 years of downward production.

          You are right though, until the FA market clears up, teams are waiting out making the next moves, which Neil has told us many times, Bourne needs to sign before the OF trade market will make it’s next moves.

          • Aaron

            That’s EXACTLY what I’ve been saying about Soriano. He’s at best a short-term asset…..at the same time, he’s also a short-term AND long-term liability. You turn those short-term assets into long-term ones hands down. Who really cares what you get back, as long as that player has had some decent success in the minors or MLB, and is still in his early to mid 20’s….

            It’s not a question of “if” Soriano will decline….it’s a matter of “when”, and my guess is next year you will probably see the bottom fall out, and dare I say he might even retire because of it.

            I don’t know who is really holding up these potential trades, but Team Theo better get with it soon, or they will have a nightmare on their hands.

            Even if they have to eat all but $2 million of his contract, I would do it in a heartbeat. Why? Because it opens up LF for you to sign Delmon Young, which I thoroughly analyzed above for everyone on why that’s a good idea.

            Even if you get back a low-A pitcher or hitter, you still open up a spot to sign Young, and at worst, you see if BJax can hack it at the MLB level. If he can’t then you know you absolutely must see results from Almora and Soler, or you have to start looking at what it’d take to acquire Stanton.

          • Cubs4ever

            Delmon Young? There is a reason he has not been signed yet. Bad attitude and lazy! He would be an awful fit for a team not in the playoff hunt. No thanks!

          • Tony_Hall

            I will give you one idea on who is holding up the trading of Soriano….the other 29 teams, thinking just like we are about Soriano.

    • daverj

      Were you saying this about Soriano at the end of April in 2012 when he didn’t have a home run yet on the season? Soriano may fall off the cliff at any point at this point in his career. He may be “a pretty bridge” as point out or he may turn into a .240, 12 Hr guy for the next two seasons. It looked like he was headed that way in the second half of 2011 and first month of 2012. If you can can a quality prospect for Soriano, now is the time to sell high (or at least as high as it will get for Soriano over the next 2 seasons).

      As an aside, none of this is a knock on Soriano. From what I have read/watched, he is a great guy who gives it his all every day, but from a business perspective, if the Cubs can get a quality prospect for him, it’s time to pull the trigger.

  • RynoTiger

    the hall of fame announcement has been made…this year the induction class is…NOBODY! hooray! congratulations nobody you had quite a career.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    No one elected into the Hall of Fame for the first time since 1996. Biggio had the highest total, 68%. Jack Morris with 67.7%.

    • John G

      If you discount the steroid controversy (which you can’t really) could it be that there were more really qualified players on this ballot and it dilluted the vote? Or are they all now infected by the steroid cloud and we may go a few years without anyone being admitted? Personally I would have liked to see Jack Morris go in, as well as Bagwell and Biggio together. I am hard pressed to understand why Tim Raines got so many votes, though. Bonds and Clemmens got more than I expected and Sammy was right about where he deserves to be.

      • daverj

        I think the steroid cloud played a big role, but I also think you are right in thinking that the large number of qualified players hurt many of the players. I’ve read some voters saying that they would have voted for more than the permitted 10 if the rules permitted more votes.

        Personally, if voting, my ballot would have contained Biggio, Bagwell and Raines. I’m on the fence on Morris but would have left him off due to the high career ERA.

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

          The hall is already too diluted. Tim Raines alongside Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth? I don’t see it. I saw a column where the writer advocated that the hall be limited to 25 guys and when one is voted in someone else is voted out. I like that idea bit would maybe increase it to 200 players. Best of the best only. I don’t go to a hall of fame to see Craig Biggio.

          • daverj

            Would Santo, Billy Williams or Fergie make it into your Hall?

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

            Most likely, no they wouldn’t. Maybe Williams.

          • daverj

            Would Santo, Billy Williams or Fergie make it into your Hall?

          • Tony_Hall

            The Hall of Fame should be a place where you can see players who were the best of the era, decade, time period, etc.

            There is no way to compare different eras.

            You say Biggio collected stats, what do you think most hitters of the 1st half of the 20th century did….they faced the same pitcher all game.

            Do you think they were pitching to contact back then?? You think…

            Throwing as hard and nasty of stuff every inning?? Most likely throwing 3/4 speed at most.

            Today guys who throw as hard as possible and throw as nasty of breaking pitches as possible, get hit when they lose just a little velocity or break after getting tired.

            The HOF should be baseball’s museum, history lesson, showing the best of the best from each era.

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

            Biggio compiled stats because he played for 22 seasons or whatever. Most players who plays that long will have good career totals. Does that make him a HOF’er? I say no. He was never an MVP, not even thebest player even on his own team.

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t believe I said Biggio should be in the HOF, he should not. But you are talking about a very limited HOF, saying how he would be next Mantle and Ruth, where I would say he would be next to Sandberg and Morgan.

            If every player has to be compared to Mantle and Ruth, back when pitchers pitched the entire game and you didn’t face 100 mph heaters and nasty sliders, then not many players will every be voted to the HOF again.

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

            I’m not necessarily comparing them to Mantle and Ruth stat wise. But inductees should be legends. I think it should be for the 1%er’s. I can think of one player today that is a no-brainer, Derek Jeter. I think that’s the critical eye that should be cast toward candidates. Is he a legend? A Paul Bunyan type?

          • Tony_Hall

            Not much of a Hall of Fame if only a couple from any era makes it.

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

            Exactly…

          • Tony_Hall

            So you like the idea of a bad HOF.

            We obviously disagree on what a HOF should be, I believe it should be a place to go to learn about the different eras and the stars that played during those times, your way would be about who are the couple of players who were the best of those eras, which to me is a slap in the face to so many great players, who would be left out.

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

            It wouldn’t be a “bad,” HOF, just elite. I think what you’re describing would be awesome and could be attached to the HOF. But it should be a museum of baseball history. Hall of Fame to me should be elite. 1% at the most 5%. I like a baseball history museum but it’s different than a hall of fame. Thia is only my opinion, I appreciate yours as well and you make an intelligent, coherent case.

          • Tony_Hall

            Just looked up some numbers.

            Players in the HOF 205

            Players who have played the game?

            The Society for American Baseball Research defines the beginning of time as 1871 with the founding of the National Association. And to date 15,213 people have played major league baseball as of May 11, 2000.

            Which would make the HOF an exclusive club for the top 1.35% of the players.

            So maybe the HOF is more exclusive than you think….

            If it was as high as your 5% number that would mean 760 members in the HOF and we would need to add 555 more players.

            I would say that there are more players that need to be inducted and as long as it stays below 2%, I would say it is the elite of elite.

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

            Wow! Thanks for looking that up. Mayne it’s about right.

      • Dorasaga

        John, from what I read, many writers abdicated their votes. They are either too old and be honest about the fact they haven’t followed the league at all for decades, or they are simply too pissed about the Steroid Era. Some are probably guilty, too, because they didn’t dare talk about it when it happened! let alone investigate anything worth a dime then!

  • cc002600

    Nobody made the HOF.

    Well done, writers.

    None of them deserved it.

    Sammy got 12%. Good

    Bonds and Clemens – 36-37 %

    That’s too high, IMO

    I remember when big mouth Clemens made that speech a few years ago when he was being accused of using PEDS, and he said he could “care less” about the HOF when asked about why he was fighting so hard to deny he used PEDS. I wonder how “big mouth” feels today after being slammed by writers ?

    Justice served

    The only guy I would have voted for is Biggio.

    • texcubnut

      I agree with you, cc, justice served. Only Biggio is worthy. A message sent to all players who still want to try and cheat…..DON’T!

      • cc002600

        I could not agree more, Tex
        Thanks

    • Dorasaga

      Please read my reply to John G above. Abdicated votes contributed to this year’s problem.

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

      Biggio would be a choice for the hall of really good. He compiled stats. My opinion

  • Tony_Hall

    I know many are happy that the HOF didn’t vote anyone in this year. Some saying that those that were worthy, stat wise cheated. Well this may be a news flash, but players have cheated and used PED’s in different forms forever. For years players used “greenies” to keep going and play everyday, Gaylord Perry openly cheated for his entire career. Players have always tried to gain every edge possible, and many, many players have gone over the line, even when the line was grey or not even “technically” drawn yet.

    My point is I believe the Hall of Fame should be a place where the guys who played the game at the highest level of their era should be on displayed and honored. I also feel Pete Rose should be in the HOF.

    Now, I am all for putting on guys plaques and displays that they were caught using PED’s or even suspected, or that they played in the steriod era. Just like I would put on Pete Rose’s info that he bet on baseball.

    From a stat and performance stand point, Piazza, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, Sosa, and Palmeiro all should be able to get in the HOF. There are others who should be considered as well.

    • Sonate

      I agree. Sammy never failed a drug test. Steroids were outlawed by baseball in 2002. Mark McGwire’s last year was 2001. If one follows the logic we’d also have to “rescind” Gaylord Perry and Whitey Ford for “cheating.” Bravo Tony!

      • The Maven

        Don’t forget Don Sutton, who was caught cheating several times in his career.

      • The Maven

        Another thing, Elston Howard used to cut baseballs on his belt buckle for Whitey Ford. Hall of Fame material?

    • Dorasaga

      These BBWAA veteran journalists have no one else to blame but themselves. They allowed this infamy to happen right under their noses. They pretended nothing fishy happened, and they dare not to speak of it!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The 2013 Cubs Convention is Just Around the Corner tinyurl.com/ac7qhvc with Updated List of Attendees, including Javier Baez