Soriano Still in the Rumor Mill and Other Cubs News and Notes

Jed Hoyer discussed the off-season and the state of the Cubs as Spring Training approaches Sunday morning on MLB Network Radio. Hoyer addressed a number of topics, including the status of Alfonso Soriano. Hoyer said that teams had interest in Soriano this winter and they entertained discussions but nothing was ever really that close.

Jed Hoyer told Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden that they are excited to have Soriano play left field and bat fourth for the Cubs.

Nick Cafardo reported earlier in the day that Soriano remained on the trading block and could be moved before Spring Training, as teams like the Orioles and Rangers look to make last-minute moves to improve. The Cubs are still willing to pay a bulk of the $36 million left owed to Soriano according to Cafardo, for a fair return. Reports have suggested that Soriano would not be willing to waive his no trade rights to be just a designated hitter.

So, which one is it? Is Soriano on the block or are the Cubs looking forward to him starting the season for them in left field and hitting clean-up? As Jed Hoyer pointed out they would like to get younger and according to multiple reports this off-season the Cubs are not going to give Soriano away. The Cubs’ front office would not be doing their job if they did not listen to offers for any player on their roster.

Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello is trying to keep his focus among all the rumors this winter according to a report from Sports Illustrated. Porcello has been in trade rumors all off-season but the Tigers have not been able to work out a deal for the talented right-hander. The Cubs are one of many teams that have been connected to Porcello this winter.

Porcello ranks third in career wins, innings pitched and starts among active pitchers under 25 years old, trailing only Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Cahill in all three categories. Porcello has been working on simplifying his mechanics this winter and his slider.

Nick Cafardo has a feeling that Porcello will be moved sometime before or during Spring Training.

News and Notes

The Cubs added to their front office on Monday by hiring Tom Tango as a consultant … and the Cubs are looking for a Director of Research and Development.

Sandy Alderson joined Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden during the Front Office (MLB Network Radio) on Sunday morning. The Mets’ GM discussed his outfield options and said he was under the impression that Scott Hairston was looking for a full-time job in the outfield before he signed with the Cubs.

Michael Bourn is still looking for a five-year contract.

Prospects in the Cubs’ system have seen an influx of information under the Cubs’ new regime.

The Dodgers and Time Warner issued a press release on Monday announcing their new network … SportsNet LA. The new TV station will begin carrying Dodgers’ games in 2014.

The Phillies announced the signing of Yuniesky Betancourt on Monday to a minor league deal that included an invite to big league camp. The Cubs were linked to Betancourt around the Winter Meetings. If Betancourt makes the team and ends up the same lineup with Delmon Young it could be a very quick game for the opposing pitcher.

Former Cubs’ shortstop, Ronny Cedeno, signed a Major League deal with the Cardinals on Monday. Cedeno’s one-year deal is worth $1.15 million and he can earn an additional $850,000 in performance bonuses. Wonder if Cedeno thinks he is now on the right side of the rivalry?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.canavan.14 Jim Canavan

    I wonder what kind of deal Bourn will get and from what team.??

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

      Me too. It should happen in the next couple of weeks.

    • SuzyS

      And Lohse…it’s really telling how the new cba has changed the value of draft picks.
      Someone will bite the bullet…Both players should be signed by now.
      It’s a new ballgame for Boras….It’ll also be really interesting to see where Appel falls in the upcoming draft…and what type of deal he finally does sign.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Penrod/700030874 Jason Penrod

        I think the Cubs will take him #2. They need pitching, and I think that the talk of going for a position player is just smoke. The only position players available that might be worthy of the #2 pick are 1B and OF. Which is where the organization is already deep. If they take another 1B, then they obviously see a flaw with Appel.

  • John_CC

    Boras wants 5 years for Bourn?!!? Hahahahaha…

    • daverj

      Last year people laughed at Boras’ demands for Fielder and thought he’d never get 10 years and $200+ million. Somehow, he got it though. While Boras has had a few failures, more often that not, he seems to come through for his clients. I think it’s nuts, but Bourn may yet get his 5 years.

      • mutantbeast

        wasn’t the same CBA last year, everyone now values there high draft picks(except the LAD) . Get a feeling Bourn and Lohse will both end up signing short term contracts. Lohse is 34 after all, and Bourn is Juan Pierre waiting to happen.

        • calicub

          Dodgers haven’t surrendered any picks this offseason

        • Ripsnorter1

          If Bourne is as good as Juan Pierre at age 34, he’d be okay. Juan Pierre is still a valuable asset.

          Look what he did for the White Sox in 2010. And last year for the Phils he hit .307, stole 37 bases and got caught a mere 7 times. .351 OBP wasn’t too shabby, either.

          • mutantbeast

            Im mostly talking about $. Pierre is a part-time player these days, cant play CF anymore,his lack of power doesn’t profile for a corner OF. And his arm is a rag. Bourn wants 15-18 mill/yr to become Juan Pierre in 2 yrs?

      • John_CC

        You’re right. And I’ll laugh at the team that shells out 5 years to a 30 year old player whose legs are his only asset.

        But comparing a 27 year old with one of the premier bats in the game to a light hitting 30 year old with speed isn’t a very good analogy.

        5 and 75 for Michael Bourn is pipe dream, and Boras knows it. 5 years is one thing, but $15M per for a one tool player? Not even the Mets are that stooopid.

        • Dorasaga

          How about a 4-year, 40M contract with club options and incentives? One of those aged outfield such as Cardinals’ will take Bourn. Ain’t a shabby choice for those retooling teams waiting for the farm.

  • Sonate

    The hire of Tom Tango (co-author of “The Book”) is certainly good news. He’s a top-notch sabermetrician, in the same league as Bill James and Pete Palmer.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Agreed …

    • John_CC

      I just read that and was going to post it. Here is a little blurb about him:

      http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/01/cubs-notes-new-front-office-hire-peds-in-miami-cedeno-bourn/

      • Dorasaga

        Online, Tango is perhaps too sharp and always gave me a feel of a smartass. Persistent, though, so that also means he’s full of energy and won’t refuse a good debate. He’ll be a valuable consultant looking from the outside. It’s like when the Redsox hired Bill James.

    • Ray Ray

      Hopefully this Tango and Cash will do better than the movie! At least he has a cool pseudonym…Tom Tango

    • Dorasaga

      Yeah. I’ll need to ask him for an autograph. :-))

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Jon Heyman: Scott Hairston deal with Cubs is for $5M over 2 yrs. incentives, if hit, can add $1M extra. The deal is not finalized yet according to Carrie Muskat. Cubs still have to clear 40-man roster spot.

  • Dorasaga

    It seems like Tango is assembling a team of high intellects with a good degree, teaching ability, good communication skill(s), five years of analyzing baseball through geeky programs, and so on. He might as well hire some VP who runs a multi-billion enterprise:

    http://tangotiger.com/index.php/site/article/psst…-wanna-work-for-the-cubs-and-with-me

    Requirements:

    “Advanced degree or equivalent experience in statistics, mathematics, computer science… Demonstrated project management, problem-solving, and teaching abilities… Demonstrated
    ability to communicate difficult and complex concepts… Demonstrated expert-level knowledge (of at least 5 years) with baseball-specific data, modern statistical techniques, and sabermetric analysis… expertise with R, STATA, SPSS, SAS… SQL Server, Microsoft Access, My SQL, Oracle, database…”