The GM Meetings and Owners Meetings began on Monday in Orlando. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer arrived early in the afternoon and met with the media. Hoyer confirmed the Cubs’ interest in Masahiro Tanaka and indicated the Cubs are looking to hire two hitting coaches with both positions likely to be filled from outside the organization.
As is the case every year, the rumors began to fly out of the GM Meetings before the attention turned to the BBWAA awards. Jose Fernandez of the Marlins and Wil Myers of the Tampa Bay Rays took home Rookie of the Year Awards for their outstanding seasons. AL and NL Manager of the Year will be named on Tuesday with Clint Hurdle and Terry Francona or John Farrell expected to walk away with the honors.
According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs are going to “pursue trades” this winter and are “going to look at trades for some of the very best players in the game.” But don’t look for the Cubs to necessarily go after David Price or another player that would deplete the system and get in the way of their development plan.
The Washington Post reported the Nationals are expected to discuss a deal with the Cubs that would include Jeff Samardzija. The Post reported Samardzija “would be a lesser name but possibly a prudent alternative” to the Nationals trading for David Price or Max Scherzer. Samardzija would cost less, in terms of players, according to the Post and may pose less risk than David Price.
The Post does not feel the Cubs would be asking for as much as the Rays would for Price. The Post said acquiring Samardzija would “only dent” the Nationals’ system while Price would decimate their farm system.
Jed Hoyer downplayed the report and told ESPN Chicago to get used to the rumors. Hoyer said the rumors would continue throughout the winter because teams know they have been unsuccessful at signing Samardzija to a long-term extension.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are also thought to be interested in trading for Samardzija.
The front office is keeping in touch with Samardzija’s agent and will meet with him later in the winter to discuss another long-term contract.
The Cubs will place a bid for Masahiro Tanaka once he is posted this winter. The Cubs have done their homework and have scouted him heavily.
Could the Cubs be serious contenders for Tanaka? Theo Epstein said over the weekend he wished there was a free agent market for young players. Epstein told the Sun-Times, “Every now and then a situation pops up and you kind of harbor all of your resources for that one guy and it might make sense.” With that said, the Cubs do not figure to outbid either the Yankees or the Dodgers for Tanaka.
An announcement could be made this week according to Jon Paul Morosi on the new posting system between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball. Ken Davidoff reported ”it sounds like the plan for the Japanese posting is the final bid will be the average of the top two bids. The top bidding team would win exclusive negotiating rights, but would only pay the average of the top two bids” for the final posting fee. There is also a report that under the new posting rules the winning team would be fined if they are unable to sign the player.
Estimates remain that the posting fee could be anywhere from $75-$125 million just to negotiate with Masahiro Tanaka.
Jed Hoyer told the Chicago media on Monday that Rick Renteria’s staff would be announced all at one time in the coming days. Chris Bosio reportedly has signed a two-year contract and both Lester Strode and Mike Borzello are expected to return. Reports have suggested Alex Cora, Henry Blanco and Mariano Duncan could be in the mix for coaching positions. A.J. Hinch is thought to be a candidate for Renteria’s bench coach.
Jed Hoyer said the Cubs would hire two hitting coaches with both positions likely being filled from outside the organization.
News, Notes, Rumors and More Rumors
The Cubs are looking to add veteran leadership to the clubhouse. According to a report from Jesse Rogers, the Cubs know they need more player leadership.
Nate Schierholtz might be on Arizona’s list of targets this winter. Kevin Towers is looking for a bat for his outfield and Schierholtz was mentioned as a possibility by Nick Piecoro.
According to Gordon Wittenmyer, Dioner Navarro will not be re-signing with the Cubs this off-season. Wittenmyer confirmed what the CCO learned over the weekend. The Cubs could acquire a backup catcher via the secondary free agent market or a trade.
The Tigers’ Rick Porcello is back on the market … and Theo Epstein has tried to trade for him the past two off-seasons. Porcello is under team control through the 2014 season and hits the free agent market next winter.
The Cardinals are looking for a young, controllable shortstop, and are willing to deal one of their young arms to fill the hole. St. Louis appears to be focused on trading to Troy Tulowitzki or maybe Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar from the Rangers. Rumors suggested Starlin Castro could be on the Cardinals’ list, but to this point that is not the case. The Cardinals might part with Shelby Miller and/or Oscar Taveras and/or Matt Adams for one of Texas’ shortstops. Ken Rosenthal reported Jed Lowrie, Alexei Ramirez and Didi Gregorius are potentially available as well.
All 13 players that were tendered qualifying offers did not accept the offers prior to Monday’s deadline.
MTV will present a new weekly series during the 2014 season focused on baseball, pop culture and MLB stars off the field. The series will be taped at the MLB Fan Cave.