Joba Chamberlain is Reportedly on the Cubs Radar

As expected, the Cubs are among the suitors for former Yankees’ hurler Joba Chamberlain. Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reported on Friday afternoon that the Cubs and Royals are at least two teams interested in Chamberlain.

The Cubs are looking to bolster their bullpen and add both a starting pitcher and an outfielder to the roster and Joba Chamberlain would fill at least one of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer’s off-season needs. Chamberlain was 2-1 in 45 games for New York last season with a 4.93 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP. Chamberlain struggled with throwing strikes and walked 26 batters with only 38 strikeouts in 42 innings. Chamberlain is only 28 years old and made $1.875 million last year.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer signed Wesley Wright to fill one of the lefty reliever spots in the pen and are reportedly interested in John Axford as an option to close games.

Free-Agent Friday

Major League Baseball wrapped up one of the craziest weeks in recent memory with ‘Free-Agent Friday’. Multiple teams agreed to terms with several big name free agents and a few secondary free agents as well and followed up ‘Transactions Tuesday‘ by handing out big money contracts. One of the players the Cubs had been connected to this winter came off the board and the 10-year contract the Mariners signed Robinson Cano to on Friday could impact the Cubs this off-season.

Here is a list of the free agents that inked new deals or agreed to terms on a contract on Friday:

  • RHP Ryan Webb signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with Baltimore.
  • Yankees re-signed RHP Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $16 million deal.
  • Robinson Cano agreed to terms on a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Mariners that includes a full no-trade clause.
  • Curtis Granderson inked a four-year, $60 million contract with the New York Mets.
  • Former Cubs’ starter Scott Feldman was looking for a three-year, $30 million deal this winter and found it in Houston. Feldman inked a three-year, $30 million contract with the Astros on Friday.
  • The Rangers signed catcher J.P. Arencibia to a one-year, $1.8 million contract.
  • Former Pirates’ outfielder/first baseman Garrett Jones took his talents to Miami and inked a two-year, $7.5 million contract with the Marlins.
  • The Cubs were thought to be interested in OF Nate McLouth, but he agreed to a two-year, $10.75 million contract with the Nationals.
  • Mike Napoli re-signed with the Boston Red Sox on Friday night for two years and $32 million.
  • Carlos Beltran agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the Yankees on Friday night worth $45 million. Beltran will play right field in the Bronx with Jacoby Ellsbury in center, Brett Gardner in left and Alfonso Soriano is slated to begin the season as the Yankees’ DH … at least on Dec. 7.
  • Three other free agent deals were finalized on Friday … Rafael Furcal (Marlins), Kelly Johnson (Yankees) and Justin Morneau (Rockies)

With Robinson Cano headed to Seattle, the Yankees are now in on every free agent on the market. And according to multiple reports, the Bronx Bombers can use the money that was earmarked for Cano on Masahiro Tanaka … that is, if Tanaka is posted. While the Cubs are not thought to be in the mix for the Yankees’ other free agent targets, Tanaka is thought to be the Cubs’ top target this winter. Now with the Yankees not having to hold any money for Cano, Tanaka will be able to name his price to pitch in pinstripes for the foreseeable future.

What a week for Major League Baseball. After Transactions Tuesday and Free-Agent Friday, it will be difficult, at best, for the Winter Meetings to match the past five days.

News, Notes and Rumors

Bruce Levine tweeted Friday night that the Yankees will need a late inning defensive replacement for Kelly Johnson at second base and mentioned Darwin Barney as a possible platoon, defensive replacement, for Johnson.

Jayson Stark polled 17 different baseball executives for his annual Winter Meetings survey and Jeff Samardzija was voted as the player most likely to get traded next week … but just by one vote over Mark Trumbo. Samardzija could be dealt next week but Stark reported the Cubs could wait until after David Price is traded and Masahiro Tanaka is signed before they trade Samardzija.

Matt Dorey recently received a promotion to the Cubs’ Director of Amateur Scouting. Dorey is a former Washington State Cougar Baseball Coach and he spoke about his new position with the university that once employed him.

SABR posted an excellent report on Ron Santo as part of their biography project … it is hard to believe it has been three years since Ronnie passed away.

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon