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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  • Josh Man

    A lot of people have complained about Theo and Jed and the direction of the Cubs, and there is no doubt that 2 years of 90+ losses have not been fun, but at least during that time, the farm system has gone from one of the worst in MLB to one of the best.
    After all, we could be the Astros, who have had three straight 100+ loss seasons, still have a terrible farm system, and just signed Scott Feldman to a 3 year, 30 million dollar deal.

    Scott Feldman that Jed and Theo signed for 1 year at not much money and turned into Arrieta and Strop who figure to be around and contributing when our Major League team is relevant.

    So yes, the last two seasons have been frustrating on a major league level, but it could be worse. We could be Astros fans.

    • Vivid_Reality

      Astros have a top ten if not top five farm system. I can’t believe Feldman got 3/30 though. The price for decent starters is skyrocketing. Ejax might actually become an attractive piece at some point.

      • Josh Man

        I stand corrected on their farm system. You’re right, it seems to be ranked fairly high. But I still feel we’re in a much better position.

        Feldman is no where near worth what the Astros just gave him. But Jackson isn’t worth what we gave him either. I’d still rather be a Cubs fan than an Astros fan any day!

      • Eugene Debs

        So, in other words, we don’t even get to say “at least we aren’t Astro fans.”

    • Eugene Debs

      The Astros are in better shape than the Cubs and are actually turning attention to their MLB roster this year. Meanwhile, to your point, we are accumulating some very good players on the farm. Theo and company do deserve credit for that.

      But, our MLB roster is “expansion team” awful and we are pretty much in on Joba and John Axford.

      • Josh Man

        We signed Scott Feldman last year. Seems to me that we’re a year ahead of the Astros. The Astros will lose 100+ games for a 4th straight year. We are much better off.

    • cubtex

      Cubs are following Astros rebuilding plan. It’s the same exact plan but the Astros are 1 year ahead of the Cubs IMO. Astros have a top 5 farm system because of all the losing(just like Cubs) and are starting to add pieces to mlb team( Cubs will probably not do that for another year) to mix in with Appel, George Springer and others. Cubs plan=Astros plan

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Astros & their high drafted pitching might be in the playoffs before the Cubs will be.

      • Tom U

        Also look out for Carlos Correa, who may be better than Javier Baez.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          blasphemer!!!! :)

        • Ripsnorter1

          He looks better on paper anyway.

          • Tom U

            It all depends on what you want. Baez has better power, but Correa is a better defender and has “true” speed. (Correa batted second for most of the season, which limited his base stealing opportunities. While Baez has stolen bases, most close observers feel they were “opportunistic”, and not reflective of true base stealing ability.)

    • Rick Barkan

      It’s alway nice to find a sucker and i have to believe Scott Felman found that sucker in the Houston Astros. Just like Edwin Jackson found the same with the Cubs.

  • raymondrobertkoenig

    Here’s hoping the Cubs don’t sign Chamberlain.

  • Tom U

    Some Minor League Notes:

    With the signing of OF’s Aaron Cunningham, Darnell McDonald, and Casper Wells it sure looks as if the Cubs are preparing to lose OF Jae-Hoon Ha in the Rule 5 draft. The Cubs can also lose OF’s Pin-Chieh Chen and Oliver Zapata in the minor league phase.

    OF Junior Lake is currently leading the Dominican Winter League with a .353 average.

    Recently signed RHP Pablo Espino is currently leading the Venezuelan Winter League with 45 strikeouts.

    IF/OF Greg Rohan has joined OF Rubi Silva and IF/OF Jonathan Mota on Leones de Ponce in the Roberto Clemente League.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      Junior! I feel like he is the forgotten prospect, but he was exciting to watch last year and I wonder if he wont fill out his physique the next year or two…potentially adding to his power.

      Tom,
      Any thoughts on Juniors future position with cubs as we look at almora soler and bryant making their way to the big leagues roster?

      • Tom U

        That is the beauty of position redundancy! If none of those prospects pan out, Lake already has major league experience. If all of them do, Lake is either a very valuable reserve or a good trade piece.

    • Tom U

      A correction: Both Pin-Chieh Chen and Oliver Zapata have been named to minor league reserve squads of Daytona and Kane Co. respectively. They cannot be selected in the minor league phase, only the major league phase. However, both can garner some interest.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Why keep Cunningham, McDonald and Wells, and lose Ha?
      I don’t get it.

      And you watch: the Phillies will take him at #4.

      • Tony_Hall

        Ha Ha!

        He is nothing more then replacement level player. If someone takes him no big loss.

        Cunningham, McDonald and Wells didn’t require a 40 man roster spot, Ha would have to be protected.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    I dont understand why we need to be interested in acquiring mediocre talent and hoping they get better.

    • paulcatanese

      Not a slam, but where have you been the last couple of years?:)

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

        I like the Joba signing. He has loads of potential but just didn’t fit in NY (same as many). He could come to Chicago and blossom into an All-Star. Or, as usual, become a valuable trade piece. He’s exactly the type I would sign…

        • paulcatanese

          You’re positive attitude is amazing, I’m happy for you that this is how you look at the Cubs:) It makes daily life as a Cub fan much more palatable for some.

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

            Thanks Paul, I think ;). I believe everything in life comes down to choice. Attitude is absolutely at the top of that list. Here’s an example: I don’t belive in problems, I believe situations arise and if negative I either fix or accept them. No 3rd option thus no problem.

        • Roe Skidmore

          Agree on Joba, he has hope.

          • SirGladiator

            Joba used to be one of the very best relievers in baseball. Then he got terrible. Normally when relievers are great then they get terrible, they’re done. That’s the way it seems to me anyway. But I guess you never know, maybe coming to Chicago and working with Bosio and company could turn him around. I really liked him back when he was awesome, so if we could recapture that with the Cubs I would absolutely love that. But he definitely should have to prove himself in spring training before we actually put him on our real team.

        • cubtex

          you are one of a kind Boardrider :) All star?

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

            I’m not saying he is but he could be. Ray you don’t think Joba has the talent? If his head is on straight and he stays healthy he could be an absolute stud. That said I don’t think we will get him. He will have a lot of options.

          • cubtex

            I don’t know Rider. If you can get him cheap…I guess he is better than throwing a Casey Coleman out there. 2007 was a long time ago. He looked really out of shape to me last year and his control and command was terrible. Did you see his WHIP and walk total last year? 42 IP with 26 Walks. Like I said. If you can get him cheap. OK but I don’t expect him to be more than an arm.

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

            I didn’t know those stats but I’m not surprised. From what I read he was pretty disenchanted in NY the past several years. I don’t think he cared much. He definitely has talent, if he gets motivated and comes in with something to prove who knows? If he’s at 255 he could be very good, 305 a waste of space. I agree, definitely don’t spend much. But an incentive laden contract might make sense. Make him show up in shape. If he did do well and had a sub 3 ERA other teams would drool over him. He’s one of those guys that for better or worse there is a fascination with. All that size, rocket arm, killer instinct. GM’s and coaches see him and think “STUD.” Just hasn’t ever materialized. But hey, you never know. At the right price, pull that trigger.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Bard and Chamberlain could be two of our starters!

          • raymondrobertkoenig

            Million dollar arm, 5 cent brain. Pass.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        I am not clear what you mean…are you saying they have been doing this for a few years, so why am I surprised now?

        If so, my answer is I would rather we start adding pieces to the long-term puzzle that are proven/reliable. Like a Mike Remlinger type of bullpen arm, as an example, or Scott Eyre, etc…

        Joba isn’t going to net us some huge trade deadline asset.

        I would rather see us sign a guy that will be around for 3-4 years, get comfortable with Wrigley and day games and be a positive part of clubhouse continuity, and soothe late-inning aggravation among the fans.

        I am just not personally interested in watching a guy that I am almost certain will not last a year or more with the mlb club. I have had my fill of that.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        sign some of these guys..get a real bullpen. take pressure off our starters, build morale. make fans happy:

        http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/mlb-free-agent-market-features-talented-left-handed-relievers?ymd=20131118&content_id=63998192&vkey=news_mlb

        • paulcatanese

          Agree with both of you’re replies 100%, I just don’t like the way these guys are brought in with no apparent future except to trade or come back to prior success.

  • Todd

    Trade proposal:
    Send Barney and B. Jackson to Yankees for Gardner.
    If the yanks say no add another Tim Wilken bust in Vitters but the yanks pay $4m.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Carlos Beltran signs with the Yankees.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      I predict Yankees lead the league in # of players that land on disabled list and total cumulative # of days spent on disabled list as a team.

      • cubtex

        Maybe but look at this. I was curious to look back at the amount of wins this team has had by just buying free agents every year and going for it. It is an unbelievable run. I only went back to 08.
        08 89 wins
        09 103 wins
        10 95 wins
        11 97 wins
        12 95 wins
        13 85 wins

        Those Yankees don’t have a clue on how to build a roster.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          a bit under the weather, so not sure how much concentration I have for research, but my gut feeling is that the Yankees are older (collectively) now, at least among their top-paid and top-producing players than in 09-12 years.

          they did not retain Hughes, supposedly Joba, and now Cano…all aged 30 or under. Also Granderson at age 32.

          They did lose (via retirement – otherwise they may have kept them) Rivera and Petite…both, like 50 yrs old.

          They are keeping: ARod (depends on mlb suspension), Soriano, Ellsbury, Texeira, Sabathia, Beltran (sounds like he is signed), Ichiro, Jeter, Kuroda. Ellsbury only 30 but seems a bit injury prone.

          Maybe it is all a wash…but the current Yankees of the supposed $189m payroll cap aren’t getting nearly the amount or type of big FA’s they did in 09-2012.

          • cubtex

            Saw a quote from a scout asking him if the Yankees were nuts giving Ellsbury a 7 year contract and what will happen when he ages. The scout laughed and said…..Are you kidding? When Ellsbury starts to age….they will be signing Mike Trout to take his place.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            I know what the scout meant, but in the specific case of Trout, the Angels will likely pay him, since they are in the habit of doling out stupidly long expensive contracts already.

          • cubtex

            it was tongue in cheek. I am sure the Angels will do everything in their power to lock him up early or trade him for a kings ransom way before he gets to free agency.

        • Tony_Hall

          Looks like the total keeps getting smaller.

      • Eugene Debs

        We’ll give them a run for the money,

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thanks for re-posting …

      Anyone that missed Free-Agent Friday, please see the report above.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Comcast David Kaplan is saying “Shark is 99% out of here”……
    ESPN has Toronto over Arizona of giving up the most prospect talent for Shark……
    It all begins next Monday at Disney World Swan Hotel.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    There is a FBI investigation going on with MLB, players, agents and the Commissioner involving smuggling & kidnapping, ransom demands, obstruction of justice on Cuban players and their family members. One of the major baseball stories of 2014 since the Steroid Era & Black Sox Scandal.

  • Pingback: Awesome Articles For Cubs Fans For December 7, 2013 | Chicago Cubs Dugout Online | Chicago Cubs Blog

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    Ervin Santana is a decent FA pitcher. Matt Garza is out there too. I wonder who will get them and how much they will cost? Same question with Ubaldo Jimenez…and I wonder if all three wouldn’t be better off in the NL?

    Jimenez and Santana have been durable and are fairly young…why wouldn’t the Cubs take a look at them? I know we seem stacked at position players in the farm system, so doesn’t make sense to go get an OF in free agency, for example, but why not one of these guys as a solid #3-4 type pitcher?

    • CubbyDenCritic

      too these pitchers, it is not all about money ……..dealing with the Cubs, it is about how far they are from winning……these guys are in their last stretch and want to get a WS ring soon…..Cardinals, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Rangers, Angels, Tigers, Rays, Braves, Giants all have better teams then the Cubs right now of getting to the World Series….. then there is Theo, he is taking a different path…more with prospects then paying over priced players……..if the Cubs was one pitcher away, Theo would jump one of these guys……right now, these pitcher’s agents are waiting to see if Tanaka gets posted….and it seems he won’t, so these guys asking price will be hitting the $80-100 million range……….once the Cubs have a few playoff wins under their belt, and getting closer to a title, many players will be looking to call Chicago their home……….every player will like to be on the Cubs when they win the World Series.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        Cano, Granderson, Furcal, Morneau, and many others will sign with teams that no one expects to win a WS.

        It is about money.
        And these guys aren’t on their last run. They are 29-30. They likely have a shorter contract or a series of 1-year contracts after they sign their next one, as they will be 34 or so with a couple years left in the tank. It is at that point that I think players may look at getting on a winner, if they haven’t yet been on winning teams.

        Otherwise it is always about the money. Why else would anyone ever sign with the White Sox? :)

  • cubtex

    I hope something bigger happens during the winter meetings. Tired of seeing all these teams adding mlb players and getting better while we have stories about possibly being interested in Axford and Joba. Sigh

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      Junior Lake, Rizzo, and Castro. Hope the former takes it to the next level, and that the two latter guys get back on track.

      That is pretty much all you have to look forward to right now.

      Unless Olt or any other farmhands make the team out of ST.

      On the pitching side, I will be rooting for Travis Wood…but not sure who else on the pitching staff will do well next year. Hopefully we get some good surprises!

      • cubtex

        If we are going to tank again…at least tank with some new blood. Don’t want to see Barney,Schierholtz,Sweeney,Bogusevic,
        Valbuena again.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          Barney – agreed.
          Schierholtz was too streaky…most of the time was not good, so I hope they trade him before season starts.
          Sweeney is ok 4th OF probably…of course he starts on our team then.
          Bogusevic – I am not interested…hope we move on from him.
          Valbuena had solid OBP and power, and makes a good sub. I don’t want to see him start though…hopefully Olt is a productive starting 3B.

          • cubtex

            Schierholtz hit .230 in the 2nd half with a .268 OBP. I wish they traded him last year. Maybe he gets packaged with Samardzija this winter.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            wow…knew it seemed he wasn’t that good, but .268 OBP makes Barney look like Rod Carew

          • Ripsnorter1

            Not really: Barney hit .188 in the second half.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Rizzo hit a mere .218 after he inked the big contract in May.