The Samardzija Rumors Continue and Other Cubs News and Notes

Weekend Update

After a rather quiet holiday weekend, the Cubs figure to be very busy over the next seven days leading up to Baseball’s Winter Meetings (Dec. 9-12). Monday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to players for the 2014 season. And the trade rumors should increase significantly over the next week as the front office continues to listen to offers for Jeff Samardzija and possibly Nate Schierholtz.

Jeff Samardzija

The Cubs have maintained they would like to sign Jeff Samardzija to a long-term extension. Jed Hoyer reiterated the team’s desire to extend Samardzija last week and Nick Cafardo reported the Cubs’ front office is trying to sign him to an extension amidst the trade rumors.

According to Bruce Levine, Samardzija’s camp turned down the latest contract offer from the Cubs. Samardzija has maintained he is willing to go year to year with the Cubs over his final two seasons of salary arbitration and is apparently looking for a bigger contract, with more guarantees, than the Cubs are willing to give him right now.

Peter Gammons reported on Friday the Cubs could wait until Masahiro Tanaka is posted and signed and the crop of free agent pitchers thin out before they trade Samardzija. According to Gammons’ timeline, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would hold Samardzija into late January, early February before trying to trade him … again, if they cannot work out an extension.

The Diamondbacks and Blue Jays are thought to be the most aggressive on landing Samardzija at this point. And Alex Anthropolous appears to be more interested in trading for Samardzija than signing a free agent to help fill Toronto’s pitching needs.

Baltimore is also looking to add a top of the rotation starter this winter but payroll restrictions have limited what Dan Duquette can do on the free agent market. The Orioles are thought to be one of the eight teams interested in Samardzija (Arizona, Toronto, Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh, Colorado) but there might not be a match due to the Cubs steep asking price and Samardzija’s inconsistencies. The Orioles would be reluctant to part with young pitching that is close to Major League ready for Samardzija according to Roch Kubatko.

The rumors went from the Cubs listening to offers for Samardzija, which they should be doing on every player, to shopping him, to possibly waiting to deal him until well after the first of the year in the matter of three days last week. Well, it is the Hot Stove season …

Masahiro Tanaka

The Cubs are one of the many teams expected to place a bid for Masahiro Tanaka once he is posted this winter. Officials from MLB and NPB met last week in New York to iron out the details on the new posting process. An agreement was not reached prior to Thanksgiving and the talks are expected to resume early in the coming week.

Buster Olney reported the issues with the new posting system might not be resolved for a few weeks. Olney is expecting the Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers and Angels to also place bids for Tanaka. And no one thinks the Yankees will be outbid for an exclusive window (30 days) to negotiate a contract with him.

Cubs Season Ticket Renewals

According to a report from Crain’s Chicago Business, the renewals on Cubs’ season tickets are ahead of last year’s pace. More than 80 percent of the full season ticket plans, as well as the night and weekend packages, have already been renewed this year (10 percent non-refundable deposit placed), up about five percent from last November.

Colin Faulkner would not tell Danny Ecker the number of season ticket packages that have been sold but did indicate “the percentage increase represents several millions of dollars in ticket revenue.”

Danny Ecker reported different reasons for the renewals being up this year, but the bottom line is that team had their “highest season-ticket base ever in 2012 and at the current pace of renewals will get them close to that in 2014.”

Weekend Headlines

For those that missed any news since Wednesday, here are links to the news, rumors and minor league analysis …

News, Notes and Rumors

According to a report from the Star Tribune, the Twins agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract with Phil Hughes that will be announced next week.

Bruce Levine mentioned during his show on The Score (Hot Stove Saturday) that he believes the Cubs will be players for either Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo.

And speaking of Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox have not set deadlines for their free agents to accept their offers and re-sign but Ben Cherington is moving forward with other options.

Pat Hughes released a new addition to his Baseball Voices Series … the Great Mel Allen. Those who love baseball on the radio and the history of the game are missing out if you are not listening to the awesome collections put together by the Voice of the Cubs, Pat Hughes.

Buster Olney does not think the Cubs “are a great candidate to spend big on their rotation again” this winter.

Brandon Hyde was Starlin Castro’s manager during the 2009 Arizona Fall League. Hyde will be in the Cubs’ dugout next season as part of Rick Renteria’s coaching staff. Hyde thinks he will be a great fit in the dugout, according to a report from ESPN Chicago, and will keep the message consistent from the front office down to the field staff.

It appeared Dioner Navarro was on the verge of signing a contract last week, then nothing. Navarro is not in the Cubs’ plans for next season and was asking for a two-year contract in the $5-$6 million range per season.

And The CCO Shop is Open on Café Press …

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday." - Dale Carnegie

Share on Fancred
  • Tony_Hall

    Here is an interesting twist to how to construct a pitching staff. Instead of having closers, set up guys, loogys and middle relief, add an opener.

    What is an opener you say?

    It is someone you pair with a 4th or 5th starter, to pitch the 1st inning against the top of the order, to reduce the amounts of times the back of the rotation starter faces them and help them get later in games. This is the kind of idea with you think outside the box and ask yourself how else can we do this?

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2013/11/26/5144934/openers-bullpen-usage-closers-setup-men-weird-baseball-all-the-luke-hochevar

    I can see benefits to doing this or something like this, but will anyone ever try it? The answer is not likely anytime soon, but someone will, someday.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Back in the 70’s there was an article like this, based on some research done by
      a Bill James type. No one has ever tried it to my knowledge. But I’d think a Tony LaRussa
      type of manager would try it if his pitching staff was so shallow that it needed it.

      • Tony_Hall

        So shallow? Have you seen 5th starters around baseball? How may of them do you really want facing the top of the order an extra time?

        Think about it, most teams W-L record with their 5th starter is below 500, even the best teams. The goal is to get to 500 with that spot. This may actually help to do it.

    • Tom U

      You are right that its an interesting twist, but two things lead to acceptance of change among players, stats and money.

      The idea looks like a spin-off of a very innovative idea used by the Pirates after the 1981 baseball strike. In order to get their pitchers ready in as hurry, they split their staff into squads of three, with a closer in reserve (this was still the days of 10 men pitching staffs). The squads were scheduled to pitch every three days, with each pitcher tossing three innings. The pitchers were rotated within their squad so each had a chance to pitch in each role.

      However, the idea was scrapped after a few weeks, mainly due to the unhappiness of some of the pitchers. The “starters” would not get credit for victories, while some suffered losses due to another pitcher’s inability.

      If the sabrematricians can figure out a stat that an “opener” could use in negotiations, they may be all for it. Until then, I don’t see it happening.

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree that it is unlikely, but in this scenario, the starter, who would enter in the 2nd inning would get credit for the win, as the opener didn’t go 5.

        Money and the union dictating things…never heard of that before.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I would chalk up the bulk of the season ticket sales surge to the 100th Birthday of Wrigley Field.
    I think fans think there will be some celebrations that might be worth attending.

    • Tony_Hall

      Could be, or it could be fans finally getting a chance at season tickets, wanting to buy in now while they can, knowing that it is going to be a tough ticket when Bryant and/or Baez come up hitting bombs onto Waveland.

      I know I want to go in August or September next year to see them when one of them gets called up.

      • Tom U

        Very astute Tony. I tried to get some of my friends to buy Bulls season tickets with me early in the Jordan era,. Unfortunately, none were interested and I didn’t have the funds to buy in alone.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    With Nolasco & Hughes signing with the Twins….the Cubs might have moved up a spot or two for the 2015 draft.

    • cubtex

      Twins are trying to field a better team for next year…..meanwhile on the North Side?

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Wrigley Field restrooms are being fitted with new plumbing fixtures for fans enjoyment.

      • Tony_Hall

        So if the Cubs had just signed Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes you would say they are trying to field a better team for next year?

        • cubtex

          Nolasco and Hughes will be upgrades to the Twins staff. Do you disagree? That means the Twins are trying to upgrade an area of weakness to be more competitive. As I said….meanwhile on the North Side?

          • Tony_Hall

            Not what I asked.

          • cubtex

            What does the upgrade of one team have to do with another?

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t see you praising the Cubs for trying to build a better team next year if they had signed either of those guys, if history is any indication, you would have blasted the Cubs for both of those moves.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Hey Mr. Hall,

            You are blasting Mr. Cubtex for what he could have said, not for what
            he actually said.

            Do you think that is fair?

            If I were doing marriage counseling with a couple, it would be one of the things
            that would be first on the list to deal with in a couple’s relationship, ie, quit it.

          • Tony_Hall

            No, I am questioning why similar moves with the Cubs are so bad, while these moves show the Twins are trying to win next year.

            Don’t quit your day job :)

          • cubtex

            Thanks again for worrying so much about how I feel. I feel great by the way!

          • Tony_Hall

            Nothing to do with your feelings.

            Just found it ironic that you praised another team for doing things the Cubs have done, yet with the Cubs you say it is disaster and won’t help them win, but with other teams it is them trying to win.

          • cubtex

            Twins are trying to improve the product on the field for next year. Can you say the same for Cubs? Why are you always so defensive?

          • Ripsnorter1

            He’s defensive because you are attacking his baby:

            TEAM THEO.

            Like a bear robbed of her cubs….

          • cubtex

            It’s a fact. Twins are trying. Cubs haven’t done anything of significance yet. If and when they upgrade a position, I will point it out.

          • Tony_Hall

            My point is signing Phil Hughes is not what I call trying to win. It is hoping for a major rebound, which you normally do on 1 year deals.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Hughes hasn’t improved any the last three years. I think the Twins are
            hoping against hope on him.

          • Tony_Hall

            Exactly!

          • cubtex

            I will do a premonition like you always do. If the Cubs signed Hughes you would have been saying what a good sign it was. He is in NL and he has good stuff and blah blah blah. There. I did a Tony Hall

          • Tony_Hall

            No, I have been on record as saying I don’t want Hughes. Not much in FA I want.

            You seem to forget that I don’t like FA very much for a team in this stage.

            Hughes on a 1 year deal for $5M, maybe, but not at what FA pays.

          • cubtex

            It’s the Twins…..just like the Cubs. These are the types of free agents you need to sign since any top free agent will rather go to a winning team unless you overpay big time.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Theo picked up Bard.

            You need to point that out.

          • cubtex

            My bad :)))

          • Tony_Hall

            That was last year and he is not guaranteed a roster spot on the 25 man roster, let alone 3 years.

          • Tony_Hall

            What about when the Cubs signed for these guys?

            Maholm
            Feldman
            Villanueva
            Jackson

            I don’t believe you were saying that this showed the Cubs were trying to win.

          • Ripsnorter1

            LOL

            The thought that the Cubs were trying to win when they signed Ed Jackson.
            HAW HAW HAW!! Great joke, Tony!

            Seriously, I liked the Maholm signing for the #5 slot. I praised it at the time.
            Jackson: I said, “they have to do something. They can’t have another Germano and
            Berkan rotation if they expect to keep more than just Tony Hall in the seats.”
            Feldman: I called him another Chris Volstad. (Orioles found that out).
            Villanueva: I called it a decent pickup at the time, and I still like it.

            I think the Cubs need another starter for 2014.

          • Tony_Hall

            BTW – I have not been to a game in years. I am all for the rebuild, but stop going the last few years of the JH regime. I plan to start again next year, if Baez and Bryant make it up.

            They could use another SP, but I expect it to be Baker or something similar.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I think you, me, and Cubtex ought to hit a game in Beloit or Kane County this year, and
            check out our low A players.

            I might even cough up the dough for the tickets.

          • Tony_Hall

            I would do that! I’d buy the first round. Of course I believe yours would be a Pepsi if I remember correctly.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You two would be drinking Pepsi with me…..

            I’d love to do it!

            PS: I think I’d have to sit between you two to keep the peace.

            : )

          • Tony_Hall

            I’m fine with that. But Tex and me kicking back a few cold ones could be quite entertaining :)

          • cubtex

            That would be fun! If you and Tony ever want to make it to Austin… I will take you to Round Rock to see Iowa. Alcantara, Baez,Hendricks etc. Then we could hit up Salt Lick for some good old Texas BBQ.

          • Tony_Hall

            I would love to do that as well. Of course, I want to move to Texas someday, but unfortunately, that day is most likely a few years down the road.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Is Texas big enough for Tony and Cubtex both?

            I mean, I know its a big state, but……

          • Tony_Hall

            I once left McAllen, TX heading to Vegas, drove all day, 800 miles and was still not out of the state.

            It’s pretty big.

            The question is would Austin be big enough, as it would be on my list of communities to check out.

          • cubtex

            Not an easy state to leave heading in any direction from Austin.

          • cubtex

            72 degrees today. 81 Monday 82 Tuesday in December. Gotta love it. My wife and kids cannot do the cold anymore! Love Chicago and it will always be home but cannot do the weather again!

          • Tony_Hall

            I’m sticking a for sale sign in my yard tomorrow!

          • Ripsnorter1

            Posting temperatures like that is just wicked on your part!

          • SuzyS

            Boo.

          • Ripsnorter1

            My cousin lives in Dallas.

            I’d like to try some of that Texas BBQ.

            : )

          • Ripsnorter1

            Baker’s fastball last year was off 6 mph.

            I am not expecting Wood to repeat 2013. I am looking for regression from him.
            Rusin: no. He cannot get RHB out with his middling stuff. He needs an out pitch.
            Casey Coleman: at age 24, he was most like this 24 yr old: Bronson Arroyo.

          • cubtex

            Is a 1 year contract looking for a bounce back from the player so you can trade them at the deadline really trying to field a better team?

          • Tony_Hall

            How is it not trying to win the next year? It certaintly isn’t for down the road, except that if the team is out of it by July, then you trade them for players that can help later.

            That is all Hughes should have received, 1 year deal hoping for a bounce back. They vastly overpaid.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Samardzija’s agent is telling Shark, Think of the major contract you will get in two years from now as you free agency……playoff teams like the Dodgers, Angels, Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox….all wanting you.”…….
    If Shark really wanted to stay in Chicago, this contract would have been signed already……….it is all about how much money this guy and his agent can grab.

    • cubtex

      Agreed. Shark is also pretty adamant about having a no-trade contract.

      • Tony_Hall

        I believe that is the biggest sticking point. He will be traded as the return should be very good. I say late January, early February.

  • cubtex

    If the Cubs are looking to make a splash and sign either Choo or Ellsbury to bat leadoff. To me….the choice is a no brainer. Choo is a much better lead off hitter and they are basically the same age. Ellsbury breaks down quite a bit. Let’s compare the OBP for the 2.

    Choo age 31
    2009 .399 OBP
    2010 .401 OBP
    2011 .344 OBP in 85 games
    2012 .373 OBP
    2013 .423 OBP

    Ellsbury age 30
    2009 .355 OBP
    2010 .241 OBP
    2011 .376 OBP (his career year)
    2012 .313 OBP
    2013 .355 OBP

    As you can see…it isn’t even close. If Almora is your CF of the future and he is as good defensively as the scouts say….who would you rather have at a corner? Choo or Elllsbury? I doubt the Cubs would sign either but Choo is a much better player.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Look for Theo to jump on Andrew Bailey when he is given a non tender offer by the Red Sox.

    • cubtex

      I thought of that too. That could be a good gamble.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        First half of last year, the Cubs lost games that should have won…..the bull pen closers was just terrible….Gregg came along, looked good…..then he tailed off….Strop shows promise……Cubs starters are not great, and are not that bad…..Shark is a 10- 12 game with the Cubs, but could be a 16 plus game winner with a better offensive team…….Wood is a wild card, will he show the same stuff last year or bomb out?…..I believe he will have another good season….Jackson has to rebound…if he does, Theo will ship him off in July…….Arietta, Rusin, etc., are all #5 pitchers……….Hendricks should be interesting…..maybe another Greg Maddux style of pitcher…..and by many reports, many teams like to have Edwards in a trade with the Cubs……it seems after Baez, Edwards is the next sought after prospect in the Cubs farm system………….Vizcaino has to step up this year and recover from his arm troubles……I am thinking Braves got us again with another Micah Bowie trade

        • SuzyS

          Arrieta is a #5 right now…but if he can ever sort out his control issues…(ala Shark), he has nasty stuff and could move to the #2 or #3 spot.
          Vizcaino was worth the gamble in a trade…however, at this stage…if we get anything out of him…it’s a bonus…he can’t be counted upon…probably Angel Guzman, part deux.

        • SuzyS

          Nice post…Cubby Den.

        • cubtex

          Micah Bowie. lol

      • SuzyS

        I concur.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I saw that, and I agree with you: he’ll pick him up.

        Meanwhile Bard quit on his winter ball team after absolutely stinking the joint up to
        high heaven. Possibly the worst winter pitching performance ever.
        So why did he quit? He certainly needs the practice.

  • Pingback: Cubs Notes: Samardzija, Anderson, and could the Marlins present the Cubs with an alternative for some young pitching options? | Cubs Den()

  • cubtex

    With the Cubs 40 man roster sitting at 40, I can’t see how the Cubs keep Bard on there. They will need to open up a few spots for a free agent signing or 2 and if they want to add a player in Rule 5. I doubt any team will take Bard after this winter and they could probably work out a minor league deal with him.

    • Ripsnorter1

      But Bard’s a buddy…..how can he be cut off the roster?

    • Tony_Hall

      Gamel and Murphy are both options as well. They will wait until around Rule V time to run someone through waivers to get them through when rosters are usually full.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Should have kept my mouth shut….Red Sox will give Bailey a contract now.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    While the Shark Trade Watch will be going on, look for Theo making minor deals on the side……no pressure on Theo to push Shark out the door, but there will be pressure put on other GM’s to get Samardzija…..Toronto & Arizona will not want the other one to get Shark over them….then there are the Royals & Dodgers who will come in the 11th hour for Shark…..look for the Royals to make a strong push for Shark by giving up major Prospects.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Are you ready for this?

    The Twins paid less for Ricky Nolasco ($49 m) than the Cubs paid for Edwin Jackson ($52 m).

    • Ripsnorter1

      You just have to love Theo’s remark about the Jackson signing….albeit a year later:
      “Given the situation, I think we could have been more patient.”

      DUH!

      • Tony_Hall

        They reacted to losing out on Anibel and it was much later in the off-season. If Nolasco had waited it out until beginning of January, he would have made more money.

    • cubtex

      I was waiting for someone to point that out. But EJax got 8 mil in a signing bonus so he only makes 11 mil per year now so teams will be lining up to aquire him now! Lol

      • Tony_Hall

        He got that extra $8M in signing bonus because he waited the market out and it was what it took to sign him. Nolasco could have waited out the market and got more than EJAX, if he wanted to do that.

        • cubtex

          Haha

          • Tony_Hall

            You don’t think he could have? He signed at the end of November, EJAX signed January 2nd. Big difference in market conditions.

  • Ripsnorter1

    One scout is speculating that Samardzija will have a sub 3.50 ERA this year.
    1. Trying to enhance contract value, and
    2. He’ll be on a better team.

  • Ripsnorter1

    If Theo has any sense at all……

    DON’T SIGN Bronson Arroyo!

    87 mph fastball.
    Left handed bats love him.
    He’s getting too old.
    I hated watching him pitch in Cincinnati.

    • Tony_Hall

      Where have you seen reports of the Cubs interested in Arroyo? I agree, I hate watching him pitch. Goes back to Opening Day at Wrigley and him hitting a Home Run, in 06 I believe.

  • Ripsnorter1

    MLBTR says John Axford is a non-tender candidate.

    He could replace….Kevin Gregg.

    “…back….back….back…..”

  • Ripsnorter1

    And now they are saying that the Cubs will likely tender Darwin Barney a contract.

    I figured that. With Mr. Sveum saying, “I can’t play Watkins. Barney is our 2B,” I figured
    he meant that, and that the word has come down from above.

    Gag.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Let’s give it a break for the rest of the day. Thank you.

  • Ripsnorter1

    2002: Theo Epstein works for the San Diego Padres; Kottaras is selected in the 2002 draft by the Padres.

    2006: Theo Epstein, GM of the Red Sox, trades for George Kottaras.

    2013: Theo Epstein, President of the Cubs, trades for George Kottaras.