Lukewarm Stove: Fielder, Wood, Garza, Darvish, Jurrjens, Prado, DeJesus, Pineiro

The open free agent period is a day and a half old, and the Chicago Cubs still haven’t signed Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols. Clearly this Theo guy is in over his head…

  • Speaking of Fielder, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel lists the Cubs among other teams potentially bidding on the first baseman. “There are some big-market franchises in need of a slugging first baseman, including the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the American League and the Chicago Cubs in the National League. Whether any are willing to pay Fielder more than $20 million annually for seven or eight years remains to be seen.” $20 million (or slightly more) annually? The Cubs would absolutely be willing. Seven or eight years? No chance. The Mariners, Marlins, Nationals and Orioles also come in for a mention. It feels like an AL team is probably going to have the edge on Fielder, because they may be more willing to commit long-term to a guy they know they can stash at DH if he doesn’t stay physically fit enough to play first base. The Rangers are probably the plurality leader right now.
  • Free agent reliever Kerry Wood is looking forward to returning to the Cubs in 2012, whether as a player or something else. He’s currently rehabbing after knee surgery to repair torn meniscus, but expects to meet with Theo Epstein about his future with the Cubs soon. “I met [Epstein], I was down rehabbing my knee in the clubhouse the day before he came in and did his big press conference,” Wood said. “So he came in and talked to me for about 10 minutes. We plan on getting together sometime soon. … We plan on getting together and talking a little bit and we just go from there. I’m sure he wants to pick my brain a little bit on the history of the organization. I’m honored that he wants to do that. I’m sure we’ll talk about my status at some point is as well. I expect to be back and be a part of the organization and help us go in the right direction.” The bullpen is probably the one area the Cubs aren’t hurting for help in 2012, but if Wood is healthy and willing to pitch on the cheap, he’s a fine veteran reliever and clubhouse leader.
  • Super lukewarm: second-hand, I heard that Mike Ferrin on MLBN Radio was reporting earlier this week that the Toronto Blue Jays have inquired on Matt Garza’s availability, and, separately that the Cubs have been scouting 25-year-old Japanese ace, Yu Darvish, and 30-year-old Japanese good pitcher, Tsuyoshi Wada. I have nothing to add aside from, (1) it would be silly not to at least listen to offers for Matt Garza (I’ve said as much since the trade deadline), and (2) it would be silly not to at least scout Japanese talent expected to come to MLB in 2012. If and when something more solid materializes, Wada will be discussed more extensively. Darvish has been discussed before, and will undoubtedly be discussed again.
  • Bruce Levine touched on a few rumory-type-things in his chat this week. Among Levine’s thoughts: Marlon Byrd probably won’t be traded this Winter because he’d make a nice 4th outfielder even if the Cubs add someone (I doubt the Cubs would keep a valuable piece like Byrd on the team just to be a backup), the Cubs might go after Prince Fielder but he might not want to come to Chicago, the Cubs probably won’t go after CJ Wilson or Roy Oswalt but will make some moves in the rotation, Nick Markakis might make an interesting trade target, and the chances are good that Jeff Samardzija is a starter next year.
  • The Braves are open to trading both pitcher Jair Jurrjens and infielder/outfielder Martin Prado, according to a source. Each would be an interesting target for the Cubs, and each comes with a solid track record – as well as concerns. On Prado, 28, the concern is that he’s coming off a highly unproductive season (.260/.302/.385, career averages are .293/.341/.434), in which he battled an injured right calf (staph infection). He’s got two years of arbitration eligibility left, and he made just over $3 million last year. As for Jurrjens, 25, he’s also battled injuries (a knee issue, primarily), had a terrible second half in 2011, and there are some sabermetrically-inclined reasons to believe his “good” career numbers are the product of smoke and mirrors. But, yeah, those numbers are “good”: he had a sub-3.00 ERA last year for the second time in his young career, and sports a career 120 ERA+. Like Prado, Jurrjens has two years of arbitration eligibility left, and made a little over $3 million last year. These guys might merit their own post as genuinely realistic Cubs’ targets soon.
  • MLBTR is doing some guessing on where the top 50 free agents will land, and Tim Dierkes guesses the Cubs wind up only with outfielder David DeJesus and pitcher Joel Pineiro. The former will turn 32 in December, and crapped out last year in Oakland in his first away from Kansas City. He’s strong defensively, and, until last year, tended to get on base at a huge clip. He made $6 million for his troubles. The latter, 33, was aggressively bad in his second year of a two-year deal with Anaheim. Pineiro seemed to have found it again, surprise, in St. Louis in 2009, and was solid in 2010 for the Angels, but last year his ERA+ sunk to an abysmal 74. He made $8 million in each of 2010 and 2011, and doesn’t figure to get anywhere close to that amount in 2012. For the Cubs, he’d be a reclamation type, back-end-of-the-rotation hopeful. Neither would be a bad pickup for the right price, but neither knocks your socks off.
  • The A’s will listen to offers on almost any player, says Ken Rosenthal. Plenty of pitchers out there would interest the Cubs.
  • For the latest on the hot and lukewarm stoves this Winter, make sure you follow Bleacher Nation on Twitter and “like” it on Facebook. For realsies.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

126 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Fielder, Wood, Garza, Darvish, Jurrjens, Prado, DeJesus, Pineiro”

  1. Cedlandrum

    I would be interested in Cahill or Gonzalez from Oakland.

  2. Cheryl

    How would Kerry Wood be as a pitching coach?

    1. Luke

      I’d try him as a bullpen coach first, preferably under a very good pitching coach. He’s a smart guy and he spent years studying under Rothschild who might just be the best pitching coach not named Dave Duncan, so I’d not be surprised if he evolves into a good one.

    2. Boogens

      I love Kerry Wood as much as the next guy but it isn’t realistic to look at him as a pitching coach. The reason that Kerry is a reliever now instead of a starter is because of the flaws in his mechanics that led to arm injuries and several stints on the DL. He wasn’t able to demonstrate the ability to adjust his delivery to eliminate those flaws. What makes anyone think that he would be able to help others do that?

      All of that being said, he’s my favorite player and I want him back. He is still effective and he’s a great teammate. As much as all of us love him I just don’t think that he’s pitching coach material.

      1. SosaCrackers

        Just because he never made his own mechanics work doesn’t mean he couldn’t fix others. Rudy Jaramillo never even made it to the majors, but he can teach hitting better than anyone.

      2. Luke

        Dave Duncan doesn’t have the best track record as a pitcher himself. On field performance is not that great an indicator of teaching ability.

        1. R.I.P. Santo

          Duncan was a Catcher

  3. Deer

    I don’t get why the media in town love Byrd so much. $6.5M for a 4th outfielder? no thanks

    1. Lou

      I actually think Byrd would be a solid trade target for the A’s. Don’t like the idea of DeJesus coming here though.

      1. CubFan Paul

        theres no value in trading Byrd after a *down* year, i fully expect him to be back and part of the Cubs outfield to get us through 2012 (or maybe traded in July when Theo & Co. can get more for him)

        1. Lou

          Why? He’s not a part of your future. Brett Jackson should get the CF job from the get-go. Sorry, gotta disagree.

          1. CubFan Paul

            Byrd can Easily slide to Left or Right Field especially if Soriano gets dumped or traded and there’s no one signed to play RF right now.. thats potentially 2 big holes to fill, one for sure quite sure Theo & Co. have Byrd penciled in to play RF as we type

            1. Lou

              Um…ok. On second thought, no. I’m not so sure Theo’s dumping Soriano. Traditionally, Byrd’s played in CF, as well. I don’t think he’s gonna get you the production you’d want from a corner OF.

              1. CubFan Paul

                Gotta Roll with what you got (byrd) expect Soriano in Left Field next year?

                1. Lou

                  Give me a trade scenario.

                  1. CubFan Paul

                    Cubs pay all but $15million of Soriano’s salary & ship him and a bag of balls to an A.L. team ..every media member with ‘access or sources’ says this Will happen

                    1. Lou

                      What sources and which AL teams? Please give me some source reading material.

                    2. CubFan Paul

                      David Kaplan for one, he swears by it (his words: “Soriano Will Not Be Back”) watch CTL and tweet @him and ask ..he likes to talk about his sources & name drop

                    3. Lou

                      Here’s a FanGraphs article on what the Cubs should do this offseason. They differ with you in terms of Byrd’s value.

          2. Luke

            Jackson should be in center on Opening Day, but I’d not be surprised to see Byrd in left (Colvin in right), unless Pena (or someone else) is on first, in which case we might see LaHair in left. In that scenario, the Cubs would have three young left handed hitting outfielders. Byrd could play about everyday and still leave the young guys 5 starts a week a piece.

            That would give the Cubs a chance to run up Byrd’s value for a July trade while not inhibiting the development of the young guys. That would maximize the return for Byrd, and I don’t really see a downside now that Quade is no longer the manager.

            Under Quade, that plan would have been a complete disaster. Byrd would have played every day and Colvin or Jackson would have rotted on the bench. I don’t think the next manager will be that… uniquely innovative… in his management, though.

            1. Lou

              I don’t think the Cubs organization values Colvin all that much. Too many holes in that swing of his. LaHair will certainly get his opportunity!

              1. CubFan Paul

                and because of Colvin’s down 2011 year Byrd is almost guaranteed to return blame Colvin for sucking

                1. Lou

                  Umm…not exactly. Byrd at this point is a fourth OF behind Jackson, LaHair, and I believe, Soriano.

                  1. CubFan Paul

                    you’ve officially entered chone figgins sighting territory

                    1. Lou


                  2. Luke

                    Soriano will not be back. Ricketts is known to be willing to eat most of that contract, and Theo confirmed that he had permission to get rid of overpaid and under-performing veterans.

                    An AL team in need of a power bat will take him if the Cubs eat enough of the contract. Anaheim, Tampa, Cleveland, Minnesota, or Seattle could all be candidates, depending on how the free agent market shakes down.

                    1. Lou

                      While I’d like to see him go, just don’t know. Yes, Ricketts has talked about eating much of that contract. But then again there was talk of doing that last trade deadline, and no teams were interested. I don’t think it’s really about that, though. It’s about what the Cubs would get in return for doing that.

              2. Luke

                Quade didn’t value Colvin that much, but I’m not so sure about the organization. He’s a two dimensional player (decent defense and good power), but those guys can be valuable when used right. If Quade had actually used Colvin last season, we’d have a better idea. He’s better than what we saw last season. He’s probably a fourth outfielder long term, but that could also make him perfect to platoon with someone like Byrd or Baker next season.

        2. MrCub73

          Byrd may be traded in the off season, but I think he will be back at the start of the season as well. I also don’t see Brett Jackson breaking camp with the Cubs. Jakcson is the center fielder of the future and next year, but not on opening day. That starts his service time, so why not give him a month or two in the minors then bring him up. This gives them control of Jackson basically for an extra season, as after after six season is the bigs, he has less than six full years of service time. May not play out this way, but this seems to be a pattern of several top prospects around the game.

          1. Lou

            Didn’t think about the service time issue. Interesting point.

    2. R.I.P. Santo

      Trade Byrd for Prado Atl needs a left fielder we need a thirdbasemen BADA BING

  4. BD

    Do the Cubs really need another outfielder? If they do target one, why not Cuddyer? His versatility seems like a good fit to the Cubs’ needs.

    EDIT: I should have added, I don’t think Cuddyer would cost that much more than DeJesus. If there is a bigger margin than I am thinking, I could understand that then.

  5. die hard

    Byrd for Lackey if Boston pays Lackey’s this years salary while rehabbing

  6. Edwin

    Any chance the Cubs go after Jeff Francis? He seems to fit the bill for I imagine the Cubs would be looking for this off-season. Since the Cubs aren’t going to win anyways, it makes more sense for them to sign veteran innings eaters to 1 or 2 year deals to buy time for younger pitching talent to develop, or for more pitching talent to become available through trade or free agency.

    Players like Jeff Francis, Jason Marquis, Joel Pineiro, Zach Duke, and Paul Maholm should certainly be worth a look. None of these pitchers should cost much, and all are capable of being decent stop-gap players. I’m not saying these guys are going to be good, or even fun to watch. But they seem to fit the bill for a team in re-build mode. They’ll get the team through the season, they won’t cost much, and they won’t get in the way when better talent becomes available. Plus, with the extra losses they’ll provide, the Cubs should draft higher. It’s a win win. Win.

    1. Edwin

      Kuroda would also be nice if the price is right.

      1. CubFan Paul

        i’m warming up to Edwin Jackson. he’d be a nice mid-rotation guy for 3yrs

    2. Lou

      Problem is with the shortage of SP in the FA market some of these guys could get bigger contracts than their “stop-gap” status would indicate, ala Jorge De La Rosa of the Rockies. Don’t know if I want that. Would prefer if the Cubs are gonna sign pitching, they go bigger and sign Darvish. Otherwise, totally open to trading Garza and getting back some solid SP and/or SP prospects.

  7. JasonB

    Theo to AA: “Why yes I have heard of Brett Lawrie and believe that he would make fine compensation for Matt Garza”.

    1. Aaron

      Looking at his stats, he looks good as a bat. Top 40 prospect. And young.

      1. JasonB

        Unfortunately, I’m not sure we’d be able to get him (Lawrie is no longer considered top 40 – he’s was top 10 in midseason Baseball America rankings).  Garza is good, but not quite that good.  We could probably get d’Arnaud and a top arm in their system or Gose and a top arm, but that’s about it.

    2. Luke

      It’d take more than Lawrie, but Lawrie (or someone like him) is where it would have to start. Lawrie + MiLB Top 100 + Quality Filler is probably the least the Cubs would take. Given how little pitching is on the market this year, three MiLB Top 100s would not surprise me at all.

  8. CubFan Paul

    Billy Butler for 1st Base anyone? i’ve only seen him 3 times (this year – interleague) but the kid can hit and he’ll be $15plus Million dollars cheaper than the nutty professor

    i haven’t heard anything on Kansas City raising payroll for 2012 and Butler’s salary jumps from $3million to $8million ..young guy, prime years, the relatively cheap player you would expect Theo & Co. to target (i still want Fielder just to be clear 6yrs $140million is my prediction)

    1. Luke

      I like Butler’s bat, but there are still a few questions about him defensively at first… then again, when the comparison is to Fielder…

      I’m guessing KC would listen to offers on Butler, but he will not come cheaply. I don’t think the Cubs match up well with KC for a trade either. The Royals have plenty of young talent all over the diamond, and that negates the Cubs strength (young position players, especially on the infield). KC needs pitching, but so does the Cubs, so I can’t see McNutt or Cashner being dealt for Butler.

      A trade could be done, but I think it would have to be a three way.

      1. Lou

        I’d rather get Trumbo in a trade with Anaheim if we’re talking about Butler.

        1. Kansas Cubs Fan

          Butler was so-so at 1B certainly no Pena, but hits a ton of doubles and 20+ HR’s a year and hits for a decent average.

          I pretty much only follow the Cub’s but every once in a while I’ll watch Royal’s games(get ALOT on t.v.)

    2. R.I.P. Santo

      What would it take to get Yonder Alonso away from the Reds??

  9. JasonB

    Prado is intriguing to me – .266 BABIP is due for a correction and he can play 3B.

    I want absolutely no part of Jair Jurrjens.  Cunning and guile pitchers who throw 89 MPH cheese aren’t my thing.  And for 8 years, a 300-lb. 1B who eats lots of cheese isn’t my thing

    1. CubFan Paul

      “Cunning and guile pitchers who throw 89 MPH cheese aren’t my thing”

      so, you must hate Randy Wells..

      1. hardtop

        …i cant remember the last time randy hit 89…

    2. Bails17

      You must not like Greg Maddux either.

      1. CubFan Paul

        ouch. i was making a joke, but damn. Burn.

      2. JasonB

        Comparing Greg Maddux and Jair Jurrjens is like comparing Jim Hendry and Theo Epstein.  Maddux had pinpoint control of a fastball that had filthy movement.  Jair Jurrjens has 1/3 the control of a fastball that doesn’t have nearly as much movement.

  10. Cliffy

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if we sign Wada or Darvish you don’t need to give up compensation picks. Right now for starting to build up long term, we need all the picks we can get.

    1. Luke

      You are correct. No draft picks would have to be given up for a pitcher coming out of Japan since they are not part of the player rankings that result in Type A and Type B designations.

      1. hansman1982

        that and the fact that Japanese teams are not part of MLB so they are not a part of the MLB draft

    2. Lou

      Good point.

  11. die hard

    Id like to hear Theo at Cub Convention state that all 40 spots on active roster are open and best player out of spring training makes roster and best 25 play no matter what salary obligations Cubs have. Then, it will truly be a new day and fans can be assured that things will be different.

    1. hardtop

      well considering we literally have no first baseman, no thrid baseman, no right fielder, and 2 starting pitchers… that almost goes without saying.  castro and garza are in, and everything else is up for grabs.  theo may or may not say it, but i think we all understand that to be the case.

      by the by… i wouldnt be surprised if jed/theo re-signed pena for a year to allow them to figure other stuff out.

  12. Cliffy

    By all accounts Darvish has an above average fastball 95 ish. An excellent curveball, and an improving changeup. Wada nothing special but a deceptive delivery and I believe a lefty. One expect the golden trio are kicking the tires there.

  13. Cliffy

    Cubs minor league free agents

    Chicago Cubs (13) RHP: Justin Berg (AAA), Austin Bibens-Dirkx (AAA), Marco Carrillo (AA), Robert Coello (AAA), Angel Guzman (Hi A), Dylan Johnston (Lo A), Carlton Smith (AAA), Alvaro Sosa (Lo A), Jeff Stevens (AA) C: Mario Mercedes (AAA), Chris Robinson (AAA) 1B: John Urick (Hi A) 3B: Scott Moore(AAA)

  14. Alou and Vinegar

    Longtime reader and first time poster. Have to say that this site has evolved into the best, most civil and up to date of all Cubs sites I have visited.

    While I don’t think Garza will be moved (although I would listen),  I do think that either Soto, Marshall or Marmol will be moved  for starting pitching or corner infield help.  Soto is expendable with Castillo and Clevenger available.  Cashner could step in as closer for Marmol.  Marshall I’d like to keep, but he is one of the few big league players that could bring back anything in trade.

    I also think there will be a couple pitchers from the Piniero, Francis, Duke, Maholm level signed to one or two year deals. Like Hoyer said, they need pitching depth badly and there is none available at AAA.

    1. die hard

      a better pitching coach would not have set back Wells and Cashner…Something happened last spring starting with Silva’s run in with coach that is connected to rushing the 2 kids is my hunch but cant prove it…a better coach would not have let one influence the other and why was Silva really dumped?

    2. Internet Random

      I’m nominating Alou and Vinegar for handle of the month.

  15. juliozuleta

    Currently checking in while in a tree deer hunting In Galena Illinois…true BN follower

    1. Lou

      Galena…beautiful country up there. I’m from Iowa.

      1. Hawkeye

        Brett,  anyway you can post one of those maps on the website that people can put  a mark on to show where they are from?   Thought it might be interesting to see the coast to coast spread of BleacherNation.

        1. TWC

          The Bleacher Nation diaspora!

      2. Jason

        Lou – please tell me that you’re having a Manny’s Pizza after a long weekend of deer hunting?

    2. TWC

      mmm… venison stew… drools…

  16. die hard

    If Cubs emphasize speed and defense then pitching will improve no matter who is pitching..Need to pattern this club after 59 GO GO White Sox.

  17. Cheryl

    We still haven’t heard in terms of compensation to Boston. Trey may not be here come 2012.

  18. die hard

    Colvin at 1B to handle Castro’s bad throws if Pena gone

  19. die hard

    lets go after JJ Hardy and move him to 3B

  20. Cheryl

    No way on Colvin. If anything, he’s better off in the outfield.

  21. pfk

    I’ll bet money, chalk and marbles that Colvin never makes it and is not on the roster by mid year.

    1. Lou

      My thoughts exactly.

    2. TWC

      Yup, I agree. Too bad, but he just doesn’t have it.

  22. The Big Mustafa

    If Yu Darvish had a 30M posting fee, and wanted 80M over five years…

    1) Are you in?

    2) If you’re in, and he fails…do you want someone’s head? If so…who’s?

    3) If not…what price makes you crazy if he (or any FA) punks out?

  23. isubirds

    So what I am getting from all of these posts is that the Cubs are going to get some low excitement guys over the off season and that we have experienced the most excitement of the off season with the Theo and Jed pickup.

    1. isubirds

      And the Gravatar works. HOORAH.

    2. Alou and Vinegar

      Anything “high excitement” will come by trade.  I think they will make value signings, trades this offseason and see what they have. Next offseason the free agent class is much better and the minor league system hopefully will produce some trade chips or mlb ready players.

      1. hansman1982

        agree, I think you will see contention next year by a calculated attempt at catching lightning in a bottle…I also think that 2012 is the last chance for the next decade we see a Cubs team significantly (more than 5 games) below .500

  24. R.I.P. Santo

    LaHair at first,move Castro to 2nd,sign Reyes,Trade Byrd for Prado play him at 3rd,do a bad contract trade( ie: Bradley and and Silva) with the Angels Sori for Wells play him in left Jackson in center,give Colvin a shot in right, Soto,Trade Z for Burnett sign Buehrle BADA BING

    1. Alou and Vinegar

      Would like to see Byrd traded also, but Prado is worth more to the Braves than what Byrd would bring.

      Wells’ contract is worse than Soriano’s, so probably not happening

      Colvin will be in AAA or traded

      I would trade Soto, but could see him coming back as one of the few “patient” hitters on the team

      Buerhle will either resign with the White Sox or give the Cardinals a hometown deal ( I think the Cards trade Westbrook for a shortstop)

      Z for Burnett would have possibilities if Hendry were still around, but I don’t see Theo doing that trade. He’ll save the money for next years frree agent pitching class.

      I think La Hair will see plenty of AB’s both at first and in the outfield next year, kind of like everyone thought Colvin was going to do this past year.

  25. jim

    a “starter”! KEEP GARZA & DEMPSTER & dump
    the rest of our sp’s. KERRY WOOD is done. (great guy!)

  26. Toosh

    The Cubs should ask the Braves what they’d want for Jurrjens and Prado. Atlanta wanted 2 prospects from the Royals.