More rumors and news from around MLB, which touch upon the Chicago Cubs…
- Frequent guy-who-is-discussed-as-a-possible-Cubs-target-but-isn’t-necessarily-a-real-target, Grady Sizemore, comes in for some evaluation from Ken Rosenthal. The evaluation? “Sizemore likely will sign with a high-revenue team that is willing to give him approximately the value of the $9 million club option that the Indians declined.” I can’t imagine a team that will guarantee Sizemore $9 million for 2012, but, if one does, let’s up it isn’t the Cubs. Sure, Sizemore is an attractive reclamation project, but, with just 104 games total played in the last two years (in which he had a .560 and .760 OPS), it’s hard to see a wise team leaping forward to sign him to the kind of big-money contract that guarantees him a starting spot. Doing that is just asking for disappointment.
- Another favorite player to discuss: Mets’ third baseman David Wright. The Mets will consider shopping the soon-to-be 29-year-old this Winter, knowing that 2012 is probably not going to be a competitive year for the Mets. Because of the Cubs’ hole at third base, you can expect to hear Wright’s name from time to time, but there are issues: (1) he’s under contract only for 2012, a year the Cubs might also not be competitive, (2) he’ll make a hefty $15 million for that year (plus a $16 million mutual option in 2013 with a $1 million buyout), and (3) he’s had back problems. Still, his stellar defense and presumed production away from Citi Field would make a lot of teams smile, including the Cubs.
- For what it’s worth Andy Martino of the New York Daily News says it’s unlikely Wright would be dealt this Winter. He sees next Summer as more likely.
- The Baltimore Sun says the Orioles are unlikely to look at Carlos Pena because his style – low BA, huge power, many walks, many Ks – is too similar to Mark Reynolds, whom the Orioles will presumably keep for 2012. Seems an odd rationale, but how the market for Pena develops over the next couple of weeks could determine whether the Cubs are willing to chance offering him arbitration for 2012 (in the hopes he’d decline and sign elsewhere, netting the Cubs a draft pick).
- Nick Cafardo confirms something Ken Rosenthal said last week, namely that the A’s will consider trade offers for some of their top-line players, including starter Gio Gonzalez. The lefty, who just turned 26, is coming off back-to-back excellent seasons, in which he posted an ERA+ of 127 and 130. As a Super Two, he’ll be arbitration eligible for 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 before finally becoming a free agent in 2016. You don’t need me to tell you it would take a haul to get him from the A’s – possibly even more than the Cubs gave up to get Matt Garza. And, if that’s the case, I’m not sure the Cubs have the ammo. Something to consider on Gonzalez, though – over the last two years, he kept walking guys at a huge rate, and struck out fewer guys than he usually does. So, how did he get so good? He gave up way fewer hits and home runs than he did in his first year and a half in the league. His BABIP against was an incredibly good (lucky?) .277 and .288. Sure, maybe he’s one of those rare pitchers whom batters just can’t seem to square up and hit a line drive, or maybe he was pretty lucky in 2010 and 2011. Time will tell.
- Today the Kansas City Royals sent outfielder Melky Cabrera to the Giants for lefty Jonathan Sanchez and so-so pitching prospect Ryan Verdugo. The move is an interesting one for the Royals, who may have felt pressured to move Cabrera to open up a spot for center field prospect, Lorenzo Cain. Cabrera had an excellent offensive 2011 – his 121 OPS+ was actually his first above-average year – and just turned 27. He’ll have another year of arbitration eligibility, and will probably make something in the $4 to $5 million range. Sanchez, who turns 29 this month and could make as much as $6 million in his last arbitration year in 2012, had his first above-average year in 2010, before reverting in 2011 (and succumbing to injuries). Perhaps it’s a statement of the weak starting pitching market, a statement about Cabrera’s below average defense, or a statement about how much the Royals like Verdugo, but, whatever the case, the Giants appear to have done well.
- Free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who could theoretically become the subject of Cubs’ rumors if Alfonso Soriano or Marlon Byrd is dealt (the assumption being that top prospect Brett Jackson has an outfield spot locked up for 2012), is expected to get at least a three-year deal. Though decently productive, Cuddyer will be 33 next year, and I doubt present management will want to commit to three mid-30s years of Cuddyer at a decent annual rate.
- A funny picture, but there’s not a whole lot of reasonableness in this suggestion: