Lukewarm Stove: Madson, Marmol, Jurrjens, Buehrle, Danks, Fielder, Morrison

Another roundup of transactionally-inclined news and rumors about the Chicago Cubs, including some from around MLB, and how the latter could impact the Cubs’ offseason plans…

  • The Phillies are on the verge of re-signing closer Ryan Madson to a contract in the range of four years and $44 million with a fifth year vesting option (the deal was agreed to earlier in the week, but has been pending high-level Phillies approval, so it might shrink), which strikes me as an enormous investment in a very good, but 31-year-old closer. And, if that’s the market for closers, you have to wonder: might Carlos Marmol and his two years and $17ish million deal look pretty darn attractive right now? Marmol had a rough 2011, but he’s two years younger than Madson, and has been just as dominant (if not more-so), excepting 2011. Given the Cubs’ relative depth at the back of the bullpen, dealing Marmol is something I hope Theo/Jed explore widely this Winter.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays are eagerly searching for a closer right now, by the way.
  • The Cubs, like many teams, are expected to be in the market for a starting pitcher or two this Winter, but, since the free agent market is thin, they may have to explore a trade. Among the possible starters available in trade, according to Ken Rosenthal: Rays right-handers James Shields and Wade Davis, Athletics lefty Gio Gonzalez and righty Trevor Cahill, Braves righty Jair Jurrjens, White Sox lefty John Danks and righty Gavin Floyd, Dodgers righty Chad Billingsley, and Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez. The better names on that list would take quite a haul to bring in, and the Cubs might not have the upper-level prospects to get a deal done.
  • Speaking of which, Jon Heyman says the Braves have been asking for a Zack Greinke-like return for Jair Jurrjens. Recall, Greinke netted the top outfield prospect and two of the top pitching prospects in the Brewers’ system (and allowed the Royals to swap Yuniesky Betancourt for Alicdes Escobar) when he was dealt last year. The Cubs are listed among a group of teams that could possible land Jurrjens.
  • If the White Sox are unable to re-sign Mark Buehrle, they may instead decide to lock-up John Danks long-term. Danks is a free agent after 2012, and would otherwise be a trade candidate – one at whom the Cubs might look. Danks is just 26, but has declined in each of the previous three seasons. He’ll make $7 million or more in his final year of arbitration in 2012.
  • The Brewers have all but given up hope that they can re-sign Prince Fielder.
  • It’s been assumed for months – since he butted heads with management and was shockingly demoted to the minors – the Marlins’ outfielder Logan Morrison would be dealt this offseason. That’s still probably the case, but Jon Heyman hears the Marlins are telling folks they aren’t as eager to deal Morrison as we all might think. Heyman cites a Miami executive who says the Marlins would trade Morrison for James Shields (ha), but no one else. Morrison is just 24 and has huge offensive upside, but his unique personality has been something of a distraction for the Marlins.
  • In addition to Japanese stud Yu Darvish, there are a couple of other Eastern pitchers to keep in mind who might pop up in rumors: Taiwanese lefty, Wei-Yin Chen, and Korean righty, Suk-min Yoon. Chen, 26, is one of the top pitchers in Japan, though he doesn’t strike a lot of guys out (which tends to make me nervous about a pitcher’s “stuff” coming from another league to MLB). Moon, 25, is the reigning MVP in Korean baseball, but query how far that gets you in MLB. Chen is a free agent, but Moon would have to be posted before coming to the States.
  • Despite the development of a pro-2013 narrative, Buster Olney doesn’t think the 2013 free agent crop is all that much better than this year’s. And that could shrink even further if guys like Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, and Matt Kemp get locked up to extensions. Maybe grabbing a big money player or two this Winter isn’t the wrong move after all.

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

87 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Madson, Marmol, Jurrjens, Buehrle, Danks, Fielder, Morrison”

  1. Jack Nugent

    I think Theo & Co. need to offer to eat a little bit of that $17MM, maybe $5MM or so, if that’s what it’ll take to land a good player for Marmol. The Cubs don’t have a ton of assets at the moment, and at $17MM, Marmol won’t provide much, if any surplus value at all, but at the same time, he’s one of the only interesting players on the roster. This team probably won’t have much use for a closer next year, and Sean Marshall is probably the better pitcher as it is, so if the possibility exists to get a nice prospect for their closer, the Cubs should jump at the opportunity.

  2. Sam

    “Despite the development of a pro-2013 narrative, Buster Olney doesn’t think the 2013 free agent crop is all that much better than this year’s. And that could shrink even further if guys like Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, and Matt Kemp get locked up to extensions. Maybe grabbing a big money player or two this Winter isn’t the wrong move after all.”
    You can’t rely on players hitting FA to get them, especially after what happened with A-Gon

    1. CubFan Paul

      Agreed. with no good “up the middle” free agents worth investing in, it would be nice to land a Kemp, b.phillips or another contract year stud now

  3. pfk

    I guess the huge incoming cash flow from BN allowed you to buy a new stove. NIce. I get the feeling this off season is going to be very interesting in MLB. The FA’s aren’t great so I see alot of interesting trades taking place. If so, I think the Cubs’ new front office will pull off some interesting ones themselves. I love this.

  4. Luke

    Chen doesn’t walk many, or give up the long ball. Sounds like the prototypical crafty-lefty. The Cubs need a lefty and are heavily invested in Taiwan. Sounds like the makings of a deal. I don’t think Chen will be terribly expensive, either. I like the idea.

    I’d be a little surprised if the Dodgers are able to get their issues and the team’s sale sorted out quickly enough to get Kemp extended, but that may just be wishful thinking. I wouldn’t mind seeing him sign with the Cubs next winter.

  5. Todd

    The more I read about free agents and trade possibilities, the more I wonder what Theo and Jed will actually be able to do in the next year or two. Despite the confidence I have in the new front office’s ability to turn this around, the Cubs are in a really bad spot. No high-impact talent in the upper levels of the minors and untradeable contracts in the majors is bad news. There’s only so creative you can get.

    Anyway, I clicked on the Buster Olney article, which led me to click on an article about Dan Duquette and the Orioles, which led me to an article about the Ravens and Redskins fighting over strippers! I love the internet!

    1. Lou

      Haha. The Orioles–well at least we know the Cubs don’t have an owner of the crackpot variety.

  6. BetterNews

    Brett—So we ARE talking a complete rebuilding of the team?

    Theo said no when asked. What gives>

  7. Mike F

    First I think there is likely to be addition by subtraction. I can see several big names gone and a lot of salary eaten.

    Second, I agree Brett, Marmol is a very tradable piece in the puzzle along with a couple of the other back end guys they may or may not want to give up on. And I guess where I see this all a little differently is what they might or might not be willing to trade of the previous admin’s minor leagues.

    That’s kind of where I see things a little differently, especially if they are looking to build the pitching staff through trades, I don’t see how they can land a 15 win younger pitcher for veterans on the roster. If you trade for pitching, I think you end up having to give up some young pitching and higher level prospects. Not that that’s all bad, just that once again there is a large premium to be paid for pitching.

    Finally, I think we have to watch the Boston trade negotiations. I don’t think it has to, but can easily see that expanding into a larger deal, especially if both teams are willing to trade some salaries.

    1. BetterNews

      What is it with the Boston attraction? Everybody seems to forget
      their”epic” collapse this season.

      1. hansman1982

        and apparently you are looking past that even with 2 crappy months (that included the epic collapse) they still won 90 games.  The Red Sox have done that more times in the past 10 years (8) than the Cubs have in the last 50 (5).

        Also, under Theo they went to the playoffs the same number of times the Cubs have…in the past 50 years. (6)

        The Boston obsession is warranted.

        1. BetterNews

          Hansman—To an extent I agree. But “over-passion” does
          not mean World Series!

          1. Jeff

            I think they are, but I will take Theo and his guys over Cashman and Oppenheimer.  I do think the Cubs should copy their tv model, it’s definitely a way to improve the cash flow.

          2. hansman1982

            Correct, and having the highest payroll or best team in the game does not mean World Series – it means you get to or close to the playoffs every year which is all I am expecting out of Theo and Co.

            1. Toosh

              Hendry had the highest payroll in his division during his tenure and finished 1 game over .500.

  8. BetterNews

    Brett—Where do we have “depth” at the back of the bullpen?

    1. Jeff

      Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, Spellcheck, possibly Cashner, Carpenter

      1. BetterNews

        Wood might not be back, Cash might not be Cash and Carpenter might
        not be here. Again, where is the depth.

        1. Jeff

          Everything we’ve seen from Cashner says he’s still got the laser rocket arm.  Wood is either coming back or quitting, and it seems he and Theo clicked when they talked, so I would bet that he’s here next year.  You’re right on Carpenter, he could still be bouncing around, or he could be in Boston.  I think Samardzija is a viable setup option, and could be a closer in the future.  I think Marshall would be an upgrade over Marmol, and Russell is actually very good when he isn’t starting.   Jeffrey Beliveau and Rafael Dolis are both close to being ready, and both have good stuff.  If there is somewhere the Cubs have depth, it’s the bullpen.

          1. CubFan Paul

            Has Cashner even pitched recently down there or another injury/strain that we’re not hearing about??

  9. Jeff

    I think Danks would be a good buy low candidate for a trade, other than that, these teams are asking for a haul for guys who don’t have the track record to back up their “value”.  I haven’t seen much of the A’s guys, but their pitchers usually aren’t as good after they leave Oakland, Jurjjens has some red flags, Rodriguez flat out stinks sometimes and I dont’ think any of them except maybe Billingsley are on par with Garza.  So none of them are worth the cost.   I think Theo should be going after Mark Buehrle.  He’s consistent, he’s left handed, and I think he’s got a couple of really good years left if he moves to the NL.  He could be a huge boost to the rotation, and I don’t think he would cost much more than 10-15 million a year for a couple of years.

  10. EtotheR

    Boston may have collapsed for a month, but they did succeed in building a system that consistently generates talent within their minor leagues, while competing for the division/post-season on a yearly basis. One month does not a regime make…good or bad.

    If we are going to go after any prime pitching talent, I’d be wary of trading Marmol. I promise…I’m not using Sandy Koufax as his model, but the baseball annals are filled with pitchers who were maddeningly inconsistent through their 20′s, and seemed to find more consistency as they began pushing 30.

    A good rotation is going to require a strong bullpen. If not Marmol as closer, we’re going to need to replace him with someone real. This is either going to further deplete our funds…or our available prospects.

    I think we ought to hang on another year…if we do march forward with some bigger signings. If we’re rebuilding, I’d be more open to trading him.

    1. Luke

      I’m not even sure the Cubs need to after prime pitching talent. St. Louis and Texas showed us in 2011 that you don’t need a staff full of aces, but you do need a full staff. If the Cubs can pick two or three good guys (Maholm and Jackson, maybe) on the free agent market, the won’t be in bad shape at all. I could handle a 2012 rotiation of:

      Garza, Cashner, Maholm, Dempster, Jackson

      Insert Wells, Samardizja, or Rusin if Cashner is in the pen, and that still isn’t a bad rotation. Its not the 2011 Phillies, by any means, but its not a bad place to start.

  11. CubFan Paul

    i think ken Rosenthal draws a check from Scott Boras ..why would the Nationals sign ryan madson? they have Clippard AND Storen for practically Free ..talk about a grain of salt