Lukewarm Stove: Buerhle, Wilson, Cespedes, Zambrano, Fielder, Headley, Soto, Wright

A couple of talking heads – ESPN’s Bruce Levine and MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes – had hot stove-type chats earlier this week, producing some interesting talking points, if nothing else…

  • Levine sees the Cubs’ offseason priority as pitching, and, specifically, believes the Cubs will zero in on CJ Wilson and Mark Buerhle. Earlier in the offseason, it was assumed that, as the top arm on a weak market, Wilson would get the $100 million contract he’s reported to be seeking. As the weeks have gone on, however, I’m picking up a general sense that Wilson will not be able to land that kind of deal. Whether it was because of his playoff struggles, or the pervading questions about his limited time as a dominant starter, it is possible Wilson may have to “settle” for a deal in the five year, $80 million range. Still a sizable commitment, but one that the Cubs would probably have to consider.
  • Levine touched briefly on Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes, discussed at length here yesterday, but didn’t have an idea of whether the Cubs would pursue him. Speaking of Cespedes, Kevin Goldstein has some more information on him here. Baseball America’s Ben Badler also wrote some more on Cespedes today, but it’s a subscription article I haven’t read because, well, I don’t have a subscription.
  • Levine says the Cubs should trade Geovany Soto only if they can get a “heck of a pitcher” in return.
  • Levine thinks there will be more interest in Carlos Zambrano this Winter than we all might be expecting.
  • Levine doesn’t think the Cubs should be interested in trading for David Wright, if he’s even available.
  • Levine says Scott Boras will gladly market Prince Fielder to the Cubs, but Dierkes doesn’t think signing Fielder would be Epstein’s kind of move this year, given how far the Cubs are from competing.
  • Dierkes suggests the Cubs could get creative at third base, without an obvious in-house option, by trading for someone like Chase Headley. Dierkes opines that Headley would cost the Cubs something on the order of Trey McNutt and Chris Carpenter, which sounds about right for a 27-year-old under contract for three years, who plays good defense and had a 120 OPS+ last year. Maybe a touch high, but that’s the range. Indeed, if the Padres are looking to save some dough this year, Jed and Jason might want to get in touch with some of their old friends in San Diego to see what might happen.
  • Dierkes says most teams view Darwin Barney as a back-up infielder (*cough* I’m just sayin’ *cough*), so the Cubs shouldn’t expect to get a pitcher like Jair Jurrjens in a deal for Barney, which, like, duh.

 

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

85 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Buerhle, Wilson, Cespedes, Zambrano, Fielder, Headley, Soto, Wright”

  1. Fishin Phil

    The Chase Headley move intrigues me, but only if it is in conjunction with some other moves to pick up pitching. 

    Plus, it would give us a chance to bust out some Headley Lamar jokes.

    1. Bails17

      Headley:  ”What’s your crime?”

      Bart:  ”Stampeding cattle!”

      Headley:  ”That’s not much of a crime!!”

      Bart:  ”Through the Vatican!?”

      Headley:  ”Kinky!!!!!!!”

      1. Cubbie Blues

        Hedley:   “Unfortunately there is one thing standing between me and that property: the rightful owners.”

  2. Jeff

    I like the idea of trading for Headley.  He’s a high OBP guy who takes a lot of pitches, and I think he’s only getting better as he plays more.

  3. Odd

    Why would we trade two of our top pitching prospects for a fill-in third baseman? Especially if we need pitching? If we’re not going after Fielder because we’re not close to competing, why would we give up our future for someone far inferior?

    Wait, this sounds like a Cubs move. Trade top pitching prospects in the minors for average third baseman, don’t sign best FA on market, sign slightly above average pitchers for $15m+ a year. Sounds about right.

  4. Cheryl

    Getting Headley seems very doable. Would the Padres be interested in Marmol or Sosa? If so, maybe Headley could be had for Sota and a high minor league pitcher. What about trading Marmol to KC for a couple of high potential minor leaguers? He and Zambrano could get together again.

    1. MichiganGoat

      Sosa to Sota to Soto one letter shift at a time

      1. Cheryl

        Sorry, SOTO!

  5. Luke

    Headley at third, Castro at short, LeMahieu at second… I can live with that. That means the Cubs could bring Flaherty off the bench at second and third for a little extra power from time to time.

    Unfortunately, if the Cubs take a guy like Headley as a long term option at third, they really need to land a power bat or two somewhere else on the diamond. If Colvin can hit 20 again it will help. Maybe bring back Pena and mix/match Colvin, LaHair, and Byrd in right and left?

  6. EtotheR

    Some of this stuff makes a lot of sense, especially given the way Theo has traditionally built a team. Pieces…and not necessarily stars, hold a lot of value in his system. Chase Headley seems to be similar cog to someone like Youkilis.

    Still, I also have to believe that Theo and Jed are going to need to look forward and begin building a true core. If Fielder represents the best left handed bat (at a position of need) that we’re going to see for the next three years, the time might be now to strike, and let him become the nucleus of the rebuild.

    On the flip side…I very likely don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about.

  7. hogie

    Speaking of Barney as a backup, I noticed DJ got his 13th stolen base yesterday, only 3 behind the leader Lake. He never struck me as that type of player, is this the result of an aggressive running team, or is this really a facet of his game? Maybe another reason to dispose Darwin of that starting spot.

    1. Luke

      LeMahieu is a good base runner, and I thinks that’s how he gets his steals… with his brains more than his speed.

      I think LeMahieu should be the starting second baseman next season. He should have been the second half of 2011, but he got Quaded.

      1. Cubbie Blues

        Quaded needs to go in the Lexicon.

        1. Luke

          We do need an official verdict on spelling.

          Quaded?
          Quade’d?
          Quadied?
          Quade-d?

          I’m really not sure which way to go.

          1. Cubbie Blues

            I say go with the origanal Quaded

            1. MichiganGoat

              Put it in the post and I’ll added to the consolidated list I’ll submit to Brett

              1. packman711

                Someone with free time needs to photoshop this…

      2. Ur Mom

        You mean Quadied guy.. Didn’t you pay attention at all in school?

    2. Deer

      Who is the Cubs AFL manager and is he being considered for the ML job? I like the aggressiveness

      1. MrCub73

        Joe McEwing is the manger in AFL – He did interview in the St Louis.

  8. die hard

    I first felt that Cubs should go after Buerhle, Bentacourt et al Since then I now feel a true evaluation of what Cubs organization has means standing pat including no moves getting players from outside organization for entire season, meaning for instance we keep Z either at major or minor league level.

  9. Rancelot

    Here’s the deal with Headley…I think that he is the victim of unrealistic expectations. The fact of the matter is, he possesses all the tangibles you look for in a 3B. Good glove, power potential, switch-hitter, and a knack for getting on base with good speed.

    Here is an excerpt from FanGraphs with a Headley analysis:

    He hit .330/.399/.465 away from Petco on the season. Although his home runs were down in 2011, Headley, 27, managed to hit 28 doubles in just 381 at-bats and had a slugging percentage in line with his career average, although his ISO continues to lag. His HR/FB rate was a rather shameful 4.3% and although he’s a guy that likes to put the ball on the ground, that ought to at least start to mirror his 7% career average (which is nothing to get excited about either) and provide a few more home runs. Headley was likely dirt cheap in either money or round, so I could see hanging on to a guy who has double digit potential in HR and SB and hit for a decent average.

    I would be very happy if Jed is able to swing a deal for Chase.

  10. MrCub73

    It seems to me the pursuit/chance of signing Wilson would be closely tied to whether Maddux is the manger, which after seeing the interviews of the first three candidates Maddux is by far my first choice (I hope Theo and Jed are on the same page). Unlike what I have seen posted on various sights regarding Wilson, I like the idea of the Cubs pursuing him. Wilson has only been a starter for two season, but I see that as a plus, less wear on his arm and he actually pitched better in his second season as a starter than the first. Seem to be seeing more reports out that Greg Maddux may actually consider being a pitching coach for Mike, that would sure be a great duo, so I hope the reports are accurate and not just opinions.

    1. Luke

      I like the idea of hiring Maddux and helping him lure in Wilson. With Wilson and someone else (Maholm?) in the rotation, the Cubs won’t be in bad shape in 2012.

  11. Sayueri

    I’ll take Chase Headley at 3B.

    Levine is nuts if he thinks the Cubs can get a “heck of a pitcher” in return for Soto.

  12. cubs

    Thought ?? Cubs TRADE G Soto To A’s for Gio Gonzoloz

    1. Rancelot

      Counter thought: I think you have been dipping into Geo’s stash. ;)

      It will take some additional pieces to get GG. Although, it would be kinda cool to see a Geo for Gio deal.

    2. Luke

      The Cubs would do it in a heartbeat, but I don’t know why Oakland would. I’m not sure Soto is that big of an upgrade for them over Suzuki, who is under contract through 2013 with an option for ’14.

      I suppose they could move one of the two to first base, but I really don’t see that happening either.

      I’m not sure Soto is enough to pry Gio out of Oakland by himself anyway.

    3. Diesel

      Soto would cost too much for the A’s. Besides they have Max Stassi set to take the Catcher job from Suzuki around 2014.

  13. MichiganGoat

    Hey Bert any progress on the recent comments working again? It’s like a scavenger hunt to follow comments, fun but frustrating.

  14. cccubfan

    I still think we need a SS and move Castro to third. If we could sign Betancourt from Milwaukee that would be a great, cheap SS then trade Barney, Carpenter and McNutt to ATL for Jurrjens and Prado. Sign Buerhle to go with Dempster, Garza and ?? Man it’s easy to be a GM when there’s no pressure, huh? LOL

    1. Luke

      Moving Castro would be a tremendous mistake. His errors, while frustrating, are absolutely normal for a shortstop his age. Check the seasons guys like Jeter had at a similar age. Castro’s value as a hitter would be far less at third vs short. He’ll keep getting better with the glove, and I honestly would not be surprised to see him pick up a couple of Gold Gloves by the end of the decade.

      If the Cubs do become convinced that he will never get better with the glove, they should trade him, not move him off short. He’ll probably have more value as a bad defensive shortstop than he’ll ever have as a third baseman. He really doesn’t project to have the power to play third.

      1. Jason

        Plus, Yuniesky Betancourt is like the worst player in baseball.

  15. CubSouth

    Again, why do the “talking heads” think the Cubs shouldn’t go after someone big this year if we are not close to competing? You will never be close if you don’t go ahead and fill in the missing pieces, one at a time. Fielder may not sound like a good idea for next season but 2013 and beyond, he sounds great. Im fine with whatever deals Theo/Jed make, except for the Crawford thought.

    1. hansman1982

      Fangraphs did an article about 6 months ago in regards to the “rebuilding of a team” (I will let you do the googling) and they basically came to the conclusion that anytime a team decides to “rebuild” they wont contend for a VERY long time (on the order of at least 5+ years) and their window of opportunity isn’t any larger than teams that actively pursue big free agents.

      Long story short – you have to get the big name guys or else you will be stuck in an infinite loop of death.

    2. Kyle

      Here’s what I really don’t get.

      A lot of times the “don’t sign major free agents” argument is paired with “We won’t compete, let’s just give every open roster spot to someone from the minors.”

      That’d be horrific. If you don’t think you can compete, why would you waste very valuable service-time years on guys like Brett Jackson, LeMahieu, etc.

      If you think they can’t compete, sign a bunch of veteran stop-gaps and save your assets in the minors.

  16. Cheryl

    Maybe its happening but is anyone working with Castro to cut down his errors? If he wants to be known as a top-flight baseball player in years to come he’s going to have to improve in that area. As for Headley, he would be great at third base expecially in terms of what he could bring to replace Aram.

  17. Chris

    http://www.chicitysports.com/2011/11/10/more-rumors-that-could-gain-steam-in-a-few-more-weeks/

    Hey, I love reading these kinds of articles. I use it to write posts at CCS with my own insight and other news/notes. I did mention BN in the article in it, if you decided to read the article.

    Thanks!

  18. Jed

    I think the Cubs should go after Cepedes. He looks to be a great outfielder. It also gives us a trading advantage with a system loaded with outfielders. Also, if one isn’t good, then we try the next one.
    Also, what about sending Soto and someone like Eric Jokisch to the Padres for Headley. I’d be more inclined to do that than to send McNutt and Carpenter.

    1. Luke

      Nick Hundley had an OPS of 0.824 and threw out 36% of base runners. I can’t imagine why the Padres would be looking to replace him behind the plate. He’s just now entering arbitration.

      1. Jed

        I understand that but Hundley has also never played a full season.

  19. TSB

    Chase Headley: best year, 2009, 12 HRs, 64 RBIs, 133 strikeouts, Slugging percentage .392; wow, what a stud, who needs Aramis?

    1. Rancelot

      And in other news…the sun is hot.

      First of all, this is not a Ramirez vs Headley competition. Headley has “projectability” offensively and his defense is not even comparable to the matador-style utilized by Aramis. Oh, and there is a little thing called Petco Park that has played a part in his offense production or lack thereof…he hit .330/.399/.465 away from Petco last season.

    2. Jeff

      I really don’t think UZR is a great indicator by itself, but it is useful for year to year comparisons of players of the same position.  Chase Headley’s UZR last year 17.9, Aramis Ramirez UZR last year -9.1(the only one worse in baseball was David Wright, ouch).  That’s almost a 27 win difference between the two.  “Who needs ARam?” is the correct statement, even though you meant it to be sarcastic.

    3. TSB

      I stand corrected; instead of “who needs Aramis?”, I should have said “who needs Fielder?”According to some Cub fans, free of the vast plains of Petco, Mr. Headley should easily hit 50 HR,150 RBIs, and win the triple crown.

      1. Rancelot

        Well, I guess this debate is over. No sense carrying on with someone who possesses the logic of a 6 year old.

        Sorry Brett, I had a weak moment and couldn’t resist…please forgive me.

        1. TSB

          Come on, give me the benefit of the doubt; at least the logic of a ten year old. Actually, saw my first Cub game in 1962, so i’m an old senile fart. My point is, players on other teams always seem better then what we have now, which of course is usually true, but some fans go overboard.

          1. Rancelot

            Oh, there is no doubting that. I have friends who are Padres fans and they are frustrated with Headley’s lack of power…but, my whole point is that I would be willing to take a chance on Chase based on this: His defense is ahead of his offense at this point in his career, and who knows, he may never develop power, BUT you would be acquiring him for what he could become as opposed to what has already been accomplished.

  20. CubFan Paul

    WOW, according to MLBTR headley will only make around $3million next year ($2.3million this year)

  21. Ian Afterbirth

    Because “it’s a subscription article I haven’t read because, well, I don’t have a subscription”????

    What the hell are we paying you for, Ace??????

  22. Dumpman

    Headley – Yes
    Wilson – Maybe (depending on price tag)
    Fielder – No
    Wright – No (Declining glove and bat, probably cost a ton in prospects)
    Soto for Pitcher – Maybe (If Castillo is ready to handle full time duties)
    Cespedes – Dont know enough about him
    Buerhle – Thought this guys despises wrigley? Better off asking the Sox about Danks.

  23. Cheryl

    There may be some other thoughts taking place with Theo and company. If they opt for Maddux, there may be some pitchers that want to work under him and whoever is the pitching coach (Probably Greg) and that may be added incentive to hire him. If he is offered the job and turns it down, my choice may be Alomar, depending on what further information we may have on him. A decision on the manager should be complete by Saturday. Then, the trading season should be underway.If they decide by Saturday, would there be any hoops they may need to go through before an announcement is made?

  24. jarrod

    I wonder if cj wilson would be willing to come to the cubs if maddux was the manager

  25. James Smith

    I like the headley deal with prince at 1st trade Josh bitters and soriano and maybe one more prospect for Carl Crawford and send mcnutt carpenter and Byrd for jair jurrens and sign Hurley so here’s your lineup
    LF. CRAWFORD
    SS. CASTRO
    3B. HEADLEY
    1B. FIEILDER
    RF. LAHAIR
    CF. B. JACKSON
    2B DJ LEMAHIE
    C. SOTO
    PITCHER

    1. Jair jurrens
    2. Matt garza
    3. Mark burley
    4. Andrew cashner
    5. Randy wells/ ryan demster

    Also if theo can get some extra cash that dominican republican out fielder would look nice over lahair

    1.

  26. BetterNews

    Cant see Theo giving up that much tallent for Headly.

    A CJ Wilson deal would however be just what the doctor ordered.

  27. Kyle

    How confident are we that Headley could outproduce a platoon of Baker/LeMahieu?

    I like Headley, but he’s going to be expensive in terms of prospects. Trades should be just about the last alternative we should be looking at when we have so much money to spend and free agency is just beginning.

    1. CubFan Paul

      agreed, a true Platoon with Baker batting against Lefties would maximize his value, But by adding Headley or another 3B via trade or free agency would free up Baker to platoon at 2nd or 1st ..this all moot until we see what Theo&Co. do this offseason with the infield

      i’ve been saying for months, sign/offer Fielder $1million more than the market rate for 6yrs guaranteed – 6yrs/$138million and two Club Options of $20million for a total of 8yrs/$178million ..i can’t see Fielder getting more than $23million annually so Boras will settle for the years. I’d like to see LeMahieu at 2B next year and if Headley can’t be had a 3B platoon of Baker and Dewitt/Flaherty

      1. Kyle

        Ooops, I meant Flaherty. I get all the mediocre middle infield prospects mixed up :)

    2. Luke

      I don’t think you’d platoon Baker/LeMahieu, since they are both right handed hitters. Your platoon would be Flaherty or DeWitt and Baker or LeMahieu.

      I’m thinking (hoping) that LeMahieu gets the starting second base job. For me the 3rd base platoon would be Flaherty / Baker… except Baker might be spending quite a bit of time on first if the Cubs don’t sign a first baseman and use LaHair there. Flaherty can play at enough positions that an intelligent manager could get him 400 ABs without him holding down a starting job, and that might be the best use of him.

      If the Cubs are going to go after a key, long term piece of the puzzle, third base might be the place to do it. The potential full time third baseman that is closest to the majors is Vitters, and he could easily slide over to first. Landing a Headley would block Lake, but there is a pretty good chance the Cubs would have to use Lake to land Headley anyway, so no loss there.

      If Headley isn’t too expensive to trade for, I do the deal. That would solidify 3/4 of the infield (assuming LeMahieu does take over second). I then play LaHair/Baker at first while letting Vitters get acclimated in the minors, and bring Vitters up around the trade deadline when I move Baker to someone else. Vitters/LaHair would then hold down first until the Cubs know what they have in the minors (Vogelbach in particular). I think Vitters’ bat would be just fine at first, but his arm would be a little wasted there. If the Cubs do sign a first baseman, then the Vitters/LaHair show moves to left field (assuming Soriano is gone… which seems likely).

      1. CubFan Paul

        but wouldn’t you agree signing Fielder for 6 years or Pujols to 5 years would make the Infield more dynamic because of the Power? (we need power, more Power) and if vitters is ready in year or two Or vogelbach in 3yrs thats a problem for another day/a valuable trade chip in year or so?

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