There have been a variety of rumors swirling about the Chicago Cubs emanating from this weeks’ GM meetings, including a doozy that just came out…

  • The doozy? According to multiple sources, the Cubs are telling other teams that they’ll listen to offers on everyone on the roster this Winter. The front office reportedly recognizes a long rebuild is in the offing, and doesn’t want to rule out the possibility of bringing in a number of young pieces this offseason in the hopes of being competitive in the longer term future.
  • Privately, I’ve been hearing this for some time, but because Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer’s public statements contradicted the idea that the Cubs will shop their more valuable pieces, I’ve taken them at their word. Now that so many other sources are confirming what I’ve heard, it’s time to take the gloves off. The Cubs might not ultimately unload all of their talent, but they’ll consider trades that build for the future.
  • Buster Olney adds that the hottest names teams will be discussing between now and July 31 are Matt Garza and Sean Marshall (obviously Starlin Castro is even more attractive, but the kind of package necessary to pry him from the Cubs would be prohibitively large). The return on Garza could be enormous, and the return on Marshall could be impressively large. Would the Cubs be raising the white flag on 2012 if they dealt those two pitchers? I think it depends on the return. If a few ML-ready youngsters with breakout potential come back the Cubs’ way, you never know what might happen. Couple that with some strategic free agent signings…
  • Jon Heyman says the Cubs are pursuing lefty free agent Bruce Chen, who has had back-to-back decent (but not great) seasons in Kansas City. Chen, 34, had a 3.77 ERA and a 1.303 WHIP last year while making $2 million. His ERA+, however, was just 107, meaning he was only 7% better than the average pitcher. How much is that worth? Hard to say, but Heyman says Chen’s got multiyear deals waiting for him. Pursuing Chen during a rebuild would make some sense. Pursuing Mark Buehrle, on the other hand? Not sure about that.
  • While in the Dominican Republic to scout soon-to-be Cuban free agent Yoenis Cespedes, the Cubs are also taking a look at 19-year-old prospect Jorge Soler. The kid is consider a solid prospect with a projectable body, and, unsurprisingly, other big dogs on the amateur spending side – Yankees, Nationals, etc. – are interested.
  • Jed Hoyer says the Cubs will “consider” bringing Kerry Wood back, but he isn’t ready to commit. “Theo has met with him and I’ve begun to talk to Pat Rooney [Wood’s agent],” Hoyer said. “So we are going to consider bringing him back. My view of him is he’s a guy who brings toughness. He doesn’t shy away from big moments and big games. I think that’s something really important. Chicago is a big stage and it’s a mistake to take that for granted. Not every guy comes in from the outside can necessarily handle it.” Wood, 34, made just $1.5 million last year, but ended the season on the DL after September knee surgery.
  • In his weekly chat, Bruce Levine confirms the Cubs are considering Yu Darvish, doesn’t think Grady Sizemore or David Wright or Orlando Hudson make sense for the Cubs, thinks Jason Veritek will be the Cubs’ next back-up catcher, thinks the Cubs could go after Chase Headley (with Josh Vitters headlining the package), thinks Andrew Cashner will be in the bullpen next year
  • Mike F

    And I think that’s exactly right Brett. You have to do both, win and be competitive while building for the future. To some extent, the minors are way they are for 2012 and 2013, And the organization they putting in place will pay some dividends but mostly likely those big dividends occur in 2014 and beyond. So I think in theory you have to have some pieces on the major league roster to carry you for the next 3 years or to build around. It’s pretty hard to imagine anyone being willing to trade the kind of value Castro may have at 21. With pitching in short supply, Garza value is off the roof, but it’s possible someone would load up the truck not likely.

    But I do think you’re point is right they have to blow this up to some extent. And in fact we know they want to C, 1B, 3B, RF, CF and SP. My think is though, I don’t see them trading people like Garza and Castro and see no way that would happen and they end up carrying Zambrano and Soriano for a couple of years. In my view that would be as big a mistake as could be made. I love what they are saying and doing in both cases. Build up and try like hell back door to get rid of them. To get something you have to give something up, and I don’t fall in love with talent, and that includes Castro and Garza. I can see where someone could pay the Cubs more than Marshall is worth, very possible. Castro and Garza I think though are another issue.

    • EQ76

      “And I think that’s exactly right Brett. You have to do both, win and be competitive while building for the future”

      – It’s not even just Brett’s opinion, it’s what Jed & Theo have flat out said they will be doing. That’s why I keep trying to say to everyone, quit thinking we won’t compete for another 3 years!!!

      • Fishin Phil

        I think a more realistic view is something like this:

        2012 – Just don’t embarass us like last year’s team.  If they are around .500 at the end of the year, I will be happy.  Remember, that would still be a big improvement.

        2013 – Serious contenders for post season play.

        2014 – Start of perennial powerhouse.

        I wouldn’t say they can’t compete in 2012, I just think it is a lot to expect if you look at where they were at the end of 2011.

        • JulioZuleta

          Boom, but I’ll go as far to say that I won’t ever really look at record very much next year. We can improve and have a worse record if we see/develop some of the younger guys, ane make some moves to get better going in to 2013.

          • Luke

            I honestly can’t see how the Cubs could be worse in 2012. At the very least they should have a full year of five starting pitchers, and the minor league depth at starting pitcher will be much better in 2012 than it was in 2011… just in case double or triple injuries happen again. That alone should elevate the team to near .500. Factor in some defensive improvements (experience and less (or no) Soriano) and the fact that they simply can’t be worse with RISP no matter who they play, and .500 looks pretty reasonable.

            • JulioZuleta

              I agree, but you never know who could leave between now and April first. As awful defensively as he was, Ramirez’s numbers aren’t going to be duplicated by Ryan Flaherty or anyone that’s in house now. We most likely will lose Pena which is gold glove defense, 25 Hrs and 85 Rbis. Could lose Soriano who is another 25 ish homers (albeit bad D) could lose Byrd, could lose Soto, could lose Z, Garza, Marshall, Marmol… As it stands now, I don’t think .500 is out of the question. I guess it depends on how much rebuilding is in the works. I personally am setting my W-L expectations low for next season and will sit back and watch the progression of some young guys, see what moves we make, and not be too crushed if we are a 75 win team again. If we DO lose some or all of those guys, we will have some pretty sweet pieces to work with down the road. I really think its a win-win next year. In Theo we trust.

              • EQ76

                Keep this in mind, in 2011 the Cubs were dead last in fielding.. We were among the worst in starting pitching and had the worst stats out of our 4 & 5 starters, and Marmol sucked it up and doubled his blown save total from the previous year.

                If we sign a couple of decent starters and get decent to slightly above average production, and improve a little on defense, and fix our closer or get a new one, there’s very little reason to expect another bad season like the past 2.

                So, what if we sign Buehrle and a decent #5? What if we get Headley at 3B and make a good trade to fill in a hole or 2. What if we trade Soriano and plug in a good fielding LF that can hit his weight? That could help rectify some of our biggest problems from last year.

        • Max

          Cubs sweep the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015 World Series. Back to the Future Part II told me so.

          • Luke

            I’d believe the team currently known as the Tampa Bay Rays will be in the World Series in 2015. I’d believe the Cubs could win it in 2015.

            But I’m starting to doubt that the team currently known as the Tampa Bay Rays will in fact be playing anywhere near Tampa in 2015. That team has to be moved. Orlando, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Nashville, Charlotte, Portland, Vegas, San Juan… somewhere. They’d probably draw more fans in any of those cities than they in Tampa (except for some playoff games, of course).

            Once the CBA is done, I think the league focus is going to shift towards the sad, sad state of affairs in Tampa and what can be done about it.

            • JulioZuleta

              They are just opening a new stadium, they can’t possibly leave for at least 8-10 years I’d think. Also, if memory serves, the movie says “Cubs beat Miami in 2015” which would be the Marlins…both NL teams, damn.

              • EQ76

                True, so we’d need the Marlins to move to the AL.

              • Luke

                Tampa is opening a new stadium? I believe you’re thinking of Miami.

                One of the biggest problems in Tampa is that they can’t get a decent and well situated stadium built due to a whole bunch of local political stuff.

                • JulioZuleta

                  I just googled it, looks like they abandoned it. It was a cool design on the coast that looked like a sailboat. It was originally planned for 2012, I heard that it had been delayed, but now scrapped all together

                  • Luke

                    Yep. I was living in Orlando when that fight was going down. I wish they had been able to build that stadium – it would have been on the best places to catch a game on the East Coast.

      • Luke

        I don’t get the 3 year argument either. I really don’t get the 5 year argument.

        At the major league level, the Cubs should be about .500 in 2012 and be fighting for the division title in 2013. I expect they’ll continue on to dominate the division for the rest of the decade. And it won’t take blowing up the roster or a complete overhaul to get there.

        On the farm, the Cubs will have a top 10 farm system following the 2012 season (unless they make some Garza sized trades this offseason), and should be in and out of the top 5 for the rest of the decade.

        The foundation is basically in place. The pieces they still need tend to be the bigger, flashier pieces, but the supporting cast is not only in place, but it has a ton of depth behind it.

        Right now, I’m more optimistic about the state of the Cubs than I have been since the end of the 2003 season. I haven’t seen the organization, from top to bottom, be in this good of shape since that time.

        • JulioZuleta

          There’s no doubt the future is brighter than it has been in recent memory, and I have no doubt Theo and his boys are going to approach it the right way to create a system of sustainable success, with the occasional world series apperance.

          • Cubbie_Blue_13

            With new leadership, players who are hungry and want to win i see no reason why we dont make things fun in 2012. I mean i will never say my cubbies will not contend. As Theo said, each year brings a chance to win so i am sticking to that. If we just bring in guys who are hungry with a new culture i believe we will win in 2012.

  • CubFan Paul

    after seeing what the Padres got for Mike Adams (joe weiland & robbie erlin) im ALL for trading Marshall ..seriously, erlin is a stud & weiland aint bad either, Top 25 Farm talent

  • Ron

    I havn’t read all the comments on this thread but I would think that teams would be less likely to trade a boat load of prospects if the new CBA goes though because it will be harder to rebuild the farm through the draft.  I think that while Teo says he is listening noone is going to be buying high with prospects because of this.  What do you think Brett?

    • Brett

      I have the same concerns, though we’ll have to see the details of the changes to know how concerned we should actually be. And, whatever concerns we have, they’ll apply to every team – it will be the “new normal.”

  • Siquo

    In MLB 2K11, I got me Bruce Chen as a starting pitcher for the Cubs and won the WS, so why the hell not, haha.

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