There will be posts later today on the Cubs’ coaching staff search, and, of course, the Lukewarm Stove. Until then, bullets…

  • MLB and the Players’ Association are expected to announce a new collective bargaining agreement tomorrow, but some of the details have already leaked. Among the most notable changes that haven’t already been discussed? Blood testing for Human Growth Hormone (HGH), something the NFL has been doing for a while, and an increase in the number of Super Two arbitration-eligibles (increasing from the top 17% in service time among players with between two and three years service time to the top 22%, which could end up costing the Cubs a bunch more money on Starlin Castro). When the official, final deal is announced, I’ll have much more on the details, including the myriad of changes to the draft and free agent compensation.
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe – he of the continued ridiculous discussions about the Theo Epstein compensation issue – is now saying slightly less ridiculous things. He suggests the Cubs send Tyler Colvin to the Red Sox as compensation for Epstein, which is not insane, though still probably too much to pay. Even if you are of the mind that Colvin is not a future MLB regular (which is the way I lean), he has value as a cheap, cost-controlled, solid defensive outfielder with huge power. Value, that is, to both the Cubs and a future trade partner. Colvin, 26, didn’t get much of a chance to establish himself in 2011 after a breakout 2010 season, but, in what time he did have, he didn’t show much – Colvin hit a humbling .150/.204/.306 in 222 plate appearances.
  • …and in the same article, as if to preserve the cosmic balance, Cafardo resumes saying ridiculous things like, “[Dale] Sveum’s personality wouldn’t have gone over in Boston. He’s a nice guy with great baseball passion, but very quiet and not someone who could take the attention away from his team and put it on himself, which is what managers need to do in big markets.” Translation: we didn’t get Sveum, and you did, but pfft, we didn’t want him anyway.
  • The Arizona Fall League wrapped up this weekend. Josh Vitters and Junior Lake were recognized by the league for their performances, and DJ LeMahieu and Chris Carpenter also played well. Jeff Beliveau had only a limited time in the league, and Andrew Cashner was ineffective in his limited number of appearances. Trey McNutt’s performance was about average for the league, and Marcus Hatley didn’t do much to improve his stock with the Cubs.
  • It sounds as though new Chicago managers Dale Sveum and Robin Ventura will have a bustin’-each-others’-chops kind of relationship.
  • Sad news breaking this morning out of the Netherlands, where 24-year-old Mariners outfielder Greg Halman has died from apparent stab wounds. His brother is being questioned in connection with the death. Halman had played in 44 games over the last two seasons.
  • MLB is finally moving along on the process to allow the Oakland Athletics to move to San Jose. That’s not to say MLB will ultimately approve of or assist in the move, but the A’s have started checking off the boxes necessary to determine whether a move is possible. The biggest hurdle? The San Francisco Giants don’t want a team in San Jose, which is further away from San Francisco than Oakland, but more easily-accessible by the traditional San Francisco market.
  • Speaking of moves, Houston Astros fans are pretty upset about the move to the AL West – as many as 75% of fans oppose the move.
  • Fishin Phil
    • Speaking of moves, Houston Astros fans are pretty upset about the move to the AL West – as many as 75% of fans oppose the move.

    So what is that, like 42 people?

    • Todd

      The survey goes on to say those 75% wanted contraction, while 15% opposed the move to the AL, 7% were in favor of the move AL, and 3% said “Go Longhorns!”

      • Brett

        Ha. Nicely done by both of you.

  • Kyle

    I really don’t think Tyler Colvin has any trade value at this point. He’s a 26-year-old toolsy outfielder who can’t hit. I could throw a superball into a PCL lockerroom with my eyes closed and feel confident the ricochets would hit at least two guys who fit that description.

    If the Red Sox want him to beat the rush before he’s waived, go nuts.

  • JulioZuleta

    I think I’d be fine giving up Colvin and calling it a day. It seems like we pretty much know what we have with him, a guy who will hit for low average, big power, and play solid defense. But at his age and at this point, I don’t think he will ever be a viable big league regular. I know he didn’t get regular Abs last year, but that sample size still was over 220 plate appearances. I guess what I’m saying is he only makes a bad team like we had marginally better. I would venture a guess to say that in a year or two, he would have no place on this team anyways. I’d sleep better if we lost him than if we gave up a high ceiling guy like Lake or McNutt, even though I have fallen off the McNutt bandwagon.

  • Pat

    Colvin is awful. If it would settle the compensation issue finally, send him and be done with it. Not sure why Boston would want that .510 ops, but they can have it.

  • Bails17

    Colvin was Quadied this year.  He deserves a real shot without a manager who is setting him up to fail!!

    • Fishin Phil

      And if that manager is Bobby V or some other schmuck in Boston, that is fine as well.

      • Bails17

        I hear ya Phil….but I don’t want to get zero value and just see him go to Boston as the compensation.  He DOES have value.  Defense…speed…power.  He could bring a couple pieces back home in a trade.  Or…if we are going to strictly rebuild this year….let him play everyday and see if he can raise his trade value a bit.

        • CubFan Paul

          agreed @’let him play everyday and see if he can raise his trade value a bit.’

    • Deez

      Totally agree w/ that assessment. Quade was horrible for any young player last year + he was “IMPALED!” I think it played on his psyche.

  • Andy

    If the Cubs can sell Colvin as a having huge power potential that would be great. However, I’d be surprised if the brain trust in Boston agree. If the Cubs do push the “he’s never really had the opportunity” angle, then I hope to hell he gets traded, because I’d rather not give him the opportunity in Chicago. He’s going to be yet another prospect bust. I’d be very surprised if he hits 20 more home runs in his MLB career.

  • Cedlandrum

    If Colvin could iron out his swing he would have a good career in Boston with his gap approach and big power to right. He could also play pepper with the monster.
    People forget that Rudy tinkered with his swing in spring training to put a leg kick in. Colvin while in Iowa scraped it and changed some other stuff. So I think it is too early to write him off. If he can get back to what he knows, I think he can be a .260- 25-30 hr guy.

    • Luke

      Yep. I don’t think he’s going to lock down a starting job any time soon, but his swing was a mess last season compared with 2010. I think he is a little much to send to Boston as comp, but he makes a lot more sense than a lot of other names that have been tossed around by the Red Sox. If he stays with the Cubs… which is likely… I can’t see the downside to keeping him on the roster as a fourth outfielder to start the season. Get him some regular at bats, and see what he does. Worst case scenario, you waive him mid-season.

      • CubFan Paul

        is Colvin somewhere this winter working on that swing?? or home drinking to forget 2011?

        • Luke

          Camp Colvin was named after this guy for a reason. I’d be very surprised if he isn’t in a Cubs facility somewhere. His numbers were pathetic last year, but there is no faulting his attitude or work ethic. If he can’t get things turned around, I don’t think it’ll be for lack of trying.

  • KB

    Sayanora, Tyler.
    BTW, if I were an Astros fan, i would view the move to the AL WEst as non-sensical, and really bad for business. All those teams are one or two times zones away, so when are the fans gonna watch the games…10 till one a.m.?

    And since no one has clarified this, can anyone answer: Does this mean that now the entire 162-game season will feature constant inter-league play? Cause that’s the only way that this scenario is plausible.

    • JulioZuleta

      Yes, there will be interleague play every day of the season.

    • TJ

      Except for the Rangers, which are in-state. And the West Coast games would start no later than 9p.

    • Brett

      Yeah, it’s been discussed here before – the 15/15 setup will require year-long interleague play, with as many as 30 interleague games for each team.

      • hardtop

        i hate this.  i really hate the AL and how the teams are built.  Id prefer not to watch them.  for that matter, i didnt really like the interleague setup before  the only advantage was that the games we were required to play against the sux counted for something instead of just being more games.

        im a fan of moving a team out of our division (though it should have been the brewers), but pretty much everything else is poop.  including hard slotting.  bullshit. especially for teams like the cubs who have more or less ignored the minor leauge system until recently (relatively speaking). how selig went from selling used cars to the most powerful man in the game is beyond me.

    • Deez

      Didn’t they play in the National League West for like…
      24 years!?

  • Stinky Pete

    As far as the arbitration process goes, are arbiters still making judgements based on stats like BA and RBI?  Or have they embraced the “new wave”?  Just curious.

    • Brett

      I believe they can consider any information they deem relevant.

      • hansman1982

        About a year ago the Cubs posted for a position that would work closely with the GM to gather, interpret and present stats for arbitration hearings (among other duties). In the writeup it did say that you had to be well-versed in modern statistical analysis of players (or words to that effect), so I think any stat that is gathered or can be computed is up for grabs. You know that the player’s agent is going to pull up whatever they can.

        On a side note – I applied for the job (yes, I am THAT kind of schmuck) and never heard anything back.

    • hardtop

      for instance: does this particular teams uniform bring out the color in the players eyes?  if so, he has less value to other teams, and therefore, his contract amount should be lower.

  • oswego chris

    from my pointless need to defend sometimes…I would be upset as well if I were an Astro fan…they have more Seniority than both the Diamindbacks and the Marlins(kind of the Nationals too)…make one of them move…

    • Pat

      But then you’d still have to move a team out of the nl central.

  • oswego chris

    yes…the astros go the west to replace the d-backs….

    or the pirates go to the east to replace marlins or nationals….

    full-scale realignment really is what is needed…..

    • JulioZuleta

      I think the two-15 team-league format could be a precursor to contraction 6-8 years down the road. Either that, or they need to abolish the DH (which is way overdue).

  • TSB

    I think I’m going to (rhetorically) upchuck if I see the “I hope he plays better so as to increase his trade value” post one more time. While true, it can apply to any player on any roster, and thus is meaningless. The object is to get the best players on your team at the same time, not wait for a player to get good and then trade him for the always better sounding “prospects. One could easily say “let’s wait until Castro is at the top of his game, and trade him for prospects”. If Jackson makes a splash when he comes up to the Cubs, trade him too for prospects. Result: a team of almost brides, but never the actual bride.