It was another busy day, with the Chicago Cubs making their first move of the offseason – signing outfielder David DeJesus to a two-year, $10 million deal (with a team option for 2014) – and the rumor mill kept on churning…
- With DeJesus in the fold, you can expect the Alfonso Soriano rumors to kick up even more aggressively – if there are any rumors to be had, that is (Ken Rosenthal suggested yesterday that some teams are interested). The Cubs owe Soriano $54 million over the next three years, but are willing to eat a considerable amount of that to move Soriano, saving a little scratch in the process, and opening up a roster spot for another player (which may or may not be top prospect Brett Jackson). If he’s to be moved, it’ll be to an AL team where he can DH. Teams that make sense for Soriano include the Angels, the Mariners, the Orioles, and even some smaller market clubs looking for a DH on the cheap, like the Rays or the A’s.
- Now a source out of St. Louis is confirming that the Cubs have “serious interest” in Albert Pujols. The Cubs, mind you, could still be conveying “serious interest” in an effort to drive up Pujols’ price, or Pujols’ agent could still be embellishing. But it’s getting smoky. At what point do we consider the possibility that the Cubs might legitimately want to sign Albert Pujols? He’s got an obvious tie to St. Louis, and a reported nine-year, almost-$200 million offer on the table from them. Is it even reasonable for the Cubs to try and beat that?
- Cubs’ GM Jed Hoyer played coy today when asked about the Cubs’ link to Pujols and Prince Fielder. “As I’ve stated in the past, we’re a major market team and we’re going to be involved across the spectrum,” Hoyer said. “I’m not going to address whether we’re on or off individual players other than the fact that we’re in contact with a lot of teams and a lot of agents and we’re doing everything we can to improve the team for next year and the future.”
- Hoyer was more direct on the subject of bringing Kerry Wood back next year. “We’d love to bring Kerry back,” Hoyer said. “He had a great year last year and he’s an excellent ambassador for the Cubs. The stated goal of bringing Kerry back has been made very clear.”
- Despite their interest in Geovany Soto, the Angels tonight pulled the trigger on another catcher deal – sending top young pitcher Tyler Chatwood to the Rockies for Chris Iannetta. It’s a pretty incredible haul for the Rockies considering Iannetta’s park-adjusted production is only so-so (99 career OPS+), and he could be a free agent after 2012. He’ll make $3.5 million in 2012 (with a voidable 2013 option that includes a $250k buyout). I can’t help but think Soto would have been a more attractive target, but the Cubs must have been asking for more than Chatwood (a top 100 prospect type, who made his debut last year at just 21). This will take some time to process, but I think I might be a bit miffed.
- The jury is still out (that’s a preemptive pun…) on whether Japanese ace Yu Darvish will be posted this Winter. Jon Heyman says it’s still likely to happen in about two weeks. Other sources say his pending divorce (…and there’s the payoff) could still gum up the works. Setting aside the Cubs’ anticipated pursuit of Darvish (and the commensurate discussions about how outrageous the posting fee might get), I’d like to offer a thought: if the Cubs are going to deal Matt Garza this Winter, why not do so when the possibility of Darvish entering the market is still gray? For now, it’s one fewer top arm on the free agent market, making Garza that much more attractive.
- More evidence that the Rockies are in on Prince Fielder. Their GM all but confirms it.
- The Rangers, among other teams, are really interested in picking up a closer like the A’s Andrew Bailey. That’s only to say: the market remains there for a Carlos Marmol trade if the Cubs are so inclined.
- MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes (whom I interviewed earlier today) thinks the Cubs could be in on Edwin Jackson, Yu Darvish, Albert Pujols, Kelly Johnson and Justin Smoak (if the Mariners made him available). Dierkes also thinks the DeJesus signing doesn’t signal much in the way of a Soriano trade or the Cubs ducking out on Yoenis Cespedes. It was simply a matter of the Cubs needing a right fielder, and DeJesus being one of the few quality options available on the market this year, according to Dierkes.