Lukewarm Stove: Soriano, Pujols, Darvish, Fielder, Wood, Iannetta, Soto

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.

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

141 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Soriano, Pujols, Darvish, Fielder, Wood, Iannetta, Soto”

  1. Chief

    Wow. I ask a question in the MLBTR chat (The one about DeJesus and Soriano) and it makes it to BN. I feel so famous right now.

  2. Serio

    Soriano wooould hit some HR’s in The Cell

  3. MichiganGoat

    Here my question about Soriano: is it better for the Cubs to save 4-5M and get a mid-level prospect that isn’t exciting or save only 1M or nothing and get a top quality prospect. Sori is still a plus bat for 4-5M a year but if he was nearly free could the Cubs get a top prospect?

  4. ramin

    could it b dat the reason soto is staying because he could b in a package deal for chase headley

  5. EtotheR

    Juries aren’t involved in divorces! Juries aren’t involved in divorces!

  6. Spencer

    Or trade Garza after signing Darvish.

    1. BetterNews

      Don’t believe the Cubs will trade Gaza for “garbish”, sorry I meant Darvish!

  7. Barney S

    Good, let Yu get divorced. We need our players single, so that way when they’re slumping they can just go to a “slumpbuster” and be cured of the aforementioned slump!

  8. Andrewmoore4isu

    You k is once we trade soriano he’s hitting 35 bombs and wins a gold glove…

    1. louslew

      Convince the trading partner of that, maybe they will accept more of that salary. Pleez hurry!!

  9. Oswego Chris

    PDFD…I hate acronyms!…but here is my Positive DeJesus Fact of the Day

    he has never struck out 100 times in any season….

     

    last year Pena 161, Soriano and Soto 113 and 125…disrespectively

    1. MichiganGoat

      Great stat

    2. BetterNews

      Oswego—Yes, and have to like the OBP and RISP numbers also!

  10. cubbieroninbelleville

    Wow Brett, just found your site last week. What a great job you do bringing the news and breaking it down. Rest assured there are thousands of fellow Cub fans out there like myself who really appreciate your efforts. We are going to get there yet.

  11. MightyBear

    Got my BN t-shirt today, so I had to take a picture and show it off. What does everyone think? About the T shirt, not my picture.

    Going to wrap it up and put it under the tree for Christmas. DeJesus and a BN T-Shirt. Good day today. Thanks Brett.

    1. Katie

      Awesome tee!! And it was a good day today, wasn’t it?

      1. MightyBear

        Great day today. After the year Cubs Nation has had to suffer through this year, we need a lot more of these. It all started when Ricketts got Theo and since then, it just keeps getting better and better.

    2. TWC

      The shirt’s fine, but man, what a handsome mustache! You’d do Ron Swanson proud, MB!

    3. miggy80

      The Shirt Rocks MightyBear! I just ordered mine tonight!

    4. Jeff

      Now I’m going to have to grow a mustache before I order my shirt so I’m not shamed by MightyBear.  Well that, and you know, get a job that actually pays so I can afford one.

  12. die hard

    Did someone say Seattle’s Smoak? Heard that suggestion somewhere here before. Wonder
    who brought that up? How about Soriano to Seattle for Smoak ….Cubs pick up $50 mil of Sorianos salary and now have a tax writeoff over next 3 years…. Maybe Listach is working with Soto on making move to 3B. If he can, then with Smoak infield is set at 3 positions. Competition only at 2B unless Barney thrown in Smoak deal for minor leaguer. Agree that whenever the name Pujols or Fielder is mentioned the word smoke belongs in the same sentence.

    1. miggy80

      You might be on to something die hard. I know there have been a few catcher to 1st base moves and Biggio went from catcher to 2nd. Soto has the gun and he can dig pitches, so why can’t he dig hot shots. Is there any examples of a catcher making the transition to 3rd?

      1. BetterNews

        Neil Walker of the Pirates I do believe.

      2. Jeff

        Tyler Houston

    2. deej34

      Sorry diehard… but I still don’t think anyone sees Soto playing 3rd in the near future…..

  13. Ryan

    Wow. I’m sure glad Ricketts didn’t hire Dipoto to be our GM. My trust would not be with Dipoto after this one. Im miffed about that trade as well.

    1. BetterNews

      Miffed about what? Was a very smart trade.

      1. Ryan

        Very smart trade for Colorado.

        1. Ryan

          Although after looking a little bit closer at Ianetta’s numbers, I guess it wasn’t that lopsided as I originally thought.

          1. BetterNews

            What are you talking about?

  14. MoneyBoy

    Here’s a little bit of holiday cheer … “I don’t care what your name is fat man – get those reindeer off my roof.”

    In the right context “Yu Darvish” makes for a GREAT tee shirt … though, if on Taylor Street … “Yo Darvish” would/could be betta.

    Juries aren’t involved in divorces … lawyers are … thus the phrase .. “Why are divorces so expensive?   Because they’re worth it !!!”

    Sorry … the youngest of my 3 daughters turned 27 tonight … so dinner and wine was involved.

    Watching the end of the Bulls-Portland game on CSN reminds me of what “dynasty” means … and how much it meant to Chicago.   My “someday we’ll go all the way” wish for 2012 and beyond is that the “Trio” will bring that sort of dominance to 1060 soon!!!

    A close friend referred to DeJesus, appropriately I thought, as a “bridge.”   Not bad … not bad.

    Brett … saw something sayin’ Bailey was in play with Alonso … that would make good sense for both teams.   Beware Jocketty … he was the brain behind the Cards … and will continue to make the Reds “Dusty Proof.”

  15. BD

    “At what point do we consider the possibility that the Cubs might legitimately want to sign Albert Pujols?”

    If Theo thinks it is the right move, are you going to trust him? I think that’s what most of us have said previously; would this potential move change that?

    1. BetterNews

      I think Cubs make a move on Fielder, not Pujols

      1. die hard

        hope ur wrong but fear ur right…either would be bad move and too much for rookie mgr to deal with notwithstanding supposedly close ties ‘tween Fielder and Sveum…

        1. BetterNews

          Die Hard—I know you take a lot of heat for comments just as I do, goes with the territory when you question the “status quo”. However, you do bring up some good points.

  16. Mike F

    reports now out of St. Louis suggest the Cubs have legitimate and what is characterized as real and strong interest in Pujols. Balance that against the possibility they will bid him up, but even that would pay dividends.

    As to whether the Cubs should have interest, who can answer that? I know this, they don’t have a single legitimate middle of the order bat and bluntly have been missing one for a while. I think given the minors don’t have one, and one is no where in the offing realistically say even 2-3 years out, a better question is how could the Cubs not be looking at these two. Unfortunately we all our gun shy with Soriano, Bradley and Fukadome, but not every fa is a bad signing.

    Realistically, Fielder is more likely to leave, but even if you front load a deal to Pujols the Cardinals could match. Unlike the Cubs who have deeper pockets and a bigger market, though, the Cubs could really damage the Cardinals flexibility for a long time to come. Right now, the biggest need the Cubs have is a big bat followed closely by a couple of pitchers, or more. I don’t think there is any way remotely they can get a big bat and pitchers out of Garza. If you want to build minor league depth from Garza that’s one thing, you’re trading now for then and hoping then is sooner than your trading partner thinks. But the Cubs have several years of now to deal with and in Wrigley and Chicago, that’s pretty damn hard without at least 1 big bat.

    1. BetterNews

      Yes, but one has to remember, the Cubs are not the only club interested in Pujols, and Pujols has shown his loyalty to the “birds” and I don’t think he will leave! I think St. Louis makes a “behind the scenes” type deal with a stake in “management” after he calls it quits and he does finish a “bird”. Fielder is a horse of another color in that in that he is willing to be moved.

    2. BetterNews

      Also Mike, do you not think the “rumbles” in St. Louis as regard to the Cubs true intentions about Pujols are nothing more than to incite Cubs fans? I do.

    3. Cheryl

      Don’t the cubs have two or three first basemen they took in this last draft? What about the guy they took in the second round? Isn’t he considered someone who might be a middle of the order power batter? Granted it might be 2013 or 2014 before he or they are ready, but I thought that the draft we just had might lay the initial groundwork for the future.Is there a chance that the CBA rules may be modified when teams see the affect they have on the draft?

      1. BetterNews

        Yes, and I think your talking about Gretsky, the son of the “famous” hockey player Wayne Gretsky. That’s a few years off.

        1. hogie

          Vogelbach was taken in the second round, still a few years off though.

          1. BetterNews

            Yes, but Gretsky is 6″4″ with the reach for a first baseman! His problem is the wine, women, and dining, from what I have heard. But then again, what the hell do I know, my sources don’t exist!(LOL)

          2. BetterNews

            Volgelbach—This guy is 6 foot “folly” and 350 lbs(maybe a little bit exaggerated) last I checked, and Cubs won’t consider Fielder? Please!!!!!!!!!!!!

      2. Barney S

        Keep in mind that you can use prospects that are log-jammed in the minors as trade bait to fill the another “hole” for our team. Just like using cranberry vodkas as “trade bait” to let me fill a bimbo’s hole. MUAHaHAhahAHahAHahHa

      3. BetterNews

        Don’t believe the CBA can be “modified” at this point. Don’t take that as fact .

  17. Barney S

    I hooked up with a girl by telling her I was a member of the Cubs front office. A couple nights later I told a girl I was a member of the Cardinals front office and she said, “Who?” True Story

  18. Mike F

    I think where’s there’s smoke there’s fire. Think Charles Woodson and 2006, only two teams wanted him and the one that got him quietly paid him over an above the then market rate. He was rumored done, too slow, not a team leader, etc. Worked out pretty well for the Packers.

    I think the rumored sources in St. Louis aren’t Cub fans and don’t care about the Cubs. I also think Rosenthals logic and understanding of why the Cubs like Pujols better gels too. But I do agree, you likely have to load a lot of up front money and structure it to make it hurt for him to walk away. You have to understand the time value of money. Most agents do and have the built incentive of more commission up front being more valuable than 10 year annuities. Think 3 or four lump sums vs. a 10 year annuity. But even then, the Cardinals could match, it’s just that it would hurt. And it would severely hamper them if you do it right.

    I don’t know that I believe they can realistically sign either, it’s possible, I’m not sure it’s likely, but I know this, they don’t have a 3,4 and 5 and you won’t win a lot of games without that. The other side of the equation, if you want to add an arm or two, you have to get better bats. I like the DeJesus move, think it’s exactly right, but it’s just a smaller move, they have to get the big bat, and unlike most, I don’t think trading for Mitch Moreland and asking him to do that is the answer.

    One more thing, I really believe unlike Hendry who chased one little girl with curls until the candy store closed, I think Theo probably has a variety of options and alternatives and will work through them exhausting quickly and moving on.

    1. BetterNews

      Yes, a lot of “smoke” which means a “smoldering fire”.

  19. Mike F

    The thing we all have to remember is we’re seeing information from one side: the player / agent, as the Cubs aren’t talking. So what we are really seeing is moving parts which are disjoint and trying to draw conclusions.

    The Cubs need a centerpiece, a guy that lifts the team they don’t have it, if they can get it, I firmly believe they will try and they won’t talk about it. Who knows if it’s Fielder or Pujols, it could be either. They need a bat probably at 3rd base, and probably a left handed one. And they need a couple of starters. You’re not hearing much about CJ Wilson or Jackson so those are names to watch too. If they intend to trade Garza, my assumption is they will want at least 2 high rated mnors guys and ML prospect type guy. We’ll have to see, but in that case they probably have to sign some people soon, it wouldn’t be wise to get caught naked, in the later years, Hendry did a lot of that, fixate on a guy, go empty and end up naked. I think between now and the time the Winter Meetings end they will sign a pitcher, how good that pitcher is and if it’s more than one will go a long way in being a significant tip of the direction they intend to take with Garza.

    I hope they offload Soriano, but they won’t get anything back there. I think Marmol could be gone to a team like Boston for a ML prospect and minor league prospect and Soto, I would think you get a prospect or two for. But I think Pitching, in terms of trading for a quality arm will be nearly impossible, the Cubs have too few arms that are above A ball and the caliber to get a Danks or Gonzalez.

    1. BetterNews

      Smouldining, fire Its done, I don’t care how you spelll it

  20. Barney S

    I really like the idea of Pujols in a front loaded contract for a number of reasons that have all been mentioned.
    With Pujols in a front loaded contract it makes it hard to spend money on other players now though. That’s why I like the idea of Fielder, because although in the end you spend the same amount of money, Fielder would be stretched out further giving more cap space per year.
    Don’t get me wrong though, if we signed either of these stars it would be Legen…wait for it…. I hope Fielder’s not lactose intolerant because that would make a smelly clubhouse and the next part of this word is DARY!
    Legendary!!!

    1. BetterNews

      Seems to me you are “looking at everything front loaded”! LOL

  21. john

    If Carlos Pena can get 10 mil per surely Soriano is worth that?
    He may not be ideal in the OF but he can still play there. DH only?
    The Cubs could dump him for 24 mil easy. And if we did get Fielder
    wouldn’t Soriano benefit hitting in front of him. There is value there.
    Soriano/Colvin platoon would get 40+ HR 100+ RBI that’s worth 20 mil per

    =R

    1. BetterNews

      Let me think about that one.

    2. BetterNews

      John———-Where do you see the”value”?

    3. Bails17

      No way Soriano is worth 10 mil a year.

      1.  Pena is a gold glove first basemen.

      2.  Soriano SUCKS in the OF

      3.  Pena hits from the left side.

      4.  Pena walked over 100 times last year.

      5.  Soriano walked 27 times!!

      No my friend…he is not worth 10 mill….but neither is Pena IMO.

      1. john

        Based on Soriano in the 3 spot in front of Fielder. I believe
        he hits .275 25+ HR 80+ RBI 90+ Runs 70/30 split with Colvin

        1. Dougy D

          I would be utterly depressed if I looked at the line up card and saw Soriano in the 3 spot. I may not even watch that game.

    4. Bails17

      And…if you platoon Soriano and Colvin…Colvin would get the lions share of the ABs….how do you figure that is going to get you 40HRs….My guess is you would have very similar numbers as Soriano put up this year in a platoon.

      1. john

        No Soriano can hit alot of righties. If he hits in front of Fielder he
        will see more fast balls. That’s why Piniella batted him 1st. You would use Colvin in late innings and against tough right handers. Soriano hits 25+ HR 15+ left for Colvin.

        1. Bails17

          Your dreaming John…Soriano only hit 7 HRs off of Lefties all year last year….so where are you getting you 25+ HRs from?  Colvin didn’t hit over .200 last year….where do you so that happening?

          Soriano is not like a Matt Holiday or Ryan Braun who is really going to benefit from hitting in front of a big stick.  He doesn’t have the plate discipline to force guys to throw him more fastballs in the zone.  His walk rate MAY go up slightly.  But…if you bat him third he will be striking out plenty with RISP.  He is a mistake hitter at this point in his career.  If a guy misses his spot with the FB or hangs an OSP then he has a chance.  But for the most part if a guy executes on the mound…Sorryiano is AN EASY OUT.

          1. Fishin Phil

            I’m sorry, but the mere though of Soriano batting third is giving me a raging case of the heebie jeebies!

            1. Bails17

              AGREED Phil….

              John…you want to put a guy in the 3 hole that had an OBP of .289 last year and truck out 1 out of every 5 ABs.  The key to your statements here John…is YOU BELIEVE…but nobody else does!!

            2. BetterNews

              Absolutely!

          2. john

            By the way Soriano hit .285 .331 .508 .839 RISP and .364 bases loaded

            1. BetterNews

              What year?(LOL)

              1. john

                Last year (check his splits)

              2. BetterNews

                Yes, but in seaons gone bye, he has never posted good nunbers under pressure and he never will!(Did I say that?)

            2. Bails17

              He is a career .257 hitter with RISP.  He has a .260 career AVG in the 3 hole with an OPS of .760.  Is that the 3 hole hitter I want!?!  Hell no!  All this while being protected by (we would assume) a very good clean up hitter.  Most of that was in the PRIME of his career when he could hit a little.

              1. john

                He batted leadoff for most of that time and was hitting 40+ HRs

                1. Bails17

                  Well John…in 2004 with Texas he had over 115 ABs in the 3 hole.  That is a year where he put up .280 AVG and 28 HRs.  That is his best year hitting in the 3 hole.  BTW…Two years later in 2006 he hit primarily in the lead off spot and put up BIG numbers in that spot.  They tried batting him third that year too.  Let’s see what happened.

                  Here is the split from 06 in the lead off spot and the 3 hole:

                  Lead Off.  .294 AVG / .956 OPS

                  3 Hole.  .153 AVG / .568 OPS

                  Come on John…he is NOT a 3 hole hitter!  Period

  22. john

    How about Pujols 10 year 250 mil?
    30 30 30 30 30 (age 37) 25 23 20 17 15

    1. BetterNews

      how about 10 yesr 359 mil(LOL)

      1. john

        All things being equal. If the Cards are at 9/200 the Cubs would have to bump that.to 9/225 or 10/250

        1. BetterNews

          If we set at everything equal, unemployment would be zero!

          1. john

            So you think Pujols jumps ship for same contract as Cards are offering?

            1. BetterNews

              Nope! I said that that from day one! Does that mean I have a crystal ball? Of course not. but I do have a “source”.

  23. john

    Who would you take right now Pujols or Arod?

    1. BetterNews

      Pujols

      1. john

        Now look at Arods contract.

  24. die hard

    An offer to Pujols or Fielder that is more than 5 yrs, not incentive laden, and includes no trade protection is Sorinsane.

    1. john

      So, I guess you’ll settle for Pena then?

  25. john

    First of all he hasn’t batted first in 3 years. Second every hitter in front of the likes of Fielder hits well. Thirdly, If you understood baseball you would know that the 3 hole hitter sees the most fastballs. Even Pujols had problems in the playoffs due to Holidays poor performance. They were throwing him junk and he bit. Why? No fear of Holiday.

    1. Bails17

      If I understood baseball?  John…I would wager that I have both played, coached and seen 3 times the number of baseball games you have ever even thought of seeing…playing, coaching, and as a fan.  This statement coming from a guy who wants to bat Sorryiano in the 3 hole!!  Sorry bud…you are going way to far on this one!

      1. CubFan Paul

        LOL! (ha!)

  26. Bob

    Won’t Darvish make more money this year than next based on the CBA changes? If so,