Lukewarm Stove: Fielder, Garza, Marmol, Capuano, Pujols, Pena, Soler

There’s a lot of good stuff rolling on the rumor mill today, which should give us plenty to discuss this weekend before the Winter Meetings start on Monday. Remember: “like” Bleacher Nation on Facebook and follow it on Twitter to get updates as quickly as I have them.

  • The Brewers are reportedly willing to offer Prince Fielder six years and $120 million to return to Milwaukee. *beat* *double-take* If the Brewers are genuinely making Fielder that offer, it’s a strong hint that Fielder’s market price is not going to approach 8 years and $200 million. That’s not to say the Brewers are making a “market” offer, but there’s no way they’d offer him something so far below what he could get elsewhere. If the Brewers are offering 6/$120M, the Cubs should immediately offer him 5/$120M or 6/$140M and go from there. If Fielder signs for anywhere in that range, and it isn’t with the Cubs, I’ll be aggressively upset.
  • Too many members of the media are taking Epstein’s comments about Matt Garza yesterday to mean he won’t be traded this Winter. Epstein said no such thing. Epstein didn’t say “Matt Garza is going to be a guy we build around.” Instead, he said Matt Garza is “exactly the type of guy we’d like to build around.” Read those words carefully, friends, because I’m quite sure Epstein chose them quite carefully. The type of guy. We’d like build around. And later, Epstein says an organization has to be realistic about its window of competitiveness, and says he’s open to anything? If you still don’t believe the Cubs are speaking with other teams about a possible Matt Garza trade, let me say as assertively as I can: they are. The odds of an eventual trade remain small (that’s the way it is with most prospective trades), but keep an eye on where CJ Wilson and Mark Buehrle end up.
  • Speaking of which, Jon Heyman says that opposing GMs believe the Cubs will trade Matt Garza.
  • Heath Bell – a very good, but aging closer – just got $27 million over three years from the Marlins. The market for Carlos Marmol – who was never really attached to the Marlins in rumors – just improved another tick. I’ve heard that a number of teams remain interested in Marmol.
  • The Twins have reportedly joined the Dodgers as competitors with the Cubs for Chris Capuano’s services in 2012.
  • Jeff Passan says the Cubs should sign Albert Pujols because it would be good for baseball (he’s not, like, actually advocating the Cubs do it for the good of baseball, he’s just being clever). He likens the excitement to that of LeBron James heading to Miami, and I’ll confess: as an upside to signing Pujols, I’ve underestimated the gnashing of teeth in St. Louis. That would be swell.
  • Jon Paul Morosi suggests the Blue Jays could sign Prince Fielder, and then flip first baseman Adam Lind to the Cubs for Matt Garza. Lind, 28, hasn’t had an OPS+ above 100 since 2009. His OPS the last two years? .712 and .734. He’s signed long-term to a cheap deal, but, like, he hasn’t been any good. There’s nothing here.
  • Rob Neyer (man, haven’t heard his name in a while) guesses that Carlos Pena will get about two years and $18 million, and mentions the Cubs as a possible return-landing spot. It’s not impossible, but it’s unlikely.
  • I’ve heard the Cubs might consider bringing in Jason Varitek as a backup catcher/veteran clubhouse presence, which, shrug. There’s not much to get excited about there, though he’s a massive upgrade over Koyie Hill. You have to wonder what adding an external backup catcher would mean for Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger, though.
  • Kevin Goldstein guesses the top landing spots for 19-year-old Cuban prospect Jorge Soler as Yankees, Rangers, and Phillies. No mention of the Cubs – of course, Twitter is limited…
  • Various Japanese pitchers - Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada among them – are officially free agents now. The Cubs figure to have some interest because, well, they’re interested in anyone who can throw a baseball.

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

164 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Fielder, Garza, Marmol, Capuano, Pujols, Pena, Soler”

  1. BetterNews

    I find it very hard to believe the Cubs are actually considering Capuano and moving Garza. Just doesn’t make sense.

    1. Toosh

      Capuano signed with the Dodgers.

    2. Hangman

      The Cubs aren’t contenders if thet were they would be making moves on CJ wilson or talking about making big trades for for SP with the A’s or White Sox. And the reason we aren’t. Is because they don’t have the talent to get those types of players in trade.

  2. BetterNews

    I don’t see what all the “fuss” is about when it comes to Headley. I think if the Cubs wanted to, they could move DeWitt to 3rd and he would be just as effective and save the club bucks too.(What does Headley command, 2.6 mil vs Dewitt at.5 mil)

    1. ferrets_bueller

      While they currently are equal(-ish), Headley is producing (at home) at the bottom of his potential, while DeWitt is playing near the top of his. Headley can be a .300+ hitter with 15 hr power in a park like wrigley, something dewitt could never dream of.

  3. Lou Cub

    Headly is a complete player and at 27 could lock down 3rd for the next 6-7 years..I bet his offensive numbers increase outside of PETCO too…I’m glad we missed out on Capuano, old Ned Colletti overpays for EVERYONE!!!!

    1. BetterNews

      What do mean by “complete” player? Off top of my head I think DeWitt and Headley numbers are comparable, and you have to remember DeWitt is younger and has never played a full season, so I see nothing but “upside” with DeWitt, and like I said, much more affordable.

      1. Jeff

        Headley is statistically the best defensive third baseman in baseball.  DeWitt falls somewhere far behind that.  DeWitt’s career OBP and walk rate are not comparable to Headley.  I am not sure where you see the “upside” in DeWitt, he’s been getting regular MLB playing time for four years and his numbers are getting worse as he goes along.

        1. Shawn

          There is what a year difference in age between the two? Not that big a factor. Headley has a higher career OPS+ and has the speed to steal about 15 bases. Headley is a better player, and hopefully the Cubs can work something out to acquire him.

          1. BetterNews

            Also, I would consider bringing up Vitters before I took Headley.

            1. ferrets_bueller

              Thats…ridiculous. There is very little chance Vitters provides more than a marginal improvement over Headley on offense (especially with headley moving to wrigley…), while Vitters would prove a significant, significant downgrade over Headley on defense. Its not even close.

        2. BetterNews

          Jeff—Dewitt has been platooned since coming to the Cubs. I do’t think he has 250 AB’s in a season since coming here. Also, OBP is pretty comparable. I’m just saying I don’t know that Headley is worth 2 mil more than DeWitt.

          1. Jeff

            You have a point on DeWitt’s playing time, but he has gotten regular time in stretches and failed to impress, well, anyone but Greg Maddux.  His defense was pretty awful at third last year, 5 errors in 14 games, and it wasn’t much better anywhere else he played.  Their career OBP is fairly similar, with Headley 15 points or so higher, but it seems like Headley figured it out last year and jumped his OBP 30 points.  His numbers away from Petco look pretty good.  I think the biggest thing is how well he plays defense, and yes I do think he’s worth 2 million more than DeWitt for his defense alone.  I am not sold on Headley by any means, but I do like him better than DeWitt, and pretty much any other option that has been mentioned.  He seems like a guy who is entering his prime and could be a very valuable player for the next 6 years or so.  He reminds me a lot of Bill Mueller, who became a big contributer when he went to Boston, despite not so great numbers beforehand.

        3. Pakman23

          Chase Headley’s walk rate is 9.6% and Dewitt’s is 9.5% career. And that includes a year with Rudy the swing at everything Jarimillo. And the obp’s of .343 and .329 don’t blow the mind for either player, Dewitt has shown an ability to get on base at a .350 clip, so it’s not unthinkable that he couldn’t return. And the SLG % is about the same too. With the amount we would give up to acquire Headley the amount of return above what Dewitt could offer is marginal at best. Even defensively. (of which he was worth a monstrous -9 wins last year.

          I should also add that in 2008 – Dewitt’s only significant time at 3rd- he lead the league in zone rating And range factor for the position.

          1. BetterNews

            Thanks PaK—I’m taking that as you agree.

          2. BetterNews

            Also, what about the RTB factor, we will be hearing more about that in the near future,.

          3. Jeff

            “With the amount we would give up to acquire Headley the amount of return above what Dewitt could offer is marginal at best. Even defensively. (of which he was worth a monstrous -9 wins last year”

            Headley was at around +17 wins defensively last year.  I’d say that’s more than marginal.

            1. ferrets_bueller

              and away from Petco, Headley is a .301 BA, .850 OPS career hitter. Thats a fair bit more than “marginal.” Last season, he was comparable to Michael Young- .330, .865. (slightly higher ops, slightly lower BA). At 3B, thats damn near elite.

  4. jrod

    Cubs hire bosio as pitching coach

  5. ramin

    this has nothing to do with this post but fyi, Pat hughes will be signing his book on ron santo december 6 at des plaines sams club

  6. ramin

    11 am-2pm

  7. JulioZuleta

    from mlbtr: “•Bleacher Nation makes a case for and against the Cubs signing Prince Fielder.”

    Gettin some love from the mothership of baseball blogs. Nice.

  8. BetterNews

    BoSox fans are dreaming again! They actually think they are going to get Garza for a couple of prospects and Epstein compensation. That’s funny.

    1. Lou Cub

      I’m still wagering that if we trade Matt Garza it’s to the Rangers..but wouldn’t it be funny to see us trade Garza to the Yankees just to stick it to the RedSox Nation and Management?

      1. BetterNews

        Could happen bro!(Stick it to theBoSox deal)

  9. MichiganGoat

    Thoughts on the news that Chris Bosio is the new pitching coach?

  10. BetterNews

    MG–How much is a pitching coach worth? You take it in stride.

    1. MichiganGoat

      I think the Cardinals and Dave Duncan or the Braves and Leo M would argue they are quite valuable.

      1. BetterNews

        How much does Chris Bosio really bring to the table?

        1. EtotheR

          I don’t think we know yet…

          Both good and bad pitching coaches start somewhere…

          I think good pitching coaches can have a real effect…a pitcher’s effectiveness can be genuinely upgraded by even subtle changes. Good pitching coaches can identify nuances, explain them to the pitcher, and help to make changes.

          Bosio is the guy our new manager likes…what other criteria (on him) really exists?

          1. BetterNews

            None! No critria really exists as far as I know, which brings to my point of how much a pitching coach is worth?

            MichiganGoat needs to explain and keep the goat crap aside.

        2. Jeff

          I don’t know how much a pitching coach can improve a team, but I do know that Bosio has to bring more to the table than Mark Riggins did.   I also know that he turned the Mariners and Brewers minor league affiliates that he coached into the best statistical pitching staffs in their respective leagues when he took them over.

          1. BetterNews

            Oh! And that has nothing to do with the pitchers?

            1. Jeff

              Not if you see the kind of pitchers he was working with.  I will skip the rest unless you really want to get into it, but just for an example;  He coached Dennys Stark to a 29-4 record over two years, with an era in the low 2′s, I’m sure I don’t have to point you to Stark’s career numbers after he quit working with Bosio, but they aren’t pretty.  There are other examples from the Mariners, Reds, and Brewers organizations with similar upticks when working with Bosio.  I know you can’t say for certain that it was Bosio’s coaching that got them pitching so well, but it does give him some kind of positive track record, which Mark Riggins definitely didn’t have.

              1. BetterNews

                I’m just gonna leave it at pitching coaches are not that important in the over all scheme of baseball. Yes, minor leagues I would agree! But once your in the Majors, I think a pitching coach does very littlle, as players know what they have to do. Can a pitching coach “spot” things with a “pro”, sure, but he does not make or break the “pro”.

                1. Jeff

                  You’ve got a point.  By the time pitchers reach the majors, all a pitching coach should have to do is help with consistency and adjustments.  The Cubs do have, or will have, some young pitchers that are going to need some veteran guidance, and the fact the Bosio has been through the ringer as a player and helped in some pitchers development as a coach, has to give him some kind of value to the team.

                  1. BetterNews

                    Jeff—There is value. But by the same token, how much has the value really increased with the Cubs when it comes to the pitching coach? Not being smart, just asking.

                    1. Jeff

                      You and I both know that logic and statistics really don’t come into play with the Cubs.  So, even though I was trying to make a point that pitching coaches have an impact, the fact is, you really can’t put a quantifiable figure on it.  I think we can both agree that having a bad or ineffective pitching coach will negatively affect a team negatively, and having a good one will affect it positively, but there is no way to really know how much, there are too many variables.  I think all we can do is look at experience and past history.  I’m sure that’s what most pitching coaches do anyway, draw on past experience to help their pitchers.

                    2. BetterNews

                      Well spoken and I agree!

                    3. cubbiecop

                      I believe a pitching coach can be very valuable to a team.  Look at Dave Duncan from the Cards.  He seems to have a knack for getting pitchers that have stunk it up with their prior teams and turn them into productive “decent” pitchers.  Obviously Riggins didn’t know his butt from a hole in the ground and made our staff worse than before.

                      I know we had injuries to the rotation very early on in the season, but he didn’t show me he could manage a major league pitching staff.  Sad to say but I would have loved to get Duncan from the Cards, I think he would have had a great impact on Wells and Cashner.  They couldn’t have been any worse.  I’m hoping Wells continues his hot streak into next season.  Whatever Dempster said to him seemed to light a huge fire under him! 

                      Now if Dempster could have only done that with Marmol….

                      On a completely different topic i know this would be a pipe dream but wouldn’t it be great to have Sandberg as the Manager, Grace as the hitting coach and Maddux as the pitching coach?  That would be like a wet dream come true for me.  But we will see what the new staff does.  I have confidence in Theo and Svem until proven otherwise.

      2. hansman1982

        NOOOO, its all about the players, clearly the Braves and Cardinals have the best staffs in the league, just like the Cardinals and Rangers were the best two teams this year, Managers and their coaching staffs mean virtually nothing, the change from Quade to Tony LaRussa (hate him if you will but that man can polish turds into diamonds) is a win or two at most a year.

        I really do hate the argument that coaching staffs are nearly worthless.

        There is a question “Would you rather have $1M payable in 30 days or $.01 but you earn 100% interest compounded daily for the next 30 days?”  Now, obviously, you take the $.01.  But let us tweak this a little bit.  Let us say the coaching staff is the interest rate and the players are the penny.

        Let us say there is a 1% difference in win performance each year between a Quade staff and a TLR staff due to increasing the effectiveness of the players and a general better knowledge of the game.  Obviously this effect compounds over time as players mature and the organization develops around a common philosophy.

        If we were to take the penny analogy and change it to 101% interest compounded daily, at the end of day 2 you would only notice a difference of 1/10th of 1 cent, but at the end of the 30 days you would have $835,489.11 more.

        And that my friends is where the value of a good manager, pitching coach, hitting coach, etc, comes into play.

        1. BetterNews

          yep, worth nothing!

  11. BetterNews

    I know people are gonna scream Rothschild, but I don’t believe he made that big of a difference, i’ll give him some, maybe 5%. And that is generous.

    1. MoneyBoy

      @ BetterNews … Just for the record … Rothschild is held in pretty high esteem.  I’ve been told that the Yankees asked for permission to speak to Cooper, and when denied, went after Larry.

      I won’t assign value to the performance of Garcia and Colon solely to Rotschild… but they certainly had much better years than anyone might have expected going in.

      1. BetterNews

        Whats your point?

        1. EtotheR

          You know his point…through complex study, insight, player interviews, undercover work, laboratory science, and MIT-level social, engineering, and kinesiology analysis…you determined that Larry Rothschild had no more than a 5% (positive) effect on the performance of his pupils.

          He disagreed.

          1. BetterNews


            1. EtotheR

              Yeah…but, probably true.

              How can any of us watch from the sofa, bleachers, or even premium seating, and be able to know the effect of any pitching coach?

              If a pitcher makes an adjustment…and, suddenly does better…how do we really know the source for the change?

              Remember when they thought Dempster was tipping his pitches? Now…he does that funky move with his glove. Did it work? I can’t attach the change to any stats, but it is possible that it elevated his own confidence. And…the change itself was (at the very least) a unique approach. It showed a willingness to try something different.

              At the end of the day…we’re all just stating our opinions. We love the Cubs. We love the game. Having a point of view is part of the fun.

    2. Jeff

      I was never a big Rothschild fan either.  I just think that Mark Riggins was so bad and invisible that it makes anything positive that Rothschild does the rest of his career look like he has the Midas Touch.

  12. BillyGoat

    I first have to say,I just LOVE your Site. This is my first time at writing anything on here,so I hope I don’t get slammed to bad. I just happed to read that the Mariners would like to unload Chone Figgins. I also hear their number one goal is to add power. Whats your thoughts on a Alfonso Soriano,Chone Figgins swap. I realize Figgins had a bad year,last year, but I do like his career stats. He also gives you speed and can play all over.

    1. BetterNews


    2. BetterNews

      Maybe throw in Wrigley Field!(LOL)

    3. Jeff

      Figgins has had two awful years in a row and looks like he’s done.  He’s a speed guy who has lost a step or two, not the kind of guy the Cubs need.

  13. die hard

    Chen’s fastball is as low as 87 mph and he had TJ surgery in 2006
    Wada is 30 yrs old and fastball as low as 80 mph

    Maybe they can pitch batting practice?

    1. Jeff

      Wada’s fastball is consistently in the 86-88 range and he has a plus slider and circle change.  He is definitely a left handed finesse pitcher, but his stuff looks pretty good, and he has outstanding control.  If he can handle the workload, he is definitely worth the 4-5 million a year/ 2 year deal that is being projected for him.

      1. BetterNews

        Are you kidding me? This not”Alice in Wonderland” folks.

        1. Jeff

          I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean.  If you are insinuating that a finesse lefty can’t make the transition to MLB and be an effective starter, then I suggest you get your resume out there and get into an MLB front office, because you know more than everyone else.

    2. BetterNews

      Go get um Die Hard

    3. BetterNews

      Right on the money!

  14. EtotheR

    You know what I love?

    I couldn’t imagine that Brett was going to be able to start a Cubs-centric website as a baseball “outsider”, and come up with any sort of meaningful information that we couldn’t get from mainstream channels.

    Man…was I wrong, or what?!

    Not only has he worked his tail off to develop connections, he makes certain to present the information in a truly measured, insightful, and colorful way. He’s careful to make sure we know when he’s stating an opinion, is the most timely source on the internet, and just writes so friggin’ well…

    And…he never pretends to be anything he’s not. He doesn’t overstate his place in this whole mess (in fact…quite the opposite), and doesn’t pretend to have any more ESP than anyone else.

    I think they used to call this good journalism.

    So…with that…we should probably try to do the same with our own opinions. Just preachin’ a bit. Cain’t hep it. It’s like…in my DNA.

    1. BetterNews


    2. BetterNews

      Talk about a kiss ass comment, there you have it!!!!!!!!!!

    3. Jeff

      You just haven’t seen him on the message boards yet.  He’s all “B***** this is my site, don’t post your garbage on King Brett’s golden fleece, go back to kindergarten motherf******”  Just kidding, he’s pretty cool there too, actually he shows a lot more personality there, so check it out.

  15. ferrets_bueller

    Also, you guys really should look into Headley’s career Home/Away splits. The away is…well, QUITE impressive. .303 w/.805 OPS career (vs. .229, .655 home) in over 2000 PAs, and an EXTREMELY impressive .330 .864 last season alone.
    So, in other words…away from Petco, Chase Headley was better than Michael Young. At the plate, and on the field.

  16. ben johnson

    acually seattle has the money for prince fielder in fact they have more they are just aftraid to admit it also when chone figgens is the second highes paid player on the team they will trade him and get prince fielder