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The Winter Meetings roll on with things picking up a bit, though the heavy action is away from the Cubs…

  • The potential trade market for Carlos Marmol just shrank, as the Toronto Blue Jays picked up White Sox closer Sergio Santos for a good-not-excellent AA pitching prospect, Nestor Molina. Signed to a very team-friendly deal, Santos was a pretty valuable closer, and, if the return to the White Sox is any indication, the closer market is officially saturated. Combine that with the fact that the move took the Jays off the market for a closer – with a guy who wasn’t thought to be “available,” no less – and trading Carlos Marmol may no longer be an obviously advantageous move for the Cubs. It’s still very early, as many closer options remain out there (and many teams still look), but the tea leaves took a turn.
  • Following the trade, White Sox GM Kenny Williams conceded that it was time for a “rebuilding” on the South Side. If that’s the case, you can look for them to make pitchers John Danks and Gavin Floyd, each potentially a free agent after 2012, more widely available on the market. Earlier, it was reported that Williams’ asking price (from the Yankees) on Danks was absurdly high. I reckon that will be changing soon. Bruce Levine has said for weeks that the Cubs should pursue Danks. For what it’s worth, Williams said he didn’t expect to trade any of the team’s pitchers, but, well, that doesn’t quite square with the “rebuilding” comment. Gut says they’re available (hey, so does ESPN’s Sahadev Sharma’s gut).
  • The Marlins are making a strong push for Albert Pujols (reports have their offer at 10 years, $220ish million, and potentially a partial no-trade clause), and where he’ll end up depends on whom you ask. It almost certainly won’t be the Cubs, though, despite this morning’s report of an offer. If Pujols goes to the Marlins, as I said earlier, you can expect the Cubs to inquire on Marlins’ current first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who would find himself without a position. Sanchez, 28, is not “young,” but he’s cheaply under team control (first arbitration year isn’t until 2013), and has put up back-to-back solid offensive seasons (though far from great – 108 OPS+ in 2010, 113 in 2011). I’d also like to see the Cubs make a push for Logan Morrison, who can also play first base.
  • Adding Pujols would also figure to make the Marlins more interested in a “cheap” starting pitching option like Carlos Zambrano, whom they could get for the Cubs for very little salary, assuming they were willing to give up a good young player.
  • On the Cubs and Pujols, Carrie Muskat says a Cubs official told her the report of an offer was not true. Every other source says the Cubs are refusing to comment. Translation? The Cubs made an “offer,” but, whatever form it took, they can plausible deny an official offer should it suit their needs (or Carrie’s source was too low on the totem pole). Something like, “Albert, we’d be willing to offer you 5/$150M if you’re interested. This isn’t an offer, mind you. But we’re willing to do so, if you want us to.” There you go. They made an offer without making an offer. And now everyone is right.
  • The Cubs’ interest in Ian Stewart is reportedly waning, at least for now, with the two sides unable to come to a fit, as discussed this morning. Stewart remains a non-tender candidate, so the Cubs might be calling the Rockies’ bluff, and waiting to see what happens this and next week (the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players is next Monday, December 12).
  • MightyBear

    Isn’t Logan Morrison hurt? Please advise.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He had minor knee surgery earlier this week, but is expected to be back in time for Spring Training.

  • john

    Looks like the Cubs would benefit by trading Zambrano for Morrison or Sanchez?

  • Sam

    With Bell gone maybe the padres would be interested in marmol for headley

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Haha nice post.(look down)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      They do want bullpen help, and I’ve heard … whispers. But Marmol still seems like an expensive closer for the Padres (even if he’d be considered cheap for other teams).

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    So is Marmol for Headley still a possibility?

    • EQ76

      so… you’re sayin’ there’s a chance!

  • hansman1982

    I think right now we wont see any action by the Cubs until Pujols signs.  This way they will know if they need to go after Fielder or Morrison/Sanchez and what that will take before they move to Headley.

    Also, I see any trade involving Soriano to take place in late January.

  • Jeff

    Regardless of the rest of the market, I still think the Padres are a pretty good trade partner for Carlos Marmol. Chase Headley aside, the teams match up for a deal pretty well.

    This whole Marlins spending spree is going to backfire. They don’t really have any money now, and the new stadium will help, but probably not as much as they are hoping. Not everyone is going to be willing to drive into downtown Miami during rush hour to see a baseball game when they wouldn’t even do it when the stadium was just off the interstate. They are going to be losing money like crazy. If they don’t win in the next two years, there will be another fire sale. It’s probably going to end up being another black eye for the city and MLB.

    • hansman1982

      The worst part is that MLB would never move/contract the Marlins, regardless of how bad the next 3-5 years turns out because they need the connection to the Carribean that they provide.

    • hardtop

      the new logo already is a blackeye for the MLB.  what a bunch of weenies.

      • Fishin Phil

        Blackeyed Weenies.  Sounds like a good name for a band.

  • kubphan82

    Best case scenario for the Cubs would be Pujols signing with the Fish, I’m rooting for the Marlins this off-season, haha…

    • Fishin Phil

      That’s what I’m hoping for as well!

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        If they sign Pujols I think South Florida is gonna have an empty brand new baseball stadium in a few years!

        • hardtop

          are you kidding? with that night club trim job on his beard, his well groomed eyebrows, dope platinum rope, and chicken grease wax job on his bald head… miamians will flock to ball games like coke heads to a disco!  oh wait… same people.

          • Kansas Cubs Fan

            Hahaha yeah he belongs in Miami.

            He will probably get into the “import/export” buisness if he goes down there.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Maybe I’ll get shit for this, but I still can’t decide if I’d rather Pujols re-sign with the Cardinals for 10 years and $220 million than sign with the Marlins. That could be quite the anchor in future years.

      • Fishin Phil

        I see that point as well, but I am really looking forward to the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Card fans.

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        Your not alone I think it would be fun to watch after he hits rock bottom.

        But knowing my luck hes gonna age like a fine wine.

      • Mike Foster

        I am so there, let St. Louis dump all their available money into Pujols just as his skills fade away, and then have to stay with him to the end of the contract. PERFECT!

    • hansman1982

      Agree, and you wont find a bigger supporter of Pujols to the Cards than me, but right now, screw that I want Pujols to be a Bird for life for nostalgic reasons, the Cubs can make out like bandits if he signs there.

      • kubphan82

        I suppose I’m not sold on a focus on our competition as I am with a focus on improving our team… We already have Ozzie talking up Zambrano as a 16-game winner next year for the Cubs… Perhaps this is the value trade the Cubs are able to maneuver if they truly want to trade Z… Marlins sign Pujols, Marlins want Z, Cubs get Nolasco/Gaby.

    • Jeff

      While that may be true for the immediate future, it would be better for the Cubs long term best interest if Pujols signed a franchise crippling, 300 million dollar contract with St. Louis, and they end up with 5 or 6 years of a declining in ability Pujols @ 30 million per.

      • EQ76

        that would be great.. shoot, that’s assuming he’s really 31.. it could be 6-7 years of declining production.

  • Barney S

    If going in on Gaby/Logan, you are implying that we will platoon at 1B, I will do nothing but disagree with you. Platoons never work, except in bed….with two smokin hotties! What Up?!?!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha. Still love the schtick. No, not both – just one (at first base, anyway).

  • jfish1219

    Ok so now I really hope the Cubs ink Prince.

  • MightyBear

    Morrison is left handed and can play the outfield as well. He would be a good fit for the Cubs. I knew I saw he was hurt but I thought it was questionable whether he’d be ready for ST. Thanks Brett.

    • Hrubes20

      He can “play” the outfield. He’s not good out there.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Which is, incidentally, exactly why I hope the Cubs target him for 1B. There’s a chance the Marlins don’t want him in the OF, and still harbor bad feelings over the outspokenness issues last year.

        • JasonB

          Yes – Morrison was brought through the system as a 1B so I think we should move him back there.  He’s going to be more costly than Sanchez though I think due to pedigree.

    • Smitty

      Morrison being 24 years old definitely is a plus, but some of his off field antics have me wondering if his “style” would fit what the Cubs brass are looking for.

      Would you consider a Big Z and cash for Morrison to be an fair deal?

      • JasonB

        No – not even close. It is going to take one of our top 5 prospects to pry Morrison loose from Marlins.  He is an extremely valuable player – former top 25 prospect who appears to have developed power in the past year, which was the biggest knock on him when coming up through the system.

  • Morgan

    Been nice to see Cubs pick up Santos, exspecially if we trade away marmol, good closer are hard to come by and with Cubs trading away Marmol who do we have to put in the 9th inning

    • Smitty

      Marshall in the 9th is just fine with me.

  • Eric

    December 12 is next Monday, you say Wednesday. I know because my last day of class is Tuesday, December 13th.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha, yeah, you’re right. I moved the week-minus-a-day in the wrong direction.

  • njriv

    Sign Fielder, trade for Headley and then focus on PITCHING, PITCHING, PITCHING!!

  • MightyBear

    I just saw the Mariners are the frontrunners for Fielder. Rumor has it the Cubs and Brewers don’t want to give as long a contract. AL teams have advantage cause when he gets too old and fat to play 1b, they can move his fatass to DH.

    • njriv

      I agree about the AL, but why the M’s? I don’t see them contending in that division.

      • MightyBear

        Mariners have money to spend and aren’t afraid to spend it. They just don’t always do it wisely (ie Chone Figgins).

        • njriv

          That is true, I just don’t see anything else that’s attractive about that job. There is little chance of him getting a ring there.

          • Toosh

            That division is easily winnable.

            • njriv

              The AL West was hardly even considered a race. After the Rangers clinched the Angels finished 10GB, Oakland was 22GB and the Mariners were 29GB. Even though it’s only dominated by one team ,the M’s are too far behind to start competing with just the addition of Fielder.

              • john

                They have King Felix adding Fielder and some other pieces would make them contenders.It’s not like they have only one move to make. They are a favorite for Asian players as well.

              • Toosh

                I agree that just one addition wouldn’t be enough. With competent management, though, and the potential for Texas to regress after losing their second straight World Series, anything is possible.

  • Nate

    So I’ve worked this down:

    Best case scenario (realistically):
    Pujols signs with Marlins
    Fielder signs with Cubs
    Cubs swap Soriano, Soto, and cash for Gio Gonzalez
    Marmol for Headley

    Worst case scenario:
    Pujols with Cards
    Fielder with Mariners
    Soriano stays where he is
    Marmol blows 20 saves in ’12

    Which of these do you see happening?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If it has to be one or the other, the latter seems more likely…

      But I think parts of the first one could happen.

    • Eric

      You don’t just get to trade guys you don’t want for guys you want, that’s not how trades work. It would take more than Marmol for Headly and it sure as HELL will take more than Soriano and Soto for Gio. Even if you paid all of Soriano’s contract. Gio Gonzalez is essentially a Matt Garza type. Someone around age 26, who is just growing into Ace Material. You tell me, would YOU trade Garza for the equivilant of Soriano and Soto? If not, why the hell do you think Oakland would. Just to be nice guys?

      • MrCub73

        Trading for Gio would be a slick move. Now that Hanely is saying he wants to be traded, maybe a deal in some form involving Garza (unless another package can be found and the Cubs keep Garza) to Miami for Hanley. Castro is still learning short, so now would be as good a time as any to move him to 2nd or 3rd. Then attempt to sign Fielder, but if he goes to Seattle, then maybe a deal for Smoak. Next step would be to find a match with Padres for Headley.

        1B – Fielder or Smoak
        2B – Castro
        SS – Hanley
        3rd – Headley

        Way to many what if’s to happen, but I would take it

    • Oswego Chris

      I don’t  think you would like to see what the Cubs would have to give up for Gio Gonzalez….

      • Poopypants McGee

        I would like to see the Cubs trade for Gio and then trade Garza. They are easily the top two starters available through trade, might as well take the wind out of the sails of other teams by controlling the market.

    • Diesel

      I don’t see the A’s parting with Gio for Soto and Soriano.

  • RoughRiider

    I suspect Marmol will be worth more at the trading deadline than now. There is no urgency to get him out of Chicago, unlike some others.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      We’re all just guessing – the chances Marmol looks great in the first half of 2012 are just about as likely as he continues his slide. That’s why, if a reasonable deal is there now, you take it.

      • Fishin Phil

        Agree you take a reasonable deal if available, just don’t think you need to force one.   My blood pressure would be greatly enhanced if he was traded, but I still think we need to get some kind of value for him.

  • kernzee

    Soriano , 100 % of his salary and Soto for Gio would be the shortest conversation in winter meetings history . No chance Beane does that .

    • EQ76

      Yep.. there would have to be significant prospects thrown in as well.. I’d say, Soriano (pay a large portion of his contract), Soto, Vitters and Carpenter could net us Gio and maybe another player.

      • Poopypants McGee

        That would never get us Gio. Remember, in 2008, that we traded away 3 of our top ten prospects in Gallagher, E Pat and Donaldson, along with Murton, for Harden and Gaudin. Gallagher and Murton already had major league success at this point as well. Vitters, Carpenter, Castillo and McNutt could land us Gio though.

        • Oswego Chris

          The only way you get Gio Gonzalez is to trade Brett Jackson.  I would do that trade in a heartbeat…then sign Cespedes as your CF…..Gio and Garza..great 1-2…and Gio is cheap and under control for a couple more years…

           

           

          • JasonB

            I don’t think I have enough faith in Gio to give up what it would take to acquire him.  His stuff is nasty but he can’t control it.  FIP suggests that he was lucky last year and his K/BB is only slightly higher than 2.  Just wouldn’t want to make a guy like that my ace and give up someone who I think is going to be a very solid player (BJax) to do it.

      • Adam

        no way. that’s way too much to give up for 1 pitcher. and the complete opposite of what Theo and Co. are trying to do. they are trying to get more players not less.

  • Ashley

    Would love to see Morrison or Sanchez come to the Cubs, both are good young players who could really help the CUbs.

  • Morgan

    If Fielder signs with the Mariners, it would be sad to see that kind of talent go to waste, But hey its all about the money, Look what it did the Beltre it basically took him out of the league for 4 years. Go put up big numbers for 2 years then decline cause your team sucks and you realize that you have no chance of winning so your numbers take a hit, Go play with Ichiro the most overrated player ever. he suppose to be one of best in the game but the Mariners are always one of the worst in the game, So you can go waste the rest of your career and go play in seattle

    • Poopypants McGee

      Smoak could become available though. He looked good at times last year, and is a product of Texas, who has produced some quaility major leaguers over the past few seasons.

    • Toosh

      I wonder if that’s how his Presenter will introduce him at his Hall of Fame Induction, “Ichiro Suzuki, The Most Overrated Player Ever”.

    • Lou

      Actually I’ve heard the Blue Jays. Unless the Rangers sign Wilson I think our best bet is a Garza trade with the Rangers for Olt, Perez, and Ogando. Then, sign Bedard or Jackson to fill out the rotation. Also, with the gluttony of closers out there I don’t see Marmol going anywhere. And if we don’t sign Fielder, I could see a Byrd for Adam LaRoche or Byrd and a prospect swap to the Nationals for Michael Morse.

  • Morgan

    And Gabby Sanchez isnt someone I want to play first, there has to be other options out there

  • Adam

    My best case scenario would be as follows:

    Trade Garza to the royals and get back Wil Myers, Aaron Crowe, and other top prospects.
    Trade Mamol to the Padres for Headley + prospect
    Trade Soriano and Z and cash in a 3 way deal with the red sox and Marlins for prospects
    Trade Soto to any team willing to take him for a Major league read starting pitcher
    Bring up Wellington Castillo
    Sign Fielder to play 1B

    DONE!!!

    With these scenarios happening, I see the Cubs competing in only a couple years. Wil Myers is a stud former catcher/outfielder.

  • Toosh

    Hanley Ramirez just told the Marlins he doesn’t want to play 3B.

    • Adam

      Yeah. I saw them say he was disgruntled about that yesterday. You would think the Marlins would’ve talked about that BEFORE signing another all-star SS. I’m going to laugh really loud if he requests a trade and everything backfires on the Marlins.

  • Edward

    Best case realistic 2012 Cubs…whatcha got?

    1B – Prince
    2B – Hudson (trade Russell + Carpenter for Headley, Hudson, and a solid prospect)
    SS – Castro
    3B – Headley (trade Russell + Carpenter for Headley, Hudson, and a solid prospect)
    C – Soto
    LF – Byrd
    CF – Cespedes
    RF – DeJesus
    SP – Garza
    SP – Gio Gonzalez (trade Soriano + Jackson for Gonzalez)
    SP – Zambrano
    SP – Dempster
    SP – Wells

    I’d like to get one more veteran OF in there to hold things in place until Cespedes is ready.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You have Jackson in there twice… :)

      • Edward

        Realized that shortly after I posted. Thinking on the fly! Knew pitching had to get better…

    • Oswego Chris

      Ummm….what’s the realistic part of this?

      • Edward

        Will it happen? Probably not. But are those trades not somewhat realistic? Just trying to envision a 2012 team I could get somewhat excited about…

  • bleacher912

    ill take hanley

  • shane

    Im really praying for chase and prince to land in chicago. but I am more worried about pitching for the Chicago cubs. Who do you think the cubs will find for pitching?

  • Dan

    White Sox “rebuilding” now thats hilerious

  • die hard

    cant see either Pujols or Fielder going to a NL team….their value is higher if willing to DH in a few yrs or sooner

    • Jewish Mother

      die hard, you are aware the only teams mentioned seriously–hell, the only teams mentioned period–for Pujols so far have been NL teams.

      • die hard

        dont believe everything you read……lots going on behind scenes

        • Jewish Mother

          Fair enough I’ll hold you to that.

          We’ll see who he signs with in the next couple of days.

  • nmints

    So let’s say the Marlins end up signing Pujols and convincing Hanley to play third. They will be looking for cheap effective pitching. You’d think they might be interested in Garza and Zambrano along with some money to cover Zambrano’s contract. Outside of Morrison what kind of impact, high-level prospects do they have that would be tradeable? Would they even have enough to get Garza and Zambrano from us?

  • Goatbusters

    Does anyone think that Pujols would be turned off by the thought of being moved in one of the many fire sales the marlins have?

    • ReiCow

      I would expect any deal for Pujols would include a no trade clause, so.. I doubt that would matter much to him.

      • chris margetis

        The sticking point is apparently the no trade. He has asked for full no trade for the first five years of the deal and his 5/10 rights to kick in after.

        • john

          Maybe Pujols submits teams he would waive no trade for

  • john

    Something brewing in marlins camp Part Ownership limits?

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