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More bits for your Tuesday evening consumption (it’s not always all about the bullet-style posts, but this week very much lends itself to the format)…

  • Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum met with the media at the Winter Meetings today, and, among other things, shared his thoughts on the Cubs’ pursuit – or non-pursuit – of Prince Fielder. Sveum was careful to emphasize that the Cubs aren’t “in the process” of talking to Fielder right now, which is exactly what you’d expect him to say whether the Cubs were pursuing Fielder or not (and, frankly, at the early stages, I’d expect almost no one but Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Scott Boras involved in the discussions).
  • Sveum did, however, say that, if the Cubs do get “in the process” of talking to Fielder, he would definitely make a few calls to Fielder – whom he coached in Milwaukee – to try and persuade him to come to Chicago.
  • Both Jim Bowden and Jon Heyman reported this evening that the Cubs remain in on Fielder, together with a few other teams. Bowden calls the Mariners the early favorite (that’s certainly a lineup that could use Prince), while Heyman says it’s still too early to pick a leader. Bowden adds that the Cubs are hoping to get Fielder on a shorter-term deal (as expected).
  • Sveum added that there hasn’t been much discussion of Yu Darvish in the Cubs’ camp, from his perspective. I’m not trying to explain away everything Sveum said with rose-colored glasses, but, until Darvish is actually posted, how much discussion would you really expect between the front office and the manager about a guy like Darvish?
  • The Pujols-to-the-Marlins-or-back-to-the-Cardinals stuff is getting about as intense as it can get without a decision. To sum up: the Marlins have met with Pujols three times, and top brass has also met with the Commissioner’s office (though with an SEC investigation looming, that meeting could be about any number of things – and Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria denied that the meeting was about Pujols). Cardinals’ owner Bill DeWitt this evening was unwilling describe himself as “optimistic” that Pujols would be coming back to the Cardinals, and no Cardinals official will confirm whether the team has upped its presumed eight or nine year $200ish million offer (though Bob Nightengale reports they have). Phil Rogers thinks there is a resolution by tomorrow. I’d bet the same, given the pressure being applied by the Marlins, and the implicit pressure by the Cardinals.
  • We’ve heard over the last couple of days that the Cubs are getting some hits on Alfonso Soriano, but that the Cubs can move him only if they eat a substantial portion of the $54 million remaining on his contract over the next three years – something the Cubs are very willing to do. Phil Rogers says one of those hits is coming from the Orioles, whom the Cubs are trying to talk into taking Soriano. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun quotes an Orioles official who says there’s “no chance” the O’s would want Soriano.
  • Reports say, contrary to his prior good soldier attitude, Hanley Ramirez does not want to move to third base following the Marlins’ Jose Reyes signing. Even if the Marlins shop Ramirez, I still don’t see a fit with the Cubs. First, if Ramirez doesn’t want to move off of shortstop for the Fish, what makes any of us certain he’d do so for the Cubs? Second, Ramirez could have a great deal more value on the trade market to teams looking for a shortstop than to the Cubs – making the price to acquire him, for the Cubs, cost-prohibitive. If Ramirez wants to think about a move to second or third base, but still wants to leave the Marlins, however, well, sure, ok. I’m in.
  • Bruce Levine held a chat today to discuss a number of Winter Meetings bits. Among the highlights (warning, this is densely packed and rather long (and it’s just the highlights)): Bruce says the Padres continue to want bullpen depth for Chase Headley; the Cubs’ bid for Pujols was not a mere ploy (though Bruce thinks Pujols goes back to St. Louis);  no one knows the Cubs’ plans with respect to Fielder because Theo plays things close to the vest, but Bruce guesses the Cubs have a 50% chance of getting him (seems a bit optimistic to me, simply for the reason that there are as many as four other teams involved); no teams have contacted the Cubs about Soriano (contrary to other reports); the Cubs wouldn’t be interested in Placido Polanco, but would be interested in Gaby Sanchez; Bruce sees Marlon Byrd as trade bait (which is a significant change in position, as he’d earlier in the offseason said he saw the Cubs keeping Byrd even if they added another outfielder (called Byrd a cheap, effective back-up at all three OF positions)); the Cubs might look at Edwin Jackson, but Bruce hasn’t “substantiated” that rumor; Bruce expects Zambrano to be dealt later in the offseason, but doesn’t expect Geovany Soto to be dealt; the Cubs will “kick the tires” (“check the oil”?) on Gio Gonzalez, but Brett Jackson would be the first player Billy Beane asks about; the Cubs don’t think DJ LeMahieu can handle second base; the Cubs are still very much in on Cubans Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler.
  • On the South Side, Kenny Williams wants an “Ubaldo Jiminez package” for one year of lefty John Danks, which, like, ha. Second/third baseman Gordon Beckham is expected to be dealt this Winter now, too, if the White Sox can get a good deal. Beckham, 25, was terribly offensively in 2011 and 2010 after a decent rookie campaign. On a quick look, he’s mediocre defensively at both second and third. Any takers? I say “meh.”
  • The Cardinals are listening to offers on starters Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook, but each has a no-trade clause, which could make a deal difficult.
  • MightyBear

    Pirates are close to signing c Jose Morales so that probably rules them out of the Geo Soto market.

  • MightyBear

    Anybody know if the Cubs are going to send a scout to watch Zumaya pitch? They should. Just in case.

  • Lou Cub

    Why do I get the feeling that this is the calm before the storm??? Love the way Theo and comapany keep things close to the vest, even the beat writers are left clueless.Go Cubs!!!

    • Toosh

      You get that feeling because the Cubs have done very little personnel-wise so far. That trend might continue until the non-tender deadline passes next week. Or even longer.

      • BetterNews

        What are you talking about? The Cubs have revamped evrything in management and are now working on “players”.

        • Toosh

          Sorry. I meant player-personnel wise. Where the games on the field are actually won and lost.

          • Fishin Phil

            Maybe it’s just my ample gut speaking, but I think Pujols makes a decision today, and then all hell breaks loose across the whole league.

            • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

              I hope it keeps going the more stress for the Cardinals the better, and twitter is so much fun with all the speculation. Last night a kid was trying to convince me that the Cubs should and will sign Albert for 10yrs/275M and how that would be a great investment.

              • johnbres2

                the big factor in the Cubs signing Pujols is you not only get him but remove him from the Cardinals. It is almost like a “two hall-of-famer swing” in that regard.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Upon reflection, I do think – despite Hoyer saying it isn’t true – Pujols is holding everything up. Teams are waiting directly on him, are waiting on possible trades with the Marlins, Fielder is waiting on him, teams are waiting on Fielder, pitchers are waiting on the Marlins, it goes on and on. No one wants to lock into anything until they know what’s going to be available, and at what price. A lof of those dominoes are preceded by Pujols.

  • Mike F

    There seem to be 3 or 4 schools of thought amongst those covering. 2 really diametrically opposed in the Chicago Media. On one end the Levines and Kaplans who are excited to every thing occurring and expectant. And the other end the harbingers of all things gloom and doom who seem to think Chicago is Pittsburgh of the 90′s and punishment for the excesses of the previous regime are necessary. That would be Miles and Sullivan who struggle some to hdd their doubt, I’ll be kind, of the present regime, I think it’s likely more something stronger. They seem bitter and unimaginative of the Cubs actually placing any kind of premium. You could see it in the process of selecting a manager and now building a roster.

    Then there’s the national folks and there are some skeptics and some who see the Cubs in everything. And frankly Hoyer has said some interesting things. I have a sense you are right and Theo is exceptionally competitive, but who knows. I sense they are more involved in some of these big names than we might know, but again, who really knows and if we ever will.

    I guess it bothers me, I saw the live comment Theo made about Lopez. Lopez is dog meat, and scraps for the chickens and Theo did it with Millar clearly in sarcasm. What got me is how gleeful and attached Miles and Sullivan were with that. That’s the kind of thing the Cubs have to break, losers with lovable loser mentalities and both Miles and Sullivan represent it at it’s worst.

    In the end I hope you’re right, I still think with some of the things coming out of the Cubs camp and Levine, things could pop, but the Suntimes and Tribune coverage has been so negative it makes me puke.

    • BetterNews

      Whoa cowboy!

    • Mike Foster

      Nice recap Mike, I sooo agree about the Chicago Media. I used to follow Sullivan, but dropped reading his negative drivel.

    • MoneyBoy

      Mike  F … Remember please – it was Miles who stated that there was no way Hendry would be fired – on the very day he was fired.   Add to that mix the asshat trio of Gordo, Sully and Rogers … there is NOTHING in the mainstream covering the Cubs that’s worth reading.

      :: side note – not only did the DH start charging for their blogs, they also bolted their beat writers to their desks … as in – virtually no more live coverage on road trips :::

      But who needs the mainstream when we have Brett and so many other capable bloggers and followers giving greater accuracy, insight and “coverage” (links) !!!!

  • Mike F

    One more thing. In one of the reports the Cubs were gauging the interest of the A’s on Gonzalez. The first thing said was the A’s would want Jackson. And my response is so? Brett Jackson is not appearing to be a position to start this season from all we hear, so why would we automatically dismiss the opportunity to add a great arm making Jackson untouchable? I like the idea of Jackson making the team and having an impact, but to be able to trade a guy like Jackson in a package for an arm like Gonazalez is exactly a good use of your farm system if you aren’t going to play the kid. He is getting to the point where it’s time to start to play at the major league level either with the Cubs or someone if he was worth the pick. And if Theo isn’t sold on him, why not consider him in a trade?

  • oswego chris

    I will say it again…I would trade Jackson for Gonzalez in a heartbeat….think of it this way…Corey Patterson was considered untouchable once…and if you read between the lines of Jacksons scouting report…he is proejected as an everyday player, not a superstar…

    • hansman1982

      I now agree,  when I first read that I was thinking, NO WAY IN HELL

      But Gonzalez is pretty good.  ERA+ of 127 and 130 so far in 2 full seasons and he had a 47% GB rate last year. and has 4 more years of team control.

      Jackson might very well put up .280 20/20 numbers, but we have heard that about the Patterson brothers and Pie before they came up and flamed out and with the depth the Cubs have at CF and if they can get Cespedes to effectively replace Jackson’s position in the system I think it wouldnt be a bad thing to trade Jackson.

       

      EDIT:  Here is a fangraphs article that points out a potentially cheaper option to Gonzalez – possible scenery change candidate?

  • Oswego Chris

    just saw that the Phillies are in on Gonzalez….jeez…Halladay, Hamels, Cliff Lee, Gonzalez….that would be as good as the old Braves rotations…i have to check out Cots salaries to see Gio’s contract…but having him and Garza sure would be nice…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That would be as good as … that 2011 Phillies rotation. :)

    • hansman1982

      1st time Arb eligible this year as a Super-Two.

      Why they dont go after a big bat is beyond me.  Pitching is king but their offense needs help.

  • Mike Foster

    moved

  • Mike Foster

    deleted

  • RunningCub

    Rambo

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