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.
  • Morgan

    Beckham I wouldnt mind having at second for next season, at the right price

  • andrewmoore4isu

    I thought Starlin Castro was projected as the future second basemen of the cubs?

    1. Jesus
    2. Castro
    3. H. Rameriz
    4. Fielder

    Now that looks pretty nice to me

    • andrewmoore4isu

      Put headly at 3b behind fielder and that is a contending team. batting wise

    • Brett

      Castro isn’t going to move off of short – if at all – for several more years. The Cubs have to give him a chance to fulfill his defensive potential at short, which is considerable.

      • die hard

        The test of a good defensive player is wanting the ball hit to him bottom of ninth 2 outs and winning run on 3B…Castro not there yet and just dont see him having drive and desire to ever be that guy…. Ripken, Jeter, Santo, Bowa, et al were always that guy from day one in majors…Cant teach it…just have it…which is why I feel he would be more comfortable in outfield away from infield fishbowl…could even relax him enough to put up more power numbers.

        • njriv

          That would be an interesting experiment. But I do not see the Cubs moving him in the near future for two reasons. One would be due to the log jam of outfielders in the system, and two if the experiment doesn’t work you don’t want to destroy his confidence as a fielder. Some of the tools are there, athleticism, speed, a good arm, but the only question mark is his range, and how good it would be in the outfield. It’s intriguing, but I just don’t see it happening soon.

    • hansman1982

      That was when we had Hak Ju-Lee who was projected to be better than Castro when he made it

  • Lou

    Brett, I’m posting this hoping that making this announcement is ok on this website. For anyone interested, Cubs play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes with be in the Quad Cities this Sat at Pleasant Valley High School in Pleasant Valley Iowa from 3-6pm to sign copies of Ron Santo: A Pefect 10. I know there’s lots of Iowa people on here. Just wanted to get the word out for those interested in meeting him.

    • Brett

      There’s never a problem with posting something like that. Thanks for sharing it.

    • andrewmoore4isu

      I live less than 1 mile from PV highschool… but go to college 3 hours away. bummer. my friend was working at the local mcdonalds when bob brenly drove through the drive through and during the game the next day mentioned his name on air. kinda cool

    • hansman1982

      Just dont mention Google image searches of Thongs…

  • Lou

    In other news, Heyman is reporting Cubs offer to Fielder sincere and Marlins interested in acquiring Wandy Rodriguez….if they get Puljos where the heck are they getting all this money???

    • Brett

      Careful now – he reports that the interest is sincere. Not that any offer has yet been made (sincere or insincere).

      • Lou

        Well, it’s Heyman….so take it with what you will. In the next tweet, he reports the Mariners are also interested. 😉 But really, Brett, if the Marlins sign Puljos combined with Rodriguez and the other signings, where are they getting the money?

        • Toosh

          New stadium.

  • funkster

    Other than showing a flash of power his first year, I cannot fathom why Theo would want Beckham.

  • Serio

    Orioles Rumors: A club official told Connolly that there’s “no chance” the team wants Alfonso Soriano (Twitter link).

    • Brett

      That’s in there.

  • Soothsayer

    The Cubs will lose out to the Marlins on Fielder, which means Pujols is staying with the Cards. Playing 1B for the Cubs in 2012 will be LaHair and 3B will be LeMahieu to start the year until May, when Vitters is called up. Soriano is not traded, he will be the starting LF, and neither is Byrd, who will start in CF.

    • JK

      If that’s all we get than Boston should have to pay us to take Theo off their hands.

  • Oswego Chris

    so apparently my “realistic” assessment of Soriano’s trade value was not very realistic…there aren’t 2 or 3 teams that might want him….more like 0….eat the 54 million….

  • Mike F

    rumor there is a 3rd team offering a 10 year 200 plus million offer for Pujols. Rumor is that it could be LAA, Chicago Cubs or Nationals.

    • Yuri

      Where is ur source

      • hansman1982

        Sign up for Twitter – it is all over there.

  • Nick Nesler

    Evidently a mystery team has just offered Pujols a 10 year offer as well.

  • Yuri

    Another quiet day. No minor moves…no moves at all..looks like the trade deadline….signs getting closer to another 71-91 season…………

  • Yuri

    I would be happy with a wildcard run. Is that too much to ask for?????

  • Oswego Chris

    Mystery team translated equals agent making shit up

    • Brett

      Nine times out of ten.

    • hansman1982

      Is that like a real estate agent saying there are other people about to make an offer on a house you like?

  • john

    Mystery Team for Pujols has to be Toronto.

    • BetterNews

      Trade offer is from Florida Marlins

  • john

    The Cubs will wait to pick up the scraps.
    Team that signs Pujol/Fielder wil have a 1st baseman available.
    Padres sitting on Headley for Cubs. Pitching seems to taking shape.
    Cubs don’t really have any trade chips that other teams covet.
    International Free Agents are the only thing left worth pursueing

  • tex134

    Need to relax gentlemen and ladies, the brain trust isn’t going to tip there hand just yet. I think if we are patient with Theo and the boys we will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. It’s a new era in Cubs baseball !!!

    • Lou Cub

      Agreed Tex134, you can’t make a splash for the sake of making a spllash..these moves have to benefit the Cubs in 2012 and beyond…Would you guys rathe rhave Ned Colleti bullshite moves??? No way

  • Jonski

    Guess were going hard for Fielder so says John Heyman my Q..are we a match for Texas for a Garza trade for say a Deric Holland and the top pitching prospect with other pieces.

  • N

    If this was the Hanley of 2008/2009, you bend over backwards to get him. Even if means moving Castro – like, not to third, but to Miami if that’s what it takes. That level of performance is what we hope Castro will be, but there’s still plenty of ways for it to not happen and I’d take the sure-r thing every time.

    The Hanley of the last couple years is not quite as exciting.

    • Rancelot

      Not to be the master of the obvious, but if it was THAT Hanley Ramirez, he wouldn’t be on the block and the Marlins sure as hell would not have signed Reyes.  There are genuine concerns about the current day Hanley…buyer beware!

  • Jonski

    Hanley is another Sorriono waiting happend .Dale Svuem doesnt need that crap in year 1 plus we would strain are minor leagues even more .Imo

  • MightyBear

    I think the Cubs will be in on Darvish if he posts. I’m not saying they will get him but I believe Theo and Jed will be in on the bidding, discussion, etc.

  • Xavier

    Mystery Team is the Cubs For Pujols

  • Bill

    Cubs “definitely” in on pujols

    • mb1.0.2

      I don’t see him signing with the Cubs for 5 or 6 years when he apparently has not one but TWO offers of 10 years of 200+mil. If it were me, I’d put all my resources towards Fielder.

      I’d definitely like to see one or the other, though. I still can’t believe there’s an ever increasing chance Pujols goes to the Marlins. It boggles the mind.

    • Ol’CharlieBrown

      Is there a chance we might see Pujols in pinstripes? I’ve always been under the impression that Pujols priority is annual value more so than the length of the contract. If the Marlins are only offering him 10 years at $220MM, he’s only making 22 million per season. I can’t see Pujols “settling” for that when he’s made it pretty clear that he feels he’s the best in baseball and his pay should reflect that. You’d think the offers would be closer to at least $280 or $290 million for 10 years, though I understand that with more years the annual value usually drops.

      The two highest paid first basemen (and in top 10 in MLB), Texiera is making $22.5MM and Howard is making $25MM a season. Pujols feels he’s superior and should at least be making more than them. That leaves A-Rod being the highest paid at $27.5MM annually. Pujols wants to surpass that and probably could if he wanted. If the Cubs offer him 5 years at $150MM or even like 4 years at $122MM, he could have that.

      The way I see it, he is either going to have to “settle” for being paid less than A-Rod, and potentially even Howard and Tex, in order to get 8-10 years or he is going to have to accept a shorter contract, say maybe 4-6 years, in order to ensure he is paid higher than anyone else in the game.

  • Oswego Chris

    No way Cubs are in at 10 and 200….Pujols agent is just maximizing every last cent out of Cards…I think I might be starting to sound like DieHard….

  • mb1.0.2

    Ha, 3rd mystery team? Any speculations?

    My vote goes to the Orioles, because it sounds about as absurd as Miami.

  • Oswego Chris

    now being reported Angels in on Pujols…..I am going to bed….time for the night shift to take over here on BN…..hoping to wake up to any Cub news at all…..other than Rodrigo Lopez being resigned…..that wouldn’t count

  • Jonski

    I was thinking Washington .maybe way of base,but there close too.I like Darvish ,Cepede and Solor also. I still think the Cubs flip Garza for 2 young arms and midlevel prospects.

  • Zack

    Dale Sveum is on MLB network. He just said he has not called Fielder

    He has thought about what if and when if for the world series (really it was a question)

    Can you Change big leaders attitudes?
    He doesn’t know if he can off or on, but he will get them to play hard on a consistent basics. He wants to hold people Accountable! love that phrase

    Has this sunk in?
    Its getting there…will totally sink in ST and OD

    First baseball winter meetings?
    -Yes. Cool to see the Chaos

    Then talking about playing days. The two-run homer…and the “pimp stash”

    That was it, no big news….Nothing on Pujols.

    Another thing story on Pujols coming up, and they are bringing Ozzie on.

  • MightyBear

    I just saw the Red Sox aren’t bringing back Tim Wakefield. Does anyone think Theo and Jed might sign him as a Cubs starter to eat some innings and have as a starter until the farm system starts producing some?

    • Poopypants McGee

      I think that is what Lopy is going to be for. A spot starter and long reliever

  • die hard

    Cubs can maximize whats left out of Soriano’s contract by playing him smartly…he still has pop and can be productive…dont start him until after April 15 and then only day games ..thereafter play him 4 games per week and not on day games following night games… always take him out after 7th if 3 or more behind or ahead….max him at 350 AB and divide 250 AB among others..He could still give 20 HR and 75 RBI this way and allow development of kid (s) who share time….better than paying him to play elsewhere

    • JK

      Nice post, DH. I appreciate that you are no longer spamming BN. I agree that Soriano needs to be “platooned” smartly to maxmize his good at bats and minimize his defensive liabilities. I would have no problem with a Soriano/Byrd/Campana/Colvin/Johnson (pick your fav) platoon that max’s value.

  • MightyBear

    While the Tigers have ruled out pursuing Yu  Darvish, they’re keeping an eye on other Asian pitchers. GM Dave Dombrowski on the subject: “I don’t think we’re on the verge of [signing] anybody from the Asian  market, but we’re  aware of some players that are there.”

    Is that the stupidest quote ever? He’s aware of some players there. I don’t plan on being pen pals with the 3 billion people in Asia, but I am aware of some people there. Fing idiot.