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The Marlins signed Mark Buehrle earlier today, marking the first actual major move of the Winter Meetings. Theo Epstein later confirmed that the Cubs wanted Buehrle early on, but quickly discovered the price was going to go too high…

  • So, the Marlins are out of the race for all the other big names now. Right? Oh, how we underestimate the power of massive backloading. Indeed, the Marlins are still holding out their six-year offer to CJ Wilson, as well as pursuing Prince Fielder (though Brewers’ writer Tom Haudricourt calls the idea that the Marlins will heavily pursue Fielder “exaggerated”). They have been informed, however, that they are “out” on Albert Pujols.
  • Speaking of Pujols, there are reportedly still three $200+ million offers out there. The Cardinals … and … ? The Cubs made an offer, but no one anywhere believes it was more than a short-term, high annual dollar hail mary. The Angels are thought to have some interest, but they prefer CJ Wilson (whom they are “close” to signing). I’m thinking it’s a little bit of agent gamesmanship. At this point, it’s hard to see Pujols not only returning to St. Louis, but doing so on a more team-favorable contract than it looked a day ago. Hamburgers.
  • Back to Prince Fielder. So where do the Cubs stand? If they’re interested, multiple sources are saying (or guessing) that they could get him. But are they actually interested? Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein have played coy (Hoyer at once called the Cubs-Fielder connection “overblown”), while external sources, like Buster Olney, say the Cubs are interested. Others, like Tom Verducci, say the Cubs are not and have never been interested.
  • Ozzie Guillen reiterates that, if the Cubs look to trade Carlos Zambrano, he’d love to have Z in Miami. If the Marlins land Fielder, Gordon Wittenmyer says that’s when Zambrano would become a clear target for the Marlins. He also says that would lead to the Cubs pursuing Gaby Sanchez, which we’ve heard before (but, tonight, I was told that the Cubs prefer Logan Morrison to Gaby Sanchez (Morrison is four years younger than Sanchez)).
  • The Mets are shopping 24-year-old first baseman, Ike Davis, who is recovering from an ankle injury that ended his 2011 season before it really got going. Assuming he’s healthy, the Cubs are sure to have at least a passing interest. The Mets have a solid front office in place now, and they aren’t fooling around about rebuilding – they’ll want several very good prospects for Davis (particularly considering his contract situation – he won’t be arbitration eligible until 2013).
  • In discussions with the Rockies about Ian Stewart, it sounds like the Cubs shut down any talk of swapping DJ LeMahieu for Stewart. Stewart for Tyler Colvin was all the rage earlier today, but Rockies’ GM Dan O’Dowd says Stewart is staying in Colorado. (Actually, the tweet from Rockies’ writer Tracy Ringolsby technically said Iaan Stewart will be staying with the Eockies. Clearly, the aphorism is true: you can’t believe everything you read at the Winter Meetings.) Remember: Stewart is a non-tender candidate next week. This isn’t the last we’ve heard of him, like it or lump it.
  • The Cubs are still in on Hiroki Kuroda, who might ultimately prefer to return to Japan.
  • Nolan Ryan says he doesn’t expect CJ Wilson to re-sign with the Rangers, which could leave the Rangers looking to the trade market for a pitcher (*eh hem* Matt Garza).
  • Kerry Wood is hoping the Cubs give him a raise over his $1.5 million hometown-discount salary in 2011. Assuming Wood’s recovery from knee surgery goes well (not a sure thing for a guy in his mid-30s), the Cubs can justify giving him $2.5 to $3 million, given his effectiveness last year.
  • Yu Darvish is close to being posted, according to Tom Verducci on MLBN tonight. If Darvish is posted, there’s a very strong chance the Cubs bid.
  • http://ChalkThemUp Ryan

    Winter Meetings = Torture

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      This is my first time covering the Winter Meetings as obsessively as I have been (I think I’ve tweeted over 500 times in the past three days), and it’s been the dullest in years.

      • http://ChalkThemUp/column/161 Ryan

        Keep up the good work, Brett. I recommend this site to all my Cub fan friends.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Thanks for that.

      • SirCub

        First the trade deadline, now this… clearly your are bad luck.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Phil Rogers just talked about some kid with the last name of Conception(dont know how to spell it)Pronounced Con-cep-she-on

    Said hes a 19 year old lefty that the Cubs are interested in?! Anyone heard of him?

    I’m guessing hes from the DR or Cuba because he came up while talking about Cespedes.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      So I’m guessing nobody’s heard of him?

      Brett? Anyone?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I’ve been doing research (thought he had been mentioned to me by a source in the past), but, at present, no – don’t know anything.

        • Kansas Cubs Fan

          Alright man thanks.

          I figured if he was mentioned with Cespedes he must be fairly popular.

          If I knew how to spell his last name or knew his first name I would have searched myself, Haha.

          • Vinestal

            Geraldo Concepcion is a Cuban lefty who’s 19. The Cubs, Yankees, Phillies, and Rangers are connected to him. He’s under the radar, but has applied for eligibility and should have it very soon.

            • Kansas Cubs Fan

              Pitcher or Hitter? And Thanks!!!

              • Vinestal

                Sorry, pitcher.

              • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

                Pitcher. Not a lot is known about him just yet. I’ve seen some of his alleged Cuban numbers, and quite frankly they weren’t impressive. Scouts seem to love to the guy. Rumors are the usual international suspects are looking at him (Yankees, Rangers, and a few others including the Cubs).

    • Jeff

      Gerardo Concepcion was a top Cuban pitching prospect when he defected during a tournament in the Netherlands this June. Not sure if it’s the same guy, but he seems like another pretty good prospect if it’s him.

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        Ha should have scrolled down just a little further.

  • CubSouth

    Ahhhh you gotta love the beat writers and analysts on their takes of who’s in and out on the interest to a specific player. My question is how can one say the team is in and another say they are out? My personal opinion is I’m tired of reading about their personal opinions. But I do understand its all part of the act.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I find it amazing how confident they are at every turn. When I have rumors (from my own sources), knowing that things are almost never black and white in baseball (see, there’s even gray there – “almost never”), I don’t like to say things like “definitely” or “clearly” or “certainly.” But these guys are all about it – even when it’s flatly contradicted by someone else’s “definitely.” That’s not a criticism – I just find it amazing.

      • CubSouth

        Exactly my point, thanks for clearing up what I didn’t quite say. I hope u know I come to ur website for all my Cubs information. Im sure many others here would agree that the words ” definitely, clearly and certainly” should never be used to describe a player during trade talks or free agency. Brett, however many years you keep BN going, you will always have a fan, and of course, that’s me.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Thanks, CS.

  • http://ChalkThemUp.com/column/161 Ryan

    Marlins favorites for Wilson now?? This is getting out of hand.

  • Funkster

    What do you think it’d take to get Morrison?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’ll depend a bit on what other moves the Marlins make (i.e., how much do they “need” to move him), but, for example, Zambrano and $15 million wouldn’t be enough. I’m not sure if they’d want any more big league talent, but a fair guess is Zambrano, a whole bunch of cash, and a couple very good low-level prospects. There were rumors a couple weeks ago that the Marlins asked about Gio Gonzalez, and the A’s wanted Morrison included in the deal, and the Marlins balked.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        Zambrano, cash, Gioskar Amaya, and Austin Kirk might not be a bad starting point, but while I’m at it I think I’d see what it would take to get Matt Dominguez in the deal.

  • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

    While it isn’t common to find regular position players in the Rule 5 draft, it does happen.

    And 1B Matt Clark might be one of those guys. None of his AAA numbers scare me away, and there is plenty here to like.

    • jr5

      Just looked him up, and I came away impressed as well.

      Obviously Hoyer/McLeod are familiar with him, too.

      • ferrets_bueller

        hmm…lots of K’s, but aside from that…just from seeing him minor league numbers and nothing else, I don’t think a ML .260, 25 HR baseline is out of the question…is he really off the 40 man roster? And how does he field…

        edit: apparently, he is eligible. here’s a scouting report on him (as well as quite a few other potential rule 5’rs) http://www.bucsdugout.com/2011/12/5/2572470/rule-5-draft-guide-2011

  • Oswego Chris

    sad fact…..Big Z is probably only slightly more tradeable than Soriano……and that difference is probably minimal…..we have to remember to put ourselves in the other teams position as we throw out all of these trade scenarios…take the Rockies for example…why would they want Tyler Colvin after last year?  it’s a tough game to play when all of the teams are trying to get the same thing…..affordable, under control players, oh and good starting pitchers….not much demand for over priced bad players

  • nmints

    Just out of curiosity, what kind of package would the Marlins put together for Garza, Zambrano, and some cash? I would think Morrison would have to be included as well as Dominguez, are there any other prospects that are noteworthy outside of those two?

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      If the Marlins want to pry Garza, Zambrano, and have the Cubs pay for Zambrano, those two are only the beginning. Without digging into the Florida system, I think they would have to lay at least two pretty good pitching prospects on the table. It would also depend on how much money and who else would be involved.

      It’s a deal that could work for both teams, but it would take a huge bite out of the Florida farm system.

  • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

    Latest rumor is that Pujols has signed with the Cardinals. Announcement will be at 10 tomorrow morning. No word on terms, but the last reported offer was about 9 years, $220 million.

    • MikeL

      Thank God…..If this is true, I am just glad that this is out of the way. I really believed in the back of my mind that he would be with the Cardinals his entire career anyway and just accepted that. At least now we should see some more movement.

      • Sweetjamesjones

        AGREED! Im just tired of it and it was fun busting the balls of Cardinals fans about whether he would be a Cub, at the same time I knew he would stay.

        Moving on….

    • Andrew

      luke, who is your source saying that puljols has agreed with cards???

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        It was tossed out by a couple of decent baseball bloggers on Twitter, but there was no link attached. I’m not sure who the ultimate first source was. I think these guys are too good to get tripped up by a bum on the street, but since there has been no follow up at all, it may have been one of those bums after all.

        At this point I’d not list it any higher than a rumor. If I can track down an ultimate source (still working on that) I’ll let you know. Until then, take it with a truck load of rock salt.

  • BetterNews

    How can 3 mil for Woods be justified? That is ludicrous!

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Seriously?

      He would not have a problem getting more than that any where else.

      • BetterNews

        Thats if he has no problems with his knee or the “mysterious” blisters on his finger right?(LOL)

      • Sweetjamesjones

        I think its fair. He will be a good cub house leader and can help with the younger pitchers. He put up solid numbers last year. No problem with me.

        • BetterNews

          Give me 3 mil, I can do Better!

          • Sweetjamesjones

            I highly doubt it.

            • BetterNews

              Woods has been “washed” up since 2003, get over it!

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                It’s “Wood,” not “Woods.” And, no, he hasn’t.

                • hansman1982

                  Wha?  Ignore that 631 OPS+ with NYY in 2010 and the other fact that he has been only average 1 year since 2003.

                  Also, you just broke rule #4 of BN…

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    Is that “don’t feed the … bears”?

                • BetterNews

                  1) Sorry about the typo
                  2) I like Woody, don’t get me wrong
                  3) Not worth 3 mil, no way, no how

                  • jr5

                    You’re right, he’s not worth $3 mil.

                    He’s probably worth more, and had he signed any of the multi-year deals he was offered last offseason, he’d be set to earn more than $3 mil this year. And no one would bat an eye.

                    • BetterNews

                      If he is as as good as a lot of people suspect, why in the world he traded in the first place? I would suggest he just doesn’t “have” it anymore. He folds under pressure, and thats not what the Cubs need.

              • Internet Random

                Sheesh.

  • Cubnuts23

    These winter meetings are making me feel like I’ve been stood up by my prom date! I’ve been sitting on the edge of my couch waiting anxiously for it to happen but it never comes.

    • BetterNews

      Yes, I’m begining to believe this was all a management thing(friends) and nothing more.

  • MoneyBoy

    For whatever it’s worth … my version of a “white horse souse” told me Kenney would be moved strictly to the business side of things … well in advance of Hendry being fired and the press conference where TR confirmed it … since the new regime … all bets are off … no one knows the lay of the land … and “sources” are afraid to be linked to hard news due to risk of jobs.

    Brett – as to mainstream and beat writers .. meh … Kaplan (borderline mainstream IMO) more reliable as any others … and, truth be told, you and John are – hands down – the best of the bloggers.

    In the interest of fairness – Patrick Mooney does good work.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, MB.

  • Andrew

    i love the fact that alot of people are on here complaining that the cubs have not done anything yet…guys let theo and company do the job they were brought in to do. patience my friends patience.

  • Robert

    Brett,I see that the BRewers are in on Aramis RAmirez.. Again could this possibly lead to Casey mcgehee

    • BetterNews

      Is this a joke?

      • BetterNews

        Because I was thinking the exact same thing! LOL.

        • BetterNews

          Wow! You learned to spell BOB!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Please stop doing the impersonation thing. Isn’t worth it.

    • Rancelot

      Not necessarily.  The Brewers could go with a platoon at 1B with McGehee and Gamel if not able to secure another option from outside the organization plus it would be wise for them to hold on to some depth at 3B because we all know that Ramirez will come down with a hammy or calf pull at least once during the season…been there done that.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s possible, but, as noted, McGehee was brutally bad last year. He’s also not much of a defender, if memory serves.

  • Andrew

    casey mcgehee? r u freakinf kiddin me?…guy had a .280 on base perc. no thank you

    • BetterNews

      Thats what I said, is this a joke?

  • Andrew

    what i want to know is who on our team can get somebody out?? we need pitching desperately. not sold on gio gonzalez..guy is a walk machine. how bout kicking the tires on what it would take to aquire jurjinns or kyle drabek or even pineda

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Apparently the Braves are asking for an absurd amount on Jurrjens (which is silly, given how much pitching depth they have – deal from your strength when you have more than you can use, and don’t sit on it).

  • MightyBear

    Kerry Wood at $3 million is a steal and he deserves it. He should be fine for ST. In fact, I’d trade Marmol and put Wood back at closer with Samardja, Cashner, Carpenter and Marshall as insurance.

  • MightyBear

    Also, since there has been a lot of ass kissing on this post, I might as well get my 2 cents worth. Brett I absolutely love this site and you do a fantastic job. I used to always go to the Cubs site or the Tribune to get my Cubs fix but now I come to BN first and foremost. Keep up the good work and I hope your site is very successful. I have passed it on to all my Cub buddies.

    • bwitty75

      I agree Brett. I just began reading BN and I’m an instant addict. I appreciate the good work.
      As for the Winter Meetings, they always seem to be a bummer to me.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Thanks, bwitty.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for that, MB.

  • BetterNews

    Please. Wood has 1 save in last 2 years!

  • MightyBear

    That’s because he hasn’t been the closer. He was the setup man for Rivera in New York and he was the setup man for Marmol last year. Quade should have used him to close more last year when Marmol struggled but he was too dumb to know when Marmol was on and when he wasn’t even though it was obvious.

    • BetterNews

      Yes, but even so, he has not had a W/L% above .500 since 2003. No way I give him 3 mil. He is a very “likeable” teammate and citizen, but business must prevail and use logic in this situation.

      • BetterNews

        I Suck.

      • ferrets_bueller

        what does that have to do with anything? He’s a reliever! And if he wanted to play for a team other than the Cubs, he would be making significantly more than 3million. Your value of Wood is quite far off base.

        • BetterNews

          Well then you must keep 1mil in your pants for pocket change. Sorry, I am a working man.

  • MightyBear

    I just saw a rumor that if the Angels get CJ Wilson, they would look to deal Ervin Santana for a lesser starting Pitcher and a Hitter. 2 words – Soriano, Zambrano.

  • MightyBear

    Does anybody know if the Cubs are in on CJ Wilson? I didn’t think they were but I just saw something that said they might be. Rumors are flying everywhere.

  • MightyBear

    Rangers are talking to Cubs about Garza.

  • die hard

    Not a good sign when a team goes after a savior player like a Darvish or Cespedes. Its more a sign of desperation and must also be a morale breaker for other players in organization. Hopefully Theo is feigning interest to bid up price so other teams will over pay and give Cubs some advantage as to other FA. If not, then its another disappointment.

    Lameheiu belongs on starting 25 when season starts and allowed 500 AB. Hes going to be a star. LaHair and Colvin should be allowed to compete for 1B and loser gets traded. A six outfielder rotation including DeJesus may be best way to evaluate kids. Moving Dempster to closer and Marmol to starter may increase each ones effectiveness.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Whats up with you and BetterNews? a bunch of damn trolls

      • ferrets_bueller

        Post of the day.

      • BetterNews

        Its called being an “individual” slick.

    • Paul

      WAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT !!!!

      • BetterNews

        Well at least you gave us the same amount of exclamation points!!!!

    • hogie

      I swear you say shit like this on purpose. I mean you have to understand how rediculous the last two sentences are right?

  • Rooster

    Let the chips fall. I’m tired about listening to Peter Gammons and these Cub haters on MLB network. Who cares wins. Pujols, Fielder, CJ, WAAALK! WALK!

    Darvish is the chip that the Cubs need to cash in on. We have ZERO pitching. Bid 60 million, sign Darvish. Grab Cespedes. Sign Cuddyer as a stop gap for the corner infield spots. Trade garbage for garbage with Sorry. Z…hold on to him and trade him after a team develops a huge need in spring training from an injury. Too much guessing with the tight lipped Cubs of late. Ricketts and Epstien are like the FBI and CIA…no leaks. He had Henry fired for a month, etc. I want a peep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is torture.

    PS-No way does Michigan deserve to play in the Sugar Bowl. State got screwed this year from a dancing punter. If there wasn’t a Big 10 title game we’d be on our way to Pasadena. Who did U of M beat? Cmon…and they played 8 home games!!!! Ridiculous. Sparty gets screwed. Can’t stand this.

    • Jonski

      As a Badger fan state got a win they didnt deserve ,having said that state has a good program and a tuff d!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Who did UM beat? Well, UM beat that Nebraska team that hammered State 24-3. And UM didn’t just beat Nebraska – they destroyed Nebraska. State beat UM in a good game, and earned the right to play for the Big 10 title. Michigan would have loved to have that shot.

  • MightyBear

    If the Cubs dealt Garza to the Rangers, who would they likely want in return? I know the Rangers supposedly have a couple of major league ready starting pitchers at AAA but why deal them for a guy who’s going to make 9 million? What would constitute an “overwhelming offer”?

  • Cubs82

    RT @jonmorosi Pujols is expected to choose from among 3 teams. Story here with @Ken_Rosenthal: http://t.co/pQo8uHio #Angels #STLCards #Cubs 15 minutes ago

  • njriv

    I know I have total trust in the Theo and all, but all this news of transactions and rumors on twitter is getting me ancy! I hope some more action happens then talking in the soon!

    • BetterNews

      Wow! Total trust? I don’t have that in the president of the U.S..

  • John

    Idiot Rangers fans think there going to get Garza for nothing. Iv’e been reading there comments on mlb trade rumors. I bet they will Have to at least trade 2 to 3 of there top 5 prospects to get him. There is no way the Cubs trade Garza and not get a better group of prospects that they gave the Rays last offseason.

    • BetterNews

      Yep, thats what I have been saying for a long time and people have wanted to throw me into the “hot stove”.

  • Mike F

    Darvish isn’t 60M you have to pay the posting fee to the Japanese team which could be 60 M or more and then sign him. It would likely take another 70M to sign him. So if 58 M for MB was too much, why do we think a 120 M plus for Yu Darvish or 60 Million for Cespedes is such a good deal?

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