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.