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All day yesterday, we heard that Albert Pujols would make a decision on his multiple offers by that night. But he didn’t. And Jayson Stark now says a decision is expected within the next 24 hours. Whateves. Fool me once…

  • The Cardinals have reportedly upped their offer to 10 years and $220 million, which is just a hair under the Marlins’ offer (which is reportedly their final offer), or so says Jon Heyman. Whether the Cubs are still involved is a matter of debate (largely academic, as no one actually expects Pujols to come to the Cubs). Joel Sherman (New York media) says the Cubs are “definitely” in. Nick Cafardo (Boston media) says the Cubs are “definitely” not in. Protip: using the word “definitely” rarely makes you sound more authoritative, and, in instances like this, it just makes you sound foolish. (Tim Brown adds his own “definitely” to the mix, saying the Angels are “definitely” not in on Pujols, but that the Cubs have made contact.)
  • Whatever the Cubs’ involvement on Albert Pujols, they’re “definitely” interested in Prince Fielder on the right deal. Jon Heyman calls the Cubs’ interest sincere, and Jim Duquette says the Mariners – believed by many to be the front-runner for Fielder – are not even involved. And the Mariners’ GM yesterday suggested that he expected the price on Fielder to get sufficiently high that he will be out of their range, whatever their interest.
  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer kinda-sorta confirmed the Cubs are looking at Pujols and Fielder, calling them “two players we’re involved in.” Whether he meant that the Cubs are pursuing them, or that the Cubs’ machinations hinge on the decisions of those two guys, is unclear (the new brass doesn’t, as a rule, comment on players they’re pursuing, so I suspect, unless it was a slip, he meant it the latter way). Hoyer added that a team can’t afford to wait forever while guys make their decisions, otherwise it misses out on other opportunities. “We’re working on a lot of fronts,” he said.
  • The Marlins have had internal discussions about going after Fielder if Pujols rebuffs them. Of course, “internal discussions” could be all of “hey, dude, should we try to get Prince if Albert says no?” “I don’t know. Maybe.”
  • Although he’s theoretically been available for weeks, A’s lefty Gio Gonzalez is becoming one of the many belles of the ball, with as many as 12 teams pursuing a deal. The Cubs make sense as one of those teams, but the asking price is expected to be extremely steep. For reference, Brett Jackson would merely be one of several required pieces.
  • Carlos Pena remains in the not-expected-to-accept-arbitration category. The deadline to accept is midnight tonight (ET). Obviously, Aramis Ramirez is also not expected to accept.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer’s sources tell him the Marlins have “serious” interest in Carlos Zambrano, assuming the Cubs eat enough salary. If you fall into the category of folks who desperately want the Cubs to deal Zambrano, you should be pulling hard for Pujols to sign with the Marlins – doing so will put them on the lookout for “cheap” starting pitching options.
  • Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is still awaiting residency clearance in the DR, but it is expected soon. Once it comes in, the bidding is expected to come fast. The Cubs are believed to have heavy interest.
  • Other teams expect the Braves to trade both Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado at some point. Despite a fit on the Cubs’ roster for both, neither has been connected to the Cubs in any rumors. Yet.
  • CJ Wilson probably has a four-year, $60 million offer from the Rangers, and probably doesn’t have a six-year offer from the Angels.
  • The closer market has become so saturated that guys like Francisco Rodriguez and Ryan Madson are considering accepting offers of arbitration (if you want a rooting interest, you should be hoping for both, because it could heavily and slightly screw the Brewers and Phillies, respectively).
  • The Tigers won’t be bidding on Yu Darvish, should he be posted.
  • hansman1982

     not-expected-to-expect-arbitration category – maybe I am not as down with the English language as I thought but if he is still expecting to hear if he was offered Arb – he needs a new agent, and a computer with BN as its home page.

    At this point, I seriously doubt the Cubs do anything this week unless Pujols truly is settled early today.  I think they are going to use the rest of the time to gauge up trade deals and work on 1st and 3rd past Friday.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I guess he’d have to travel back in time to not expect to expect arbitration. That should be “not expected to accept arbitration.” Thanks.

  • JMack4568

    Aren’t the Marlins going to sound a little foolish asking the Cubs to chip in a significant amount of cash for Zambrano after they have tried to spend like drunken sailors up to this point?

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Depends on how good of a player they offer the Cubs.

    • Papi

      I think the Marlins know the Cubs would wants to get rid of Zambrano just as much as the Marlins want to $pend on free agents

    • EQ76

      I really don’t think we should pay most of Z’s contract in a trade with the Marlins unless we get a good player in return.. Z is most likely gonna win 10-13 games for them next year. That’s a pitcher worth paying a decent amount for. If we pay 12 of his 18 mil, that’s a bargain for the Marlins. Who cares about his anger issues, they just hired a manager with the same issues. that’s not an excuse anymore.. and I believe that Z will behave just fine for Ozzie. I say the only reason we pay most of Z’s salary in a trade is if we end up with Sanchez in return. if not, I say we pay half and the Marlins pay the other half.

  • EtotheR

    One thing remains…if the Cubs were truly serious about Pujols, he’d have been signed already. They have the all the information on Albert that they need, and the means to make virtually any offer they want. If they’re in…they’re in to either “work” the system, or take a light pass at getting him on a shorter deal.

    By doing this…they can also go back to Fielder, and try to lock him up…having already helped to either move Pujols out of the division/league, or cripple the budget of their chief rival.

    If baseball really is a business…then this is smart baseball.

  • MightyBear

    If Brett Jackson and other prospects would get Gio Gonzalez, do it. Gonzalez proven ML pitcher. Prospects however good are PROSPECTS. Pull the trigger.

    • EQ76

      amen! we have no idea what Jackson will end up being, we know what Gio brings to the table.. besides, we have Byrd still, Schurzer still coming up and may go after Cespedes.. sounds like we could still be fine at CF.. I say do it also!

    • hogie

      Does anyone know his park adjusted stats? I’m not too good with the advanced stats, but just as Oakland kills hitters stats, it’s going to boost pitchers’. Just something to keep in mind.

      • BN Virgin

        I made a post a little lower about his home-away splits from the last 2 seasons. Pretty big difference.

        • hogie

          Saw that just after I posted, thanks.
          I was refering to park adjusted ERA and what not. Splits are useful, but there could be an issue of comfort with the home crowd. Some guys perform better at home, no matter where that home is.

          • BN Virgin

            Very true. Many guys do have better stats at home simply because they know the park better. And let’s not be foolish, I think we all would have loved to have even a pitcher on our staff with his away numbers last year. I’d just be hesitant to put a great trade package together for a guy deserving of a good trade package.

            • hogie

              Exactly what I was thinking!

    • Lou

      So much for the fans support of a slow rebuild. You listening Theo and all those on 670 the Score. Ha.

      • Rancelot

        I think it is safe to assume that Theo & Co. are too smart to listen to Neanderthal Nation aka The Score. Research shows that 1 IQ point can be subtracted from your amassed total per every minute listening to sports talk radio.

        • hardtop

          you want to know how to get dumb in a hurry?  listen to denver sports talk radio.  as if the “analysts” arent bad enough, the “disciples” that call in are frighteningly idiotic. not only do they speak like graduates of hillbilly university (alls, ain’t, seen), but they dont have the first idea about anything related to football, or professional sports in general.  if i hear the word ‘tebow’ one more time im going to ram my vehicle into the radio station and start gunning m’fers down.

          • Tim Mo

            I live in Denver and had to make the switch to satellite radio. I’ve been trying to catch a few minutes of Denver radio this week since it’s Bears week, but the callers are crazy and all the hosts seem to encourage it. There is a lot more “Chicago” hate in Denver than I ever realized.

  • MightyBear

    Padres rumored to get Huston Street. Puts a damper on the Marmol for Headley deal.

    • T C

      It’s crazy though, cause the Rockies are getting zilch in return, other than the padres paying his whole contract….this makes no sense…

      • hardtop

        it makes some sense.  he struggled last year too.  when the rockies were hot, he had big leads, so his numbers are deceiving (i kind of thought his numbers were always deceiving).  when the team went cold, he pretty much stayed in the bullpen or blew the save opp.  he certainly wasn’t over powering and had a nasty habit of giving up the long ball.  he is also a giant dick.  if we could unload marmols salary after last year, we would.  i think this is the rockies move too: he’s not likley to be a stud closer again, let someone else pay him…. though dan odowd  is a hard one to figure out (im predicting he’s gone soon)

  • die hard

    Sveum tho inexperienced as mgr does have respect of other players given his long career in the bigs which could be reason to give Z another chance as Z will think twice b4 trying to show up Sveum. Nothing to lose and better than paying him to play elsewhere.

    • Wilbur

      I agree with DH’s point of view.

      If Z is a projected 12-13 game winner (which was both mentioned above and I agree with) and you don’t get that value in a trade offer don’t dump him because he’s an ass. Even in Manny Ramirez’s worst times, pre-roid exposure, the Red Sox and Dodgers got a lot of value from an egregious ass. You don’t have to sign these types of players in the future, but while you have them wring ever ounce of value you can.

      Managing inflated and petulant personalities is one of the key roles of the modern day manager. Not a task I envy, but hopefully a strength of Sveum’s.

      • MoneyBoy

        Ummm … I think it would be way fun to see who comes out ahead in a cage match between Z and Sveum … just sayin’

        • hardtop

          snoozer.  Z knocks his head off in under 15 seconds.

  • mister_rob

    But it sounds as if SD is picking up Street’s entire contract. Which means they will likely want to dump salary from elsewhere. Headley and OHudson anyone?

  • MightyBear

    The Marmol market seems to be drying up. Who needs a closer still? I think the Cubs should trade Marmol and Soto before Garza. I know Garza will get more return but the Cubs need SP. I think they could replace Marmol and Soto easier than Garza, although they won’t get as much in return.

    • Lou

      I don’t think they’ll be trading either. Byrd’s the guy they should be trading.

      • MoneyBoy

        Completely agree … have said all along Byrd, for the money, is a perfect “package” guy … plus, as a FA at the end of the year, he’s a July 31st guy as well for the team acquiring him.

        • R.I.P. Santo

          Exactly and the Braves need a left fielder. Package Byrd for Prado and/or Jurrgens. I know it will take more than Byrd But Prado would be a good fit at third

  • http://twitter.com/#!/sperls13 sperls13

    ‘machinations’ – BRAVO. I doth tip thy cap to thee good sir!

  • EtotheR

    For me…it’s not critical to trade Marmol during the off-season. While I know his recent performance makes his potential value a risk, relief arms are ALWAYS in demand at the trade deadline. If we’re not going to get a proper haul for him in this market…it’s worth rolling the dice. If he goes back to being the great Marmol…we’re in the catbird seat. If he pitches the way he did last year…we’ll still get good offers.

    • EQ76

      true.. and what if Marmol goes right back to his dominant form and is the “un-hittable, strike out machine” again.. then would we be so eager to trade him?

      • hardtop

        if he’d just drop about 20 lbs off his ass, he’d be a lot easier to move.  both figuratively and literally.

        • EQ76

          true !

  • john

    I say Marlins are out. If a deal
    were to made it would have happened by now.
    Looks like St Louis or 5/150 deal with Cubs?

  • john

    Arod was highest paid and made 33 mil at peak is 35 soon to be 36
    is owed 30 m 29 m 26 m 22 m 21 m next 5 yrs

  • cubs82

    The Cubs are still involved in the Pujols talks, tweets Ken Rosenthal, though the extent is unclear

  • Cedlandrum

    Steve berthuime is saying Marlins will have an announcement in 45 mins… This just got really, really interesting.

    • Cedlandrum

      to announce Reyes. That was a buzz kill.

  • BN Virgin

    Brett, was curious what your thoughts are on Gio Gonzalez. I know he has good numbers but I’m still a little skeptical. I remember seeing a story awhile back about how the Athletics ballpark is a pitcher friendly park. I looked up Gio’s splits from the last 2 years and they seem to support that statement.

    2011(Home) 110 IP, ERA: 2.70, WHIP: 1.23
    2011 (Away) 92 IP, ERA: 3.62, WHIP: 1.42
    2010 (Home) 102 IP, ERA: 2.56, WHIP: 1.20
    2010 (Away) 98.2 IP, ERA: 3.92, WHIP: 1.43

    So, is he worth giving up a lot for? Or is he just a good that pitcher that has really good stats due in large part to where he plays?

  • MightyBear

    Rumor is the Cubs are still in on Pujols. While I think its true, I think its a ploy and they really aren’t interested in signing Pujols, just driving up the price. The Cubs maybe the ones holding up the Pujols decision and it may be on purpose.

  • MightyBear

    The Marlins announcement is about Reyes. Old news.

  • oswego chris

    interesting to see the Gio home/road splits…I would still take him in a second…..

    I see no market for Marmol now…at all…..should have moved him at the deadline to the Rangers….

    • Wilbur

      Market for the moment has certainly dried up.

      However, the trade options expand once teams start playing through the end of July. He is likely to go, but just later in the year, after injuries and playoff opportunities come into play.

      • hansman1982

        Please dear God, let Marmol have his 2010 stuff again in 2012.

        • EQ76

          at one point he was the most dominant reliever in the game.. that one point was not that long ago.. keep your fingers crossed that he get back there!

        • Internet Random

          With a new pitching coach, I don’t think that’s impossible… not even improbable.

          • hansman1982

            all we need is 2 good months – June and July – that is what 20 outings?

          • R.I.P. Santo

            My sentiments exactly shoot I was so glad to see Rothschild leave finally. Until last year with Riggins I feel he was the reason for most of our pitching woes. I can’t stand the F’ing Cardinals but they should give Dave Duncan 2 Rings for last year, He is amazing and brings out the best in his pitchers

  • Morgan

    Im sick of all the rumors, Can we please just make a deal already

  • Ron Swanson

    I’m with Morgan. I’m gonna lose my mind.

  • MightyBear

    Nolan says Rangers out on Fielder. It looks like Cubs could get him or Cards/Marlins loser.

  • oswego chris

    Bruce Levine stated this interesting nugget(sorry, not a trade rumor)…that Theo and Boras made angreement at the GM meetings in December that Pena would not accept ARB, therefore keeping the Cubs in the market(theoritically and figuratively…if you believe it) for the two big guns…thus driving up the 1b market…..Cubs get draft pick, Boras client gets more money..

  • DaveB23

    Padres reach aggrement to acquire Rockies closer Street
    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/dec/07/padres-could-have-deal-rockies-closer-street/

    Welp, so much for Marmol being apart of a deal for Headley… We still better be able to land Headley, he is the only 3B I’m interested in.

  • bhannon

    still can’t decide whether i want pujols to land with the cards or the marlins. On one hand if he’s with st. louis he cripples their flexibility in the free agent market for like 10 years, but we’d have to deal w/ him probably still in his prime for the next 3 to 4 years and thats scary. Also, the marlins would then probably become big players in fielder and bc i would love to see the cubs get the tubby 1b that could hurt us. On the other hand, if the marlins sign him we no longer have to deal with him in the division ever again, st. louis is a significantly weaker team in the near future, and we may have a good shot at fielder. Although, it is possible st. louis would then jump into the fielder sweepstakes. Any thoughts from others? I can’t decide!!

  • oswego chris

    I am thinking the marlins got played in this whole Pujols thing…their 10,350 fans must be furious!

    • hansman1982

      350 of their fans are furious – the other 10,000 just became Marlin fans with the Reyes signing so they are unaware that their team just got kicked in the balls by Pujols.

      • Hawkeye

        “350 of their fans are furious – the other 10,000 just became Marlin fans with the Reyes signing so they are unaware that their team just got kicked in the balls by Pujols.”

        None of the new 10,000 fans have seen thew new team logo yet.  That number will be down to about 17 once they realize they will be wearing  the black, teal, and orange to support their team.

    • hardtop

      :)  hahaha! thats great…

      funny thing. the marlins have a fan club / supporters group in chicago. they may have more fans in chicago than in florida.  i have a buddy who played for the marlins and after the first game of the series against the cubs, they had this big shin dig for the supporters of the team.  there must be some big money involved… these people just got to hob knob, eat, and drink with the players in this nice private dining room at gibsons.  it was pretty awesome.  but anytime i get to eat lobster and steak and drink booze  for free, im a happy camper….  let alone talk baseball with pros and execs.

  • cdc

    Brett…do you think when Albert re-signs with St. Louis that would make the Cubs more inclined to get in on Fielder? i’ve read numerous stories on here about what the new CBA will do to teams like the Cubs that would have wanted to spend big through the draft and build from within…but at some point they will use Rickett’s deep pockets to pick up some big pieces. if that piece is right this offseason, and i think Prince fits the “right” category, why not go get it…he’s averaged something like 154 games a year over the last how many or so years. pencil him in for 35 to 45 and over a 100 rbi.

    If the Cards keep Albert do the Cubs go get Prince?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t think it will have an impact on the Cubs’ interest in Fielder one way or the other. They want a 1B either way, and want the best they can get (for the short and long-term). If that’s Fielder, it’s Fielder. If it’s not, it doesn’t matter what the Cards are doing. Just my thought.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    These Winter Meetings are boring as fuck.

    • Dumpman

      I know. I was at least expecting a BP arm or something to be moved.

  • polocubs

    definitely uneventful from a cubs point of view….im either going to lose my mind…or my job

  • hansman1982

    Ok, I have been noticing that Bert has been pretty absent from the boards today.  Beginning to think that he is either:

    A) Involved in talks to bring Pujols to BN at 15 years $400M

    B) Surfing the internet – pretending to do “research” (no Brett, goatfrackers.com is not a baseball site)

    C) Is ust blowing us off and in reality the Cubs have already signed Pujols to a 3 year $90M contract, traded for Headley and dealt Soriano for Matt Kemp with the Dodgers kicking in $250M

  • polocubs

    nope…he was busy getting us a ian stewart update…i cant believe the cubs would actually pursue him…there just isnt really anything coming out that we can get excited about

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