Winter Meetings Thursday Mid-Day: Just Another Quiet Day, Right?

Whew. Big moves are finally happening, and it’s going to take some time to digest. Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson both signed on with the Los Angeles Marlins West this morning, and it’s fair to guess that the floodgates might open soon. In the interim…

  • The Wilson deal is just five years, $77.5 million. Look, I understand that the Cubs may not have really wanted him. I understand that he may not have wanted to come to Chicago. But I still feel a bit bummed looking at what, to me, looks like a very reasonable deal that the Cubs could have competed with.
  • With Wilson going to the Angels, the Rangers are likely to be even more interested in Matt Garza … and Yu Darvish. The Rangers are still talking to the Cubs about a Garza trade (about which, more later – still gathering info), but may not feel compelled to act until after the Darvish posting process is over.
  • Similarly, does the Wilson move make the Marlins more interested in Carlos Zambrano? I’m not so sure. Unless they spend some cash on, for example, a big-time first baseman, I don’t know that I see the impetus for them to pick up a “cheap” starting option like Zambrano. It’s still possible, but I’d wait to see if they spend some money elsewhere. They did, after all, pick up a pitcher in Buehrle.
  • As expected, I’m told the Pujols move only strengthens the Cubs’ interest in something they planned to do anyway: go hard after Kendrys Morales, who is now even more likely to be non-tendered by the Angels. Morales, 28, was a good defensive first baseman putting up excellent numbers when he badly broke his leg celebrating a walk-off grand slam with teammates. He had surgery, and then missed the entire 2011 season. He made just about $3 million last year, and, with Pujols, Mark Trumbo, and Bobby Abreu on the team, it’s easy to see why the Angels might let him go…
  • …which leads me to this. Although the dual signings of Pujols and Wilson could open the flood gates to other transactions, it’s possible we still won’t see much Cubs movement. I keep hearing, as I heard for over a week (and suggested it here and there where it seemed appropriate), that the Cubs really want to see who is non-tendered before making moves. The deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration-eligible players is Monday. You aren’t going to get any superstars that way, but you can get spot-fillers that might illuminate your others moves. I understand the approach, and, assuming the Cubs don’t miss out on anything in the next few days, I’ll approve of it. And, who knows: perhaps the Cubs would prefer to wait, but they’ll have their hand forced before Monday? Another reason to hold off on anything major in the next few days? The Darvish post.
  • So, where does that leave Prince Fielder? No one seems to know for sure. Scott Boras says his client is getting a number of offers, and says he won’t consider anything less than seven years. On the other hand, there are reports that no team is willing to go beyond five years for Fielder. Boras is looking at that Pujols contract and undoubtedly licking his chops. I doubt he signs any time soon. For what it’s worth, another pundit is guessing Fielder ends up with the Cubs. This time it’s Peter Gammons. Again: very for what it’s worth.
  • The Diamondbacks are willing to deal prospects to pick up a starting pitcher. Should I call them about Matt Garza, or should you?
  • In addition to Yoenis Cespedes, the Cubs are involved in two other Cuban players, both just 19: outfielder Jorge Soler, and pitcher Geraldo Concepcion. Interest in the latter is a bit of an under-the-radar kind of thing, though the youngster is already pitching at the highest level in Cuba, and was the rookie of the year last year. As for Soler, whom some scouts like even more than Cespedes, his price tag may climb to $20 million, which is likely heavily inflated given the CBA international spending restrictions that are set to kick in next year. We’ll talk more about the two 19-year-olds when they are officially free agents – given their age, they’re more “prospects” than true free agent signings to help in the immediate future, like Cespedes (26) or Yu Darvish (25).
  • If you were among those pining for Kelly Johnson at second base, be aware: he accepted arbitration last night. He could still be traded, but odds are he’s staying in Toronto.
  • For what it’s worth, a source confirms that the Cubs did, indeed, make an offer for Albert Pujols, but not at the $250 million level. Um, ya think? It sounds like the Cubs may have been the “mystery team” all along, but the Pujols camp let folks believe that the Cubs were offering more than they actually had.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

140 responses to “Winter Meetings Thursday Mid-Day: Just Another Quiet Day, Right?”

  1. john

    0% Morales 15 % Trumbo 25% Morrison 25% Fielder 35% Pena

    1. ferrets_bueller

      I’d switch Trumbo and Morales around- there is, IMO, literally no chance the Angels deal Trumbo until they find out whether he can play 3B or not, unless there is a legit 3B coming their way in return.

  2. Ajbearsfan

    All we are gonna get is role players this yr period! But look at what the giants did the yr they won it all! I believe we have money going elsewhere with HOPE of signing some of these foreign players. But if the bottom drops from that then what? What’s plan b and c?

    1. Cedlandrum

      well we don’t have Lincecum and Cain so role players aren’t going to do it.

  3. fearbobafett

    i would have no problem if they are going to spend all the money on the foreigners.

  4. die hard

    awwwwwww….its ok…..we wont be mad at you 4 complaining.about higher intelligence…but jealousy can kill you

    1. BleakNews

      Diie Hard—Some people are @#$%^&*# on us.

  5. BT

    The marlins offered Wilson almost 100 million. You can assume it would have cost the Cubs about the same. Wilson settled for less because he wanted to play for the Angels.

    1. die hard

      Bold statement. May be right. Do you have facts to back up suggestion that offers were apples to apples?

      1. BT

        Do I have both contracts in my hands? No. I’ll take Wilson’s word for it when he admitted that the Marlins offer was higher, and the media’s word for it that it was substantially higher. My point was simply that it’s unlikely the Cubs could have signed Wilson for the same amount of money the Angels did. Mainly because Wilson is from Southern California, not Chicago.

    2. BetterNews

      Yes, I do believe that to be true.

    3. JulioZuleta

      Also keep in mind what he could have made due to the lack of state income tax. Even 2 or 3% is a big difference on 100 mil.

      1. hansman1982

        I wonder if these players have to pay appropriate state income taxes based on where they play.

        Let us say CJ Wilson signed a $10M a year contract and plays 81 games in Texas and 81 games in (just for example sake) Iowa.

        Now Texas has a 0% income tax but Iowa has a (roughly) 6% income tax.  I wonder if, at the end of the year, he will pay $300,000 to Iowa since he earned $5M of that salary in Iowa.  This would make the tax ramifications much less than if he only pays Texas income tax.

        1. BetterNews

          They don’t pay.

        2. Kyle

          That’s correct. They actually have to pay income tax on each state in which they play, broken down by game by game.

          So each player pays his home state’s income tax on half of his salary. The remaining half is divided up by each state in which he plays. So if he plays 16 games in California, about 10% of his income counts as California income for tax purposes.

          It’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s the basic idea.

          1. BetterNews

            Its much more complicated! They wind up not paying any tax in most cases.

  6. jfish1219

    Ian Stewart is the new cubs 3rd baseman @TroyRenck: Rockies have sent ian stewart and Casey weathers to cubs for tyler Colvin and DJ lamehieu

  7. Who knows

    Go cubs

  8. Travis Murphy

    30 and cubs fan since I was ten. And always get the same kinda peoplespread the wealth for at least2 grade a pitchers. In my mind our farm system can do a better job of getting Barney over sad but true