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The Winter Meetings are over, and the Chicago Cubs made one move, trading Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu to the Rockies for third baseman Ian Stewart and pitching prospect Casey Weathers. The trade was not revealed until after the Meetings had ended, but it turns out that the deal was consummated on Tuesday (with Stewart undergoing a physical in Chicago thereafter – he’s recovering from a wrist injury). There will be much more to discuss about the deal later today, but, with fresh eyes, I see the move in a more positive light, when viewed through two lenses: (1) Stewart clearly has the most upside of anyone in the deal, and the Cubs are taking a chance on that upside, and (2) much like the DeJesus signing, the move leaves open any number of other roster possibilities, saving as much as $10 million that could be spent elsewhere. Let’s see how it shakes out come March…

  • Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein had an interesting reaction to the news that Albert Pujols had left the Cardinals in favor of the Angels: “It’d probably be a good thing for us in terms of developing pitching. You get a young pitcher up there and he’s working on his third pitch, working on his fastball command, and you tell him to get ahead with strike one, and all of a sudden, instead of a Triple-A hitter, he’s got Albert Pujols there. He can execute a pitch, and it leaves the yard 420-feet to right-center field, it’s probably not good for his confidence.” Not the first place my head went, but I’m not surprised that Epstein is – as he always is – thinking about this from another angle.
  • As noted yesterday morning, Yu Darvish is being posted (finally), and bids are due by next Wednesday at 5pm ET. A number of GMs are already saying things like, “I don’t think we’ll be bidding,” or, “we’re not sure we’ll be bidding.” Here’s the thing: it doesn’t serve anyone’s interest – either selfish or collective – to admit that you’re bidding. Why? Because the more teams that are known to be bidding, the higher the auction is going to go. It’s a blind auction, meaning, you have to just submit the highest bid you’re comfortable with. If you knew 10 other teams were bidding, your bid is going to be much higher. That is all to say: ignore any denial over the next few days. No team is going to admit it, and also, no team is going to submit a bid until, like, 4:45pm ET on Wednesday. Why? Because until then, they’re going to be doing mad reconnaissance to try and find out what everyone else is bidding. And that includes the Cubs.
  • The Cubs took infielder Ricky Alvarez from the Angles in the AAA phase of the Rule 5 Draft yesterday. The minor league portions of the Rule 5 are not really a matter of much consequence, but the Cubs went out of their way to prove it: after drafting Alvarez, they traded him to a Mexican team for cash.
  • We’ll have more on the kid the Cubs took in the big league portion – pitcher Lendy Castillo – later today. Of Ryan Flaherty and Marwin Gonzalez, the two players the Cubs lost in the draft, GM Jed Hoyer said, “Those were two guys we spent a lot of time talking about and, candidly, we thought they were two guys who may well get taken. They’re both good players and we hope we get them back. That’s the nature of setting your roster. You have to make hard decisions.” Given that the Cubs’ 40-man roster stood at just 34 yesterday, you’ve got to believe that not protecting Flaherty, 25, was more about the Cubs not believing he had a future with the team than it did about roster maneuvering. Gonzalez is still just 22, so you can understand the Cubs risking not protecting him. Flaherty and Gonzalez both have a chance of sticking on their respective new teams (Orioles and Astros). At least the Cubs picked up $100,000 for losing the two players. Bright side, right?
  • The Theo Epstein compensation issue with Boston (as well as Hoyer-with-San-Diego) was deferred until after the Rule 5 Draft, and that happened yesterday morning. So, it’s all done, right? Nah. The two sides were simply waiting until after the Rule 5 Draft to resume discussions, and it sounds like it could be a while yet. “We’ve loosely defined a strategy of talking at some point in the near future,” Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said yesterday. “We’ll resolve it at some point I’m sure.” As was true a month ago: the longer it drags on, the better it is for the Cubs. The public pressure to “get something good” for Epstein has faded. Relatedly, I saw Epstein mention the Andy McPhail trade from the ’90s as precedent in a TV interview this week, which I was glad to hear. The Cubs sent the Twins a top 20ish organizational prospect for McPhail back then, and Epstein doesn’t believe the Cubs should have to give up more for himself now. He’s a lawyer, after all – precedent is everything.
  • Jim Hendry is ready to return to baseball, and I’m sure he’ll get an opportunity soon.
  • The Cubs Caravan will hold a luncheon before it goes caravanning, and you can go if you’ve got $150. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod, as well as Cubs players and coaches will be in attendance (you get to eat with them! “Pass me the salt, Jed.”). Details here. The luncheon is January 11.
  • Spencer

    Good stuff. Evidence final today. Barf.

    • Internet Random

      My condolences. I hated that class.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Hearsay exceptions, hearsay exclusions … good luck. That’s a tough one.

      • Max

        I LOVED evidence. It’s also one of the easiest parts of the MBE. Here’s a little video to help you study: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi5LESZ7_Kc. Also, what is it with lawyers and baseball? Is our profession just more naturally drawn to the sport? Or are we just the subset of fans that obsess over the details of every actual and hypothetical transaction.

        • ferrets_bueller

          All of you lawyer types are making me feel inferior about my accounting studies, lmao.

          • Internet Random

            From my perspective, you should be feeling superior.

            • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

              One of these days, all you wake-up early, stuffed suit types will say “Why didn’t I go into video game development? I could be sleeping until 9 and going to work in jeans. What was I thinking?”

              I promise not to laugh when that happens. I may chuckle a few times, and maybe smirk, but I promise not to laugh.

              • hansman1982

                I DO envy you, entirely, I would LOVE to be some sort of computer programmer, unfotunately, I chose Business Administration, the most worthless of all degrees related to business.

                • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

                  Programming? Ha! I can work some scripting languages, but that’s about it.

                  I’m actually a writer who at one time was doing statistical modeling of the international political system as a poly sci grad student. I’d say a minority people in gaming actually intended to go there. It’s a pretty eclectic bunch with backgrounds in just about everything.

                  That BA degree, for example, could probably get you in as a producer. There are downsides though. Layoffs are common when you are getting established, and the downtime between jobs can be annoying (I’m in one of those now).

                  • hansman1982

                    Writer? As in, come up with the plot line of a game?

                    Being a producer would probably be nice, but with a wife and kid I think I have a better chance of convincing them to let me quit my job to start a crappy Cubs blog that just provides links to everywhere else out there than to risk long layoffs.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Hey.

                      You have to start the crappy Cubs blog two and a half years BEFORE you quit.

        • Internet Random

          Is our profession just more naturally drawn to the sport?

          Intelligent people are (initially) drawn to intellectual vocations like law. Intelligent people are also drawn to baseball. It’s a thinking man’s game.

          That’s not to say that there are no idiot baseball fans or lawyers, for there are certainly both—in abundance.

          Likewise, there are intelligent janitors and football fans… just not very many. (EDIT:  Note, that’s meant to be a rip on football, not janitors.)

        • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

          Any helpful tips for my anatomy & physiology final????

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            The knee bone’s connected to the hip bone.

            • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

              I knew that part already!  >.<

          • Internet Random

            Any helpful tips for my anatomy & physiology final????

            Origins and insertions are what killed me.

            • Katie

              Sounds like a personal problem.

              Ba Bum Ching.

            • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

              Yeah that and memorizing the names of all those stupid muscles.

      • JulioZuleta

        I’ll be starting law school next Fall. Good to see that there’s still time to check BN during finals.

        • Spencer

          it’s necessary to ensure my brain doesn’t explode.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          You’ll have to clear your brain somehow (that’s a recommendation unrelated to BN).

          • BetterNews

            Somtimes Brett, you might to to “clear” yours! Did I say that? Yep!

      • Edgewood

        So, is there any room on this blog for a high school English teacher who’s been lurking for a while, loves the site, and is ready to post?

        I’m not an accountant, programmer, or lawyer, but I promise I work hard!

         

        • hansman1982

          Before you’re hired you have to fetch me 4 6-packs of Natural Ice pounders, a doublecheeseburger, McChicken and large fries from McD’s and a 8 maids a milking…DONT ASK QUESTIONS JUST DO IT!

          • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

            McD’s? For chicken?

            Have you never heard of Chick-Fil-A?

            We need a food therapist here, stat!

            • hansman1982

              The only problem is that the only Chick-Fil-A we have in Des Moines (that I know of) is located in the WORST MALL IN AMERICA and there is no McD’s close to it and 2 Double Cheeseburgers is just too much so the McChicken is a good counter balance to it.  Plus, Dollar Menu.

              EDIT: I also like how the only thing wrong with that entire paragraph was the McChicken…you stay classy, luke.

              • Katie

                I’m pretty sure the only one in the metro is at that western monstrosity. I avoid all malls, but especially that one.

                • BetterNews

                  When you getting married to Hans? I want to be there!

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    This kind of sarcastic, personal comment needs to stop. I *hate* being the hall monitor, because I assume you’re all big boys and girls and can comport yourselves accordingly. Don’t make me be the bad guy, BetterNews.

                    • BetterNews

                      Can’t stop the truth! Nothing personal. But why can a woman be “sarcastic” and a “male’ can’t? You need to “rethink” the “values” you once had as a lawyer and go from there!

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Nothing you said was truth, and it was entirely personal. End it.

                  • TWC

                    (redacted)

                    • Internet Random

                      For what it’s worth, I agree.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      It was appropriate, for what it’s worth.

                • Max

                  Ha! I used to live out by Jordan Creek. Hated that mall.

                • JulioZuleta

                  It seems like a surprisingly small number of the commenters are from Chicago…odd.

                  • Internet Random

                    Wicker Park.  Represent.

                    EDIT:  But I recognize that all decent, right-thinking people are Cub fans no matter where they are from. (And I’ve only lived in Chicago for the last decade or so.)

                    • Rancelot

                      River West in the House!

                  • BetterNews

                    North ave and Califor. Don’t preach to me brother.!

              • Edgewood

                Yeah, I taught 30 miles or so north of Des Moines for six years.  Jordan Creek….what an experience.

                I appreciate you thinking about me and choosing items off the dollar menu, though.  I’ll work on the maids…..so to speak.

                 

  • ShootTheGoat

    Still don’t like it that we gave up D.J..  Saw him play in the minors and after each game I was still impressed with his bat and defense. I really think, that given time, his bat and defense would have earned him a spot on our roster and maybe even a starting gig. Impressive hitter with patience. Just my opinion though.

  • die hard

    Opening Day Lineup coming into focus….With only Votto to be afraid of now, why not think Division Champs?

    DeJesus
    Castro
    Stewart
    Soriano
    Byrd
    LaHair
    Soto
    Barney
    Dempster

    • Ron Swanson

      I’m assuming this is tongue in cheek. That lineup is horrendous.

    • EtotheR

      I had no idea that Opening Day was tomorrow…

    • Ted

      Because that lineup would struggle to score 600 runs.

    • johnbres2

      the only name there that really seems wrong is Soriano. I mean, that is just wrong that he is still here…..

      • EQ76

        If Stewart and Soriano are our opening day #3 & 4 hitters, I may take the year off of watching baseball.. that would be horrible and we’d be in a nice battle for last place with the ‘stros.

    • Mike Foster

      Yeah it’s not opening day tomorrow, but give DH a break, he’s talking about we have right now. And that clearly says we need a bat or two. Hang tough DH.

    • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

      I think DH is using irony to point out how far we have to go before fielding a competitive team.

    • jandersonjr81

      Honestly, if healthy, Soriano can still hit 30 plus homeruns. I’m not down on him and prefer we keep him. If we trade him and have to eat 30-40 mil, where can we find 30 HRs a year for 5 million dollars. If Lahair doesn’t work out, move him to first and play Byrd, Dejesus and Jackson. Then the lineup for opening day would be:

      Dejesus
      Castro
      Jackson
      Soriano
      Stewart
      Soto
      Byrd
      Barney
      Garza

      Could be decent, sneaky lineup. Not gone break any record, but its not horrible.

  • Mike Foster

    Brett, while I read the quote you listed here, the next paragraph was pretty interesting too.
    Theo said:
    “That moment after signing a free agent, by definition, you overpaid, because you were the high team. The high bidder usually gets the player, so there’s a winners’ curse associated with that sometimes.

    “So that moment when you’re at the press conference and you’re holding up the jersey you’re sitting there thinking, ‘This could be a great moment in franchise history.’ Then there’s a big voice in the back of your head saying ‘I might be regretting this for the next six years.’ And you can’t away from it. That voice is louder than the one saying ‘This is a great thing for the team going forward,’ because just look at the history of long-term free agent contracts. They tend not to work out.”

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Thanks for the quote that really gives us insight into how Theo works.

      • Ron Swanson

        …and he’s right

  • Edwin

    Brett,

    For Yu Darvish, is the bidding like an auction, where the highest bid automatically qualifies, or is it more open, where Darvish (or his agent on the behalf of Darvish) can choose whichever offer they find better? If it’s handled strictly like an auction, I think it would be interesting if they used a Second Price sealed bid auction.

    -Edwin

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Highest bid wins the right to sign him to a contract.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        If I remember correctly, Darvish’s current team can choose to reject the highest bid if they feel it isn’t enough and keep Darvish. I doubt they would in this case, but they could.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yes, they can. But you’re right: they won’t.

  • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

    The Cubs trade a fourth outfielder and a utility infielder (albeit a promising one) for a couple guys recovering from injuries.

    And Bleacher Nation blows up to the tune of 221 posts in short order.

    I hope Brett’s hosting company keeps the server hamsters well fed. When/if the bigger trades come, the ones involving Garza, Marmol, Soto, Soriano, Zambrano, and so forth, this place is going to melt.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I am terrified of that day.

      • hansman1982

        I think many of us are for very similar reasons as to yours.

    • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

      Let me go on record now, then, to save space for that day.

      I am opposed to any and all of those moves if and only if they should occur.

      With a team this far away and yet so close with Pujols (and maybe also Theriot) out of the division, I can only support theoretical moves (so long as they remain theoretical).

      Exception: I do also support trades that are clear winners five years from now.

  • die hard

    Getting Darvish would be good omen for middle east peace prospects based on heritages of Emanuel, Theo and Darvish. For that reason alone, Cubs should pay whatever it takes to get him. And you can bet that the mayor has already been consulted on this move and no doubt was asked to give his blessing which as a Cubs fan and astute political operative he did. Could be huge for baseball, the United States, and world peace. Expect some exhibition games overseas if Cubs get him. Also expect his coming to the Cubs wont be overlooked by Obama’s political team and will be used to their advantage in 2012 election. I love the implications.

    • Kyle

      Iranians aren’t Arabs, generally.

      • die hard

        Cant spend all your time reading this blog or the sports pages. Expand your interests. Everyone hates the current Iranian religious nut regime, but the Iranian people are a great and proud nation deserving of respect and understanding. Getting Darvish would be huge in that would introduce into the conversation a baseball player whom most right wing and left wing extremists can agree on as worthy of respect. Can open up another dialogue as to why the United States should go out if its way to protect this nation against its rulers. The most comparable example is when Schmeling and Louis fought twice in the 30s. The United States people were able to see that the Nazis did not represent Schmeling or the majority of Germans and in fact held their nation hostage. Led to further support for taking down the Nazis. Getting Darvish could be this huge and I am sure the mayor and White House have already been brought into the loop.

  • Mike Foster

    Fielder, it’ll melt when we sign Fielder, LOL.

    • ferrets_bueller

      Or when someone else does. “Were paying these guys to do nothing! We brought them in and they’re doing nothing! Throw some money away! Why aren’t they burning money? Why isnt there a cash bonfire on clark and addison?!!!?”

      • CubFan Paul

        Theo&Co. are scared to make a move

        • ferrets_bueller

          …or smart enough not to?

  • Ajbearsfan

    Ok one more time. We are not getting any big name players! Role Players only and build farm system. The Stewart trade was ignorant as we lost some good potential. Noone wants zambrano and his anger. Noone wants soriano and his bad hop and overpaid contract. Noone wants to give what is deserved for garza. Noone needs a marmol type closer! Get over it we need to try to win with what we have unfortunately.

  • Tim Mo

    I am shocked on what a huge deal everyone is making of this, no one is saying Stewart is a “cornerstone” of Theo’s rebuild. I wonder if this trade happened on another day other than Albert leaving the Cards, would it be such a huge deal?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Or if it didn’t happen at the end of the Winter Meetings, when folks were desperate for action. It was just unlucky timing. At worst, it was a “meh” move.

      • Tim Mo

        Exactly.

        I just want to know where all the “trust Theo” energy has gone?

        It’s just to early to freak out.

        • Internet Random

          In Theo I trust.

          • hardtop

            im a little freaked out.   unless thed has something up their sleeve, its looking like we might start to think about hoping to break 500 in 2013…maybe.  we’ll see how coaching and culture can affect what appears to be a pretty awful team.

            • hansman1982

              Definately not the time to freak out.  We are 2 months into a 5 year regime with some of the best and brightest in MLB.  Hell it took Ricketts 2 years to get this in place.

              Patience, young Padawan.

          • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

            A creed more advanced than “In Dusty We Trusty,” if nothing more than for the grammar.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    I read that the Cubs have been talking to the Mets about Ike Davis, but are waiting until after the non tender deadline to really start trying to get a trade done.

    There supposedly waiting on K Morales to be non tendered.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Morales being nontendered would probably start a low key bidding war among a bunch of teams. One I hope the Cubs would win.

      But I think the Angels know that, and I sort of doubt they cut him loose. I think they’ll deal him once they feel he can prove he’s healthy.

      I really hope I’m wrong on that one; I’d love for the Cubs to get him for nothing.

  • ISU Birds

    Brett I found the girl for next years series previews and the best part is that she is very close to the Cubs. Have you seen David DeJesus’ wife?!?! woah!

    • ISU Birds

      Plus she’s a Chicago native, lifelong Cubs fan.

      • BetterNews

        Wow are you guys “basted”!

    • T Wags

      Just googled her. Damn….

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