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Yesterday’s avalanche of Cubs/Padres/Rangers/Garza/Rizzo/etc. rumors shifted the focus off of the two rumors that dominated last week: namely, bidding on Yu Darvish, and the Cubs’ maybe-maybe-not pursuit of Prince Fielder. We’ll have more on all three of those later today, but, for now, Bullets…

  • The Cubs have been expecting to re-sign reliever Kerry Wood for a number of weeks now. The hold-up, presumably, was the Rule 5 Draft a week and a half ago, for which the Cubs – again, presumably – wanted to keep open as many 40-man roster spots as possible. That draft came and went, and Wood remains unsigned. There are two possibilities: (1) the Cubs have some massively roster-reshaping moves on the table, and want to keep open some roster space flexibility until those moves are nailed down, and then they can sign Wood, or (2) there’s a disagreement on how much Wood should be paid. The difficulty on that latter explanation would be understandable. Wood came back to the Cubs last year for just $1.5 million, and then told the world that he would re-sign with the Cubs or retire. At the same time, there are reports that Wood, understandably, wants a raise. From his bargaining position, though, it’s hard to ask for a huge raise, despite a productive 2011 season. And it’s hard for the Cubs to justify giving a huge raise, as much as they might love Woody. He’s probably worth $3 to $4 million in 2012 (maybe more), but I could understand the Cubs wanting to keep his salary around $2.5 million.
  • Paul Sullivan discusses some of the issues still facing the Cubs, including the Wood re-signing, as well as what to do about Carlos Zambrano, about the lack of power in the lineup, and other things. The one that stuck out to me was a comment about the potential conflicting approaches of hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and former hitting coach turned manager Dale Sveum. I noted the different styles when Jaramillo was retained as hitting coach – Jaramillo is a bit more “old school,” and favors an aggressive approach at the plate, whereas Sveum preaches patience and watches a ton of video – but I hadn’t heard about any kind of looming conflict.
  • Speaking of the coaches and Carlos Zambrano, new pitching coach Chris Bosio was on MLBN Radio over the weekend, and toed the company line about Zambrano, saying that he liked the pitcher’s fire, but wants to help Zambrano channel his emotions. Good luck with that.
  • At least Zambrano has been pitching well – when he hasn’t had a jacked-up face – in Venezuela this Winter. The chance he returns to the Cubs in 2012 continues to increase. We’re at 43%.
  • Bob Costas interviews Ryne Sandberg, Fergie Jenkins, and Andre Dawson on MLB Network’s Studio 42 this evening at 8 pm CT. The trio discuss their careers, time with the Cubs, and the legacy of the team.
  • The Cubs released a few minor leaguers this week, including RHP Manolin de Leon, RHP Jose Tineo, 3B Brandon May, and – this one really stings, because the dude had a classic name – OF Smaily Borges.
  • Al

    Darn it!! we wont have any season opening game winning homerun stories about smaily to tell about for years to come like tuffy rhoades!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think Tuffy still holds the single season home run record in Japan. Maybe Smaily can take it down.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    I understand it’s a good thing this FO isn’t really attached to players and doesn’t want to hand out unnecessary contracts. But I think Wood should get that raise because last year was a big discount and well I’m just a Kerry Wood fan.

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    why not 2yr 5-6 mil for woody….he was solid last yr and loves the cubs an the fans love him its good PR…..i also think the reds gave up a ton for latos who isnt any better than garza and we should get alot if we move him………this division is still wide open although we got the most work to do at this point,we should try to win now we lose the stros from our division so theres a good chance the future schedual gets more difficult…..yes we can do both win now and build for the future at the same time,,,,if we sign fielder he and castro is a good start to build around we have value to trade and money to spend.

  • CubFan Paul

    the hold up with Wood could be: the starting staff is no where complete/put together yet And Woody could be *easily* replaced by Samardjiza, Castillo, or Carpenter ..there could be easily No room in the pen for him ..which should be fine with everyone if the starting staff is strong and the pen is young, hungry and cheap

    • CubFan Paul

      my reasoning: I dont think Theo&Co. are depending on Wells, Samardjiza or Cashner to be in the starting rotation (for each players own issues respectively) making them depth pitchers 6, 7, and 8 ..so add Cashner to samardjiza, castillo, and carpenter for Woody replacement types

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        There’s been plenty of indications that Samardzija could get another look in the rotation. And Cashner should be there, but I’d not be surprised if they took it easy with him for a year.

        I think there will still be room for Wood, especially since Carpenter still hasn’t proven he can command the strike zone effectively against the best hitters. I can easily see the Cubs waiting until they have their other major pieces in place, though, before the make a deal with Woody. If he wants to come back and the Cubs want him back, and the only question left to answer is “How much?”, then there is no reason not to get the rest of the budget put in place and see where things are. The Cubs might have room to do a $4 million deal, or maybe they need to do a $2 million now, $2 million differed.

        • CubFan Paul

          ‘getting a look and should be there’ is a separate issue, meaning samardjiza will get a ‘look’ and Cash will probably be limited. im just saying im quite sure by Feb. 1st the rotation will have 4 reliable starters plus Zambrano and no room for wells, samardjiza or cashner ..Theo&Co are trying to build a contender and if samardjiza, Cashner and Castillo are in the pen there’s no room for Woody -this is leverage for Theo&Co. in the Woody negotiations

  • coal

    With all the talk of the NL Central being wide open this year with Pujols and (presumably) Fieldler leaving the division – or at least leaving Milwaukee – it does seem a little short sighted to go for broke on 2012. There is, of course, that pesky thing called the playoffs. I would much prefer the Cubs to completely re-tool in 2012 and finish near the bottom of a weakend NL Central than to limp along, somehow win the division and then get mowed down in the playoffs again.

    • CubFan Paul

      the attendance at Wrigley (trending down by 75,000 paid tix a year) can’t handle your proposal ..nor does a new GM/President build a team that will not compete purposely

    • Kyle

      I’m still not entirely clear on how fielding a team of bad players now helps us field a team of good players later.

      • CubFan Paul

        exactly

        • coal

          Theo & co have talked about the relative priority of 2012 vs. “long term sustained competitiveness.” All I’m suggesting is that the exhuberance over a weaker NL Central given the defections of Pujols and Fielder shouldn’t change the weight assigned to “2012” and “long term sustained competitiveness.” Obviously, if there are moves out there that improve 2012 and “the future” we should make them.

          • Toosh

            Bingo!

      • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

        agree, the only time it makes sense to “rebuild” is when you have an aging core of tradeable assets and a handful of prospects who project to be good MLB players that you need to put in their place.  We have neither and many fans are getting up in arms about the trading of one of our highly valued pieces for 3-4-5 good prospects

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I’m not disagreeing with the overall point, but *technically,* the crappier you are in 2012, the better your draft pick in 2013, which theoretically helps field a good team later. Technically. I limit it to technically, because the positive impact of “tanking” is nowhere near what it is in the NFL and NBA. It is close to non-existent in MLB. But, again: technically.

        • MoneyBoy

          further complicated by the new Seligdorf myopic and punitive draft rules and penalties.

        • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

          Further splitting of hairs: Unless you can tank your way into the top 3-4, then you can get near ready or near cant-miss talent.  Granted it is still a crap-shoot but my thoughts are once you are outside of the top 5, there isn’t much distinquishing the 6th and 30th overall pick most of the time.

          • Lou

            I’d agree with that philosophy of tanking but I’ve watched the Royals and Pirates clearly tank, always have top picks at their disposal, only to be continuously irrelevant and tank some more.

          • Kyle

            Outside of the occasional Bryce Harper-style No. 1 pick, there is no such thing as guaranteed talent in the MLB draft.

            Since 1990, only four No. 4 overall picks have reached 10 WAR in the majors (including our own Kerry Wood).

            • coal

              Wasn’t suggesting tanking – just trying to make the point that losing sight of the big picture (which I think is consistently competing for deep playoff push in, say, 3 of the next 5 years) simply because the NL Central got weaker is foolish. [Point clearly made less well than intended!]

              • Kyle

                But the counterpoint is: How do you “lose focus?” Trade prospects for short-term fixes? Okay, let’s not do that.

                Otherwise, making the MLB team better doesn’t appreciably detract from the future.

            • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

              I was using 3-4 as a benchmark.  Typically that is the absolute limit of where you will find a Strasburg type player who will be ready to be an impact the following spring.  Clearly it is a rarity that there is such a player like that.

  • ferrets_bueller

    so many lines, so little time…

    “Getting Wood may be hard for Cubs”

    “Cubs struggle to get Wood”

    “Carpenter could replace Wood”

     

    • CubFan Paul

      from Brett:

      “came and went”
      “Wood came back”
      “wants a raise”
      “they might love Wood(y)”
      and “Wood remains”

      i need more coffee

      • ferrets_bueller

        “Wood pulls out and retires”

        • Bluekoolaidaholic

          “We aren’t out of the woods yet.”

          I guess I’m like Paul, I need more coffee.

  • Bluekoolaidaholic

    Kerry Wood is a class act in every way, on and off the field.He has always played the game the right way and continues to conduct himself honorably in spite of the way the game has become about money and greed.
    He took the opportunity to return to us at a huge discount and left millions on the table. Wow, give me a chance for a few million more and see what happens. How about you? Could you walk away from a couple of million extra dollars? That was a classy move Kerry, thanks.
    Probably the most prolific thing about that hometown discount was that it screwed the hated Yankees, thanks again Kerry.
    Lastly, I will never forget that day when he mowed down 20 of the Astros. Wow, what a game. It is one of my fondest memories. That was back when the Astros were about something, and had some of the best hitters in the league. Thanks again, again Kerry.
    Sure he should get a substantial raise. No doubt about it. I bet a lot of it will go towards helping others off the field. He and his wife work tirelessly at that. Just a classy guy, not just another overpaid, spoiled millionaire sports figure.
    He may not have all the skills he once had, certainly the fast ball has suffered, but he still has moments of greatness, and if managed properly (no more Quade the moron) he can contribute a lot. I can’t think of a better presence in the dugout and pen to help all our kids develop.
    I hope the Cubs keep him on in some capacity after he hangs ‘em up.

    • Joy

      Couldn’t have said it better. Kerry needs to be a Cub now and for a long time.

  • Levi

    There is just ZERO reason to not re-sign Wood, regardless of any of the arguments against doing so. On the flip side, every argumement to in fact, keep Wood is nothing less than legitimate. RE-SIGN Woody! PERIOD.

  • jandersonjr81

    Wood better be in a Cubs uniform next year. Screw leverage. If Theo is using leverage against woody, then he should pack his sh*t and take his ass back to Boston. If its Woody verse Theo, I take Woody all day, at whatever cost. Give that man 5 mil Atleast for all the years he was underpaid.

    • MoneyBoy

      Wait just a minute … underpaid?   People either forget or don’t know that Hendry (basically) told Woody to take the 2yr $20mm contract Cleveland offered him … then he got traded to the Yankees where not only did he have a chance at a WS but learned a cutter from the best cutter guy ever.

      No no no no no … only last year was he underpaid – and that was an accomadation to Hendry.

      $2.5-3mm is fair – based on performance and value IMO.  Not sure if he’ll hold up or if he’ll be needed in 13 so I would add a club option.

      • jandersonjr81

        I guess you forgot he gave the cubs a discount the year before he left to go to Cleveland. Also, if we overpay somebody, it should be wood. It’s nice to have someone around who genuinely loves the Cubs.

  • Eric S

    The Cubs can take their time signing Woody. He’s not going anywhere. He’ll either sign or retire. If you know that why rush? The big question on the table right now is who plays first? Who else are they going to get to augment the rotation? As soon as those answers are solved Woody should be resigned with relative ease. I’m thinking about 2 years $8 million or so. I mean come on we gave John Grabow 2 years $7.5 million and Woody is a much better pitcher than Grabow.

  • http://justinjabs.com/blog Justin Jabs

    43%? How do you calculate that?
    I vote for a Zambran-o-meter somewhere on the site for a possible return.

    • Bluekoolaidaholic

      The Z meter has rounds on it, not innings or games, we call it the Gatorade calculation.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      In a former life, I often had to put percentages on things that inherently have no meaningful ability to be estimated in a percentage fashion.

      So, in other words: I pulled the number out of my ass based on my sense of things.

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