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New Year’s Eve marks the kinda-sorta anniversary of Bleacher Nation, started in the final week of December in 2008. The readership in those days numbered in the hundreds, the comments in the ones, the Twitter followers in the tens, and the Facebook fans in the zeros (it didn’t exist until much later). Now the readership  regularly clears 30,000 a day, the comments regularly clear 500 a day, the Twitter followers are up over 12,000, and the Facebook page exists. It’s been a long, surprisingly-work-intensive three years, but I wanted to thank you all for being a part of it. Here’s to an enjoyable, successful 2012, both for BN and for the Cubs.

  • The Matt Garza trade rumors continue apace, holiday or no holiday, GM child birth or no GM child birth. The latest bit is a report from Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal noting that the Detroit Tigers have joined the pursuit, which, of course, would be news if they hopped in a time machine and reported it a week ago, but is still relevant: each new report adds legitimacy to the early rumors (reported here, for example). In other words, the more voices you hear saying Team X is pursuing Player Y, particularly as national reporters add their voices to the chorus, the chance that Team X will actually end up with Player Y increases incrementally.
  • The Fox Sports duo add in their report that there’s no momentum in talks with the Blue Jays, the Red Sox want Garza but might not have the pieces to get him, and the Yankees are backing away because of the Cubs’ demands. They also note that, with respect to the Tigers, the Cubs are likely to ask for the team’s two top prospects, pitcher Jacob Turner and third baseman Nick Castellanos. The A’s asked for those two in talks about Gio Gonzalez, and the Tigers refused.
  • San Diego Padres’ first base prospect Anthony Rizzo remains a shadowy character in the background of the Garza trade talks, as it is no secret that the Cubs would like to land Rizzo before the offseason is up, but might need the spoils of a Garza trade to do so. San Diego writer Bill Center recently held a chat in which he predicted the Cubs would indeed land Rizzo … by way of a trade to the Tampa Bay Rays. Given that the Rays, themselves, could use a long-term first baseman, and the total lack of context or discussion given by Center, I’m going to chalk this up to a writer’s from-the-hip speculation, rather than something he’s heard.
  • As expected, the Cubs have officially hired former Red Sox Major League scout Keith Evans (whom the Cubs did not “take” from the Red Sox, because he’d already left the organization), and put him in charge of video and advance scouting.
  • Also official: the Cubs’ hiring of Bill Buckner as hitting coach for the low-A Boise Hawks.
  • Jon Heyman gives the year by year breakdown of Albert Pujols’ contract, which he says is actually ten years and $240 million with $10 million coming tied to post-playing obligations. If true, you could argue that the average annual value of Pujols’ deal is just $24 million, not the $25.4 million that has been widely reported (there are incentives that could take the deal as high as $265 million total, apparently). Prince Fielder’s expected contract just went down slightly.
  • Heyman also notes that CJ Wilson’s deal with the Angels is so backloaded that he’ll get $20.5 million in 2016. That means that, in 2016, the Angels will owe just about $50 million to TWO players (Pujols and Wilson). Either the Angels are going to be hurting in a couple years, or we’re entering a new era of team payrolls based on television contracts, in which teams regularly touch the luxury tax cap (and possibly eclipse it) of $178 million.
  • An anonymous Nationals player says the team is definitely going after Prince Fielder. Shrug. If the Nats do land Fielder, you can expect the Cubs to be a rumored destination for the then-displaced Adam LaRoche (even if, at that point, the Cubs would probably be better off just letting Bryan LaHair have the job).
  • Cot’s Contracts, one of the most useful baseball resources on the ‘Net, has moved to Baseball Prospectus.
  • Some beautiful photos from 2011 at Wrigley Field.
  • Gcheezpuff

    I think the Cubs should sign E. Jacksons as they need SP especially if they plan to trade Garza, plus it could potentially increase Garza’s trade value as most teams considering Garza are probably looking at Jackson.

    • JR1908

      I like Edwin too. Everyone thinks because he has been shipped all over he must suck. But his numbers aren’t bad and the stuff is there. Not sure what he is asking for though..

      • Gcheezpuff

        Yeah…. I would have thought he would have signed by now. I am suprised the Yankees haven’t been on him. Keep hearing the Cubs want to trade Garza, Z, and now even Dempster is coming up. I am fine with any of them going if it is gonna improve the team, but we still need some veteran presence, especially someone that can eat innings. Who is the opening day starter?

  • ty

    when you hang out at Fitch park it is possible to stand behind the fence directly behind the catcher on any of the 4 fields. You will only be about 15 feet behind the catcher and can see the movement on every pitch. Number one starting pitcher with movement is Randy Wells. Not much movement but when he is on his game very effective. Scouts talk about whether a pitcher can ‘spin’ a ball since there are hundreds of minor league guys who can throw in the 90*s

    • Kyle

      The reason there are hundreds of minor league prospects who can throw in the 90s is because it is basically a prerequisite for success. The mid-80s guys who can succeed in the majors are few and far between.

  • EtotheR

    Carlos Quentin to the Padres…

    Right handed bat and an OF…but, if there was any question about Alonso playing LF (and there wasn’t much), it’s dead now. Another block for Rizzo…

  • DaveB23

    Brett, does the Padres trading for Quentin have any potential impact on the Chase Hedley situation and our likelihood of being able to obtain him?

    • Gcheezpuff

      I am pretty sure with the Stewart trade, the Headley ship has sailed. If the Cubs work out a trade with the Padres, it more then likely will be for Rizzo.

      • Toosh

        Gotta believe Quentin’s not long for San Diego.

  • Ryan

    If the Cubs trade garza to the marlins for some of the names that have been mentioned they had better be multiple trades from those players to get the young pitching the Cubs need

  • 2much2say

    Stewart will move to 2nd if the Cubs land Headley

  • 2much2say

    Castellanos Dominguez Headley all targets of the Cubs

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    MLBtraderumors.com now report the Marlins are now interested in Garza… Are will to part with Matt Dominguez, Gaby Sanchez and Chris Coughlan… No pitchers at all!!

    • JasonB

      If I were the Marlins, I’d want to trade those guys for Garza, too.

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    I say trade with The Tigers as long as Rick Porcello is included with Jacob Turner… Sign Pena and be done with it!!!

    • JR1908

      I would be shocked if Pena is signed by Cubs. Epstein probably values early draft picks (that they would get if he went else where) about as much as anything. Hendry is the biggest dumbass ever. Just thought i would throw that out there..

  • Ryan

    I just hope that this doesn’t end up for the Cubs like it did for the Twins in the Johan Santana trade

  • JR1908

    I’ve had a couple now.. Why did it take Hendry so long to get canned? I know the Cubs made the playoffs a couple years. But he was soooo bad in a lot of areas. Gave out some of the worse contracts in American sports history. And drafted like dog sh*t (for the most part)…

    • BetterNews

      Because he was a boss. Hard to can a boss even if they’re a complete idiot.

      • Toosh

        And yet he was fired eventually.

        • BetterNews

          Yes, finally. Toosh Happy New Year!

          • Toosh

            Thank you. Happy New Year to you, as well.

  • Cheryl

    its been a long year. Hope this next one is better. Happy New Year all!

    • Toosh

      Next year’s going to be longer. It’s a Leap Year. Happy New Year to you, as well.

  • BetterNews

    Cheryl–Happy New Year. Hope it goes Better for you, mine wasn’t that great either.

  • Morgan Coale

    I say go with the Tigers offer if its Porcello and Turner, Porcello is still young and think his number will improve with move to nl, and turner should be a stud, Either one may not be a number 1 in the future but will be a solid 2,3 guys in the rotation, the Marlins offer is weak and Gabby Sanchez is weak to, hes not as good as ppl think, go with Rizzo

    • Ryan

      I highly doubt that Porcello would be in the offer that Detroit makes.

  • imwhitti

    Cheryl…. it can only get better.

    The told me “cheer up….things could be worse”.  So I cheered up.  Sure enough, things got worse!

    We are going to be OK this year.  I really think that we will be better in 2012 than we have for the last two years.  I wish you and everyone else a save new years eve and a prosperous 2012.

  • Oswego Chris

    the problem I see with both Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos is they are both LONG range prospects….we have those types of guys….we need guys on the cusp…not 19 and 20 year olds…if we are going to trade Garza…we only get one chance…make the most of it

    • Matt

      What do you mean long range prospects? Turner played for Detroit last year, and is expected to push for the 5th spot in the rotation. Just because they are young, doesn’t mean they are long range prospects.

    • Pat

      It depends what kind of ceiling you want on the prospects. Everyone seems to want a ML ready, top of the rotation starter. If you had one of those, with 5 – 6 years of club control left, why the hell would you trade them for Matt Garza?

      If you’re looking at that sort of potential, they’re going to be a year or two away. Otherwise it makes no sense for the other team.

  • Mike S

    MLBTradeRumors.com reporting that the Tigers are willing to include Jacob Turner in a trade for the “right pitcher”. If they can get him, Smyly, and Castellenos that would be a great way to start the New Year! Although they also turned down that trade for Gio Gonzalez. I think Turner, Smyly, and any of the other Top 10 prospects would be a solid deal for 2 years of Garza!

    • Ryan

      I think being realistic unless the Cubs are including marmol or something else in a deal with Det. The Cubs aren’t likely to get Turner, Smyly and Castellenos. The Cubs maybe able to get 2 of these and a couple of A players.

  • lazrus

    Does anyone know who the cubs can get in 2013 when only 20% of these prospects are major league talent? Because that’s the reality of life in baseball

    • Kyle

      It really depends on the prospect.

      People like to label all minor leaguers as “prospects” and talk about how few are likely to pan out.

      It’s a lot more nuanced than that. My favorite kind of “prospect” is a guy who has had AAA success at 22 or younger, or AA success at 21 or younger. The MLB success rate on those guys is huge.

      Many people prefer high-ceiling A-ball and below players. These are the guys who could someday turn into superstars. But the MLB success rate for them, yeah, that’s probably about 20%, if that.

  • lazrus

    Cubs fans went from talking about stars they could get for there team to prospects. Its just sad and this is the epstien era the cubs will never win… u all are just sad

  • lazrus

    Detroit also got smacked in the mouth by Texas and showed how weak they were I guess I just strive for higher standards then you

  • Ryan

    We are talking about the Gonzalez deal but I wonder if the Cahill deal is closer to what the Cubs can get for Garza. I hope they can get more than that but I wouldn’t be shocked that they get something close to that deal

  • lazrus

    I think a team owes there canvass not the other way around and after 100 yrs they owe us big time and that’s to get future hall of camera not bums. Stewart batted 150 and that’s unacceptable to me. Theo made promises and he is being cheap when the experts have showed and proven that the cubs have money and rickets wants us taxpayers to pay for a stadium he owns and this bunch of losers he is putting out there is not going to get the taxpayers to foot the bill

  • Mike S

    Oakland got 3 guys from Washington’s Top 10 for a guy who isn’t proven in the National league and has a huge walk rate. Garza is proven in the AL, has 2 years left, and is exactly what Detroit needs to beat the Rangers/Yankees/Boston…3 of the Top 10 isn’t out of the question for the Cubs

    • Ryan

      I would ask for 3 but im saying that Im not sure the Cubs will get that much for garza. Also Gio is under team controll for 4 years and Garza only 2. Also I believe that there have been people on here claiming a bump for pitchers when they go to the National league.

  • lazrus

    Garza is a proven winner and should be extended not traded. Garza should come out and warn any team that he will be a problem if he is traded for and this would stop any gm from dealing and make mob teams realize that they have to keep some stars even in tear down years. Billups did it and I respected him for it and he is not playing

    • EtotheR

      Part of being a professional athlete, and making the kinds of salaries they make, is the possibility of being traded. They used to get traded all the time, when they were making relative peanuts. Deciding to be a pouting troublemaker because you’ve been traded is not becoming of a professional…and, doesn’t strike me as being Garza’s style.

    • Ryan

      Billups was placed on waivers he wasn’t traded. He wanted the oppertunity to choose his team which in 2 years Garza will have

    • BetterNews

      Yes! There is no doubt.

    • JR1908

      Lazrus what are you talking about?? Billups wanted to choose his team and got picked by the Clippers off waivers. He has been playing and has an injury now. That sceanrio has nothing to do with Garza. Plus, we are talking about prospects because it is the right way to run an organization. Were u employed by Hendry in the past?

  • Ryan

    Yeah outside of Garza saying he will test the free agent market when he’s a free agent he really shouldn’t complain or pout just go do his job

  • Gcheezpuff

    Hearing demp is now drawing interest…. Anyway the cubs find a way to deal demp and Z and keep Garza? Here is to wishful thinking.

    • Ryan

      Not if they want to build the farm system. Not if they don’t eat a lot of money will they trade Demp or Z before the season

  • imwhitti

    Call me crazy, but I just don’t see Garza going anywhere until ST at the earliest.  My rationale:  T&J are not in a “tear it down and start over” mode.  They are in a “building” process (please note that I did not say re-build).

    We have smart BASEBALL and  BUSINESS people in charge now. They know the value of Garza currently.  They also have a very good idea of what he will be worth six months from now.  They also know that they need to put a decent product on the field this year.   IF we expect to be competitive and improve our organization simultaneously (the stated goals), then you can’t get rid of your best (arguably) pitcher for anything less than 2-3 ML ready players.  I don’t see that happening.

    If we trade Garza for prospects, at this point, I would be disappointed and disillusioned.

  • Ryan

    If the Cubs trade Garza for class A prospects then yeah that doesn’t make sense. But if the Cubs trade Garza to lets say Detroit and get Turner who can start the season for the Cubs and a couple other prospects 1 who could play by the end of the season then I don’t see that as not imrpoving the organiztion

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    I agree iamwhitii… extend Garza.. Build around him!!! I would trade big Z to the Tigers for Porcello?? Dump Dempster and go from there… Travis Wood will help as well… Are rotation ain’t bad if we can sign Edwin Jackson.. That helps there… The NL central is weak… With a fee tweaks here and there i think we can be competitive for 2012

    • JR1908

      Gimeee some of what ur drinking ramy. Very funny Optimism ..

  • Ryan

    I totally agree JR1908.

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