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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.
  • Jonski

    If we get Pocello for Big Z I think we should call washington and see if we can get Bryce Harper for Marlon Bryd it will make the rebuilding much faster!

  • 2much2say

    Cubs get Castellanos Turner Rizzo Padres get Cashner Smily Jackson
    Tigers get Garza Vitters

  • ferrets_bueller

    If we could somehow land LoMo in a Marlins deal…I would be ecstatic.

  • Ryan

    No way the Cubs trade Cashner, Vitter, Garza and Jackson and only get back 1 pitching prospect. The Cubs trade 4 players and only get 3. Can I please get some of whatever your drinking.

    • ferrets_bueller

      not to mention,

      Garza> Turner

      Jackson=Rizzo

      Cashner+Vitters>Castellanos

  • 2much2say

    Do you think we get Rizzo for free? What would you trade to get just him?
    Ending up with 1st base 3rd base and a Top Arm? Not a bad haul.

  • 2much2say

    If the Cubs had what the Padres wanted we wouldn’t have to involve a 3rd team. Vitters Cashner and Jackson are not very good.

  • Ryan

    Who says we are involving a 3rd team to get Rizzo?

  • 2much2say

    Every trade scenario with Garza involves a 3rd team The Padres
    Either the Rays or the Tigers plus Pads

  • 2much2say

    Smily Jackson Cashner gets the Cubs Rizzo

  • Ryan

    No its not involving a 3rd team in the trade talks its 2 different trades.

  • 2much2say

    Crisp Dejesus Castro Rizzo Castellanos Stewart Cespedes Soto

    • Ryan

      Where is Soriano going?

    • Tommy

      I hope you’re right. I would be happy going into 2012 with a young, potential filled lineup like that.

    • Hrubes20

      Castellanos wouldn’t be ready for 2-3 years in the most optimistic scenario.

      • ferrets_bueller

        You’re talking to a brick wall, lmao.  Don’t even bother.

  • 2much2say

    When a player from one team goes to a third team it is a 3 team trade. Not 2 separate trades

  • Tommy

    Do you think the Cubs are trying to package Soriano in a deal with Garza? Take less to offload his ridiculous contract? It would almost be worth it to get very little back if we could get rid of Soriano’s contract.

  • 2much2say

    My guess is Soriano ends up in Cleveland

  • 2much2say

    The Cubs have their in house 1 year rentals Demp and Big Z who will be worth more at the trade deadline. So, we will have time to gather more pitching or work out prospects aug sept

  • 2much2say

    Demp, Big Z, T. Wood, Turner or Wells or Jeff Z and a gaggle of Tommy Johns

  • 2much2say

    Talk in Detroit there was/is pressure to bring Castellanos up in 2012

    • Kyle

      That’s the same kind of fan-think that leads to people talking about Junior Lake as our starting 3b next season, or penciling in Vogelbach in 2013.

  • 2much2say

    Ferrets thing is to make comments unrelated to baseball because he doesn’t possess original thought so he just tries to belittle someone elses comments

  • 2much2say

    The Tigers prudently regard Castellanos as a cornerstone offensive player once he hits the big leagues in a couple of seasons or less.

    • Ryan

      Which is why according to the Detroit news that the Tigers are not including him in trade talkss with the Cubs

  • 2much2say

    Forward thinking people would realize the players we gather may or may not be in the starting line up in 2012 but 2013 and beyond.

    • Ryan

      I’d hope that outside of a pitching prospect that the Cubs should be able to get if they trade garza that anyone else they get in a garza deal wouldn’t be with the major league team in 2012

  • 2much2say

    I think it would be worth it to see if the Tigers two top prospects put us in the running for Garza. The addition of the Cubs’ starter to a rotation that already features Verlander, Fister and Scherzer sounds like the makings of a truly dominant staff.

    • Ryan

      Don’t forget Porcello. He wasn’t avaliable when Halladay was traded to Philly he sure ain’t avaliable now

  • 2much2say

    2014 L/U Castro Castellanos Rizzo Torreyes Castillo Cespedes Soler Sappelt

  • Ryan

    I don’t think the Cubs sign Cespedes. I think they may get Soler. Im going to be interested to see what they do with all the OF they are getting

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