The rumor mill is taking on a decidedly Cuban flavor…

  • No one knows precisely when Yoenis Cespedes will achieve residency in the Dominican Republic (we’ve heard, intermittently, a month ago, this week, next two days, next two weeks, and so on). He and his agent remain confident that it will happen in plenty of time for Spring Training (report dates are about a month away), though. The longer it drags on,  it is ever-so-incrementally better for the Cubs, and any other team in on the bidding that doesn’t need Cespedes to fill a position this season.
  • Kevin Goldstein says the Cubs’ interest in Cespedes is “very, very legitimate,” and he is confident that the Cubs will “without question be in on the bidding.” We’ve known that for some time now, and Scouting Chief Jason McLeod all but confirmed it this weekend. It seems like it will be coming down to a bidding war between the Cubs and the Marlins – but these things change rapidly, as you know.
  • As for the other two Cubans the Cubs are considering – 19-year-old outfielder Jorge Soler and 18-year-old pitcher Gerardo Concepcion – the latter is already a free agent, and the former’s is as forthcoming as Cespedes’. I would expect each to shop around for a while – neither is a threat to make the bigs this year, so they can afford to wait. And, since the international signing cap doesn’t kick in until July, the two can wait out the highest bidder for several months before risking some cash. For what it’s worth, Goldstein ranks the three players’ overall attractiveness thusly: (1) Cespedes, (2) Soler, [big gap] (3) Concepcion.
  • Phil Rogers is still suggesting Marlon Byrd as a fit for the Tigers or the Red Sox, given their injuries to Victor Martinez and Carl Crawford, respectively. Shrug. I’m told the Tigers don’t want Byrd, and the Red Sox aren’t going to have room in the budget for Byrd unless the Cubs eat some serious salary (Byrd is owed $6.5 million in 2012).
  • Speaking of which, the Red Sox just dumped Marco Scutaro on the Rockies for virtually no return – it was a pure salary dump, and one involving a still-quite useful player (which suggests some urgency). The Red Sox were pushing the luxury tax limit, something they don’t want to exceed anymore, and the $6 million they saved will almost certainly go to picking up a pitcher.
  • More speaking of which: while the Red Sox publicly say they’re fine with a questionable Nick Punto/Mike Aviles platoon at shortstop (Jose Iglesias isn’t ready for the Show, and might never be), I think it’s fair to wonder whether they might want someone like Darwin Barney (compensation for Epstein? Seems a big much, but the fit is inarguable). He’s cheap, a good defender at shortstop, and might outproduce those two. I’m just spitballin’ here.
  • If you’re looking ahead to future offseasons’ of pitching, don’t get your hopes up for Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain reaching the market. The Giants are working hard to lock them up, and it sounds like they’re willing to pay big for Lincecum, and Cain is willing to give a home-town discount.
  • Nick Cafardo joins Phil Rogers in noting Matt Garza’s continued availability on the trade market, and prods teams: “Garza is under control this year and next, though he’s asking for $12.5 million in arbitration while the Cubs are at $7.9 million. Still, who wouldn’t pay $10 million-$12 million for a pitcher of that caliber?” I get the sense, though, that nothing will happen on the Garza front until (1) the Boston compensation issue is settled, and (2) Garza’s salary for 2012 is settled.
  • Cubbie Blues

    Lincecum might have problems in the future. I’m not saying it will happen but didn’t he lose 1.5 mph last year? Could his ‘funky delivery’ be starting to show some wear and tear? Don’t get me wrong, I still think he will kill it this year and probably next, but there is some writing on the walls that he won’t last long.

    • DocWimsey

      It was 2010 where he lost a lot of velocity, and then for about a month in late July and August. He rebounded in September.

      As for his motion, there is no reason to think that it is any better or any worse. People who evaluate motion disagree vehemently among themselves as to what motions are least damaging, and all of their arguments have one thing in common: they wouldn’t pass a Biomechanics 101 test.

      In truth, ANY pitching motion is going to be damaging to some part of the arm or shoulder. From that point, it is sort of like smoking: how quickly and how badly it damages the individual varies from one person to the next based on a variety of largely non-baseball related matters.

      Regardless, Lincecum’s best throwing motion is the one that he does not make: i.e., the pitch not thrown.

      • Cubbie Blues

        It wasn’t my intent to dismay his delivery. My point was that the last 3 years his K rate has gone done and his BB rate has gone up the last two & they might just end up wishing they hadn’t locked him up. And yes, I went back and looked, it was 2010 where he lost his velocity but he really hasn’t recovered it.

  • Leo Deleon

    Its not his “funky” delivery its from from being overused when they won the World Series it happens to many players Beckett,Burhle,Wood,Prior(playoffs) . Some bounce back and some dont

  • RoughRiider

    Barney as compensation seams to be too much, but since the Cubs have been allowed to have a 41 man roster all this time, I wouldn’t be surprised that the final compensation issue will be resolved with someone on the roster going to the Sox.

  • Kyle

    I really, really hope the compensation issue is resolved soon so we can be relieved of the “every single move either club makes might be a prelude to compensation” vibe.

    Darwin Barney, for all his detractors, is a bottom-half but above-replacement starting 2b in the major leagues. That’s *way* too much for compensation.

    • Brett

      I, too, think he’s too much for compensation – but you’ve got to ask yourself: were he a prospect, even now knowing what he can be in the bigs, where would he rank? Would he be in the Cubs’ top 10? Top 15? I’m truly not sure.

      • JulioZuleta

        I would be okay with it. If you asked me if I would rather give Barney or a guy ranking in the 15 range like Torreyes or Rhee, I’d prefer to lose Barney.

      • Luke

        I think he was ranked in the Top 15 going into 2011, so I have to think he’d still be Top 20.

        On the other hand, the Cubs have very little depth behind him. Logan Watkins and Junior Lake are first two legit middle infield prospects you find as you excavate the minors, and both are a year away (at least).

        • Brett

          In the near term, there’s no one close – you’re spot on. But long-term, there are so, so many good 2B options. Torreyes, Hernandez, Amaya, and to a slightly lesser extent DeVoss and Silva.

          • Luke

            Long term the Cubs are so loaded at middle infield it is getting ridiculous. A deal that trades away a couple of them for something the Cubs are more in need of wouldn’t be a bad idea.

            Interestingly, I’ve got DeVoss ranked higher than any other middle infielder in the system except Baez (who is probably a third baseman) and Lake (who also is probably a third baseman). We’ll see if that lasts when we get a better look at him this season.

            • Brett

              I may have misheard, but I think I read that DeVoss looked really, really bad in limited action at 2B last year, defensively.

              • loyal100more

                doesnt it seem highly unlikely that just compensation grants the sox an immediete need at the big league level. that just sounds crazy to me.

              • JulioZuleta

                Averaged about an error a game at 2B. He’s going to be a work in progress to say the least. He’s a good defender in center. If he struggles the first half of the year at second, they might need to just put him at center, even though he’s blocked by a few different guys, and max out his trade value going forward.

              • Kyle

                That’s the problem with getting excited about having a glut of middle infielders in the low minors. The Cubs under the old regime were really, really slow to move guys off of their ceiling positions, even as it became less and less likely that they’d be able to stick at those positions.

                Baez is probably a 3b, Lake is probably a 3b, DeVoss is probably 50/50 to stick at 2b or move to CF.

                • Luke

                  They’ve shown some progress in moving guys in recent years. Chen was moved to the outfield in a hurry (too fast in my opinion). Silva played quite a bit of center after Szczur went to Daytona, I think.

                  Of course, some of that was simply a numbers game. If you have four second baseman on the roster and the management wants all of them getting regular at bats, someone has to move. I expect there to be quite a bit of positional shuffling in Arizona, Boise, and Peoria this season for that reason. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some aggressive promotions as well.

      • Quintz

        My initial reaction as a Cubs fan (who likes him) is that Barney is too much compensation, but if I’m the Red Sox I could imagine thinking that he’s not even close to enough. I could make a healthy argument for either side as to the level of compensation an executive is worth. It’s like we’re being sent back to the days of no monetary notes, where people needed to decide how many beaver pelts a muskatoon is worth. I suppose it will all depend on precedents set previously.

      • Kyle

        A guy who is virtually a sure thing to step into the majors and provide you 1.5-2.5 WAR per season during his controlled seasons?

        It’s a little pointless to mix high-ceiling low minors prospects and low-ceiling high minors prospects into the same ranking, because it’s very much a matter of preference, but I’d have no problem slotting in such a prospect in the 6-8 range in the current Cubs farm system.

        His best prospect comp in terms of value would probably be Wellington Castillo.

  • Ivy Walls

    Garza: Correct on both counts. My guess is that late today or tomorrow Selig decides. Barney no, it will not be a player on the 25 man roster. But the more I think the more it might appear like Vitters or Cabrera or Gaub (from 40-man) or even Simpson or Vitters (a #1 who hasn’t panned yet) plus a Jay Jackson or Struck.

    But there is a bigger issue. Baseball has always valued the players on the field and not the front office or managers. Piniella was traded for Winn, that was front end. Baseball looks at front office as employees of the entire league and not merely franchises, so if one is to be promoted than in the past there was no real compensation. Naturally things could change, but RedSox also were in a quandry, refuse Epstein’s chance at a promotion and he is what in Boston for a year?

    Giving up a #1 draft choice who hasn’t panned yet and a AAA player is probably even an overpay but it settles the deal.

    • Brian

      I don’t think the Red Sox get two players. Wouldn’t that also set a precedent?

      Yet, we could be in for a huge surprise, if there was an unidentified, as of now, verbal comp. promised when Crane Kenny sought permision to talk to Epstein.

    • Boogens

      Not trying to sound argumentative, but what do you base your guesses on? There’s no precedent for that much compensation for a promoted executive and there’s been no word whatsoever on the timing of any Selig decision. There’s been no indication anywhere to suggest that Bud woke up from his nap long enough to even realize he has a decision to make. How can you draw any conclusions, even if they’re guesses as you said, on either matter?

      • loyal100more

        it is quite difficult to guess what the two sides are thinking is just compensation. im sure the redsox will come high and we will counter low. aside from that its hard to guess without any offers being made

  • rcleven

    Does kill two birds with one stone. Who replaces him at 2B. Baker?

    • ferrets_bueller

      Baker, DeWitt, whoever.  It really doesn’t matter IMO, there really isn’t much of a difference between a Barney/baker/dewitt platoon and a Baker/Dewitt platoon.

  • loyal100more

    it seems more likely that it will be an outfielder. we have a ton of outfielders and right at the moment with the injury to carl crawford we could exploit there need. the three utility infielders is simply too expensive. i mean in the event your starter goes down all three of those guys are proven competent infielders, not to mention the youth and potential upside the comes with those guys. proven players is simply to much to ask from a rebuilding club as are top prospects. now a guy we could get by without or idealy some cash that makes a alot more sense. but hey sense when has that had anything to do with how the team is controlled? im interested if nothing more as to what the FO shows in the way of toughness and wisdom in how this and all deals go down.

  • the-cats-pajamas

    I don’t understand why there’s compensation for a promotion.

    • DocWimsey

      This was a job change, not a promotion. Remember, Epstein was still under contract with the Red Sox. Part of the terms for being released from that contract was that the Cubs compensate the Sox in some way.

      This is not uncommon: contracts will stipulate how you can end employment and even what you can do immediately after employment, particularly in regard to working for your employer’s rival(s).

      • ferrets_bueller

        GM —-> Team President = Promotion, not job change.  Epstein was promoted.

  • Cubsin

    Because we don’t know what Crane Kenney promised the Red Sox, it’s impossible to predict what the compensation will be. I’m hoping for either a prospect in the 11-20 range or cash.

    The good news (probably) is that (Larry) Bud Selig doesn’t want to set a dangerous precedent for future moves that involve promotions. Theo only had one year left on his contract, and seemed to be on his way out after 2012.

    I’m a fan of Darwin Barney. I would rank him somewhat below average among major league second basemen, and near average among major league shortstops. Perhaps, with a year of MLB experience and Camp Bussy, he’ll improve his hitting in 2012. At worst, he’ll be a very good reserve infielder.

  • die hard

    Barney is a winner….give him another year to take charge of infield as Castro doesnt have it in him…

    • Quintz

      Oh God, Darwin Barney is now Tim Tebow. Average (at best), but did some great stuff in college. All he does is win……..

  • Leo Deleon

    Ok so Theo brings u major league ready or a 15-20 prospect but according to Detroit Garza gets u 1 top notch player. Cause anymore then that is asking for the world.

  • T Wags

    In my opinion, Barney would be outrageously too much to give up in compensation for ONE YEAR of Theo who left for a PROMOTION! The Red Sox deserve a bucket of KFC and a keg and that’s more than enough

    • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

      The Sawx have ban beer in the clubhouse now, the keg won’t work.

  • Mick

    It seems Larry Lucchino is really screwing this up for Ben Cherrington. There’s no way Selig is going to give LL what he wants in Garza or any other top prospect from the Cubs. The other alternatives would be a lesser prospect from our 40-man like Mateo or Gaub, a low level minor leaguer, or cash. I don’t see the Red Sox having room on their 40-man for guys like Mateo or Gaub, I don’t see them needing any low level minor leaguers since they’re built to compete immediately, and so that leaves us with cash. Cash is exactly what the Cubs originally offered for the compensation and it just so happens what Boston needs right now as they try to sign a FA pitcher. If LL had accepted the original proposal as cash for the compensation, the Red Sox now wouldn’t also be looking for a replacement SS for Marco Scuturo who they basically had to dump for salary relief.

  • Cubsin

    Mick, the Red Sox dumped Scutaro so they could sign another starting pitcher and still stay under the payroll tax threshold for 2012. The payroll tax rate goes up 10% every year it applies. If you can get under the cap, even for one year, you get a fresh start on the tax rate. The Red Sox don’t need or want cash from the Cubs..

  • JR 1908

    What about Dempster to Sox for compensation? Cubs pay half his deal this yr. (7mill.) and get compensation over with. And the Sox get the pitching depth they need. Also, the Cubs could use that 7 mill. they save towards the Cubans.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Demp has to agree to be traded.

      And I say Ricketts send the Sox a flaming bag of dog shit for hitting Byrd in the face last year.

      Bam compensation settled.

      • JR 1908

        Yeah I know he has no trade clause… But you would hope the chance to win in Boston may convince him.

        I think a few of us Cubs fans should light a bag of dog shit on fire at Larry L’s front porch and ring the door bell Billy Madison style

        • Kansas Cubs Fan

          If Demp agreed then you would have to wonder how much money the Sox want the Cubs to eat.

          • JR 1908

            Probably a good chunk of it, if i had to guess. Even if the Cubs eat 9 of the 14 mill. I’d be cool with that. Thats 5 mill. they can spend on the future. Plus with Demp they may be a 65 win team, without a 60 win team… Whats the difference?

            • Kansas Cubs Fan

              I think hes worth more than just 5 wins. Hes a vet and great in the clubhouse, and could maybe help with the likes of Volstad, T.Wood, and maybe Samardzija if he is moved to the rotation.


              • JR 1908

                Yeah Kansas I hear what your saying. Dempster does bring intangibles that may not be seen in stats. I was just trying to think outside the box for this rediculous compensation thing. Who knows what that dbag Larry L over there in Boston would be happy with.
                I like your package of crap idea though!!

  • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

    If Boston deserves compensation, then so does Milwaukee. Promoting A GM to President is no different then promoting a hitting coach to manager. Boston is just being themselves and acting like asses. Its unfortunate. I say give them $250, and call it a day. Prospects for Management should never really happen.

    • TWC

      Unless I’m mistaken, I can find no evidence that Sveum remained under contract with the Brewers at the end of the season.  Epstein was under contract.  There’s your difference.

  • CubSouth

    Matt Cain was one I thought would like to test the FA market. There are still some good SP coming onto the market next yr but you can’t always expect them to make it. Plus there will be other big money spending teams looking to sign them. My question is how can the Cubs be looking to trade Garza for future pieces when he can be the key piece in building our starting rotation? Give him a contract, try to land one or two of the big FA SP’s in the off season and we should be very competitive. I would like some solid, young future pieces for Garza but I don’t want to be feeling the same way as I feel for this coming season, next season.

  • 2much2say

    The Cubs have a huge whole at 1st 2nd 3rd The OF is promising. Every team has wholes there. Matt Holiday isn’t very good defensively. We need Cespedes and Soriano needs to be used properly. He has value. BJax is waiting in the wings. Let the Rookies mature and before you know it the Cubs are 1st Rizzo 2nd BPhilips SS Castro 3rd Vitters/Somebody good LF Cespedes CF BJax RF Power hitter. The Cubs need to spend on B Philips and a 3rd baseman, maybe Longoria? Develop or sign a Power OF

    • loyal100more

      i like the idea of vitters getting some at bats. the hole at 3rd is gaping at the moment. i may be the only person left with faith in barney at 2nd, but i think he could put it together. free agency may be a better idea for 2nd but id like to see the youngster one more time while we rebuild, it really couldn’t hurt and we could get surprised.i see first as a big position this year for the cubs. i like Lahair and i hate the idea of fielder on a 1 year deal (even though it never will happen anyway) and i believe rizzo really is our guy and he will live up to expectations. but man after just a small dose of vogelbach hes got my attention! though winning will not happen this year i see a few places for cub fans to really be excited with our new direction. lastly i really hope we are saving money for next years crop of FA pitching, it seems all to obvious that we will need to aquire some talent given the over all look of the farm in that department.

      • gritsngravy

        I still have faith in barney as well. I like the kid. I think we def have a hole at third and ian stewart is not the answer. The cubs for the last few years have been loaded with platoon infielders ie blake dewitt and jeff baker. How many teams do you see who platoon infielders and succeed. We need a permanent answer at 2nd and third. I feel like barney could be the answer at second and third is a crapshoot. First base will take care of itself. We are loaded in the outfield esp. if we acquire one or both of the cuban prospects. I see a bright future with the cubs.

  • http://bleachernation deanoh

    Send the Red Sox $50 and a goat and let them figure it out.