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Pundits have been remarking in the last week or so that they can’t remember an offseason where so many major free agents were yet unsigned come late January. It is pretty incredible when you consider that we’re just a few weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training.

  • The Yankees, at present, have a clear glut of starting pitchers (even if, like the Cubs, the back end of the rotation is a bit weak): Sabathia, Pineda, Kuroda, Nova, Garcia, Burnett, Hughes, and so on. So, it’s unsurprising that vague rumors about guys like Phil Hughes and AJ Burnett are swirling. The latest bit comes courtesy of Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman, himself, who yesterday acknowledged that he may be looking to “use [their] excess pitching to find a bat.”
  • The bat about whom most folks want to speculate is Alfonso Soriano, whom the Cubs would love to move to an AL team where he could DH. But the Yankees? Setting aside whether they’d want Soriano back, one thing of which you can be sure: they aren’t going to want to take on much of any salary to add him. That would mean a bad contract swap, something the new Cubs’ front office is not crazy about. So now you’ve got to set two things aside, and you land somewhere around a Soriano plus $20 million for AJ Burnett. Is that really a deal you’re interested in? Burnett, 35, hasn’t had an ERA under 5.15 or an ERA+ over 86 since 2009. Frankly, I’d rather have Soriano as a 4th outfielder/occasional DH. I don’t really see a fit here.
  • Ken Rosenthal says – no surprise – the Tigers, Marlins and Cubs are the “most active” on Yoenis Cespedes, but offers no update on Cespedes’ residency situation in the Dominican Republic.
  • To that end, however, Ben Badler notes that the Dominican team for whom Cespedes has been playing the last couple weeks – badly, I should say – has announced that Cespedes’ time with the team is done. I’m only speculating, but, might Cespedes be done playing because his residency is about to come through? There were only a handful of games left as it is, so, again – just speculating.
  • Jim Bowden says the Marlins “remain committed to outbidding the Cubs and Tigers for Yoennis Cespedes if and when he every attains free agency.” Obviously the Marlins are deeply interested, and we’ve heard their president publicly state how aggressively they’re going to bid, but don’t all of the teams remain committed to outbidding the others at this stage? Cespedes is not even a free agent yet. If a team wasn’t planning on bidding high at this point, they wouldn’t be on anyone’s short list. We’ll see how things shake out, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Marlins come in with the “highest” bid … full of deferred compensation, extreme backloading, and incentives. Here’s hoping the Cubs’ offer is in the same ballpark.
  • Cuban pitcher Gerardo Concepcion, who is already a free agent, is nearing a decision in his future MLB team. With at least one offer already on the table, Concepcion’s agent says the pitcher will probably decide in the next two weeks. His leading suitors to this point, according to his agent, are the Cubs, White Sox, Rangers, and Yankees. He worked out for the Rangers on Monday. Kevin Goldstein says Concepcion has “great polish” for his age (18), but doesn’t have front-end starter stuff. Instead, he’s projected as more of a four or five.
  • Jon Heyman says Prince Fielder is down to a final four or five teams, with three believed to be the Nationals, the Orioles, and the Rangers. The other team or two is from among a group of the Mariners, Blue Jays, Marlins, Brewers, and (come on, now) the Cubs. If the Cubs made a substantial offer on Fielder at this point, you could characterize that as the shock of the century. It’s a young century yet, I suppose. Still. Don’t count on it.
  • K.C.

    Any chance that Fielder signs a 1 year deal because he isn’t getting the contracts he wants? He would still only be 28 years old next year and maybe there is a better chance next year of a better deal. Cubs 1 year $26 mil?

    • JulioZuleta

      People keep asking/suggesting that. I just don’t see what good it does for the Cubs to bring him in for one year. He doesn’t make them a playoff team this year either way, so what’s the point adding $26-$28 mil to the payroll.

  • K.C.

    Although I see Texas jumping all over that if they had the opportunity to do it. Probably would be better for Prince as well.

    • dob2812

      Problem with that is if he breaks his leg in July, or has a terrible baBIP for three months? He wants his moolah now. It’s not as if 1st base on the Red Sox or Yankees is scheduled to open up in a year. It makes no sense for the big fella.

  • OlderStyle

    Just say no to Fonzie for Burnett. No more bad contract swaps. Soriano isn’t a cancer. Burnett could be next problem child.

  • Matt

    How many more years is Burnett under contract? Granted, he’s been pretty bad the last couple of years, but I think I’d take him as a one and done candidate if the Cubs were able to move Soriano and his remaining 3 years. Getting out of the New York pressure cooker and into the NL should help Burnett’s numbers a little bit. If he doesn’t pan out as a starter, what about late inning relief? Maybe in a condensed role, he can focus and use his plus fastball to get a few outs late in the game. Just thinking out loud. Feel free to poke holes in my musings.

    • Smitty

      He is on the books for $16.5 mil for the next two seasons. I have no problem with trading Soriano and $20 mil for Burnett. Although, I tend to agree with Brett that I think I would prefer to have Soriano as the extremely overpriced 4th OF…especially if Svuem uses him in situations that will make him successful.

      • Matt

        Since Burnett is on the books for 2 more years, I’d pass on that deal too. It could have benefited the Cubs to get an expiring bad contract this year to clear salary for the future. That’s not the case, so I agree, it probably makes more sense to not do the deal and see if the Cubs can get bag of balls and salary relief for Soriano somewhere else.

  • JulioZuleta

    The Soriano + $20 mil for Burnett won’t happen. It only saves the Cubs $1 million and takes up a spot in the rotation, or the pen I suppose, that could be used to develop a younger pitcher.

  • Pingback: A Soriano for Burnett swap makes sense to me. | Goat Riders Of The Apocalypse()

  • Cubsin

    Soriano – three years at $18 million; Burnett – two years at $16.5 million, A difference of $23 million. Burnett would take innings from Wood, Volstad or Wells, and would neither be tradeable or make the Cubs significantly better. This deal might make some sense if the Yankees chipped in $12 or $15 of the difference, but they’re not offering that much.

    As I understand the rules for trades with cash considerations, the money must be paid within twelve months. So it may make more sense to keep Soriano until next winter.

    • JulioZuleta

      Difference of $21 million*

    • Brian

      Would you take Burnett for Soriano, where the Yanks pay for two years of the three at 18 million, for Soriano and the Cubs take Burnett for two yrs at 16.5 and pay Soriano’s final year with deferred payment?

      • JulioZuleta

        I personally wouldn’t, I don’t want any part of Burnett. That still only saves the Cubs $3 million. Also, I’m not a fan of the deferred payments, which I think was too common under Hendry. The backloaded contracts was a perfect example of his lack of long term vision and sense of direction. I’ll buy it in some special cases, but not the way we used to do it.

        • Sam

          I think people hate on backloaded deals too frequently. Honestly, during a decent economy they make a ton of sense. Especially in regards to long term free agent signings of longer than 5 years. If you calculate the present value of the contract when it is originally signed its amazing how big of a difference the cost is even with a 3% inflation rate.

          • JulioZuleta

            But nothing is worse than paying Milton Bradley, and Carlos Silva, and Soriano, and Pena when they aren’t even part of the organization.

            • JR 1908

              The only thing worse than that is having Jim Hendry run your organization into the state it’s in now. Thanks Jimmy…

  • Cubsin

    Quick Quiz: Which will happen first?

    (A) Cespedes and Soler are declared free agents;

    (B) Compensation issues with the Red Sox and Padres are resolved; or

    (C) Opening Day

    • Sweetjamesjones

      Im going with A.

  • Brian

    The deal with Soriano, comes down to, when do the Cubs truly believe they will be contenders. If not for three years, sit on Soriano, it’s some what wasted money at this point anyway. Or, if sooner, ditch him and his three years. In the end, the Cubs will be paying him to be somewhere.

    • Kyle

      Roster spots and playing time are valuable too. He’s soaking up both as long as he’s around.

  • http://www.deliciousmarmolade.blogspot.com Kyle Johansen

    Agree with Matt. Why wouldn’t we get rid of Soriano if we can? If it means saving a few bucks and clearing left field for a prospect, I see no reason not to.

  • Dragoon77

    Why would we aquire A.J. Burnett? I think Phil Hughes is the guy the Cubs would go after in that trade. He’s coming back from a huge injury but; A)He would save the Cubs $$, and B)He’s been a better pitcher than Burnett for at least the last two years. Also consider C) Phil Hughes is not the ugliest man in baseball (I’m not so sure you could say that about A.J. Burnett)

  • Edwin

    Is there any chance the Cubs trade Soriano to the White Sox for Adam Dunn?

    • mark

      I hope that’s a joke.

  • CubFan Paul

    does “great polish” mean closer to the Bigs? (like 2 successful years climbing the minors or is he still considering a longterm prospect)

  • 2much2say

    With Soriano you have 3 choices cut him, trade him or use him. The only trade option is a swap. 2 years of Burnett at 54 mil or 3 years Soriano at 54 mil. Actually 2 years would get the Cubs to the magical 2014 World Series or bust. So, maybe he pitches well enough to create some value. Jumping to the NL will help his numbers. Worst case he holds a rotation spot until the prospects are ready. Silva made Hendry look lie a genius for the first 4 months.

  • 2much2say

    In a player swap you are not only saving the difference, you are getting a useable piece in return which could be worth 10 mil per year if he matches Garza’s 2011 stats. So in reality you would be eating 29 mil vs 45 mil.

  • JR 1908

    I think the Cubs just need to find as much as salary relief as they can and get rid of Soriano, even if they don’t receive any players back. I think Theo should even eat 50 of the 54 mill. if they have too. He is pointless to have on the roster. He’s old as shit, move him before he breaks something..

  • 2much2say

    What if the Cubs got Fielder and he pulled a Adam Dunn. Soriano out performed most slumping stars such as Jayson Worth, Carl Crawford Jason Heyward. There’s something to be said for being consistently average.

  • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

    Brett, do you have any idea who @MLBInsideNews is? He was throwing around Fielder to the Nationals pretty heavily the past few days. I guess it could involve a brown squishy solid being thrown at a large flat object to test stickiness.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      i read a bit about this guy when i was trying to trace the thread back to its source. this guy actually tweeted that the deal had been completed for fielder( 8yr w/option for 3 more) i think it was friday or saturday night. he has changed his account name on occasions, and was the source of a bad trade rumor involving evan longoria awhile back that suggested the star third base man was unhappy in tampa and was wanting a trade. anyway there was alot of negative press on this fellow, ha seems to be a guy that wants the glory of being the first with a scoop, rather than have valid information.

    • JulioZuleta

      He claims to know a lot of people in the industry. He seems to be right on about 30% of his predictions, which is better than some one who randomly throws out guesses, but not nearly accurate enough to be taken too seriously. He has been wrong about Garza about 326 times so far this offseason, but to his credit he has been the first to report certain things, like the Cody Ross signing yesterday. It seems like he tries too hard to be the first to report everything. He definitely knows someone, but he’s not very responsible with his “done deal” proclamations. Such is twitter I suppose.

      EDIT: what do you know, as soon as I typed that…
      Scott Swaim@MLBinsideNewsReply
      Retweet

      Favorite
      · Open

      This is still a done deal folks. Boras keeping it quiet

      If it really is a done deal, there is no reason to keep it quiet. Boras has always been known to leverage teams against each other. It could very well be close to done, but who knows.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        how do you hide a deal of that magnatude from the washington DC landscape? not possible… the 2nd biggest free agent signing this off season. and by the way its been done and still is… what does that even mean?

        • JulioZuleta

          What do ya know, looks like he might have nailed it… Various legitimate twitter accounts are saying Fielder to Washington for 8 years is official. To be fair ESPN’s Jim Bowden is saying there is “NO DEAL”.

          EDIT: Twitter is getting really frustrating, apparently those were some fake tweets going around.

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            it is probably abuch of people jumping on the one source and tweeting

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      the latest on fielder that ive heard is that the dodgers in an attempt to add to the asking price of the club, may try and take a run at fielder. but they did give loney some cash at first in arb. so you gotta kind of look at that as just speculation as to where fielder may land. i think that boras is the reason that fielder hasnt landed somewhere already. even AL teams dont want to strap on fielder for 8-10 years. the market for fielder is still really good but as far as long deals with a NT clause, its alot of money over a long time to be stuck with, on a guy that most see as physically suspect.

    • jerry

      is it better news? lol.

  • 2much2say

    Soriano NL Ranking 56th in BA 15th in HR’s 40th in OPS out of 120 plus starters.in NL

    • AB

      There are 120 starting outfielders in the national league??? When did the NL got to 40 teams??

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      that kinda screams above average value to the team, if you have to decide weather you want to waive him based on the roster spot he takes. it also tells a great story as to how a trade for burnett might turn out. lets move on from that idea… lets use sori in a CREATIVE way, were gonna pay him, we might as well get what we can FROM him, seeing as there isnt much FOR him.

    • Kyle

      You skipped OBP, quite conveniently.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        so his OBP sucked so does his contract…. but what are you gonna do? i think better news is only trying to show the actual value that he does have, and its really not that hard to do… ive said it a million times if sori doesnt lead the club in HR and RBI this year than who?

  • 2much2say

    He out performed the top 120 1st 2nd SS 3rd OF C

  • 2much2say

    Soriano had more RBI’s than Stanton with 41 less at bats

    • JR 1908

      So what’s your point? I think most people who have watched enough Cubs games know that Sori is not part of a winning team.

  • 2much2say

    Uggla was the only sub .330 OBP with a higher OPS than Soriano .764 vs .759

  • cubincardinalland

    Your going to eat the money either way, so worst case scenario, the dude can hit left handed pitching well. And Sori is a well liked teammate. He is usable as a platoon player before the 7th inning and a DH in inter league games. The difference now is we have management in place that will not play the big salaries just to have them in the lineup. They are not their mistake, so sitting them doesn’t make them look bad, and Sori will do his share of sitting this season. Was not the case with Hendry.

    • JR 1908

      The point is the Cubs are bad with or without Sori. Why have him on the team when he takes a roster spot up? They need those spots for development of young players. He may be an ok teammate, but I sure as hell don’t want young Cubs players watching the bullshit way he plays the game… If you can save any money on him at all, move him..

  • 2much2say

    Winning teams have 25 plus HR hitters Soriano was 16th in HR & RBI’s in NL
    Which means he was one of the best no matter which team he played for.

    • JR 1908

      OK, if he was as good as you say. Don’t you think other teams would be willing to pay more than 10% of his salary? Theo is offering him on a platter and no one wants him…
      I like your optimism, but imo he’s got to go.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        you cant waive him simply to free up a roster spot. a) because he signs somewhere else and puts up numbers there that we will be paying for. b) he can still do a number of things for the club. c) he does not effect the young players… do you really think that a young player is gonna ask sori about playing the outfield or throwing?

        • JR 1908

          I am not saying waive him. Trade him for a couple million in salary relief. No one is going to ask Sori how to play outfield… But they may watch his half ass way of playing the game of baseball.

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            were probably thinking the same things and missing on some points.

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    trade sori and 20 mil to yankees for aj burnett and gary sanchez………then swap burnett and 20 mil to baltimore for minor league pitchers l-jacob petit an r-oliver drake.

    this would net a lhp,rhp and c prospects and save cubs around 14 mil……..baltimore is interested in burnett per espn and the yanks and sori are a good fit……..fft

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Here’s to hoping the Cubs get Soler and Concepcion.

    With the reported asking price of Cespedes, I hope the Cubs don’t get him. Seems to sketchy.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      and on the jooos!

    • JR 1908

      I agree with hoping they get Soler and Concepsion. Something does seem a bit sketchy with Cespedes. Not sure what it is…

    • bluekoolaidaholic

      He really had a bad winter league too I hear.
      Everyone is concerned that he can’t hit breaking stuff.

  • JulioZuleta

    MLBTR: Prince close to 9 year deal with DETROIT.

    • JR 1908

      Yeah its on rotoworld too. I can’t believe Prince is willing to dh full time.

      • CubFan Paul

        i’d do anything for $23M a year

        • Kansas Cubs Fan

          I’d do just about anything for $1 mil a year.

    • ferrets_bueller

      Holy $H*&.  9 years?!?!? 200 million?!?!?!   Bye bye Tigers’ future contention.  At least they’re an AL team, though.  Still, wow.  Thats bad.

      I’ve got to wonder, what happens when VMart gets healthy again?  They’ve now got three 1Bs, for two spots.  It would suck for VMart to have to move back to catcher fulltime…

  • JulioZuleta

    Obligatory Cubs question: Does Prince to Detroit make the Tigers more or less likely to make a run at Garza?

    Hard to imagine them being able to take on another $9 mil, but they are definitely WS contenders now, maybe an arm away from being a favorite.

  • rcleven

    Have to agree with Brett on Sorino. He has too much value coming off the bench this year. The devil you know is better than devil you don’t know. If you can’t get better salary relief all you are loosing now is a roster spot. Start him 2 maybe 3 times a week rotating in left. DH him against AL teams.

  • Danny

    Please don’t let us sign Cespedes! He is constantly compared to Byrd who I’m not high on with major league experience. He hasn’t played well in CUBA which is often compared to that of High Class A ball which leaves me much to be desired! Let the marlins take him and we make a hard play for Soler and Concepcion who may or may not be just as good in a few years, cheaper and more in line with the new youth movement, Cespedes being 26 with a lot of unknowns about him (he is cuban after all, Fausto Carmona anyone?). All I’m saying is we are playing to be like the 2001 Oakland A’s and trying to surprise some people and Cespedes will only crowd an already overcrowded outfield with yet another large contract that probably won’t pan out.

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