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.
  • rocky8263

    “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” I don’t believe Soriano dogs it in the OF he’s obviously scared of the wall and is a below average OF. I believe with Sveum in charge Soriano’s play will not affect the kids. To me he’s trying but just not very good.

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    • WSorBust

      Soriano doesn’t impress me as someone who is trying, not when he lopes after balls in the OF and looks like Mark Grace on the basepaths. That said, he’s still a capable hitter. Just compare his offensive production to the designated hitters. He’s just a way below average outfielder and as such, a poor fit in the NL. If the Cubs trade him to the Yankees, I doubt it will be for Burnett and someone else’s bad contract. More likely, it’s another deal along the lines of Zambrano for Volstad. Cubs eat the vast majority of Soriano’s contract and get back a young player with some upside. Phil Hughes fits the mold. The last two years of Soriano’s contract make it a much tougher sell of course.

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  • die hard

    what if Yankees want protection at catcher? Soto could land something of value from them that would help Cubs long term….

  • OHBearCub

    Maybe the Yankee’s will use a home grown solution for th DH til mid season. Maybe we hold onto Soriano til then when the Yanks need to make a move. Here is to hoping Soriano has a great spring at the plate only lazy fly balls show up in left field. Right now his value isn’t much. It could get better and walla we a peice to someones puzzle. Or maybe Soriano steps up becomes a team leader because he is the best power hitter and rbi man we have right now. Maybe just maybe this is what he needs to play all out everyday. I have watched a bunch of interviews with him. I don’t see him as a negative person. Maybe he can produce if he is empowered. He wasn’t in a position to drive in runs last year because Quade was an idiot. He still netted out like 28 hr’s and around 86 RBI’s. We can get more out of him than that. I repeat Quade was an idiot. Maybe he earns his keep. We will be needing a DH more and more over the next few years with more inter league games. Then he might a nice asset as Theo says. I would rather have a known asset than a bunch I don’t know. All Sveum needs to do is explain to him he needs to hustle all the time because everyone is going too. I think being consistent is important for any manager of people. Last year there was no consistency at all. Thats how your shortstop falls asleep. Quade should have been fired before that game was over. What could anyone expect when your boss is a douche bag. QUADE HAD KNOW IDEA WHAT THE HELL WASNGOING ON EITHER