The rumor mill doesn’t stop in February, or so it seems…
- The Cubs are apparently considering picking up a veteran reliever, despite an otherwise crowded pen. After kicking the tires on Chad Qualls, who signed with the Phillies, the Cubs are nosing around 31-year-old Todd Coffey. The righty is consistently decent, and is coming off one of his better years in 2011 – 3.62 ERA and a 1.257 WHIP in 59.2 innings, though his strikeout rate dropped considerably. If the Cubs could get him on a one-year, $1 million deal, I say why not? He might be worth it to the Cubs as a reliever, but more than that, he might develop into a nice mid-season trade chip on the cheap.
- Bruce Levine chatted yesterday, and offered a few interesting pieces: (1) Bruce expects Alfonso Soriano to be traded, released, or to start regularly in left field for the Cubs – in other words, he doesn’t see Soriano being a part-time player (I disagree – I could see him platooning a bit, in theory); (2) the Cubs are still one of the more aggressive teams in on Yoenis Cespedes; (3) a lower level prospect and cash should be what the Red Sox get for Epstein; (4) Bruce thinks the Cubs would need to get a great deal of quality back to deal Geovany Soto; and (5) Bruce still believes Matt Garza will be extended or dealt by July 31.
- Separately, Levine writes that the Cubs are hoping to find a back-up middle infielder and a back-up catcher from among their youngsters and non-roster invites this Spring. The problem for the Cubs is that they’ve already got a great back-up middle infielder on the roster – but he’s currently penciled in to start at second. As for catcher, it looks like it could be Welington Castillo, Steve Clevenger, or Jason Jaramillo.
- Peter Gammons says that the Cubs and Red Sox have not yet submitted written arguments about settling the Theo Epstein compensation issue (though reports have generally contradicted that fact), but says he expects the Red Sox to get an “A level prospect” from the Cubs. Given that Gammons has been tended to be … how do I say it … on the Red Sox’s side of things with respect to this issue, that’s probably good news. Of course, before you get too excited, keep in mind: (1) Gammons has sometimes been wrong of late, and (2) Matt Szczur, as an example, is technically an “A level prospect,” having finished out 2011 in High A ball. Obviously that would be a painful, painful choice of compensation, regardless of “level.” (And, another thing: it’s possible Gammons didn’t mean “level” so much as “grade” – as in, the Red Sox are going to get an “A” graded prospect (of which the Cubs have, like, none), meaning Brett Jackson or someone like that. Who knows.)
- Kevin Goldstein talks Yoenis Cespedes with a number of executives, who decide whether they’d rather have Cespedes, or another established outfielder (Colby Rasmus, Drew Stubbs, B.J. Upton, Chris Young and Adam Jones). Rasmus is the only free read, but six of eight execs would rather have Cespedes.
- Speaking of Cespedes, he’s expected to meet with the Marlins when he comes to the States in a week or so, but that’s probably true of a number of teams. Besides, the tip-top of the Cubs’ organization might be meeting with him this week in the DR.
- Edwin Jackson is probably going to have to settle for a one-year deal, but it likely won’t be with the Red Sox, who offered him something in the range of $5 or $6 million – which is so impressively low that, regardless of “need,” if he actually took it, I’d be kind of pissed if the Cubs didn’t make an offer.