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Today is the little girl’s first birthday party (actual birthday is tomorrow). That impacts you in at least two ways: (1) you should be going, “awww,” and (2) I’ll probably be unavailable for a large chunk of the late morning and early afternoon. Time flies and all that…

  • It sounds like that report about the Marlins offering Yoenis Cespedes a six-year, $40 million contract during his visit this week was indeed not accurate. According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the Marlins did make Cespedes an offer, but it was for “LESS” (he capitalized every letter, but didn’t say how much less) than $40 million. If true, you can come to one of many conclusions: (1) it’s still somewhat early in the negotiation process (at least with respect to the Marlins); (2) bidding on Cespedes isn’t going to get quite as high as some thought; or (3) the Marlins are trying to leverage Cespedes’ desire to play in Miami into an opportunity to get him on the cheap. Based on how things have played out, and on the Marlins’ already-pricey offseason, I lean toward number three.
  • Before you get excited thinking, “whoa, the Cubs could easily beat a $40 million over six years offer” (which, yes, they could), remember: multiple sources last week started reporting their belief that, ultimately, Cespedes would sign with Miami. Further, the Cubs and Marlins aren’t the only teams interested in Cespedes. So, while the pendulum may be swinging ever-so-slightly back in the Cubs’ direction, their chances of signing him remain solidly below 50% (let’s call it Marlins 40%, Cubs 30%, another team 30%).
  • Since these Bullets are already turning all Lukewarm Stovey, I’ll note that Jon Heyman says Edgar Renteria is looking to play in 2012, and the Cubs, among other teams, might be a good fit. The Cubs have been looking for a middle infield backup for some time, and, right now, only Adrian Cardenas (and, to a lesser extent, non-roster invitees like Edgar Gonzalez and Matt Tolbert) could back-up at shortstop (Darwin Barney can do it, obviously, but he’s slated to start at second base). Renteria, 35, is becoming something of a nightmare at the plate (OPS+ of 67, 93, and 78 the last three years), and his defense has taken a step back. Minor league deal and a chance to show what he’s got left in Spring Training? Sure. Guaranteed deal and a back-up job? Eh.
  • Phil Rogers thinks both the Theo Epstein compensation decision and the Ryan Braun PED suspension appeal decision will come down this week.
  • New pitching coach Chris Bosio was on the radio yesterday with Bruce Levine, and you can see a recap of his appearance at the CCO. In short, Bosio is heavily focused on the mental side of the game for his pitchers, and he also wants them to work out of the stretch more in practice. Bosio also thinks the Cubs are not done adding pitching depth.
  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Who else is on the market pitching wise???

  • Elwood

    Man, came so close to being the first comment!! With Cespedes leaning toward the Marlins so heavily, I wonder if the Cubs focus has shifted to Soler. He seems to be the more legit prospect player of the bunch. If the Cubs miss on Cespedes but sign Soler, I say that’s a win.

    • BetterNews

      Can you give some stats on Soler that would suggest he is a legit prospect. Have you seen him play?(I haven’t)

      • Elwood

        Considering the Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees, A’s, and others are reportedly changing their focus from Cespedes to Soler, I would say he is a legit prospect. 19 years old, 6’3″, 180+pds, runs a 6.7 60, and is described as having plus power.

        Of course no one has seen him play but by definition, “prospect” is a chance or the likelihood that something will happen in the near future, especially something desirable. His tools that have been seen stand out. The fearless BN leader Brett believes Soler is the best bet between Cespedes and Soler. Teams with very bright individuals consider him to be a risk worth taking over the much-hyped Cespedes.

        Are there unknowns, sure. But we knew a lot about Corey Patterson and look how he turned out. The best we can do is look at his skills and project them out over the next few years. Soler is a legit prospect. 

         

  • BetterNews

    What’s with all the talk about the Cubs and Marlins as the only two teams interested in Cespedes? Everything I’ve read indicates that there are almost twelve(12) teams interested in aquiring the “high risk” minor leaguer.

    • Ced landrum

      What talk are you alluding to. Brett said there were other teams interested

      • BetterNews

        How can you put “percentages” based on 12 teams when “nobody” knows who is offering what?

        • Matt

          The same way you can call him a “high risk” minor leaguer when you have never seen him play. Kind of like Soler.

  • Zbo

    Happy Birthday to your baby girl, Brett. As the father of a 5-month old girl, I’m not above typing “awwwwww.”

  • Rooster

    Happy B-day to the little one. Enjoy the day.

  • Mike Foster

    Not very many guys in baseball I hate but Renteria is one. I think he’s dirty, betting he’s an issue in the clubhouse. I would HATE for the Cubs to sign him and would go so far as to not cheer for him when he played. I’d even take Matt Holiday before Renteria, and you know that’s going some for me.

  • Mike Foster

    BTW, thanks for having a Cespedes article and not showing that “rounding the bases” pix, LOL.

  • Noah

    Congrats on your daughter’s birthday. My son is 1 month old today, so we have a lot of “awww” moments as well. Of course, then he farts or spits up.

    Regarding Renteria, completely agree. Fine on a minor league deal and non-roster invite. Not good with a spot on the 40 man.

    For Soler, we know about him the same way we know about other prospects: through Keith Law, Kevin Goldstein, Jim Callis and John Sickels.

  • rcleven

    Whats Sutcliffe tie in with the Cubs at spring training? Totally missed this news all winter.

  • Vinestal

    Via Twitter
    c/o Lynn G. Henning
    Miami made Cespedes a mid-range offer ($30m-plus, reportedly). His stock obviously fell, and sharply, during his Dominican stint. Still …

    • BetterNews

      Reported by whom?

      • Andrewmoore4isu

        Lynn_henning. Retweeted by buster_espn

        • BetterNews

          Who the hell Is Lynn Henning?

          • rcleven

            Detroit sports writer.

            • BetterNews

              So it means NOTHING.

              • Matt

                Only to you because you choose not to listen.

          • kidding

            the Olympic skater………kidding, lol.

      • ferrets_bueller

        First two lines, dude. LMAO.

        • MichiganGoat

          But who reported that to them?

  • rcleven
    • Mike Foster

      I suppose everyone else knows this but first time I’ve heard aluminum bats in connection with Cespedes.

      • BetterNews

        Yes,minor league.

      • ferrets_bueller

        I think you misunderstood, the point of that was that Cuba doesnt use metal anymore- which makes the past failings of Cuban hitters not a reflection on him. He was 15 when they went to wood.

        • rcleven

          Scarey thing is the failure rate in MLB of Cuban players. Alexei Ramirez took till his third season to to adjust to MLB pitching.

          • ferrets_bueller

            They actually have a significantly better success rate than japanese players…and cost less. As far as foreign players go, Cubans have proven to be among the safest bets in recent years.

            • BetterNews

              Please show some kind of stat or link to support your theory.

              • DocWimsey

                tsk, tsk… *hypothesis*, not theory! What we’d need here is the distribution of WAR for Cuban and Japanese players. I actually do not have much intuition on how this would plot out: my intuition is that although there have been more successful Cuban players than Japanese players, there also have been more Cuban players than Japanese.

                • BetterNews

                  tsk,tsk..Your intuition means nothing!

                  • Matt

                    Neither does your opinion…

                  • DocWimsey

                    Actually, it’s called an off-the-cuff prediction, caveated by stating that I really was not too certain. However, testing the idea would be simple enough. It’s stats 102 at most! However, as it is impossible to test an idea without predictions, it’s sort of tough to say that the predictions mean nothing. (It’s sort of tangential to call them “meaningful” at all!)

  • rocky8263

    Congrats on your daughters birthday. Phil Rogers in today’s Tribune makes a good point that Miami has to try for Cespedes for the Hispanic fan’s sake but that it’s a fake out. Sorry I don’t have a link.

  • Mrp

    Hey guys! Long time reader, first time poster.

    So, are the Marlins basically going all-in now that they have their new stadium? Anyone see a what their payroll is up to now? Not sure of the exact number for this year but I think they have about $200 million wrapped up in 3 players over the next few seasons. They have been good a few times before but people just don’t seem give a damn about baseball down there so I see this backfiring in a bad way for them.

    • Ryan

      It could but with a new stadium that is baseball friendly they have a better chance at drawing fans

      • rcleven

        Fans will come at first and they will be back to their 14000 a game average. Just not a great market for MLB.

        • cls

          I think what you meant to say was: “Just not a great market for professional sports.”

          • rcleven

            Dolphins still draw.

  • Swoophorse

    In regards to the supposed low offer from the Marlins, if true, look for the Cubs to get both Cespedes and Soler. This is the move Theo is going to make. The new labor agreement evens the field on Latin players. This is the last time a team can make a splash so Cub fans get ready for the big plunge. The Cub outfield in 2014…Cespedes-Jackson-Soler!

    Happy Birthday to your little girl Brett. My beautiful bride and I celebrated 44 years of married bliss this past Friday.

    • Ryan

      I hope the Cubs get Soler. I have no problem with them getting Cepedes as long as the deal is financially making sense in regard to other offers

  • DocWimsey

    As the father of a rambunctious 3 year old, I think that “zzzzzzzzzz” might be closer to Brett’s wishes!

    Unless he got one of those good sleeping babies…..

  • Ralph

    Happy birthday to your little girl!

  • cubsin

    As irritated as I am about the long delay in settling compensation for Theo, I really feel bad for Ryan Braun. The word before his hearing was he might have to wait a day or two to hear the verdict. It’s been weeks, and he’s still left twisting in the wind. Spring Training is less than a week away, and he still doesn’t know if he’ll be eligible to play in the first 50 games or not.

    • yield51

      Feel bad for Ryan Braun? Nah. The dude makes millions of dollars, and if he wasn’t sure whether the drugs he was taking were legit, he could have approached either a pharmacist, or MLB themselves to discuss his medication. I work in the nuclear field and we have initial drug screening, random, and “for cause” screening. It is our responsibility to have any medications we are taking to be cleared, or submitted to the Medical Review Officer. It is somewhat of a hassle, but it keeps people from missing work, getting fired, or having discrepancies on the drug policy. I don’t make a fraction of what Braun, or any professional athlete makes, and I wouldn’t dare put my career in jeopardy. Plain and simple….. he broke the rules, and I believe he did it intentionally. Be responsible, or be without a job.

      • cls

        Well said and great example.

    • BetterNews

      I feel really bad for Braun too(LOL)

  • KB

    Edgar Renteria? A 35 year old middle infielder who can’t hit at ALL anymore? And because of his name, and his fame, will likely command a decent salary?
    This is the kind of move that Hendry would make. I thought that with Hendry gone, I could rest easy that the cubs wouldn’t be making hopeless, worthless moves like this anymore.

    I mean, I’d rather have freaking Bobby Scales.

    • DocWimsey

      but… but…. Renteria is *CLUTCH*!!!! [/sarcasm]

  • BetterNews

    There is no doubt Ian Stewart is one of the BIGGEST question marks going into April.

    • BFiddy

      Please show some kind of stat or link to support your theory.

      • Brian Myers

        A .236 career batting average with a slugging percentage that has declined the past 2 years.

        http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/stats/_/id/28722/ian-stewart

        He could easily hit .240 with 24 HR’s this year with close to 150 SO…. and that just might be looked at as a good season for him. It’s likely the position (unless he really turns it around) where we’ll see the biggest decline in production.

  • SirCub

    Awwwwwww

  • curt

    theres only a few things in life you never get to do over a 1st impression, a 1st kiss, and im sure there are a few more but a daughters 1st birthday thats precious congrats and have fun brett and b4 i go “awwwwwwww”

  • Cliffy

    RT @Kevin_Goldstein: Rumors out of the DR today that the Cubs are making a very very RT @Kevin_Goldstein: Rumors out of the DR today that the Cubs are making a very very big play for Jorge Soler.

  • Ryan

    I think Soler is a smarter money spent for cubs.

  • North Side Irish

    More Goldstein….

    Kevin Goldstein @Kevin_Goldstein
    Outstanding. Would be single digit pick in draft. “@AnthonyRescan: @kevin_goldstein what’s Soler’s potential like?.”

  • Katie

    The first birthday is a lot of fun, congrats! I never gave my son sugar until he had his first bite of birthday cake and the look of pure joy was awesome!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Katie. It was a very good time.

  • ferrets_bueller

    Best news ive heard in days!
    http://joefrisaro.mlblogs.com/2012/02/12/marlins-clear-cespedes-frontrunner/

    Cubs willing o spend almost 30 million on Soler.
    IMO, he’s the guy we should be going after to begin with. IMO, he’s essentially a ‘free’ top three draft choice.

  • cubsin

    If Braun is guilty of anything, even through carelessness, he deserves the 50-game suspension. But he shouldn’t have to wait several weeks for a panel of three judges to announce their decision. It should be either “innocent” or “guilty,” and it’s hard for me to imagine there’s a 1-1/2 to 1-1/2 tie involved here.

  • JulioZuleta

    Can’t sleep a damn wink. At least Kevin Goldstein just released his top 101.

    Cubs showing is a little disappointing. The three names that you expect to see are all there, but they’re ranked low in my eyes.

    44. B. Jackson
    66. J. Baez
    75. A. Rizzo

    He adds at the beginning that Cespedes would rank #20, and Soler #38. By that reasoning, Goldstein thinks Soler would be the Cubs’ top prospect if signed. Take the list with a grain of salt. It’s just another guy’s opinion.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16020

    Looked at it a little more, a couple things stick out:

    -Top 3 go Moore, Harper, Trout in order
    -Jacob Turner comes in at 15, Castellanos at 71, no other Tigers
    – Hak-Ju Lee at 65 (Archer not on the list).
    -There are TEN Padres and if Rizzo was still there, he would be their 7th ranked prospect.
    -Goldstein tweeted that Szczur was not at all close to making the list.
    -1 White Sox (Addison Reed 81). Goldstein said no one else close.
    -Says Jackson is not quite ready for big leagues
    -3 Cards in the top 31 (ugh) and 6 overall. 1 Brewer (92), 3 Astros, 6 Pirates, 2 Reds
    -Jackson 11th OF, Baez 7th SS, Rizzo 3rd 1B

    • CubFan Paul

      interesting. thx Z

    • baseballet

      Thanks JZ. This highlights what a major rebuilding job the Cubs have in front of them. I was enthusiastic about the Cubs’ last draft, but with the offseason rankings that have come out it’s starting to look like a short rebuilding period of two seasons is just wishful thinking.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Other Cubs related tweets from KG last night…

      Why do some people think he hates the Cubs?
      KG: “Just some do. Because I’m fair.”

      What ever happened to Ryan Harvey?
      KG: “Monster tools, never hit.”

      Chris Archer’s control issues keep him out? Or ceiling not a SP?
      KG: “Yes x 2″

      Why so low on Rizzo?
      KG: “1B prospect rule”

      Reason why so low on Hak-Ju Lee?
      KG: “Because I liked 64 guys more. Question the upside”

      If Baez starts at SS for Cubs, Starlin goes?
      KG: “Baez not a SS in majors”

  • Bart

    First ever post here. Dig the site and have been following for a couple months now. Thanks for all you guys do! Gotta say, I love the fact that the Padres have 10 on the list. I know McLeod wasn’t in San Diego for a great deal of time, but these numbers should concrete the fact that his scouting eyes and instincts are extremely solid.

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