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While we wait on Dan Haren (remember: many, many teams are likely involved – don’t get your hopes up), there are plenty of rumor bits floating around …

  • On a possible Ryan Dempster reunion, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer confirmed that the Cubs and Dempster had been in contact, and said that it started out as a bump-into kind of situation (Demspter still lives in Chicago). Hoyer says there’s no hard feelings there, but that talks are very preliminary, and are occurring with lots of players. “I don’t want to comment specifically, but there has been contact with him certainly. But in general, I don’t want to characterize interest because next thing you know it’s a story that the Cubs are all over Dempster. But Ryan does fit that [Paul Maholm model (short-term deal, possible flip)] really well …. Characterizing that interest at this point, there has been contact and it was preliminary. There are a lot of players that we’ll end up expressing interest (in), so I wouldn’t overcharacterize it and have it be the lead story. But listen, he pitched well here for a long time. People in Chicago really respect what he did here, and they should, but obviously there’s a mutual respect there.” Increasingly, I think the Cubs, themselves, are floating this story – when was the last time this front office confirmed that it was in contact with a particular free agent? they *never* do that – because they’re feeling out how a return would be received by the fan base. No, Theo and Jed aren’t usually going to care what the fans think when signing free agents, but we can’t lie to ourselves and ignore that getting asses in the seats in 2013 is going to be a challenge, relatively-speaking. Dempster fills a need, and, if the fans still love him, he might fill a few extra seats, too. So the Cubs are feeling it out. Not at all implausible. In fact, it’s pretty darn plausible.
  • Hoyer, although he refused to make any specific commitments, did say that a Dan Haren-like rental is a possibility for the Cubs.
  • Paul Sullivan suggests Brandon McCarthy as a possible target, and Jed Hoyer offered compliments. Until he took a line-drive off the head, McCarthy was shaping up to be a prime target for the Cubs as one of the best of the second-tier type starters. As things stand, his health is a little uncertain, and there are indications that he really wants to return to Oakland. Of course they have a deep rotation as it is. If McCarthy is healthy and wants to shop his services around, the Cubs will absolutely be in contact with him.
  • The Cubs are one of many teams with “varying degrees of interest” in Scott Baker, says Jon Morosi. Baker, 31, missed all of 2012 after April Tommy John surgery, but he’s expected to be ready to go next year. It seems like he’ll have to settle for a one-year-plus-option type deal, which is right in the Cubs’ wheelhouse. He was always a pretty effective pitcher with the Twins, with a 106 ERA+, 1.241 WHIP, and 3.48 K/BB in his most recent five seasons.
  • I really don’t want to mention this, but given Dale Sveum’s publicly-expressed affection for him, it needs to be addressed. Nyjer Morgan was outrighted by the Brewers, and is going to elect free agency today. Morgan was surprisingly excellent in 2011, but fell flat on his face in 2012. He’s just 32, but will likely be viewed as a bench option by teams in 2013. Would the Cubs consider him? He’ll get high marks from Sveum, probably, but with Dave Sappelt and Tony Campana (not to mention Brett Jackson) already in the fold, I’m not sure I see a spot. Which is a relief. Whatever Morgan brings in the form of energy and effort, he more than makes up for in distractions and headaches. He’d have to be five times the player he is for me to have any particular interest. Even if he does love cats.
  • The Brewers had become a vogue guess for Josh Hamilton’s future employer, but GM Doug Melvin today suggested they won’t have the money to get him. Hamilton is an extremely unlikely target for the Cubs, given his age (32 in May) and expected contract demands (seven years or more, $150 million or more). Never say never – if the market craters for him, the Cubs will always look at undervalued assets, whatever their age or contract – but, yeah, I’ll stick with “extremely unlikely.”
  • Buster Olney says the Dodgers are considering shopping Andre Ethier … just a half season after they extended him for five years and $85 million. I don’t think the Cubs would have too much interest (Ethier turns 31 in April), but they do need a right fielder (and, even if both Albert Almora and Jorge Soler develop quickly, the Cubs will still have another long-term OF spot), and Ethier is a pretty good one. The Cubs might check in on the price, but I don’t even think Ethier will actually be moved. Trading him immediately after such a long extension would be a pretty dick move.
  • MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes offered his guesses on the top 50 free agents’ landing spots, and he has only Shaun Marcum (19th best free agent) going to the Cubs. The Cubs are also mentioned as a possibility for Francisco Liriano, Carlos Villanueva, Joe Blanton, and Jeremy Guthrie.
  • Rizzo 44

    I like the Ethier thoughts here. I think he would be a great RF for the Cubs. I know he will start to decline towards the end of the contract but he would only be 35. I think we all saw what Soriano did this year. I hope the Cubs at least look at this and see what it would take.

    • terencemann

      If they’re going to pay Ethier that much money, they might as well just go sign BJ Upton. Given the choice, I’d take Upton. It would take a lot of money from the Dodgers to convince me he’s a good match.

      • Dr. Percival Cox

        Also the Dodgers are presumably not going to give Ethier away, so we have to ask whether what we spend to get him could be better spent on Justin Upton.

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    Nyjer Morgan CANNOT be a Cub. F that. Don’t do it Jed. Friggen hate that guy.

    • terencemann

      He would be an upgrade over Campana but, yeah, he’s probably not coming here.

    • fromthemitten

      I like Nyjer Morgan simply for his hatred of Pujols

    • Deez

      I like Nyjer too! He was hardnosed, gritty & Ballsy too!
      He’d create excitement!
      Good Move to at least kick the tires.

  • MightyBear

    As I stated in a previous post, I think Baker would be a great fit for the Cubs. I’d like to see them sign him. I would like to see the Cubs sign Marcum as well but I don’t think that will happen as Marcum will be too expensive.

  • fortyonenorth

    The Dempster thing is puzzling. My guess is that RD reached-out to the Cubs because he wants to come back to Chicago and end his career here. I really don’t think he’d come back just to get flipped. Jed and Theo don’t strike me as the trial balloon types.

    • DarthHater

      My guess is that RD was in town visiting the nanny and bumped into Theo at Starbucks…

    • Kurt

      Totally agree “fortyonenorth”. Can’t see Theo being so myopic as to line Demp’s pockets after what he pulled with Atlanta.

      Brett, you seem to be greasing the skids on this happening. Are you trying to take over Al Yellon or Carrie Muskrat’s job as the team’s slobbering jock sniffers?

      Hope not.

      What Dempster pulled was classless and dishonest.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Since I am, and always have been, an unabashed Cubs fan, I don’t know how to answer that, if I thought it was an actual question.

        I’ve been pretty consistent on my Dempster feelings since the trade. You’re entitled to yours, I’m entitled to mine. If that puts my face in anyone’s jock, so be it.

        http://www.bleachernation.com/2012/08/01/the-two-ryan-dempster-trades-and-how-well-remember-the-man/

        But nowhere have I said or even suggested that I want the Cubs to re-sign Dempster. The furthest I’ve gone is as far as any team should go about any player: can’t hurt to feel it out, and if he wants to take a ridiculous low-ball deal, you consider it.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          This is why the signing shouldn’t happen. Way too many hurt feelings over the deal that aren’t all that well buried. Just imagine what happens next summer as we approach the trade deadline. One bad outing by Dempster: “He’s intentionally tanking so he can’t be traded!!!!! Thed and Jeo are incompetent for signing him!!!! Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Hardcore fans have hurt feelings, but Joe and Jane Cubs Fan probably do not have those feelings: that water is well past the bridge. The players probably do not care, either: they seem to pay little attention to prospects and when they do voice an opinion, it usually is to favor a veteran over a prospect. They also are not going to hold Dempster’ exercising no-trade rights because they all covet such rights themselves.

            I would say, go for it.

        • TWC

          If that puts my face on anyone’s jock, so be it.

          Wow. That gives me a great idea for the BN banana hammock redesign!

          • Dr. Percival Cox

            Redesign five, from the Big Dog!

        • DarthHater

          No better time to feel out low ball deals than when your face is in someone’s jock.

      • fromthemitten

        Please. He had every right to veto a trade and was honest about his reasons why not to go to the Braves. Calling Brett a jocksniffer is what I’d define as “classless”, as Brett has been as critical and fair on the Cubs as any blogger I’ve seen.

  • Dr. Percival Cox

    Fascinating that the “money is no object” Dodgers are looking to move a big contract and one of their core players. That team is a train wreck waiting to happen.

  • Frank

    If the Cubs do sign Guthrie, maybe Theo and Jed can get the white sox to pick up part of his salary. The way he owned them last season, the sox should be happy to get him out of the AL central.

  • terencemann

    I think Epstein and Dempster live pretty close to each other, right?

  • cubs1967

    considering how bad the new regime does in trades-see Dempster-Marshall-Stewart disasters the last thing we need is to spend 15.5M on haren and then hope we don’t trade too much to get him and then get enough back in a trade and hope he nor garza gets hurt.
    way too much for team theo to handle. better to stick to drafting guys, chasing international FA and signing zach putnams of the world.

    if dempster is a possibility that leads me to believe the 90-10% that it was dempster’s fault for the botched trade to atlanta is really more of team theo’s fault and closer to 50-50 which only makes the trade that much worse. (why would team theo want a guy who screwed them that much unless the FO knows there is more fault on them).

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      Yes, 1 year of Sean Marshall for a cost controlled 5th Starter, a cost-controlled 4th outfielder with surprising pop, and a second base prospect with an elite hit tool is terrible. And then, Dempster. I mean, all they did there was get Randall Delgado for him and then, after that fell apart and they had 15 minutes to make a trade, get the #9 prospect in the Carolina league.

      I really don’t know how Theo and Jed have jobs, to be honest.

    • DarthHater

      I was going to call this comment a crock of shit, but that would be an insult to crocks of shit.

      • MightyBear

        I was going to call this comment a crock of shit, but that would be an insult to crocks of shit.

        Are you still bitter over the Marshall trade? In the words of the Beatles ” Let it be.”

        • DarthHater

          I was referring to the comment of cubs1967, not of Dr. Percival.

          • MightyBear

            My bad.

    • Carew

      The only bad trade I see is Stewart…
      Marshall for Wood, Sappelt, Torreyes=good
      Demp for Villanueva, and the pitcher (name?)=very solid for last minute

      Ill mention the others:
      Cashner, prospect for RIZZO, Cates(?)=awesome
      Zambrano for Volstad=win just because Zambrano is gone
      Soto for whoever=good because Soto is gone
      Maholm and Johnson for Vizcaino, prospect(?)=good for those types of players

      • MightyBear

        The Jeff Baker trade turned out good too.

        • Carew

          Oh yeah of course. Thanks man

  • Fastball

    What if the Cubs just went out and started signing all these damned starting pitchers that are either FA’s or are come back from TJ types. I think it would be quite smart to sign a truck load of them right now and then see how desperate other teams get as the winter wears on. If nothing else we have a lot of pitchers to choose from to build a rotation and BP going into the season. They can put most of the guys we had this year back at AAA and let them develop some more or shit can them if they don’t pan out. But we would have lot of depth at the AAA and ML level for a little while and some of the younger pitchers we are drafting move up. Since we have A LOT OF MILLIONS we could spend it would make sense to become a warehouse for pitching. Face it we really only need a 3B and RF outside of a pleathera of pitching. What if we signed Dumpster, Marcum, Haren, Baker, McCarthy and a several others. We are dealing from a position of strength instead of weakness. This would allow to really build up the farm system at the trade deadline. I really like this idea.

  • Fastball

    I say we start stock piling all these guys. What do we have to lose anyway. If some of them don’t pan out we DFA them and if they get picked up of waivers what are we really out. Not that much money because they would all be short term deals. Like 1 year and an option. If they do work out we are loaded with pitching all the sudden. We can still flip a Dumpster or Haren if we wanted to. Pitching and Defense wins baseball games. I know a lot folks on here think offense is more important. I don’t believe in that as much I do the pitching and defense. If we had a .270 team BA we would score enough runs and would contend. We could always add an offensive piece or two mid season and make a push. Realistically it will only take around 85 to 87 wins to claim the NL Central.

  • MightyBear

    What if the Cubs just went out and started signing all these damned starting pitchers that are either FA’s or are come back from TJ types.

    Easier said than done.

  • MightyBear

    Testing 123

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You have to close the italic tag after whatever it is that you’d like to italicize.

  • Fastball

    I am just saying the ones that we can get why not sign. I don’t see the downside to stockpiling pitching. We can outbid just about anybody in the market. I’m not go nuts and way overpay. But if you can get them then spend the $$. If they get healthy and pitch well we have valuable assets all the sudden.

    • CubFan Paul

      Agreed. I’ll take more Arodys Vizcaianos and Christian Villanuevas any day.

  • die hard

    Are Keppinger and Pagan good FA fits for Cubs?…worth a look

  • Tommy

    Two things:

    1) Didn’t Brandon McCarthy have brain surgery? That’s not just a typical surgery like TJ surgery. That has to be a major concern in considering this guy.
    2) Chobani Pineapple Yogurt is very likely the greatest yogurt on the planet. Does this make me less than a man? Maybe, but that’s ok.

    • Believe in 2015

      Time to hand over your man card

      • Tommy

        :( I concede.

  • Fastball

    He may wear a helmet/protection while pitching for safety purposes. MLB is considering helmets/protection for pitchers as mandatory. they made it mandatory for base coaches and they are 30 feet further from home plate. I was a pitchers and I am for it.

  • JR

    Just throwing this out there, but what about a deal of Soriano for Ethier. I know the Dodgers have tons of money, but the Ethier deal looks kinda bad now. And the trading Soriano to a team that he likes seems almost impossible. The Cubs could save the Dodgers lots of money and the Dodgers get similiar production next yr. I don’t know just a thought..

    • Todd

      At this point, I’d rather have Soriano. His contract isn’t paralyzing to the Cubs’ budget anymore and he’s productive.

  • Dragen

    I don’t know about Hoyer but Theo is an imbecile (lunatic if you prefer) on steroids. He conned his way into both Boston and Chicago (remember the magic computer program Carmine) and is now demonstrating his total incompetence. The man wouldn’t know a baseball player from a potted palm.

  • Timmy

    Please god no to Ryan Dempster. If they resign him there’s no way I’ll go to a game again until he’s off the team…again. Horrible idea.

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