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The GM Meetings continue today with an almost shocking lack of chatter. But that didn’t stop Bruce Levine and MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith from chatting yesterday! (Boom, segue’d.)

From Bruce Levine, together with my thoughts:

  • Although the Cubs are interested in reclamation/flippable pitchers like Dan Haren, they aren’t likely to pursue him as a free agent, presuming his price tag will grow beyond the one-year, $12 million he was going to get from the Cubs (approximately) if the deal for Carlos Marmol hadn’t fallen apart. I’m not convinced he will get more, given that the deal almost certainly fell apart thanks to some spooky medicals. Then again, a team might take a shot on him for something like two years and $20 million, which would be too much for the Cubs to commit, given their likely skepticism about his health.
  • The kind of free agent pitcher who will sign with the Cubs is one who wants to prove he’s still got it (or, as I like to keep mentioning in the case of Carlos Villanueva, a chance to prove he can be a full-time starter).
  • Scott Baker is another pitcher in the mold the Cubs might pursue. We’ve discussed him a little bit here before.
  • Francisco Liriano is another name in that group, given that he’s looking for an opportunity to re-establish himself.
  • The Cubs may not have the pieces to acquire Jeremy Hellickson (well, I mean, of course they have the pieces – the Cubs now have a top ten system in baseball – it’s a question of whether they’re willing to move them), and Bruce isn’t sure if the Cubs will engage the Rays on that one. Hellickson’s ERA/ERA+ have been ridiculous in his young career so far (3.06/124), but he has consistently out-pitched his peripherals. In other words, he’s always had a nice ERA, but a spectacularly low BABIP, super high LOB%, and a really meh K/BB. That all suggests he’s been lucky, rather than good. As does his career 4.51 FIP. But he’s 25 and not yet arbitration eligible. Gotta figure the Cubs will at least inquire. (Oop, and what do you know, Jon Heyman just reported that the Cubs are interested … before saying the same ridiculous “don’t have the pieces” thing. Seriously folks: almost any system in baseball has the pieces to acquire almost any player in baseball if they were willing to go bonkers. Which most teams aren’t.) Hellickson might just have to get his own post soon.
  • There’s history between the Cubs’ front office and Kevin Youkilis, but the Cubs haven’t shown any interest yet. Youkilis is expected to get a deal longer than the Cubs would be willing to offer.
  • Speaking of third base, Mark Reynolds is a bad fit, thanks to his poor defense at third, and his low OBP. Jeff Keppinger could be a decent fill-in type, though he’s coming off a ridiculous year. Here’s a random thought: what about Eric Chavez? Kills righties, and would be easy enough to find a platoon partner (heck, Luis Valbuena hits rather well against lefties (despite him being a lefty hitter)).
  • Bruce says Casey McGehee could be a full-time starter at third base. No. Just no. Minor league deal and give him a chance to shock? Sure. But signing him to be THE third baseman? No. No, no, no, no.
  • A big hurdle to bringing Ryan Demspter back is the fact that this front office doesn’t give no-trade clauses, and Dempster is likely to get too much money without one. Outside of his possible desire to return to Chicago, it’s not a perfect fit.
  • Bruce says the Cubs’ front office would like to hang onto Barney, whom they could potentially trade for a starting pitcher, because of his grittiness and his leadership.
  • Bruce suggests, contrary to popular opinion, that Alfonso Soriano would be a poor fit in the AL because the pitching is better. I don’t want to drill down into the numbers of why that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but I’m thinking there’s an equal shot Soriano is traded in the NL or AL this offseason (neither of which is likely – but the Cubs will try).
  • Chicago, the city, is probably not a good fit for Josh Hamilton.

From MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, again, with my thoughts.

  • The feeling around baseball apparently is that the Haren/Marmol deal fell apart for the very reason I said that night: the medicals. Just sayin’: looks like the Cubs did the right thing, rather than the deal being an example of them fumbling a deal at the goal line.
  • If the Cubs can find another taker for Marmol, Ben says, they should pull the trigger. Presumably, that’s because a $9.8 million closer doesn’t really have a spot on a probably-bad team.
  • Ben is not hearing any talk about the Marlins dealing Josh Johnson, but he doesn’t rule out the possibility that chatter could pick up later in the offseason. The Marlins might be wise to wait out the market. Bruce Levine previously mentioned Johnson as a possible Cubs target.

 

  • mudge

    Chavez makes sense to me – an anchoring veteran presence at third given the youth of the rest of the infield.

  • Mr. Gonzo

    Brett,

    I like the idea of a Hellickson trade, but I’m not sure what is a fair — and realistic — trade. Could you drop a knowledge bomb on this confused Cubs fan, or shall I just patiently wait for its own post?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I need to think about it, too. A lot of countervailing winds on his value.

  • myporsche

    Wouldn’t demp have 10-5 rights if he resigned with the cubs?

    • cubchymyst

      The 5 years need to be continuous, once traded it restarts at 0.

    • TonyP

      No, the 5 years have to be consecutive years with the same team. His trade broke that up.

      • TonyP

        oops a little late.

  • MightyBear

    I like the idea of a Josh Johnson trade but not sure the Cubbies could get him. Not sure what the Marlins want. Marmol and Soriano for Johnson. Done deal. LOL

    • Marcel91

      They we’re said to be asking for 3 of a team’s top 10 prospects for him…..No way in hell I do that given his injury history.

  • TC

    Hellickson’s peripherals really, really worry me. The argument that “its not luck after 300+ innings” has some merit, but jeez, I can’t think of any other player with k/9, bb/9, and hr/9 numbers like his who have been all that successful for extended periods of time.

    It’s also worth noting that a lot of his “luck” is generated by his defense and ballpark. The Rays have had an outstanding defense for the past few years, and Tropicana is a severe pitcher’s park. Both of those things are a great reason for his ERA successes, and are a better argument than “pure luck”

    • terencem

      I agree on Hellickson. While he’s been successful outside of Tampa, he also has an amazing group of defenders behind him. They’re tied for 2nd in UZR/150 over the last 3 seasons per Fangraphs at 5.5 (the Cubs by comparison are in the middle of the pack at -.4). He just doesn’t seem like the pitcher the Cubs should be using resources to acquire as that luck could run out at any time.

  • Cubs82

    Diamondbacks Will Listen To Offers For Trevor Bauer

  • Marcel91

    Diamondbacks Will Listen To Offers For Trevor Bauer

    It’ll take a king’s ransom to acquire a guy like Bauer. Nice pipe dream though.

    • North Side Irish

      Velo was down since getting drafted. Rumors of not wanting to drop the long toss routine. Olney says he was not willing to adjust to Dbacks coaching.

      Don’t think it will cost as much as you’re thinking. Probably less than Hellickson.

      • Marcel91

        Did not know that. Maybe your right then. I was going off the past pretense that he was still a legit #1 pitching prospect…that changes things.

        • MightyBear

          Cubs should go after Bauer. He’s all of 21 and fits right into the Cubs plans.

    • Evan

      Take on a bad contract of the diamond backs like jason kubel and bauer could bad had for less but even then I would not give up any of our prospects higher then lake for him.

  • the jackal

    chaves yes yes yes good veteran leadership we need more of that to help guide our younger players…….i like baker and villeneuva to

  • fortyonenorth

    Is it crazy to think Barney could be packaged in a deal to the D-backs. After all, he’s got the Golden Glove at 2B – what’s to say he couldn’t add one at SS. That’s his natural position and his bat would play better there anyway.

    • Marcel91

      His arm is terrible there and,despite his gold-glove, his range isn’t the best at 2nd. You can get away with that at 2nd but not shortstop.

      • Kyle

        Neither of those things are true.

        • Marcel91

          The are, Barney gets to a lot of his balls with amazing positioning, knowing who’s at the plate and where to shift. His overall range and arm are not what you ideally want for a shortstop and any scout would tell you that. He can play SS in a pinch but not for 160 games a year.

          • arta

            any scout? many scouts have said he’s a better SS than Castro.

    • willis

      It’s not crazy to think it or for the Cubs to float it. Could put a couple good prospects around him and net Bauer. It wouldn’t cost our top three and it helps fill a huge need for this organzation.

      • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

        Yeah and people need to remember Baez isn’t technically a “Theo guy.” Baez for Bauer straight up. They need a SS and Baez prefers SS. Just a thought to ponder…

        • BPaoni

          No, hell no. At least not now, Baez is looking more and more like a steal at the 9th pick. Bauer, for all his talent, has worn out his welcome already, Baez has more value right now.

  • Drew7

    Man, seems like Levine was off his game today. He usually limits the “dud” statements to one or two…

  • cubsin

    Let me add my own “No!” to the thought of signing Casey McGehee, at 100 decibels with infinite repeats. He can’t hit any more, and his defense is terrible. Valbuena and Stewart are both better candidates.

  • nkniacc13

    Would you rather have Bauer or hellickson? Which would cost more?

    • MightyBear

      Bauer. Bauer would cost more.

  • nkniacc13

    Im guessing that the Dbacks will in a way use one of the 2 to help their major league team and the other to help their minor league system.

  • Believe in 2015

    The Cubs have got to make a trade (maybe Garza) to the Blue Jays. Toronto has so many high ceiling pitching prospects. It makes me so jelous that they are that deep in the position. Take a look at this link if you have the chance:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/toronto-blue-jays-top-15-prospects-2012-13/

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    I would rather send whatever package over to the Rays for David Price instead of Jeremy Hellickson. We have the money to extend him or pay out his arbitration-eligible years and he’s young enough to be there when we start winning. Luis Valbuena (currently) and Logan Watkins (in the near future) can play 2B in Barney’s absence, and we have better potential arms in our farm system than Chris Rusin and Brooks Raley.

    If we’re going to take another cheaper-than-free-agent-3B-chance on Ian Stewart, it would only make sense to move Valbuena over. We’ll have to protect Logan Watkins from the Rule 5 draft, so he’ll have to sit on the 40-man roster. Moving Barney, Jackson/Szczur and Rusin/Raley makes more room.

    David Price (L)
    Matt Garza
    Jeff Samardzija
    Travis Wood (L)
    Brandon McCarthy

    SP reserves in AAA
    Nick Struck
    Eric Jokisch (L)
    Rusin/Raley (L)
    Yoanner Negrin
    Alberto Cabrera

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Pipe dream: Garza, Soriano, Brett Jackson, marmol, christian Villanueva, Junior Lake, a whole lot of cash (Rest of Soriano’s contract, rest of Marmol’s contract, half of Garza next years salary) for Justin Upton and Trevor Brauer?

  • ssckelley

    I am glad someone other than myself thinks Chavez would be a good one to go out and get. He would make a great mentor for Vitters and can still hit. I do not think he an play every day but I do not think the Cubs need him to. He made 900k last year, I do not think it will take much to sign him.

    • calicubsfan007

      @ssckelley: I am in the same boat as you. Chavez would be a great fit here. Plus, he would be a good mentor.

      • Can’t think of a cool name

        I remember reading something (God I sound like an old fart) a dew seasons ago that Chavez’ body would not allow him to play as a starter anymore. Does anyone else remember this or am I going senile?

        • Can’t think of a cool name

          Wow, I didn’t realize Chavez played 113 games last year. Definitely one to consider even as a platoon.

          • CubFan Paul

            i’d rather have a healthy Ian Stewart. he’ll be a cheaper ($1.2M-$2.3M), better defender that’ll have more value at the trade deadline than Chavez if healthy ..Then Vitters or Lake takes over for the rest of the year

            • ssckelley

              I would to, but is his wrist fully healed and does he have his power back?

              • Cubbie Blues

                It’s been reported that they finally found what was causing the problems and the surgery was a success. All I’ve heard about his recovery has been good, but what else is he going to say? That is hurts and that he will never be able to come back? With all that said, I would like to see the FO make a prove it offer to him again.

              • CubFan Paul

                supposedly the surgery was a success, but he’ll be non tendered because of it anyway. He’s on the record saying he’d accept that & take less money to prove it and rebuild his value.

                i don’t think the Cubs can afford to let him walk. & if he fails, oh well, we have young depth coming behind him

          • ssckelley

            Of those 113 games only 19 were at DH. He played 64 games at 3rd and 10 at 1st.

            • Cubbie Blues

              What about the other 20 games?

              • ssckelley

                He must have been used as a pinch hitter. Baseball Reference has him playing 64 at 3rd, 19 at DH, and 10 at 1st base with only 73 total starts. He had 40 games where he was used as a sub or pinch hitter.

                His stats are very good against right handed pitching, he has a OPS of .895. I would take that for a platoon player at 3rd base. I think he makes a perfect fill in player until either Vitters proves he can play every day and/or Baez is ready.

        • ssckelley

          I would not doubt it, if I remember correctly he has had back issues. I do not think Chavez is an every day player anymore. But he would be valuable as a part time starter and DH during inter-league play. He would make a perfect left handed platoon with Vitters. Valbuena could be a utility player as he can play almost any infield position, he would still get starts at 3rd even if they did sign Chavez.

  • BPaoni

    So how about starting a Hellickson trade offer with Darwin Barney, and see what else they’d want with him.

  • calicubsfan007

    @Brett: Finally. I have been begging for a while for the Cubs to get Chavez. Finally, this underrated hitter and fielder is getting some attention here.

  • Cubs1967

    so Jedai has admitted that the cubs miscommunicated with marmol regarding the finality of the potential trade for haren. which is why marmol twitted and did the domincain radio interveiw. really Jedai??? you can’t communicate about a trade after the dempster mess. not only has Jedai’s 2 teams been last place teams; as a Boss; he’s unable to explain BIG issues with his employees; like a trade.
    what a joke! looks imcompetent! how fucking hard is it to say: carlos; “we are working on a possible trade for you; to a contender ( and we are still losing on purpose); still training in arizona (tempe-really cool place), BUT we are working on a few things with the team SO don’t say anything as it’s not final; are you OK be traded?”

    WOW-how hard it that?

    104 yrs and counting……….losing on purpose……yipee

    • baldtaxguy

      I believe the quote I read is that they FO took some part of the responsibility, but I would suspect Carlos’ compentancy with sensitive information is not the best. I would think this was the1st time for him handling info on a potential trade, and he failed. And maybe Carolos was told to keep it sensitive, but he ignored it for his own reasons – from his perspective, what would be punishment for Carlos if he was an insubordinate employee? Traded to Houston or the Marlins instead?

      If he does not have no-trade rights, this is academic.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Don’t know Cubs1967 how hard it that?

    • Cubbie Blues

      You always have the most cheerful demeanor. It’s a pleasure reading your well thought out posts.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        Right, that dude is the most miserable person I have encountered anywhere in my life.

    • Carew

      I like reading the comments because most are insightful, intelligent, and positive. But this is just dumb and a downer.

    • MichiganGoat

      Ignored, don’t feed the trolls people

  • rick

    even better you have not meet my sister-inlaw

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Ha, now I would like to meet your sister-in-law.

  • Deez

    “Here’s a random thought: what about Eric Chavez?…”

    I thought the Yankees picked up his option!?
    He would be my 1st choice. He can rake offensively & defensively.

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