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An early morning Lukewarm Stove? That’s what happens during the GM Meetings. And there’s still a ton of other rumor/transaction bits to get to later today (including, yes, Justin Upton’s availability – everyone loves talking abou Justin Upton (just try to hold out for another couple hours)), so stay tuned.

  • Jerry Crasnick says the Diamondbacks are listening to offers for pitching prospect Trevor Bauer, who has fallen out of favor with some in the organization. Bauer, 21, rocketed through the Diamondbacks system after being drafted third overall in the stacked 2011 Draft, and made his big league debut this season. He struggled badly with control, and had to keep working on it at AAA (where he was much better). There is downside risk here – why else would the Diamondbacks shop him? – but there can be no doubt that Bauer remains one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. The Cubs, I’m sure, would love to have him. But I can’t see the D-backs dealing him for anything short of, for example, Javier Baez plus more. That’s a deal worth considering, but I suspect the D-Backs would prefer to find a shortstop a little closer to big league ready. And Starlin Castro isn’t being dealt, unless it’s for Bauer and about three of his buddies in the D-Backs’ top 10. With virtually every other team in baseball interested, it’s hard to see the Cubs’ mix of prospects/big leaguers finding the perfect fit for the D-Backs.
  • From Patrick Mooney, on Kevin Youkilis: “The Cubs are interested in Kevin Youkilis, but expect him to go beyond their price range and ultimately sign with a team much closer to contention, according to a source familiar with the organization’s thinking.” That’s what I’ve been saying on Youk since the White Sox declined his option: the Cubs would gladly take him, but not at the money/length he’s going to get from a team closer to contention.
  • I’ve been saying for some time that the combination of the new CBA and the increasing TV dollars would yield some crazy contracts this Winter, but, so far, the various reported demands and projections have fallen far short of “crazy.” Until Jeremy Guthrie floated his demands: three years and $34 million. If you can stifle your laughter long enough to check his numbers, you’d see that Guthrie – who was in a crap-for-crap swap with Jonathan Sanchez back in July – will be 34 to start next year, has had an ERA+ better than 100 just once in the last four years, has a WHIP that hovers around 1.35, a K/BB around 2, and a WAR of around 2. I guess he can make an argument for $10 million per year, but there’s just no way he’s going to get it, particularly over three years, and particular at his age. He’d been mentioned as a possible buy-low candidate for the Cubs, but obviously he doesn’t see himself that way. Moving on.
  • The Braves are getting some trade interest in Jair Jurrjens, who is due a raise in arbitration on his $5.5 million 2012 salary. Since the Braves can just non-tender him, it’s not like they’re going to throw cash into a deal, so what you’re really looking at is whether a team is willing to give up a nothing prospect for the right to pay Jurrjens more than $6 million in 2013. Jurrjens’ great 2011 season seems not only like a distant memory, but a smoke-and-mirror-filled-one, as his peripheral numbers never really supported his 2.96 ERA. And, obviously, he fell right off the rails in 2012, with his strikeouts plummeting, walks rising, and teams teeing off on him. Is he an interesting reclamation project? Absolutely. He’s still not even 27 yet. But is he worth $6 million plus a prospect (even a crummy fringe one)? I’m not so sure about that. I’d probably wait it out, and see if he’s non-tendered.
  • Barry

    Is there any speculation as to what Youk’s asking price is? He is my first choice to fill the gaping hole at 3rd. His plate approach would provide an excellent role model for our younger players.

    • ssckelley

      Mine to but he is the best free agent at 3rd on the market. He will command a big chunk of change over a couple of years. I think the Cubs only need a 1 year player at 3rd.

    • Spencer

      I say just let 3B go this year.

  • CubFan Paul

    Jair Jurrjens has Chris Volstad written all over him. No thanks, he’s not an upgrade or even a 6th starter at this point. Delgado will be moved at some point, Theo&Co. should target him (again)

    • Cheryl

      You’re right. He isn’t a sixth starter at this point, but what happened to change him so much?

  • Rizzo 44

    Cubs get Justin Upton, Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, and Matt Davidson for Castro. I would do that deal only because we have Javier Baez. He could be ready by 2014. move Barney to SS for the short term. You would have two really good SP and a young RF with star power. Davidson could be the 3B of the future.

    • Cubbie Blues

      It will probably take a while for Baez to make it through the system. He needs to change his approach at the plate.

    • Rizzo 44

      Add Vitters to the deal

    • Cedlandrum

      The DBacks aren’t doing that deal. 3 of their top 5 prospects and Upton. No way.

    • Stevie B

      Castro is good, he’s not in the HOF just yet however.
      I’d take Upton and Bauer.

      • Chris

        I don’t think anybody is putting him in the HOF just yet. But it seems counter-productive to trade your best player for a player that might be better, coming off a down year, who is older and is more expensive. I’d love to have Upton, but moving Castro to get him seems like you’re moving sideways. Upton’s a great young talent. But a good young shortstop is just harder to find versus a corner outfielder. And Baez/Lake are not nearly ready for the majors, so you can’t predict they’ll be able to replace Castro just yet. They are trying to add to the core, not shuffle guys in and out at this stage. If you can’t obtain Upton without giving up Castro, I don’t think you can do it. And I don’t think they will. Moving Garza and/or Barney is another story. But, obviously, the package would have to start at those two guys and include other pieces.

        • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          Don’t think he was saying we would just get Upton. I think he was including Bauer. I would ask for another top arm in their system as well. But, it isn’t that crazy.

          • Chris

            I understood. Moving a very young SS to get a comparable OF and prospects is just not a deal I would pursue. They have to grow the number of core ML players, not shuffle the deck and get different core players. I like Upton. And Bauer is interesting as a prospect to acquire. But I don’t like a deal that would include Castro in that scenario.

  • Rizzofanclub

    Just for fun would you trade Starlin,B Jackson, and Vitters (or a 15-25 ranked prospect) for Bauer and Upton (with a 3 yr 54mil extension in place)? I would in a sec but I like to hear all sides.

    • Chris

      I think it would be hard to do this. Upton had a down year, and there are reasons the D-backs want to move Bauer, even at his young age, that concern me. Starlin made a big adjustment in his swing this year, and it started to pay off at the end of the season. I believe his power is only going to continue to grow, and despite some continued mental lapses, his defense was way better than the previous two seasons. Jackson and Vitters are easily expendable, but I don’t move Castro to get Upton and Bauer. While Upton would be a nice core piece, I don’t feel like you can remove one of the 2 or 3 core pieces you have just to get him. Bauer is too much of an unknown to think he immediately becomes a core piece to help lessen the blow of losing Castro. Now if they could work out a deal headlined by Garza, that would be great. I just don’t see that happening.

      • Stevie B

        Now that I think about it, the Bauer is rather abrasive AKA a dick. I was thinking Dylan Bundy.
        Damn I need t quit doing drugs.
        Carry on folks.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Bauer is 21. So lets give him time to grow up. I think we all did stupid things at 21. You put him in a good environment, and let his talent go. The reason they are so willing to give up on him so early is because they have 5 pitchers with his talent right behind him in the minors. Why wouldn’t they see what they can get?

      • mudge

        I don’t remember doing any stupid things at 21.

        • AB

          haha theres probably a good reason none of us remember.

  • Rizzofanclub

    Sry Rizzo44 there is no way Arizona gives all that for Castro. I think my trade is way more likely (both would probably never happen)

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    lol fake trades…

  • Evan

    As you stated Brett the D backs do need a ss although they faired pretty well mix and matching last year. They may look at the free agent market for a short term fix probably need a solution for the long term. Although Junior Lake is clearly not ready for the majors yet his raw skills and potential could intrigue the D Backs. Although I think a Bauer deal would have to include more than just Lake in term of just prospects. What if the Cubs took on a bad contract. I know the D Backs traded away Chris Young, but from what I have been reading their trying to move at least one more so Eaton and Pollock could have a spot. What if we took on Jason Kubel’s deal he is signed for only a year and gives us an extra OF plus hes left handed. Would a deal around Lake and taking on Kubels contract land us someone like Bauer?

    • JR

      I like the idea of moving Lake, but it would take way more than him for a player likeBauer. I don’t think Kubel’s contract is bad at all. He had 30 homers last year and was really good or large part of the year. Lake, McNutt, Vitters for Bauer? I doubt they would do it, but that would be cool if they’d consider.

      • Evan

        I just remember reading that the D backs are trying to free up OF spots for Pollck and Eaton with already moving Young they still have Parra, Upton, and Kubel. Looking at the Cot’s contract Website Kubel makes the 2nd most on the team at 7.5 millon. I would think Kubel would be the most logical choice to move and the Cubs with payroll flexibilty would be a possible match and we wouldn’t have to give up are top prospects.

        • JR

          OK, I see. I have heard that too. I just think that if they want to move Kubel they could and get some talent back. I like him for one year at $7.5 mill.

          • North Side Irish

            I’d rather have Parra, but Kubel might be easier to acquire due to the money he’s owed. Kubel would make a good one year stop-gap, but Parra could be more of a three year fit

            • JR

              I would much rather have Parra too. But I don’t thik Kubel is worthless at that amount of money.

              • Evan

                Move Soriano and acquire Kubel and have him and Jason Bay platoon in left. That would be a sight to see lol.

  • JR

    Does anyone else find it weird that the DBacks are making Upton and Bauer so openly available? Upton is one the best young studs in baseball, even though he had a down year and is on a good contract. Bauer was the hottest/best pitching prospect in baseball for the firs half of the year last year. He stuggled in the majors, but he’s still a top pitching prospet. Sure, all players should have a price even Mike Trout. But why are the Dbacks so open with wanting to trade those 2? Weird..

    • North Side Irish

      Sounds like both have relatively serious attitude problems, which also need to be factored in to what you’re willing to give up for them. Upton supposedly has quite a big ego, thin skin, and is already talking about his next extension. Bauer has lost velocity since being drafted and doesn’t listen to the coaches or his catchers.

  • JulianInTheChi

    If I told you there was a free agent SP that had the following stat line from August on would you be interested?

    W-L: 5-1
    ERA: 2.35
    WHIP: 1.09
    K: 44
    GS: 12
    IP: 80.2

    Well that stat line belongs to Jeremy Guthrie. Maybe that explains his outrageous contract demands for 3 years. I don’t think he’s worth that, especially because you don’t know which pitcher you are going to get. He was awful in the first half of the season. But if Theo and company can get a reasonable contract maybe this guy could be decent if we can get the guy from Aug-Oct.

    • mak

      Can’t just cherry pick stats like that. We are we just looking at 2 months when this guy’s career (over the last 6 years) has been just about replacement level.

      • Starwin Bastro

        Agreed remember Malholm had a stretch of about 4 weeks where he was unhittable, doesn’t mean I’d give him 3/34 mil

    • ruby2626

      If what you did in August and September truly determined what type of player you are, Esmail Caridad and Justin Berg would be in the majors having productive careers. Kind of like fool’s gold.

  • Cubbie Blues

    FanGraphs put out their top 15 Cubs prospects.

    • Cubbie Blues

      On Solar

      The baseball official I spoke with gave a future power grade of 70, with a raw power grade of 80.

      I had heard he had power, but 80? That is HOF potential.

      • Cubbie Blues

        *Soler

    • Kyle

      re: Almora “The baseball official added that the young player “sees plays before they happen.””

      Hahahaha, yes! There it is again. Almora’s defense breaks causality.

      Other thoughts:

      References a scout giving Soler 80 for raw power, 70 for eventual power

      Maples is getting a lot more love on these lists than I would have guessed, and Panigua is the opposite. I would have expected them to be swapped.

      I remain quite skeptical, but it would be lovely and wonderful if all these people not giving up on Brett Jackson were right. A 230/320/380 CF would save assets we could use elsewhere during his pre-arb years.

      Way too high on Szczur, imo, but I’ll be battling that one for another year or two before he settles in as a bust or 4th OFer.

      You have to get to Number 13 before you see a third pitcher. But that’s going to be changing soon. The conventional wisdom about a system seems to lag behind by a year or two, and by this time next year I expect the Cubs’ low minors pitching to do what the low-minors hitters did in 2012.

      I came away from the 2011 draft a little underwhelmed for the money we spent, but the 2012 returns were extremely impressive and 2013 has a chance to be even better.

      • Myles

        On Brett Jackson:
        “…but he struggled mightily with breaking balls. ”
        That’s code for “he won’t make it as a starter in the big leagues.”

    • TWC

      The baseball official added that [Almora] “sees plays before they happen.”

      Screw batting eyes/fielding smarts! We have precogs!

  • BD

    I’m not sure about all these proposed deals, so instead of just throwing out a perfectly completed to trade to sign-off on, I will throw this basic framework:

    D’backs get: Castro or Baez, plus others
    Cubs get: Upton, Bauer (others?)

    Is there anything there that could be worked around to complete that?

    • JR

      I wouldn’t trade Castro straight up for Upton and Bauer. Unless the Cubs are getting Trout or Harper back Castro isn’t going anywhere. The power is coming with Castro. Now Baez for those 2 we could talk

      • ssckelley

        Yeah, I think it would take a big deal to pry Castro from the Cubs. Castro is turning into one of the top shortstops in all of baseball.

    • Chris

      A Baez-centered package might get it done. But I doubt the Cubs will pursue that approach either. Unless they’re able to acquire a long term solution for 3B, I think Baez will be in the organization until he proves he’s not going to make it. I really think the only way Upton plays home games at Wrigley will be if a Garza-centered package is acceptable to the D-backs. And given his health concerns, I think it’s just not going to happen.

      • JR

        If Garza can prove healthy in spring training. How about Garza (with the Cubs paying his salary), Lake, and Vitters for Upton? Maybe?

        • bbmoney

          I don’t know that the D-Backs are looking to acquire more pitching, unless they trade some of their prospects. With Kennedy, Cahill, Miley, Saunders, Collmenter, Skaggs and perhaps Bauer in the mix for starters. Sure a few question marks, but pretty good depth. Not saying they wouldn’t like Garza, but probably not as a centerpiece for Upton.

          Plus Hudson might be back late in the year.

          • Chris

            Az feels they are a contender right now. They want to acquire a bonafide major league starting pitcher to go with Cahill, Kennedy, Miley, and Saunders. They were kicking the tires on Garza as his health became a question mark. There is no evidence that it was a deal involving Upton, but maybe they would have been willing to send 2 young pitchers back, like Skaggs and Collmenter, as part of a deal for Garza. They also have a need a SS, and with OF and young SP depth, I think they’ll eventually make a move for somebody.

        • Evan

          There was talk at the deadline last year about a deal that would have sent Garza and Jackson to Arizona for Upton and Corbin. I think there was more to it, but it had progressed as far as both Jackson and Corbin being scratched from their starts tha night. I would do that trade in a heart beat.

          • CubFan Paul

            your right, because the Arizona GM started talking about acquiring an impact pitcher. i thought Garza was going to be a Dback for about a week.

    • Jeremy

      See the problem with trading Castro for Upton is that is defeats the whole purpose of trading for Upton in the first place. We want to add Upton to our young core of players but if we trade Castro for him were basically negating that factor by switching out a core player with another.

      I wouldn’t trade Castro for Upton based on positional value as a SS of Castro’s caliber is much harder to find and because Upton has some question marks moving forward.

  • Tennessee Cub

    I hope that Headley don’t sign an extension this year with the Padres. Iknow Theo and Jed would make a run at him. That infield would be good for tears to come. 1st Rizzo, 2nd Barney, 3rd Headley and SS Castro……awesome….lets all hope

  • Fastball

    Do we still own Blake Dewitt? I can’t remember if he left or not. Can we put a new dress on him and include him in a deal to the Braves. I want some pitching from that source. Maybe send them Cardenas and some utility types with a bat. I know our junk is worthless. Where are the ML “Pickers” when you need them

    • JR

      Not sure if this is serious or not, but it’s pretty funny.

    • Chris

      I believe he became a free agent after the minor league season ended. He could sign a minor league deal, but I don’t think the Cubs would pursue that. Clearly he wasn’t a very talented player, but I always thought they’d give him more of a chance to play third, particularly last season. Cardenas is a free agent too.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    Brett, ya took my thought about Jair Jurrgens… I think the Cubs should kick the tires on him! 6 mil for a year, Atlanta claims they have a better rotation without him.. If he performs take another option on him

    • CubFan Paul

      Kris Medlen, Tim Hudson, Mike Minor, Paul Maholm, Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy (rehabbing), Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado …yea they’re better off

  • Fastball

    who is the dumbest GM in baseball? Let’s pick on him and send junk his way.
    Too bad the Pirates have gotten smarter. Good Ole Hendry raped that organizaiton for years. We need to find that Guy and have our way with him. :)

  • DocPeterWimsey

    The DBacks have some serious organizational issues at the top that they need to resolve. It is tough enough to put together a good team by judging players based on talent: if you start judging them on personality, then you are shooting yourself in the foot.

    • JR

      Thats what I was thinking. Sure it would be great if Bauer and Upton would keep their mouth shut and listen to instruction. But to go out of your way to trade them because of their personalities is just stupid. Theo please negoiate with the Dbacks asap before they figure it out..

  • MightyBear

    Commment on other than Bauer/Upton for Castro/farm system etc.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Theo/Jed etc got Jurrjens if he’s non tendered. I don’t think theyll trade for him but he’s the kind of reclamation project the Cubs would love. If he starts fast, they trade him at the deadline. If he looks like he’s figured it out and will pitch well for the next 5+ years they can sign him. If he stinks, they dump him. Low risk, high reward.

  • mr.mac

    off topic (I guess) – did anyone else receive packages in the mail from the Cubs yesterday/recentlythanking them for being a loyal fan? My brother and I both did.

  • Fastball

    Was it a Billy Williams jersey?

    I didn’t get mine

  • RWakild

    After watching Castro the last few years, I wouldn’t be against trading him away for future stars. His attention lapses are aggravating but the players had better be stars.

    • Chris

      Given the recent extension, my guess is the FO feels a little differently about Castro than you do. I’m not saying he’s untouchable, but it just doesn’t seem to make sense to move him for Upton and prospects. Upton has similar issues, and maybe an attitude problem.

  • TC

    Anibal Sanchez wants 6yrs $90mil

    DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT

  • RoughRiider

    Upton and Bauer. They are both head cases. When the pitching coach talks to Bauer he’d better have a 2X4 ready to smack him between the eyes to get his attention. Bauer doesn’t listen to coaching or his catcher and thinks he knows it all. That’s why the Diamodbacks are willing to trade them.

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