Lukewarm Stove: Stanton, Morrison, Baker, Ryu, Hunter, Relievers, Blue Jays, Mets

[Full disclosure: I wrote this post last evening and had it ready to publish JUST before the gigantic Marlins/Blue Jays trade went down. In the interest of not sounding tone deaf, I decided to bump this one to today. And I added some post-trade bits at the end.]

We didn’t get to bluster about it much in advance of it actually happening, but the Cubs made a move yesterday (confirmed!), signing righty Scott Baker to a one-year $5.5 million ($1.5 million in incentives) deal. Fortunately, it’s the Lukewarm Stove season, and there’s still plenty about which to bluster …

  • Buster Olney says deals like the one the Cubs just inked are the preferred early moves this offseason: “In this year’s FA market, the strong early push is for the best one-year deals — because of a stagnant trade market, high FA prices.” So, good on the Cubs, I guess?
  • Not so good on the Cubs, according to Phil Rogers: “While Hyun-jin Ryu is not yet a big name in North America, losing him was a bigger blow for the Cubs than you probably think. President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer wanted the rights to the 25-year-old South Korean left-hander because they believe he can step right into a big-league rotation and address a glaring lack of pitching. They had done a lot of homework on him.” Rogers goes on to suggest that the Cubs’ bid was around $20 million, short of the $25.7 million paid by the Dodgers. I’m still somewhat ambivalent on the “loss” – the Cubs know a whole lot more about Ryu than I do, and presumably they had a strong grasp on how they valued him. If the Dodgers valued him differently, well then, for now, we have to accept it. We’ll see who was right in about two years.
  • Jon Morosi says Torii Hunter is headed to Detroit today to meet with management. Given Hunter’s recent comments the he expects to sign soon, heading to Detroit could be a prelude to a signing. Hunter’s signing, in isolation, wouldn’t be a particularly big move. But it’s often the case that one smaller move (and Hunter isn’t a “small” move, just a “smaller” one), allows Teams X and Y to shift gears to Players A and B, which gets Team Z talking to Player C … and so on, and so on. Unless, of course, the Scott Baker signing was the catalyst …
  • Ken Rosenthal quotes a rival executive who says that Blue Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos is “itching” to make a trade for a starting pitcher. Once again I’m reminded of how terribly inconvenient Matt Garza’s elbow injury was … and how imprudent it was not to trade him last offseason (if he was to be traded at all, that is). [Obviously AA scratched that itch last night.]
  • The Mets are reportedly broke – like, broke broke, not the-budget-is-maxed broke – which is why they suddenly started shopping R.A. Dickey, and why they may not be able to extend David Wright, as previously expected. Wright is slated to hit the free agent market after 2013.
  • Another reliever is going to sign for a surprisingly larget contract – the Giants will be re-upping Jeremy Affeldt for a reported three years and $18 million. Brandon League got $22.5 million for three years with the Dodgers. These are good relievers, but the commitments are reminiscent of Jim Hendry’s love affair with the Bob Howry’s, Scott Eyre’s, Mike Remlinger’s, and Mark Guthrie’s of the world. One year of Carlos Marmol at $9.8 million (to say nothing of $4 or $5 million, if the Cubs eat a few million) is starting to look downright attractive.
  • Ok, a post-Marlins/Blue Jays trade thought: I know it’s fun to talk about guys like Giancarlo Stanton, and I enjoyed reading all of the comments about the hypothetical trades and what-have-you. But if I could offer a vat of cold water: the Marlins aren’t trading Stanton. He’s 23, under control for four more years, inexpensive, and is the Marlins’ last remaining star. Think what you will of the Marlins’ approach, but even they know they need at least one star to fill the 10 seats they usually fill. Plus, his age and salary are such that they can continue their rebuild with him in place. Whatever trade scenario you can concoct that “you would do,” the Marlins would not. And if the Marlins were willing to shop Stanton, you have to recognize that *every single team in baseball* would be gunning for him. Do you really think the Cubs are the best equipped team in all of baseball to acquire him? They are not. So, it’s fun to discuss, so long as you’ve got your reality phasers securely in place.
  • If you want to talk about picking the corpse of the Marlins, maybe Logan Morrison is the guy you should consider. Coming off a down year, going to start approaching arbitration soon, very talented, just 25. The rub with him is that he can probably play only left field and first base.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

80 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Stanton, Morrison, Baker, Ryu, Hunter, Relievers, Blue Jays, Mets”

  1. Brandon - AA Correspondent

    Logan Morrison would make Social Media night an even bigger hit. From a Twitter standpoint; he’d be a hell of an acquisition. I’d also bet that he’d be rocking a Bleacher Nation t-shirt with relatively little objection.

  2. Stinky Pete

    Morrison and McCarthy would allow the Cubs to dominate Twitter.

  3. Petrowsky

    Hey Brett,

    Does the Mets’ financial situation make it more likely they trade a Gee or Niese? Or would the Mets prefer to keep those two and deal a R.A. Dickey? I think the Cubs would be well caused to pick up one of the two given their age, potential, and salary implications for the next couple of years. Niese is a guy the Cubs could pencil into the rotation for years, or he could also be an asset at the deadline if they were blown away with an offer.


    1. Ogie Oglethorpe

      The problem is the Cubs don’t have anything to trade without tearing into the few core players they have or the best prospects in the system (which all happen to be in the low minors and a few years away from legitimately competing for major league jobs). TheoJed have very little ability to engineer a trade right now. And as Cub fans, we can’t fall into the historical trap that says the rest of the baseball world is anxious to acquire mass quantities of our system crap (e.g., Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters) in exchange for frontline talent.

      Niese would be great. So obviously would be superstar in the making Stanton. But unless TheoJed are prepared to give up somebody like Castro and/or frontline prospects (e.g., Baez) then we are talking pipedream.

  4. Jeremy

    As fun as the idea of trading for Stanton is, he won’t be traded this offseason. Maybe in a year or two he will though, right when were in a healthy position with our farm, where we can off whatever for him.

    That Blue Jays/Marlins trade though gives me hope that we can somehow create a package for Garza, Marmol and Soriano for something good. Teams will always look to take on talent.

  5. MightyBear

    I’d like to see the Cubs get Morrison. Don’t know how but I’d like to see it.

  6. North Side Irish

    Morrison would be a nice pick up if the Cubs could move Soriano, but otherwise he doesn’t really have a place on the Cubs. I’d be more interested in seeing what it would take to acquire (re-acquire) Ricky Nolasco. He’s a little expensive and hasn’t pitched consistently, but he is only signed for one more year and the Cubs can provide the Marlins with salary relief, which is apparently what they are looking for.

  7. BluBlud

    Brett, what the website to gravatar. I forgot.

  8. Cedlandrum

    Dickey would be an interesting piece to consider. He is older, but he should be able to pitch much later in his life then others. He is pretty good. If the Mets don’t want a boatload I would kick the tires.

  9. MichiganGoat

    Agreed on Stanton but its fun to dream

  10. WGNstatic

    I would agree with Brett about Ryu. Yes he is an intriguing addition for LA, but an expensive one. Generally, it seems like players get about as much in salary as the posting fee, so Ryu will likely be ~$50M expenditure for Ryu. My guess is that will be either a 4 for 5 year deal, thus a $10-13M per season. That isn’t a bargain price for a guy is regarded as a mid-rotation guy at best.

    If the Cubs are going to sign a pitcher to those kinds of years and dollars, I would rather see that money spent on a guy like Anibel Sanchez (yes, I know he will get more than that).

    This might make some sense for LA as they approach the Luxury Tax zone, where the posting fee will not count. For the Cubs though, meh.

  11. Chris

    Brett, I totally agree on Stanton. He’s going nowhere. What are your thoughts on the D-backs and their potential interest in Yunel Escobar? I’m not thinking his final landing spot is Miami, and I wonder if the Cubs can provide the right package to loop Miami in a 3-way deal with Az to get Upton. I realize that’s probably another pipe dream, but it seems a little more realistic than trying to pry Stanton away from the Marlins. I’m not even sure Escobar would interest the D-backs at all, but I know SS is their big need. And I think the Cubs could put a package together of B-prospects to get him from the Marlins. Lake and change maybe…

    1. BluBlud

      How big are they on Donovan Solano. Maybe if we include a package with a cheep Darwin Barney. Vitters(Unless Zach Cox is assured the starting spot) or Jackson for MLB ready prospect. Along with Lake and maybe Trey McNutt. Just a suggestion of the top of my head.

  12. Ogie Oglethorpe

    I really like what TheoJed are doing. Scott Baker is a quality lowish-risk signing. Lets be honest…the wrong strategy would be to overpay for the dubious likes of Shaun Marcum or Edwin Jackson. Especially when this team is in full-scale building mode. It was bad contracts that torpedeod this club under the ruinous rein of Jim Hendry. Lets not repeat history. There will be a time when being big players in free agency makes sense. But that time isn’t now. Not when the only legitimate core players on your roster are Castro, Rizzo (we hope), Samardzija (unless he was a one-year wonder) and maybe Wood. The upper minors are devoid of talent that is going to compete for major league jobs in the next year. TheoJed are doing a great job of building the farm system….but the big majority of talent sits in the low minors. Sorry, but I have given up on Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. And I think TheoJed have as well. Which I can hardly blame them.

    1. Rizzo 44

      They haven’g given up on those two guys yet…Vitters and Jackson are going back to AAA to work on some things. They may bust out in ST you nver know. I think they will try and package deals with Vitters, Jackson, McNutt, Garza, Marmol, Soriano, and DeJesus to try to get someone like Upton, Headley, Wright, and Pitching for the future. They haven’t given up on these guys. I agree that Theo and Jed have done some good things since joining the Cubs, but they haven’t been as activie as I thought they would be on FA’s. With the Baker deal I just see them trying to get players to flip at the deadline and as a fan I want to see a product that can win in 2013. I know that may not be something that can happen but just look at the A’s. It can be done with the correct moves.

  13. Tim

    Their main goal is to rebuild he farm system. They are trying to do it quickly but as you know you can only do it so quickly. Yes the draft brings talent into the low minors. They are signing guys like baker, Maholm, etc to be able to flip them And get some talent closer to the majors. Yes you sign guys when they are available but not when your window isn’t for Another few years

  14. North Side Irish

    BA published their scouting report on Ryu today and I’m pretty glad the Cubs didn’t end up winning that post. Most of it we already knew…good fastball for a lefty and he controls it well, plus an excellent change up…third pitches are fringy, average at best. Split opinions on whether he’s a #3, a #5, or a long reliever.

    The interesting part to me was that he won’t spend any time in the minors, but if he did, he’d be “in the discussion to rank on the Top 100 prospects list”. Soler will end up costing far less and is guaranteed to be on that list, likely in the top 50.

    The article also says that there are rumblings that Ryu is looking for a two year deal. So assuming a $10M a year deal, the Dodgers could be looking at a $45.7M for two years of a middle-to-back of the rotation guy. No thanks.

  15. Kyle

    So the Cubs came in 2nd on Ryu? called it :)

    1. Rizzo 44

      I think you have to spend money now to suceed 2 years from now. Players have to see you want to win in the FA market or they will sign with someone else unless you overpay by a lot. Just my opinion. I think they have to make a big splash this winter or we will see another 100 in the books.

    2. hansman1982

      We don’t know if they came in 2nd and you called a specific dollar amount ($25.6) if I remember correctly.

      Either way – it is interesting to see that they bid nearly as much for Ryu as they (reportedly) did for Darvish.

      1. Kyle

        The $25.6 was part of the joke, as was the “called it.”

        As always, any resemblance between the truth and these after-the-fact reports is coincidental at best.

        1. hansman1982

          I understood the joke. I must commend you though, you do seem to say an awful lot of words without ever really saying anything. Well done sir!

    3. DarthHater

      So Kyle’s congratulating himself? Called it. :-D

      1. Lou

        Ah, the one-liners with DarthHater. Never gets old….or does it?

  16. Rizzo 44

    Josh Hamilton at 5 years and 27M with Club/Player Option for years 6 and 7 at 25M. That would sure up CF for next year give the Cubs a Lefty at the plate and also when Soriano is traded or gone Josh can move in LF. A good move for the Cubs. Fans love this guy and he would kill in Wrigley. I know he doesn’t play well in the day some people say, but I think he would get use to it. The total of this contract could get to $185M thats a big pay day and the last two years the Cubs could decline.

  17. Rizzo 44

    Tori Hunter just inked a two year deal with the Tigers.

    1. North Side Irish

      Two years, $26M…gotta give the Tigers credit for going all in to win a title. If Martinez comes back healthy next season that will be a nice deep lineup.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Precisely the Tigers are in the spend, spend, spend till they win. I’m surprised if they weren’t in discussions with the Marlins. They are trying to get a WS ring for their owner and he’s willing to spend anything.

        1. Lou

          Yeah, damn. They actually want to get to the WS. Shame on them!

        2. DocPeterWimsey

          I’m surprised if they weren’t in discussions with the Marlins.

          I don’t think that the Tigers had the package of youngsters that the Jays did. Moreover, the Tigers are near the top of their payroll: taking on all of those veterans would have really upped theirs quite a bit.

          Hunter should basically replace Delmon Young, who was the Tigers DH in LF. He’ll probably be a net gain: less with the bat, but an average glove (which is a big improvement). Plus you get all of those intangibles that added up to so much for the Angels!

          I’m curious to see what they do with third base: will they keep Castellanos in AAA for most of the year (delay his clock and give him more experience) and keep up the Miggy show, or do they put Castellanos at 3rd, move Miggy to DH (or 1st with Prince going to DH), and jettison VMart?

          1. DarthHater

            I don’t think they’ll install Castellanos over Cabrera at third very quickly unless his fielding improves.

  18. N

    What about the Cubs trading Ricky Nolasco? Marlins appear to want to move him, it’s just a 1 year/$13 mil deal left on his contract, and he’s the same sort of reclamation project as Baker and Malholm.

    Nolasco’s decline doesn’t seem to be specifically injury related, just losing MPH on his pitches, and there’s no guarantee he’ll rebound, but it’s a situation where the Cubs could probably get away with giving up a lesser prospect if they’re willing to take on the contract.

  19. North Side Irish

    DKnobler ‏@DKnobler
    Will be interesting now to see if Tigers have money/desire to bid big for Anibal Sanchez. They had wanted to keep him, but may not.

    Not that this likely impacts the Cubs…

    1. MichiganGoat

      The Tigers are not concerned with the budget right now, the question becomes if Sanchez wants to stay with Tigers.

  20. Rizzofanclub

    Who do you think the cubs will target for right/center? I was thinking a Crisp,Melky (who i would love on a 2 yr deal) or would it take more?, or how about Delmon Young on a 2 yr deal?, maybe Ludwick. I keep going back and forth on BJ Upton but I think every team in baseball is thinking the same thing on him: “he would be nice on a 5 year deal” when in reality I bet he signs a 6-7 year deal for Seattle.

    1. Mick

      Love Melky, don’t think the Cubs would be willing to give up anything it would take to acquire Crisp, and Delmon Young is a DH only for the remainder of his career. Ludwick makes of bit of sense due to his flipability factor rating score (TM), BJ Upton reminds me of a young lower performing Alfonso Soriano, right at the point when we signed him to a long term deal which we regretted every year since.

      Now here are some for you to consider (and make fun of):

      Johnny Gomes
      Shane Victorino
      Luke Scott
      Reed Johnson

  21. Camiata2

    Brett, if Theod Epstoyer were able to use his jedi mind-trick ability on the Marlins GM and swipe Giancarlo away, would you have to set your phaser to stun[ned]? Couldn’t resist the obvious puns. The Force is not strong with me.

  22. Mick

    What in the hell is going on with the Mets that this has been completely overlooked? The McCourt’s were forced to sell the Dodgers for pulling money out of the team to finance their divorce, Jeffrey Loria is getting blasted in the media for tricking Miami into paying for a new stadium and selling off all of his best players, but the Wilpon’s get a free pass??? Didn’t they just use public funds to help finance their new stadium? Aren’t they pulling money out of the team to finance their lawsuits? Either there are zero Mets’ fans or this is a volcano that’s about to erupt.

    1. calicubsfan007

      @Mick: It is because the Mets owner didn’t piss off Spud Selig like McCourt did. I don’t know enough about the Miami stadium with Loria, but I was pretty sure they had to do something with that because their lease was ending. It could be that the Mets are a bigger market than these other teams, besides Yankees and Boston. Money always talks and has a pretty loud voice.

      1. Mick

        After reading the article, there’s a connection with Selig and Wilpon going back many years which makes sense why Bud may be giving him a longer rope. My conspiracy theory is that Wilpon will sell the team after the court’s make a final decision how much they owe to the Ponzi-scheme trust. If he were to sell now, he’d probably have to pay at least double what’s potentially being agreed to. And since Selig and Wilpon are old friends, Bud’s doing him a solid by not forcing the issue now before the court’s make their final ruling.

        1. cubchymyst

          Right now their are a few articles floating around about how Selig helps his friends out. Grantland just had a good one about it.

        2. calicubsfan007

          @Mick: That would mean that there is a major double standard here. This opportunity wasn’t given to McCourt as he was going through a divorce. I don’t think that those divorce papers were even signed yet when Selig began to go at McCourt. I can’t wait until that idiot is gone.

          1. Mick

            Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t support anything that’s going on right now with the Mets. I actually think what’s going on with the Mets is MUCH worse than even what the McCourt’s were doing considering the seriousness of crimes committed and lives shattered in the Ponzi-scheme. If Wilpon is just biding his time to finalize the settlement before selling the Mets than he’s basically robbing from those people who lost everything whereas him as he actually “profited”.

            1. calicubsfan007

              @Mick: Sorry. I did not intend to make it sound like I was accusing you of anything. My annoyance/ anger is directed at Spud. As Californian, I grew up being a somewhat Dodgers fan (not as much as a Cubbies fan, but I digress). So, when Spud thought that this was the most opportune time to pressure McCourt into selling the team (during the season), every Dodgers fan (including me) was pissed at Spud’s “opportune” timing. So, this issue really opens up some past wounds. And I agree, the Ponzi scheme (I think this is the Madoff one right?) should be considered far more egregious than McCourt’s divorce.

  23. calicubsfan007

    And, according to MLB Trade prediction, Shawn Marcum is headed our way next. Him, with Baker and maybe another acquired pitcher, could make this rotation pretty good.

  24. Dustin

    Marlins are looking to trade Morrison!! Maybe the Cubbies jump on this

    1. Chris

      Why Morrison? Looking at the stats, I don’t see a reason to chase after him. He’s not a good defender, and he plays positions the Cubs already have better players at (1B & LF). I suppose he’s young enough, at 25, but I’m just not seeing the value in trying to pick him up. Maybe if he were a free agent, but giving up anything for him seems like a waste. Now if he played 3B, maybe you’d be on to something.

  25. Barry

    Yep, go get Morrison. I’ll also make a “welcome back” sign for Nolasco.

    1. North Side Irish

      Morrison doesn’t make sense for the Cubs…he’s a 1B masquerading as a LF and now he’s coming off a knee injury. I like his Twitter feed and all, but all of his defensive metrics show he shouldn’t be playing OF.

      But I will help with the Nolsaco sign…he’s an innings eater on a one year deal who could turn into something more. And it won’t take much to acquire him if the Cubs are willing to take on the salary. Though I’ve seen the Yankees attached to Nolasco and it’s even easier for them to take on the $11M.

      1. Jimmy James

        i honestly don’t follow other teams closely enough to know about his ability to hold down a corner outfield spot but i love the offensive potential and the fact he is coming off a down year. Is he completely clueless in left? What would it take to get him?

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Is he [Logan Morrison] completely clueless in left?

          SloMo is beyond clueless. He has almost no idea where the ball is going to land. On the odd occasion he does judge the ball properly, then he makes up for it with sloth-like speed. Some fielders’s gloves are extensions of their hands; SloMo’s is more like an amputation of his hand. And his arm is unerring, so long as “leaves his hand” is considered an unerring throw.

          1. Luke

            Can you imagine an outfield of Soriano, Campana, and Morrison?

            That’s the stuff of nightmares.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              I can think of 29 teams who beg to differ…..

            2. MichiganGoat

              At least we’d have a reason to make another Benny Hill montage ;)

              1. DocPeterWimsey

                Well, the play where Campana runs into LoMo on a ball hit to Sori would be the blooper reel to end all blooper reels…. (The question is whether LoMo would even notice.)

          2. Jimmy James

            haha point taken

  26. North Side Irish

    Bruce Levine did his chat today on ESPN…nothing too newsworthy, except that he makes it sound like the FO has high expectations for Lake, which was surprising to me.

    He also said this: “The Sox and Cubs have interest in McCarthy. I talked to his agent last week, and he said that McCarthy would love a chance to come back to Chicago.”

    Obviously there’s a 50% chance that means the White Sox, but I’m choosing to ignore that.

    1. calicubsfan007

      @North Side: I would love to have McCarthy come back to Chicago. But on the correct team this time.(=