Lukewarm Stove: Guthrie, Fujikawa, “Young Players,” Bowden, Marmol, More

I wonder how frantically the Cubs’ front office is handling phone calls right now. I assume they’ve got contingency plans for contingency plans for contingency plans – I just hope that the last contingency isn’t: do nothing, add no Rule 5-eligible players to the 40-man, roll the dice on Rule 5 Draft day. Or, if that is the last contingency, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

  • Jeremy Guthrie re-signed with the Royals for three years and $25 million, which is of tangential interest to the Cubs. No, they were never really connected to Guthrie by rumor (fine by me), but his price tag has implications for the middle tier starting pitcher market. Setting aside the odd structure of the deal ($5 million in 2013, $11 million in 2014, $9 million in 2015), he gets $8.333 million per year after a great half season in Kansas City. Of course, before that great half season he was a below average innings eater, working on a 76 ERA+ in Colorado. He’s an adequate 4/5 on a non-playoff team, and he’ll be 34 next year. If that’s a guy who draws a three-year deal worth more than $8 million per year, the Cubs’ Scott Baker signing is looking better and better. I’m reminded of the market as it stood back in 2007, when the Cubs gave Jason Marquis a three-year, $22ish million deal when he, too, was coming off a stretch of being a below average starter with meh peripherals. He was an adequate back-end starter, and his price tag reflected a boom in free agent prices that would span the next couple seasons. In other words, the market is the market, and the rate for Guthrie is the rate for Guthrie. Be prepared to be surprised by the price tag if and when the Cubs ink someone like Shaun Marcum, Brandon McCarthy, or Francisco Liriano (with the former two obviously coming at a much higher rate).
  • The Royals are still looking to trade for a veteran starter, by the way, according to Buster Olney. That’s probably of little import to the Cubs, though. While the Royals were previously connected to Matt Garza (last offseason), that was before his elbow troubles, and back when he was under control for two more seasons.
  • Kyuji Fujikawa, the dominant Japanese closer in whom the Cubs have expressed interest, has upwards of 10 offers already, and is seriously considering five teams. No word on which teams fall into which categories, but we know the Cubs liked him enough to bring him into Chicago to tour the facilities (which I’m sure were compelling (have I mentioned lately that renovating Wrigley Field is very important for a variety of reasons?)).
  • Bruce Levine just wrapped a chat a little bit ago. Among his thoughts: (1) He amplified his comments yesterday poo-poo’ing the rumors of a “big trade” involving “young players” – “Never predicted a trade of Cubs prospects, only that there was some interest in Chisenhall for a while. Sources told me yesterday that the Cubs are not intent on trading their young players at ‘this’ particular point or time” – which doesn’t really mean a whole lot, since we don’t know what is meant by “young players” (are we talking Javier Baez, or are we talking Junior Lake? Huge difference there), we don’t know what is meant by “intent on trading,” and we don’t know what is meant by “this particular point in time”; (2) Bruce is not a B.J. Upton fan and doesn’t think the Cubs should pursue him (or Justin Upton, given the expected cost in prospects, for that matter); (3) the Cubs are “definitely” stretching Michael Bowden out, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll come to camp next year as a starting option – the Cubs might just be having him work on different things; (4) there is nothing new to report with respect to Francisco Liriano or Ryan Dempster; (4) the Cubs’ interest in Fujikawa would make more sense if interest in Carlos Marmol picks up later in the offseason, but the Cubs aren’t looking to dump Marmol for nothing; (5) if the Cubs could go back in time and not trade Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu, according to Bruce, they would take it back; (6) the Cubs’ doctors didn’t like what they saw in Dan Haren’s medicals, so the Cubs are unlikely to pursue him as a free agent; and (7) Grant Balfour is not a good fit for the Cubs.

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

147 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Guthrie, Fujikawa, “Young Players,” Bowden, Marmol, More”

  1. Ben

    Seems high for Guthrie IMO. Not shocking, but high. With all the potential one year deal guys (Liriano, Bedard, Baker), I’m surprised that the Royals chose to give 3 years to a guy who probably won’t be that good.

    Regardless, the Cubs have the dollars to sign a SP, and sign one they should. Marcum, McCarthy, or Liriano are all interesting fits in my book.

    And, for the record – check out Colvin’s away stats (.687 OPS), and tell me the trade was bad. Ya, Stewart didn’t pan out for us. But neither guy we gave up would amount to anything outside of the Rockies home part.

    1. Ben

      park, not part.

  2. Petrowsky


    I was wondering what the attraction might be to Chisenhall? I understand he is young, plays a position of need, and is controllable. Yet, when I look at his walk stats 16 in over 350 ABs doesn’t seem to impressive. Also, he doesn’t seem to be the greatest fielder albeit in limited experience. Is there something beyond his limited stats that I may be overlooking. Even his minor league numbers seem to indicate he doesn’t have the greatest walk rates. I couldn’t find his fielding numbers, but off the bat he doesn’t seem to be a Theo guy.


    1. Norm

      You pretty much answer your own question when you say:
      he is young, plays a position of need, and is controllable.

      His minor league numbers say there is a better walk rate in him.
      And someone here posted he was known as a good defender coming up through the minors, so the limited sample may be deceiving.

      1. Petrowsky

        He has a career .341 OBP in the minors, while his average is over .300. How do his numbers show a better walk rate in the minors?

        1. Norm

          4.3% in the majors.
          8.2% in the minors.

        2. fromthemitten

          the 3B market is bleak outside of a declining Placido Polanco and an injury prone Eric Chavez, that’s basically why

  3. cubsin

    I’m somewhat surprised that Carlos Villanueva hasn’t signed with the Cubs yet. He really wants to be a starter, and the Cubs still have a gaping hole (or two, or three) in their rotation. He’s apparently looking for a one-year or one-year with option deal, for not an absurd amount of money.

    1. CubFan Paul

      Carlos Villanueva, according to Fangraphs is a soft tosser (89mph) & per reports from Toronto, he runs outta gas & on fumes late into the season when he’s starting. That sounds like a mix of Randy Wells and Jason Marquis…nooo thanks, I’ll pass, unless he signs a minor league deal

      1. Myles

        We won’t have Villanueva late in the season, so it’s fine by me

        1. CubFan Paul

          Thing is, if I know this, so does 29 other teams. Unless he pitches lights out the 1st half he’ll still be a Cub. Villanueva appears to be a 2 year project. Bosio sucked with our mediocre pitchers on the staff last year because he didn’t have a full offseason to prep for the suckiness outside of Garza, Shark, &Dempster.

  4. FFP

    I am seeing 11:59 ET for deadline on 40-man on every MLB team page I look at.
    … like this one from Mark Bowman for the Braves.
    Pete Abraham only says “later this afternoon” and others (maybe less dependable?) place the time as 5PM.

  5. Berselius

    Not to worried about the roster deadline here. They’ll just kick the likes of Casey Coleman to the curb.

  6. MightyBear


    Off topic but of some importance to the Cubs, the Yankees sold 49 percent of the YES network to NewsCorp. This could have significant ramifications for the Cubs if/when they start their own network.

    1. MightyBear

      A large part was the Goldman Sachs piece but the Yankees still pocketed a large amount of cash.

  7. JulioZuleta

    Twitter’s been relatively quiet today. Did we establish what time roster moves need to be in by for Rule 5 purposes?

    1. DarthHater

      I think we established that we have no idea.

  8. Believe in 2015

    I’m a little concerned over the lack of trades so far. Are the Cubs looking to get something big done or will a bunch of little moves happen before the deadline?

  9. MightyBear

    Another late night for the Brett man. It’s not easy being green. Oh wait, that’s a froger not a blogger.

  10. DarthHater

    According to MLBTR, the Rays just signed Joel Peralta to a deal worth $6MM over two years with a $2.5MM option for 2015. Isn’t that a substantial overpayment for a 36-year-old middle reliever?

  11. Rickom

    Rosters need to be set by10:59 PM chicago time

  12. DarthHater’s top 50 draft prospects for 2013:

  13. Mike Taylor (no relation)


    Trey McNutt
    Logan Watkins
    Ty’Relle Harris
    Christian Villanueva
    Marcelo Carreno

    1. richdanna

      Add to that:

      Out – Clevenger
      In – Struck

  14. Marcel91

    Agree with that list but I doubt they let go of Brigham, He has an electric arm so someone will stash him in their bullpen.

  15. Carne Harris

    I always liked the Baker deal because before incentives it came up a million short of what Heyman and that expert predicted he’d get. Even in the unlikely case he reaches all his incentives, it would still only be a half mil over.

    And I’m not stressing about the lack of Rule 5 moves yet because I hear teams like to wait as late as they can to not give other teams a chance to plan/strategize/some other verb involving sitting in a mountain lair petting a white cat.

    1. Rice Cube


      1. Rice Cube


        1. DarthHater

          You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have a third baseman with a frickin’ laser beam attached to his head!

          1. dabynsky

            Too much awesomeness…

          2. Rice Cube

            We have a shortstop.

            Is he ill-tempered?

            He’s a…mutant shortstop.

            That’s a start.

        2. Carne Harris

          With the seventh pick we’ll take a shorn McNutt.

  16. Melrosepad

    Any chance we would want to look at Cory Wade? Good in 2011 but not so much last year. Keeps the walks down which is nice. Also think it might be interesting to see if Mike McDade makes it through waivers. Doubt it, but if he does, might be a good person to snatch up. Switch hitting 23 year old. Plays first, but we could always see if he could learn the outfield better than Soriano or LaHair.

  17. MaxM1908

    A move! From Carrie Muskat: #Cubs acquire RHP Barret Loux and a player to be named from #Rangers for RHP Jake Brigham

    1. Carew

      Damn beat me to it haha. Wasn’t he a part of the Soto trade from Texas in the first place?

      1. MaxM1908

        Yep. As far as I can tell looking back at the reports, he was the main return. Rangers must have wanted him back.

        1. Carew

          Interesting. Looks like Brigham’s return is solid too

        2. AB

          Or he could have been injured before the trade and this was the way for the Rangers to avoid any kind of retribution from the leagu.

          1. MaxM1908

            That’s a really interesting point. With that trade deadline drama, is it possible they make trades without medicals and the Rangers tried to sneak one past us?

    2. MoneyBoy

      Max … is Loux a guy they’re gonna have to put on the 40man??

      1. MaxM1908

        It doesn’t appear so since that was one of the spots that opened up for Whitenack, McNutt, Villanueva, and Watkins. Brett’s latest post has a little more on it, and I think the implication is that they don’t have to put Loux on the 40 man. I guess the question is, then, if he’s eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

        1. hcs

          I am guessing no, because he has but 2 milb seasons under his belt. Rule 5 eligible players generally (unless special circumstances) have been in the system longer. Too lazy to look up the exact rules, but they have been referenced in past posts.

  18. MaxM1908

    LaHair DFA’d. McNutt, Villenueva, Watkins, and Whitenack to 40 man.

  19. S.Johnson

    So to change the subject what is anyone guess as to what the cubs actually do this offseason of any merit…..Please no argument…..Just a real answer please

  20. Did I Miss Sothing

    The Cubs will contiue to sign players that are comming off injurys and will lose a 100 games agian next year……..I mean look at the Front office…They Lost 101 games and they actually had the Gull to raise Ticket Prices in 30 of the 60 sections of Wrigley……….Thats tells ya alot,when an ownership cares more about making money then winning…….

    1. MaxM1908

      They had a coastal aquatic bird to raise ticket prices? I don’t understand.

    2. The Dude

      Miss did I Sothing, I don’t think you’e a troll but I do think missed sothing; everything. You revel in fallacy. In this case, a post-hoc fallacy. When new management tries to weed out all the inefficiencies (which takes time) of the old process, you blame them for product at hand. I only ask that you don’t combine the scouting and development department with the marketing department. Tickets will sale for their market value and prospects will be evaluated and signed for their market value. Anything else is unexpected and unacceptable. The Cubs are a business, root for the to succeed.

      1. The Dude

        you* … them* …

  21. Did I Miss Sothing

    What are you saying Max?

    1. MaxM1908

      I’m saying you should study vocabulary before you go on rants. The word is “gall” not “gull.” You would also do well to pick up a copy of Idiot’s Guide to English Grammar. I have no problem with you belittling the Front Office or loudly and voluminously speaking your opinion on this site. However, I do take issue with you making a mockery of our common tongue. You are entitled to hold misguided opinions. You are not entitled to create your own vocabulary or grammar rules.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Max it is time to walk away, the use of written language as a means communication are not its strength.

        1. MaxM1908

          Eh, I’m bored and can’t sleep. I can troll too.

          1. MichiganGoat

            The usage and grammar lessons are a nice touch to the troll experience.

            1. MaxM1908

              I wonder if I touched a nerve, and he’s taking extra long to make a post in order to check his spelling, grammar, etc. I bet he’s copying and pasting his next post from Word.

              1. SweetJamesJones

                The trolls come out at night…

  22. S.Johnson

    Ya I am not sure what he ment by that either………Kinds threw me off…….as well but I did laugh even though I didn’t understand the joke……….LOL

    1. MichiganGoat

      Seriously IGNORE this it will only get dumber and more frustrating as the conversation continues

  23. S.Johnson

    Ignore what Goat?………what are you talkin about?

    1. MichiganGoat

      Ah using multiple names… Witty, time to check out for the evening.

  24. Did I Miss Something

    He is talking about me Johnson………..He doesn’t like when people disagree with his thoughts………….You are not allowed to get mad at the cubs orginization for raising Ticket Prices after they lose a hundred games and they need to lower ticket prices to get fans to come back…matter of fact you have to admit Theo is a God and can do no wrong or the Goat will start to cry

    1. MaxM1908

      “He is talking about me, Johnson. He doesn’t like when people disagree with his opinions. You are not allowed to get mad at the Cubs’ organization for raising ticket prices after they lose a hundred games. They need to lower ticket prices to get fans to come. As a matter of fact, you have to admit Theo is a god and can do no wrong or else the Goat will start to cry.”

  25. S.Johnson

    Oh Now I see,this is a personal thing between you and him………Sorry I will stay out of it

    1. MaxM1908

      “Oh, now I see. This is a personal thing between you and him. Sorry, I will stay out of it.”

  26. S.Johnson

    max I must point out to you that people do get online to say there opinion and they use abreviations and maybe misspell but if ya got his point thats all that matters………No likes spelling natzi’s…………I bet you don’t spell right all the time………

    1. MaxM1908

      “Max, I must point out to you that people get online to say their opinion, and they use abbreviations and may misspell. But, if you understood his point, that’s all that matters. No one likes spelling Nazis. I bet you don’t spell right all the time.”

  27. S.Johnson

    max congrats you can spell correctly and congrats you use all the right pronounciations………..but everything he said about the front office was dead on……….No Team in Proffessional sports should ever ask there fan base to accept losing for even 1 year let alone tell them to wait 3-4 yrs like this ownership has……..Exspecially when they are one of the Richest teams in the Game

    1. MaxM1908

      “Max, congratulations, you can spell correctly. And, congratulations, you use all the right pronunciations. But, everything he said about the Front Office was dead on. No team in professional sports should ever ask their fan base to accept losing for even one year–let alone tell them to wait three to four years like this ownership has. This is especially true when they are one of the richest teams in the game.”

  28. Did I Miss something

    Don’t worry about it Johnson…….Max is one of Goats loser buddies and they can’t take anyone speaking down about the cubs……They actually think the cubs will win the series in 2014-15 with all no names

    1. MaxM1908

      “Don’t worry about it, Johnson. Max is one of Goat’s loser buddies, and they can’t take anyone speaking down on the Cubs. They actually think the Cubs will win the Series in 2014 or 2015 with all no-names.”

  29. Did I Miss something

    The Cubs are one of 3 Teams that have said so far they are going to raise Ticket Prices………..The Prices in 12 we’re what they should stay in 13……..The rest have stayed the same…none have said they would lower except the Braves did lower 2 Sections………but the Govenor is not going for the use of Taxpayer Money because he knows the Cubs ownership has money to spend and can use that money to pay for there on stadium and Ricketts keeps saying he doesn’t and that he needs the states money to keep the cubs competitive……….So they can’t spend and then claim they have money problems………

    1. SweetJamesJones

      If you don’t like the ticket price being raised then don’t go.

    2. MaxM1908

      “The Cubs are one of three teams that have recently said they are going to raise ticket prices. The prices in ’12 were at the level they should remain in ’13. The rest of prices have remained the same. No team has said they would lower their prices, except for the Braves, who did lower prices on two sections. The Governor of Illinois is not in favor of using taxpayer money because he knows the Cubs ownership has money to spend. He also knows they can use that money to pay for their stadium. Ricketts keeps saying he does not have the money and needs state money to keep the Cubs competitive. They can’t spend and then claim they have money problems.”

  30. Did I Miss something

    First of all I love the Name the Dude………One of my Fav Movies……….By the Market value of the Tickets we’re fine and should have stayed the same……..The FO said it was done to Generate more money to make the Cubs Viable on the Field and there stadium……So when the FO combines both,the fan base is going to also

    1. MaxM1908

      “First of all, I love the name ‘the Dude.’ The Big Lebowski is one of my favorite movies even though most of the humor goes over my head. If you look to the market value of the tickets, the prices should have stayed the same. The FO said it was done to generate more money to make the Cubs viable on the field and for the stadium. So, when the FO combines both, the fan base will too.”

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