Yesterday, we saw B.J. Upton sign, Andy Pettitte pretty much sign with the Yankees, the Astros agreed to send Wilton Lopez to the Phillies (though not finalized), and a flurry of other minor trades. We’re still four days away from the start of the Winter Meetings, but the hot stove is fully in effect.

But I’m still calling it the Lukewarm Stove, because, well, that’s my thing …

  • Bruce Levine chatted yesterday, and among his thoughts: (1) Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t make sense for the Cubs, as adding him would hamper their rebuild efforts because the young players it would cost could then not be used on the field or as trade chips when the team is ready to compete in 2014 (and the Marlins might not want Starlin Castro anyway because of his contract); (2) Brandon McCarthy would be a nice addition to the Cubs – better than Dan Haren, who is older and might be looking for his last long-term contract; (3) Matt Garza would be of interest to the Royals and Wil Myers would be of interest to the Cubs (each of those things is probably true, but they also might have absolutely no relationship to each other – that is to say, no, I don’t see the Royals trading Myers to the Cubs for Garza. Indeed, Jon Heyman reports that although the Royals are interested in picking up a pitcher like Garza (they’ve discussed Jon Lester, James Shields and R.A. Dickey), they don’t want to move Myers, which is understandable (of course, he then later says they would consider moving Myers in the right deal (I’ve gone too far afield)))); (4) next year looks like the earliest time for big-time free agent signings; (5) Bruce isn’t sure whether Shaun Marcum is still on the Cubs’ list or not; (6) Bruce’s gut says the Cubs will non-tender Ian Stewart tomorrow, but will try to bring him back on a lesser deal; (7) that said, the Cubs would “love” to make a trade for a third baseman (though Bruce seems to have backed off his belief that the Cubs could land Lonnie Chisenhall from the Indians); and (8) a number of teams are interested in Carlos Marmol.
  • The Tigers are now telling teams Rick Porcello is available, which has largely been understood to be true for some time now. We’ve discussed him before here as a nice upside play, but with Scott Feldman and Scott Baker already in the fold, I’ll confess that I’m slightly less interested in Porcello. If the Cubs are going to add another arm, I’d rather it was a more reliable piece. That said, I still wouldn’t have any beef with picking up Porcello in the right deal, and seeing what’s what.




  • The Royals, having filled up their rotation with guys like Ervin Santana and the return of Jeremy Guthrie, are apparently calling around and trying to unload Bruce Chen ($4.5 million in 2013, then free agent) and Luke Hochevar, who is arbitration-eligible. Obviously the Royals would love to move the latter before having to make a tender decision on him tomorrow. It took a long time for the former first overall pick to make something of himself in the bigs, but he was only so-so in 2011, and then fairly bad in 2012. He made $3.5 million in 2012, and stands to see that increase in arbitration if he’s tendered a contract (which, obviously, if the Royals found a trade partner, that trade partner would do). I don’t see a whole lot of upside or surplus value in Hochevar, and although I’ve obviously said that I think the Cubs can still take on another pitcher or two, I’m not sure Hochevar is that guy.
  • Speaking of the Royals and flyer starting pitchers, Chris Volstad is now officially a free agent. Just sayin’.
  • After signing Ryan Madson to an incentive-laden deal, the Angels are telling teams that Jordan Walden is available, according to Jayson Stark. The 25-year-old reliever is a strikeout machine, and has been fairly effective in the late innings for three years now. He walks more guys than you’d like to see (around 4 per 9), but he makes up for that with a K-rate that is typically around 11 per 9. Given his effectiveness and the fact that he’s not eligible for arbitration for another year, I’d imagine that the Angels are shopping him for big league piece(s). In other words, I’m not sure there’s a fit with the Cubs, even if they were inclined to pursue.
  • The Reds have signed Jonathan Broxton to a three-year, $21 million deal, which will shift Aroldis Chapman into the rotation next year. That’ll be interesting to watch. It’s another steep price tag for a decent late-inning arm, and a reminder of why the Cubs might have so much interest in trying to land a surprise piece like Kyuji Fujikawa.


  • Patrick Mooney talks about the Nationals’ approach to free agency a couple years ago, and the strategy in signing Jayson Werth before they were “ready.”
  • A couple of Cuban prospects (a shortstop and an outfielder) are headed for free agency soon, and I’ll be writing about them soon, but here’s your general background for now.

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