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I feel like there has been quite a bit more activity ahead of the Winter Meetings this year than in prior years. Could be the early deadline for making qualifying offers.

  • The Braves and Angels completed the starter-for-reliever swap they couldn’t pull off with the Cubs, though the sides were reversed: the Angels sent reliever Jordan Walden to the Braves for starter Tommy Hanson. Because of his steadily declining velocity and shoulder concerns, Hanson’s return price in trade is not nearly what it might have been two years ago, but I still think the Braves did pretty well to pick up a very nice, cheap late-inning reliever (though Walden, too, has some minor injury concerns). Even after moving Hanson and, presumably, non-tendering Jair Jurrjens later today, the Braves might still have a glut of pitching. Good for them.
  • This isn’t much more than one reporter’s speculation, but Enrique Rojas says the Cubs – together with nearly half of baseball – should be interested in Josh Hamilton, because they have the money and they have the need. If Hamilton winds up signing a three-year deal, then sure, I will say that the Cubs “should have been interested,” but I really don’t see that happening. And I don’t see Hamilton for five years being a great fit in Chicago. (The link is in Spanish, by the way, which I do not speak – but Google Translate speaks it, albeit not conversationally.)
  • After picking up Denard Span from the Twins yesterday (for top 100 pitching prospect Alex Meyer), the Nationals are in the catbird seat – they can now shop Michael Morse and re-sign Adam LaRoche, or let LaRoche walk and move Morse to first base. The primary impact here for the Cubs, I’d think, is that it takes the Nationals out of the market for a center fielder, which further strengthens the buyers market in that area. I am developing a strong suspicion that we’re going to see the Cubs slow-play the outfield market, and land one of the last signees in late January or February. Since they aren’t looking to “go for it” in 2013, getting the “right” outfielder is less important than get “the best deal” on an outfielder. Further, we don’t know what’s going to happen with Alfonso Soriano in left field … there’s a lot of flux here.
  • Speaking of Soriano, Tampa Bay Rays blog – and good-podcast-name-stealer – DRaysBay takes a look at the Cubs’ left fielder as a trade target for the Rays. Soriano’s been connected to the Rays at times in the past (mostly in a, “seriously, do these teams realize what a good fit they are for each other?”), and DRaysBay gives him a thorough once-over from the other side’s perspective. Their conclusion? Soriano’s worth $7 million per year and Jeff Niemann. That dollar savings is nice, but I’m not sure about the return – Niemann, who turns 30 in February, had been a below-average starter for a couple years running when he broke his leg in 2012 and missed most of the year. He’s got two more years of arbitration, during which he might actually be overpaid (he made $2.75 million in 2012), and with the Scotts (Baker and Feldman) in the fold, I’m not sure he’s the best option for sixth starter. I’d rather the Cubs just picked up a high-ceiling, low-level prospect or two.
  • Tim Dierkes held a chat about the NL Central today at MLBTR, and among his thoughts … (1) The Cubs may have trouble convincing another solid free agent starter to sign now that they have “five starters” already, so they might have to settle for an older, fringier starter or make a trade; (2) Chone Figgins would be a cheap/minor league option for the Cubs at third base – a no risk look in Spring Training (to which I say: the risk is that he convinces the Cubs to carry him out of Spring Training, at which point he Chones all over their Figgins); (3) the Cubs need to be good by 2014 – folks will accept one more year of clearing the books/stock-piling prospects, but that’s it (I agree); (4) Tim seems to expect that Ian Stewart will be non-tendered, AND will have to settle for a minor league deal; (5) even if the Cubs deal Darwin Barney, and even if he is, indeed, at his peak value, the return might not be terribly exciting because there’s no bat there; (6) the Cubs could look to trade Brett Jackson, but, setting that aside, will probably seek out a cheap stop-gap in center field like an Andres Torres or a Drew Stubbs in trade (which would be ironic, given his skill set); (7) David DeJesus is a nice trade piece, but the Cubs might not want to “decimate” the outfield; (8) Marmol still falls in the “trade him for mere salary relief” category, according to Tim; (9) Josh Vitters has “very little trade value,” and Tim doesn’t see a fit between the Cubs and the Indians in a Lonnie Chisenhall deal; and (10) the Cubs can still move Matt Garza at the deadline next year – even without the chance of draft pick compensation for the receiving team – if he has a good first half.
  • MaxM1908

    If the Cubs do pull off a Soriano trade, who becomes our Left Fielder? I imagine they keep DeJesus in right, put Jackson or a temp CF acquisition in center, but who do we place in Left?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Campana/Sappelt platoon?

      *ducks*

      • Kyle

        I wouldn’t completely hate Sappelt in LF the same way I wouldn’t have Valbuena at 3b: As an excuse to save resources to focus money on other holes.

        Just as a “we aren’t even trying to win so who cares move,” it would annoy me of course.

      • George Altman

        Internally……..think Vitters or Lake in LF.

  • cubsin

    I’m not against trading Garza if the return is high enough, but if he does pitch well in the first half the Cubs should first try to extend him, and trade him only if the two sides are far apart.

  • butlerdawgs

    Boycott DRaysBay!! Thought we had a rivalry going with them?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah! Of course it’s one of those rivalries about which only one side is aware…

      • butlerdawgs

        Those are the best kinds of rivalries. We dominate them, and they don’t even know.

  • Jim

    It is hard to get your question posted and answered in those MLBTR chat sessions, but mine was today and it was on the Chone Figgins subject. I’d really like to see him brought to spring training to compete for the job. If nothing else, he could be a super utility player at a league minimum price.

    • CubFan Paul

      why? what has Figgins shown in the last 2 years that says he could be a super utility player?

      • TWC

        Can I answer that, Pauly?

        Nothing.

        Chone Figgins is Ian Stewart without the upside.

      • Jim

        Well for one, he plays all 3 outfield spots, second base, and third base. So he could be our Jeff Baker for 2013. Second, you can’t discount all the years prior to the past two as nothing. So there is really little risk to bring him in, and if he wins a spot, you are still only paying him the league minimum so that cost risk is low. Third, you have to see if the change of scenery is a factor on this guy and you know that he would like to prove himself somewhere in order to get a nice contract next off season.

        • CubFan Paul

          Jeff Baker crushes LHP…and at least Super Joe Mather pretended too.

        • TWC

          Figgins, over the last three seasons, has a slash line of .227/.302/.283. That makes Mike Fontenot look like Babe freaking Ruth.

          • King Jeff

            I’m sure there has to be a few guys out there who can hit above the Mendoza line that the Cubs can consider. Just because we have a glut of garbage at third, doesn’t mean we have to keep dumpster diving until we find the right one. I hope they aim a little bit higher than Figgins/Valbuena/Stewart.

            • MichiganGoat

              Um is Theriot available he has all kinds of WS mojo ;) and is better than Figgins (and that should show you how little I think of him)

              • TWC

                Um is Theriot available he has all kinds of WS mojo…

                Shut UP.

                • DarthHater

                  By popular demand:

                  Ryan Theriot Style

                  • TWC

                    Ok, so *NOW* Gangnam Style has jumped the shark.

                    ‘Cause it hadn’t before.

                • MichiganGoat

                  ;) but seriously I rather have him than Figgins

        • butlerdawgs

          He’s 34 years old and has played in 147 games in the past two seasons combined.

  • Believe in 2015

    This seemed like a lukecold stove. Is there any chance the Cubs can get one of the Braves pitchers?

  • Kyle

    The question on Hamilton is, of course, between 3 and 5. Would you take him on a 4-year deal?

    I waffle on that one. There are some real downsides. But of course, not getting anyone and going with a Sappelt/Campana platoon is all downside.

    • BD

      If Soriano were moved, Hamilton could play LF. I would prefer Hamilton’s next 5 years over Soriano’s next 2 years, even at a higher AAV. Not that I see it happening, just a thought.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I would give four years at, say, $22 million per, very serious consideration, yes. Another year and another $22 million tips the scales for me.

      • CubFan Paul

        what type of money is Hamilton seeking? Kemp money?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Believe he wants something in the range of six years and $25 million per. I don’t think he’ll get it.

          • Tremendous Slouch

            Hamilton scares the crap out of me even at 3 years… He strikes me as the type of player that’s going to break down and experience a steep and fast decline… be it from injury or another bout with his demons… On that front, I’m not sure Chicago is exactly the best place for him with his particular “issues” any way…

            I wish Hendry would have kept him 5 (or however many) years ago, but for now the sooner he’s off the market and on another team, the better IMO

    • Myles

      Josh Hamilton doesn’t hit lefties that well, doesn’t hit away from home that well, and doesn’t hit day games that well. He’s also 32 next year. I do not want him in 2016, where he is making 22 million dollars while hitting .240/.320/.430 in left field if I can at all help it.

      Now that Upton is off the market, the paths to short-term success seem a lot dicier, because I don’t want anywhere near the end of Bourn or Hamilton’s contract, and that makes the outfield situation very questionable.

      We should still sign Sanchez to any deal in the realm of reasonability.

      • Myles

        Well, grab Pagan, maybe, if you could grab him for 3 years. Anymore and you’re really setting yourself up for sadness at age-35.

        • Myles

          Basically, I’ll consider the off-season a great success if they can sign Sanchez or Greinke and another pitcher the tier below, like Edwin Jackson or Shaun Marcum.

          I really think Edwin Jackson should be a prime target of the Cubs. He’s quietly put together 4 durable years of mid-rotation ball, and he’s only 29 next year. He’s not an ace but as close to a sure-thing No.3 or No.4 as you’ll ever get.

  • http://twitter.com/bleeinternets Brandon

    the risk is that he convinces the Cubs to carry him out of Spring Training, at which point he Chones all over their Figgins

    +1

  • Alou and Vinegar

    I agree that Barney as a centerpiece would bring back very little. I see him being part of a deadline package with Garza.

    • Jim

      I think that the Cubs should hold on to Barney. There is no doubt in my mind that his glove saved a lot of runs last year. He also went from 2 homeruns in 2011 to 7 in 2012, so there may be some power building there, and he is only 27. If he keeps going with that glove and can improve on his power numbers and OBP, then I don’t think we are actually seeing him now at his peak value.

    • cheryl

      Agree. But who would you go for in that deal?

  • cubs82

    I think the cubs should make a trade with the nats for morse.he still young and he has some power.

    • TWC

      I think the Cubs should make a trade with the Angels for Mike Trout.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        Not if Javy Baez or Jeff Smardzija have to be included :)

        • TWC

          Oh, definitely. Samardzija is a total non-starter. That hair. That glorious freaking hair. He must stay.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Young? (31 next year)
      Bad defense
      Bad baserunner
      3.7% walk rate last year
      Former steroid user

    • Kyle N

      Our version of Michael Morse just left for to sign a two-year deal to play in Japan. I would pass here.

      The LaHair/Morse comp is eerily similar, and was even touched on a bit prior to the start of last season. Both of them were later round picks, tore up the minors, and didn’t get a chance to play in the majors until their late-twenties.

      Both are poor defenders when analyzed in both UZR and DRS (*especially* in the outfield) are below-average baserunners and possess solid power.

      The real differences is that the lefty LaHair is the owner of a bit better BB-rate and has the severe platoon-split while the right-handed Morse has a lower K-rate and is more balanced. Morse had over five years of service time and is making way more money than LaHair would have this upcoming year.

      Morse’s 2011 campaign (3.3 fWAR) could either be an outlier or a possible projection, given he remains healthy. He has always been the owner of a high BABIP (.334 career), so it’s hard to really tell how he’ll fare going forward. When you take into account the lower walk rate and terrible defense, it just makes me a bit skeptical on his potential value.

      It will be interesting to see what happens in regards to the Washington first base situation. Adam LaRoche just finished posting the best season of his career at age 32 and is clearly looking to get paid. I could easily see him dropping back to earth next year.

  • Rik

    Any chance of a Marmol for Hanson swap now? Would both sides be interested?

    • Eric

      That would be like the Angels swapping Walden for Marmol and Walden is cheaper and more effective so I don’t see it.

  • Justin

    We have not had a 100 loss season before this for a long time. Regardless what we do this offseason I can still see a back to back 100 loss team unless we sign Hamilton and go after another big time player in a trade. They need to do something to keep fans in the stans and signing Hamilton will get a lot of people to Wrigley that wasn’t planning on it this year. If they don’t get Hamilton then they better swing something for Morse.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    Chone should HONE some skills or he will be sitting on his FIGGIN in some semi-pro league in South Dakota. He aint that great folks, and if you fail in Seattle, where do you go, Houston?

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    soriano and 2o mil. to tb for minorleaguer of- josh sale, an p- jeff ames

    that would save 8 mil per/16m tot. or roughly what it would cost to sign victoino or pagan on a two year deal…..money even way better def. an add two prospects.

    vitters and marmol to wash. for morse. put him in lf to replace sori. and wash can then resign their first basesman larosh whom they want back, and they have four starting o.f.,makes sense.

    mosre is 30 plays l.f. an would give us some pop we lose by dealing sori., viters isnt in our future plans would be eventualbench player for them.

    cf-pagan/victorino
    ss-castro
    1b-rizzo
    lf- morse
    rf-dejesus
    c- castilla
    3b-stewart
    2b-barney

    wont scare anyone but its solid an balanced,mch better than last yr…..then we can trade dejesus at deadline gain another prospect or two, and let one of the youngsters take over rf in july

    and gain more prospects if we do in fact deal garza,baker, or feldman at the break, the farm well stocked, we’d have money to spend going into 2014…fft

    • Nate

      No way the Cubs are getting Morse for only Vitters and Marmol. I have a feeling Almora/Baez would have to be included in a deal for Morse.

      • Justin

        We wont give up our best prospect for Morse. Almora cant be traded until he has played a full year with the club.

  • cub2014

    i know it is off subject but no one ever talks about timothy sanders SS he advanced 3 levels this year in his 1st pro season for the cubs averaged combined .380. isnt he on a faster pace than many of cubs other prospects?

    • Jeremy

      He’s also 22 and was far more advanced than the competition he was playing. When he gets to AA and is still putting up those numbers, than we can get excited. He’s a nice prospect right now but nothing special yet.

    • DarthHater

      Yes. He’s moving up faster than the speed of light. Which explains why he is imaginary.

    • Carew

      Everything I have read on him has been great. Think he could turned into a second baseman?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        That’s probably where he’ll wind up. I don’t think he has the power for third or the range to stay at short (though that remains to be seen).

        He did very well this year, but there are still some concerns here. I like the potential, but I wouldn’t start penciling him into near term Chicago lineups just yet.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Trade to make at the winter meetings by Cubs : Garza to Padres for 3B Gyorko & RHP Wisler then Soriano (Cubs pay 25 of 36 million dollars due him) to D-Rays for RHP Niemann & RHP Jeff Ames. Marmol & Barney to Tigers for RHP Porcello & OF Boesch with Cubs picking up 5 million of Marmol contract.
    Finally trade Vitters & Jackson to A’s for Coco Crisp CF & sign the Japanese closer who visited the Cubs a few weeks ago.
    Lineup – Crisp CF, Watkins 2B , Gyorko 3B, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Boesch LF, Castillo C, & DeJesus RF with starting pitchers Samardzija, Porcello, Wood, Baker, Feldman & Niemann # 6 if needed. Bullpen with Japanese closer, Camp, Chapman, Bowden, Russell, Beliveau .
    Bench could include Sappelt & Campana in OF – Stewart 3B, Valbuena 2B/3B & Navarro C.

    • Marcel91

      Vitters and Jackson for 1 year of Coco Crisp? are you serious? That’s a terrible deal for us. I’d rather have Jackson in center.

      The Padres would not make that deal for Garza. If they do then i’ll take theo out to dinner myself.

      The Tigers and Rays deals I like except swap Neimann for Wade Davis.

  • Marcel91

    Why would the cubs trade Jackson and add a piece from the pile of crap that is the available Center Fielders? People get so caught up in Jackson’s strikeouts but fail to realize he does everything this front office likes. At his FLOOR you will get Speed. Power. Defense. Plate discipline(walks).

    Based on the available options on the FA market i’d rather just stick Jackson out there knowing he will produce multiple good things on the field even with the strikeouts. He can be productive for you now, no one doubts this, but I do understand the FO wanting him to go down to work on a few things and come up an even better player. basically the extra minor league time could be the difference(if he does improve and reach his ceiling) between a very solid regular and an above average player. Still, whether he’s at his floor or his ceiling i’d still take him over what? Torres? Victorino? Morgan??? No thanks.

    • Kyle

      Lots of people doubt that he can be productive now. The list of players who can strike out at nearly 250/year pace and still be productive is pretty much nil, and he’s certainly not good enough to overcome that despite his other skills.

      • Frank

        True–I’d say more people than not doubt that he can be productive now.

  • Myles

    Chone Figgins has a great chance to be a bottom-of-the-order hitter for my company softball team.

  • cub2014

    gyorko numbers look close to vitters numbers at iowa…i dont believe the cubs will trade for prospect at 3rd, SS or 2nd they have around 14 prospects who hit near or better than .300
    last year at those positions. in some lists 5 of their top 10 prospects will play 3rd: Baez,Villanueva, Candelario, Vitters and Lake.

  • Melrosepad

    Cory Wade chose free agency today. Wouldn’t mind us picking him up on a minor league deal. He throws strikes and barely walks anyone. ERA was high last year, but he still seems like a good roll of the dice compared to what else is out there.

  • Robert

    My bold prediction for next year ? Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro will both have 15 home runs exactly .

    • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

      If that is the case, Darwin Barney will not have all of those home runs in a Cubs uniform.

      • CubFan Paul

        He’s due for a breakout

    • USS

      More likly Castro is close to 20 and Barney @ maybe 8?

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    It doesn’t matter how long it takes for the Cubs to be good again. They may lose fans if it takes beyond 2013. but every single one of them, plus exponentially more, will hop right back on that bandwagon when it all comes together.

    • Carew

      Personally I believe if a “fan” leaves a team because they were bad, then they weren’t fans at all…

  • cb

    Don’t worry, those “fans” will be bandwagonning when the Cubs are good again.

  • cubzforlife

    After witnessing first hand the small number of season ticket holders that dropped out I am convinced the Cubs are preparing for at least one more 100 loss season. Please prove me wrong before jan 13 th when the balance is due on my tickets. This really sucks. The attitude of the employees I spoke with is “Theo is building a winner” and the few fans I spoke with didn’t seem to really care. They were just happy to have the tickets.

  • Spencer

    Walden’s velocity dropped like 2mph last year. the trade sorta seems like a wash to me. Of course, the Braves have a truckload of starting pitching.

    • JR

      The Braves have a truck load of RP’s. They were the by far the nastiest pen before this trade. Walden will be their 6th inning guy…

  • JR

    I completely think the Rays and Soriano are perfect for each other. They are complete cheap ass’s though and almost are never buyers. Too bad for them, I think Sori would have made them the favorite in the AL last year. Lets just be a solid team every yr but not give ourself a chance to win it all. #Rays..

  • RebuildMe

    How about a Wade Davis for Soriano trade? The Cubs pay all but 14 million over the next two years and pick up Davis and his friendly contract in the process. He could be depth at the rotation while providing late inning relief. Davis has a lot of value at 27 years old.

  • RebuildMe

    I want the Cubs to get Porcello, Castellanos, and Myers. Lots of talk with Myers for front line pitchers like Lester, Dickey, and Sheilds. Why not Garza if proved healthy then for Myers. I know it would probably take more than a straight across trade but I would trade BJax, Garza, and Vogelbach for Myers and mid-level prospect in a second.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Would you give up Myers for that combo in a second? I wouldn’t!

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        Not a second, but I’d think about it.
        I’m not convinced Jackson is any more than a AAAA player.
        I’m probably more pessimistic on Garza than most, but he’s got ONE year with #2 type results.
        Vogelbach is all bat….and years away.

        I’d probably take Myers, but make them throw in something else.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          Oh, and Garza only has 1 year left, so yeah, I’d take Myers for sure.

          • MaxM1908

            I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Doc was saying there’s no way that Kansas City would take that trade. Of course we’d take it. Meyers is worth way more than that lot.

            • fortyonenorth

              But just what is Meyers worth? After all, he’s just a prospect at this point, never tasted the bigs.

              I read an article today that looked at Meyers compared to all the other top ten prospects in the past decade who have reached their peak years—meaning guys like King Felix, Sabathia, Hanley Ramirez and others. Based on the analysis, this was their conclusion:

              [Meyers] has a very good chance of becoming a very good major league player, but a significantly greater chance of being a disappointment, and a better chance of being a total bust than of putting together a Hall of Fame career.

              You can read the article here: here.

  • Richard Nose

    Yeah that’s not in the best interest of the Royals. I’m all about moving Garza, I’m all about throwing in other pieces to get more in return, but the Royals have to get more. I think some have said, and I agree, that Lester or Shields isn’t enough. I think KC could get one of them without Myers. And if they want to move a Myers package, someone should have to start with King Felix, Kershaw, Cain, etc.

  • North Side Irish

    MLB Trade Rumors ‏@mlbtraderumors
    Cubs Have Interest In Michael Bourn http://bit.ly/11sGYlC #mlb

    uhhhh…..what?

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