Lukewarm Stove: A Prelude to the Winter Meetings

Folks have rolled into Nashville, and the rumors are going to start flying. For the Cubs, chatter has already picked up over the weekend…

  • Dave Kaplan reported yesterday that the Cubs aren’t yet done adding starting pitchers, which is something we’ve suspected. Whether the Cubs add mere depth types – non-tendered options, minor league flyers, etc. – or if they take a run at a legit additional starter (guys like Anibal Sanchez, Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum, for example) is the real question for the week.
  • Kap added that the Cubs are also looking for an outfielder – he specified right field, which is possible, if David DeJesus slides into center field – and a third baseman, though the latter is going to be tough to fill externally because everyone is looking, and there are so few options. In the outfield, you’ve got to figure that the Cubs will consider center fielders and right fielders, rather than limiting themselves to the latter, given how deep the free agent market is in center field. If the Cubs are going to aggressively shop Alfonso Soriano, that only adds to their need in the outfield.
  • Speaking of which, Kaplan says the Cubs aren’t going to be unloading Soriano just to unload him. Specifically, Kap says the Cubs are “skeptical” that they can actually find a deal that makes sense, given that they won’t be eating a ton of salary unless they’re getting a nice return.
  • The Cubs still haven’t confirmed the Kyuji Fujikawa signing (oh no, blame the Twitters!), but Patrick Mooney has a source who says that’s only because the Cubs haven’t yet had a chance to do a physical. I reckon they’ll be taking care of that soon, and, despite the Dan Haren medical situation, physicals rarely derail signings.
  • Speaking of Fujikawa, Jim Bowden speculates – as many of us would – that the Cubs beating out the Angels for the Japanese reliever could bring the Angels back to the table with respect to Carlos Marmol.
  • Carrie Muskat has hinted a few times that the Cubs might be hoping to get Ian Stewart back on a minor league deal. Given that they non-tendered him with just $2.5 million at risk (and didn’t re-sign him before that deadline for less), I’d agree that they would seem to be hoping for a minor league deal. The third base market is a war zone, so I still feel like there’s going to be a team willing to guarantee him $1 million or so assuming he can demonstrate he’s healthy in the next couple months. Otherwise, he’ll have to settle for a minor league deal with a team that he perceives to have the biggest opening at third base. And, heck, that certainly might be the Cubs.
  • If the Rangers land a big-time free agent starting pitcher like Zack Greinke, they could look to trade Derek Holland says Ken Rosenthal. The 26-year-old lefty was great in 2011 before signing a healthy five-year, $28.5 million extension, includes club options for 2017 and 2018 at $11 and $11.5 million, respectively. He fell off a bit in 2012, though, with a 4.67 ERA (97 ERA+) over 175.1 innings (he did have a nice 1.221 WHIP and career-best 2.79 K/BB ratio, though – in fact, his “down” year looks to be mostly the product of an aberrant  high HR rate). All in all, he’d be an extremely attractive target for the Cubs if he becomes available (so say a number of teams). You gotta figure, though, that the Rangers would be looking for a significant major league piece if they were going to shop Holland. I’m not sure the Cubs would be a great fit, if he comes on the market this month.
  • Phil Rogers wonders whether the Yankees would have interest in Alfonso Soriano if they fail to retain Nick Swisher. It’s possible, right?
  • The Mets and R.A. Dickey are not close on a contract extension says Buster Olney. If they can’t get a deal done, you have to figure the Mets are going to shop Dickey aggressively - he’s 38, coming off a Cy Young season, and will make just $5 million in 2013, the final year of his deal. He could bring back a haul, but, more importantly for the Cubs’ purposes, he would be another top arm on the market – thus slightly depressing the prices of/destinations for other starters whom the Cubs might want to target. You’re tentatively hoping the Mets deal Dickey.

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

128 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: A Prelude to the Winter Meetings”

  1. cerambam

    Sunday night lukewarm stove?! its gonna be a good week.

    1. Dan


  2. LWeb23

    Jim Bowden put up a Insider article today on about one player who could be on the trade block for each of the 30 teams, and who would be a potential trade partner. For the Cubs, we all know who is on the table and who is not (not many of them), but he mentions Soriano. He links Soriano with the Blue Jays, Rays, and Orioles. As far as other players the Cubs could be interested in, he connects the Cubs with Brian Matusz, Brennan Boesch, Julio Teheran, and Hector Sanchez. Other names that personally I found interesting: Hochevar, Hellickson, Arencibia, Bauer…

    1. joking

      Hochevar please god no

    2. Luke

      Soriano to Toronto would be interesting. For the Blue Jays, it could be a way to add another notable bat while keeping costs down (after all, that Marlins trade had to eat into their payroll). I’m not sure if they would give up the prospect premium to both get Soriano and convince the Cubs to eat his contract, though.

  3. cubchymyst

    If Soriano gets traded who do the cubs pick up to regain some pop in the outfield? I think Ryan Ludwick would be a good pick up for a short term contract.

    1. abe

      Why trade him now? all we would get is bleh prospect. I would wait to the dead line I hope someone is desperate.

      1. joking

        Yeah but Fonsy has maximum value right now. He could get hurt, blow his knees out, put up like 10/60 before trade deadline who knows. He has peek leverage right now for the cubs. Theo needs to take Fonsy out for a nice steak dinner and butter him up to go to a team that will give the cubs the best return.

      2. cubchymyst

        I wasn’t advocating trading Soriano now or later, I was asking if Soriano is traded how do the Cubs replace his bat in the line up. I think Ludwick would be good because he could be had on a short deal and has similar OPS versus right handed and left handed pitching.

        1. Chris

          If Ludwick is willing to take a short-term deal and understands he could be moved at the deadline, I think that would work. I get the sense that he’d rather stay with the Reds though, all things being equal. As for Soriano, you can’t move him just for the sake of moving him. Extreme salary relief or a nice prospect are the only things that make it worth while to trade Soriano at this point.

          1. ssckelley

            I am sure the Reds would love to have him back for the 2 million they signed him for last year. But money talks and Ludwick is coming off a good season and he is 34 years old. I think the first team to call his agent and offer 10 million over 2 years with a 3rd year option will get him.

            But I doubt the Cubs are going to make quick moves on any free agent outfielders. There are plenty out there and it might be wise to wait it out and see who is left after all the big names are gone.

  4. someday...2015?

    Hypothetically if the Yankees were interested in Soriano, would Gary Sanchez for Soriano straight up be fair.(Cubs would obviously be paying the remainder of Soriano’s contact)

    1. someday...2015?

      …be fair?**

      1. PeteG

        We don’t need Gary Sanchez!

        1. william

          it sure wouldnt hurt to have sanchez i see castillo being more of a good backup catcher sanchez looks like a good starting catcher IMO

    2. Dumpgobbler

      No most certainly not. Way too much for sori.

      1. someday...2015?

        Yea I figured. I wonder what the Cubs could add onto Soriano that would interest the Yankees and at the same time net Sanchez…Maybe Jackson or Vitters?

        1. Norm

          So many of these fake trades going around I can’t tell who is serious and who is being cute.

    3. TonyP

      You want the Cubs to pay the remainder of the contract? Is anyone 1 prospect with eating 36 or 38 million or whatever the total is?

      1. TonyP


      2. someday...2015?

        You make a good point but don’t forget Sanchez is the Yankees top prospect. He’s thought of as highly as the second best catching prospect behind Darnaud. Yes it’s a lot of money and value to shell out for one prospect but you’ll never be rewarded as a team without taking a little risk.

    4. ssckelley

      No way that would be a fair deal. The Cubs would take that trade in a heartbeat. Top catching prospects are hard to come by and it would take more than a Soriano to get him. I think the most the Cubs could expect for Soriano is a fringy top 20 team prospect with a throw in.

  5. Evolution

    Just a thought…not share why it’s never discussed.

    Put Soriano at 3B. He could absolutely handle it.

    Bring back Matt Murton to play 2B.

    1. MichiganGoat

      Yeah Miggy won a MVP and triple crown at third and Murton is Japan’s Babe Ruth I’m in. Hashtag #FonzieAtThird let’s do it!

      1. DarthHater


        The shark has been jumped.

  6. Stinky Pete

    Bowden mentioned the Cubs as pretty much the only team he could see offering Bourn a six year contract, otherwise he’ll get five. He also talked about Hamilton going to the meetings in person and that being an indicator that he will make a deal with someone this week.

  7. Ryan

    The cubs need to see what it’ll take to pry David price from the rays and go ahead And package garza and a prospect for Wil myers

    1. ChicagoMike702

      David Price the Cy Young winner? THAT David Price? Keep dreaming.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Some of those names combined do work, however: Myers could be part of a deal to net Price. It could be a three way deal where the Cubs just watch…..

        1. Myles

          Royals get:
          David Price

          Rays get:
          Wil Myers
          Chris Dwyer

          Cubs get:
          A sadness in their heart

          1. Big Daddy

            Love it, but it also makes me sad.

        2. cheryl

          I agree, Doc. Price is being mentioned because of upcoming salary constraints in regard to Tampa in articles I’ve seen. Otherwise, I don’t think you’d even hear him mentioned.

      2. Ryan

        I’ve read multiple reports saying the rays listen to offers for price. If Baez can be a centerpiece I absolutely would. If you can turn around and package garza and some prospects for Myers, do it. The royals are dangling Myers for shields or Lester. There’s no reason a package including garza won’t interest kc

        1. ChicagoMike702

          There’s a few reasons Garza wouldn’t interest KC: 1. A bum arm. 2. A high salary. 3. One season under team control, then he’s gone.

    2. Yeahhhh

      Umm….you’re talking about one of the most valuable players in all of baseball, and a top 3 prospect in all of baseball. Stop smoking?

    3. Brittney

      As much as I like Price, I would think he is out of the target age range. Isn’t he 30? The Cubs won’t be competing in my eyes for 2 years (at a minimum) but 3-4 seems to be the ideal range to start being a serious threat in the NL. At that point he will be hitting mid 30′s. I really like Price but I have never thought he was a real target for Theo & Co.

      As for Bourn, I wouldn’t mind signing him at all. But, six years may just remind us all of Soriano. What if the back end of the contract is more money but on a performance basis is where the “more money” comes from?

      I am still wanting to see the Cubs target Anibal Sanchez and McCarthy. And Lannan would be another pitcher I hope they look at trying to add.

      Any ideas on what the rotation would look like if they add a few of those guys? Would they really try to shop Garza (although I like him and hope for an extension)? Would Travis Wood be on the trade block?

      Ian Stewart I hope they bring back. He is that bounce back player Theo & Co look for. Give him 1 million with performance based incentives.

      I look forward to the meetings this week.

      Brett as always you rock! I am on this site more then ESPN (and thats saying something!!)

      1. bbmoney

        price is 27. but i agree with those who say he’s cost prohibitive for the Cubs at this point. It makes sense for a team that’s a pitcher away to blow up the farm. Not for us.

        1. mysterious4th

          Thanks BB, I couldn’t remember how old he was. But, still I think he’s an option for a detroit, rangers, arizona type team that almost has what it takes to go all the way. Plus I wouldn’t want to clear part of the farm system for him. Yet that is totally my opinion.

  8. Noah

    The prospect would probably have to be Javier Baez. Still want to make that trade?

    1. Myles

      For a second I thought you were saying Baez for Price, and I would trade Baez for Price like 11 times out of 10

      1. Noah

        Baez for Price straight up? Definitely, especially if the Cubs could get a long term extension done. But no, that wouldn’t be enough to get Price.

        I think you read it correctly that I was saying the prospect would have to be Baez to go along with Garza to KC to get Myers.

        1. Marcel91

          Only a handful of teams in baseball have the prospects it’ll take to get Price without nuking the farm.

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            I would rephrase that: acquiring Price is going to nuke anybody’s farm system; however, there are a small number of farm systems that can survive a nuke.

            1. DarthHater

              Or you could get nuked and then field a team of mutants. That would be cool!

              1. Timothy

                Or a team of silhouettes left behind by the nukes, which wouldn’t be quite as cool.

            2. Myles

              Price is one of the very rare talents worth nuking a farm system for.

              There are maybe 8 legitimate aces in baseball, and Price is one of them.

              Justin Verlander
              Cole Hamels
              Roy Halladay
              Cliff Lee
              Stephen Strasburg
              Clayton Kershaw
              Felix Hernandez
              David Price

              and that’s about it. People like Dickey/Sale/Sabathia/Weaver/Cueto/Gonzalez are close, but not true aces in my mind.

              Over the past 3 years, David Price has an ERA of 2.93 pitching in the AL East. Yes please!

              1. Myles

                Of course, this is contingent on getting him locked up to an extension, which, this is exactly the type of guy you can give 8 years and 23 per or whatever and be ecstatic… but you don’t have to, because he isn’t a free agent until 2016.

                Also, it’s kind of neat, but Navarro could be Price’s personal catcher – they have a history!

                I have no idea what a realistic package for Price would be, but they’d need young pitching back (they always do) and we don’t have it, so we’d have to get creative. I’d imagine Baez and Vogelbach and another 2 top 20 might get us close, but I don’t really have any idea.

              2. Big Daddy

                The freakin’ Phillies have 3 of those guys. That is insane.

  9. daveyrosello

    If Josh Hamilton is going to sign a deal for no more than 4 years, which seems to be the indication, then I wish the Cubs would be the team to sign him. Our offense sucks, but a 2-5 of Castro, Hamilton, Soriano and Rizzo would suddenly look pretty dang good. Mix in a young 3B and suddenly the Cubs would have a real team. And with Hamilton at least, all it would take is some of Ricketts’ money. With team payroll declining from 140MM to 80-ish MM in just two years time, I think the Cubs can afford him. Easily.

    Keep Marmol for setup man if you can’t get a good trade market for him. Sign one acceptable FA starter. Call it a day.

    1. Jimmy james

      I Agree, it seems concerns about his off the field issues are creating a scenario where a player that we would typically be talking about a seven or eight year deal could be had for four and i would gamble that you will at least get three really good years out of him. Normally I would be scared off due to age but when talking this length I would be in, somebody will probably go higher

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        when talking this length I would be in, somebody will probably go higher

        And this actually is another reason for the NL to bring in DHs. AL teams can offer a guy like Hamilton an extra year or two knowing that they can use him as a DH towards the end, and extend his playing time by giving him days off as a DH. NL teams currently get to make guys pinch hitters in these cases: and although they might get 1 PA in those games, there is a huge difference between 1 and 4-5 PAs.

        At any rate, I will be very surprised if an NL team makes Hamilton the best offer in terms of years: if one signs him, then they’ll pay more over fewer years than the best AL offer.

    2. cub2014

      if the cubs sign hamilton 4years and mccarthy keep marmol and soriano. they would be in contention. also they would sign these guys and wouldnt hurt their farm system

      cf dejesus
      ss castro
      rf hamilton
      lf soriano
      1b rizzo
      c castillo
      3b stewart?
      2b barney


  10. Marcel91

    I like whipping up crazy trade scenarios for fun as well but I hope some of you guys aren’t serious….

    1. someday...2015?

      I don’t know if you were referring to my Soriano and Jackson/Vitters for Gary Sanchez idea(guessing you weren’t) but in my opinion the Cubs need a catcher that will last, and their are only two that fit the Cubs bill. Travis Darnaud who im guessing would take a very hefty package to get and Gary Sanchez who I believe is a bit underrated. Getting one of those two in any deal this off-season would be ideal for the Cubs.

      Speaking of Darnaud how about this for a trade idea. Take the risk, keep Soriano for now, get Garza healthy and pitching again and then package those 2 and a prospect to get Darnaud.

      1. TSB

        The Cubs have more pressing concerns than catcher, and a limited number of worthwhile trade candidates. After pitchers and 3B, then the Cubs can get creative

        1. someday...2015?

          Ok well in that case, take that same proposal from the Cubs side with the prospect being Vitters or Jackson, take out Darnaud, and put in Aaron Sanchez and/or Noah Syndergaard. I’v been saying since last off-season that the Cubs should figure out a package with Garza being the main piece where they could get Sanchez and Synderdaard back. In my opinion the Cubs should make a strong effort to get at least one of Sanchez, Syndergaard, or Darnaud. Any thoughts on how much it would take to get Sanchez and Syndergaard together?

    2. Brian Peters

      The thing is, the folks dreaming up these scenarios are either smoking wacky tobacky or drinking Michael Jackson juice. As a Cub fan, I don’t want Hamilton. I don’t want Soriano. I don’t want Marmaduke. You all want the Cubs to break the bank to try to compete next year. Have you not read the memo? Throwing money at Hamilton to come to Chicago and be within a stone’s toss to some of the best bars in the country is not a wise investment. If he didn’t produce right off the bat, it’ll be just like it was Sori came here. Remember? He was the target of genuine disdain. I want good, inexpensive talent to get us through until the folks in the minors make it up to the show.

      1. Jimmy james

        A drunk will finds drink if he wants one, I find the bar issue a lame one. I’m generally on board with the cheap talent plan but this contract would not be the albatross that soriano’s is because of length. You think he won’t be a productive member of a 2014, 2015 and probably 2016 squad? For four years I would be interested but no more.

        1. Brian Peters

          Well, that’s true (that a drunk will find booze wherever), but let’s look at where he’s playing now–Texas, and Dallas specifically, is all about football, even with the Rangers’ success lately. Now move Hamilton to Chicago, where fans are begging for its first championship in 104 years. There’s a pressure he’d face here–being the one with the huge contract and the one with WS experience–that he hasn’t faced. Sorry, but in my eyes, he’s not worth the risk.

  11. cheryl

    Here’s an idea Marce191 – Castro, Marmol and Soriano for Price. Cubs pick up a good portion of Soriano’s salary.

  12. william

    since mets extended wrights contract we should trade for 3b wilmer flores he should be ready to start in 2013

  13. TonyP

    I love the Winter meetings!!!!

  14. Rytaylor

    Give campana a chance to play everyday !!! What can it hurt

    1. Drew7

      Not much, just the team’s OBP, SLG%, and defense.

      1. Big Daddy

        awesome. You guys are cracking me up today.

  15. Blublud

    Someday….in 2015(maybe), the Cubs will have what it takes to make those trades. Until then, we can just draw up crazy trade scenarios. I like doing to.

    How bout this.
    Soriano, Garza, and Dejesus to Tampa for Price, Longoria and Jennings. Then we send Jackson and Vitters to LA for Matt Kemp. Lake and Barney to Milwaukee for Braun. Promote Baez to MLB. What a lineup

    CF Jennings
    SS Castro
    RF Kemp
    1B Rizzo
    LF Braun
    3B Longoria
    C Castillo
    2B Baez



    1. Blublud

      Forgot to add in the McCarthy signing.

    2. Myles

      You forgot the part where we traded Campana for to a time machine for 1920 Babe Ruth.

      Seriously though, if the Cubs successfully made any one your proposed trades, the opposing GM would be fired before the paperwork went through.

  16. william


  17. The Show

    What would it take to get Asdrubal Cabrera? I think his bat can fit at the hot corner.

  18. william


  19. Luke

    Baltimore needs a mid-order bat in the outfield and apparently would prefer to trade for one.

    Cubs need some left handed pitching in the farm system.

    Soriano+cash to the Orioles for Tim Berry + ?

    Berry started his career with elbow surgery, and that has slowed him considerably. Despite that, he’s a legit mid-rotation starter prospect with solid ground ball stuff. If the Orioles tossed in a lower level prospect or two, this could be a workable deal.

  20. #1lahairfan

    Trade Idea:
    Soriano and a fringe prospect for Lucas Giolito and top 30 pitcher

    1. #1lahairfan

      And also a little more than 3/4 of Sori’s salary.

      1. #1lahairfan

        More like 7/8 once I saw Luke’s idea.

    2. Boogens

      Can’t be done. Giolito can’t be traded during his first year.

      1. #1lahairfan

        I forgot about that. What about him as a PTBNL.

  21. #1lahairfan

    How about Soriano to the Giants:
    1. Pay all of Sori’s salary and get Chris Stratton and a fringe prospect
    2.Pay 3/4 of Sori’s salary and get Clayton Blackburn and a top 30 arm.

  22. Carne Harris

    This is like D&D to you people.

    1. cjdubbya

      What do you mean, you people?

      1. Carne Harris

        Ah, but I’d clad myself in the cloak of Non-Racist.

    2. hansman1982

      Well to us people it is – but it’s about a sport so it’s cool

  23. Robert

    Brett, I’ve been reading for several years and here is my question to you…
    If the cubs get Ian Stewart to sign a short deal, what are the 3rd base prospects/free agents next year? In other words, who do you see as our best options for 3rd base come this time next year as far as farm and free agents?

    1. daveyrosello

      1. Vitters is a past-tense prospect, so no help there.
      2. Lake, no one can figure out Lake.
      3. Villanueva, the shine is off.
      4. Baez may end up at 3B, but he’s in A-ball.
      5. Candelario is currently at 3B, but he’s in A-ball too.

      Unless the Cubs trade for a 3B, no help is on the way in the near-term. Like this year, there are no quality 3B expected to be in the 2013 FA market.

      1. Evolution

        Shine off on Villanueva?

        He’s not ready for the majors, but I’d disagree with that big time.


        I still think he might surprise…just with a lower ceiling.

  24. Jason "Thundermug"

    The Chicago Cubs signed Dominican free-agent OF Robert Caro Saturday, Dec. 1. The 18-year-old outfielder hit .313 with no home runs, 18 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 55 games for Boca Chica South in the Dominican Summer League team.

  25. thejackal

    big issue with baltimore and sf is whether or not soriano would agree to it

  26. thejackal

    however i agree with luke baltimore would be good fit . i think theyd like 2 get a 3b or 1b though

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      If the O’s keep Hardy, then Machado plays 3rd. If they move Hardy, then they will be getting some good players in return, and they might address their 3rd base problem that way.

      The O’s are interested in LaRoche and possibly Napoli, which they will try before trying to trade for the position.

  27. Walter Sobchak

    Sori doesnt have to go but I think the FO has the right approach to trading him……if the cubs eat 20-25 mil on his contract then the return should be very good for them…..even before this year sori hit 25 bombs or close to with a .250…….so there is REAL value for a player like that on what would amount to a 2yr 10-15 million dollar deal. I think Sori is going to be packaged in a deal…..that is going to provide the best return…….

  28. MichCubFan

    I still want Jedd Gyorko…though i have not thought of what it would take to get him. He is blocked and i think they are going to try and hold on to Headley.

  29. farmerjon

    Any thoughts on what it would take to get Tulo from the Rockies? Might be a “buy low” criteria with the injuries and contract. How does he profile offensively as a 3B? Just a thought.

    1. Spriggs

      I heard Plesac suggest Tulo would be ideal for the cardinals – and they have the perfect pieces to get him (young arms galore). Man, I would hate that. But when they brought up the names, I admit, I was thinking Cubs – 3rd base.

  30. cheryl

    Well we went through a plethora of possible trades and not so possible trades. Any idea what’s the most likely trade to go down, Luke or Brett?

    1. bluekoolaidaholic

      Well aren’t you Mr. Ray of Sunshine for the Winter Meetings.
      What about 3B and RF?