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We stand on the eve of this week of “meetings” that you hear about consistently in rumors, beginning as early as late October (or August, for Cubs fans). The Winter Meetings. In the Twitter age, they’ve reached almost mythical status, with a tacit expectation that we’ll see a lot of exciting movement around baseball this week.

The 2012 Winter Meetings begin tomorrow and run through this Thursday. Front office execs, players, agents, and media (as well as job seekers) will gather in Nashville, beginning today, as their flights get in. For many of those groups, the meetings are a bit like camp – folks can have some fun with their friends, have some drinks, and casually chat about the offseason. For others, it’s a packed schedule of meetings – both external and internal – trying to finalize transactions for which the foundation, perhaps, was laid back last month at the GM Meetings. The meetings conclude with the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, about which more later.

The action isn’t quite as dense or fast-and-furious as it is at the Trade Deadline, but it is similar, at least in rumors. Teams are legitimately discussing a number of trades, a handful of which will be completed, and you have the additional layer of moves related to free agents – that’s something you don’t have at the Trade Deadline. In other words, across baseball, you can expect to see a huge volume of rumors, a fair number of signings – including a big one or two – and probably a few trades.

If it’s anything like years past, you can see a number of your preconceptions about the Cubs’ plans for the offseason shifted considerably. I’m not so sure that will happen this year, but I’m open to some excitement. I think you’ll see the Cubs talking to outfielders and pitchers, shopping Carlos Marmol and Alfonso Soriano, and maybe popping up with a surprise trade.

As a frame of reference, when friends and family ask about holiday plans, I make sure to black out this week. It tends to be busy around here.

I anticipate having a host of Lukewarm Stove posts this week, and roundups on the latest what-have-you each morning and evening. As always, you’re going to want to keep tabs not only on the site, but also on Twitter and on Facebook.

  • Dave

    Next year you need to take up a collection to have a BN presence at the winter meetings. Might be fun for you and better than a blog-a-thon. Unless it isn’t.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Problem is the deadline is self-contained and has a clear window where most of the activity happens – no idea when it’s going to happen this week. As for being there, I toyed with the idea, but for what I do, I’m not sure if there’s a great point. I won’t get access (yet), and it could actually make covering the rumors harder, because I’ll be running around a hotel.

  • Polar Bear

    Brett,

    Just stopping by to show some appreciation for all you continue to do. Thanks for all the insight and coverage.

    May you have great news to report to all of us this week.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, PB. Hopefully it’s an enjoyable week.

  • Eric

    Kinda excited for the Rule 5. Wish we didn’t have to wait until Thursday.

  • Nate

    Hey Brett, what do you put the odds for getting either McCarthy or making a trade for Hellickson? If the Cubs could somehow, in a perfect universe, pull off both of these moves and sign a decent hitting 3B I think they could surprise people. It would give them a surprisingly good rotation of:

    Garza
    Samardzija
    McCarthy
    Hellickson
    Wood

    • Boogens

      Not sure this is makes any sense. Where are you expecting Baker & Feldman to be?

    • Marcel91

      Did you forget the Cubs already signed Baker and Feldman specifically for the rotation?

    • http://deleted cub2014

      i can see mccarthy they said they are looking at one more starter but not 2.
      their starters would be looking pretty solid

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    If Cleveland lowers the price on him (it is rumored to be extremely high), I hope the Cubs kick the tires on a Shin-Soo Choo trade. He’s already thirty, which could make him too old for the Cubs front office depending on when the they see their competitive window opening, but if the Cubs expect to be competing in 2014, he could be a nice left handed bat near the top of the lineup. And since he would be a free agent after 2014, he’d be easy to flip that summer if Soler (possible) or Almora (unlikely) are ready to come up, or be extended if the Cubs like him as the veteran presence in the outfield going forward.

    • Brad

      He kids he kids

  • FiveFifty550

    Shin Soo Choo seems to be declining…..

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Which is why Cleveland will have to drop their price. I’m not willing to pay 2010 value for him, and I certainly don’t expect him to be The Greatest Outfield Ever, but he’s a high OBP left handed hitter with some power and (for now) some speed. I’d take that as a No 2 hitter front of Castro and Rizzo for the next couple of seasons.

      It just depends on the price.

  • Fastball

    If the cubs keep Marmol and Soriano we don’t have to add as much this year. Sign McCarthy another good bp pitcher and trade several prospects fir a 3b it may be enough for the central division.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m not so sure there is a 3B available that is worth trading for. I’d rather spend 2013 seeing if Stewart can recover, Vitters can adjust, or Lake can settle down. From what we know now, the Cubs would probably have to somewhat over pay to land a 3B in part because it is a down year for 3Bs on the market.

      • http://deleted cub2014

        i completely agree, and i think FO is thinking same thing.

      • ottoCub

        I agree completely. I hope they sign Stewart to a one-year contract with lots of incentives for games played and performance. If he can’t turn it around after surgery, then get through this year with Valbuena; give Vitters another look mid-season; and look hard for a third baseman (both in-house and through trade/free-agency) next off-season.

      • GoCubsGo

        Is Wil Myers a 3B? He is listed as a OF/3B on Baseball America.

        • King Jeff

          He’s played 15 games there in his minor league career, I don’t know about before that.

  • Rizzofanclub

    Choo is a free agent next year correct? He would no sense for the cubs to trade for and I can tell you there is about a 0% chance the cubs look into that trade. If the cubs like him they will sign him next year as a free agent.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      After 2014 I think (need to double check that). If he is a FA after next year, then it would make no sense.

  • droppedsomething

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Cubs grabbing a ex-As two-fer. Besides making a play for Brandon McCarthy, how about taking a minor league flyer on Dallas Braden (hoping he can actually come back from two serious operations at some point during the 2013 season). As I recall, he’s a mentally tough (if not physically tough) 29 yr old lefty starter who had a pretty decent 2010 season before his arm and shoulder fell off.

  • GoCubsGo

    On Baseball American Wil Myers is listed as an OF/3B. Can he really play 3rd? We do have an opening at 3rd and the OF. What will it take to get him?

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      Right now it would take the Shark and more.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    I hope the Cubs make some good deals this week. Hopefully a nice deal or two will take the sting away from that Bears loss.

  • http://facebook william

    garza,scuzur and lake would be a nice trade for myers IMO

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      If KC was convinced Garza healthy, that might be in the ballpark. I’m not sure that particular package would interest the Royals, though.

      Other than a very good major league or major league starting pitcher, I’m not exactly sure what they are looking for. If someone like Arizona or Tampa decided to make a run at him, there is no package the Cubs could offer that would compete. The Cubs and Royals just aren’t a great match right now.

      • Patrick G

        Can’t Alex Gordon play 3rd? Gordon for Garza and throw ins?

        • http://facebook william

          gordan and mabey P Luis Mendoza move mendoza to bullpen he could be a nice bp arm

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          I seriously hoping your kidding about the Gordon for Garza and throwins trade? That would be grossly undervaluing Garza. It would be more like Gordon and 2 additional high upside (1 top 5 prospect, and another top 10 prospect). Even I don’t think the cubs would make that deal since Gordon will start to make a lot more money soon

          • Pat

            Remember the Garza is 1) in his last contract year, 2) coming off an injury and, 3) incapable of throwing the ball to first base. The days of a multi good player return are over.

            • Serious Cubs Fan

              My scenario was assuming he is throwing well in spring training, and they’d deal him before the beginning of the regular season, so the team is acquiring him would be able to get draft pick compensation for him which drives his value up considerably

          • King Jeff

            I would do Garza for Alex Gordon. Gordon is a gold glove left fielder though, not sure how keen he would be on moving back to third.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett
          • Patrick G

            @Serious Cub Fan, I didn’t mean just any throw ins and not just by the Cubs, obviously meant more minor leaguers coming from KC. Gordon is young and had a down year(2011 he was very good) and if he can return to his old self and play third I think that would be good for the Cubs

    • Jamess

      The only way we could maybe get Wil Myers would be to trade Jeff Samardzija, Russel, and Brett Jackson. Why would KC want Garza in a trade? Garza coming off a injury and is a free agent after the 2013 season.

  • http://facebook william

    and a throw in from kc

  • http://facebook william

    shark isnt proven yet so i think garza is a better trade piece right now the shark

  • http://facebook william

    then shark

  • Matt

    Those of you bashing my thoughts earlier on the trades for Castellanos, Gyorko, Meyers, and Randall Delgado, those were just things i would like to see.

    I’m not saying Detroit would trade Castellanos for Barney straight up nor am i saying Barney is a All Star or HOF. I’m saying trying to work something out with Detroit to pry Castellanos away from them and Barney would fit well into Detroits lineup (as a piece of the trade) as they are looking for a defensive minded 2B. They already have the offense on their team. Obviously it would take more than Barney (and I KNOW THAT) but just listed him as a piece of the trade. Also, you or myself has no idea what Detroit’s plans are or the Cubs plans are and what each would be looking for, that is why i said (others including Barney).

    As for Gyorko, the same goes here. You as well as myself have no idea what the Padres or the Cubs are willing to do. That is why i said to try and work something out with the Padres to pry him loose. Not saying it won’t take alot just see what it would take.

    As for Wil Meyers, I mentioned Garza plus others. Who knows what it would take. People also forget to realize that maybe the Royals would be interested in Garza for the sole purpose of using him as a trade chip to pick up several young pitching pieces or other young talent. Who knows, maybe they extend Garza or even offer him a qualifiying offer and collect draft pick compensation but i feel their interest would be in the flipping Garza for several young talent pieces. Plus Wil Meyers is a very very good prospect but there is nothing to say he will be a “Perenial All-Star” as one poster said. Why do you think the Royals are even listening to offers.

    Soriano for Randall Delgado would be interesting. We aren’t going to get a #1 SP for him or a teams top prospect for Soriano so why not try and get a possible solid young pitcher who is possible to acquire (according to the Dempster trade in July). I think it would be a solid return for Soriano. Now i like soriano but why not get something of possible use who is younger while we can.

    I also agree that Castellanos wouldn’t be are starting 3B for 2013 or Wil Meyers our starting OF in 2013 or Gyorko are starting 2B for 2013 (even though he will be fighting it out for the Padres in spring training and possibly be their starting 2B). He has proved himself in the minors and has absolutely raked in all levels. These moves (as you can see from the possible “FUTURE” lineup I mentioned in my previosus post would be in a year or two or so, not this year. We are planning and building for the future. Also, no one knows what other teams will give up and for who so all you can do is speculate and leave it up to Jed and Theo to discuss possibilities with teams because we don’t know what other teams plans and expectations are either. That is why I said other pieces involved while discussing these possible trades. Who knows what it would take.

    • http://facebook william

      i would love all those trades

    • King Jeff

      Why would KC, a small market team, trade a top 3 in baseball prospect, who is on a minimum contract and hasn’t started his arbitration clock, for an injured pitcher with one year of control left? Why would they take the risk of trading Garza for parts, when they have an almost sure fire stud who could net a cost controlled top of the rotation guy? I would love to see some of those deals you came up with happen, but I don’t think they have a shot until you start talking about including Baez, Almora, and Soler.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Barney would fit well into Detroits lineup (as a piece of the trade) as they are looking for a defensive minded 2B. …. Also, you or myself has no idea what Detroit’s plans are or the Cubs plans are and what each would be looking for, that is why i said (others including Barney).

      Detroit already has Omar Infante: a slick fielding, poor hitting 2Bman. He’s not quite as good with the glove as Barney, but Infante is not quite as bad with the bat. Supposedly the Tigers are interesting in upgrading at 2nd: but they want a bat.

      As for Detroit’s plans, well, at least where Castellanos is concerned, they have been very upfront. He’s their 3BMan of the near future. Miggy is holding the fort before he goes back to 1B or DH.

      Now, Detroit might be lying. However, it strains credulity to think that people have not been seeing what it would take to pry Castellanos from the Tigers. Some people think that the Cubs tried to get him for Garza last winter, although that never has gotten any substantiation. There was a lot of buzz about teams asking after him at the trade deadline, as the Tigers did have a few holes that they needed filling: but nothing more than buzz. That strongly suggests that the Tigers are quite serious about what they are saying.

  • http://facebook william

    i think ryan sweeny would be a nice piece in the outfield for cubs

  • http://facebook william

    4th outfielder for sweeny

  • Jamess

    I feel that all the recent signings might lead to a overtrade for a top 50 prospect. What I mean about that is there will be a lot of teams looking at a guy like Wil Myers,Trevor Bauer, and etc. To compete you almost have to give away more in the short term then other teams would. I wouldn’t be suprised if the Cubs signed to more starters and might trade away Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood. For Theo plan to work you need another young impact player like Anthony Rizzo to emerge in 2013.

  • Byron Browne

    If the Cubs trade for some players or sign any free agents, could the Cubs at least get someone that will play when the Cubs contend again? Enough of this “sign so-and-so, and flip him in July…”

    • Pat

      Yes, please. Can we add someone who is supposed to be a part of the future?

    • Ted

      I *hope* Byron that it’s not exactly like that. I think the idea (as much as the chatter around here seems to point otherwise) is to build the best team we can without tying our hands too much in the long run. That usually means high-risk/reward types because (a) they’re willing to sign short deals and (b) they could turn out to work really well.

      We could sign a smattering of players who are just “O.K.” and that wouldn’t require tying our hands in the long run, when we hope to be perennial contenders. But odds are against us that we win with them *or* that they can be traded for valuable pieces if we’re not winners. These high-risk/reward types, if things fall with impossible perfection, could lead to a good team. But at least if not we will have the option of turning this offseason into a few more prospects in July when teams want the one or two players who happened to work out.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        “I think the idea (as much as the chatter around here seems to point otherwise) is to build the best team we can without tying our hands too much in the long run. That usually means high-risk/reward types because (a) they’re willing to sign short deals and (b) they could turn out to work really well.”

        Ultimately, that’s what I think, too.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Random: But I can’t wait to see what Reggie Golden has to offer if he’s healthy this up coming season. He’s had some tough luck with the injuries and he is super athletic and has a ton of raw talent. Where do you guys think he’ll start off the season? Low-A? High-A?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Kane County.

      Or a stint in extended spring training, and then Kane County.

  • daveyrosello

    I still believe the Royals will be willing to trade one of Myers, Moustakas or Gordon in order to get some starting pitching. If so, I sure hope Theo has the Royals on his speed dial at the meetings. Otherwise, its Castellanos, Olt or bust for the Cubs?

  • nkniacc13

    they have said they are willing to trade myers for a SP but the Cubs don’t have one that the Royals would take and the cubs trade because nobody knows if garza is healthy

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Many people view Myers as the kind of piece that you trade for a guy like Price, not for a guy like Garza.

      • Dr. Percival Cox

        If you believe reports, though, they’ve considered trading him for both Lester and Shields. Garza — if healthy, and there’s the rub — would seem a better choice than either.

        • jt

          By what metric do you measure Garza to be more valuable than either Lester or Shields?

      • Ted

        Great prospect or not, I have a hard time believing the Rays would trade the 2012 Cy Young winner for someone without any major league experience. I don’t know the Royals system too well, but if they’re uncomfortable trading more than one good piece it may not be farfetched to think they’d rather trade Myers for a package including a Garza-type pitcher than trade Myers and a package for a Price-type pitcher. (To be sure they’d want Garza-type + nearly-major league ready top 100 pitching prospect which makes us a poor match.)

      • Lou

        I’d rather see Garza for Lorenzo Cain.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Not really interested in Cain.

      • joking

        I agree especially with Garza being all question marks right now. I 99.9% dont see garza being dealt before the end of the trade deadline just because of his health issues. IF they do we will get a shittier package because of it and I dont think THEO and CO will do that. We have limited amounts of MLB talent, they have to be very wise and selective and heavily review any trade. We are not in a position where we have a shot at a world series and its 10 minutes away from the trade deadline and we have to give in. Trust me teams will want Garza at the trade deadline. Also, I would hope they wouldn’t deal Marmol. I think as stated before by others he would be a good 8th inning guy outta the pen with less pressure than coming in to close a game. Plus Marmol wants to increase his value as well and go to a contending team so he will actually put forth an effort this season I believe. At the other end, I do believe Soriano will be dealt if he will waive his rights and the cubs will take on a big chunk of his salary which I believe they will. They have the opportunity to do so. I would rather have Hellickson than Shields due to his age and his ceiling. Get some of his mechanics hammered out and I believe he can be a solid number 3 pitcher for the cubs behind garza and shark. Add in a quality SP like mccarthy and we have a pretty good SP lineup I believe.

        Garza
        Shark
        Hellickson
        Feldman
        Wood

        Put Baker in the pen, leverage him to prove worthy and for any injuries which may take place. Flip Feldman, Garza and Marmol at trade deadline for some very good MLB ready prospects in 2014. Get creative next offseason and 2014 could look like a promising path to rebuilding the cubs.

        Then rebuild a new stadium.:)

        • joking

          Sorry*

          Garza
          Shark
          Hellickson/Mccarthy
          Feldman
          Wood

  • Joker

    I live in a suburb of Nashville and you wouldn’t know the meetings are taking place here. Nothing has been mentioned that I’ve seen. I assume they are occurring at the Opryland Hotel, but who knows? I would love to take a day to hang out to see what I can see, but the lobbies (yes, plural) of that place probably lead to a wrong place/wrong time scenario for actually running into someone. Still…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, Opryland.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    If Rockies are not going to trade CF Fowler then what would they want for us to pry loose Eric Young Jr. for our lead-off CF spot ? I’d be willing to let a Jeff Russell or a Matt Szczur go for him.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    If Jeff Rutledge is available for 3B from the Rockies then I’m talking a Mc Nutt , Lake , & Barney deal.

    • DarthHater

      You mean Josh Rutledge, right? The only Jeff I can find is a Cubs prospect from the 1980s.

  • Bill

    What if they traded Shark, instead of Garza? What else would the Cubs need to give up for Myers?

    • daveyrosello

      Wrong question. How about, would either team do a Ninja for Moustakas trade? Maybe mix in a couple of disappointing-of-late prospects to make it interesting. Ninja + BJax for Moustakas and Montgomery.

      I keep beating this horse, because the Cubs really REALLY need a 3B, and the Royals seem like the best possibility to solve it. As promising as Myers’ bat looks, he doesn’t solve the Cubs 3B problem. Moustakas (or Gordon) does.

  • PeteG

    Myers seems to strikeout a lot. Anyone else see that as a problem?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s always bothered me in terms of him being a tip-top prospect, but the prospect-niks haven’t expressed too much concern.

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