Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

The Winter Meetings are underway, and the rumors are starting to bubble …

  • It’s a natch, but the Justin Upton rumors have started to swirl again, with Buster Olney noting that the Diamondbacks have already been aggressive in Nashville, and other executives saying they expect Upton to be dealt.
  • Speaking of which, the Rangers still want to figure out a way to pick up Upton, as well as another starting pitcher. If the Rangers can pick up a big-time starter, they could look to move Derek Holland, as I noted last night – but they could do so as part of a larger move to get a guy like Upton. I doubt the Cubs could be of assistance there.

  • According to WEEI, the Red Sox are closing in on a three-year deal with Mike Napoli, who is expected to play first base primarily. The signing is notable for a variety of reasons, if it goes through, because Napoli had been seeking a four-year deal, while teams would only go to three years. If he has to settle for three years, it could bode well for teams looking at other free agents wanting deals on the longer end of the spectrum – because those free agents, too, may have to settle for shorter deals. Obviously the Cubs are looking almost exclusively at shorter term deals. It’ll be interesting to see how much money Napoli gets, and whether it kicks the free agent market off a bit. (Fast and furious: Jon Heyman says Napoli is getting three years and $39 million, which seems about right on the shorter, three-year deal.)
  • It sounds like Alex Rodriguez has a very serious hip problem, dealt with it much of last year, and is going to require surgery in January. That’ll force him to miss a portion of the 2013 season, and, with Derek Jeter on the mend, the Yanks’ left side of the infield could be in serious trouble. It’s a bit of a bummer that the Yankees could become desperate for help at third base, because the Cubs can’t offer much help there (of course, if they could, they’d be helping themselves, or would be dealing with any of the other 15 teams that need an upgrade at third base). Perhaps, though, the loss of ARod will push the Yankees to seek offensive upgrades elsewhere (not that ARod’s bat was all that impressive last year)? Alfonso Soriano, maybe? The Yanks might be looking that way of Nick Swisher goes elsewhere, anyway. Of course, maybe now the Yanks just feel more incentivized to pay Swisher whatever he wants.
  • Maybe the issue pushes the Yankees into the Jeff Keppinger sweepstakes? The Cubs have previously been attached.
  • And speaking of Soriano, the Braves appear to have a preference for the trade market in left field, rather than the free agent market. That would bring Alfonso Soriano squarely into play, particularly given the teams’ alignment in abilities and needs: the Braves have surplus young pitching, the Cubs need it. The Cubs have money they can eat on Soriano’s contract, the Braves don’t have tons of spare cash.

  • The Nationals may be shopping Danny Espinosa and Michael Morse for pitching.
  • Rich Harden and Brandon Webb are still trying to make it back to the bigs. Each will probably look for a minor league deal and a Spring Training invite with the right team, and I’m sure the Cubs will consider guys like that.
  • Jon Heyman says the Tigers initially offered Anibal Sanchez four years and $48 million, which his agent term “an insult.” Yeah, I’d say so.
  • Japanese prospect Shohei Otani, in whom the Cubs would probably have some interest, may now be leaning toward staying in Japan.
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