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ESPNChicago’s Bruce Levine is down in Nashville for the Winter Meetings, but that didn’t stop him from doing his weekly chat (good on you, Bruce). Among Bruce’s thoughts …

  • The Cubs are looking for either a center fielder or a right fielder, and aren’t limiting themselves to one or the other, specifically. The questioner asked about Jacoby Ellsbury, which Bruce said he didn’t have a good handle on, but I can take care of that one: the Cubs aren’t trading for Jacoby Ellsbury, who is a free agent after 2013. Maybe they consider spending on him as a free agent, but trading for him now – for a steep premium in prospects – wouldn’t make too much sense. Oh, also: why would the Red Sox, who are clearly looking to compete in 2013, trade him?
  • Bruce reiterates, in the context of a deal with the Rangers for Mike Olt, that teams aren’t going to want to consider Matt Garza in a trade until they see him throw in Spring Training.
  • Bruce doubts that Carlos Marmol will be with the Cubs on Opening Day. I very much agree – the Cubs have set that ball into motion, and there should be a number of teams willing to take him on if the Cubs eat a few million.
  • Brian Wilson wouldn’t be a good gamble as someone to count on in a prominent role in the bullpen, coming off a second Tommy John surgery.
  • Nate McLouth could be a short-term idea in the outfield. (He was decent in 55 games with Baltimore last year, but, before that, he was absolutely, nightmarishly bad for two and a half straight years.)
  • The Cubs have had one conversation with Michael Bourn’s agent, but the question is whether they’re willing to commit four or five years to such a player. He’s an obvious improvement.
  • Bruce doesn’t believe Yunel Escobar is an upgrade at third base (uh, what? not that I’m pushing for him, but he’d be an ENORMOUS upgrade over what was there last year), and obviously has the history of immaturity issues.
  • If the Cubs get a starting pitcher this week, it will probably be a “depth” type of starter rather than a “top” type of starter.
  • The Cubs and Alfonso Soriano will “work together” on trying to get a trade put together, but it’s tough because of his no-trade rights. A lot of places he doesn’t want to go.
  • It’s unclear whether the Cubs will re-sign reliever Jaye Chapman.
  • Bruce doesn’t seem to like John Lannan.
  • The Cubs still have interest in reliever Jason Grilli, but nothing is close to getting done.
  • Bruce teases a possible down-the-road Matt Garza-Wil Myers swap, but says that hasn’t actually ever been discussed.
  • There doesn’t appear to be a match between the Angels and Cubs on a Carlos Marmol trade now.
  • Myles

    Great work.

    As always, why go anywhere else for Cubs news?

  • Justin

    So the Diamonbacks are discussing a Upton for Lee swap? Come on offer Garza for Upton then is it’s going to be that easy!!!!!! That is a horrible trade for D-Backs

  • blublud

    I would only trade for ellsbury if he was willing to sign an extension. But then, if he was willing to sign an extension, then he would be willing to sign next year, and it wouldn’t cost us any prospects.

  • blublud

    Its looking like Hamilton is returning to the Rangers.

  • CubFan Paul

    what do the Yanks want for Granderson?

    • blublud

      I think not completing the trade for Granerson was Hendry biggest failure. He had Granderson all but sealed and wouldn’t pull the trigger. I would pay for Granderson, even a top prospect, but once again, only if he signs an extension

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Wasn’t Castro the centerpiece for the proposed Granderson trade … ?

        (Yes, is the answer.)

        • blublud

          I think I would have pulled the trigger on that one. I might be a little hesitant now, but I would still consider it. But then, I would have.

        • #1lahairfan

          Thank goodness we did not trade castro

      • CubFan Paul

        I would trade for him now to make him July trade bait. Or at least get supplemental picks June 2014

        • bbmoney

          Why do you think the prosepects you get in July/draft pick you get in 2014 is any better than what you’d have to give up?

          That doesn’t really make much sense.

          I like Granderson, but he’s a guy who could regress quite quickly and now has kind of an old man’s game since he doesn’t use his speed much anymore and is a dead pull hitter (Yankee stadium is huge for him with it’s short porch). I just don’t see him as a fit for the Cubs or any team that likely won’t compete in 2013

          But hey, what do I know. Great character guy by all accounts.

          • bbmoney

            oh, and you’d really want to stick him in a corner. He’s not much of a CFer anymore.

            • blublud

              Low average, but I don’t see his power leaving anytime soon.

  • Matty V

    No thank you on McLouth. I’m a bigger believer in his 2 1/2 year awfulness than his 55 games of decentness.

  • Believe in 2015

    The Cubs should just give Soriano a list of all 29 teams and tell him to circle the places he would be willing to go.

    • Carne Harris

      That didn’t work out too well with Dempster.

  • http://www.sportsdanny.com Dan

    So let the rumors begin that Garza is being swapped for Myers…I’m certain that a certain Cubbie Rumors sight will gabe about how great Bruce Levine is – Blah, Blah, Blah

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

    Jesse Rogers@ESPNChiCubs
    Sveum says Brett Jackson “overhauled his swing” this fall. Totally diff..hoping results are too.

    Lets hope Jackson has the same success Rizzo had!

    • Carne Harris

      Amen to that. Such a bad contact rate though I’m gonna have to see it to believe it.

    • Marcel91

      I;m pretty sure he will. For all the crap he gets about the strikeouts he is a good player with exceptional makeup and will work to make adjustments. I’m still pretty high on him. Hopefully he’s up by midseason and gives us the same power, speed, defense he did before plus a decreased strikeout rate. There you have a high OPS, above average defensive player at a premium position, he can hit .250 and still be highly productive.

  • MacPete

    Phillies trying to deal Vance Worley and might include Trevor May. Maybe for Soriano?

    • Justin

      That would be nice for the Cubs, but a huge overpay for the Phillies.

  • Noah

    My issue with Bruce Levine is that his analysis is pretty amateurish. For example, Matt Garza alone will not come close to netting Wil Myers. I think he’s great at using his sources to hear what is actually happening or being discussed, but he is poor at turning that into meaningful analysis. And I think his strength, getting that news, is diminished by a front office that is much more tight lipped than the Hendry front office.

    I’ve just stopped tuning in for Levine’s chats because I find them annoying and unhelpful.

  • The Dude Abides

    Victorino goes to the BOSOX

    • Spencer

      thank goodness.

      • Justin

        I’m with you on that. I did not want Victorino. Bourn is the best fit for the Cubs and have th money to spend on him. Just give him a front loaded contract so you have the money later to spend

        • Marcel91

          Bourn is a fit at 2-3 years but he is looking for 5 and in that I say no thanks to him either.

        • Noah

          And two years from now when Bourn loses a couple of steps and is the a fourth outfielder (because speed is his only above average skill), then everyone complains about the contract the Cubs gave them.

          This isn’t to say the Cubs shouldn’t spend. This is just to say that the free agents on the market are vastly flawed. Hamilton has tons of injury concerns and should probably be playing LF on an everyday basis at this point. B.J. Upton has significant concerns regarding his approach. As stated above, once Michael Bourn loses a step or two his value goes through the floor. Nick Swisher offensively has “old man skills” and is aging. Etc. etc.

          It’s not like the Cubs are missing out on Ryan Braun or Matt Kemp if they don’t sign any of these guys. The Cubs should be in on both Bourn and Swisher, but should have clear ceilings regarding number of years and dollars they are willing to invest.

    • Kyle

      If we come out of this offseason without a legit OFer added, I declare “tank.” There wasn’t any one of them that I thought was a must-have, but you have to get one when you have a ton of money, a gaping hole, an abundance on the market, and even the GM says there’s no point at that position in worrying about blocking prospects who are years away,

      • Internet Random

        If we come out of this offseason without a legit OFer added, I declare “tank.”

        And by “tank” you mean “thumb war”.

        • Kyle

          Thumb war with Theo for the future of the Cubs.

          I’ve been on a little bit of a detente since he sort of tried to improve the bullpen (or Jed did, or whoever). But if we dump Marmol, it’s barely any gain at all, and if we leave CF unplugged (or move DeJesus there and leave RF to the bargain basement), then the hostilities recommence.

      • Jeremy

        As of now, I’m pretty sure were shooting for 66 wins next season.

  • Spencer

    Nashville has to be a pretty fun place to be right now. I’ve heard it’s fun anyway, but now it’s got execs from all 30 teams there, not to mention all the media personnel and beat writers for all those teams, and probably lots of former players too. Seriously fun times.

  • #1lahairfan

    I think that the cubs will definitely bring back Chapman.

    He has a great change up.

    Why not consider stretching him out into a starter.

    Hey, Luke at what level did Chapman become a RP ?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Rookie balls. He’s been a primary reliever for almost his entire career.

  • rbreeze

    Shane Victorino going to BoSox!

    • Ben

      Seems like an overpay by the BoSox. Fine by me.

      With Hamilton seemingly headed back to TX, that leaves Bourne with the Cubs, Phillies, and M’s. Should be interesting to see what happens next.

      • Noah

        Agreed on Victorino being an overpay.

        I’d honestly rather have the Cubs in on Swisher than Bourn, unless Bourn ends up being a huge bargain. Swisher can move to LF in a couple of years when Soriano is gone and he might not be able to handle RF anymore, and should still be a decent offensive force due to his on base skills. Once Bourn slows at all, he’s a 4th OF.

  • rbreeze

    I hope I’m wrong but I think the Cubs won’t accomplish much this week besides setting up future moves. Quiet winter meetings for the Cubs.

    • Marcel91

      It’s been pretty quiet for everyone. Believe it or not Cubs have made more moves than most teams in baseball this offseason.

  • Jacob

    Brett,

    Just thought I’d let you know that I’m doing a semester project, for my logic class, where I have to dissect articles off the internet to find arguments and fallacies. Just wanted to let you know that it is impossible for me to find any fallacies in your work… So congrats on that haha. It’s making my project much harder though lol.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Wow – thanks. I’d say that I’m sure you could find a fallacy or two if you dug hard enough … but I don’t want to encourage that.

      • Jacob

        Well sometimes it’s a good thing to use fallacy, or so our professor said, so maybe there are a few that were necessary.. Hopefully there is, because I really need them for this project lol.

  • B_Scwared

    I’m still expecting a Bourjos Marmol deal to come together.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’d be interested, but even if the Cubs eat $5 or $6 million, I don’t think Marmol nets you Bourjos.

      • CityCub

        What type of prospect/ cash considerations makes that possible?

    • CityCub

      I like the sound of that, but what’s the actual chance of something like that happening?

  • dan

    This may sound bad but with the outfielders that are out there would it be that bad to bring back Reed Johnson. At least you know what you have he will give you everything he has and maybe we can flip him again in June and maybe our younger guys might be ready by then.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Reed is a fine 4th/5th outfielder. He is just not a starter. (He’s also about to turn 36.)

  • RebuildMe

    Brett,

    Gerardo Parra is interesting. But I have not clue what he would cost in terms of value. Care to shed some light on that?

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