I reckon most folks at the Winter Meetings are resting comfortably at this early hour, but there were a few overnight bits from the Meetings on which to update you as the day gets rolling …
- So, we know that Yunel Escobar was dealt to the Rays late last night, and the Cubs had interest earlier in Escobar. Well, it looks like there was one huge reason why the Cubs didn’t end up landing the infielder, and it had nothing to do with eye black. According to Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, Escobar recently told the Marlins that he was not willing to play third base, which is where he was slated to start for the Fish. That is what spurred the Marlins to shop him aggressively yesterday to try and get a deal done. If he wasn’t willing to play third base, then it’s pretty easy to see why the Cubs bowed out.
- Jed Hoyer offered a foot in the door and a foot out the door when asked about Carlos Marmol being the Cubs’ closer in 2013. “If Carlos is on the team, he will be our closer, and I anticipate Carlos being here,” Hoyer said, per CSN. “Anyone can be traded at any time. But as we put together our 2013 team, we’re certainly expecting him to be our closer.” Seems like when you hear a GM give his manager a vote of confidence just before axing him. In this instance, I think Hoyer is just trying to preserve trade leverage as best as he possibly can – if you go out telling the world that you expect to trade Marmol, you’re not going to be able to squeeze much value out of that trade.
- Jed also emphasized that the Cubs still have interest in non-tendered third baseman, Ian Stewart: “We’ve been really clear with him. He knows how we feel about him. He knows we want to bring him back.”
- Ken Rosenthal discusses a four-team trade that is percolating (presumably the same one Buster Olney referenced last night) between the Indians, Diamondbacks, Rays, and Rangers (the gist being that the Rangers want Justin Upton, the Diamondbacks want Asdrubal Cabrera, the Indians want young talent, and the Rays want to trade James Shields for, like, something). It’s very difficult to pull something like this off, because there are so many teams and so many parts involved (all it takes is one team saying, “well, we just want to wait a few more days to see what happens with this free agent,” and the deal falls apart because the other teams can’t wait that long. I kind of hope something big happens, though, even if it doesn’t involve the Cubs – big deals are fun and interesting.
- Reliever Jason Grilli, in whom the Cubs have interest, is heading to Nashville today. He wouldn’t be doing that, presumably, unless he was going to be meeting with some teams, and maybe even finalizing a deal. Something to keep an eye on.
- Phil Rogers appears to be taking up the banner for the folks who believe the Cubs intentionally want to lose as many games as possible in 2013, and who want to see as many empty seats at Wrigley Field next year as possible (to spur action, I guess – even though it would be short-term, ineffective action, and the lost revenue would hurt the organization long-term, but whatever). He includes this bizarre question and answer, which seems so surprising that I have to believe he’s omitted some important context:
When a reporter asked Hoyer if he would be disappointed with another 100-loss season, he tiptoed out to the edge of the ledge that he and Epstein live on while sacrificing short-term benefits for the best chance to win in future seasons.
“To answer that question differently,” Hoyer began, before pausing. “Because I certainly don’t want to answer that question directly.”
- If that’s how that question and answer played out, I mean, isn’t Hoyer essentially saying he doesn’t want to answer whether another 100-loss season would be a disappointment? If so, let me assist: the answer is an obvious and resounding, “of course.” From there, you can tap dance and say that wins and losses aren’t the only way to evaluate the progress of a young team and the health of the organization (which is all true). And this is coming from someone who could totally see the Cubs losing 100 again next year, and wouldn’t be brandishing any pitchforks if they did.