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I didn’t expect today to be even more quiet than yesterday (which was more quiet than Monday), but so it was …

  • The Angels have agreed to sign Joe Blanton for two years and $15 million (plus a club optionaccording to Jon Heyman, which really does make the Scott Baker and Scott Feldman deals look solid. Blanton’s a decent back-end option (his peripherals are much better than his ERA), but I’d rather have both of the Scotts for the same total commitment (for one year). The Blanton signing has a few effects – it takes the Angels out of the starting pitching market, probably, and it sets the bar a tick higher for the Shaun Marcum’s and Brandon McCarthy’s of the market. I’m now pretty confident that each will get three years, and may be out of the Cubs’ range now.
  • I tweeted about it earlier, and it’s more of a curiosity than anything necessarily connected to the Cubs: haven’t heard a peep about Edwin Jackson this entire week. I’m sure he’s waiting on the top of the market (Zack Greinke) to settle before setting about getting a deal done, but it’s interesting that it’s so quiet.
  • The Angels signed lefty reliever Sean Burnett to a reasonable two-year, $8 million deal with a club option for $4.5 million tacked on to the end. He was dominant in 2012, and has been quite good for a long time running, so maybe – for example – Jason Grilli’s deal, wherever he signs, won’t be so outrageous.
  • Jed Hoyer told reporters that the Cubs were in on Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez, but that they weren’t willing to outbid other suitors because they aren’t the final piece of the puzzle, so to speak. Kevin Youkilis is not really an option, and the Cubs (thankfully?) don’t seem very enthused by either Yuniesky Betancourt or Casey McGehee.
  • The Cubs do have some free agent offers out there, but they don’t have a timetable on responses. And obviously they aren’t going to tell us the names (though it’s a fair bet that reliever Jason Grilli is one of them).
  • Bruce Levine has mentioned Kyle Farnsworth‘s name as possible bullpen candidate for the Cubs. I suppose he’s a nice nostalgic, low-cost option, but I’m not sure – at 37 and coming off a down-ish year – whether he’s a guy you sign to be a guaranteed arm in the middle of the pen. Then again, given the age and the down-ish year, you can understand why the Cubs might inquire about his demands.
  • As for the Rule 5 Draft tomorrow, Bruce Levine says the Cubs are prioritizing pitching with their number two pick (there are a number of intriguing MLB-ready relief arms, as well as some young, high-upside types). Carrie Muskat says the Cubs are fielding offers for the slot. It’s one of the deeper/better Rule 5 pools in recent memory, so you could understand a team looking to trade up, but don’t get your hopes up – the Cubs aren’t going to get a top (or even great) prospect in exchange for their pick. Maybe a fringy guy that they don’t have to keep on the 25-man all year (as opposed to a fringy guy they’d take with their pick who they *would* have to keep on the roster all year). Luke previewed the Rule 5 Draft earlier today.
  • Believe in 2015

    I hope that we don’t have to see Valbuena in the starting lineup on opening day in 2013.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It is a distinct possibility.

    • DarthHater

      You won’t have to see that. Just close your eyes.

    • fortyonenorth

      Keppinger may not be a “final piece” but at this rate, the Cubs will be lucky to even end up with a temporary piece. Golly Jed, $12 mil over 3 years? What are you looking to pay, league minimum?

  • FFP

    “No data” IS data.

  • cRAaZYHORSE

    Wow not the final piece of a puzzle- seems like Jed and Theo really want to back the Cubs into a corner and force a resigning of non tendered Ian Stewart. sound like ego will prevent the Cubs from signing a 3b- and pivot a move Stewart was the only choice.

    • DarthHater

      Yea, I’m sure they wake up each morning morning, thinking: “I sure hope I can back my team into a corner today…”

      • Believe in 2015

        +1

      • MichiganGoat

        It’s a Trap

  • cRAaZYHORSE

    No its because they might feel that Ian Stewart is still the best choice going forward ,and last year was fluke – and the year prior well… was a fluke. Listen if The Front office want to give the job to Stewart and he fails, Will little theo than drop Ian once and for all. I will admit if Ian hit 25hr with a 265 average – i will say sorry and move on. but if he is a DL problem child . When do we actually look for a 3b or create a trade. – Almost sounds as if little Theo wants a bad season. 13 million for Kep at 3years not bad. bet you can trade that contract with ease

  • Believe in 2015

    Say hello to Ryan Dempster again. Cubs are in talks with his agent now!

  • Tennessee Cub

    I really think the cubs are hoping Chase headley don’t sign an extension and becomes a free agent next year. Then, you go all in on him. Just by your time guys

  • nkniacc13

    Was the last time the cubs traded their Rule 5 pick when the drafted Hamliton? I know they weren’t going to make a pick and had already agreed to the deal whatever it was.

  • whiteflag

    I’m hoping that the case. I love to have him on the team.

  • Matty Ice

    It’s looking more and more like at least 2015 to be competitive. And that assumes some of the prospects become stars. I hope my dad who has been a diehard cubs fan for sixty years is still here to see it.

    • Dumpgobbler

      2015 sounds about right. We have to remember though, this organization was absolutely void when Theo and company got here. Big time void. These guys have done a great job adding impact minor leaguers. It will take time to get on the right path, but im certain these are the guys to do it.

  • Itzscott

    Dempster? Please Nooooooooo!

    I haven’t gotten over being completely disgusted with what he pulled last trade deadline, how his antics screwed the Cubs out of someone better than they ended up getting and how he lied to Cub fans.

  • fromthemitten

    I’d love to see the return of Farnsworth. Hopefully he’s matured from his hard partying bro days, and if not at least he’d come in handy in case they get into a bench clearing brawl

  • cubsklm

    Please no more former Cub retreads. Dempster totally pissed me off during the last trade deadline. No point in spending any money on Farnsworth, if you don’t spend money on an everyday 3rd baseman.

    I guess I am resigned to another 90 plus loss season to get another top draft choice.
    Not one move at the winter meetings, unbelievable.

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