It’s the final day of the Winter Meetings, which is usually among the more quiet days (though last year at this time, the Angels were signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson). The Rule 5 Draft is coming up at 9am CT, but there are some rumor bits to cover from the overnight period, particularly in light of the Cubs’ move in the outfield …
- On the Nate Schierholtz signing, it is a reasonable assumption that the Cubs are looking at him as a nominal starter in right field (as part of a platoon), but both Paul Sullivan and Gordon Wittenmyer hear that the Cubs might not be done shopping in the outfield. Imagine that: a $2.25 million signing isn’t going to block the Cubs from continuing to see what’s available in the outfield …
- Indeed, here’s a prediction for you on the outfield, and how things will probably play out: the Cubs will say publicly that Schierholtz is expected to be the starter in right field. Meanwhile, they will wait out the outfield market, hanging around the periphery, ready to pounce in late January/early February if any quality options are still hanging around looking for a job, and get desperate on a short-term deal.
- Until then, though, yes, you’re going to hear about Schierholtz being the starter in right field. It turns out that he was a highly-desirable free agent – the Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles, and Mets all had interest – and there are rumors out there that the Rays made an even better bid for Schierholtz than did the Cubs. If true, it’s all the more reason to expect the Cubs to say that he’s expected to be their starting right fielder – most, if not all, of those other teams were likely looking at him as a bench bat.
- On that Bruce Levine-led rumor about the Cubs talking to Ryan Dempster last night, each of Patrick Mooney, Paul Sullivan, and Gordon Wittenmyer quickly poo-poo’d it, with the latter saying the meetings have been a mere courtesy, and that reports of negotiations “grossly misrepresent” the nature of the meetings.
- The Cubs have apparently told Carlos Marmol that he will open the season as the team’s closer (eh – I still say if the right deal comes along, they won’t wait), but cautioned him that he should be prepared to be shopped at the trade deadline.
- Paul Sullivan hears that Mark Reynolds is still on the Cubs’ radar at third base after they missed out on Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez yesterday. He’s rumored to be looking for a deal comparable to what he made last year ($7.5 million). Of course, given the state of the third base market, he might actually somehow top that. (Then again, a number of teams might not believe he can play third base anymore.)
- Lefty starter John Lannan, who feels like a good target for the Cubs, has received interest from upwards of 11 teams.
- Ken Rosenthal offers the latest on that possible huge trade involving Justin Upton, Asdrubal Cabrera, the Diamondbacks, the Indians, and the Rangers. Relatedly, if the Rangers land Upton, they’ll probably go nuts for Zack Greinke, which would then push Josh Hamilton to sign – reportedly – with Seattle. In other words, a big trade like this could set a huge number of wheels in motion.