Things are starting to get cold around the Midwest, and the Lukewarm Stove smokes on …

  • With the Dodgers landing Zack Greinke this weekend, together with locking down Hyun-Jin Ryu, they’ve got upwards of seven capable starting pitchers (naturally), so they’ll probably be shopping back-end guys like Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang. If it is, indeed, Capuano and Harang that the Dodgers move, I’m not sure I see the value there for the Cubs, unless the Dodgers are looking only to unload salary. It rarely makes sense to try and pick up flippable pieces by trading prospects for them in the first place. And, as far as the Cubs’ future goes, it would be hard to characterize a Capuano or a Harang as anything other than a flippable asset.
  • Speaking of the Ryu signing, he gets six years and $36 million (with another $6 million in incentives). Together with his posting fee, it’s a total commitment of just over $60 million for six years of control. A big risk, sure, but not an overly terrifying one (especially not for the Dodgers). The Cubs are widely believed to have come up second for him (as they did with Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes, incidentally), so it will be interesting to see how he performs long-term.
  • There was a spurious rumor on Sunday, spurred I believe by a Jim Duquette tweet, that the Dodgers could look to trade Ryu after signing him, which didn’t make much sense for a number of reasons, including two procedural ones: (1) players who were just signed cannot be traded until June; and (2) the receiving team couldn’t kick in extra cash to cover the posting fee (a team can only include a portion of the cash owed to players they are trading), so, either the trading team would have to send along players on good contracts but STILL send along a bunch of cash, or the Dodgers would have to eat that $25.7 million posting fee in exchange for the privilege of trading a guy on a reasonable 6/$36M contract. It just doesn’t make any sense, and finding a match in trade is almost impossible. (For example, try to concoct a trade with the Cubs that makes any sense whatsoever to both teams.)
  • Buster Olney says that, with Ryu and Greinke in the fold, the Dodgers are out of the starting market. I’ll believe that when I see it, but it could make Anibal Sanchez just the tiniest bit more attainable. I still doubt the Cubs pursue him, and I still wish they would, given his age (28) and ability (4.4 WAR in 2011, 3.8 WAR in 2012). The Cubs want long-term assets, right? Well, Sanchez could be a quality pitcher for the Cubs for the next four or five years, which would hopefully easy fall within their upcoming window of competitiveness.
  • Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Rangers could try to re-sign Josh Hamilton AND trade for Justin Upton. That would certainly make Michael Bourn happy, as it would send two of his outfield competitors to a team he wasn’t really connected to in the first place. It would also make Nelson Cruz, a free agent after 2013, available in trade. He’s not a real fit for the Cubs, but it could further disrupt the free agent market in the outfield (and would give teams an alternative to Alfonso Soriano in trade, for example). Rosenthal says that the Upton possibility remains the most likely, which, assuming the Rangers didn’t actually land both Upton and Hamilton, would be the best outcome for teams like the Cubs who are hoping to land an outfielder on the cheap later in the offseason (because Hamilton’s presence on the market pushes every other outfielder down a slot).
  • Speaking of that outfield market, and with Soriano implications, Matt Gelb says the Phillies are expecting to add a corner outfield bat like Hamilton, Cody Ross, or Nick Swisher.
  • The Mets are offering R.A. Dickey, who is under contract for 2013 at just $5 million, a two year, $20 million extension. He wants two years and $26 million. How is this not getting done? Given that Dickey just won the Cy Young, and, while he’s 38, he’s got a skill set that could last into his early 40s. In other words, I think this gets done, and Dickey does not impact the free agent starting pitcher market by way of trade (which is why I haven’t talked about him too much around here).
  • Mark Reynolds signed with the Indians for one year and $6 million (plus $1.5 million in incentives), where he’ll be playing first base and DH’ing. That’s a fine fit for Reynolds. I think the Cubs did fine at third base, bringing back Ian Stewart for $2 million (plus $500K in incentives).
  • Marcel91

    Why are people here so dead set on Bourn? I give him 2 years before he’s Juan Pierre 1.5. Speedy center fielders with no power at age 30 should not command the money he’s asking for. Doesn’t surprise me at all that no one wants to give him a long term deal. Atlanta was smart was taking that same money and getting Upton who at least has some upside left and won’t be useless when he speed deteriorates. I HOPE we don’t sign Bourn, unless he’s willing to take a 2yr deal, then we can talk.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      I’m with you, Marcel91! I’ve said this before, but if he signs for 5 years, that team/those fans will probably be happy for 2-3 yrs and ready to dump him for 2-3 years!

    • Kyle

      I wouldn’t say I’m “dead set.” It’s not even my first choice for the remainder of the offseason.

      But the aging issue is a little overblown. Speedy outfielders with no infield innings on their legs don’t have that terrible of an aging curve.

  • mudge

    Some smart organization will take take a dozen young pitchers with decent control and get them on throwing the R A Dickey hard knuckleball. So far it’s been seen as an anomaly. So was the slider at one time. Cubs should get ahead of the curve on this one.

  • 2much2say

    Wow a lot of fans jumping off the Jackson bus.
    If the Cubs aren’t signing FA OF types then I would think Jackson is still the future CF’r

    • Brett

      Signing an OF would have no meaningful impact on Jackson – neither Soriano nor DeJesus is here for the long term. Plenty of spots and plenty of time for Jackson if he emerges.

    • King Jeff

      I get the feeling that Jackson’s future is whatever he makes of it. He’s obviously a very talented player, who has a major hole in his game. If he fixes it, he’s going to have a nice career, if he can’t, then he might have a nice career as a pinch hitter/4th outfielder, or play in Japan.

  • rbreeze

    I like what the Cubs are doing now and I’m willing to wait a few more years to see what Theo and Jed create. I was ready to jump ship after the year with Quade. All I want is good baseball and I’ll give the FO a few more years to turn this ship around. I’ve been a fan since 1967 so I can give them a couple more. I’ve been waiting years for this time. I want a farm system like Boston or the Yankees. Develop your own stars and fill in the blanks with quality free agent signings.
    Money doesn’t solve all of our problems. I say spend it when the team is ready to be strengthened with the right trades and the right free agents. Sanchez would be a fine addition but I am sure that he and his agent are waiting for that extra year or two from all teams they are talking too. We don’t want or need another Soriano type contract. Hamilton doesn’t want to play day baseball. Bourn on a short deal maybe.
    We are hamstrung right now in making any major deal unless it involves Soriano or Marmol.