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A couple of Chicago’s media men offered their thoughts on the Cubs’ offseason, including what we might expect over the next couple months. Bruce Levine did so by way of his weekly chat, and Dave Kaplan did so by way of a wide-ranging update on where he hears things are, and expects they’ll be.

First, the highlights from Kaplan:

  • As an overview, Kap says the Cubs are “far from done” overhauling the roster this offseason. I’d add that, at this point last year, the Cubs still hadn’t made the Sean Marshall trade, hadn’t signed Paul Maholm, hadn’t unloaded Carlos Zambrano, and hadn’t dealt for Anthony Rizzo.
  • Surprisingly, Kap says he hears that the Cubs are looking for a full-time, veteran center fielder, because they’d prefer that David DeJesus stayed in right field. Keep in mind that the Nate Schierholtz signing is not official, so we’ve never actually heard from the men in charge, themselves, that they plan on making him a starter. It’s a fair presumption, given the Cubs’ needs and currently-constructed roster (and the fact that Schierholtz reportedly turned down better offers from better teams on which he would have definitely been on the bench), but we’ll have to see how the outfield shakes out. You want my guess? The Cubs would like to pick up a right-handed outfielder to use in a platoon, possibly with Schierholtz in right. They’d also like to pick up a center fielder (Not too many cheap free agent options out there … what about Coco Crisp? assuming the A’s just want salary relief), which would allow them to shop DeJesus. Then, the outfield is improved, all while being able to freely shop a quality outfielder in DeJesus.
  • The Cubs do want to add another starting pitcher, but they’re not going to spend big unless it’s a “definite upgrade.” For me, Anibal Sanchez falls into that category, but I sense that I’m going to have to stop banging that drum at some point.
  • The pitchers in which Kap hears the Cubs are interested are, among others: Shaun Marcum, Jair Jurrjens, John Lannan, Joe Saunders and Francisco Liriano. All are flawed, none are big-timers, but each could provide value to the Cubs. You can understand. Random, probably meaningless exercise? Let’s rank ‘em. I’ll go with, when considering expected contracts … Marcum, Lannan, Liriano, Saunders, Jurrjens.
  • Ryan Dempster is not a fit for the Cubs, certainly not at three years. Kap hears there haven’t been substantive conversations between the sides since this offseason started.
  • The Cubs would love to acquire third base prospect Mike Olt from the Rangers, but the price is huge. If Matt Garza hadn’t been hurt last year, the two sides might already have worked out a trade. The Cubs would like to land a right-handed hitting third base option, though, to spell Ian Stewart. (I should point out, again, that Luis Valbuena, although a lefty hitter, has a reverse career split – that is to say, he hits lefties slightly better than righties. If the Cubs can’t find a better option, why not just work that platoon? It doesn’t have to be a strict platoon, if he doesn’t actually hit lefties better, of course …)
  • The Cubs can probably find a suitor for Carlos Marmol eventually if they make the money right (Marmol is owed $9.8 million in 2013), but it won’t be the Yankees.

And among the thoughts from Levine’s chat:

  • Carlos Marmol’s trade value will only increase as the offseason goes on. As the reliever market continues to dry up, the teams that missed out might get more desperate.
  • The Cubs continue to look to build up starting pitcher “inventory,” which could include more injured/reclamation project types like Jair Jurrjens. Outside of that, they may have to turn to the trade market soon. (Seems like there are still quite a few options on the free agent market.)
  • If the Cubs are able to trade Alfonso Soriano, a deal for Michael Morse could make sense (this was Bruce just answering a question, rather than him actually believing Morse to the Cubs makes sense – it really doesn’t).
  • Bruce, like others right now, projects the Cubs to be working with a Nate Schierholtz/Dave Sappelt platoon in right field next year. The Cubs would like to add another outfielder, preferably a right-handed bat to give them some balance (would set up the possibility of two platoons). Delmon Young, though, may not have “the right makeup” for the Cubs. Also, in the outfield, a “Bourn type” doesn’t appear to be in the plans. Scott Hairston could make some sense.
  • If Matt Garza shows he is healthy in Spring Training, Bruce thinks he’ll be traded, rather than extended. The Rangers have always had interest in Garza, but he has to show he’s healthy before any real conversations can take place again.
  • The offer the Cubs were talking about with Ryan Dempster (who is back in serious negotiations with the Red Sox, according to Ken Rosenthal) was a one-year, $10 million deal. That would certainly be the kind of hometown discount that would make you interested in Dempster, regardless of the “fit” with the Cubs. But you’d want the ability to trade him, and that seems like an obvious sticking point.
  • The nature of the Cubs’ short-term offers, coupled with the 101 losses last year, aren’t exactly giving the Cubs their pick of the litter on the free agent market.
  • Justin Upton remains the kind of player (emphasis on “kind of player”) the Cubs would target in trade – young, under control, and very good.
  • ed

    Does anyone else think Dave Kaplan is a moron?

    • cubfanincardinalland

      I think Kaplan is outstanding. I hear he is a good dude also.

      • Huey Lewis

        I see why Kap is annoying to some. However, I like him very much. He is a genuine guy. His reporting is generally accurate. This administration is closed off as a rule (except two high profile occasions). Kap seems to know more than most. I’ve been fascinated to watch who is getting scoops now. Kap and Patrick Mooney seem to have the best info of the beat writers. Is that because they broadcast games on their networks? Maybe. Bruce Miles is behind a pay wall, so I have no idea about him. Sully remains very entertaining but not breaking a ton of news. Wittenmeyer (sp?) is more reactionary though pleasant. A graphic on Friday claimed the cubs had signed Ian Stewart (talk about illiterate writers–his twitter is scary, Stewart I mean) last year, not the actual trade they made. Jesse Rogers too new, but idiotically wrote about how the Ricketts could be in it only for the profits. Which must be why they hired that front office.

        Honestly? Bruce has become terrible. Or worse than before. He regularly speculates and then claims he never meant what he said. The way all Cubs bear writers slammed his report of Dempster signing spoke volumes. He is like Phil Rogers, except Phil doesn’t backtrack since he doesn’t chat. I can’t take Bruce seriously anymore. His little talk show can be fun, but he is embarrassing to ESPN and that takes work. I wish he’d retire. He was once much better. Seems like a great guy, not personal.

    • baldtaxguy

      Not at all. He does a very good job.

    • Ed

      I must be the only one who watches Chicago Tribune Live then, he comes up with some of the most outlandish trade scenarios that are completely one sided in the Cubs favor. Is he a good dude? From what I hear; yes. Are his reports fairly accuate; yes. While I agree that he maybe a good reporter (by that I mean have good sources), he is terrible in terms of being a realist and an impartial analyst. I like that he is a Cubs fan, but he is to unrealistic for me.

    • http://bleachernation Rclax3

      Kaplan is not only the worst in Chicago but in the whole nation. If you haven’t noticed he is always repeating what someone else has said. He’s an egghead who can’t come up with a good story on his own. I’ll always believe he sits at a desk trying to make things up to be able to put a story together. If I were the Cubs he would be banned.

  • Dr Rich

    No I like Kaplan

  • Dan

    speaking of morons ed, how about adding theo and jed to that list if they wont atleast try to add anibal sanchez this offseason? I mean come on he could be a staple in the cubs rotation for a long tme and eat up 200 innings a year that will help our BP emencely! 2 things I wanna point out if the cubs do trade Garza we need a staff leader i really dont see JS in that roll qute yet so i see Anibal feeling into that ace roll if Garza is indeed traded. Poiint number 2 if he is not traded you got a 1-2-3 of sanchez garza and samardja which almost any team outside of the dodgers, and phillies would kill to have. Not to mention if castro and rizzo kill the ball which they are capable of doing i see around 80 wins i know we look bad on paper but a monster year from castro and rizzo and adding another legit arm could help us atleast make it interesting this year

    • DocPeterWimsey

      If Sanchez signs elsewhere, then will you assume that the Cubs did not try?

      • hansman1982

        Clearly…last I heard, every big-time free agent is coming to the Cubs begging to be on the team and offering reasonable terms but the Cubs are saying “No, Tom wants to be able to travel around the world in his new yacht this summer so we are only going with the cheap guys.”

  • Dan

    BLUEBLUD read my post because it clearly says AMEN to what u just said about sanchez we need to go after him

  • Dan

    Doc, i can say with 200 percent certainty that if the cubs dont atleast offer sanchez a bear bottom line minimum of 4 years 90 million the didnt try its probably gonna take 5-6 years 100 something to land him which the cubs can easily and i mean EASILY afford right now with there payroll around 85 million so if they dont atleast make a legit effort to try to sign him they owe every cubs fan a public appologiy period. but if they dont sign him but atleast offer him a legit contract that he turns down atleast they tried but if they dont even offer anything or offer him a 2-3 year 40 million dollar deal either of those deserve the death penilty to jed and theo and i will be livid that they did not try

    • Eric

      You would pay $22.5 million a year for Anibal Sanchez? Wow……

    • DocPeterWimsey

      We’ll learn the winning offer only. For example, we have no idea what the Rangers offered Greinke, and thus do not have any real basis for saying whether they “tried” save that they didn’t try as hard as the Dodgers.

      Now, suppose that Sanchez signs for less that what you propose. Does this mean that the Cubs didn’t really try? After all, it almost necessarily follows from your logic that someone signed Sanchez without really trying. Or does it mean that 30 FOs (including the one that signs Sanchez) deem him worth less than you deem him?

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Oh, I should add that I’d like to see them sign Sanchez. I’m not sure that I want to see the contracts you are suggesting: I’ll be surprised if he gets that. (However, I’ve been surprised already this winter!)

    • TWC

      i can say with 200 percent certainty that if the cubs dont atleast offer sanchez a … minimum of 4 years 90 million … they owe every cubs fan a public appologiy … [and Theo and Jed] deserve the death penilty …

      That’s a brilliant send up of some of the more blue-in-the-face, hyperventilating commenters ’round here.

      Oh, that wasn’t satire? Derp.

      • gutshot5820

        Hahahaha you are a total Theo troll. Your typical quotation of a post followed by criticism. I’m so sick of you bashing other Cub fans that have a different opinion than yours. You are either on the Cubs payroll or demented.

        Being a fan is cool and a fan can have negative opinions of the FO, believe it or not.
        Fanboyism = TROLL. Just criticizing anyone that has a negative opinion of the FO regardless is just stupid..

        Ok I’m prepared for your quotation and further criticism.

        • TWC

          So you think that the suggestion that Annibal Sanchez should get $22.5m/year over 4 years (or some other, vague “legit effort”), else Theo and Jed should publicly apologize on their way to the gallows, deserves a reasonable, measured response?

        • Eric

          It clearly wasn’t criticizing someone who had a negative view of the front office. It was criticizing someone who thinks signing Sanchez to a 4 year/$90 million contract makes sense. Big difference. I’d love Sanchez on the team but at a contract like that? No f**cking way. People disagreeing with ridiculous hypothetical contracts does not equal front office fanboys.

        • baldtaxguy

          Reload and use your cute “Theo Troll” rant when it applies.

        • DarthHater

          a fan can have negative opinions of the FO, believe it or not.

          Lots of people at this site post opinions that are critical of the front office and that are articulated in a measured and reasonable manner that generates spirited debate without turning into ridicule and name-calling.

          Others post hyperbolic rants containing, for example, absurd suggestions that the FO is supposed to publicly announce all its negotiating positions and rhetoric about Theo and Jed being morons who deserve the death penalty. These are the comments that generate the responses to which you object. The tone of those responses has a lot less to do with having a negative opinion of the front office than it has to do with the petulant way that opinion is stated.

  • Dan

    its better then paying coming off an injury used to be WHO IN THE HELL IS THAT? just to line the rickets pockets

  • Ch1town23

    There’s no way in hell Sanchez is worth 22.5 mil a year… That’s bad contracts all over in which the new cubs front office is trying to get rid of… C’mon man… So wut if Sanchez gets that money from the cubs and he pitches poorly.

  • Zachary

    We shouldnt spend a lot of money on a starter until are offense is a lot better. Three years down the road I don’t see Sanchez being capable of leading a rotation. Develope and aquire young offensive players then spend on pitching.

  • Eric S

    Kap’s a good egg, and even nicer in person. He’s a true Cub fan much the way Garfine is a true Sox fan. Plus he’s actually a good journalist who doesn’t sugar coat good and bad. When the Cubs make a bad move he’s the first to call a spade a spade.

  • praying the cubs get ready to win

    Would Marmol, Dejesus and Vitters net you Olt and a top double A player?

    Then spend some money on an Upton or Bourne?

    • BWA

      unfortunatly, no. Any Olt trade is going to start with Garza or Shark.

      • Assman22

        Shark’s not going anywhere this offseason. Garza could be gone by mid-ST, if not sooner, just depends on his recovery/rehab. FO has done a nice job as far as value thus far and are waiting until a few more names come off the FA board before really hitting the trade market with their 4-5 trade chips. Great planning by the FO and should be interesting to see what they do on the trade market in the next couple months before ST begins…

        I will say the Rangers missing out on some FA SP’s could pay dividends to the Cubs and Hoyer has fleeced Daniels in the past. A package involving Garza for Olt and Leonys Martin as the main pieces could be a nice coup…

  • North Side Irish

    Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN
    Over the last week, have heard compliments from other teams about the way that the Cubs are methodically rebuilding, from the ground up.

    Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN
    One more thing about the Cubs: I don’t think Price will be traded until next winter, but by then, they could be well-positioned to land him.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Jinx.

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