Lukewarm Stove: A Lot of Soriano, A Little Porcello, and a Bit More

With that Indians/Diamondbacks/Reds deal going down last night on the heels of the Rays/Royals deal, I’d think we would see a fair bit of additional movement this week. After Zack Greinke signed this weekend, I said that the logjam might finally break, and it looks like it’s doing just that.

  • Last night, we also learned that the Cubs and Phillies had discussed a very specific formulation of an Alfonso Soriano trade, which would have netted the Cubs former top prospect Domonic Brown, who is currently slated to play left field for the Phillies in 2013. Those talks didn’t produce a deal, but it didn’t sound like, according to the Jon Heyman source report, that the conversations were dead – the Phillies were instead waiting out the free agent market. Well, Bruce Levine reports that he, too, hears the Cubs and Phillies talked about a Soriano deal, but those talks are currently cold. Further, Bruce says the deal his sources say the Cubs were discussing would have netted them pitching, and Vance Worley and Trevor May – later traded to the Twins for Ben Revere – were among the names discussed.
  • Putting those pieces together to form a cohesive narrative: it sounds like the Cubs and Phillies have been having very general conversations about Soriano for some time now, but the Phillies preferred to use their pitching trade chips to pick up Revere. From there, the sides may have briefly talked about a Brown/Soriano swap, but those discussions did not produce a trade, and are on hold, pending the Phillies attempts to pick up an outfielder in free agency. At this point, no one believes a deal is likely, but the Cubs are obviously having these conversations about Soriano with the intention of finding a new home for the outfielder.
  • Danny Knobler adds that the Cubs tried to shop Soriano to the Astros as a DH, which is odd for a couple reasons – it would take Soriano further west, something he doesn’t want; and it would make him a regular DH, something else he doesn’t want (plus there’s the whole “contender” thing – remember, he has full no-trade rights). Why would the Cubs shop him to a team that, on paper, seems like it would be an obvious “no” for him? Is Soriano more flexible than we think? Is Knobler just off, and this was one of those really thin, internal conversations that everyone knew wouldn’t go anywhere? In any even, Knobler says the talks didn’t go anywhere because the Astros decided they couldn’t afford Soriano, even if the Cubs ate a substantial portion of the $36 million he’s owed over the next two years. (Heyman yesterday reported that the Cubs are willing to eat enough of the deal to make Soriano a mere $5 million player for those two seasons.)
  • You’ve heard by now, but Kevin Youkilis is reportedly signing on with the Yankees for one year and $12 million. No real impact to the Cubs here, but it’ll be a story you’ll hear waaaaay too much about on ESPN this season.
  • We’ve heard a lot about Rick Porcello around here this offseason, and the Tigers are hearing a lot about him, too, says Danny Knobler. Detroit has fielded a lot of interest in the 23-year-old starter (who hasn’t yet tapped his potential, and is about to get relatively expensive in arbitration), particularly from NL clubs (yes, you can assume that includes the Cubs). Knobler says the Tigers aren’t going to move Porcello until and unless they land another starter, though, so it makes you wonder – are the Cubs sitting tight on the rest of the free agent starter market because they’d like to see if they could get Porcello? How long can they wait? How long can the Tigers wait to pull the trigger on a Porcello deal – to whichever team – if their trade partner gets antsy? This, again, underscores how difficult making moves in the offseason is: Move A depends on Team B depends on Move C depends on Free Agent D, who is taking his sweet time to decide.
  • To that end, the Tigers tried to land James Shields before the Royals finalized the deal.
  • It’s very likely that everything ends up fine, but there is some nervousness in Boston that Mike Napoli has an issue with his physical. In short, the two sides agreed to a deal last week, and he was supposed to take his physical later last week. That didn’t happen. Then he started his physical on Monday, with an expectation that his deal would be officially announced yesterday. That didn’t happen. Is there a concern? Are the two sides trying to renegotiate a deal in light of whatever hang-up is lurking? Again, I doubt anything crazy happens here, but this deal falling through would have a profound impact on the market. Not only does Napoli – possible tainted by injury concerns – re-enter the market, but the Red Sox start looking for a right-handed power bat all over again.
  • As expected, the Dodgers are entertaining the idea of locking down Clayton Kershaw, a free agent after 2014, to a long-term deal. The number being throw around? $30 million per year. Hooray, Dodgers!
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Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

92 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: A Lot of Soriano, A Little Porcello, and a Bit More”

  1. Chad

    I would give Kershaw $30 mil/year if I were the cubs/dodgers/any MLB team. He’s a stud, young, and lefty. What’s not to like.

    1. DowntownLBrown

      “What’s not to like” – the $30M/year part. A guy that only plays once every 5 games, ands duty is to throw an object as hard and fast with as much torque as possible.

  2. ssckelley

    All of the other GMs and owners must really be hating the Dodgers right now. They are saturating the market with money right now and driving the prices up on everyone.

    1. Chris

      It does seem like they could extend him for a bit less, but the Dodgers seem to have infinite money to burn. Why not go to any length to keep the best pitcher in baseball?

      1. Lou

        I don’t know if I’d anoint him with the title “best pitcher in baseball”. Yeah, he’s definitely top #5 but currently the best?

  3. JR

    Soriano to the Astros? Hillarious..

  4. hansman1982

    How long until the Dodgers have a $300M payroll?

    1. EQ76

      i’d give it another couple of months.. they’ll get there.

      1. North Side Irish

        Probably once they sign Skip Schumaker to an $80M extension to be their utility MI.

    2. Lou

      Well, according to the panel on Chicago Tribune Live, the Dodgers are upping the cable bill by $6 per customer to everyone with cable in the LA area, so estimates are that the team will have $220 mil to play with for the MLB payroll in any given season.

  5. JulioZuleta

    The Yankees are paying their two mid to late third basemen a combined $40 million next year…

    1. JR

      I am sure they feel good about that… Especially now since they are apparently on a “budget”. I would do whatever I could legally to get out from the ARod contract, after his admission to PED’s. Regardless of what ramifications it may have..

  6. Rcleven

    With Philly offering Hamilton three years. Sori looks better and better every day.

  7. EQ76

    “but it’ll be a story you’ll hear waaaaay too much about on ESPN this season.”

    - you mean they’re going to take a break from the non stop NFL talks to discuss baseball?

    1. hansman1982

      Tim Tebow has new tebow-tition in New Tebow City, the New York Tebowees tebowed Kevin “Not-Quite-Tebow” Youkilis to a 1-Tebow (T)9M contract. Tebow was tewbowed:

      “Well, the Lord said that he would bring manna from heaven, I was at church this morning and that’s what the priest said.”

      Presently, TTNT (Tim Tebow Network Tebow) reporter Tricia Taka-Tebow is at the Jets camp.

      “Thank you Tom, I am standing here at Jets headquarters where the Jets are laying a beat-down on Tim Te…”

      “HEY DON’T YOU USE THAT NAME – We’re sick of it.”

      “…on some random guy. Nothing to report here”

      Thank you Tricia, good tebow there.

      1. Jay

        Family Guys references always appreciated by this guy

  8. Myles - WCSW

    If anyone in baseball is worth 30 million a year, it’s Clayton Kershaw.

    1. dob2812

      Eh, no it’s probably Miguel Cabrera or Ryan Braun or Joey Votto or Andrew McCutchen or Mike Trout.

      It’s definitely not a pitcher, so it’s definitely not Kershaw.

  9. fortyonenorth

    Kevin Youkilis is reportedly signing on with the Yankees

    Per @depresseddarth, a definite sign of the apocalypse.

  10. JR

    Brett, what are your odds that Soriano is moved this offseason? I know this is completely hypothetical, but just curious for what your gut says..

  11. ichabod

    the dodgers have become another team i hate

    1. Chris

      There’s a fine line between hate and envy.

  12. cubfanincardinalland

    The money paid to Greinke and the talk of 30 mil. for Kershaw is having a short term effect that may help the Cubs. Adam Wainwright is a free agent after this year, and word is he is balking at any possible extension once he saw what is going on in the market.
    Even if the Cardinals resign him, it is now looking like it is going to be a 100 million dollar type deal, which will certainly have an impact on their payroll.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      Wainwright will not be able to command as much money as easily as Greinke did simply because Wainwright will be 3 or 4 years older than Greinke currently is. Also, the Dodgers probably will not be in on Wainwright…..

      1. cubfanincardinalland

        Doc, I think to resign him it would take at least five years and 100 million. Not sure I see St. Louis doing that. He could probably get a little more on the free agent market if he has a decent season.
        Even if they do resign him at 20 mil a year, they have 52 million tied up in three players with Molina, Holliday and Wainwright.

      2. MightyBear

        The Dodgers are in on everybody. They may sign you Doc.

    2. baseballet

      But if the Cardinals couldn’t afford a big time free agent pitcher (like Wainwright), does that mean that the Cubs would? Going forward, are the Cubs going to have team payrolls that are significantly higher than the Cardinals? I hope so, but we don’t know. The Cubs might act more like a mid-market team with the occasional splurge year. It looks to me like the Cubs will be closer to Cardinals level spending than Yankees level spending, at least until the Cubs can negotiate their mega TV deal, which is several years away.

      1. cubfanincardinalland

        Cubs had a 140 million dollar payroll three years ago. They will be back there when it makes sense to spend the money.

        1. Pat

          Three years ago the Cubs did not have a minimum of thirty million dollars a year in interest on debt to pay.

          1. ari gold

            They also didn’t have $25M extra from the new TV deal with MLB.

  13. Mike

    Just because the Astros moved to the AL West doesn’t make them a West Coast team. They are still in Houston last time I checked and a warmed climate might intice Soriano. Plus with that short porch he could be a force in Houston

    1. JR

      Yeah and Soriano obviously doesn’t care about winning. So maybe it’s not as ridiculous as it originally sounded.

  14. Muck

    Which would have netted the Cubs former top prospect

    I believe he was the Phillies top prospect. Just saying haha.

  15. itzscott

    Thinking a Garza 100% clean medical report and a good spring showing nets the Cubs Mike Olt before the season opener as part of a larger deal. Kaplan and others have been alluding to a previous Olt deal before Garza went on the DL.

    Surprised none of you guys are all over this one.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      Several other sources said that the Rangers would not budge on Olt last July. We never know what’s true with 99.99% of non-deals (with “it never was even discussed” probably being the most common truth), but given that the Rangers have an immediate use for Olt, I’d be surprised to see him dealt.

      1. sclem21

        What’s their immediate use for him? It sounds like they’ve shopped him around quite a bit actually…

        I assume you mean the RH part of a 1B semi-platoon with Moreland…? The rumors lately seem to indicate Kinsler may fill that role with profar/andrus up the middle. I suppose if they dont bring back Hamilton you could see Kinsler and/or Olt in the OF but I would not be that surprised if Olt were moved.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Actually, just put Olt at first and use Moreland as a DH or trade bait. They’ve talked about moving Kinsler to the OF, especially if Hamilton leaves, which opens up a MI spot for Profar.

          Of course, the Rangers have been thwarted like no other team this winter. They just might get antsy enough to cave on Olt just to give the appearance of doing something.

          1. Spriggs

            Not only to give the appearance of doing something, but also to make SURE they actually make the playoffs next year. What a shock it was for them to not even make the playoffs especially after the nice start they had…

  16. Alex

    Brett, c’mon man, I’m tweaking here man. I need my podcat fix.

    1. Alex

      Podcat? You see I’m tweakin’ so badly I can’t even spell..

      1. MichiganGoat

        Podcat’s Pajamas hummmmm another great name for a podcast

        1. DarthHater

          And I rather doubt that it’s already taken.

  17. Justin

    I think it is so funny that Soriano vetoed a trade last year to the Giants because he wanted to play in warmer weather and wanted to win a ring before he retires. The Giants won the World Series, I wonder how he feel about it now.

    1. baseballet

      Yes, vetoing the chance to live in San Francisco and win the World Series was a small price to pay for a chance at a couple 100 loss seasons with the Cubs.

      1. cubfanincardinalland

        I found it odd at the time. I have been to games in SF, their fans are the best in the game right now. It is just one big party, electric atmosphere. The fans would have loved Sori, the way he interacts with the bleachers. Tough hitting park though, that might have been in his thought process.

        1. Lou

          And tough fielding ballpark, too. If it was a AL team in San Fran, I think he would have been more likely to consider it.

    2. Justin

      I just don’t get why he wanted to stay in Chicago just b/c of the weather. Doesn’t matter what the weather is when it comes to October, you have to take the chance to play in the postseason!!! Now he might approve a trade to Philly(possibly) and it’s colder there in the fall then SF.

  18. Korean Goat

    have you heard that a korean closer played in yakult swallows of japan is heading to chicago for signing with one of teams included the cubs?
    a korean newspaper reports this a moment ago. his name is chang-yong Lim, 35y old,
    he got 296 saves in korea and japan.
    they say it seems a split contract and below 1M$ a year
    i think he is out of season but keep watching…

    1. DarthHater

      Wow. First the Koreans launch a satellite and now they have their own goat!

      1. Korean Goat

        autocracy that launched a satellite yesterday is north korea.

        1. North Korean Goat


  19. sclem21

    ‘After Zack Greinke signed this weekend, I said that the logjam might finally break, and it looks like it’s doing just that.’ -Nostradamus

  20. Justin

    Demp to Bo Sox?

    1. DarthHater

      We can only hope.

  21. Rizzo 44

    For all you people who say my trade ideas are dumb… Just look at the Three team deal from yesterday. Bauer was given away by the Dbacks yesterday. The Cubs have a lot of good young talent to still move. BJax and Vitters could still be very attractive to many teams.

    1. baseballet

      I think the Cubs will use one or both of BJ and Vitters in a trade to acquire another core player this season. They have to be looking to do more with the upcoming season than tank it for a high draft pick.

    2. Lou

      I don’t think they’re dumb at all. Would rather upgrade through trades for prospects if the Cubs had the players, rather than the FA market. Actually, I wish if the Rangers needed a third team for the Upton deal (if the could get him which looks less likely) that the Cubs could be involved. Don’t the Diamondbacks are interested in trading Upton, or the Cubs could get in on that trade, though.

    3. DocPeterWimsey

      Well, we’ve been calling yesterday’s trade of Bauer extremely dumb! However, Gregorius is worth more to some “old school” people than either BJax or Vitters is: Gregorius is an excellent fielding SS, and there are people who think that championship teams are built on that. (They aren’t: but read Towers comments about Derek Jeter and it illustrates how there are people who still believe that.)

      Vitters and BJax will not have that sort of irrationalized value to other GMs, and few other GMs would be so foolish as to give up a talent like Bauer just because they didn’t like his attitude.

      1. calicubsfan007

        @Doc: So, you like Gregorius? Dude has a cool name at least, but he seems to be a poor man’s version of Derek Jeter who can’t hit as well.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          No, I’m not wild about Gregorius: I see him as the anti-Jeter rather than a poor-man’s Jeter. I’m sure that Gregorius really is an excellent fielder (which Jeter never was, PR to the contrary). However, Gergorius never going to be close to what Jeter was: a plus OPS guy: and that Gregorius will cost the DBacks a lot of games with his free outs with the bat. (Put another way, I suspect that the DBacks have just given up a great pitcher for a young Darwin Barney, albeit maybe with a little more pop than Barney.)

          I do, however, love the name. “I AM GREGORIUS! FEAR ME!”

          1. Lou

            Yes, but his first name is Didi :)

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              If I’m Didi’s agent, then I’m telling him to go to one name: and it’s not Didi.

              1. Lou


          2. calicubsfan007

            @Doc: I agree, awesome name. The thing is, I had never even heard of the guy before this. My logic is that Bauer must have really pissed off the wrong people, otherwise he would still be a Dback. I still think that we could have gotten Bauer for a steal then if the Dbacks were that desperate for a SS.

            1. Lou

              You gotta think Bauer actions didn’t settle well with AZ.

              1. calicubsfan007

                @Lou: Exactly. He had a LA mentality in a AZ environment. AZ tends to preach a strong team approach, which I am not sure went with his personality.

                1. Lou

                  Yeah, I think somewhere I think I read he was into a lot of new age spirituality. I don’t see Kevin Towers being a new age spirituality kind of guy. :) At least what I’ve seen of the man on TV. Nor do I think that could that be said for the Diamondbacks’ team approach.

                  1. calicubsfan007

                    @Lou: Hahaha, nice! Hey, for all you know, Mr. Towers could be Mr. Spirituality himself! (=