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Last year, the Angels went into the Winter Meetings telling everyone who would listen that they didn’t have any money, and couldn’t make a big investment. The left the Winter Meetings with both Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.

So, I guess we shouldn’t have listened again this year when, after missing out on Zack Greinke – with reports saying they weren’t seriously in the race given the price – the Angels cried poor, and suggested they wouldn’t be involved in any big names on the free agent market.

Because now, multiple reports say they are close to signing the top positional player on the free agent market, Josh Hamilton – a guy to whom they haven’t even remotely been attached all Winter.

(UPDATE: Multiple reports (example) say this is happening, and Hamilton is going to get five years.)

(UPDATE 2: It’s done, and it’s reportedly for five years and $25 million per year. Holy crap that’s a huge amount given his unique issues (but obviously unique talent).)

If the deal goes through, the implications here are so wide-ranging that it’s hard to track them all down immediately …

(1.) The Hamilton signing, itself, will push the outfield free agent market along. A lot of guys are waiting until he’s off the board to seriously entertain the decision-making process. Now, with Hamilton going to a team that “wasn’t looking for an outfielder,” the Michael Bourn/Nick Swisher/Cody Ross types have to be pretty happy. The Rangers may have to swoop in on one of those three, with the Indians, Mariners, Phillies, and Orioles fighting over the remainder (among other teams). This makes it slightly less likely that any of the better free agent outfielders will find themselves without a home, and fall into the Cubs’ lap.

(2.) Does this make Alfonso Soriano’s trade market a little better? You could make that argument, given the above, but you’ve got to consider that the Angels might put one of their surplus outfielders on the market now (they’re already shopping Vernon Wells, who’s got an ugly contract, but, unlike Soriano, doesn’t have any production to match it). Peter Bourjos? Mark Trumbo? The Cubs would definitely be interested in either one, but so would a dozen other teams.

(3.) The Angels could instead try to move Trumbo back to third base, allowing them to shop, for example, Alberto Callaspo, who might have a lot of value given the third base market.

(4.) Maybe the Rangers now, aside from losing out on their free agent targets this year, will feel compelled to upgrade significantly. Can the Cubs help? Well, I don’t really see a Soriano fit there unless he loosens up on his geographic restrictions, and I still don’t think Matt Garza yields fair value until the Spring. But it’s interesting.

(5.) Related to 1 and 2, above, this could slightly increase David DeJesus’s trade value by reducing the free agent outfield pool with respect to teams that were expected to be seeking an outfielder.

  • Diamondrock

    The lack of a team name in the title of this post had me going for a minute. I didn’t believe for a second the Cubs would be crazy enough to sign Hamilton, but with just “Surprise: Agree to Terms With Josh Hamilton” I didn’t know what to expect.

  • Jeremy

    Garza to Texas is becoming a more and more likely scenario. Rangers need pitching and a bat after missing out on Grienke and Hamilton.

    Garza and Soriano for Olt, Perez+ makes a lot of sense for both sides.

    • itzscott

      >> Garza and Soriano for Olt, Perez+ makes a lot of sense for both sides. <<

      If I were the Rangers, Garza & Marmol would make more sense to me.

    • Kevin B

      It makes a lot of sense I agree!

  • Alex K

    Whoa!

  • cRAaZYHORSE

    If we are gonna unload Soriano and Marmol for the inside track to earn number one draft choice in 2014 . then its a good deal .

  • MXB

    The original headline made me spill my coffee!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The original headline had Angels – it was the updated one that accidentally clipped it out. Whoopseedoodle.

  • Mick

    First come first served with Garza. If the Rangers want to wait around until the end of Spring to test his health so be it, they’ll be in competition with every other team in need of a SP upgrade. But, if the Rangers were to call today and offer Olt and Perez, boom they’d have him. Heck, maybe we’d kick in David DeJesus if they included Cody Buckel.

    • JR

      I’d do Olt straight up for Garza and not even blink.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        My guess is that the Rangers would, though!

        • JR

          Your right there. But lets talk to them when they are frazzled with the Hamilton situation!

          • DocPeterWimsey

            That might not be a bad idea. Daniels has been swinging and missing every since he bid $25M more than necessary for Darvish! He might be frustrated enough to make a hasty and rash decision.

        • Mick

          What if the Cubs kicked in DeJesus, Marmol and cash? The Rangers have been flinging Olt’s name around in every other trade so he seeming a bit more expendable then you lead on. The Rangers aren’t moving Kinsler to CF, if anything they’ll move him to 1B which makes Olt that much more expendable. I’m very interested in seeing how the Rangers react to this because it’s not so much that Hamilton signed elsewhere, it’s that it was with the Angels which makes it all that much more of a desperate situation. I could see the Rangers maybe giving up less to trade for Jason Kubel and signing Michael Bourn and Anibal Sanchez.

      • Lou

        Shark would do it. But Cubs wouldn’t do that most likely. And the fans–well at least on here–would be angry as hell.

  • http://bleachernation.com frank hutch

    Reports out braves have feelers out on muliple deals. Is soriano one of them? Detroit also really looks compatable with us. They need a closer and a right handed outfield bat. Porcello and a low level high upside prospect would be nice

    • itzscott

      Soriano and Marmol for Castellanos+ would make me smile.

      • NY Cubs Fan

        That deal would never happen; I don’t believe it would be a slam dunk even if you threw in a healthy Garza at this point-that’s how highly the Tigers seem to view this kid.

  • Blublud

    I checked with my sources (my gut feeling) and they tell me this time next week, soriano will no longer be a Cub. I hate it because Im a Soriano fan, but this move right here just sent the outfield market spinning. A 5 million dollar a year outfielder who can hit 30 homeruns, drive in 100 and now play sufficient defense has to have some value. Now, that value just went up. Texes needs an OF. Detroit, Atlanta maybe Philly. They all have pieces that we could use.

    • Mick

      This signing definitely threw the OF market but I wouldn’t say it brought it crashing down to its knees (that’s where we need to get a few teams in order to trade Soriano). Where Swisher, Bourn, Ross, whoever the Angels trade, and Morse goes will ultimately determine who, when or if the Cubs can trade Soriano.

      • Blublud

        I totally disagree. Soriano is a better ball player then anyone on that list. He was a better player in his bad years, with the exception of maybe Bourn. He has more value and is likely cheaper than any of them. I like Sori and would love to keep him. I would even re-sign him when his contract is up, for less money of course, but we know that wont happen. But unless you are looking for a leadoff man, Sori for 5 mil has more value.

        • Mick

          I agree that Soriano has some value and that’s why I think we’ll have to wait out the free agent market before he gets traded. The Cubs are probably and rightfully asking for a decent player(s) in exchange and teams are reluctant to accept our offers when there are multiple other options still on the market. It’s not like teams had Hamilton #1 and Soriano #2 on their lists. Plus, Soriano has a NTC which eliminates most of our trading options.

          • Mick

            BTW, I think the Phillies are definitely still in play, especially after Ichiro turned down their 2-year offer. That shows me they’re not pursuing any of the bigger name OF FA’s like Bourn, Swisher, or Ross.

  • Leroy

    Josh Hamilton doesn’t need tommy john surgery….just saying

    • cjdubbya

      He also doesn’t need the temptation of hundreds of bars mere feet from his office, and a bunch more day games than anywhere else in MLB.

  • IndyCubsFan

    It seems like the Dodgers and Angels wipe their butts with money! However, I will laugh like a school girl when they FAIL with all these stars! :)

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Healthy Garza, Soriano, and Vogelbach for Olt, Perez, and Buckel. Win-win all the way.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      I wouldn’t give up vogelbach but instead someone like Jeimer Candelario and Arismendy Alcantara. Vogelbach’s bat is really special

      • Lou

        Where does he play though? According to Cubs folks, he can only play at 1b. Don’t we already have someone there?

        • Scotti

          He can play 1B. The guy we have at 1B just may not be there 3-4 years from now. He could get injured, traded or flame out.

          It never makes good sense to trade top prospects from low in the minors since A) you rarely, if ever, get full value for them and B) you never know for certain what your future needs are down the road. Let Vogelbach rise through the minors. If he hits AA-AAA and is mashing and Rizzo still blocks him then you have time to A) move him to another team who covets a cheap, big bat or B) move Rizzo who could be proven but more costly at that stage (as well as closer to free agency where you are not guaranteed to re-sign him).

          So, if Rizzo flames out then you really do need Vogelbach. If Rizzo gets injured then you really need Vogelbach. But if Rizzo doesn’t flame out or get injured then you have allowed the value of both Rizzo and Vogelbach to ripen on the vine.

          • Lou

            Ummm….yeah. But I would hope that if Rizzo flames out or gets injured that the Cubs would least expect it or it would be the ABSOLUTE WORST case scenario.

            • Scotti

              Worst case scenario would be not being ready for Rizzo getting injured or flaming out (i.e. not having a mashing 1B prospect in the minors).

        • Kevin B

          What does that have to do with anything? We have Rizzo so we can just give away Vogelbach as a throw in? What?? This is baseball, not the NFL. You stockpile good prospects. Where they play is irrelvant? Let Vogelbach develop and force the issue. Maybe you can trade him then for REAL value, in other words he will be like Olt, Perez or Buckell for example. You do not just give him away as a throw in.

          Or you can possibly consider trading Rizzo at that point, I am not suggesting that but you see how it shakes out and what you need and you trade one of them if they both pan out and that is a great situation to have. A situation our FO is trying to make a habit of being in. The good FO’s do that.

  • Whiteflag

    you mean win cubs?

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      No, I think I was being pretty clear with my statement. It’s a flat out win-win for both teams. The Rangers get the major league ready pitcher for the middle of their rotation. They get a 30HR, 100RBI OF for 5M a year and they nab their future DH/1B.(everyone knows Vogelbach would be more valuable in the AL) The other side of the coin… Cubs get 3 young, unproven players that may, or may not be assets in the future. Honestly the Cubs would have a better chance at coming out on the wrong side of that trade then the Rangers.

      • Whiteflag

        Garza has one year left on his contract and is coming off the DL, Soriano is aging, and Vogelbach is future DH. Don’t think that will net you Olt alone. I’d be elated if the cubs pulled off something like you suggested, but I doubt it.

        • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

          I agree but when I say “healthy Garza” im saying healthy and pitching up to his potential. If Garza comes back strong, and I mean STRONG, that trade I proposed seems somewhat plausible.

          • Whiteflag

            I did miss the “healthy” in your original statement. Oops. But even if healthy (which is unlikely), that trade won’t happen purely because he is only signed for one more year. You’re ignoring way too many factors. :(

        • Mick

          Huh? Olt’s no gurantee and a healthy Garza can be slotted into the upper half of any rotation. Keep in mind the Rangers would also get to make Garza a qualifying offer thus guranteeing a first round draft pick if he didn’t re-sign. If Olt’s all they’re offering I’d prefer to look elsewhere, Garza will definitely yield a couple really good pitching prospects.

          • Whiteflag

            You think less than a year of Garza gets you multiple top prospects? I did forget about the qualifying offer.

            • Mick

              The Brewers got three players from the Angels in exchange for just a half season of Greinke: AA Pitching prospects Ariel Pena and John Hellweg; and SS Jean Segura, who was the Angels’ No. 2 prospect at the start of last season behind Mike Trout. Look at what the Rays got for 2 years of Shields. I definitely think the Cubs will get a great return for Garza.

              • Whiteflag

                True. But Garza isn’t Grienke and he is coming off the DL. Olt, Perez, and Buckel are all top 10 prospects in very deep Texas system. I’d be really happy with a Garza for Olt swap.

        • Kevin B

          You do not think Garza, Soriano and Vogelbach would net you you Old? Are you kidding me? First of all Theo and Jed are not that stupid!

          Next, Old is suddenly Mike Schmidt? He is a prospect, a trade chip for the Rangers who have Beltre. If the Cubs were stupid enough to make that offer (Theo and Jed are not) the Rangers would be falling all over themsleves to make that deal! For Olt? Are you joking?

  • http://facebook #1cubsfan2013

    with hamilton out of the picture the rangers have to get upton or maybe stanton trade olt trade profar trade buckel trade perez trade any one to get those young controlable power hitting allstar players

  • Gcheezpuff

    Rangers need a left handed bat so I don’t see a Soriano match but I agree on Garza for Olt. I can see Texas picking up Swisher and maybe even Bourn, forcing the The Phillies back to the table with the Cubs. I think the Angels picking up Hamilton could really help the Cubs.

  • Mick

    Just saw a blurb that Ichiro turned down a 2-year deal with the Phillies, oh boy, philly really is scraping the bottom of the barrell!

  • ruby2626

    If Texas is willing to consider trading Olt I say let’s go for it. I guess I’m not super knowledgeable about the guy but I see he was a late first round pick and hit .288 with 28 homers in only 421 at bats, but in AA ball. His on base was a hair below .400 so on paper he seems like the type of guy we are trying to build around. I guess for this to happen with Texas we would start out by offering Soriano. I thought he enjoyed his time there and he did average 32 homers in his 2 seasons so he would probably agree to a trade. The question is what else would we have to toss in to make the deal. Obviously Marmol would be a potential trade chip, if they weren’t interested in him maybe we could get creative and involve a 3rd team. I wouldn’t include Vogelbach in any trade, He is obviously not the Cub first baseman of the future but I’d wait another year or 2 while he climbs up the minor league prospect charts just to get more for him. It’s also a bad time to trade Garza, let him prove he is healthy and his value will rise as well. Personally I’d sign him to a 5 year deal but that doesn’t seem like that is what Theo’s gang wants to do. Maybe Junior Lake could be part of a deal. A Texas fan would read this and probably say I’m not offering enough, so be it.

  • Ben

    Sources: #Cubs in serious discussions with Anibal Sanchez. Deal could be 5 years/$75 million. #Tigers still a threat.

    Per Ken Rosenthal

    • Lou

      Damn…didn’t think that was true until I checked it….hmmmm. Well, good call to all of you out there.

      • Ben

        Somwhere Brett is drooling…..

        • Lou

          Brett is indeed drooling….and going to have a steak dinner tonight on me because I doubted it so much. :( Well, I guess that makes me a schmuck!

          • Lou

            Or sorry chipolte dinner. :)

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      WOW… I’m speechless. I didn’t think cubs would be willing to pony up to get him. Now if they get Sanchez, competing in 2014 looks a little more viable

  • AD

    Anibal Sanchez signs with the Cubs!!!

    • Ben

      Maybe now people will stop complaining about the lack of moves. This is a huge move, perfect for 2013 and beyond. Great, great move. Considering Greinke got almost double this, I’m extremely pleased.

    • Lou

      Maybe they read Olney’s tweet on Price and decided to start early ;)

  • sclem21

    ANIBAL!

  • Rcleven

    Fly in the works
    deal not done.

    Brett Taylor ‏@BleacherNation

    Naturally. RT @JonHeymanCBS: #tigers are very much in anibal mix, sources say. game not over yet.

  • http://bleachernation.com DL Huyck

    Welcome to Chicago Anibal! 5 yrs/ 78 mil is a decent deal. We need another solid arm in the rotation capable of producing K’s and eating up innings.

  • ssckelley

    TTF had an article about that the Cubs should go after Angels CF Bourjos. Not sure if that has been mentioned here yet but what are some thoughts on it? Angels have a crowded outfield now and Bourjos is now a backup. Could be a player the Cubs could trade for without giving up a lot.

    • Spriggs

      It was mentioned here yesterday. I looked up his stats then and commented that Baseball Reference lists Felix Pie as his #3 most similar. Not a slam on Bourjos really. Just a comment. I still maintain that Pie wasn’t handled right when they brought him up – not that they rushed him.

  • Old School

    I like Bourjos and he tweeted his unhappiness on the Hamilton signing. Just spitballing:
    Bourjos, Cowart, Wells and cash for Marmol and Campana.

    • ssckelley

      He should be unhappy, his role was already reduced when Trout was called up and now Hamilton is in the mix. Last year they used him primarily as a late inning defensive replacement. I would not think the price tag would be to high on him. Good speed, defense, and some power all he needs is a little more patience at the plate and he would make a perfect leadoff hitter.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        At the age of 25, he’s not going to magically acquire a batting eye. That’s a basic tool. Again, pass on this guy: the Cubs do not need to make opposing pitchers’ lives any easier than they already do.

    • Spriggs

      If that happened, it would really be nice to add Adams to the BP

    • DocPeterWimsey

      No, no, a thousand times: NO! We do not want another powerless out-machine on the Cubs. How many #8 hitters can a team support? Good teams have guys who could be #1 or #5 hitters batting 8th; bad teams have multiple #8 hitters in their lineup, and the Cubs already have enough of those without adding Bourjos.

      • ssckelley

        Doc, this guy is only 25 years old and was taking more walks per PA last year. What he produced in 2011 is everything we are hoping Brett Jackson becomes. He looks a lot better than a #8 hitter.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          “Only” 25? Sorry, but for this trait, “only” stops at 19. (Even that young, big shifts in walk rates usually result from the guy totally overmatching pitching at first so that he was hitting the ball hard before he got 4 pitches, never mind 4 balls.)

          Moreover, his 2012 walk rate did not deviate from his career numbers any more than you expect to see every replicates of such a tiny sample size (195 PAs).

          Again, we’ve seen the Cubs torpedo their lineups with guys like this for years. The Sox never acquired these guys, at least not as starters. I’d like to see Jed & Theo continue that pattern.

          • ssckelley

            Please give me examples of similar players the Cubs have gone after to “torpedo their lineup with guys like this”.

            BTW, go check out Michael Bourn’s wonderful season he had when he was 25 and then come back and tell me how this trait stops at 19.

      • Spriggs

        I have to agree with Doc about Bourjos. I would be interested in Cowert though.

        • bbmoney

          I’d be interested in Bourjos, but prehaps as a 4th OF, which means he’s probably not worth trading for. Worth noting that he is ELITE defensively, so much so that Mike Trout usually played a corner when they gave Bourjos the start or moved Trout to a corner if Bourjos came in as a defensive replacement.

        • ssckelley

          The Phillies tried to trade for him during the winter meetings, got shut down because the Angels claimed he was their starting CF. So if Bourjos is good enough for 2 contending teams as their starter then one would think he would be good enough for the Cubs. I do not see where the Cubs have that much better options when it comes to Centerfielders. Some of you are all giddy about the Cubs going after Bourn who is older and would cost way more money but pass at a guy like Bourjos?

          But knowing the Phillies were involved plus the fact Bourjos is under control for a long time the Angels asking price may be to high anyway. I would not give up top notch prospects to acquire him. IMO, if I am in the FO it would still be worth my time to pick up the phone and call the Angels.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Nix on Bourn, too: see FIggins, Chone.

            To be honest, I expect that BJax will be more productive than Bourjos or Revere: but I dont’ think that any of them are really good enough to be MLB starters. Yes, BJax K’s a ton (although Bourjos has not been good there!), but he has a lot more power and he’ll draw more walks than Bourjos and Revere combined over the same number of PAs. That will create more runs over the long haul.

            The Angels and Phils are (or would be) making mistakes by starting guys like this. The Phils in particular are going to pay greatly for settling on Revere: although, the ugly truth is that there really are not any good options for them.

            • brickhouse

              Considering Jackson is starting the year in AAA and has had to completing overhaul his swing I think it is highly unlikey he is more productive than Revere or Bourjos.

            • ssckelley

              Seeing the Cubs FO are after the “buy low/sell high” types Bourjos seems to me a perfect candidate to go after. Remember, the Cubs are just looking at short term solutions here until players like Soler & Almora are ready. I look at what Bourjos produced in the minors and how he produced as a regular starter (mainly 2011), compared to what is available, what the Cubs currently have, his age, contract status, I would be calling the Angels to find out their asking price. I would not give up top 5 prospects to get him.

              We might have to agree to disagree on this one.

          • Spriggs

            Good points. One thing about the Phillies is that they are already contenders and are looking for final – missing pieces. And clearly, the Angels didn’t think he solved their problems. I think that potentially he is more than an 8 hitter, but most likely he will look like one next year. Barney, Bourjos, 3rd base, catcher… maybe even RF. All potential 8 hitters. Like I said earlier, I would be most interested in Cowart.

            • ssckelley

              “I would be most interested in Cowart.”

              Ok I’ll bite, why? The Cubs have plenty of third base prospects at the lower levels. They need high level, mlb ready, third base guys.

              If Bourjos is nothing more than a #8 hitter I would take his 2011 stats all day at #8.

              • Spriggs

                There is a reason this guy shows up as their #1 prospect in a lot of rankings. Yes, their prospect list has been depleted recnetly, but he is a plus fielder with a very quick LH bat and would be an upgrade over anything they have in the system at 3rd. I watched him the AFL and though his stats in that league were not very good, you can see the talent and the athlete. He has more power than he has shown so far. He would be a real nice asset to acquire. They could still move Baez to other positions (Castro to 2nd).

  • Old School

    Cowart would be the key to a deal.

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