There are often a few moves in the week leading up to Christmas …

  • Sources tell Ken Rosenthal that the Dodgers are shopping outfielder Andre Ethier, primarily because they’d like to be able to pursue Michael Bourn or Nick Swisher (ALL. THE. PLAYERS.). We’ve heard this routine before, and it didn’t make a lot of sense because of the extension Ethier just signed with the Dodgers, and because that extension – which pays him an average salary around $17 million through 2017 (plus a vesting option for 2018) – doesn’t leave him with a whole lot of surplus trade value. If the Dodgers were looking to dump Ethier, I could see the Cubs having some interest, in the sense that they’re always interested in any undervalued assets. Aside from that, though, he’s not a great fit. He turns 31 in April, and has become a hitter who is really only effective against righties. He’s a solid defensive right fielder, but it would be a whole lot of resources to devote to a guy who will be 32/33, at the youngest, when the Cubs are ready to compete. To give up prospects for the privilege of taking on that risk? Nah. No thanks. Even if the Dodgers ate enough of his deal to make the trade understandable, is he really the right fit for the Cubs? If they wanted to go that route right now, why wouldn’t they just make a strong push for Nick Swisher? If the Dodgers seriously entertain eating a bunch of salary to move Ethier, I’m thinking one of the many teams closer to competitiveness who need an outfielder are going to step up much more aggressively than would the Cubs.
  • Speaking of the outfield, on the flip-side, if the Cubs decide to ship an outfielder out, Alfonso Soriano remains the likeliest target (even if he’s not going to be terribly easy to move because of his age, contract, and no-trade rights). Rosenthal writes separately that the Rangers aren’t crazy about any of the free agent outfield options left on the market, and aren’t crazy about committing to someone like Adam LaRoche. Soriano, who previously played for the Rangers, would come at a cheap price (the Cubs are said to be willing to eat enough of his deal to make him a $5 million player for the next two years), but is he the right guy for the Rangers? After missing out on Josh Hamilton, the whispers say the Rangers are content to just go with a combination of Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland, Mike Olt, and back-ups between first base, DH and left field (with Leonys Martin in center field, and Jurickson Profar at second base). Not really a bad setup, and although they’ve lost some serious pop between Hamilton and Mike Napoli, it’s not really like they’re desperate. If they added someone like Soriano, they’d probably have to find a home for Moreland (not a fit for Cubs) or Olt (way too valuable for Soriano). The Rangers could pick up Soriano and move one of those guys in a separate deal, but it’s a lot of moving parts. I suppose it’s worth keeping an eye on, though we don’t know whether Soriano would consider a deal to the Rangers.
  • Danny Knobler says the Cubs and Tigers did speak about Rick Porcello, now that he’s expendable, but the two sides didn’t find a fit. The Tigers are alternatively listening on lefty Drew Smyly, who might be a more attractive target for the Cubs. No word on whether they’ve reached out on Smyly, specifically, or what the cost would be. I’m thinking the answer would be “steep,” given that he’s just 23, under control through 2018, made it to the big leagues in just his second professional season, and pitched effectively during that stint.
  • Anibal Sanchez’s agent says his client “left money on the table” in the form of an offer at the Winter Meetings from a mystery team. Of course, he shared this tidbit as Sanchez was being reintroduced in Detroit, where the fans will now love him even more for taking less. It doesn’t really matter, but I can state with confidence that it isn’t true, at least not in the sense that the agent wants you to hear it. There’s a whole lot of ways to play around with “left money on the table,” and my guess is that – at most – he received an offer with a slightly higher average annual value than the deal he signed with the Tigers (five years, $80 million, plus a club option for 2018), but for fewer years. There is a 0.000% chance that he flatly turned down a deal better than the Tigers’ two weeks ago, and then made the Tigers and Cubs sweat over a lesser deal.
  • His agent added that Sanchez always wanted to return to Detroit, and he did everything he could to make that happen. I think we all already figured that out.
  • Joe Hesh

    The heartbreak of the winter meetings and beyond has made me start to appreciate Theo and Jed and the Ricketts gang all the more. If the Cubs are to build a winner, we can’t be satisfied with bandaids that will usher us back to mediocrity. As a fan since 1959, I know what really bad is and I know what mediocre is. The organization needs a total reinvention. Here we go!

  • Morken

    Why wasn’t Roberto Hernandez targeted by the Cubs’ front office?

    He’s inexpensive, only required a one-year deal, and would have benefitted from a change of scenery; especially in the National League.

    I stil don’t understand the Scott Baker signing; especially taking into consideration cost and injury.

    • Morken

      And for the record, I liked the signings of Scott Feldman, Kyuji Fujikawa, Nate Schierholtz and Ian Stewart.

    • MightyBear

      Scott Baker is the best signing by any team this year including the Cubs. You will be very pleased with the Scott Baker signing and if he comes back healthy, you may see an extension.

      • Kevin B

        I like that! Baker is a good Pitcher and young too, I would be happy to extend him.

  • http://Cubkid jdblades7

    We will soon find out(2014 probably) if he’s about making money our building a competitive team. I don’t want them to spend money just to spend it. Be smart with the contracts, unlike Hendry. I like what they are doing now, building up the farm system, getting younger,riding themselves of bad contracts, and being patient with finding the right players to fit into their plan.

  • MightyBear

    Holy Cow the Phillies are looking at Vernon Wells as a right handed hitting outfielder with power to bat behind Howard. If they’re looking at Wells, Soriano is a steal! Get it done Theo/Jedi!

    • Mick

      If I were the Phillies, I’d do nothing. Save the money for a mid-season move or two and start the season w/a platoon of Ruf and Nix in LF. Ruf could develop into the next great power hitter and just in case he doesn’t, chances are Soriano and Wells will still be available at the trade deadline.

    • Justin

      Ya I seen that too and not sure why they would not pursue Soriano as well. Wells is a wash and the only reason I feel they are looking at him is because the Phillies would give him away if they can.

  • http://bleachernation FERRIS

    maybe Ethier to TX to hurt LAA,and make it harder for them to win that division, then sign hollywood swisher……….nice replaement for Hamilton

    Phil. shouldnt wait, they may lose a big bat to the braves who also need a leftfielder.

  • Tyler

    Jim Bowden of ESPN on Twitter:

    Padres are out on Edwin Jackson after refusing to go to 4 years….destination down to Cubs and Rangers

    • CubFanBob

      Is Edwin Jackson worth four years ?

      • Chris

        Depends on the price, but most likely not if we’re going to have to outbid the Rangers.

      • Tyler

        Personally I don’t think so. I wouldn’t have a problem with 3 years and an option for a 4th, but guaranteed 4 years is too much.

      • Kevin B

        Yes he is worth 4 years (at the right price of course). He is a workhorse and 29 years old.

        A 4 year deal also would most likely get you a bit lower on the average pay. Plus after 3 years most likely he would be able to get (barring injury) a much better contract (prices keep going up) and even to extend him at the time would cost you more then the 4th year you can give him now.

        He is a good pitcher. Not an ace but I can see him being a solid part of the mid rotation now, and even back end of the rotation if we get better pitchers during the 4 years.

  • Justin

    Remeber don’t get your hopes up even if they say the Cubs have a deal in place!

    • DarthHater

      And …. we’re off to the races!

    • DarthHater

      Here’s a verbatim quote from Justin@BleacherNation: “the Cubs have a deal in place!”

      Woohoo! 😉

  • T Wags

    Soriano for Olt straight up doesn’t make much sense but Soriano + Garza for Holland, Olt, and maybe a top 15ish prospect sounds like a nice deal!

    • Kevin B

      T Wags if you can pull that deal off then you are the GM of the year. However Daniels is a pretty shrewd GM and not about to make that trade in a million years.

  • http://Cubkid jdblades7

    You couldn’t get one of those guys for that, maybe Olt if you added a top ten prospect from our minors

  • Pingback: Say What? The Cubs and Tigers Are Talking About a Rick Porcello Trade, and the Orioles Are Involved | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()