Ah, the annual pre-Christmas uptick in the rumor mill. Baseball players (and executives) are people, after all, and as many celebrate the Christmas holiday, they prefer to have things settled, if at all possible, before Christmas. For some guys, it just won’t be possible, but for others (Edwin Jackson?), we could see things wrapping up soon.

  • Speaking of Jackson, in addition to Ken Rosenthal’s mention this morning that he didn’t think the Rangers were going to be the high bidder on Edwin Jackson, Danny Knobler jumps into the fray and adds: “[The Rangers are] thought to be interested in a shorter rather than longer-term deal with Jackson, who may find a better offer from the Cubs.” If the Cubs are the only team willing to go four years on Jackson – and I could get into a four-year deal if it isn’t too far north of $12 million per year – they might just get their man this time. Or not. You know how these things go …
  • Jon Heyman adds, by the way, that the Padres are indeed out on Jackson because the price rose out of their range, confirming at least part of Jim Bowden’s original report, which held that the Cubs and Rangers were Jackson’s final two suitors.
  • The Phillies are certainly ranging wide for their outfield needs, most recently exploring a deal with the Angels for Vernon Wells. To be clear, Wells is a far inferior option to Alfonso Soriano – although Wells is a few years younger, his deal pays him $3 million more per year than Soriano, he is a probably-worse defender, and his OPS the last two years has been .660 and .682. That said, he’s available for a song, and maybe the Phillies are content to stick with the current Brown/Mayberry/Ruf outfield, with Wells playing exclusively against lefties. The report, though, paired with their increased interest in Cody Ross, certainly does help them grab some leverage if they *were* having any trade talks with the Cubs about Soriano. I can’t say the two stories are entirely unrelated, but let’s not go too far. The Cubs still may elect to hang onto Soriano, at least to start the season.
  • MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith lists the Cubs among the remaining possible landing places for free agent outfielder Michael Bourn, and although I still don’t think he’s a perfect fit, the teeny, tiny chances that he falls into the Cubs’ lap on a reasonable deal are increasing slightly. Recall, the Cubs were previously – albeit tenuously – connected to Bourn earlier this offseason. I’ve mentioned this before, and I may yet do a full write-up, but it’s worth noting: as Bourn’s price falls, the Cubs are in a better position to land him thanks to their protected first round pick. That is to say, signing Bourn costs the Cubs only a second round, while it costs – for example – the Mariners a first rounder. If he has to settle for a short-term deal, it seems less likely that a team with a first round pick at risk is going to want to give it up to get Bourn for just a year or two.
  • Bruce Levine chatted yesterday, and among his thoughts … (1) Speaking of Bourn, even on a short-term deal, he might not make much sense for the Cubs because his trade value mid-season isn’t too high if he’s a free agent again in 2014; (2) Anibal Sanchez chose the Tigers because they’re closer to winning, and that’s the kind of thing the Cubs are going to run up against until they’re good again; (3) the Cubs are finding a soft Alfonso Soriano market, regardless of how much they eat, because teams are gripping their prospects tightly (eh – we’ve seen plenty of prospect deals lately; I think the Cubs’ asking price must just be very high); (4) Bruce thinks there’s no sense in talking about moves that may or may not happen next offseason like a David Price trade (I agree with him on Price, but moves in general? Of course you’ve got to be thinking/planning ahead – I sure hope the Cubs are); (5) the Tigers don’t have any interest in Darwin Barney after the mid-2012 deal that brought them Omar Infante; (6) Bruce thinks Carlos Marmol being dealt for a small package of prospects is the most likely move they’ll make before Spring Training; (7) I’ve talked about it a lot lately, and Bruce says he’ll investigate the hold-up in the Nate Schierholtz signing (hear my theory in the latest BN Podcast); and (8) Andre Ethier is probably too old and too expensive for the Cubs right now.
  • Bigg J

    i think sign Jackson and make a trade for a future 3rd basemen and this off season is a success. (I would still take Bourn any day, but I know they are still searching for another OF so curious on who that might be)

    • DocPeterWimsey

      That “trade for a future 3rd baseman” part is a bit of a fly in the ointment! Unless the Rangers feel so desperate need to do something that they’ll part with Olt, it does not seem like there are any such beasts for sale.

  • Cubbie Blues

    teams are gripping their prospects tightly

    Bruce thinks Carlos Marmol being dealt for a small package of prospects is the most likely move

    Which is it Bruce?

    • Patrick W.

      Teams are gripping their small package is the likely answer.

  • Matty V

    I’d be ok with the Cubs signing Bourn if it was for a modest salary at 3 years or less. Anything longer than that would scare me since a big part of his game is speed.

    • Cubbie Blues

      At least he has a lot of power. Oh, wait …

      • Matty V

        Maybe I should have stated that his entire game is speed (including his defensive ability).

  • Jeremy J

    I wrote the question and was extremely puzzled in the response with all the prospects trading hands. I like the theory about the Cubs asking for a lot more.

  • OlderStyle

    “the Cubs are finding a soft Alfonso Soriano market, regardless of how much they eat, because teams are gripping their prospects tightly (eh – we’ve seen plenty of prospect deals lately; I think the Cubs’ asking price must just be very high)”- Will they overplay their hand in trying to deal Soriano in the way they did with Garza?

    • Noah

      I’m not sure you can say the Cubs overplayed their hand with Garza. Garza pitched last on 7/21, when he was injured. It’s really impossible to say what Garza’s value may or may not have been in those last ten days of the trading deadline.

      • OlderStyle

        That’s if you’re of the mindset they should’ve waited to deadline to get absolute “maximum value”. There is another camp that says they should’ve traded before ST and taken 75% of value and lessened the risk. They are potentially running the same risk with Fonzie, he is one sprained knee, bad hammy or beaning in the head away from his value plummeting. They should sit on 15 rather play for “21”. Soriano will not be around when Cubs can compete again, get the value when it’s reasonably high. Of course , who knows what possible offers are out there.

        • bbmoney

          there’s a camp that says they should have traded a guy for 75% of his value?

          I’ll never be in that camp.

  • Randy

    Everyone wants the Cubs to trade Soriano, but then sign other players to make this team better. Exactly how are the cubs better without Soriano? He is not a horrible #5 or 6 hitter in the lineup and his numbers took off after he started using a smaller bat last year. If they can not get the value the want for him then keep him. I don’t believe he is the player you just dump now. He only has a few years left on his deal and it’s not like the cubs have a better option or can’t afford him.

    • willis

      Unless the return is very good, I’m content with Riding out what’s left of the Soriano deal. It’s not like there are any quality outfielders not named DeJesus on this roster or close.

  • Nate

    What about this:

    Sign Jackson for 3/40, flip him at the deadline to the Rangers for Olt! (Would probably have to throw in Soriano and a decent pitching prospect too, but I’d be more than okay with that).

    Sorry for using the word flip.

  • Spencer

    A two year deal for Bourn doesn’t make any sense and is sort of a foolish suggestion. But it seems like the biggest argument for not signing Bourn was that the price would be too high. Well, if the price continues to fall and if they can get him for four years then I think it would be an ideal fit.

  • Peter

    It is nice to think of the Cubs signing Jackson or Bourn, but if they sign anyone aside from a reliever, the best we are going to get is Villanueva. Jackson will simply cost too much and the Cubs will most likely be weary of what he will be expecting. Plus he will have suitors in contention most likely and I doubt he chooses the Cubs over them unless we blow him away with money, which we shouldn’t.

  • Danny B

    I’d like Edwin Jackson for no more than 3/40. In my mind he’s barely a number 2, but we need to pick up SP when we can at a price like that, because we need to deal Garza. The possible return could be huge given the price of pitchers on both the trade and free agent market. I don’t think Garza will have sustained success beyond 2014, and I think come Spring, we could sell very, very high on him. For pete’s sake, look at the haul the Mets just pulled in!

  • When the Music’s Over

    People need to keep in mind perspective when suggesting trades/signings because in general, if there’s any trade or free agent signing that someone proposes that he/she would definitely do (e.g. a no brainer), there’s a fairly strong likelihood that the other party would definitely not do it. In other words, if it appears as a slam dunk in your mind, it’s likely not that feasible in reality.

  • http://Cubkid jdblades7

    If the cubs get Jackson instead of Texas it’s because we out spent them, so why would they want him in a trade from us

    • DarthHater

      We could eat a chunk of his salary. That makes sense, right?

  • JR

    Brett, this is a very mediocre hot stove. Ha… just messing, got that from the podcast. Good stuff as always!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha. I’m not like Sahadev – I like to be told I’m awesome.

      • JR

        Ok, well this is pretty awesome Brett. But it would be a whole lot cooler if u could predict where Soriano is going and what that package is! haha..

  • http://Cubkid jdblades7

    I think the Cubs main goal should be to lock up Garza. Prospects are never a sure thing as is getting a free agent SP to sign with us. Also, he will be one of, if not, the most sought after free agents on the market in 2014. He is still young and is better than Sanchez in my opinion and right now we could lock him up for what we were willing to pay him 5/$77.5

  • http://Cubkid jdblades7

    The reason to eat a chunk of money on a contract for a trade is when you have to give a free agent more years than they probably deserve just to get them to sign with you, ex. Soriano.

  • jesus zuniga

    Trade graza for mike ott.and get it over with…

  • The Dude Abides

    I would not be surprised if Jackson isn’t saying “holy shit” the Cubs are the highest bidder. Let’s call everyone again and doublecheck and then let’s try another angle if that doesn’t work (I thought Sanchez’s agent said this wouldn’t happen). Even though Brett hears that players & management understand what the Cubs are doing and all, I’m not so sure anyone with aspirations of winning and is injury free are in a hurry to be the first to sign up.

    But it wouldn’t surprise me if the first to sign is someone who has already played for such a large number of teams, maybe that’s why he has limited interest,” been there done that with Jackson, No Thanks, I’ll pass.”

  • DarthHater

    Do the Cubs really want a guy who has played for the White Sox AND the Cardinals?

  • Walter Sobchak

    I think we are overlooking the very upside to how this FO is doing things…… I love the fact they are willing to spend on good pitching …. Yes we haven’t landed with all of them but with an offensive core of Castro and Rizzo and the money being offered to and in on guys like Sanchez Jackson and even price rumors is awesome love the Japanese closer signing and the Korean no risk signing and being in on Powell ….. I’m excited I LOVE the direction we are going

  • http://Cubkid jdblades7

    I think Jackson is about the benjamins more than a good team.

  • Bigg J

    I am sure it’s about the money, but if a player feels the Cubs will compete during the life of the deal then they will sign especially if they are getting more money. He knew Padres are not going to do anything and the Rangers are there, but he would be in the AL where it’s tougher to pitch compared to NL and he will get to hit.

  • http://Cubkid jdblades7

    They are definitely trying to do things the right way, in building a competitive team from basically the ground up. Which doesn’t happen overnight which upsets some people because nobody likes losing. But being patient and not taking shortcuts is the best way to build a competitive team for years to come and when we start kicking ass in a year or two, probably closer to two. We can tell all the doubters I told you so.

  • md8232

    Just finished the Podcast!
    I’m going to make a button that says BN is the pepitone of podcasts, then
    wear in in my lapplel.

  • MightyBear

    Seattle-Angels just made a nice trade for both teams. Vargas for Morales. Seattle needs offense and Angels wanted an innings eater. Win win.

  • MightyBear

    I would like to see the Cubs get Bourn but don’t want them to spend a ton. 4 years max. I think Bourn while maybe losing some speed would be solid for his entire contract and be a good outfielder for the Cubs whether they’re good or bad.

  • Mike

    I would love to see them sign Bourn!! Castro,Barney, and Bourn up the middle defensively is pretty damn solid!! Plus a great lead off hitter which they have been lacking for years to set the table for castro,rizzo,and soriano!!! Plus he can turn a single or a walk into a double with his base stealing ability!! I would hold onto Alfonso unless they get a good package for him,why pay so much for him to play somewhere else??? As far as Jackson goes, I can take him or leave him,just as long as they don’t overpay for him. And I’m glad the dumpster signed with the Red Sox and not the brew crew!!K

    • MichiganGoat

      Not sure how great a leadoff hitter Bourn really would be in a couple of years. Remember his OPS+ has only been over 100 once (2011) and is OBP floats around .350 at its best. This will only decline further as he ages.

  • http://Cubkid jdblades7

    Does anybody know when Baseball Americas top 20 list for the cubs minor league players come out. I think I heard somewhere that it’s here pretty soon

    • Mick

      I think I heard January 7th.

      • Mick

        …or 10th? January 7-10, final answer.

  • http://bleachernation.com Ramy16

    I still think theo and Jed should give Jair Jurggens a look..no risk High Upside!

    • Carew

      Agreed. I know he has been BAD the last couple years, but he has had good success, and is only 26. 27?

    • MichiganGoat

      The risk is that he sucks and only had one good year that was fueled by luck, if we would accept a minor league deal then I guess its worth the risk. Still his upside is not that high and not worth a roster spot.

  • T Larson

    I wouldn’t give up next years 2nd round draft pick just to get Bourn. Bourn is all about speed and could easily lose it in the next few years. It is very common in baseball.

    • bbmoney

      Bourn is pretty good.

      A second round pick doesn’t give me pause. Length of contract might for a speed guy like him, but the pick…..not a deal breaker for me. If you can sign him to a 4 year deal or less…you’ve really got to think about it….usual caveat of money being reasonable.

  • http://bleachernation.com Ramy16

    Thanks Carew..also I wonder if Theo would bring back Jeff Baker?? ..also Brett what ever happen to the ptbnl from the Tigers?

    • MichiganGoat

      WHY? Why would we bring back a player that has zero value? Any of the AAA players we have would be as good as Baker- seriously that move makes ZERO sense.

    • Carew

      Whoa MG, calm down. Deep breaths…

      Baker would be blech, and i think the ptbnl was that Carreno guy

    • cubchymyst

      the PTBNL from the tigers was a Pitcher named Marcelo Carreno