stoveChristmas is in the rearview mirror, and the Lukewarm Stove starts smoldering again …

  • The Red Sox and Pirates finally officially consummated their six-player trade centering on closer Joel Hanrahan. The Red Sox also pick up Brock Holt, a 24-year-old so-so infield prospect, while the Pirates are getting outfielder Jerry Sands, infielder Ivan De Jesus, Jr., reliever Mark Melancon and meh pitching prospect Stolmy Pimentel. It’s a quantity over quality return for the Pirates on Hanrahan (who I previously discussed as a similar, but slightly better and slightly less expensive Carlos Marmol (but, of course, the Cubs can do something about the expense part, by eating some salary)), and probably sets the upper bound on what the Cubs could hope to get in a Marmol deal. Ideally, obviously, you’d like to see just one quality piece coming back, rather than two or three fringy/AAAA types, but the Pirates were probably shooting for this kind of a return, given their desire for cost-controlled pieces. Ultimately, they replaced Hanrahan with a guy who could become Hanrahan (Melancon), picked up a guy who could be a possible corner outfield or first base starter, but might be a really nice bench piece (Sands), upgraded Holt to De Jesus, and got a why-the-hell-not pitching prospect thrown in.
  • Gut response on this deal as a precedent for a Marmol trade? If the Cubs eat enough salary to make Marmol a $3 million guy (he’s set to make $9.8 million), I think they can probably get a prospect that might fall at the back end of their top 10/15, or a mid-20s bat whom they could maybe give a shot in the outfield. No, I’m not thinking they could get a Gerardo Parra for him, though. That would be awesome, but I don’t quite see it (if the D-backs were into Marmol at all anyway).
  • The deal, by the way, suggests a belief by the Red Sox that they can compete in the AL East this year, so you wonder where else they might look to upgrade. They might soon be looking for a right-handed power bat, as the Mike Napoli deal is still being held up by some questionable hip-related medicals.
  • Yuniesky Betancourt’s agent says there are four teams interested in signing his client to a Major League contract – not a minor league/Spring Training invite deal – and a deal should be finalized soon. The Cubs are probably not one of the interested teams, but I’ll let you linger in fear until something official is decided.
  • The Rays continue to look for a bat, and I continue to wonder why the Cubs and Rays can’t figure out a way to get together on an Alfonso Soriano deal (unless he doesn’t want to go there, which, well, maybe). Having signed Roberto Hernandez nee Fausto Carmona, the Rays still could easily move a starting pitcher in a deal for a bat. That said, if they wanted Soriano, I don’t know how much interest the Cubs would have in someone like Jeff Niemann anymore (unless they wanted crazy pitching depth and the ability to trade pitchers with impunity, which, well, maybe). And I don’t think Jeremy Hellickson is a reasonable target in a Soriano deal (even if he’s not all that attractive to begin with). It’s likely the Cubs would just be looking for prospects.
  • BD

    If AZ has interest in Marmol, anybody have a guess at what kind of prospect the Cubs would have to include to get Parra?

    • Mike Taylor (no relation)

      I think A.J. Pollock would be a great platoon partner for David DeJesus in CF, with Schierhotlz / Sappelt platooning in RF. He fits our need as a team and makes more sense than Gerardo Parra (unless we unload Soriano). I don’t know how high the DBacks are on him. I think Cody Ross blocks him. Even if we trade DeJesus at some point in the season, Brett Jackson can come in and fill that role.

  • EQ76

    “…an Alfonso Soriano deal (unless he doesn’t want to go there, which, well, maybe).”

    Why wouldn’t Soriano jump at the chance of getting to play in front of tens of hundreds of fans every night!!??!?!?!

    • Ted

      I lold

  • JBarnes

    You think Odorizzi could be someone in a deal for Soriano? I’m sure some other pieces would have to be involved but I wonder if Tampa would think that’s too much? Or if Cubs would even be interested.

  • Internet Random

    Sorry, but I can’t focus on anything but Fletch after reading the name Hanrahan.

    • Internet Random

      Where my italics, yo?

      [Ed. – I think you may have forgotten to close the tag. Or it’s a new issue.]

  • cubsin

    If that’s the probable return on Marmol, I’d rather wait until the trade deadline and hope somebody has an injured or ineffective closer to replace.

  • frank

    Can’t say I disagree – he’s worth more here.

  • Scott Huston

    What about a Marmol and Soriano for Jeremy Hellickson & Prospect trade? Is this reasonable?

    • hutch

      I think to get hellickson we would be the one including a prospect. And probably a top 6 to 20 prospect

      • nkniacc13

        It would be Sori, Marmol, and 2 top 15 prospects to get hellickson I think with cubs paying almost all the salary of Marmol and Sori

        • hutch

          probably right. They have all the leverage

  • Kevin

    Appers there’s no clear #1 pick in next years MLB amateur draft. Any ideas who the Cubs pick?

    • Kyle

      Way too early to make judgments. The No. 1 and 2 picks could easily emerge in the spring seasons.

      We’ll almost certainly be taking a college pitcher.

      • nkniacc13

        Its likely to be a pitcher and its likely that they are going to agree to a underslot amount or the 2nd rder so the cubs have more $ for other top 10 picks

      • MightyBear

        Brett, Luke and you are all the same. Won’t commit. It’s not like there’s a wrong answer here and you can always say “Well, before the spring season I would’ve went with A but now I think the Cubs should take B.” Personally, if Appel is there and the Cubs can make a deal, I would take Appel.

        • nkniacc13

          I think Medows is the best talent in the draft. I think Appel is the closest to the Majors. I agree the 1st pick is based on the most talented the rest of the top 10 is on talent, signiability and postion

          • EQ76

            Appel could really “sauce” up our farm system. Appel could really be a “core” prospect. At least that’s what my granny Smith thinks.

            • nkniacc13

              Honestly Id love to get Medows and Whiston wih the top 2 picks but don’t think Whiston last anywhere close to that long

              • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

                At this point it is easily Stanek or Appel. We are more than likely taking college pitcher at this point. Manea is the only other option at this point. Whitson is a wild card, but he isn’t even looking like a top 10 option or the top pitcher on his own team at this point. Meadows has raw skills with a high upside, and at this point I would think Clint Frazier would be up there as well for this management team. They don’t seem to prefer only raw skills like a Buxton. They want players who have great makeup and produce. Frazier would be that, but with the 2nd pick they almost have to take pitching, imo. Unless someone blows up you can’t walk away from.

                • nkniacc13

                  I expect Appel,Stanek, Manea, medows and Frazier to be going in the first 7 picks as long as no injuries. I think Manea is the college pitcher Id want for 2 reasons 1. hes LH and 2. He may sign for underslot allowing cubs to have a bit more to go after a tougher sign with pick 2

                  • Kevin

                    It would be nice to get some lefty arms in the system

                  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

                    If Manea dominates (Not overly difficult he is a Sycamore) he will probably be there. Stanek is still raw, but solid pitcher. Appel has the stuff but his pitch selection has always been the problem. If you have a bright catcher he will listen to, that won’t be a problem. Manea throws about 97 with movement. I like that in a lefty.

                    • JB88

                      I’m a big fan of Manaea. I love his height and weight. I’m not sold on Meadows. If we are talking a HS’er, I like Frazier a lot more.

                      Personally, if we are talking college pitcher, I like Manaea, followed by Stanek, but I don’t love Appel. His fastball is really flat and that scares me. Plus, guys who reenter the draft almost always seem to be more headache than they are worth IMO.

                    • gocatsgo2003

                      What seems like a throwaway line in Rogers’ piece on the hiring of our new minor league pitching instructor seems to confirm that the Cubs favor Manea:

                      Derek Johnson, lured away from a highly successful run as Vanderbilt University’s pitching coach, will be in charge of developing the Cubs’ pitching prospects. That group probably will include Indiana State left-hander Sean Manaea, unless right-handers Mark Appel (Stanford), Ryne Stanek (Arkansas) or Jonathon Crawford (Florida) pass him before the draft.

  • Kevin

    They will take the player they feel is best, even if he is a ss or 1b. After the first few rounds they will prob go on a run of power arms.

  • ibcnu2222 (John)

    Off topic, but if the Cubs need bullpen help, Ugueth Urbina was released from prison today. He slices the competition up and then sets them on fire.

    • Soler Power

      Is that why he was in prison?

      • ibcnu2222 (John)

        He allegedly assaulted workers with a machete and poured gasoline on them.

        • Soler Power

          Yikes. I thought you were being figurative. Though it was kind of specific in hindsight…

    • Internet Random


  • hutch

    odorizzi for soriano would be a solid move if it was available

  • ruby2626

    Story in the Trib the other day on how the pitcher from Indiana State has moved up on draft lists. I guess the Cape Cod summer league is a real hitters league and he held hitters to something ridiculous like a .130 average. 6’5″ with weight to gain, throws 3/4’s ala Chris Sale. If we end up with Appel not worried about signing him, now that he’s a senior he really has no leverage. A story I read on Appel made it sound like he really wanted to stay another year at Stanford. Houston obviously wanted to draft him but he wanted too much money so he went elsewhere, wonder if they would be hesitant to draft him for real this time because of that. Appel is guy who is being judged on potential, his stats at Stanford were good but not really overwhelming for guy being considered for top pick in draft. 2.56 ERA, barely 1 K per inning. Compare those to Mark Prior, ok not a fair comparison to arguable the greatest college pitcher of all time.

  • Zachary

    No way the rays do that

  • Marc N.

    With Wade Davis gone I am not so excited to move Soriano to the Rays anymore. Not really excited to move Soriano at all really….OTOH I now consider the Red Sox, Orioles, and Yankees better fits unless the trade to the Rays got creative. Jeff Neimann is very mediocre and boring, without any kind of Significant long term upside.

  • Mr.Boring

    Jumping in late here because of Holiday’s. Why hasn’t Jackson been added to the 40 man? Or is Cubs website team been taking time off. Is the deal done?

    • George Altman

      They have 20 days after he passes a physical to add him and Villanueva to the 40-man.

    • @cubsfantroy

      The deal isn’t official yet to my knowledge.

    • CubFan Paul

      i’m wondering where does the Front Office want EJax’s $8M signing bonus to land? the 2012 or 2013 budget/payroll

      same with a Sori trade. Thats another $8M (to make him a $5M/year player) that could easily fit into the the 2012 budget ($150Mish)

      • hansman1982

        I am sure, with the fiscal cliff uncertainty and almost certainty that the upper tax rates will increase in 2013, that Jackson wants it in 2012. My guess is that may have played a tiny (as in, “Well, I have these other 15 things that make signing between the Cubs and team B basically even, but they are willing to give me $8M this year…) factor in him signing with the Cubs.

  • Brandon

    I would like to see them sign Alex Gonzalez so he could take over third if Stewart still can’t hit

    • Nick Nesler

      IMO that’s a hell of an idea, had pretty much forgotten about him. But the lack of mention of him makes me wonder if he is still dealing with injuries.

    • Brett

      Cubs will probably look for a platoon-mate first, and Gonzalez is a poor one – he actually hits righties better than lefties over his long career.

  • Garrett

    Would Scott Rolen be any interest as a platoon mate? Be a great clubhouse guy, and can still hit. Great leader for the youngins.

  • gocatsgo2003

    Can still hit? An 88 OPS+, 0.3 oWAR, and free agency in a very weak third base market would disagree with that conclusion.