stoveThe New Year is here, and the rumor mill continues its job …

  • There’s a big rumor making the rounds courtesy of Jason Churchill, a writer for ESPN and Prospect Insider, which indicates that the Mariners and Dodgers could be in talks about a sizable trade, possibly involving Andre Ethier. The Dodgers would probably also be sending one of their superfluous back-end starters (Aaron Harang or Chris Capuano), whom the Mariners would slot into the spot vacated by Jason Vargas. The rumor hasn’t been picked up by any other national folks, but there’s a whole lot of internal logic.
  • The implications of a big deal like that are wide ranging: on the one hand, it would take the Mariners out of the market for an outfielder, via trade or free agency – and it would also line the Dodgers up to make a big move on Michael Bourn. Given that there isn’t an obvious, top-notch replacement in their system ready to go (Yasiel Puig is still a ways off, if he makes it at all), I can’t help but assume the Dodgers wouldn’t actually trade Ethier until a Bourn deal was all but locked up (plus, you know, sign-all-the-players). This series of moves could potential improve the market for Alfonso Soriano or David DeJesus ever-so-slightly (by taking a couple options off the market, going to places that definitely weren’t in on Soriano, and may not have really been in on DeJesus), but obviously the negative to the Cubs is that Bourn won’t fall into their lap on a favorable deal (which is a negative only if you were wanting Bourn on the cheap, that is).




  • Probably unrelated, but Jon Morosi reports that the Mariners and Marlins have discussed Giancarlo Stanton. The Mariners have some very nice young arms, and a┬árelatively┬áhealthy farm system overall. They also have a tough time getting big-time free agents to sign, and they need some bats. I still doubt Stanton goes anywhere – and, if he does, the Cubs will go down swinging – but the Mariners make a lot of sense as a fit if he does.
  • The Phillies’ beat guy for MLB.com thinks Alfonso Soriano would be a good fit in the Phillies’ lineup, though he prefers that they go after Scott Hairston instead.
  • The Indians have agreed to terms with Brett Myers on a one-year, plus-one-year-option deal worth $7 million, per Jon Heyman. They had been connected to Shaun Marcum – to whom the Cubs had long been connected – and this signing may take them out of that discussion. I’m not sure it matters to the Cubs, though, as their additions of Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Jackson have them overflowing with starters as it is. It’ll depend on how attractive the option looks, but I think I still like the Cubs’ Scott deals – Feldman and Baker – better. Probably Villanueva, too.


  • David Price and the Rays avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $10.1 million deal for 2013. This is just the normal process, but that hasn’t stopped folks from starting the Cubs-David-Price-trade-next-year talk. It’s fun to fantasize about, but there isn’t much point in speaking too formally about it until next offseason at the earliest.
  • A couple low risk arms to keep on your radar – Brandon Webb is still trying to come back, and will throw for teams later this month; Peter Moylan probably isn’t re-signing with the Braves after arm troubles limited him the last two years.

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