alfonso soriano hittingLate last week, when I was … *eh hem* … feverishly indisposed, there were a couple hot stove chats I wanted to hit on. So, I’ll hit on them now …

First, from Bruce Levine, doing his weekly chat at ESPNChicago:

  • Bruce calls the Alfonso Soriano/Phillies true rumor (which popped up again last week courtesy of Jim Bowden, who said the Cubs and Phillies had a deal on the table involving Soriano, and they were just waiting on Michael Bourn to pick a team before settling things) a very old one, dating back to a month and a half ago. That timeline would make it the old Soriano-for-Domonic-Brown swap, which was discussed extensively around the Winter Meetings. Is that what Bowden was talking about? Is that deal still on the table? Bruce doesn’t seem to think so, as he says “nothing came of” that deal. Jim and Bruce are colleagues, so maybe they can get together on this one.
  • That said, if the Cubs find a suitable deal for Soriano before the season opens, they’ll take it. Ditto Carlos Marmol. But Bruce thinks Matt Garza is actually more likely to be traded than Soriano, primarily because of Soriano’s no-trade rights.
  • Marmol makes sense for the Tigers, who could use a proven arm near the end of their bullpen. Bruce mentioned this in the context of a Rick Porcello trade (because he was asked, not because he brought it up). I don’t really see a fit there, given the depth in the rotation right now – which is not to say the Cubs might not want Porcello. I just think other teams might want him more.
  • Bruce still doesn’t think trading Javier Baez in a deal for Justin Upton makes sense. He also doesn’t think the Cubs could land Giancarlo Stanton without it having a net negative impact on the rebuild.
  • No real update on the Cubs and Michael Bourn. Bruce says the Cubs have the payroll flexibility to sign him, and they have had conversations with his agent, but he won’t go any further than that.
  • Bruce likes the idea of the Cubs adding Scott Hairston as their final outfielder (a guy who mashes lefties), but he doesn’t have any inside info on that one.

And next, from Ben Nicholson-Smith at MLB Trade Rumors:

  • The Rangers probably have the best chance of acquiring Giancarlo Stanton as anyone … but that chance is still essentially zero.
  • The Brewers probably aren’t going to go after Kyle Lohse (and the Cardinals probably aren’t bringing him back), who’s still counting on a multiyear deal.
  • Michael Bourn to the Rangers still feels like a good fit, depending on how they feel about their internal options in center field (Martin/Gentry).
  • Things aren’t looking good for the Red Sox and Mike Napoli, whose three-year deal has been held up by dickering about his medicals. Like I said before on this one, it could really be holding a great deal of things up … to wit, say Adam LaRoche is waiting to re-sign with the Nats until he knows the Red Sox are out. And say the Nats are waiting to trade Michael Morse until they know they have LaRoche back. And say the Mariners are waiting to make a final offer to Bourn until they know whether Morse is available. And say Bourn is waiting … you get the picture.
  • Ben doubts the Cubs are eager to lose a pick to sign Michael Bourn, but he expects they’ll continue to lay in the weeds and see what happens.
  • If the Cubs move Soriano now, Ben figures they’re going to want to make sure they’ve figured out a way to replace his offense.
  • Patrick G

    Question regarding Lohse, say he doesn’t get signed before the season and gets signed midseason, ex Roy Oswalt, and the draft already took place, what happens with that draft pick that is supposedly taken away. If that draft pick doesn’t get taken away, when is the so called deadline for the signing team not to give up a draft pick.

    • Nate

      Good point, I would definitely be interested in the answer to that.

    • Stinky Pete

      I have no idea what the reality of it is, but I think the possibility of Kyle Lohse sitting until after the draft is pretty slim. (Don’t misunderstand me, it is a very interesting question.)
      BUT if somehow it did, I assume either the pick would be awarded to the Cardinals in the 2014 draft based on the signing teams final 2013 spot or the pick compensation expires at some point and the signing team would not lose their pick.

  • EQ76

    “If the Cubs move Soriano now, Ben figures they’re going to want to make sure they’ve figured out a way to replace his offense.”

    -Oh God I hope so! We will be horrific on offense if not.

    • Voice of reason

      We will be horrific on offense with or without soriano.

  • ETS

    Does it seem weird to talk about things not making sense due to the “depth of our rotation”?

    • Brett

      That’s just the shorthand – it’s a broader reason than that – but yeah. Weird.

  • dan

    good question !!!!

  • dan

    Ok will someone tell me why everyone is overlooking Scott Hairston his numbers against lefties is unreal, Put him in right in as part of a platoon. And as a fourth outfielder he would be great

    • Brett

      I don’t think anyone’s overlooking him – he could simply be waiting the market out.

    • Voice of reason

      Hairston is not part of the future. I’d rather see sup pelt have the at bats over Hairston.

      Hairston is an ideal sign for a team that expects to compete. The cubs will lose 90 games this year. It’s about giving our kids as many at bats as possible this season.

      • Joe

        I agree that Hairston is not prt of the future, but if you can upgrade from Campana to Hariston and still give Sappelt his share of at-bats then it seems like a win.

        • Voice of reason

          But if Hairston gets 200abs then that’s 200abs taken away from a kid or a combination of kids.

          Lets see what some of our youngsters can do.

          We will lose 90 games with Hairston or without him. He would be a great sign for a team in contention, but that certainly isn’t the cubbies!

          I want to see the kids play!!

          • MichCubFan

            If i we had hairston and sappelt…then we platoon hairston with Schierholtz and Sappelt with DeJesus.

            We do need a right handed outfielder…

            I do wonder if there is going to be more of a shakeup in the outfield…like a soriano trade or something. That might change this plan.

  • Danny B

    Just an idea: what about signing Grady Sizemore? Not sure what kind of contract he could demand, but I’d take him on the Cubs for 1y/5mil or so. Thoughts?

    • Brett

      He’s out until midseason, potentially, after another knee surgery.

      • MichiganGoat

        That or his medicals are just not good and everyone is staying away

        • Brett

          Eh – don’t normally get a good look at those until you’ve reached a very advanced stage in the negotiations.

  • Rizzo44

    Starting to get a little mad at Bourn… Rangers, Mariners, Or Cubs? Can he just choose someone so we can see what happens with everyone else including Soriano? Happy Birthday Fansi!!!

  • Voice of reason

    Campana is as close to Bourne as you will see.

    Let the kids play so we can see what our future is!

    Cubs front office has made it clear that losing 90 games this year is inevitable. They passed on a lot of different third basemen for Ian Stewart. And, there were a bunch of free agent outfielders and they signed schierholtz.

    That should tell you that they have no intentions on winning a division or going to the playoffs. They want the kids to develop and move up to the big leagues. Then they will sign free agents at postions where they have no minor leaguers.

    That’s how it’s done.

    • frank

      Not really–Baseball Reference stats show:

      Campana .262 BA; .306 OBP; .300 SLG; .605 OPS; 67 OPS+; 1 oWAR and .7 dWAR
      Bourn .272 BA; .339 OBP; .365 SLG; .704 OPS; 90 OPS+; 3.2 oWAR and 3.0 dWAR

      Campana is younger, probably faster, but is not as good a hitter or nearly as good a defender (bad angles, bad reads–all stuff covered on the site before). Camapana has only had about 350 plate appearances, but he’s 26 years old. Maybe he’ll improve, maybe he won’t. But there is no arguing that Bourn is a far better player. The question is how long he’ll remain effective since he relies a lot on speed.

  • AB

    Besides the fact, he’s not a good baseball player, Campana will be 27 this year, AKA, pretty much not a kid.

    • MichiganGoat

      Plus giving Campana more AB will make OBP even worse

      • Capitol Cubbie

        But it’s on base percentage 😉

  • the sandman

    Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing if the Cubs can sign Hairston. Hed be a nice fit, and might help the team get at least respectful. OTOH, Campana isn’t even remotely Micheal Bourn. Bourn at least has some power(7HR last year in ATL) and a better OBP. Campanas only asset is speed, which cant be used unless your on base. The Cubs aren’t good enough to carry a modern-day Herb Washington.

    • Voice of reason

      Nobody signs Hairston thinking he takes you from non respectable to respectable. Were not talking about a 40hr guy here.

  • Frank

    I think how many games the cubs lose this year depends on what they do with the offense. If they started tomorrow I’d say 90-95 loses but if they can add a couple of good bats we could flirt with .500.

  • Njriv

    Hairston would be a nice piece to have to trade at the deadline if he continues his trend of mashing lefties. Maybe we can replicate the Maholm and Johnson trade from last year, but this time it would be Baker or Feldman and Hairston.

  • Bill

    I don’t understand why the Cubs would want Rick Porcello. His WHIP has increased every season he’s been in the bigs. They have plenty of starting pitching that looks as good or better than him which they don’t have to trade any players. Pass.

  • Voice of reason

    Bourne has power??????? In just over 3,000 major league at bats he has 22hrs total.

    That is in no way, shape or form a person who can even remotely being described as having power.

    He steals bases…. That’s it! He is a very good lead off man, but we don’t need him.

    We need our young kids to play to see who will be with us the next time we are ready to compete and that’s about 3 years from now.

    Odds are Bourne will be out of baseball or a pinch runner by then!

    • frank

      Did I miss something? I didn’t see anyone saying Bourn has power–though his numbers (SLG) show that he has more power than Campana. Campana will be 27 this year–he’s not a “young kid” anymore. Maybe he’ll improve–I don’t know–it’s just as likely that we’ve seen all Campana can do. But as the stats show, Bourn is, right now, a much better player than Campana–and the only question is how much longer Bourn will remain effective. That’s why everyone is hoping, if we do sign him, it’s for a shorter term deal.

      • Voice of reason

        Sandman said that Bourne has power. Check a couple messages above these.

        • hansman1982

          Then use the reply button. Not that challenging.

  • Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I’ve said this since when, Brett? …check the database?! Cubs should sign Scott Hairston. He makes sense even if we cannot trade Alfonso Soriano. He doesn’t cost us a draft pick like Bourn will, and wants a reasonable, two year contract. Two years of Hairston production at $8M per is slightly better than one year of production from Bourn at $16M.

    It’s been said on the Bourn Threads, but let me refresh you. Essentially, if the Cubs sign Bourn, it’ll probably only be for one year and we’d be trading him mid season, hoping to receive a pick that would be equal to the compensation the Braves get-it’s just not worth it.

    • Brett

      Apparently Hairston is down to the Yanks and Mets. He must like New York. It’s a swell town.

      • Internet Random

        Maybe he’s really in to bagels. They really are better in NYC… it’s the texture more than the taste.

        • Brett

          Oh, there’s no doubt. A New York bagel makes all other bagels taste like … bread.

    • Voice of reason

      Hairston will take away at bats from kids who might contribute in three or four years when the cubs are ready to contend.

      Why would you play Hairston when he will not be here the next time we compete?

      Why would you have Hairston stand in the way of a young kid who could develop into a starter in three or four years when we are in competition?

      We will never know what we have if we sign the hairs tons of the world.

      Hairston and bourne should not even be considered. This year is about watching our young kids develop. We need to let the next bourne develop in our system and come up when he is 22. We don’t need to have Hairston stand in the way of that progress.

      • legen wait for it dary

        If we sign Hariston we r likely to trade him at the deadline. So he wouldn’t be standing in anyones way. Like you said the kids are 3 to 4 years from contributing. If we sign Bourn it would be a 4 years or und deal so they would not be blocking anyone.

      • @cubsfantroy

        How many times are you going to say the same thing over and over? You may as well change your name to broken record.

        We get it, you don’t want Bourn, you want to see the youngsters play. Problem is, none of them are ready. Campana has nothing going for him, Jackson is over matched in every at bat and needs time to develop a little more in AAA. As for Vitters, see what I just said about Jackson.

  • Iowa Chokeyes

    if you want “young kids to develop” then why do you want them in the bigs this year. “young kids” develop in the minors not in the mlb

  • Marc

    I want Rick Porcello to be a Cub. There are not enough people from NJ on that team, and I still think the upside is significant.

  • cinceycubfan

    Is it really such a stretch to say the Cubs could actually be in contention middle of the year? Yes I know it will take some guys really stepping up and some breaks, but am I the only one who can see it? If Castro and Rizzo can take their games to the next level along with Soriano having another solid year, why not? Yes they would probably need career years from Ian/Luis and Castillo, but it’s possible. The rotation and bullpen can definitely be above league average. Maybe I’m just dreaming though and once the season starts I’ll wake up

    • DarthHater

      It could happen. Monkeys could also fly out of my butt. 😀

    • Voice of reason

      They have nothing offensively besides castillo rizzo and soriano, period.

      The rest are so average to below average that it’s a joke.

      When the front office passed on a bunch of different third basemen ands signed Stewart you knew they had no intentions of competing this year.

      When the front office passed on a bunch of good outfielders and signed Nate schierholtz and said he and dejesus will start you knew they had no intentions of competingnthisnyear.

      This team will easily lose 90 games and the front office knows it, too.

      • Luke

        You consider Castillo part of the offense, but not Castro?

        • ncsujuri

          I assume he meant Castro but typed Castillo, but you know what happens when you assume.

  • oldstyle1908

    Why is there so much scuttlebutt about trading Garza? What’s the problem with keeping him? New to the BN

    • Brett

      Welcome. The gist is this: because the Cubs are not expected to be a playoff contender in 2013, and because Garza is a free agent after 2013, the Cubs will consider trading him now (if he’s healthy), rather than risk losing him at the end of the year for nothing more than a compensatory draft pick. The other option is to sign him to an extension, but, so far, there hasn’t been a whole lot of indication from either side that an extension is in the cards.

  • dex cluck

    IT is to hard to develope young players at the major league level, they are over matched and that puts to much pressure on them. very few players can excel under that pressure, teams have ruined players trying to do that. it’s best they have good numbers for a few years in the minors. a lot of pitchers with 5 hundred or less winning percentage isnt a lot of pitching anyway. you need to sign one year contracts with veterans even though they are margenal players so you can protect your dont want to lose eligibility just to play them. it doesnt matter who you sign now they dont figure into the future,you just hope you can them for some pieces at the deadline and then do it again next year and keep doing it until you think your close and then you spend the money on some big time players to fill some spots. this is going to take some time to do it right so you can compete for several years. i would be suprised if the cubs won 70 games in 2015. the worst part is pitching is starting to cost a lot of money for average pitching and it will only get higher.

  • Oldstyle1908

    Thanks for the clarity Brett…assuming he’s healthy, it’d be tough to see him go. Like a few others, I’m cautiously optimistic about our pitching this season…but I have to admit, if Garza is taken out of the mix it’d feel like a real kick in the sack! Obviously they won’t give him up for just any scrub(s), though… Thanks for the great coverage and info

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