stoveThe weekend diversion that is the Cubs Convention stemmed the flow – at least around here – of rumors, but they’re back in force …

  • Ken Rosenthal looked to stir things up a little bit with a conspiracy theory in the wee hours of the morning, which he attributes to an anonymous executive: “[The Cubs’ hiring of Derek Johnson as Minor League Pitching Coordinator] did not escape the attention of one rival executive, who viewed the hiring of Johnson as possibly the first step toward the Cubs landing left-hander David Price. The theory might be a bit of a reach, seeing as how Price is not eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season and coveted by virtually every team in baseball. A lot could happen in the next three years. Specifically, a team such as the Rangers could trade for Price and sign him long-term. The Cubs, though, also could take a similar approach. Ideally, they would prefer to keep their top prospects, then add Price in free agency just as those youngsters were starting to mature. Either way, the hiring of Johnson certainly wouldn’t hinder the Cubs’ pursuit of Price. The two were close at Vanderbilt, and friends say that Price gives Johnson significant credit for his success.” At least Ken said it was a reach. It is. An extreme one. Setting aside the fact that the minor league pitching coordinator and the major league arms aren’t going to be working together on the kind of regular basis that would lure a David Price, it’s not like Price is available to go wherever he wants for another three years. In the interim, he’s as certain to be traded as any player in baseball. So, whether he wants to come to the Cubs or not, he’ll go where he’s traded. Perhaps the connection with Johnson – say he’s promoted along the way? – helps the Cubs have confidence that Price would sign an extension, and that pushes a deal, but even that’s a stretch.
  • Rosenthal’s piece also says the Mariners are weighing a four-year, $100 million extension offer to Felix Hernandez (who is under contract for two more years). Given the market, and the complete awesomeness of Hernandez, that would be a pretty favorable deal, all things considered.
  • Ken also says the Rangers are sticking to their “we’ve moved on” stance with the Diamondbacks regarding Justin Upton, but I have a hard time believing the two sides won’t re-engage. Michael Bourn still seems like an ill-fitting back-up option.
  • Speaking of Bourn, the Braves still have some measure of interest, but David O’Brien doesn’t think it’s going to happen. He notes that manager Fredi Gonzalez reached out to Bourn at some point in the last few weeks, though.
  • The months-long rumored dance between the Cubs and Phillies regarding Alfonso Soriano has another wrinkle: CSN Philly cites sources who tell them the Phillies are “seriously” considering signing free agent outfielder Delmon Young. At a superficial level, Young and Soriano are comparable players – questionable defense in left, power but no OBP, and imperfect types. Beyond the superficial, though, you’ve got the fact that Soriano is the faaaar superior defender, Soriano’s offensive numbers blow Young’s away in 2012 (and, generally, in the past, too), and Soriano doesn’t have off-the-field issues. Indeed, Soriano is regarded as one of the best guys in the clubhouse in baseball. Are the Phillies grabbing some leverage, or have they moved on from any possibility of a Soriano deal? I guess we’ll see. Young, although he’d come for only money (as opposed to prospects and some money for Soriano), is clearly the inferior option. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro was surprisingly candid when asked if the Phillies were considering Young – flat out admitting that they were – which sure sounds like a leverage ploy. Keep your eyes on this one.
  • Speaking of Soriano and the Phillies, Bruce Levine, who notes Soriano’s persistent desire to remain with the Cubs if possible, reports that back when the Cubs and Phillies originally discussed a swap in November, it wasn’t outfielder Domonic Brown on the table. It was some of the young pitching talent that went to the Twins in the Ben Revere deal. That trade sent young big league pitcher Vance Worley and nice pitching prospect Trevor May, so … ouch. Might have ended up being nice for the Cubs. I’m sure a variety of deals were discussed, though. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything was close.
  • Jim Bowden says that Soriano remains one of the most likely outfielders to be dealt between now and the start of the season, and lists the Phillies and Orioles as the most likely destinations. Not a lot of meat there, but it’s more info.
  • Chris Volstad signed a minor league deal with probably best team he could have chosen: the Rockies. With the possibility of their four-man-plus-four-piggyback returning this year, they could use as many as eight “starting” pitchers. Volstad, as a sinkerballer, is a good fit at Coors, too. He’s gotta, like, make the sinker work. He gets $1.5 million if he makes the team.
  • UPDATE: The Phillies have signed Young for one year and $750,000. So apparently Amaro was so open because the deal was essentially done. Does this mean Soriano to the Phils is absolutely dead? Not necessarily, given that Young was just signed for barely above the Major League minimum (in other words, he ain’t really blocking anyone). But there’s no plausible way Soriano and Young could play in the same outfield, so I’m thinking this is probably the Phillies’ move in left field for now. The Cubs clearly stuck to their guns on (their perception of) Soriano’s value.
  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

    The Cubs aren’t backing down on their insistence of a good return for Soriano, so I’m sure the Phillies are just taking the cheaper, worse option at this point.

    Levine’s report corroborates what one of the PSD insider guys said at the time, that the Cubs aren’t interested in Brown.

    Carlos Villanueva Roster Watch reaches Day 34.

  • John

    Is there a rule about the amount of time a team can keep a signing like Villanueva in limbo?

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      You have 20 days after the contract is signed to file it with the league office, and he must be rostered when it is filed.

      You can push that a little bit by having a guy agree to terms but not actually sign, but the PSD insider guy (who correctly stated awhile back that we weren’t interested in Brown from the Phillies, interestingly) said last week that the Cubs were getting close to being fined for this one.

      • John

        Thanks for the info. I assumed there was rule in place, but wasn’t sure what it would be.

      • Carne Harris

        Good to know, thanks. Was wondering the same thing.

  • Greg

    Saw Volstad pitch a game in Omaha last July (Iowa Cubs vs Omaha Storm Chasers). He was terrible, and he knew it. But he still had the attitude that he was better than everyone else on the field. He obviously didn’t care what happened when he was on the mound.
    Iowa’s manager went to the mound to get him, and as Volstad got to the dugout he took his glove and hat and slammed them into the trash can in the dugout and continued down the tunnel. He walked 2, gave up 6 hits and 6 runs (5 earned; 22.5 ERA) in 2 innings of work that day.

    I kind of felt sorry for him, because he’s a presence on the mound and has a lot of talent and potential. But he was REALLY awful that day, and his attitude was getting in the way of him being a better pitcher. Glad to see him go, but can’t see him doing much for the Rockies.

    • FFP

      Thanks for the eyes-on report here. I can’t figure Volstad. But, I’ll follow his career from here out(and hope that his “out” happens years rather than months from now. The big lug.

  • North Side Irish

    MLB Trade Rumors ‏@mlbtraderumors
    Red Sox Designate Chris Carpenter For Assignment http://bit.ly/Sx4Gfh #mlb

    • North Side Irish

      Is it wrong that I hope the Cubs pick him back up?

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

        Not wrong, but we’re already in 41-man limbo. Would have to get down to 39 before we could claim anyone.

        Actually, now that I think about it, we’ve gone basically a month without the ability to play waiver wire hero. That’s got to be killing Theo and Jed.

        • Spriggs

          What would be stopping hte Cubs from giving him a spring training invite? What are the contractual requirements to do that?

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

            The primary obstacle would be whether he’s willing to accept a spring training invite.

            • Spriggs

              Maybe Theo can trade himself back to Bos. :)

              • ETS

                According to Nick Cafardo we would get quite the haul in such a deal.

                • hansman1982

                  Who would you want on the Red Sox, though? I mean Theo spent a decade living off the previous regime and built a garbage organization through smoke and mirrors.

                  • DarthHater

                    Really. We should pay the Red Sox to take him off our hands.

                  • NextYear

                    Agreed Theo’s end in Boston was not a pretty one his tenure there was far from smoke and mirrors. I’ll explain reasoning if you wish. 2 quick examples: Curt Schilling and Dustin Pedroia

                    • hansman1982

                      Psst: Theo’s tenure in Boston ended with 89 wins. We would be so lucky to run a GM out of town after a season like that.

                      Pssst: You haven’t paid much attention to my comments in the past have you

                      Psssst: I don’t blame you, neither do I

                    • NextYear

                      Haha I am not a smart man. :(

    • BWA

      He had some really good numbers in limited innings in the minors last year. I wouldn’t mind seeing them grab him but they would have to like him better than rusin, raley, clevenger or campana unless there is a trade.

    • Bigg J

      I wouldn’t mind grabbing him. He did fairly well with the Cubs

  • North Side Irish

    Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS
    delmon young signs with #phils for 1 year, $750,000, team announces

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      So they weren’t bluffing.

      • North Side Irish

        I’m wondering this makes Dominic Brown available in trade now. The Phillies clearly have no faith in him, so maybe he’s worth taking a chance on. Can’t imagine it would cost much to acquire him, but the Cubs don’t need another LH outfielder. I believe he’s out of options too.

  • Ashley

    I would say that Soriano will be with the Cubs Opening Day but hopefully will have a strong second half and teams will come calling at the deadline. Just in my opinion!

  • Marc N.

    I was under the impression is that Johnson is the organization’s pitching coordinator rather than just the minors. Maybe I just forgot the title?

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      His job is minor league pitching coordinator.

  • MightyBear

    I would grab Carpenter.

    • Spriggs

      I like him a lot.

  • DarthHater

    “The Cubs clearly stuck to their guns on Soriano’s value.”

    Or perhaps other teams have clearly stuck to their guns on Soriano’s value.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I should add a modifier.

      • DarthHater

        At this point, I think the only way Soriano gets traded is in a deadline deal, and then only if he has a hot first half and some contending team is desperate for a right-handed bat and willing to gamble that Sori can keep it going for a couple more months.

        • MichiganGoat

          I agree. The Cubs set their expectations on a return high and were only willing to trade if that return was very good. The Cubs won’t be hurt by him playing next year (unless Gods Wrath appears ***knocking hoofs on wood***) and maybe if he has an outstanding first half and a team is desperate for some power in their lineup, then maybe some team will over pay. But that is a lot of maybes, but I’m glad Thed hasn’t just dumped him to open up a OF spot, I’m sure Hendry would have traded him for Blake Dewitt at this point. 😉

        • JR

          Yeah I still think a lot of people around baseball think Soriano still blows ass even after last year. I mean he spent a lot of time building that stigma of laziness up. It’s tough to break that in one productive year, especially at his age. Maybe the Cubs will have some positive Karma after last years Garza deadline kick to the nuts.

  • baseballet

    In Levine’s chat today: some encouraging comments about Castro, Barney, future payroll, and (in the future) depositing Vogelbach in LF if necessary. Also a surprising negative comment about Stewie–I hadn’t heard before that Stewie wasn’t honest with the Cubs about his injury last year.

  • Njriv

    I would have loved to get Brown. It seems like the Pillies have given up on him and never really gave him a chance. I like his potential, he could definitely be a core player and could use a fresh start somewhere else.

    • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

      Pretty sure Dom Brown will be the strong side of a RF platoon in Philly this year. But point taken, they aren’t really counting on him.

      • Rcleven

        keithlaw ‏@keithlaw

        And Dom Brown dies a little more inside. RT @ryanlawrence21: Amaro: Young will play RF.

        • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

          Ouch! For Dom Brown and for baseball defense in general!

  • JR

    WTF Phillies. Good luck with Young and his -1.2 War when you have a small window to win now. I agree with everyone that the Cubs shouldn’t trade Soriano for scraps, but I still think it’s a major risk going into the season with him. A lot can go wrong with him (see Matt Garza). Get something done Thed!

    • hansman1982

      I believe that Theo sees Soriano having a year similar to last year as a critical part of our chances at contention this year. Holding out for a good return on him would be a critical part of maintaining that hope.

      It will be incredibly interesting to see an offseason that involves no trades for the Cubs.

      • JR

        Yeah Hansman you could be right. Theo and Jed are competitive guys. So even though there not really “going” for it in 2013, I don’t think they want to be train wreck bad like last year either. No point in moving him and paying most of his salary for marginal talent. Hopefully he drops his bat weight an additional ounce and is even better this year!

        • hansman1982

          The worst realization of your statement there is that the pre-deadline team was on pace for 71 wins. Most folks are predicting 72-75 wins for this team…

      • brickhouse

        Counting on a 37 year old with bad knees to continue to be very productive is a mistake. Baseball history shows that Soriano will likely decline and maybe rapidly next year.

        • JR

          Well yeah. Which is exactly why the Cubs should trade Soriano if possible, and why his trade value sucks at the same time. He’s old, and has gimp knees. Double edged sword for sure…

    • Mick

      If I were a Phillies fan I’d let a huge whew in relief. I’m not going to try and make any case for Young’s defense but for only $750,000 and without having to give up any prospects, it almost seems like a no-brainer. I mean, Young is only 27 and was the 2012 ALCS MVP. Also, the Phillies aren’t tying themselves down to a second year like they’d be doing by acquiring Soriano. Who knows which direction the Phillies are going to go post-deadline. Halladay, Utley, M. Young, D. Young, Lannan, Nix will all be free agents, heck they could even trade Cliff Lee if the price is right.

      • JR

        I guess… Young blows though. I think the Phillies are exactly the type of team that should go all in on Soriano. I don’t get why the Cubs wouldn’t eat all Sorianos salary for the right return.

  • jzuniga

    Phillies are idots why would you take young over soriano?

    • mudge

      Soriano is 28 home runs from 400. Could be one thing to enjoy in 2013.

  • DarthHater

    One will cost you $5 million dollars and a decent prospect. The other will cost you $750,000. Hmmm…

  • Die hard

    To avoid lawsuits open the park to the community on non game days throughout year such as farmers mkt

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      I’m speechless but this have me a good laugh. Maybe they can call it “Tidrow’s Market”

      • Die hard

        Benefit to the community could defeat a class action taking lawsuit- open it up for all to enjoy- many other uses would qualify too

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Okay I can see as a good faith gesture for Ricketts to give Wrigley to a community event. Not sure how much that would prevent any future legal issues. I do find the idea of a farmers market/flea market as quite funny but a beer event well I’d be for that.

  • cheryl

    Suppose the cubs don’t make a trade. Who is likely to br DFA?

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Campana or Rusin would be my guess

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    It looks like the Tigers are trying to trade Brennan Boesch..if my memory serves me right this guy banged out 25 hrs in 2010..wondering if Theo jumped the gun too soon to sign Schierholtz?

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    I think the Cubs should hold on to Soriano! Great club house presence! And it no skin off our nuts if we keep him!

    • DarthHater

      I think the Cubs should threaten to skin his nuts if he doesn’t hit. That’ll motivate him.

  • Diamond Don

    Trade Soriano for Cano….One second baseman for a former second baseman. Isn’t Cano a free agent after 2013? Makes sense to me.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      I hope this is joke

      • Diamond Don

        Yes kidding Michigan Goat. The Yankee’s management would have to be totally drunk to make that trade. But I would love to have Cano!

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Good but crazier trades have been suggested here 😉

          • Blublud

            Like, dude, why trade Soriano to NY for Cano when the Angels have Trout as trade bait. Trout is younger and has more years of control.

  • Dustin S

    My interest in Soriano trade talk is incredibly low at this point. The rumors have been an almost daily thing for years. I kind of skim over articles when I see Soriano’s name just to avoid them.

  • Timmy

    If we sign David Price my opinion will change a year from now, but I expect most investment to go into their pet profit projects and not the team. They get the same windfall if the team is good or not, and they’re smart investors for buying a team everyone expects to lose.

    • Blublud

      Right. So why pay Theo and Jed all the money they are making to pull this off. You could have hired any SmoJoe and a few cronies and paid them crumbs to not field a good team on purpose. I truly believe every owner in sports not named Donald Sterling wants to win, but even he is having accidental winning season run (see LA Clippers).

      • Timmy

        Cause it’s just business to them. It’s the Cubs to us. To them if they can save some cash, make extra profits here or there, good. We’ll win later, much later, really we will, after we make several more drafts and after those drafts a few years from now mature.

  • daveyrosello

    Chris Carpenter released by Sawx, Nick Cafardo hardest hit.

  • http://www.thesportsfeast.com/category/ncaa-bb/mvc BAIRSDEN

    If Theo and Jed can’t get what they want for Sori we had all better hope that his 12′ performance wasn’t a fluke. After getting burned with Garza’s injury at the deadline last year let’s hope there’s some good karma headed the club’s way.

    I just don’t see many teams looking to add a piece like Soriano between now and ST. Or is there a team(s) out there we should keep in mind Brett?

    • Crazyhorse

      Yes we will need Soriano to redo his 2012 performance to avoid embarrassment in losing.
      I wished we hada 3B put that could up number like 50 doubles 27 hr 100 + rbis and 9 stolen bases with a 360 OBS With 901 OPS.

      Oh yeah we had him , his nickname was Aram- last year he stoled 9 bases , That one spike in total stolenbase 9 in one season is nothing, yet This guy never did that in Chicago . Why? bad coaching or maybe the Brewers coached better, or Ran him better in situations to gain those steals.

      What i find disturbing is no one calls out that dumb mistake to not resign him Yet …. we are waiting for the mighty powerful Stewart- to …… i guess show up.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        People probably are not dissing Jed & Theo for not re-signing ARam because so many Cubs fans were thrilled to see him go. Bob Brenly Roved ARam pretty thoroughly over the last couple of years, and I gather that the local media wasn’t much better. Indeed, I found it amusing to hear Brenley eat a small amount of crow late in the season by admitting that the Cubs missed ARam’s production: but of course caveating it by stating that ARam drove the collective “you” crazy by the way he (ARam) played!

        That said, I strongly suspect that ARam rolled some snake-eyes with last year’s performance. Just because a guy is in decline, it doesn’t mean that he won’t have a high percentile year and hit the expectations of 2-3 years ago. Most guys do not: but 10% of ball players is a lot of guys!

        • Crazyhorse

          Well snake eyes twice in a row is hard to do…….I guess the production level in 13 should answer those questions for both players. until then only the stats or production matters.

  • medler

    Just read that the Young/Phillies deal could be worth $3.25 mil with all the incentives.

    Isn’t this just paying for a cheap Adam Dunn? It’s a pretty decent risk/reward. Not one I would want the Cubs to try, but the Phillies feel they can compete this season and are throwing stuff around to see if it sticks.

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