stoveWith the Braves and Diamondbacks getting together on a huge deal yesterday, it’s fair to wonder if some other trade pieces are about to shake loose.

  • Of direct relation to that trade and to the Cubs, the Diamondbacks have now said that, with Justin Upton dealt, they will be hanging onto outfielder Jason Kubel. You’ll recall, when reviewing the remaining market for power bats in the outfield, the two guys who looked like the best comps for Alfonso Soriano were Kubel and Scott Hairston. With Kubel staying in Arizona and Hairston signing with the Cubs, Soriano may have suddenly become one of – if not the – best outfield power bat available on the market. Teams like the Orioles, Rays, Yankees, Indians, among others, could still have interest, and they may have no other options available if they want to upgrade.
  • T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers are not in on Michael Bourn or Kyle Lohse anymore, which would be something of a surprise, even though the two are connected to draft pick compensation. The Rangers haven’t done a whole lot this offseason to improve their club – arguably, they’ve gotten markedly worse – and it will be interesting to see if they stand pat, or if they focus on upgrading via trade. Obviously the name you’ll hear connected here is Matt Garza, particularly as the Spring goes on.
  • Speaking of Bourn, the Mets are charging hard for the center fielder because they’ve got money to spend and a need in center field. The hold-up is the potential loss of a draft pick. Since the Mets pick 11th – and only the top 10 picks are protected – they stand to lose the most valuable possible pick that can be lost if they sign Bourn. They’re making an argument to MLB that their pick should also be protected because they had the 10th worst record last year, and the pick fell to 11 only because the Pirates failed to sign their first rounder last year (Mark Appel). This is, of course, an utterly absurd argument when you read the language of the CBA, which explicitly says the first 10 picks are protected (and only the first 10 picks), and changed the previous version of the rule which exempted comp picks like the Pirates’ from the calculation. In other words, the players and the league went out of their way to change the rule so that a pick like the Mets’ would not be protected. The former lawyer in me is getting riled up, and I’ll be pissed on principle if the Mets succeed in signing Bourn without losing their first round pick.
  • Ken Rosenthal came out with a piece saying largely the same things, and indicating that he doubts MLB will side with the Mets on this one. If not, they’re probably out on Bourn.
  • In that Bourn article, Jon Heyman lists the Cubs as one of eight possibilities for the free agent, saying only that, “[The Cubs] are thought to like Bourn very much and have interest at some level. They have a pending two-year deal with Hairston, though they are a team full of surprises.” I think the Cubs are fading from view on this one, unless we see a Soriano or David DeJesus trade in the near-term. I doubt that series of moves happens.
  • Reports suggest there may be another Cuban defector to keep an eye on. Shortstop Alexander Guerrero, 26, has apparently defected to the Dominican Republic, and is likely seeking residency. He’s been one of the best players in Cuba for years now, putting up huge numbers, so you can assume that if he reaches free agency, he’ll at least get looks from many teams. We’ll have to see if more on him comes up.
  • For those who’ve been asking about the last two Cuban defectors, shortstop Aledmis (sometimes “Aledmys”) Diaz and outfielder Dariel Alvarez, there hasn’t been any update since their public workout was pushed back to some time in late January – heck, it could have just recently happened. I expect we’ll hear more on these guys – the Cubs are reported to have interest in at least Diaz – in the coming days. Susan Slusser reports that the A’s have interest in Diaz, and says the workout will be “later this month,” so it probably hasn’t happened yet. It’s all a little mysterious right now.
  • Cross Jair Jurrjens off the flyer list – he has reportedly signed with the Orioles. Surprisingly, he gets a $1.5 million Major League deal, with incentives that could take it to $4 million. Given his struggles, physical issues, and always ugly peripherals, in no universe would I have been on board with the Cubs giving him a Major League deal, so … good luck, Orioles. There is a chance he could be effective again, in the sense that there’s a chance that, in any given season, a MLB-caliber player can surprise. But the odds are extremely poor.
  • Also off the market, assuming the deal holds up, is Shaun Marcum, who has reportedly signed with the Mets. No terms are available yet, but I bet it’s a relatively modest deal. Dave Kaplan told me that he heard “the medicals were really shaky,” suggested that the Cubs, when they originally looked at Marcum, were scared off from pursuing too aggressively. He’s had a litany of arm issues in recent years.
  • Bigg J

    I am wondering why these Cuban players would not count against the foreign signing caps? Is it because they defected or how does that work?

    • King Jeff

      There is no cap for these two, they are both over the age and professional experience limit for the international signing cap.

    • Rcleven

      Age and service time.

  • ETS

    I sympathize with your litigious side, but I hate the rule so I hope the mets do succeed and MLB opens the rule to be redefined so you don’t have guys like lohse and bourn.

    Oh you were so good last year, we want to make it so no team will want you. Stupid.

    • hogie

      I hate this argument. These are theonly two who are hung up because of this rule. Both are represented by Boras, so both are probaby holding for contracts that are too high/long. This is a 34 year old pitcher who was very good last year, pretty good the year before and very subpar for the rest of his career. Bourn has been lit up on boards all over the net for being a speed/defense guy on the wrong side of thirty. GMs see all of this too. If they had reasonable demands, they would be signed by now, compensation or not.

  • Rizzo 44

    Who will the CUbs DFA? I think it will be Campana and a Pitcher… But not really sure. I really hope the Cubs sign a few of these young guys as talked about in this post by Brett. I really don’t like the idea of giving up Soriano unless we get a good return on Pitching that is almost MLB ready. Soriano will hit 28-35 HRs for the next two years if legs are like 2012. That will be hard to replace. I say we keep him unless we get a great deal. I feel thats what Theo and Jed have done so far this winter. Just my opinion.

    • cubchymyst

      I’m hoping for the big trade that will create roster space. As Brett has mentioned DFA is the last option. I’m thinking trade such as DeJesus or Soriano being coupled with Vitters to receive a good minor league arm would be a good move.

      • Rizzo 44

        Well I hope they trade DeJesus and Campana for a top 12-20 arm in someones system and maybe a young speedy OF.

  • Rcleven

    Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS

    marcum deal for 2013 is indeed for $4M, as @Ken_Rosenthal said. #mets

  • Nomar’s Left Glove

    Given the fact that MLB is now trying to deal with the unintended consequences created by the CBA that has negatively effected perceived type A free agents, I would not be surprised if MLB does not go out of their way to help the Mets sign Bourn. I want to think that MLB would stand behind the rules created by the CBA, but I cannot imagine that they would have had any idea how it would have effected guys like Bourn and Lohse.

    • hansman1982

      I’m wondering if MLB doesn’t relax the rule that you lose your slot money as well or just says that each team has an overall budget they can spend each draft.

      • Nomar’s Left Glove

        They are going to have to do something, let’s hope that they make intelligent changes this time. Any one of the new CBA rules would have had impact on the Free Agent market, but rolling out all of them in the same year has done some real damage. Next time they might think of how their actions may negatively effect the game, but I’m probably just being hopeful.

      • Beer Baron

        Especially since Scott Boras is in the middle of this one I can see this happening. Boras would win by getting his free agent clients the money they want and/or deserve, AND have more draft money for his future clients. And as we have seen time and time again, Scott Boras tends to get what Scott Boras wants.

        • Jim L.

          Which is good for the players he represents.

          • Lou

            Yeah, I gotta think the players union might have something to say about the Mets and Bourn issue.

    • yield51

      Why not use service time with current team to determine which players are extended qualifying offers. If a player is traded before he begins his arb years, he is allowed to be extended an offer after his 4-6 (or super two 3-6) years by the team that traded for him, one time only. If a player is signed by a club after they have 6 years of service time (Lohse), that player would never be allowed to be tied to compensation. If a player is traded during their arb years (Bourn), that player would never be allowed to be tied to compensation.

      The compensation should only be awarded to a team that can’t come to an agreement with a player that has went through all years of arbitration, and has failed to secure a long term contract (Fielder last year). This will still help smaller market clubs that either can’t afford to keep a player, or can’t convince a player to stay.

      With the case of Lohse, the Cards got 3 of his best years, which happened to be the past two as part of a five year deal. If they wanted him for more years, they should have signed him to a longer contract. Why should he have to pay the price now, because he lived up to his contract? Does he have another 3-4 years like the last two, or does his age (34) catch up with him in another year? Lohse should let the teams decide that, and bid for his services without StL wanting more value out of him.

      In the case with Bourn, he has yet to taste free agency, as a 30 year old, and this is his last chance to cash in a big payday. Houston has received their compensation through the trade with Atlanta. Atlanta on the other hand got a ballplayer that lived up to expectations (highest career WAR last year). There should be no way that they are allowed to try to squeeze more out of that deal at the expense of the player that played well.

      • Kevin B

        I like the way you put it – that makes ALOT of sense to me. I don’t know why teams get a compensation pick for losing a free agent anyway. Sign the guy or you get nothing.

        But your point of a player you developed and went through the arb years and then just cannot sign when he becomes a free agent, i would agree that should be an exception and the team awarded a pick. That makes a lot of sense.

  • ActionJackson

    Because of their age

    • ActionJackson

      was in response to first poster about international signings :)

  • Carew

    I know I’m a little late to the game, but how many Scott’s are there on the roster now

    • Brett

      Ha, oh man. How did I miss that?

      • hansman1982

        3 on the roster and 1 in the front office as additions this year?

  • mike

    Dave Kaplan is a dumbass!

    • arta

      lol, would u like to add sometbnig about Kappie?

    • Fieldy

      I agree! Worthless wanna be know-it-all!

  • Rich

    Kap is not!

  • CEO

    Kap is the guy who was dead set on moving Castro off shortstop early last season. Stating he is terrible and making the team look foolish. I value his baseball opinion very little!

  • FawnLeibowitz

    I seem to recall reading some rumors that a few teams (including the White Sox) had approached the Cubs last year about Campana. The players supposedly offered in exchange were probably in the fringe prospect category, but he apparently does have some value in the marketplace.

    Those teams are now likely waiting to see if the Cubs DFA him, while that fringe prospect may look pretty good right now to the Cubs.

  • jt

    Cubs should score a few more runs this year but not be a powerhouse
    Pitching may be ok depending on the bp.
    Seems a formula for a lot of one run games.
    Campana may, just may, have value for The Cubs

    • DocPeterWimsey

      There is no formula for winning 1-run games. If a team does well or poorly in 1-run games one year, then it’s 50:50 that they will do well in 1-run games the next year. The only formula is to not play as many 1-run games: the very best (and the very worst) teams typically play in fewer close games than do 0.500 teams. Indeed, we have had multiple 90+ victory teams this decade who were 0.500 or worse in 1-run games, and multiple 90+ loss teams who were 0.500 or better in 1-run games.

      As for Campana, there is no correlation between “speed” runs and winning close games. The better correlation is with slugging: getting extra-base hits and not allowing extra-base hits.

      • Kyle

        He didn’t say that it was a formula for winning lots of one-run games. He said it was a formula for playing a lot of them.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          I assume that by “formula” he is referring to the tactics for playing those, not the tactics for making your team get involved in lots of them! The formula for that is to be Team Average: that maximizes the number of games in which your team faces a team that you expect to score the same number of runs as yours.

          • frank

            I don’t think jt was being that literal–I think he was saying that with modestly improved run production and ok pitching, we can probably expect the Cubs to be in more one-run games this year.

          • jt

            a not potent offense plus good pitching in many games offers a chance for many games in which both teams score few or less runs. a season in which there are many games in which both teams score “few” or less runs offers a better chance of one run games than a season in which one or both teams score many runs. There is simply a greater expanse twixt 12 and 4 than there is twixt 3 and 0.
            in a one run game it is easier to to score (manufacture) a run from 2nd or 3rd than it is from first. Under such conditions Campana could have value as a late inning pinch runner as well as the defensive end of a double switch. That is not to say he would be more than an adequate defender but the pinch hitter used may have more value than the defense of the guy Campana would replace
            Without Palmer and McNally a team dependent upon winning one run games is probably not a good idea. However, you play the hand dealt.

            • Lou

              So, basically you’re hoping for an Orioles-like season this year??? Not a hand I want to be dealt in the first place. What really are the chances the Orioles will repeat that success this year?

              • jt

                I really don’t believe The Cubs have near the quality of pitching of those O’s teams; they were winning in the upper 90’s of games.
                I’d be hoping for a win total in the upper 70’s or even lower 80’s.
                Say 70% of their games are really well pitched. That gives them around 110 in which they have a good chance to win. 60% of those games yields between 65 to 70 wins. If they add 10 barn burners to the mix they get close to 80 wins.
                Brett’s God’s Wrath is still in effect so who knows? Add an unproven BP…again… who knows?

              • jt

                Sorry, I was thinking of the O’s of the ’70’s
                The team Balt fielded last yr had a better offense than that which I believe The Cubs to project. They had 3 guys in the low 800’s OPS and 4 guys in the mid 700’s. Also young pitching was successfully added as the year progressed. Gonzalez and Tillman combined for 33 starts and about a 3.15 ERA. That is like getting an ace. The 2012 O’s were actually good enough to win. I don’t know if they will get repeat yr’s from some in 2013 but they were pretty balanced in 2012.

                • Lou

                  Not sure I agree with you on balanced as far as the O’s as a team goes. If the O’s have only above avg SP, which I believe they do, then they relied a great deal on their bullpen to protect 1-run games. This is because their starters couldn’t take them deep into ballgames and explains the reason that a guy, like Jim Johnson, led the franchise in saves last year. The team Baltimore had a very weak and inconsistent offense, actually. I don’t think the Cubs should get themselves consistently into 1-run game affairs. This year, yes, they may have no choice. But I would not want to make a practice of it season after season.

                  • jt

                    2012 O’s
                    Gonzalez, Tillman, Saunders, S. Johnson, Hammel and Chen combined for 91 starts and an ERA just above 3.50 with an avg of just about 6 IP per game.
                    Hunter, Marusz, Arrieta and Britten on the whole sucked but 29 of their 65 starts combined for 189.6 IP and 44 ER.
                    That accounts for about 75% of games played in which the SP’ing was at least good.
                    The BP was very good and very deep. But the SP’ing gave them something to work with.
                    The O’s offense failed to score more than 2 runs in a game 49 times
                    They scored exactly 3 runs in a game 30 times.
                    So in about half their games they offense sucked
                    They scored more than 5 runs in a game 71 times.
                    They scored exacly 4 runs in a game 12 times.
                    So, in about half their games the offense was pretty good.
                    They were 23 and 56 in games in which they scored 3 runs or fewer.
                    They were 71 and 12 in games in which they scored 4 runs or more.
                    This was neither the ’27 Yanks nor the ’63 Dodgers.
                    They needed more than a few runs to win but could not score at will. Yet they did win when they scored more than a few and did score more than a few often enough to win 94 games.
                    5 of the 9 principle SP’ers were good, the other 4 were good about 45% of the time.
                    They had one guy who gave 4 good starts out of 4 outings.
                    On the whole, the SP’ing was crowdes but the many gave a balanced performance.
                    They had 7 out of the 9 principle line-up guys as being above avg and 2 that were pretty bad. Not one batter was great but on the whole …. balanced
                    I’d be happy if the SP’ing of The 2013 Cubs is good 70% of the time.
                    I don’t see the BP being as good as that of the 2012 O’s.
                    I don’t see the offense of the 2013 Cubs scoring 5 or more runs per game 71 times. I see the batting order as being balanced but of lesser quality than that which the 2012 O’s put on the fiield.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        OH, and I should add that although the correlation is better, it’s still not particularly overwhelming. Really, it falls in the “pot luck” category.

        • jt

          2012 season
          T. Wood 26 games started
          T. Wood’s 14 best games an ERA of 1.62
          T. Wood’s 6 worst games an ERA of 14.30
          E. Jackson 31 games started
          E. Jackson’s 16 best games an ERA of 1.50
          E. Jackson’s worst 9 games an ERA of 10.29
          The ratio of Shark and Garza was better.
          With this team’s offense:
          The games in which Wood and Jackson suck are metaphorical sunk cost.
          The games in which Wood and Jackson have a ERA around 1.60 are winnable.
          Again, more so for Shark and Garza.
          With this team’s offense:
          is it more likely there will be a late inning x-base hit in the late innings of a tight game or for a better to take a walk or get a single and have the pinch runner, Campanis, steal one or 2 bases?

  • Troy

    1 year/ 4 mil for marcum seems about right

  • itzscott

    I can’t imagine the Rangers being so close for so long would just let it slip away. They can keep their party going by acquiring both Garza and Soriano and get them relatively cheaply by using some of their prospects compared to what they’d likely need to trade away for other potential options.

  • Patrick G

    Heard Brian Cashman on the radio today saying they could be looking outside the organization to find a right handed bat since their outfield is all Lefties. They are an east coast contender and wonder if Soriano would accept a trade back to NY.

    Also, I’ve mentioned it a few times, but te Mets are desperate for outfield help, especially after losing out on Hairston. They’re not necessarily a contender, but on the east coast and Soriano would play everyday. Wonder if him and maybe Dejesus would be enough for 3B Flores with Wright being locked up long term. They also have great pitching throughout their minors system

    • itzscott

      Soriano is pretty disliked as a ballplayer in NYC and is referred to as the most stupid player in Yankee history. I can’t imagine either the Yankees or Mets being remotely interested.

      • Crazyhorse

        The Mets had dumber players , but Soriano – I think the Yankees had worst players that did not perform and was a club house cancer than Soriano. – they did not call it the bronx zoo for nothing- yes i know it a book.

        • itzscott

          It’s not about Soriano being a bad teammate or a clubhouse cancer. It’s all about his basic baseball IQ.

          • DarthHater

            Why are you talking about baseball? Don’t you know this is a site for discussing Chicago politics?

  • North Side Irish

    Sounds like there are some age questions…may actually only be 22, which makes him fall under the international bonus pool rules.

    • North Side Irish

      Should have said Age questions on Aledmys Diaz…the Cuban SS.

    • Brett

      I knew it sounded awfully convenient that he’d *just* turned 23.

      • Stinky Pete

        Curious how that would be handled by MLB if he was signed to a big bonus and five years later found to have lied about his age. I suppose there’s nothing they could do. Kind of like Bush and his Heisman.

  • BD

    Sometimes I wonder why you don’t see more “Trade player A, sign player B” (or vice versa) series of moves in sports. Then I realize I am probably brainwashed that this is possible from too many dynasty modes on video games.

  • Melrosepad

    With the Cubs needing a backup infielder, any chance we look at Tony Abreu who was just DFA’d by the Royals? He has decent minor league numbers and can backup all the IF positions plus he is a switch hitter, so that could help too. Wouldn’t mind bringing Adrian Cardenas back on a Minor League deal either.

  • Lou

    So, the Rangers have gotten markedly worse by not acquiring pieces over the offseason despite the fact that the have one of the best farm systems in baseball with guys ready to play at the MLB level. Guys like Profar, Olt, Perez, and now Moreland will get a chance everday. I don’t, Brett, maybe it was their plan once they couldn’t get Greinke or keep Hamilton to play these guys. If that makes them markedly worse, then so be it, but I can’t fault them for going this direction, if the team chooses to do so. And if they’ve gotten that worse, why would the team be in on Matt Garza? Confused yet, I am.

    • Mick

      That’s a good point, just because the Rangers weren’t willing to extend an injury (and drug) riddled Hamilton or sign any of the over valued high priced pitching candidates doesn’t necessarily mean they’re worse off for the future. In fact, in a year when Pujols’ contract doubles and Weaver, Wilson, Hamilton, Kendrick, and Aybar are all a year older the Rangers’ roster and payroll flexibility will look a heck of lot more desirable. I’m also not seeing a fit with Garza and the Rangers because they’re actually a lot better suited to compete in 2014 than in 2013 so unless the Rangers are guranteed an extension I don’t see the benefit of mortgaging 6 productive years of Olt or Perez for 1 of Garza.

  • Jason (Thundermug)

    Mets won’t be in on Bourn if they have to forfeit 11th pick overall in the upcoming draft ! The Way it sounds the Mariners might not either with the 12th pick.

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