Spring Training is underway, but there are still rumors floating around …
- Although I still think the chances here are beyond remote, I feel obligated to point out that, once again, this morning on MLB Network, Ken Rosenthal mentioned the Cubs as a possible destination for Michael Bourn. He said it, I wrote it, the end.
- Ben Nicholson-Smith chatted at MLBTR, and … (1) Ben thinks, ultimately, the Mets will figure out a way to sign Michael Bourn, and it may involve them getting a special exception to not give up their first round pick; (2) the Cubs could still be a possibility on Bourn, though Ben was relying heavily on Rosenthal’s reports; (3) big, pre-free agency extensions are likely to continue to be a trend, because the lure of that first big payday is too hard for most to turn down; and (4) Giancarlo Stanton probably doesn’t reach the trade market until next offseason.
- So, that giant extension Felix Hernandez was getting from the Mariners, which would pay him a record $175 million over the next seven season? Well, you see, deals are always conditioned on a physical/evaluation of the medial records. And, except in very rare circumstances – like the Marmol/Haren trade – the physical and the review of medical records are totally pro forma non-events. But we may have another instance of a deal getting torpedoed by a medical review. According to Buster Olney, some in the Mariners’ organization have concerns about Hernandez’s elbow, and that’s holding up the extension. Indeed, Olney says the two sides are “not close” to finalizing the deal. King Felix is under control through 2014, so it’s not like he’s going anywhere immediately, but this could be a pretty serious issue. Maybe the extension doesn’t get done now, and maybe they can’t even trade him for value. Maybe he becomes a free agent with huge talent and huge question marks in 2014.
- In case you wanted the details on Jeff Samardzija’s 2013 contract with the Cubs, which pays him $2.64 million plus incentives: those incentives are $25,000 for 180 innings pitched, $25,000 for 185 innings, $25,000 for 190 innings, $25,000 for 195 innings, and $25,000 for 200 innings, per Carrie Muskat.
- Mark Prior is still looking for a shot to get back to the bigs, and his agent says the righty feels good (and is throwing in the 92-93 mph range). The Cubs haven’t had any discussions with him (although he was in to Chicago last month before the Convention to address the Cubs’ Rookie Development Camp), but “have not closed the door,” according to Dave Kaplan. If he’s going to try and make a team this year out of Spring Training, he’s going to need to ink a deal ASAP, as every team has now had their pitchers and catchers report. Making a team out of Spring Training was always unlikely, though, so he’ll probably latch on to a minor league team later this year in the hopes of filling a hole on a big league team if he pitches well enough in the high minors. The problem, as far as the Cubs are concerned, is that they’ve actually got a ton of depth in terms of players like Prior – fringy reliever types who could possibly make the team or could head to AAA like Cory Wade, Jensen Lewis, Andrew Carpenter, Michael Bowden, Blake Parker, Zach Putnam, Jaye Chapman, Trey McNutt, and on and on.