stoveThere’s a little bit of rumor stuff to discuss this week …

  • Maybe, possible, theoretical 2014 free agent target Robinson Cano isn’t quite out of the Yankees’ clutches just yet. The Yankees have made a “significant offer” to their second baseman, designed to lock him up long-term (though Jon Heyman reports that the offer doesn’t appear to have been “significant” enough to spur Cano into action). It seems like he’ll still make it to free agency, though.
  • Although I do think the Cubs will be in on big-time free agents next offseason (particularly if they’re bad enough in 2013 to “earn” a protected first round pick in 2014), I have a hard time seeing them in on Cano, given that he’s going to get one of those insane 8, 9 , 10-year type deals. He would certainly upgrade the Cubs, and he would certainly still be productive when the Cubs project to be competitive, but I’m not sure this front office is going to be keen on giving those kind of uber deals to almost any free agents. Maybe if Bryce Harper was a 26-year-old free agent …
  • If the Cubs shop Darwin Barney this year, perhaps you can take that as a sign that they’ll consider adding a second baseman in free agency after the year. As it stands, Jed Hoyer is fond of describing Barney as a long-term piece of the puzzle, although Theo Epstein has never referred to him when listing the current “core” players.
  • Bruce Levine did the chat thing this week and … (1) Bruce thinks part of the reason the Cubs are demanding a legitimately quality return in trade for Alfonso Soriano right now is because he’s needed in the lineup to protect Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo; (2) it’s probably two years before Javier Baez is ready for the big leagues; (3) the Cubs will “definitely” draft a power arm with their number two pick (I’m sure they’d like to have the confidence in a particular pitcher to be able to draft him, but if they don’t, they’ll be just as content to take the best position player available); (4) Bruce has said it before and is sticking to his guns: Carlos Marmol is likely to be dealt before Opening Day; (5) Bruce believes the front office is targeting 2014 and 2015 for bigger free agent acquisitions; (6) Ian Stewart still has a long way to go before he makes the team; (7) James Russell isn’t likely to be a focus of Cubs trade talks mid-season, given that he’s still a year away from arbitration; and (8) Bruce says Trey McNutt is likely to be a starter at AAA this year, but I’m pretty sure he’s being converted to a full-time reliever.
  • MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith did some chatting and … (1) Joba Chamberlain might become an interesting free agent next season if he’s insistent on finding an opportunity to start somewhere; (2) Carlos Zambrano isn’t going to find a Major League deal at this point; (3) Matt Garza won’t be traded until he’s clearly healthy; (4) Robinson Cano is likely to get a deal in the 7 to 10 year range; and (5) Ben still thinks Kyle Lohse signs *somewhere* by Opening Day.
  • Patrick G

    I would love to see Cano on the Cubs, I’m from NY and see a lot of his games, smooth hitter and great defensively. But Wouldn’t go more than 6 years

    • twins414

      I love Cano too, right now. But if the Cubs, or anyone gives him that 8 to 10 year contract, isn’t he just going to be another Soriano toward the end? In 5 years every Cub fan will want him traded and wondering how Theo could have signed him. Just my thoughts.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Again, Cano will be a player were you cannot think of his (impending) contract in terms of how much you are paying in 2020 for his production then. You have to think about it in terms of paying him in 2020 for what you expect to get in 2014, 2015, 2016, etc.. Remember, just because you are paying him in 2020, it does not follow that you have to play him: it will be a sunk cost from trying to win 5 years before.

        • cedlandrum

          I agree Doc, but you are going to be paying him in 2020,21,22,23 for those early years. Apparently he is asking for 10 years.

  • Bigg J

    How much you want to bet Cano goes to LA?

  • JB88

    I like Bruce Levine (probably more when the old regime was around), but boy does he talk in hyperbole A LOT …

  • Andy

    Any time you make some warning about reduced content, I don’t believe you. You’re ripping thru stuff like normal!

    By the way, Brent & Joy (your nurse) are good friends of mine, I turned him onto your site and told him about our Kroger encounter. I think you’re destined to be in our lives…we need to make a trip to Cincy or Pittsburgh to catch a Cubs game together.

    • Brett

      Ha. Thanks, Andy. And I owe you an email, by the way. Sorry for the crazy long delay …

  • JulioZuleta

    I wish they would take the highest (reasonable) bid on Soriano and move him. I know he’s a great clubhouse presence, and I cringe at the thought of this lineup without him, I just think there’s too huge a risk of serious regression to wait until the All-Star break.

  • Andy

    The Cano discussion isn’t even worth having. Has there EVER even once been an elite Yankee player that hit the open market and left New York?

    • JulioZuleta

      Has there ever been a team that has had a significantly higher payroll than they Yankees until now? It’s just as likely he’s on the Dodgers as the Yankees next year.

      • Patrick G

        Angels could shock the world again

      • DocPeterWimsey

        No, the Yankees won’t let him go. It’s much too important to them from a PR perspective to keep one of their homegrown players. Remember, their fans still believe that their team is largely built around a “core” of players from the Yanks farm system.

        • Patrick G

          No team is completely home grown and the Yankees team is about half from their farm system. I don’t get why people always give the Yankees a hard time for spending a lot of money when teams like Boston, LA, Cubs(Hendry era), Phillies spend loads of money also

  • JulioZuleta

    I don’t want the Cubs getting involved in the Cano bidding at all. Going to be wayyyy too much money for wayyyyy too many years for a guy his age. Also, not to be conspiracy theory guy today, but there always has been some PED smoke around Cano (During the years that the three of them were on the Yanks together, Cano, A-Rod, and Melky Cabrera worked out together in the off-seasons…in Miami). Not saying THAT’S the reason I don’t want him, but I think it’s worth keeping in mind when you’re talking about an 8 year/$160-180M for a 30+ year old guy.

    • Whiteflag

      Price, Age, and steroid questions are all good reasons to avoid signing him.

    • cjdubbya

      I think this is a case where I’d be just fine to see the Cubs come in second in the bidding.

  • bails17

    I would go 7 yrs and 160m on Cano…maybe even a stretch more. In two or three years, we may see these salaries really skyrocket with all of the new TV revenue coming into play.

  • Cub Style

    Manaea. Manaea. Manaea. Manaea.

    • Patrick G

      Manaea is my favorite in this draft and hope Cubs can get him

  • Stevie B

    In regards to the Cubs getting a true #1….It’s like people are resigned to the fact that their will never be another #1 arm emerge from the minors….and that we HAVE to go via free agency to get this rotation stud.
    It’s like good music, it will come from from somewhere, so why can it not be from the Cubs system?

    • David


  • Corey Costello

    If Barney can hit this year, cubs better lock him up.

  • Corey Costello

    I really wanna keep Barney, this is why, tribune article quotes him as saying “”Not necessarily,” he said. “Anything that can make this club better, that’s kind of what we’re looking for, If you can have a (Junior) Lake or Baez or someone who can come in and fill in somewhere, all the better for us. If I lose a job and go play somewhere else, that’s life.

    “Our goal is to get better, and it takes players like him to get better. (Being part of the core) is everybody’s goal. But baseball is baseball. If I take care of my duties, the team is going to be better in the future when those guys come in.”

    I love that attitude.

    • Noah

      I love that attitude as well. And as long as Barney’s value to the Cubs while playing for them is greater than his value in a trade, he should stay with the Cubs. But let’s say by early in July Logan Watkins really looks ready, and while Watkins isn’t likely a star, he could be a rich man’s Barney. He’s not quite as good defensively at 2B, but he’s solid, hits left handed, takes more walks, is much more of a stolen base threat and hits for more power. Plus, Barney will hit arbitration in 2014, so Watkins will be cheaper.

      If Watkins looks like he’d be the better MLB starter, he should start. So that would convert Barney to the backup middle infielder. Whether you keep Barney or not depends on what other teams are offering you in a trade. If other teams are offering you talent that you would expect in return for a starting 2B of his age with his amount of team control remaining, you should probably trade him. If they’re offering you talent commensurate with the return a back up middle infielder, it’s a tougher decision.

      And while I love guys with great attitudes, I don’t love them as much as I love really talented guys. If you’re lucky, you get guys who have both. Thankfully, it sounds like the Cubs’ best talents are also good clubhouse guys, with the only knock I’ve ever heard on any of them being that Rizzo isn’t very comfortable being chummy with the fans (which in my opinion is completely his choice).

      • Corey Costello

        I don’t like losing defense even if it brings in more offense. If Rizzo, Baez at 3rd, (or castro) jackson, almora, soler all pan out, that’s plenty of pop, but Barney’s defensive ability and range save a lot of runs. I’d rather save 10 runs, than need 20.

  • DB Kyle

    There may not be major free agents to sign at the rate these classes have been getting worse each year.

    That’s why this season is so important. If we have a really high draft pick, it’s because in part we didn’t get breakout seasons from guys like Brett Jackson, Ian Stewart, Jeff Samardzija, Wellington Castillo, etc., and that does not bode well for 2014’s chances either.

  • Noah

    I love Cano, but just wouldn’t do an 8-10 year deal with a guy who is going to be 31 in the first year of a deal that long and could very well need to be moved off the position midway through a contract that long.

    I’d rather have the Cubs focus on picking up elite players that are in Cano’s category like David Price of Giancarlo Stanton via trade, and using free agency to plug holes like needing a mid-rotation starter or someone to be a platoon player in a corner outfield role through free agency.

    • praying the cubs get ready to win

      What would it take to get Stanton? He is the real deal.

  • Kyle Kelsheimer

    The Cubs should try and get Cano next season and still keep Barney as a middle infielder. If they sign Cano, it would give them the opportunity to move Castro over to third, Barney to short, and keep Cano at second. This would be a killer infield/lineup that would include youth and star power.

    • Cubbie Blues

      I’ll just leave my commit down to; we are not going to get Cano. He is going to get too long of a deal.

  • Dustin S

    Levine is right on his 1st point on Rizzo. They still have to trade Soriano and I’m not saying they shouldn’t, but the downside to it is that Rizzo will get pitched around like Bonds in 2002 with the current lineup once he’s gone.

  • Lyle Ernst

    Yesterday’s NY Post had a story about Joba Chamberlain. It stated that the Yankees are tired of his constant mouthing off, the same way they got tired of David Wells & Nick Swisher.
    I don’t think I care to see him wearing a Cubs uniform. We’ve gone through that scene before.

  • Norm

    I think the Cubs have a pretty long line of minor leaguers that can play the part that Theriot and Barney have played since…what, 2008?
    That would be a cheap, pre-arbitration player that can produce at an average level, which will allow them to spend money on other needs.

  • james

    Wow Bruce Levine throws alot of things out there. To bad so much is just crap. Theo and Jed already said a pitcher wouldn’t be taken with the second pick in the draft. Pitchers are just to hard to gage. With the number two pick the Cubs can get a impact player. I expect if Austin Meadows is there with the second pick the Cubs will take him. I wonder if Bruce Levine listens to what Theo or Jed say.

    • DB Kyle

      They never said they wouldn’t take a pitcher.

      • Brett

        Correct. They said it would be ideal if there was a top, obvious, sure-fire, safe college arm available at two – and, if he is, they’ll take him. If not, they’ll take the best positional player available.

        • Theo Epstein

          Wow, Brett knows my draft strategy better than I do. Congrats on the new arrival by the way Brett, I’ll bet I can convince Jed to draft him in 18 years.

          • DarthHater

            You’re gonna need thick skin if you plan on hanging out here, Theo. 😉

          • praying the cubs get ready to win

            Theo, you are doing a great job. Any trades close?

  • Joe

    Brett- I know this sounds silly on its face, but is there any reason the Cubs don’t extend Carlos Z a spring invite? If he performs adequately – and he certainly has incentive now, based upon his ability to eat innings and potentially pitch well, he could get us something in return as a trade chip to a contender at the trade deadline. Where am i wrong? Has the drop in his velocity been so acute that he has no hope? New manager, new faces I know there is baggage but its all about winning right?

    • Cubbie Blues


      • hansman1982

        Umm…his name is Joe, not Jack (and ignore that other hansman1982 posting below, what a jackwagon):

        Whatever, here is the link I’ve been trying to get:

        • Mick


  • hansman1982

    Ummm, his name is Joe, not Jack…


    • Cubbie Blues

      Oops, it was a joke and I forgot the ;D. Does it make it funny now?

      • hansman1982

        Hey, don’t go all passive-agressive on me…

        • Cubbie Blues


        • DarthHater

          Don’t worry, I don’t even know what “agressive” means. 😛

          • Cubbie Blues

            According to Urban Dictionary:

            passive agressive –
            An unusually prominent characteristic of many good bosses. Other passive agressive individuals may be: serial killers, witches, priests, any religious figures, or parents.

            • DarthHater

              There are two g’s in aggressive. There’s no such word as “agressive.” I was being passive-aggressive. 😉

              • Cubbie Blues

                I know how to spell it. That link was actually for the misspelled word.

      • DarthHater

        “Does it make it funny now?”

        Nope. ;D

        • Cubbie Blues

          You’re right it doesn’t. 😀

  • Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Cano has taken advantage of that jet stream in the new Yankee stadium (22 HR home, 11 HR away in ’12 – 16 HR home, 12 HR away in ’11).

    Don’t have to worry about the Angels on the bidding, they just locked up Howie Kendrick for 3 years.

  • Jim

    Taking a look at the 2014 free agents, it isn’t a very impressive lot. Cano is probably the best non pitcher available, but he may not even make it to the market. There are some nice pitchers that should be available, like Tim Lincecum. If he has another off year he might be someone that you take a chance on. Overall I think the Cubs should be looking at 2014 as the year that they upgrade from within.