stoveIt’s the lull of the Spring Training rumor season – you see a bit at the front end, and then a fair bit at the back-end (mostly fringe roster guys), but very little in the middle.

  • Dale Sveum admits that his players – notably Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol – will face trade rumors throughout the first half of the season, and might not even die down by the end of Spring Training. “I’m sure the trade rumors are going to continue whenever somebody gets injured in somebody else’s camp and they need that player, especially when it’s a big market,” Sveum said, per the Sun-Times. “So, yeah, you see all that kind of stuff continuing.” And Sveum has a fatalistic take on when and why those rumors pop up. “There’s no reason even dwelling on how and when [the rumors] would stop [because of a good or bad record],” Sveum said. “That’s just part of the media. It’s part of the job description, too. There’s people that are going to be labeled trade bait, or somebody wants them or they fit that role, so it’s just there. That’s what players have to deal with. That’s what organizations have to deal with when that kind of stuff comes up.’’ I think Dale just sanctioned all Obsessive Trade Watches. Cool.
  • Speaking of Soriano, if David Ortiz continues to have trouble coming back from his Achilles problem, and isn’t ready for Opening Day, do the Red Sox inquire? I just don’t think these smaller injuries to bigger players (Granderson, Teixeira, Ortiz) are going to be enough to move the needle on a Soriano trade, unless the team already had interest, and has plans to use Soriano regularly after the injured player comes back. I doubt Soriano is dealt before Opening Day no matter how many injuries befall other teams. Cross your fingers for a good first half for Soriano.
  • Speaking of the Yankees, they’ve gotten so desperate for a short-term solution that they reportedly asked Derrek Lee if he was interesting in coming out of retirement for a spell (the two sides are keeping in contact). They’re also in on semi-retired third baseman Scott Rolen (in whom the Cubs do not presently have interest, per Phil Rogers).
  • Speaking Rogers, the Tigers are not currently in on Carlos Marmol, he says. That could change, however, as the Spring wears on. As with Soriano, I don’t expect Marmol to be moved until mid-season.
  • It’s time to start familiarizing yourself with the next potential Daisuke/Darvish situation: 24-year-old Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka is currently wowing folks in the WBC after destroying the NPB over the past few years. He’s still three years away from free agency, but, if history is any guide, his team could look to get a huge posting fee for him after this season (that would allow them to try again the next year if they don’t get a satisfactory bid (though, arguably, the bids could be even lower the next year, if teams are willing to gamble on him reaching free agency)). If he’s as good as billed, and if he is posted after this season, you can guarantee the Cubs will be in the discussion. And it could be a very pricey discussion.
  • DB Kyle

    I look forward to the excitement of our second-place bid on Tanaka.

    • Cubbie Blues

      That’s OK. Tanaka, as seen below, has an awkward grip.

      • Jono

        You win

      • hansman1982

        But that death stare surely will strike fear in the batter’s mind!!!

      • Danny Ballgame

        At least he has marbles

      • JulioZuleta

        Nice. Whenever I hear “Tanaka” I think of Maury Tanaka, as in the Grandpa from 3 Ninjas.

      • JBarnes

        If he’s good can we call him Tanaka Truck?

  • cubmig

    Off topic——-less than a half-hour ago, we had an earthquake here in Palm Desert CA……it sounded like a loud sonic boom………no damage, but a very scary moment……

    • Brett

      Yikes. Hopefully everyone’s ok.

      • socalicubsfan

        Wait… I live in Palm Desert too! It was a good one. Rosati’s is reopening in LQ.

  • Jono

    My immediate reaction is that it might not be worth the fee. But with the new CBA drafting limits, this kind of spending might be worth it. Darvish’s fee was what, like $20 mil?

    • Brett

      Darvish was over $100 million between the posting fee and his contract.

      • DB Kyle

        And the early returns make it look like that was a bargain.

        • brickhouse

          I wouldn’r call the Darvish contract a bargain. It is a fair contract for a young #2 starter if he can continue at his current pace for the next 5 years.

          • DB Kyle

            What do you think he’d get if he were a free agent right now?

            • CubFan Paul

              Greinke type money for sure. At least $20M per season.

              • hansman1982

                Greinke got 6/$147 – I’d put Darvish (after his rookie season) at probably 6/$120-125.

        • Brett

          The early returns for many Japanese players, especially pitchers, often do that.

          • hansman1982

            The first two season of Dice-K featured 3.8 and 5.2 WAR. The last four have featured a -.7 WAR. I believe many Japanese pitchers follow a similar career trajectory.

            • MightyBear

              And that’s based on a sample size of ……1?

              • hansman1982

                I don’t have the article at hand but one of the big writers (prior to the Darvish signing) listed out many of the japanese pitchers to come over after spending time in the NPB and they followed a common trend – success for a year or two followed by a drop off.

                • Brett

                  It was on SI, I believe. “The Wall.” Something like that.

                  • hansman1982

                    I was hoping I could find it in my old writing but I had a dozen posts about “Pretty Boy” Darvish and I don’t have the energy to reread it.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      that article pointed out the Japanese league pitches their guys every 6th day and that after about 2yrs of pitching here every 5th day the 1 day difference catches up the japanese league pitchers (fatigue/injury)

                  • Jono

                    You sure you’re not thinking of pink floyd?…..sorry, couldn’t resist. My bad. Ill do better next time

          • DB Kyle

            That is an entirely reasonable point, but I’m still betting on him to buck the trend.

            • gmichael

              I work with a Japanese guy who follows Japanese baseball with a cubs type fever pitch. He has been raving about tanaka for 2 years. When darkish was posted he said the whole time tanaka was better. Says the two have worked together for some time.
              I would love to see him as a cub based on his praise alone

              • gmichael

                Also, another reason I respect his opinion is he never liked dice-k cause in his words “he is hard to teach and doesn’t like to listen”

  • Nate Corbitt

    Masahiro Tanaka is the perfect Japanese heel name. He’d fit right into the old ECW.

  • Die hard

    MLB power rankings still have Phillies in Top 15….I don’t see it

    • hansman1982

      You also didn’t see Struck getting cut…

  • DarthHater

    “Like Soriano, I don’t expect Marmol to be moved until mid-season.”

    Obsessive Grammar Watch: The above sentence, as written, says that both you and Soriano expect that Marmol will not be traded until mid-season. I assume that was not your intended meaning. 😛

  • cubbiesOHcubbies

    I have just spoke with Soriano, and he has in fact confirmed, BOTH he, and Brett, are in the same mindset. Neither believe Marmol is traded until mid season at the earliest. Glad we solved that one……

    • Brett

      Haha. Nicely done. I’ve clarified the word choice there.

  • Cubbie Blues

    The Yankees are also reportedly going to reach out to Chipper Jones.

    • mudge

      Graig Nettles is not available?

      • Mikelach13

        The yankees are also interested in Generalissimo Francisco Franco, but he’s still dead.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          That would make sense: I’m pretty sure that Franco and Steinbrenner allies during the Civil War.

      • tim815

        Chris Chambliss wanted too much money.

  • Bigg J

    I love how we are already looking at next year’s offseason! The Cubs want to compete in 2014 and good chance they spend some money next offseason so wouldn’t suprise me if they go for Tanaka.

  • FarmerTanColin

    Forget Tanaka we need to start talking about signing Scott Kazmir next season! Fangraphs posted about him having the inside track for the Indians fifth starter, hitting low nineties with 8 shutout innings in the cactus league. GET IT DONE JED.

  • Die hard

    Ironic Yanks looking to Lee as took him 3 yrs to get back from wrist issues