Lukewarm Stove: Boesch, Cooper, Garza, Headley, Marmol, Soriano

stoveThere’s a bit of rumor stuff to discuss today, which is a treat this time of year …

  • The Tigers just took advantage of that non-guaranteed arbitration-level contract thing that we’ve been discussing ad nauseam with respect to Ian Stewart. The Tigers dumped outfielder Brennan Boesch, whom they tendered a contract back in November on the thinking that they’d be able to trade him. The never found a taker for the soon-to-be-28-year-old lefty-hitting outfielder, and they released him today in order to save about $2 million. Boesch is coming off a down 2012 season (but with a low BABIP, suggesting a bounce-back is possible), but he was pretty great in 2011. The thing is, though, his defense in the outfield is suspect. The Cubs might have interest in the sense that they’d kick the tires on anyone like Boesch, but it feels like he’s going to have better options than a team that would bury him on the bench (and that doesn’t expect to be any good in 2013). The Yankees seem like an obvious fit with their outfield/DH needs, though his lefty bat probably isn’t what they’d prefer. For the Cubs, unless they could commensurately deal Alfonso Soriano, I just don’t see a fit for Boesch, as attractive as it might be to pick up someone like him off the scrap heap. When all is said and done, I bet he gets a big league deal from one of several bidders.
  • Another semi-interesting player who was released today is first baseman David Cooper, formerly of the Blue Jays. Once again, probably not a spot with the Cubs, but he’s a 26-year-old with good minor league numbers who is coming off a back injury. I could see the Cubs wanting to grab him on a minor league deal and stash him at first base at Iowa, as there isn’t currently an obvious back-up first baseman on the roster. If Anthony Rizzo goes down with a long-term injury, someone like Cooper might be nice to have as an insurance policy. HOWEVA, there are some concerns that the back injury currently troubling Cooper could have him out all season in 2013, and could actually be career threatening. So, that might trump everything else, depending on what’s what.
  • Jim Bowden says that the Cubs are more likely to sign Matt Garza long-term than they are to trade him if he comes back healthy this year. He doesn’t cite a source for that statement, though, so he may just be guessing. If I were just guessing, I couldn’t tell you which way the Cubs would lean if he came back healthy. It would depend on the trade offers they can get, and the extension offers they can get from Garza’s camp.
  • Bowden also throws out the possibility that the Cubs could pursue a Chase Headley trade midseason, which … I mean … ok? If Headley is shopped, I’m sure the Cubs will inquire, but so will most teams in baseball. And the teams willing to pay the steepest price for him are likely to be teams that are in the thick of a playoff run in 2013. That isn’t likely to include the Cubs.
  • Bruce Levine chatted yesterday, and … (1) the Cubs are going to keep Ian Stewart and are going to give him a full chance to show what he can do in the first half (which is the right decision); (2) once Matt Garza and Scott Baker come back to the rotation, if Travis Wood is pitching well, the Cubs might have a tough decision; (3) Bruce says, plainly, that the Cubs’ first pick in the draft will be a pitcher (I’m not convinced – I’d say it will either be a pitcher or a positional player; definitely one of the two); (4) Bruce has finally changed his tune on Carlos Marmol, whom he no longer expects to be dealt by Opening Day: “The market for him has not been strong in the last week or 10 days. Unless someone loses a closer or primary set-up man, he might be sticking around a while.”; (5) Bruce doesn’t hear any interest in Soriano coming from the Yankees;

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

87 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Boesch, Cooper, Garza, Headley, Marmol, Soriano”

  1. Patrick G

    I’m not too sold on Headley. He had a career season last year and prior to that was verrry mediocre. If he can continue his success from last year I am all for it, but I suspect he won’t have the success he had last year

    1. Noah

      I don’t think Headley makes much sense for the Cubs due to age and upcoming cost, but check his splits. He looks like he was mediocre before a breakout year because he has played all his home games in the worst hitter’s park in baseball. For his career, at home he is .240/.329/.366. On the road he’s .302/.372/.464. And he plays about 20% of his road games in two of the next least hitter friendly parks in baseball between AT&T and Chavez Ravine.

      Headley’s an elite player who finally got past playing in an awful (for hitters) home park last season. But since Headley will be a free agent after 2014 and will be in line for a big contract heading into his age 31 season, he doesn’t make much sense to the Cubs for me.

      My one caveat for this is if the Cubs end up surprisingly competing this season. Then Headley could make sense mid-season, especially if the Cubs could end up with a 4 to 5 year extension with Headley.

      With that said, I don’t think it happens, because I don’t think the Cubs will be close enough to in the playoff race to make a move like this. I think they’d at least need to be neck and neck with the last wildcard team (within 2-3 games and without a big clump of teams right in that range) to add mid-season.

      Short version: Chase Headley is a really good player whose career numbers have been held down by playing in Petco. But he’s probably not right for the Cubs considering cost and age.

  2. MightyBear

    I wonder what the Cubs would have to give up to get Headley? He fits into the long term plan as long as he comes with an extension. I wouldn’t trade for him without an extension. (Castro, Rizzo, Headley would look good for a long time, as long as they don’t have to give up Castro to get him. Shades of Banks, Williams, Santo)

    1. terencem

      Headly will be 29 this season. I don’t really think he fits in with the timeline for the youth movement the Cubs are trying to put together. Rizzo will turn 24 in August and Castro is a couple months from being 23.

      1. EQ76

        right… that totally contrasts Theo’s statement of getting guys in their prime years when they hit about 26/27 into their 30′s…..

        1. Kygavin

          I think Theo will go after Will Middlebrooks. Xander Bogaerts has been playing 3B in the WBC and if the Sox decide to move him there permanently, they would have no where for Middlebrooks.

          (This all goes out the window if Bogaerts stays at SS…..)

  3. TWC

    “Bruce says … the Cubs’ first pick in the draft will be a pitcher (I’m not convinced – I’d say it will either be a pitcher or a positional player; definitely one of the two) …”

    Can we quote you on that?

    1. hansman1982

      When they draft a bullpen coach we will get to say:

      “NEENER NEENER BRETT WAS WRONG”

      and dance around with socks on our head.

      1. frank

        With his success in the bunt tournament, the Video Dude may get some tempting contract offers. Theo and Jed may have to draft a new Video Dude.

    2. The Other Matt

      I have to say, if they don’t draft either a pitcher or positional player, I’m going to have to jump off the TheoCo bandwagon…

  4. THEOlogical

    Hey Brett, you forgot to cover your bases and say DH. The Cubs could easily pick a pitcher, positional player or DH. Although my guess is one of the first two.

  5. JR

    Just curious on others thoughts. Would a Baez for Headley deal be close? Too much? Not enough? I am not an expert, but I dislike that hitch in Baez’s swing like too.

    1. Nate Corbitt

      I would guess that aside for someone like Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper, Baez isn’t going anywhere.

      1. DB Kyle

        Baez isn’t nearly in that class.

        I’ll just sort of again remind people that Epstein had access to two elite shortstops in his time in Boston, and both got traded.

        1. JR

          Kyle, so you’re saying Baez wouldn’t be nearly enough for Headley? Chase is going to get PAID soon. Obviously Headley is much more of a sure thing than Baez, but you have to consider their contracts too. I don’t think it’s that ridiculous.

          1. DB Kyle

            No, I’m saying Baez isn’t an “”only Harper or Strasburg” level guy. Still big questions about his hit tool as he faces more advanced pitching.

            Baez for Headley is fine value-wise, but it wouldn’t make sense for this team right now unless they were willing to make other moves simultaneously to push the team toward immediate contention. It’s a November move, not a March move, for us. Not that I’d complain too hard if it happened.

            1. JR

              Ok, I hear ya. Obviously the Cubs don’t care about winning this year, and want a top 10 pick. But if they are going to finally try and make the playoffs next year (which they better be) they sure as hell need to improve their Major league talent. Pretty much all the good players they have are at least 2 years away.

        2. Boogens

          “I’ll just sort of again remind people that Epstein had access to two elite shortstops in his time in Boston, and both got traded.”

          If Hanley Ramirez is one of the two elite SS that you’re referring to please remember that Theo was on sabbatical when that trade was made. He didn’t engineer that one.

  6. matt

    I wonder what the Cubs would draft if they didn’t draft a pitcher or a positional player

    1. Kygavin

      I heard they were in the market for a kicker or a punter…..

      1. frank

        A placekicker like Kyle Farnsworth?

    2. DB Kyle

      Both, like Brooks Kieschnick?

    3. Don

      I’d rather take our chances that Baez will be a star someday and wait for that day, than trade for Headley. I’m all for staying with the Plan! Watching Baez, Soler and Almora in practice this week has me even more excited about the Cubs future!!

  7. cerambam

    I’d say it will either be a pitcher or a positional player; (definitely one of the two)

    haha

  8. Kygavin

    I just dont see the Padres moving Headley until they are sure Gyorko cant stick at 2B. If he is even passable at 2B, then they have no real motivation to move Headley. Plus the Cubs would be buying after a peak season, just doesnt have the right value as far as Im concerned. Would much rather use Vitters/Stewart until Baez is ready to be the 3B of the future

  9. cerambam

    ahhh damn you matt you beat me to it.

  10. Chad

    Headley has been great. He has had a few good years and it seems he is coming into his prime right now. Here are his stats: http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/stats/_/id/28809/chase-headley

    Just remember that he plays in San Diego which is not very hitter friendly.

    1. hansman1982

      Be a better man, don’t use ESPN for stats. Use Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs.com or StatCorner.com

      1. RickyP024

        Does it really matter?

        1. clark addison

          Between Baez, Lake, and Candalerio the Cubs have lots of low cost 3b options for 2014 and beyond. No sense paying big bucks for Headley’s declining years.

          1. DB Kyle

            Only one of those guys is likely to be a 3b if they make it to the majors. Lake is more likely an outfielder and Candelario is almost certainly a 1b.

  11. Curt

    hey Brett if be interested in the reasoning behind keeping Stewart and why it’s the right thing I doubt he’s thd answer long term, and if the cubs are going to not be good why not save the money, just sayin.

    1. Rebuilding

      *Ahem* How about Aramis Ramirez? The guy with a 6.5 WAR and .900 OPS last year that we let walk for 3/36. Perfect contract length to bridge to Baez

      1. hansman1982

        Aramis would have been nice but the contract would have probably had to guarrantee him his 4th year. 3/36 would have been nice, had the contract been that for the Cubs but he had to want to play for the Cubs at a lesser contract than the Brewers gave him (with is a 3/36 with a 4th year mutual option at $14M with a $4M buyout so it really is a 3/40 contract with the potential to be a 4/50).

        My gut says Ramirez was done with Chicago.

        1. Rebuilding

          You may be right, but I seem to remember at the time Ramirez was just upset that the Cubs showed no interest in re-signing him. At $5 mil per 1 WAR Ramirez literally earned $32.5mil of that contract just last year. Granted it was his best year out of the last three, but to put it in perspective he was only 0.6 WAR behind Miguel Cabrera (7.1) last year?! Given the absolute mess 3b has been for the Cubs I think Ramirez walking would have to be labeled a mistake

  12. Dustin S

    They did pretty well with the Camp pickup last year, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take another chance on a reliever castoff again. Unless someone really exceptional comes around I don’t see any open position spots though on the big-leage roster. Even the bullpen could start to get little crowded when Baker comes back in mid-April. But for sure there might be some pickups for Iowa, especially for a power hitting 1B like Cooper. This team would be hurting offensively in a way that hurts my head to think about if Rizzo goes down.

  13. Die hard

    Did the Royals release Moscoso to make room for Marmol?

    1. TWC

      No.

      HTH.

      1. Die hard

        They were scouting him last yr and now one under 40

  14. Fastball

    Off the scrap heap I hope we can find a better utility infielder than Lillebridge. I think we can still some upgrading in the bench player department. Any decent pitching is worth signing and sticking them at Iowa on a minor league contract no 40 man roster guys unless someone unbelievable gets released. I don’t see that happening. Pitching is so hard to find. I don’t think we need another guy who is old like Camp. I would rather they find some 24 – 28 year olds who are new pitching instructor can fix.

  15. Morken

    While consideration should always be given to the best player regardless of position, in all likelihood, the Cubs will be drafting a starting pitcher with their first pick.

  16. Tarzan Joe

    the right choice was to never trade for stewart. the 2nd right choice was not to re-sign him. the 3rd right choice is to release him by the 16th. all of this so Jed can prove he wasn’t a complete fool making the trade to begin with. those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. i.e. Ian Stewart.

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