Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

stoveAs Spring Training winds down, we’re entering the stretch where a number of fringe roster types are released back into the wild …

  • Rany Jazayerli – don’t let the Blogspot blog fool you, he’s a noted Royals writer – writes that the Royals still need a platoon partner in right field to pair with Jeff Francoeur, and the prime candidate is none other than David DeJesus. The match-up is pretty strong, given the Royals’ need and the Cubs’ willingness to move players like DeJesus for value, but the timing might be tricky. The Royals would probably rather have DeJesus yesterday, but the Cubs don’t have an obvious replacement ready in center field quite yet. Indeed, Phil Rogers took on this suggestion the day after Rany made it, and said that the Cubs want to make sure Brett Jackson’s new swing takes hold at Iowa before counting on him in center field this year. That leaves the Cubs with the option of sticking someone like Dave Sappelt (or Scott Hairston, if he can hack it) in center field full-time in April/May/June if they dealt DeJesus now. And if Jackson’s swing doesn’t show improvement? Then center field becomes a serious void. I do think the Cubs will shop DeJesus – he’s on an affordable deal that includes an affordable option for 2014 – but likely not until mid-season.
  • On the Yankees/Angels Vernon Wells deal, instead of a condonable $2 to $3 million per year, the Yankees are picking up almost $14 million in salary from the Angels. The figure, which necessarily means the Yanks are giving up bupkis in terms of prospect value (indeed, at that price tag, I’d argue it’s the Yankees who are owed a prospect), is utterly insane, and suggests very strongly that either (1) Alfonso Soriano was definitely completely unwilling to accept a trade to the Yankees right now; or (2) the Cubs had some very high demands in trade for Soriano. Interestingly, there is some debate on how that $14 million in salary is going to go on the Yankees’ books for luxury tax purposes (usually, contracts are averaged out to their annual value for luxury tax accounting purposes). Given their desperate desire to get under $189 million in 2014, it’s impossible to see the Yankees adding $7 million to payroll for a guy like Wells. Indeed, Mark Feinsand hears that the Yankees are exploiting the transferring-money rule in trades in order to front-load their payments, and actually get a credit toward payroll in 2014. I don’t think MLB intended for traded salary to work this way.

  • Pretty much every article you see on the Wells trade, by the way – examples here and here – includes some variation of “desperation” in the headline.
  • Jon Garland ended up choosing the Rockies, but the Cubs may have moved on to another 33-year-old injury-recovering righty: Chris Young. He opted out of his deal with the Nationals, and the Cubs – together with many teams – were in attendance scouting his latest start. Young hasn’t pitched much over the last few years, but he did manage 20 meh starts with the Mets last year. I don’t really see a whole lot of upside in Young.
  • Fear not: Ronny Cedeno has signed with the Astros. (Which has led to them shopping Tyler Greene, who is out of options and whom they will waive or trade. He can play all over the infield, but is a right-handed bat who only last year – in Houston – showed a little pop. Before that, he wasn’t anything worth a hoot at the plate.)

  • Fear still: Yuniesky Betancourt is back on the market.
  • Fear worse: Dale Sveum called Chone Figgins “interesting” as the Cubs consider waiver wire/free agent options for the final bench spot (otherwise, it’ll be Steve Clevenger).
  • The Indians have released reliever Matt Capps, who is still just 29 and had a good, abbreviated year in 2012, even if his K rate has dropped quite a bit in the last two years (but his velocity has remained steady despite some shoulder troubles). There’s a belief that the Indians are going to try and re-sign him to a deal that doesn’t require them to pay him a $100K bonus (which his original minor league deal would have required if he were sent to the minors out of Spring Training), but if he can find a Major League roster spot elsewhere, he’ll presumably take it. The Cubs still have that one opening in the bullpen, and Capps has a nice track record. Who knows what his medicals look like, though.

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