cubaAfter yesterday’s mixed reports on the Dodgers’ interest in Cuban free agent Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who is expected to sign this week, you had to wonder if that was just bluster, or if the Dodgers really were out.

If’s Ken Gurnick is right, the Dodgers really are out.

A source tells Gurnick that the Dodgers “are not pursuing” Gonzalez, partly because of pre-existing financial commitments in the rotation. While that may seem crazy for an organization that uses $20s as toilet paper, Gurnick points out that the Dodgers “already have roughly $200 million in future commitments to starting pitchers Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett. It will likely take another $200 million or more to keep Clayton Kershaw a Dodger for the long term.”

If the Dodgers are truly out, this could be a game-changer in Gonzalez’s pursuit, as acknowledged by Jesse Sanchez this morning. Sanchez had previously reported that Gonzalez was down to five teams, and, given the tenor of previous reports, it’s a fair guess that the Dodgers were one of those teams. Thus, Gonzalez might now be down to just four teams – with the presumed leader out.

Sanchez says the price has gone up in recent days, which suggests that there’s a bidding war going on.

We don’t know for certain that the Cubs remain involved, although we do know that they were heavily interested at one time. Phil Rogers says that the Cubs will be involved if the Dodgers are out, for whatever that’s worth.

Further, even if the Cubs are still involved, they would be just one of four teams vying for Gonzalez’s presumably very expensive services. Still, the Cubs have as much reason to be interested as anyone. A 26-year-old true free agent starter could fill a whole lot of holes for the Cubs going forward, and just might be worth a serious financial risk, given the upside. That said, the Cubs will only go all out if they really like what they’ve seen.

  • jj

    Outside of a workout, what are teams basing their decisions on – had he pitched much in front of scouts in Cuba or in exhibition, or are they relying on “stats” from Cuban league?

    • Brett

      A few exhibitions, yeah. And he’s been pitching in Mexico for a little while now, so that’s good. But your sense is right: there isn’t nearly as much to go on with a guy like Gonzalez as there would be on a Darvish.

      • jj

        Thanks. I’m glad its not my money.

  • Finkelstein $hit Kid

    If the Cubs somehow manage to land this guy in addition to everything else this year then that’s a very large cherry for a very large sundae.

  • Le Cubs

    Brett, do all these moves the Cubs are making point to 2014 as the start of being competitive? Seems like they are going for major league ready rather than hugh upsoie but huge risk. If so that woul be great.

    • BD

      It all depends on the young guys… if they take steps forward, it will happen sooner rather than later.

      • Bob

        Cometitive, yes. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and confuse “Major-League-ready” with “Playoff-ready”. There are still bound to be growing pains. It will be nice to have this kind of base to build from, tho.

    • Diggs

      Considering the Cubs could’ve been close to competing this year with a few luckier bounces here and there (and a better bullpen at the beginning of the season), I definitely can see them being competitive next year. Will need to add a bat or two in the off-season, and probably a starter.

  • Next Year Come Faster

    Brett that blogathon fundraiser is really for a great cause but if the cubs do trade soriano to the yankess then they already have their biggest trade chips out of the way and you are not going to have much report on the cubs in the 36 hours you are up.( I am new here for the deadline so I do not know how much you write on other teams trades)

    • CubsFaninMS

      The Gregg-Scheirholtz Blogathon!

      • X the Cubs Fan

        We could end up seeing a lot of Shark rumors too.

  • Jason (Thundermug)

    Well nothing against Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez but I would take that money into signing him and use it on contract extensions for Jeff Smardzija and Travis Wood. Getting those 2 locked up will mean more than signing Miguel A. Gonzalez.

    Have a rotation set of Smardzija, Wood, E. Jackson(whether you like him or not) is 3/5 of the rotation plus with the trades the Cubs have made you have a bunch of choices to fill out the rotation.

    Justin Grimm, Jake Arrieta, Chris Rusin, Kyle Hendricks. A. Cabera abd if you still feel like u need a veteran lower tier 3rd or upper 4th starter those will be available for a cheaper and less lucrative Contract. than Gonzalez

    Just my 2 cents and I’m not Jed/Theo

    • JB88

      Signing Gonzalez, though, would not preclude paying Shark or Wood. In the new MLB, signing pitchers for just money is becoming rare. If the Cubs believe that Gonzalez is a starter and can slot him into their rotation for five or six years for just cash and if they further believe he has the potential to be a No. 2 or 3 pitcher, then five or six years at $8-$10M would be a very low price to pay for that.

      • Mick

        Agreed. As it stands, the Cubs payroll next season is somewhere in the neighborhood of $65 million. We’re going to have to potentially sign a SP anyway so, why not take a risk in what will be considered a still building (I think we can drop the re- because we’ve cleaned house) season. Worst case scenario he flops or his gets injured. We’ve got Hendricks, Cabrera, Grimm, Arrieta, EJax, Shark, and Wood for depth. Best case scenario, he shines and we re-package some of our pitchers to trade for someone else. It’s all about accumulating assets, we shouldn’t be feeling content with what we currently have.

  • Rooster

    We need youth and rockets in our minor systems. If he’s ready then I say pay the Cuban! We’ve been investing in the international market so no reason to stop if he’s there. He’s only 26…in 2 years he’ll be 28 and in his prime. SIGN him because of the future SIGNAGE in Wrigley!

    • Jay

      This guy wouldn’t be in the minors for very long, if at all. For the money he wants, he’s advertising himself as major league ready.

  • North Side Irish

    Given how hard it is becoming to find available pitching to sign, I’m OK with the Cubs going all in on Gonzalez. There aren’t many options in free agency this offseason and most of the SP prospects are a few years away.

    Plus, the Cubs don’t need him this season, so he can continue working his way back from surgery in the minors and plan on him winning a rotation spot in spring training.

  • MJ

    I took the signing of Edwin Jackson (and pursuit of Anibal Sanchez) to mean that they will stretch themselves and pay for pitching if they have to. They never said that they won’t spend, but that guy would have to be the right age and have enough upside.

  • Cubman

    When you get a chance to get a guy that could be a top prospect (or MLB ready as he may be) and it only costs you money as opposed to players, I say go all in.

  • Carew

    I’m not gonna believe the Dodgers are out of it until he’s officially signed

  • Mick

    I’m actually thinking one of the smaller market teams might make the biggest offer. Teams like Seattle or Minnesota have a tougher time attracting top free agents because of their less-desirable locales and smaller budgets. This last offseason the Twins were immediately out on Anibal Sanchez because of his price tag, even though they desperately needed starting pitching. This is their opportunity to sign a young pitcher with Anibal Sanchez’s potential at half the price. The Twins almost have to take these kind of risks in order to compete. But, if MAG flops, it’s crushing to the team’s budget. That’s why I think the Cubs should really make the move. We’re desperate for starting pitching but we can afford to absorb the costs if MAG is a flop.

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  • http://BleacherNation Dr. Tobias Funke

    Jed and Theo are going to be in on this guy, balls to the wall, if they believe in their scouting report of him. A potential starting pitcher that doesn’t cost them the prospects that they have been putting together, is exactly the type of move they like. Add in the fact that the Dodgers seem to have found the bottom of their pockets, and I think this signals the Cubs are going to be a major player who are going to be saying: “Don’t sign until, you tell us what the top offer is.” Also, Cubs maybe taking a lesser prosepct package from the Yankees to free up more salary to take a run at this guy. The fact of the matter is, the Cubs need to roll the dice on this guy, as long as they believe his potential is worth it because the risk is not that of giving up three or four prospects, only a bad contract. A bad contract which doesn’t look as bad in the future revenue stream the Cubs are going to be tapping into, they’ll take the chance on him if they believe he can be special. If he works out as TOR starter, then holy shit do the Cubs have something going on in their closer drawing future, biggest piece still missing checked off for a potential value price.

  • Seth

    Any time estimate on when you think MAG will sign with a team, Brett?

  • North Side Irish

    Ben Badler ‏@BenBadler 1m
    Scouts are split on whether Cuban RHP Miguel Gonzalez is a starter or a reliever. Full scouting report:

    FWIW, there were similar concerns on Ryu…

    • Chad

      That’s a bit nerve racking if you are thinking about ponying up 10 mill a year.

    • Cedlandrum

      Well that isn’t good at all. You can’t give 50 million to a reliever.

      • hansman1982

        Jim Hendry begs to differ.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    The video I have seen of him, he looks to have good command, keeps the ball down well. Throws 92-93 with a very easy motion, decent slider. Very similar style to Hector Rondon, not as much velocity.

  • MXB

    “an organization that uses $20s as toilet paper” — made me laugh.

    You should have added “and they use toilet paper as dog toilet paper”

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