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stoveThe GM Meetings have wrapped, and groundwork has been laid … in theory …

  • Speaking of that groundwork, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Jesse Rogers that the front office office has had some trade discussions and “flushed” ideas that they now know won’t work. Alternatively, they were approached with other ideas that they’ve now got to head back to Chicago and consider. The Cubs are in a unique position, possibly being sellers of a handful of pieces, but also possibly being buyers of young talent.
  • The same Rogers piece notes that the Cubs could have interest in outfielder Nate McClouth, who bounced back a bit last year with the Orioles (.258/.329/.399), and can play anywhere in the outfield. That said, he doesn’t strike me as much of a starter, and feel redundant with Ryan Sweeney and Brian Bogusevic already on the roster (not to mention Junior Lake, where there are also some similarities).
  • Rogers also mentions the possibility of a bounce-back arm like Josh Johnson or Phil Hughes. I’d be intrigued by either pitcher, though Johnson is probably going to be paid well despite arm injuries and Hughes is probably going to try and take a short-term deal in a pitcher-friendly park out west. He struggled as a flyball pitcher in Yankee Stadium, but he’s just 27, and could rebuild his value over the next year or two in order to try for a bigger free agent score. If the Cubs could entice him, though, there’s a lot to like (3.25 K/BB over the last two years jumps out at you) if Chris Bosio could work some groundball magic on him and cut down on the homers.
  • After signing Brayan Pena, the Reds have the ability to deal back-up catcher Ryan Hanigan, which they are expected to do (and might net a nice prospect in the process, according to that Olney tweet). Hanigan, 33, is coming off a brutally bad 2013 season (.198/.306/.261, but walk and strikeout rates were fine, and his BABIP was 60 points lower than his career average), but he was a quality backup for years before that. Indeed, his .370 career OBP heading into 2013 suggest he could have been a quality starter. He’s set to enter his final year of arbitration this year, and should get a slight raise from his $2.05 million salary in 2013. The Cubs are obviously in the market for a veteran backup, so I’m sure they’ll inquire.
  • In the John Perrotto piece yesterday about the Pirates having interest in Jeff Samardzija (discussed here), there is also a small blurb about the Pirates possibly considering a move for Starlin Castro. There are no details offered, and only a thin speculation that the Pirates could be interested given no obvious young shortstop ready and waiting.
  • Curtis Granderson was in Chicago this week for a fundraiser, and he essentially said that he would consider signing with either the Cubs or the White Sox. Nothing really earth-shattering there, though we previously have heard that the Cubs have checked in on Granderson.
  • Ricky Nolasco’s agent tells Yahoo that he’s holding multiple four-year offers for his client. I don’t think that’s unreasonable, given that he’s not tied to draft pick compensation, and his advanced stats have always suggested he’s as good a bet for near-term success as any mid-tier pitcher out there. He’ll probably get a deal that slightly exceeds the one Edwin Jackson got last year from the Cubs (four years, $52 million). The Cubs probably won’t be in on Nolasco, but if you could get him on that same deal … it’s worth considering.

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