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lukewarm stoveThe week winds down, and Thanksgiving Week approaches. We’re starting to see an uptick in activity, and that’ll likely continue right on through December, with a blip for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  • The Cubs were in on Josh Johnson after all, which the pitcher himself told Jim Bowden. His final five (if I’m reading Bowden’s shorthand correctly) were the Padres, Pirates, Giants, Royals, and Cubs. In the end, and as I suspected when I wrote up Johnson’s deal with the Padres, the Padres were simply Johnson’s preference. It doesn’t sound like it was a matter of another team – like the Cubs – being unwilling to top the Padres’ reasonable one-year, $8 million offer. Johnson simply wanted to pitch in a huge park for Bud Black in a city closer to his Las Vegas home.
  • That the Cubs were definitively involved with Johnson confirms that they are looking to add at least one more starting pitcher this offseason, and likely someone from the Johnson tier of arms. Allow me to once again suggest Phil Hughes.
  • I’ve been thinking about the Jason Vargas deal with the Royals since it was announced late yesterday, but, in the end, I just don’t see it as a market mover. Vargas, one of the most average pitchers you can find, signed for four years and $32 million. Four years for a league-average 31-year-old pitcher with some health concerns is a bit wonky, but $8 million per year certainly isn’t. Vargas has been worth, oh, about 1.5 to 2 wins per year for the last several years, and that’s a reasonable projection over his next four. At $6 million per win in free agency (the figure was about $5.5 million two years ago, so it has to AT LEAST have climbed to $6 million by now, and likely much higher), Vargas is arguably worth closer to $10 or $11 million per year. As I dug in on the contract further, I found this piece from Dave Cameron, who pretty much sums up my reaction. In the end, the deal is less about holy-crap-the-market-is-going-nuts, and more about the Royals guaranteeing four years in exchange for a very reasonable annual salary. So, I guess … nothing to see here, move right along.
  • The Tigers might now be in the market for Shin-Soo Choo, according to Buster Olney. It only makes sense – rid yourself of one albatross contract, sign up for another. I’m actually not being as facetious as it sounds like I’m being. The Tigers are very much built to win right now, and signing players like Choo to big deals is exactly what they should be doing. Gotta grab those front-end valuable years while you can. Sort out the back-end, dead money years later.
  • Speaking of the Tigers’ outfield, a precursor to signing Choo could be dealing young center fielder Austin Jackson. That comes from Bob Nightengale, who mentions in passing on Twitter that the Tigers are listening to offers on Jackson, who seems to have fallen out of favor a bit in Detroit. Offensively, Jackson was down last year, but he plays solid defense in center field. Taken together, he’s a 3.5/4-win player, on average. Jackson is just 26, and has two more arbitration years left after making $3.5 million last year. The Cubs’ internal outfield push might not arrive for another year or two, and Jackson is obviously still young enough to be a part of “the core.” How could you not at least inquire, right?
  • And speaking of the outfield, if you had your heart set on a Chris Young/someone else platoon in the Cubs’ outfield, you can cross it off a list that was probably not worth making in the first place. (Stick to mix tapes.) Young reportedly just signed a one-year deal with the Mets for a whopping $7.25 million. There’s certainly a premium in there for it being a one-year deal, but yowsa. That’s obviously far too much to pay for the mere right-handed portion of a platoon (which is to say, the Mets clearly plan on starting him full-time), and it makes me wonder if the Cubs have dramatically undervalued David DeJesus and Scott Hairston over the past year.
  • FarmerTanColin

    I was hoping for Chris Young but eh oh well.

    It would be nice to see the Cubs trade for a younger CF like Jackson but only if we could package some redundant players or mid level prospects. (A dream I know).

    Maybe Vogelbach, Brett Jackson and Hendricks could do something.

    • Jay

      It’s not possible to undervalue Scott Hairston, and to a lesser degree David Dejesus.

    • Assman22

      Cubs FO wasn’t too keen on Young…very active on the trade front…will wait out the market on FA’s…

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Well, raise your hand if you have NOT been burned by Young in fantasy baseball at least once! Seriously, he didn’t turn out as hoped: pitch recognition was always going to be a problem, but I think a lot of us were hoping that he’d provide enough power from a “skill” position to make up for that. The “nope” applies to both real and fantasy baseball.

  • jim

    My mix tapes have only Ace of Base and Milli Vanilli on them.

  • jim

    Jackson would be an interesting move. It wouldn’t speak much to the FO’s confidence in Lake, unless they feel one of them has the bat to play left (which at face value I doubt).

  • frank

    That, or the Mets are just plain crazy.

  • Jono

    Jackson would be nice. It might create a good problem if / when Almora comes up because jackson probably wouldnt be a good fit in either corner outfield spot. Maybe im wrong about that, maybe he would profile well in right or left. But if not, that would still be a good problem.

    • Patrick G

      I agree. Jackson could be a good top of the order bat until a few years when/if Almora is ready. If Almora reaches his potential, they can trade Jackson and if Almora is a bust, we have a solid outfield option in Jackson

  • http://www.backingthepack.com Rynomite

    I’m guessing the Young deal is an overpay in part because, well, Mets. Has to be one of the least attractive teams to sign with.

    • X The Cubs Fan

      You’re talking about a guy who flat out said he wanted to play for the Asstros.

  • The Huch

    I still feel like we have a Jackson of our own in Iowa that could be manning centerfield on a daily basis.

  • Rebuilding

    “That’s obviously far too much to pay for the mere right-handed portion of a platoon, and it makes me wonder if the Cubs have dramatically undervalued David DeJesus and Scott Hairston over the past year.”

    It’s a good question to ask, but no I think the Mets are just dumb

    • http://ehanauer.com clark addison

      Undervalue Scott Hairston? You’ve got to be kidding.

      • Jay

        Thank you.

  • Norm

    Disagree on Young. His Defense and Baserunning make him worthy enough playing against RHP, he’s a league average hitter, that can play CF. $7.5M isn’t all that ‘whopping’.
    If his BABIP bounces back up, that’s a 2-3 WAR player.

    • bbmoney

      I agree. I like Chris Young. I don’t think a 1 year deal for 7.5M is an overpayment at all.

      Never been a high average guy, but I doubt he’ll hit .200 again. He’ll take a walk, plays pretty good D (besides last year maybe), has some pop, has some speed. It’s a 1 year deal for less than 10M for a guy that before last year had fWARs of 2.5 or higher for 3 straight years.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      As a right-handed complement in a platoon, it’s whopping. That was the point, since that was how the Cubs would view him.

      • Patrick G

        I don’t see him platooning. The Mets outfield is very thin and think even with a .230 average with 20/20 potential he’ll be playing everyday

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Right. For the Mets. On the Cubs, he’d have been viewed as a part-time player. (Not because the Cubs are so awesome, mind you, but instead because of the composition of their likely outfield pieces.)

          • Patrick G

            Ah gotcha

    • Andrew

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/mets-land-bargain-in-chris-young/

      I agree wholeheartedly with Dave Cameron on this one, he thinks this might be one of the best moves of the offseason which is what he said about Feldman when the Cubs signed him too. The dude is really good at finding bargains.

  • oswego chris

    I would be all over “kicking the tires” on the availability of one Austin Jackson….not sure there would be a match…

    fyi- I do not like the cliche “kicking the tires” and prefer “checking the oil” or “looking under the hood”

    • MichiganGoat

      Yeah I’d think the Tigers would want MLB contributing players and we don’t really have many of those. They do need bullpen help so I guess Russell might be of interest but I’d expect other teams can put together a better package than the Cubs can create.

      • MightyBear

        Yes they need a left hander in the bullpen ie Russell (Unfortunately, so do we) and a defensive infield utility guy (Barney). Would Russell and Barney get Austin Jackson? Should the Cubs do that? Make one pontificate.

        • MightyBear

          Makes*

        • MichiganGoat

          We should do that but the Tigers will laugh at us, a young CF for a lefty that might have an arm falling off from overuse and a defensive IF that can’t hit, no way they want that. I honestly can’t come up with anything we have that they want.

          • Oswego Chris

            Lets see the Tigers…need starting pitching?..nope, relief help can be had in free agency, they need to replace Fielder’s pop, but we don’t have that to give

            • MichiganGoat

              Yeah we got nothing they want.

          • Patrick G

            With the additions of Iglesias and Kinsler I don’t see a fit for Barney unless Kinsler plays first and Miggy stays at 3B but don’t see that. Not sure what it would take.

    • jt

      just don’t depend upon the idiot lights.

  • MightyBear

    This is totally irrelevant to this post or anything really but I can’t believe Latroy Hawkins is still pitching. Seems like forever ago he pitched for the Cubs and a lot of people thought he was done then.

    • Jay

      He had the velocity and some stuff, just wasn’t built to deal with the 9th inning.

  • Rebuilding

    Not sure why the Tigers would want to move Jackson to make room for Choo. Choo is a terrible centerfielder and the Tigers have an opening at one of the corner OF spots if Castellanos is going to play 3b

    • MightyBear

      Yeah, I thought the same thing. Why move Jackson to get Choo? Why not just sign Choo and put him in Left or Right where he’s better suited? Makes one pontificate.

  • Mick

    What about Castro for Jackson and Porcello?

    • MightyBear

      Yes but I wouldn’t do that if I were the Tigers.

    • Voice of Reason

      I like adding Jackson, but what are we offering? They need bullpen help??

      I don’t want to part with Castro in this proposed deal, unless it’s overwhelming!

      Porcello’s cheap contract and potential means they aren’t trading him! They’re making a run at a World Series and will have other starters who will be VERY expensive. They need to keep Porcello around to go with the other studs to make a World Series run!

      I do like the idea of adding Jackson! His stock is a bit down, he’s at a good age and the contract is nice.

      • Mick

        We might need to kick in Russell to make it work. Porcello’s not super cheap, he’s projected earn $7.7 mil next season and his spot in the rotation would be filled with Drew Smyly leaving a void for a LHP in their bullpen which, Russell would fill. Jackson’s projected to earn $5.3 mi next season.

        The benefits for the Tigers is that they’d be able to move Iglesias to a utility IF role (he totally flopped last offseason both offensively and defensively), start Castro at SS (cost controlled young SS through 2020), and free up an OF spot and about $5 mil more to go after Choo.

        • YourResidentJag

          I like the idea. The problem is the Cubs don’t. But if you look at Porcello’s WAR alone. It’s really hard to find that kind of pitcher in the open market for cheap.

  • MightyBear

    I would like to see the Cubs do something here. It seems the last two things they did was sign Sweeney and some minor leaguers. They’re not even in any rumors. I would like to see them re-sign Scott Baker. That would be a good small move that would pay dividends IMO.

    • Troy

      What is your obsession with Signing Scott Baker? Buy his jersey or something?

  • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

    Two things:

    1. If the FO see Junior Lake as merely a platoon player, then why go spend eight million on a guy when Lake could feasibly replicate Young’s production?

    2. FRANKLIN GUTIERREZ!!!! ;)

  • Kyle

    We got a nice prospect for Hairston, but it does appear that we were forced to let DeJesus go for far below market value because of financial constraints.

    I suspect we’ll be “in on” Hughes and settle for another round of Scott Baker.

    • Andrew

      Let’s hope we settle for another Feldman instead. Maybe Roberto Hernandez or scott kazmir?

  • Frank

    If the Cubs are looking for a short term pitcher, how about Bartolo Colon? One year with an option. It looks like he still has gas in the tank and he could teach the young pitchers a thing or two.

    • Ruh roh

      Because Bartolo Colon weighs 450 pounds and is seeking to get paid around $10 M in 2014. Which by all indications he will GET from somebody. We don’t need a morbidly obese former roider polluting the minds and souls of our young pitchers.

      • rockin’ dawg

        And he’s 50 years old.

    • Frank

      So maybe Edwin Jackson was a better signing?

  • Ruh roh

    Detroit is not about to trade Austin Jackson. Good grief. Think again. If anything they ADD another prominent outfielder. Rumored to be interested in Granderson returning, and they would shove him in LF with Jackson staying in CF and Hunter in RF.

    Franklin Guitterez makes some sense. Won’t be “cheap” but he could probably help this club and is a hedge should Junior Lake turn back into a pumpkin.

  • jon

    Here’s to an off season of celebrating “almost signing” a free agent.

    Hip, Hip, Hooray!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s old. I’m cranky. Try to offer something other than mindless venom next time, because I’m not sure if you’re contributing anything of value to this community.

      • jon

        My contribution is that IMO, it really sucks we missed out on Chris Young, especially considering he was willing to take one year deal. He would have been a perfect bridge type player.

        • MichiganGoat

          Then say that instead of the bile you love to throw around.

          • YourResidentJag

            Again, I think Brett just addressed this. It’s not your blogsite….unless I’m missing something here. BTW, your comments are getting VERY OLD as well. And I’m also cranky today.

            • MichiganGoat

              Ah thanks lou that quite a compliment from you

              • YourResidentJag

                Why do you feel the need to incessantly piggyback on everything? Please stop it! It’s effing annoying!

                • MichiganGoat

                  Ah there is a lot of love around here today… everyone group hug.
                  [img]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-dl4CcjnKRE0/UjX-Itz_gqI/AAAAAAAADWQ/JpZiiIZbjZI/s320/tumblr_mra5ycJNE61rwcvwko1_r1_500.gif[/img]

                  • YourResidentJag

                    You COULD disagree with me about my comments regarding Falu, but that doesn’t seem like something productive you would do.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Not sure what “Falu” is and therefore cannot discuss it with you.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      You may wish then to see a prior post of mine suggesting that the Cubs pick up one of the Royals’ castoffs, Falu….as in Irving Falu a switch-hitting 2b.

                    • Chef Brian

                      Lighten up Jag.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Why? Goat’s comments are annoying often times as much as productive.

                  • mjhurdle

                    careful Goat, the resident blog-police might give you a ticket for excessive pictures :)

                • Cubbie Blues

                  Piggybacks can be fun.
                  [img]https://www.google.com/search?q=piggyback&safe=off&rlz=1C1GGGE_enUS444US444&espv=210&es_sm=122&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=ta2PUo-vOeiT2QWaioGwDA&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1369&bih=934#q=piggyback&tbm=isch&tbs=simg%3ACAQSCQmLzYnI5Fw6Lw&facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=PrmdULgY2yjB2M%3A%3B-TPR4m-fa3EtPM%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Flh6.googleusercontent.com%252F-J5kAQ_I1um0%252FT_AJi75OuzI%252FAAAAAAAACc4%252F_c3yUrt922Q%252Fw500%252F%252525D0%252525A5%252525D0%252525B5%252525D0%252525B9_%252525D1%25252587%252525D0%252525B0%252525D0%252525BA%252525D0%252525B0%252525D0%252525BC%25252B%252525D1%2525258E%252525D0%252525BB%252525D0%252525B8.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.googleplussuomi.com%252Ftimelinetest.php%253Fgoogleid%253D111455318074124878770%2526sort%253Dcomment%3B318%3B604[/img]

                  • Cubbie Blues

                    try again.
                    [img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-J5kAQ_I1um0/T_AJi75OuzI/AAAAAAAACc4/_c3yUrt922Q/w500/%25D0%25A5%25D0%25B5%25D0%25B9_%25D1%2587%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BA%25D0%25B0%25D0%25BC%2B%25D1%258E%25D0%25BB%25D0%25B8.jpg[/img]

                    • YourResidentJag

                      So mocking is productive conversation??? Hmm….interesting to see what Brett finds productive and what he doesn’t by ignoring such things.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      Productive? No. Funny? Yes.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      To who? You.

                    • Ron

                      I laughed, not an LOL but certainly a chuckle.

                    • mjhurdle

                      l laughed at the giraffe picture too.
                      Well done Cubbie Blues :)

            • jon

              My post was a bit cynic, and sarcastic, but I’m not seeing the venom, or bile. Maye some folks need an afternoon nap?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          That’s a great comment. More that. (I disagree with your substance, but I like the actual conversation.)

  • jon

    And that’s a bummer about Chris Young. He would have been a great platoon addition for us, and 1 year at 7 million isn’t bad at all really. There is a good chance he could rebound to a 2.5-3 Win player since he just turned 30.

    Why the need to downplay every missed FA with a “oh well too much money anyways”. You do have to field a competitive roster, ya know?

    • mjhurdle

      I don’t disagree with signing Chris Young because of money.
      I disagree that Chris Young would do anything to make this a competitive roster.
      He has declined the last three years, with k% up, BB % down, slash line down every year.
      He has trouble getting on the field regularly.
      I just don’t see what he offers the club. He *might* rebound, but i dont see a lot that indicates he will.
      Of course, he might just go out and tear it up for the Mets, who knows.

  • bob

    They still need another of wit lake and schierholtz because Sweeney is a 4th of at best I’m still hoping for ellsbury to play center and bat leadoff which I know is crazy with this regime way of spending but please shock me any time all predictable moves at this point

  • wassup

    Almora for Jackson straight up?

  • AD

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 6s
    Source: #Angels trade Bourjos to #STLCards. Freese presumably going to Anaheim. That part presently unconfirmed.

    • jon

      oh, god, you know he’s going to put up like a 6 win season next year, I just know it.

    • North Side Irish

      Bourjos also announced as 2014 Gold Glove winner and NL Batting champion…

      • jon

        Don’t forget 2014 World Series MVP.

        • North Side Irish

          Technically co-MVP with whatever undersized shortstop they pull off the scrap heap next…

  • Edwin

    I’m not a big fan of people posting GIFs or clips or pictures or whatever. There’s enough comments on the posts, and enough long comments, that the pictures and everything just add to the clutter. They’re usually not as funny as the poster thinks, and they don’t add much to the conversation.

    • jon

      I would agree, but without them, how would posters like Darth contribute to the community?

      • Chef Brian

        Really Jon? Not getting enough attention today? You post moronic videos and pics all the time.

    • Jono

      We should have a rule that all pictures and GIFs must get Darth’s approval before being posted

      • Edwin

        We don’t even need rules. Just common courtesy.

        • Cubbie Blues

          [img]http://aadmd.org/sites/default/files/common_courtesy.jpg[/img]

    • mjhurdle

      I understand why some people wouldn’t think some of the gif/images aren’t that funny, but I don’t understand why it is such a big deal. It takes less than a second to scroll past one, and, as long as they are not inappropriate, causes no harm.

      • Whiteflag

        This is true, but they are often used to be a complete jackass to someone else. In the battle of “who’s opinion matters and who’s doesn’t.” Must be the weather. I’m a bit cranky today too.

      • Edwin

        I don’t think it’s a big deal. Just a personal annoyance. Like when someone types in all caps, uses the phrase “begs the question” incorrectly, or doesn’t use paragraphs to split up ideas in long posts.

        It takes less than a second to scroll past one, but it’s very rarely just one. It’s 3 or 4, or even more. Most of the time, it doesn’t really add much to the discussion.

  • Whiteflag

    ^this. Time to move on from the cat fight, boys.

    • YourResidentJag

      So you’re saying people should stop with the pics and GIFS that some of us don’t appreciate? I agree.

      • Whiteflag

        I’m saying, I find the daily fighting over nothing annoying.

        • Fishin Phil

          Whiteflag is calling for a truce. How appropriate.

          • Whiteflag

            Phil, that made me smile! thanks

  • Cubbie Tim

    What is with the over use of the words, “really? & seriously?”. It’s played out. It annoys the sh!t out of me. Are we 15 year old girls?

    • Chef Brian

      Saying the words “Played Out” made you sound both hip and mature.

      • Jono

        I thought this was suddenly 1994 again

  • Senor Cub

    Jackson for Russell (mixed with Barney or whomever they would consider trading) makes zero sense. The Cubs need pitching!!! That trade would put the Cubs in a worst scenario than today, which is already pretty bad!

    • Hutch

      If the tigers would trade Jackson for Russell and Barney I would pack their bags. A middle relief pitcher and a 2nd baseman who cant get on base for a gold glove caliber lead off hitter. Get real. Some times i don’t know what planet people on this site are from. Some terrible opinions

  • Brains

    We gotta get one of these guys!!! But what’s their incentive to sign with the Cubs? They don’t want to sign anyone who might be overpriced, but the result is having a team in such bad shape that the only way to sign certain players will be to overpay. Call it the billy goat paradox.

  • YourResidentJag
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