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lukewarm stoveSome years, there’s a little push to get things concluded by Thanksgiving, which may actually be what we’ve seen in the Brian McCann, Jhonny Peralta, and Bourjos/Freese deals, among others. At the same time, although we’ll probably see a lull on Thanksgiving, I’m not sure if it will last all that long. December comes but a few days later.

  • The Dodgers are set to sign Dan Haren to a one-year, $10 million deal after a mixed year in Washington (he was brutal early in the year, and dominant late – his peripherals suggest he was a whole lot better than his 4.67 ERA). It’s fair deal for both sides, and it gives the Dodgers a loaded rotation (Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, Haren, Billingsly, Beckett – though the latter two have had arm issues). Does it take them out of the Masahiro Tanaka market? Nah. Haren isn’t on that tier, and money isn’t going to stop the Dodgers. Instead, it probably takes them out of the market for any other starting pitchers (including, potentially, Phil Hughes, if he was looking for another NL West option after possibly losing the Padres (Josh Johnson) and Giants (Tim Hudson)). As for Haren, specifically, the Cubs weren’t known to be involved or interested in the 33-year-old, whom they almost acquired last year before medical issues scared them off.
  • Robinson Cano may yet lead the big-time market: Andrew Marchand reports that the Yankees will soon reiterate to Cano and his agents that their best offer to him comes with an expiration date. Given the uncertainties in their financial picture – Kuroda? Tanaka? Beltran? Choo? Ellsbury? ARod suspension? – you can understand why the Yankees would want to know ASAP whether Cano is going to be taking up a chunk of their available cash (me? I kind of like seeing them twist in the wind). Although the Cano market, at present, feels limited to the Yankees, if they suddenly pull out to pursue other options, Cano’s free agency could suddenly have a dramatic impact on the overall market.
  • For now, the Yankees appear focused on landing Carlos Beltran, which would shrink their available dollars even further. Absent a full-year ARod suspension, the math doesn’t work for them to sign McCann, Beltran, Kuroda, Cano, and Tanaka, and stay under the $189 million limit. If it comes down to Kuroda, what if the posting system isn’t in place by the time they have to make a decision? Would the Yankees let Kuroda walk, knowing that if they don’t get Tanaka, their rotation could be a mess? Or do they just let Cano walk? Either way, it feels like they’re confident ARod won’t be counting against them next year …
  • Jayson Stark tries to figure out the Cano market, and it sounds like a number of teams that “aren’t in,” are not in only because they believe it’s Yankees or bust. Once again, I say: if the Yankees suddenly pull out, Cano’s free agency could suddenly have a dramatic impact on the overall market. As usual, the Cubs are mentioned in passing among a huge number of other teams that could pursue Cano if not the Yankees. Although I still don’t think Cano, at the dollars he’ll get, makes sense for the Cubs – and I think Cano returning to the Yankees could tighten their Tanaka pursuit – there’s a part of me that hopes the Yankees give up on him, and turn him loose on the market. It’s fun to watch.
  • The Red Sox are considering Dioner Navarro a fallback option in their catching search.
  • The Pirates just DFA’d outfielder Garrett Jones (he’ll be 33 next year, will cost $6 million in arbitration, his power surge in 2012 now looks like a blip, and he’s a negative in the outfield – pass), as well as starting pitcher Kyle McPherson. The latter, 26, was a decent prospect coming up in the Pirates’ system (4.80 career K/BB) until arm issues derailed him last year. He had Tommy John surgery in July, and would be an ideal stash for the Cubs on a minor league deal. The problem is that another team with even more room on its 40-man might decide to claim him, and hold him on the roster until late next year when he’s finally recovered from the surgery. I don’t think the Cubs could pull that off, and the only way a minor league deal would be possible is if McPherson is released (as opposed to outrighted). In the end, he probably doesn’t become freely available on a minor league deal, so this is probably wasted ink.
  • Remember how I thought grabbing reliever Fernando Abad from the Nationals would be a good idea after they DFA’d him last week? Well, so did the Athletics, who sent the Nationals a meh prospect to get him (he was probably claimed by several teams if he made the wavier wire).
  • AceRemote

    I wish we wouldve traded for Haren this year.

  • Diamondrock

    Why’d you change the stove picture, Brett? I liked the old one. Reminded me of a wood burning stove my parents used to have.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sorry. I never loved that one, if I’m being completely honest – and it started to feel a little stale after a couple years.

      Embrace change!

      • Featherstone

        The only change people like is the kind that jingles in their pocket.

      • dumbledoresacubsfan

        I much prefer the new picture. Cleaner.

        • Funn Dave

          Alright, the Cubbies need to give us something else to talk about.

          • dumbledoresacubsfan

            I like to think of the new picture as a metaphor for the Cubs…..

            Taking out the old and replacing it with something new, clean, and shiny…

            • Spriggs

              It should be MLB ready in a couple years. Maybe 3.

            • Funn Dave

              Hahaha…except the new stove looks expensive, and we all know the Cubs aren’t shelling out that kinda dough.

              • Jeff

                We have pictures to look at instead of the real thing, kind of like the Cubs roster.

            • DarthHater

              If we need a stove image that captures the feel of the Cubs, I suggest something from the Great Depression:
              [img]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_gZWGivX9xIo/S4vY1A_2-pI/AAAAAAAAD9Q/wx-2_nrrK_0/s400/warming-by-the-fire.jpg[/img]

              • Craig

                That pic would be appropriate

          • cubmig

            How about signing Choo…………..Ahhhhh! …..Choo!!!

          • Cheryl

            If you want something new,here’s two possibilities – who will be the next Cub traded or how many games will the cubs win next year.

            • MightyBear

              Shark and 85

              • Jason P

                Minus 20.

            • Kramden

              Surprise!……

              Castro and 74

            • Jason Powers

              Shark…62! (Assuming they dont add anyone of import.)

    • TSB

      Why’d you change your name, Brett? I liked the old one, i.e., “Ace”. Reminded me of a winning poker hand I had in Vegas last year…

  • Funn Dave

    Hahaa I like seeing the Yankees twist in the wind too, Brett.

  • itzscott

    >> He had Tommy John surgery in July, and would be an ideal stash for the Cubs on a minor league deal. <<

    Just wondering if there's any pitcher who ever had Tommy John surgery that you didn't feel would be an ideal stash for the Cubs?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sure. One who was crappy before his injury.

      • Kramden

        LOL!

        Touché

      • YourResidentJag

        Made me smile.

  • Frank

    Kyle McPherson is available, somebody get Theo a paper bag, he’s starting to hyperventilate. .

    • On The Farm

      A Theo Tommy John pitcher joke. How original! Do you come up with this material yourself?

      • Frank

        If you don’t like something, you can just ignore it and move on.

        • Jim L

          Remember that little nugget of wisdom when Theo makes a move you don’t agree with.

          • Frank

            I promise I will.

        • On The Farm

          But then I wouldn’t get to have my fun pointing out how old and lame your joke is.

      • CubsFaninMS

        I found Frank’s colored vernacular of the complaint creative, though.

        • On The Farm

          Really? I guess its just not the first time I see someone suggest that Theo would be hyperventilating or pacing back in forth in his office because he is so excited. Its a pretty tired joke in my book.

  • Die hard

    The remaining trade or signing possibilities remind me of that actor Slim Pickens

    • mjhurdle

      [img]http://s12.postimg.org/e6y1faqtp/slim_pickens.jpg[/img]

      • Abe Froman

        He was great in Dr. Strangelove as well, which was supposed to be the fourth role played by Peter Sellers until he broke his leg or some such injury. Watch it if you’ve never seen it.

        • Die hard

          Only seen it 5 times but still can’t figure out why Slim Pickens committed suicide?

          • Abe Froman

            I do believe you have seen it and likely have a real thought or point to discuss, this is not that, as we both know.

          • DarthHater

            Well, the world ends at the end of the movie, so suicide is kinda beside the point, isn’t it?

        • Nigel Incubator-Jones

          Somebody’s got to go back and get a shitload of dimes

  • cubsin

    I’ve been a loyal Cubs fan for 60 years, but my initial enthusiasm for Theo and Company is beginning to wear thin. Other teams are signing big free agents and making major trades, getting ready for 2014. The Cubs are now almost through (1B coach) completing their new coaching staff, and have re-signed Ryan Sweeney and added a handful of unexciting minor-league free agents.

    Now they’re hemming and hawing about the likelihood they’ll be competitive in 2015, which will be Year Four of their dynasty. I don’t want them to spend foolishly on free agents who would only allow them to challenge the Brewers for fourth place, but I would like to see an end to the annual July yard sale.

    • Die hard

      Your rant got me in the Brad Pitt of my stomach.. Arguing now for a Paul New Man to take Triggers reins won’t Sitting Bull too well with Jiminy CRicketts

      • chrisfchi

        I figured it out! Die Hard is Gene Shalit!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Other teams really aren’t signing big free agents given that (at most) one big free agent has signed so far (McCann to the Yanks). Of course, McCann was a one quarter of the “big” free agent position players, and the other three (Cano, Elsbury & Choo) are unsigned.

      I have been surprised by the lack of buzz around Jimenez, who really is the closest thing to a big free agent pitcher out there. That might be because people are waiting to see what happens with Tanaka, as in, will he even get posted? However, that strikes me as improbable: the teams interested in Tanaka have to know that it is improbable that they will post the winning bid, and after that you are dropping to the Nolasco / Santana / Garza level. (All three would be a big upgrade over everybody’s #5 starter, obviously.)

      But, basically, the vast majority of teams are not going to sign big free agents this year because this FA market simply does not have many.

  • Aaron

    cubsin – I feel your pain as a Cubs fan. There is something sacred to each and every baseball season. There’s a finite number of them, just like players’ careers. Never should they be just thrown away.

    • Jeff

      They are not that sacred to guys from New England. They don’t really care other than for their science experiment to work.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Zoinks Scooby, the dreaded mystery team is about to sign Dioner Navarro! Ruh roh!

  • Bret Epic

    What do you think the chances are that Garrett Jones ends up being non-tendered? Could be an intriguing sign for the Cubs if they can sign him to a short term deal and flip him at the trade deadline. I know that we have plenty of left handed hitting outfielders, but if we trade Schierholtz after what is likely his career year at a sell high price and sign Jones to a short term contract where we could flip him, we could maximize on value.

  • Voice of Reason

    We don’t need a left handed stick.

    Plus Jones is spiraling down offensively and can’t play defense.

    • Bret Epic

      Last year was a down year, but the year before, he was quite good. .274/317/.516 in 2012 along with 27 HR and 86 RBI. .233/.289/.419 this year is pretty ugly, but his OPS was still 77 points higher than Castro this year. If they can get him for cheap, I’d at least inquire.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Jones’ OPS is worth comparing to Castro’s only if Jones can play SS. Given that Jones can barely play 1B, that isn’t an option.

        As for Jones, he neither not been spiraling downwards: his HR, K & BB rates were pretty much in line with career norms last year. His low numbers in 2013 were due to a slightly low BABiP, but they really are indistinguishable from his 2010-2011 numbers. The only thing that stood out was his popup rate: and I’m unaware of any evidence that this is something that ever shows trends. (I suppose that it’s possible, but nobody’s ever documented it!)

        That written, Jones was lucky in the opposite direction in 2012: basically, he had a spike in his HR:FB rates (17%) that stands out from other years (about 12%). There is no reason to expect that to happen again.

        Really, on a team other than what the Pirates were before last season, he’d have been labelled an AAAA guy.

  • Cubfan Budman

    I just seen that Pablo Sandoval is gonna be 28 next year it sure seems he has been around forever

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