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love me tenderAlthough the deadline for tender decisions is tonight at 11pm CT, I imagine that we’ll hear things throughout the day – either official decisions or mere whispers – from all around baseball. The Cubs’ decisions on whether to tender their own 11 arbitration-eligible players is only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve also got the other 29 teams making their decisions, which could implicate minor trades and/or newly-available free agents. You’ve got the pre-arb players on the roster who might be dumped today in favor of roster space. And you’ve got whatever moves might come about because of the aforementioned bits. To be clear, it’s unlikely that we’d see anything major today tied to the arbitration tender deadline, but it’s a fair bet we’ll see some things from around baseball and with the Cubs, specifically.

So, with that in mind, I figured I’d track tender deadline decisions/rumors throughout the day as they’re made available.

  • Jesse Rogers says he heard this weekend that Donnie Murphy was a 50/50 tender decision for the Cubs. Murphy, 30, was something of a revelation in part-time duty for the Cubs this year (.255/.319/.530 and 11 homers over 163 plate appearances), and could play all over the infield off of the bench for the Cubs next year. He’s never established himself as a clear MLB-caliber player, though his minor league numbers have always been fairly good for a guy who can play a little shortstop. In sum, he’s a decent bench piece, and isn’t going to make much in arbitration. He also might be relatively replaceable, and Rogers points out that he’s got a “lucrative offer” in Japan right now. The Cubs control Murphy’s rights, so he’s not able to negotiate with Japanese teams – if they want him, they’d have to wet the Cubs’ beak, like what happened with Bryan LaHair last year. Sometimes teams will let a guy, under control, go to Japan to score big if they feel like his contributions to their own team would be marginal. Maybe the Cubs will let Murphy go and get paid. I tend to think, because the currently-composed roster could still use him, they’ll tender him a contract, though. We’ll see.
  • 2:13pm CT – Multiple reports coming out at the same time (Jesse Rogers, Patrick Mooney, and Rob Bradford (Boston) among them) that the Cubs will non-tender reliever Daniel Bard today. That’s been my expectation for a couple weeks now, and, as I’ve said, I think we’ll see the Cubs try to keep him around on a minor league deal. If Bard is non-tendered, the 40-man will drop to 39.
  • 6:30pm CT – He wasn’t a non-tender candidate, but, in case you were worried, the Cubs have agreed to a 2014 deal with George Kottaras.
  • 7:30pm CT – Man of the hour Chris Cotillo reports that the Cubs will non-tender Mat Gamel. That’s not a huge surprise, given the low dollars involved either way. The Cubs picked up Gamel on a flyer earlier this year, and will open up a 40-man spot by non-tendering him. From there, they could try to work out a minor league deal, but Gamel will probably have better options in the AL.
  • 7:55pm CT – A lot of folks are asking me about Tommy Hanson, whom the Angels non-tendered today. Although he’s just 27, and you probably remember him from when he was a hotshot up-and-comer with the Braves, there are physical concerns. His velocity has evaporated, and reports have his stuff disappearing, too (K rate dropped to a career-low 17.1% last year). I don’t think he’s a guy you’d give a guaranteed contract. But, a minor league deal flyer? My general rule on anyone with upside or the legitimate chance to contribute off the bench or in the bullpen is “sure, why not?”
  • 8:39pm CT – The Red Sox have non-tendered reliever Andrew Bailey, 29, who had labrum/capsule surgery mid-year in 2013. He was pitching mighty well before the injury happened, and he’d be an interesting target on the right kind of deal for the Cubs (assuming his recovery is going well). The Red Sox also let Ryan Kalish, 25, go. A lefty-hitting outfielder who never put it together at the big league level, Kalish will probably try to latch onto an organization where he can fight for a bench outfield job (while serving as AAA depth, probably). I don’t think it’ll be the Cubs.
  • 10:32pm CT – Still waiting on the full, final slate, but Jesse Rogers just tweeted that the Cubs have agreed to a deal with Donnie Murphy, so he won’t be non-tendered.
  • DarthHater

    Tenderthon!!!

    • CGruegs45

      #Tenderthon #RatherHaveSomeTenderloin #BoutIt

      • DarthHater

        #brettpleasebanhammerthisguybeforeiviolatethetermsofuseandcommentingpolicy

        • MichiganGoat

          It is one of the more tiresome acts around here.

        • hansman

          Based on TWC’s comment beloe, I think you are already in violation.

        • N.J. Riv

          I think this guy is hilarious.

      • TWC

        BN Terms of Use:

        “11. to engage in behavior that is not in the interest of facilitating enjoyable, productive discussion (i.e., disruptive comments … and/or text-speak;”

        Please stop, hashtag guy. It’s obnoxious.

  • Brian Peters

    Cubs re-signed McDonald!!!!!!! World Series, here we come!!!!!

    • OlderStyle

      Old McDonald played on the farm… e-i…

      Well, it’s a minor league filler signing, not the second coming of Brian Roberts. Not a reason to snark, really.

      • ssckelley

        If I could be assured he is nothing more than an organization filler then fine, but if I see this guy being called up to play next September he will drive me nuts. I would have rather seen the Cubs resign Sappelt or Borbon to a minor league deal than this old timer. How about Thomas Neal, even he could potentially have upside.

        • noisesquared

          Unfortunately, too much organizational filler ends up starting on the MLB team late in the year, in the name of insuring a top 10 pick. I look forward to the year where September lineups aren’t filled with the McDonald’s, Bogusevic’s, Gillespie’s, Boscan’s, and Murphy’s of the world.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      The Cubs value McDonald as a true professional. He is a great role model for young players, wanted to keep him around for the likes of Baez, Villlanueva, Bryant, etc. in AAA next season. Very good move by the team.

      • jt

        +1

        • TheRiot2

          = ‘s ?

      • brickhouse

        get a role model that is a good player that will actually be a starter – McDonald is not even a 4A player

        • D-Rock

          Good point, brick.

        • dAn

          McDonald hits LHP. That’s his skill. That’s why they added him as depth. He’s part of the backup plan for guys like Josh Vitters or whoever else ends up as Schierholtz’s platoon partner.

          I don’t care much for McDonald, but I’d rather have him playing against LHP than someone like Schierholtz, who really can’t hit LHP.

        • jt

          McDonald could play a li’l when he was younger. He is now not, in any way shape or form, good.
          But he does provide knowledge of the game and he does communicate well with young players.

    • Frank

      Ronald McDonald?

      • Stinky Pete

        The rhymes are Darnell’s but the burgers are RONALD’S!!

        • hansman

          burgers?

  • preacherman86

    Could we post him to npb? Say as a way of compensation for a future posting fee to a team who might possibly post a pitcher soon? Somewhat like reading rights as a cash commodity?

  • ssckelley

    Trade Murphy to the Japanese team that holds the rights to Tanaka.

    • toby

      I wonder if there would actually be a day where MLB and NJB comes to an agreement which players could be traded to reduce the posting fee?

  • http://BN Sacko

    Wet the Cub’s beak…like LaHair. What does that mean exactly? Honest question.

    • bbmoney

      Pay the Cubs some cash.

    • North Side Irish

      Cubs sold his rights to a Japanese team for $950K…allowed him to sign a $4.5M deal.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        New market inefficiency: sign all the AAAA guys who are rights-controlled, given them exposure in a down year, sell to Japan … PROFIT!

        • hansman

          Who needs WS rings when you can lead the league in NPB bidding wars!

        • North Side Irish

          You may be on to something here…I believe McDonald has an out clause in his deal if he gets opportunities in Asia.

    • Can’t think of a cool name

      Sacko, you need to watch the Godfather.

  • Cubman

    I would let Murphy go. Last season will not be repeated by him. I’d like to think that we can use the roster spot for a couple lower tier free agents. Why tender someone today only to cut them later. I’d rather have Watkins and valbuena as my utility guys, assuming barney at 2B and Olt at 3B. If Barney is gone (which I hope happens, but don’t think it will), then you need someone as a back-up SS.

    • http://BN Sacko

      Murphy could be given an opportunity to start at 2nd. Theo seems to like and stick to these intriguing finds. like Schierholtz which was a good one and Bard which is stated we’re in for the long haul on him. Murphy I think is one of those finds also.

      • ssckelley

        I like this idea, you would think Murphy could hold his own defensively at 2nd and give the Cubs a chance at a productive hitter in the lineup. At least bring him in to compete with Barney for the job and worst case scenario you have a decent hitter on the bench who can play all the infield positions.

      • dAn

        Murphy is like Jeff Baker–he can’t hit RHP. He would be exposed as a full-time player (as he has been in the past when he wasn’t used in a strict platoon role). There’s a reason he “surprised” last year–it’s because he was only asked to do things he can do well (i.e. hit LHP and play 3B).

        • ssckelley

          Murphy had a .818 OPS against right handed pitching this past season with a .677 career OPS (.701 against lefties), so I am not seeing the comparisons to Jeff Baker (.647 versus .875).

        • Blackhawks1963

          Glad to have you join this site. You are a hi quality poster who certainly doesn’t need to waste time with that other three-ring circus.

  • Gabe Athouse

    Anyone know/care how LaHair has done in Japan?

    • Blake

      .230/.306/.428 with 16hr and 57 RBI in 389 AB. 121 SO to 39 BB.

      per Baseball Reference.

      • Noah_I

        So not very good. Striking out in well over 25% of your PAs in Japan is not a good thing.

        • Cheryl

          He may not even get another year to come back from that. Or, is there an adjustment period over there?

          • Drew7

            They must have given him a chance to hit against LHP, Cheryl :)

  • Cubman

    I was in favor of releasing Murphy, but I have to admit I like the idea of starting him at 2B. Anyone over Barney. I wish Sveum would have given Watkins more starts so we could see him a bit. Sadly, didn’t happen.

  • Randy

    I keep reading that Tommy Hanson is going to be non-tendered by the Angels. Cubs should pick him up, on a reasonable deal, and take some of that AL pressure off of him. Maybe he can go back to his young, studly Braves form.

    • Noah_I

      Doesn’t Hanson just have a myriad of shoulder issues? I’d be fine with taking a flier on him, but I’d never expect him to his 2009-2011 form.

  • The Cleanup Poster

    Speaking of lahair, anyone know how he did in Japan this year?

    • The Cleanup Poster

      Never mind , I didn’t see that the question had already been asked and answered.

  • North Side Irish

    Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs 3m
    Hearing pitcher Daniel Bard will be non- tendered by Cubs. Not sure on others yet

    • Voice of Reason

      If Jesse Rogers is reporting that Bard will be non tendered, then look for the Cubs to lock up Bard on another contract.

  • Drew

    Bard has been a clear choice for weeks now…. His numbers in the winter league suggest he no longer can pitch. a 189.00 ERA over three appearances and his walk rate what seems as high as the stock market just spells the end. It’s a shame, 3 years ago I never would have though this would happen to him. Best of luck…

    • Scotti

      Bard and Rich Hill are the only two guys I can think of, off the top of my head, who overcame Steve Blass disease (Rich Hill twice!). I’m sure that was the thinking behind signing Bard–especially since Theo had Hill for the second overcoming in Boston. “Bard overcame it once so roll the dice on him.” Bard had it just about as bad as you possibly could his rookie season in the minors:

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=bard–001dan

      27 wild pitches in 75 IP. A 9.4 BB/9 IP ratio (only 5.6 K’s). Just awful.

  • North Side Irish

    Jerry Crasnick ‏@jcrasnick 1m
    The #rays are non-tendering outfielder Sam Fuld, according to a source.

    • TWC

      FINALLY we come out ahead on the Garza deal.

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        Sweet home Chicago! ;)

      • MichiganGoat

        Oh Sam for a few weeks you were the greatest player EVER, can you imagine what would happen here if a 5th outfielder we traded away had a few weeks like Sam once did. The HORROR!

        • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

          Scouted Scrapiness is off the charts: he’s an 80!

        • Can’t think of a cool name

          Sam Fuld was Tony Campana before Tony Campana.

        • hansman

          Ummmm…Super Joe?

    • Greg

      I think we found out why the Cubs opened up a spot on the 40 man today

  • North Side Irish

    Fister to the Nationals is a big move…

    • Blackhawks1963

      So Detroit finds a way to get Smyly into the rotation to go with Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez and Porcello. And now they probably go sign a closer.

      Meanwhile the Nats pick up a good number 4 starter and are probably done having any interest in Samardzija.

      • Kyle

        Fister is much, much, much better than a No. 4 starter.

  • Melrosepad

    Any chance we try and bring in David Adams that the Yankees just non-tendered? This year was his first in the show, and has had good minor league numbers.

  • Tim

    I hope we bring Gamel back on a minor league deal. Knee injuries aren’t a killer in baseball like basketball. I think he could be a nice player for us , he was very highly thought of at one point , and the Brewers have had success developing hitters

    • Blackhawks1963

      Gamel is a poor man’s Bryan LaHair or Micah Hoffpauir. Unless Triple A sluggers bring you great joy then I’m not sure the fascination with Gamel.

  • Die hard

    Valbuena switched to 2B for winter ball — hmmmm

    • Big Earl

      Translation? Mike Olt is being handed the 3rd base job and Theo is praying like hell Baez or Bryant can arrive by June if he sucks. Valbuena has always played some 2nd in his career. So a Valbuena / Barney platoon at 2nd is possible maybe.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Vitters still lurking as an option as well.

      • Kyle

        What little reports we have had this offseason seem to be that people inside baseball and the Cubs are very down on Olt. Any talk of him having an MLB job to open 2014 seems to be coming from fans.

        I assume we’d get some random cheap veteran if we didn’t want to split up the Valbuena/Barney platoon.

        • Rebuilding

          Is he playing anywhere this winter? I’ve been looking but can’t find him

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Not to my knowledge.

            Last report I saw said the eye issues have been resolved (for real this time), so we might finally see how often a completely healthy Olt strikes out in AAA next season. Hopefully the answer isn’t “more than 30% of the time” again.

            • McDaddy

              What I thought I actually read on here or somewhere else was that Valbuena is only playing 2nd because that’s the spot that was needed to be filled in, not because the Cubs want him there.

  • Rebuilding

    I see the White Sox didnt tender Dylan Axelrod. Not sure there is much there but he might be worth a flier

  • McDaddy

    No mention of Sam Fuld being non-tendered??? Haha not saying we should get him but would be cool

  • Automator

    Daniel Hudson was non-tendered. He would fit our MO.

    • Bret Epic

      I think so too. Since he’s had Tommy John surgery twice, he has to be on Theo’s radar.

      • Automator

        I wasn’t trying to be snarky, I meant reclamation project with upside.

    • macpete22

      And he’s only 26. I thought he was older for some reason

  • B_Scwared

    Is it normal to not hear until the last minute?

  • macpete22

    Lim non-tendered. 40 man down to 37?

    • Kyle

      Huh, that one catches me off-guard a bit.

      • hansman

        Must be hoping to get him back on a minor league deal…

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Same here.

    • willis

      Yep, 37.

  • willis

    Bard, Lim and Gamel being non tendered, I’m good with that. None of them would contribute more than crap to this team. Murphy being tendered I think means that he and Valbuena will be at 3rd with Barney at 2nd, essentially the same infield as last year (a terrible one) and Olt will start in AAA to see if his issues have indeed been solved.

    As I predicted weeks ago, there will be no additions to upgrade the offense, it seems there is nothing going on other than tipping the toe in the Tanaka water for the pitching staff. The only big deal will be when Shark is dealt. 55-107 is my prediction.

    • hansman

      If you are right, they are certainly doubling-down.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Triple A is going to be crowded then, with Olt, Villanueva, Andreoli, Baez, and Watkins all potentially looking for playing time on the infield. I’d not be surprised to see some infield movement, certainly no later than mid season and quite possibly before we hit spring training.

      • willis

        It will be, but I have no issue with giving Olt some more AAA time to see if he can come close to rebounding. I don’t think I like the idea of just letting him play 3B off the jump in the majors after how much he struggled last year. It definitely crowds things a bit, and maybe a couple guys start at AA, but it’s probably what is best for Olt. If that is important to the FO.

      • hansman

        Assuming the Cubs make 0 moves this offseason (which would be incredibly surprising), I think you would see Baez at SS, Watkins at 1B (or MLB), Villanueva at 2B and Olt at 3rd.

        If I had to randomly guess.

        • Kyle

          Don’t forget about Alcantara, right?

          Olt’s defense isn’t in doubt. I’m sure he could get shuffled off to the outfield or DH or AA without any problems.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          And Alcantara still in Tennessee?

          The biggest question on Olt is his bat, not his glove, so I could see him DHing or playing first to get him in the lineup (and then where does Bour play?). Watkins can handle center… and how defensively awesome would an outfield of Ha, Watkins, and Szczur be?… which would open up space for Villanueva, Baez, and Alcantara.

          • willis

            I think there has to be some more moves coming, because what of Vitters then, if they do move Olt over to 1B? And the others to the outfield. Olt, as y’all have said is a damn good glove at 3B, it’s all about his bat rebounding at this point. Lots of interesting decisions coming I suppose.

            Now if Olt just kills it in Spring, that changes things some, but I do think he starts at AAA. I only think the one position locked in for Iowa is Baez at SS. If Watkins and Vitters show well in spring, maybe they get two of the bench spots with Murphy, Kottaras and an OF?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              Vitters will be in the outfield somewhere. Likely left, but I’d not be shocked to see him on the major league roster (if he’s healthy) as a platoon left fielder.

              • willis

                I agree, can spell Rizzo at 1B too.

          • willis

            I think one of Villanueva or Alcantara start at AA, which is ok with me. The other starts at 2B for Iowa. I don’t believe this Olt experiment lasts real long. He either shows he can swing it again, or shows he is still terrible and is let go. Once that happens, they’ll move whoever gets the AA assignment up to AAA. JMO.

      • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com cms0101

        Isn’t Andreoli an OF? Maybe you were thinking of Alcantara. I would expect Alcantara, Baez, Villanueva on the infield with Watkins as a super sub of sorts. At this point I think Olt is either the right handed platoon at 3rd with Valbuena to start or he’s playing 1st in Iowa. Ha, Szczur, Silva, Andreoli, and McDonald will also be vying for playing time. I think that also means Vitters will be in the majors as the right handed platoon in the OF and maybe give Rizzo a rest against tough lefties. At this point, I’m not sure what they’re going to do with Jackson. He might have to head back to AA to work his way up again. As the depth starts to move up, it will be fun to watch some of these guys start to make appearances at Wrigley.

  • Aaron

    We’ve come a long ways to greatly improve the quality of prospects in the minors. Just a few years ago, here was a list of our best future major leaguers. I guess this shows why Theo and friends had to blow the whole thing up, including the major league team over the past couple of years to get this big ship pointed in the right direction.

    TOP TEN PROSPECTS – 2011 Baseball America
    1. Chris Archer, rhp
    2. Brett Jackson, of
    3. Trey McNutt, rhp
    4. Hak-Ju Lee, ss
    5. Josh Vitters, 3b
    6. Chris Carpenter, rhp
    7. Matt Szczur, of
    8. Hayden Simpson, rhp
    9. Rafael Dolis, rhp
    10. Brandon Guyer, of

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2011/2611106.html

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