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jose valverde crazy photoshopOh, you didn’t know that the Winter Meetings, scheduled for next week, actually started today? I kid, but today has been crazy (thus the random, crazy photoshop of Jose Valverde – just because).

For those who want a quick look at the trades made around baseball today …

  • The Astros acquired center fielder Dexter Fowler from the Rockies for pitcher Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes. It’s a thoroughly meh return for Fowler, but he’s had some serious home splits and BABIP-driven success. That’s not to say Fowler isn’t good; it’s just that there have always been red flags. Interesting that the Astros are grabbing a guy who is under control for only two more years. If you really stretch for Cubs implications, I suppose you could say that Fowler goes off the market to a team that probably wasn’t going to be in on Jacoby Ellsbury. So, Ellsbury’s market was not reduced by this trade. Like I said – if you stretch.
  • The Padres and A’s got together on a Luke Gregerson/Seth Smith swap. The latter was nearly a non-tender candidate, so it’s a bit of a surprise that the A’s were able to net one of the better setup men in the game for him. The Padres had been looking for a lefty bat with pop in their outfield, though, so this satisfies that need for them. Each player is a free agent after the season, and each will probably make a shade under $5 million this year.
  • The A’s also traded prospects Michael Choice and Chris Bostick to the Rangers for outfielder Craig Gentry (a really nice A’s type player) and pitcher Josh Lindblom. The Rangers are now even more likely than they already were to pick up a bat in the outfield. Shin-Soo Choo, perhaps?
  • The Reds, Rays, and Diamondbacks got together on a three-team trade that sent catcher Ryan Hanigan to the Rays (who promptly signed him to a three-year deal), Heath Bell (and $500K in salary relief) to the Rays, the Diamondbacks got minor league pitcher (maybe prospect) Justin Choate and a PTBNL from the Rays (and the joy of unloading Bell’s contract), and the Reds got lefty pitching prospect David Holmberg from the Diamondbacks (a very nice return for Hanigan). The Diamondbacks now have more financial flexibility, which could allow them to dip into free agency for the pitcher and/or outfield power they’re seeking. Previously, they’d been connected to both Jeff Samardzija and Nate Schierholtz. Holmberg’s was a name that came up connected to the Cubs, too.
  • The interesting upshot of all this trade activity is that, as more teams satisfy their needs via trade, free agent prices could, necessarily, start to fall. That would be an intriguing turnabout for a team like the Cubs, who are presumed to be sitting out the market unless “value” falls in their lap. That’s starting to feel like more of a possibility. Keep with the patience, Cubs.
  • macpete22

    Cano gone now that the Yankees signed Ellsbury?

  • Hutch

    That’s gonna turn out to be a horrible contract

    • Frank

      Your being kind calling it horrible. I’m waiting for him to sneeze and go on the disabled list.

  • Steele

    I’ve never seen this many moves on one day, especially before the winter meetings. It sucks watching these other teams cashing in and making moves…just hope it will all be worth it. In Theo and Co. We Trust

  • MightyBear

    Fricking Yankees. Oh well. 7/142 is too much for Ellsbury. If the evil empire gets Tanaka too, I’m giving up on baseball. Who wants to see the Dodgers play the Yankees in the WS every year? This isn’t the 50’s. Then Bud the dumbass wonders why baseball is passed by football and basketball.

    • Hutch

      Probably be the a s and braves

  • Hutch

    Cashing in on horrible contracts and questionable moves. Glad we aren’t doing anything. Let all this crazyness settle then pounce

    • Tony_S

      Not sure it’ll be that pretty or easy (the “pounce” later), but for now, I’m with you

  • Rich

    At the rate these stinkin contracts are headed, the Cubs may need 2 jumbotrons..

  • North Side Irish

    7 years and $153M with an 8th year option that can take it to $169. Plus a No Trade Clause.

    Wow…

    • YourResidentJag

      This was a stick to the Red Sox move that may not work out that well.

  • cubsfan22

    The night isn’t over yet

  • Hollywood

    And in addition to all these trades, the Marlins signed Jarrod Salty and the Yanks signed Ellsbury today.

    [Ed. - That's way inappropriate. See the Terms of Service.]

    • YourResidentJag

      Really?

  • Die hard

    Memo to Theo: stay out of the pool with all this trade splashing going on… Unless you want to unload Jackson

  • macpete22

    When they said it was going to be a trade heavy off season, I wasn’t expecting it to be this crazy

  • Cheryl

    Isn’t the free agent market and trade possibilities supposed to be worse next year? It looks like we have two years more of mediocrity ahead of us. With the non-moves made it makes you wonder if there is any interest by the FO in being competitive in 2015 let alone 2016.

    • YourResidentJag

      I personally don’t think they intend to….so yes.

  • Kevin B

    Oh please … you dont think the FO wants to contend in 2015 and 2016? So they should do what …. sign Elllsbury for 7 years and 160 million and out bid the Yankees for the right to own a shitty contract?

    You think Jed and Theo dont care huh, they just want to get fired in 2015 or 2016? Well signing Ellsbury to that deal would get them fired for sure!

  • cubsin

    So far, the only semi-major free agent signing I thought was borderline sane was Ricky Nolasco’s. But several interesting players have been traded for not very much, and the Cubs weren’t involved in any of them. The Cubs’ big investments so far we buying George Kottaras from the Royals and re-signing Ryan Sweeney. The boys are following the old Chicago tradition started by George Halas of throwing nickels around like they were manhole covers.

    It looks to me as if they’re hoarding all their chips for what I expect will be a futile effort to sign Tanaka.

    • Chad

      You have no idea to what extent the cubs were or were not involved. Could it be that Fister has 2 years left on his deal and is going to be in need of a pay day soon? The cubs are looking for young cost controlled players, not older ones near FA. Also who’s to say the Tigers didn’t like what the cubs had and preferred the Nats offer. Fowler is a bit overrated due to BABIP and playing in Coors field. I wouldn’t have hated the trade if the cubs did it, but was it really that big of a miss? I am much more intrigued by the Brett Anderson potential trade that is likely coming this week.

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  • Voice of Reason

    I wish our cubbies would have gobbled up fister and fowler.

    Both didn’t exactly bring overwhelming returns in their respective trades.

  • Mike S

    Random Question: When do the new rankings come out for Top 100 prospects and Cubs Top 20??

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      You’ll see those lists be updated throughout the winter, depending on the publication.

      BA has published the Cubs Top 10, and when their next Prospect Handbook ships we’ll have their Top 31 as well as a variety of Top 50 and Top 100 lists.

      MLB used to publish theirs around late January / early February, but that may change now that Jim Callis is on board.

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