lukewarm stoveIf there were ever a week where the “lukewarm” stove joke felt completely out of place, this was the week …

  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Tower concedes, per Nick Piecoro, that the D-Backs are more likely to pick up a starting pitcher in trade than in free agency. And, I’d add that, given their desire for a top starting pitcher, as well as their financial constraints (they might have only another $10 million left to add a pitcher and a bat (David Price is going to make $13+ million in arbitration in 2014)), Jeff Samardzija continues to look like a slam dunk fit for them. Of course, if the Diamondbacks continue to refuse to talk about top pitching prospect Archie Bradley, they aren’t a slam dunk fit for the Cubs. Does a Tyler Skaggs, Adam Eaton, Randall Delgado package still intrigue you, though? Sure it does. Gets you listening, at least. Appropriately, Baseball America just today released their top 10 list for the Diamondbacks’ farm system. Start proposing your crazy packages!
  • Speaking of Samardzija, Atlanta beat writer David O’Brien tweeted at length today about the Braves’ interest in picking up a pitcher like Samardzija. It’s hard to tell if O’Brien is reporting that there’s interest, or speculating that the Braves should have interest, but it’s pretty clear he thinks there’s a match there. Not quite as pitching rich as they one were at the prospect level, the Braves still have plenty of intriguing trade chips, starting at the top with 2012 first round pick Lucas Sims. He’s a tall, 19-year-old righty who tore up A-ball last year, who figures to appear at the back end of many top 100 lists this year. You almost certainly wouldn’t get Julio Teheran in a Samardzija deal, but the Braves may have to be willing to dip into their big league pitching pool to make a fit. But, at some point, then you’re just robbing Peter to pay Paul.
  • The Cubs are expected to listen to offers for Samardzija next week at the Winter Meetings, by the way. Expect a rumor or two.
  • And speaking of Samardzija and starting pitcher trades, Jeff Passan reports that Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams with interest in David Price, should the Tampa Bay Rays start to shop him (which they will). There’s a whole lot of chatter that the Mariners are willing to put together an over-the-top package for Price (one including big-time pitching prospect Taijuan Walker, and much more), which would be good news for several reasons: (1) A Price deal leaves Samardzija ostensibly as the best trade target left in the pitching market; (2) the Mariners haven’t been connected to a Samardzija deal, so the market for him wouldn’t decrease (although … why haven’t the Mariners been connected?); and (3) an over-the-top package for Price could counteract any perception issues created by the weak Doug Fister package. Ideally, on that list of teams interested in Price, you’d see the lefty going to the Dodgers, which would take them out on Masahiro Tanaka. With the Yankees potentially out thanks to the posting system changes, maybe that leaves the Cubs the favorite?
  • Speaking of Tanaka, his team’s president is publicly saying he’s not sure if, under the new $20 million max bid posting system, his team is going to post Tanaka at all. We’ll see. Even if he’s not posted, the net impact to the Cubs is neutral. While whatever percentage chance they had of landing Tanaka (20%? 30%?) goes to zero, the market for Jeff Samardzija ticks up just a bit.
  • The Yankees have reportedly agreed to a $3 million, one-year deal with Kelly Johnson, by the way. Their available dollars shrinks just a little bit more. Accept your offer, Hiroki Kuroda …
  • There was so much craziness on Tuesday in terms of trades and major signings that there never was a great opportunity to note that the Marlins signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia for three years and $21 million. The Cubs were tied to some Salty rumors earlier in the offseason, but they faded quickly when they were put under the microscope. Salty gets to go home to Miami (until July at least), and the last significant catcher is off of the market. Color me very happy that the Cubs got George Kottaras when they did. The back-up catcher market is a wasteland at this point.
  • The Mets and Curtis Granderson are getting closer to an agreement, though it’s not a lock at this point, partly because the Mets apparently aren’t sure whether they have to go to four years for the 33-year-old outfielder. The Cubs were at one time lightly connected to Granderson, but, at three or four years and $16 or $17 million per year (plus a second round draft pick), he’s investment the Cubs would probably be better rolling over to next year.
  • The Royals picked up Norichika Aoki from the Brewers for lefty Will Smith. No immediately obvious Cubs impact here, other than to note that the Royals continue to push for the best possible big league roster they can have by next year. They still don’t have the best rotation, and it’s fair to wonder whether they could be involved in a Samardzija deal.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos talks candidly about putting trades together (no specifics), and it’s an interesting peak behind the curtain, particularly in light of a deal like the Doug Fister trade, where no one could seem to understand how the Tigers couldn’t do better. Very interesting background read.
  • You are reminded, as the hot stove continues to roar, you should “like” BN on Facebook, if you’re into the Facebook thing.
  • North Side Irish

    Patrick Mooney ‏@CSNMooney now
    Phillies will get Rule 5 pick from Cubs to resolve dispute over how long Lendy Castillo was stashed on DL.

    Had not heard there was an issue…

    • North Side Irish

      Seemed like the Cubs did what every team does with Rule 5 picks.

      • willis

        Why don’t they just give Lendy Castillo back? He blows. Here Philly, take him back.

  • Satch Dobrey

    Might the Cubs be less likely to trade Samardzija if they get Tanaka?

  • North Side Irish

    Theo says Vizcaino is throwing 98 with “electric stuff”…don’t want to count on him for anything this year, but that is fantastic news long term.

    • willis

      That is great news…I’d be happily surprised if he becomes servicable and can stay healthy. Once he actually starts appearing in game situations, will give us a decent idea.

    • MightyBear

      Where did Theo say that? I’ve been looking for something on Vizcaino for awhile.

      • North Side Irish

        Theo mentioned it during his press conference today. Mark Gonzales Tweeted it out, along with some other writers.

        • MightyBear

          Thanks NSI

    • Funn Dave

      Most excellent.

  • YourResidentJag
  • Kramden

    I’m saying that Skaggs, Delgado and Shipley gets it done.

    • cubfanbob

      I would want Skaggs, Eaton, that Tehaan whatever low a catcher they have, and that closer they have in double AA please

    • Patrick G

      Cant trade shipley because he was drafted this year. Soonest he can be traded is a year from the draft

  • Ballgame

    Good stuff, gotta love all this talk about the 2014 and how it will shape out. Truth is, none of us know but there are definitely some intriguing options. I’ m going to continue to try and convince myself that Kemp would be a great possibility because after the Ellsbury deal, I think at 29yo, Kemp has some serious value to him. Yeah, he’s been injured the past 2 seasons but Ellsbury is no doubt an injury risk as well.

    Ellsbury – 7yrs/153 ($21,857,000 avg/season)
    Kemp – 6yrs/130 ($21,666,667 avg/season)
    **If Dodgers eat $40mil = 6yrs/90 (15mil/season)

    Even looking at that alone, I think I’d rather have Kemp and that deal. The Dodgers have let it be known that they’d be willing to eat some of that deal, so I’m really curious what type of prospect(s) the Dodgers would want in return for Kemp and eating $40mil. I don’t know for certain, but I don’t think it’d take any of the “Big 4”.

    If you add Tanaka and Kemp to the mix, I think that’d really get casual fans engaged again and give us loyal fans some reward for sticking it out through these tough years. We’d begin to see light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t think this scenario is too far fetched…what would it take to get Kemp?

  • Aaron

    It stands to reason that the Cubs will only benefit if Tanaka doesn’t get posted this year because his team would have to post him next offseason or lose him for nothing, so the Cubs could avoid paying him for a year in which they will not contend. Also they will presumably be more financially healthy next offseason if the renovation plans are finalized.

    • Whiteflag

      That’s an interesting point.

  • Jeff

    I’m afraid that Theo has less than 5M to spend at next weeks meetings. The only thing I foresee them doing is making trades and they will probably trade Samardzija because Ricketts is too cheap to allow Theo to sign him to an extension.

    This ownership is really starting to bug me big time!!!!

    Kiss your pipe dreams of them signing Tanaka or Choo, never going to happen, was never really an option in the first place. I bet that the Cubs make the least amount of moves this off season. We shop on the wavier wire boys!!!

    • Patrick G

      where do you get 5mill?

      • Jeff

        Arbitration will bump the payroll to $75M, I don’t see them going a dime over $80M.

        They might make a few trades that will reduce salary, if they sign a free agent or two, I bet it won’t be for more than 2 to 3M a year average annual salary.

        I just get this overwhelming bad feeling about this owner and where this team is headed.

        There are a several here who are optimistic something will happen next week, I just don’t see it.

        All we will do is trade away Jeff Samardzija, a local kid and a good guy for “future long term assets” So tired of that shit.
        This is a bad team with bad ownership and a hamstrung front office….we keep selling ourselves that the future prospects we have is the future, we are so blinded by how bad this organization is being run.

        We don’t even belong in the same conversation of the Yankees, Tiger, Dodgers etc.

        Hell, the Tampa Bay Rays do a better job than we do with far less, we aren’t even half the Rays. At least they have some pitching.

        We have no pitching worth a damn in the minors, pitaful..

        I know, everybody’s going to jump in and talk about our depth of mediocre arms. blahh blahh blahhh

        • bbmoney

          We’re at a different place as an organization than all of those teams you’ve listed. That is true.

          I disagree with your analysis of the situation, it’s outlook, and being blind about how poorly the organization is being run. While it is possible the Cubs have that little money to spend, I don’t think it’s likely (not saying it’s a bottomless pit of money either). It is an ownership that has cut payroll the last few years, but I don’t think that necessarily tells us that it’s a cheap ownership that won’t be willing to spend money moving forward (also…. they have made many signings for more tan $2M or $3M a year for instance).

          I think that’s looking at things from an entirely too narrow a perspective and assumes the status quo for no other reason than it’s how things have gone the past few years, which isn’t a good indicator of how things will go the next few years, in any area of life…not just Cubs fandom.

          • Jeff

            Here’s my predicition, maybe by 2016 we will be a .500 club, maybe…

            (We will spend the next two years losing and collecting draft picks)

            Maybe by 2018, we might be able to compete for a division title…maybe

            (Only if we are able to trade, draft and acquire some pitching prospects)

            I might be dead by then too…there is about the same percentage of chance that happens.

            In the meantime, Ricketts will still rake in profits from his cash cow while putting a shitty product on the field….

            F@ck Theo, F@ck Jed, F@ck Ricketts

            • Carew

              just go away

            • mjhurdle

              the irrational anger is strong with Jeff.

        • Norm

          So you’d rather get a 2016 draft pick and lose Samardzija to free agency than get what you can now?

          • Jeff

            I’d rather pay a guy his market value and consider him a long term asset, not lowball him with a 11M annual salary offer when we gave someone like Edwin Jackson 13M annually a year.

            If we trade him I want a huge return like an Archie Bradley. Simply moving him to “reduce salary” and make your boss Rickett’s happy and spinning the “We got some more long term assets for him” is getting old.

            Either get premium talent if you trade him or sign him long term. Anything else is a mediocre outcome and if that’s all we get from Theo/Jed, then they need to go.

            • Norm

              How do you know they didn’t offer Samardzija his market value and he turned it down?

  • YourResidentJag

    I like one of O’Brien’s other tweets though: Ibanez hit 29 HRs at 41. Hmmm….one yr deal in LF.

    • terencemann

      Ibanez shouldn’t be playing in the field anymore, though. Lawndart.gif

      • YourResidentJag

        People are also saying this about Corey Hart and yet those same ppl want him to sign with the Cubs on a similar type deal. For one yr and to have a legit #4 power hitter on a bad run scoring team, what does it matter? He’s not going to set you back in terms of $$$.

        • aaronb

          I’d be cool with BOTH Cory Hart and Raul Ibanez.

          Schierholtz can get plenty of PT as a defensive shuttle backing up both spots.

    • Big Earl

      I will gouge my eye out with a shrimp fork of the Cubs sign Raul Ibanez. He’s older than Moses and ceased being a tolerable enough defensive outfielder in the 1990’s. A big gigantic NO !

      • Voice of Reason

        But, the suit fits!

        Raul Ibanez is our “Johnny Bravo”, baby!!

        • YourResidentJag

          Actually if the Cubs could turn him into some sort of coach afterward, I be ok with that, too.

  • macpete22

    Obviously they won’t give up Bradley but Skaggs, Eaton and Blair or Trahan should definitely entice the Cubs

    • YourResidentJag

      We need more SP than just Skaggs if we’re just getting Skaggs in that deal.

      • macpete22

        Good point. Skaggs, Eaton and Delgado would be even better IMO

        • YourResidentJag

          That would have to occur to even get the ball rolling. If we’re going to make one SP a centerpiece of any deal, it should follow from Dave ‘O Brien’s suggestion and it should be Lucas Sims of the Braves.

  • terencemann

    It’s not like Rule V picks are that valuable. I guess the Cubs are happy to keep Lendy and the Phillies can pick-up another player who won’t help them this season.

  • Michael

    King Felix and Price on the same team WOW what a staff with Iwakuma!!! hopefully rays get a lot better deal than they got for Sheilds last year so we can command something really close!!

    • Patrick W.

      Dave Cameron did a very nice write up on the Price to the Mariners rumor.

      Essentially it comes down to: Why trade Tiajuan Walker and his 6 years of control at maybe $1MM per year AAV for 2 years of Price at AAV $15MM? For what, 3-5 more wins a year? The Mariners aren’t that close, by a long shot.

  • MightyBear

    Skaggs, Shipley, Blair and Trahan for the Shark.

  • Rob

    Call me crazy… But didn’t the pirates release Michael Mckenry. I’d like to see him over George.

  • Michael

    Skaggs, Eaton, Davidson, Shipely then flip Davidson to yanks for Sanchez

    We would get a Frontline starter in Skaggs (if he can get his velocity back)
    Starting Catcher in two years in Sanchez (Can trade Wellington or Sanchez when time is right)
    Starting pitcher in Shipely
    Good outfielder in Eaton

    • CubFan Paul

      “We would get a Frontline starter in Skaggs (if he can get his velocity back)”

      This should not be the Centerpiece in a Samardzija deal

      • Norm

        I think you’re going to be severely disappointed in the return for Samardzija.

        • CubFan Paul

          My bet is the opposite or no deal will happen.

        • YourResidentJag

          Yes but Skaggs. I’d rather have Stroman.

  • Nick

    I think we should package Vogelbach with Shark in a trade to receive more assets

  • Blackhawks1963

    Robby Cano is going to end up with Seattle. He’s trying to leverage interest by the Mariners into getting the Yankees to pay him. The trouble is for him the Yankees aren’t going to meet his $250 M asking price no matter what. Meaning Cano is going to have to settle for becoming an insanely rich member of the Mariners. I wonder how that will really play out?!? He probably sulks and becomes very unhappy playing for a perennial doormat in Seattle. Be careful about playing with fire Robby, you are on the cusp of getting burned. Of course $200 M plus Seattle dollars can buy a lot of burn ointment.

  • macpete22

    Think the Cubs would have any interest in Santiago or Quintana?

    • YourResidentJag

      I’ve heard bizarrely Sale. Really and do what–purge the farm system?

  • CubFan Paul

    “Does a Tyler Skaggs, Adam Eaton, Randall Delgado package still intrigue you”

    No. A soft tosser, a back of the rotation guy and another left-handed outfielder..

    • Nick

      I agree but I think if the Cubs asked to include a high ceiling type player then it would look enticing. Brandon Shipley?

      • CubFan Paul

        Archie Bradley. Or no deal (from that farm/team).

        • Norm

          No deal.

        • Nick

          No way the Cubs get Bradley for Shark alone. Cubs would need to package prospects to get him

          • CubFan Paul

            “get Bradley for Shark alone”

            Why would you even think that?

            • Funn Dave

              Well the bullet point this conversation references mentions only Shark, and since no one added any Cub names to the list here, I think it’s a reasonable, if slightly underinformed, assumption.

  • Michael

    i know trades in the mob can’t include draft picks but could the cubs essentially trade for aaron sanchez and the bluejays two first round draft picks as PTBNL and then just tell the bluejays who they want them to select??

    • bbmoney

      No. There is s a limit on how long out the PTBNL can go unnamed. I think it’s 6 months and drafted players can’t be traded for 1 year after they sign.

      • Michael

        Dang that would have been a way we could’ve done business with the jays

        • bbmoney

          The MLB should just allow draft picks to get traded. It’s kind of silly that they don’t…they allow the players the draft picks become to be traded….it’s all “prospect currency”.

          They do allow those competitive balance picks to be traded, so maybe they are headed in that direction.

          • Bwa

            I think they should allow draft picks to be traded but keep the 1 year rule for recently drafted players.

          • Michael

            I agree 100% also if we were allowed to trade draft picks would Sanchez and the two picks be enough? or would they need to include Stroman?

    • Michael

      MLB***not mob

  • MichaelD

    But if the Cubs only get Skaggs, Eaton and Delgado the Cubs’ prospect ranking will not improve as those guys are all already major leaguers.

    • CubFan Paul

      “the Cubs’ prospect ranking will not improve as those guys are all already major leaguers”

      Prospect rankings don’t matter.

      • MichaelD

        I meant it as a joke.

  • Frank

    The 20 mil posting fee sounds like the Japanese aren’t going to want to post anyone. How about making the posting fee nonrefundable? That eliminates teams that just want to play like the big boys and narrow it down to teams that are serious about the player.

    In Tanaka’s case, 4 or 5 teams would put up the money and fight it out signing him and the posting team would walk away with 80 to 100 mil. I’m pretty sure this way would open a can of worms.

  • woody

    If a trade does happen with Arizona I think Schierholtz will be part of the deal. I think they mean it when they say no to trading Bradley. I wonder if Tanaka will even be posted now. Once David Price is traded Samardzija will be the only cost controlled option left for trade. And he has the upside to be an ace. I see no way he stays a cub. The team is going to suck this year and you all need to accept it.

  • Jonathan

    The DBacks do have a tradable 1st round pick in this years draft because the competitive balance picks can be traded so that is something to consider as well.

    • rockin’ dawg

      If I’m not mistaken, they have two competitive balance picks back-to-back, but they are #81 & #82 overall. So not really a first-round pick. More like a third-rounder. Is that correct?

  • YourResidentJag

    Marc Carig ‏@MarcCarig 15m
    Heard Granderson’s been seeking a 4 year deal at $16 million per year. So, it appears that Mets may be facing a $64 million question.

    I’ll take back what I’ve said about wanting Granderson.

    • aaronb

      I thought the Mets were talking 3 years? Is 3/45 reasonable for Granderson? I’d be willing to pay it if I were the Cubs.

      • YourResidentJag

        Not no more.

  • YourResidentJag

    Well, due to Florida State’s issues, no Will Farrell on Sportscenter tonight.

    • On The Farm

      He was pretty funny on the DP show today though.

  • YourResidentJag

    Holysh…Matt Clapp ‏@TheBlogfines 21m
    Cano turns 32 in ’14. RT @shannondrayer: Traslated ESPN Deportes article claims Cano is in Seattle & source says the offer is 10yrs 230-240.

  • YourResidentJag

    For anyone who cares like me, Mandela has passed away. RIP.

  • Oswego Chris

    After a quick gloss over of the D-Backs system…really nothing too interesting too me…unless of course Bradley is involved…

  • carmelo

    Visciano has been pitching on a regular basis for the Cubs instructional team down in the D.R.—season has just ended, and as Theo said ” he was lights out.”