winter meetings 2013The day is far from a close in Orlando, but here’s an early evening update …

  • Ken Rosenthal says that Shin-Soo Choo talks are reaching a “critical stage,” which implies that he could be signing this week. Rosenthal indicates that the Rangers (known) and at least one other team are in right now. Although we just heard that the Cubs have spoken with Choo, don’t go jumping to any conclusions just yet – the Tigers have long made a ton of sense for Choo, especially given the bizarre Doug Fister dump, and the Mariners, more recently, have made sense for him, too. The Rangers are believed to still be talking to Nelson Cruz, though, and the Mariners have been connected to him, too. A surprising, quick deal involving Cruz returning the Rangers sure would spice things up. Short of something like that, if there are only two teams still seriously involved on Choo, it’s fair to assume it’s probably the Rangers and Tigers.
  • Jayson Stark has heard “buzz” about the Cubs swooping in on David Price! … but I would take that with a mountain of salt, because it appears to be a throwaway line, inserted for color in a piece about Price, generally. Without a Shin-Soon Choo signing to go with it (at a bare minimum), acquiring Price right now does not make sense for the Cubs, and would probably be inadvisable. Stark’s piece is a good read on the Price market, and Tampa Bay’s ongoing efforts to convince everyone else that they don’t have to trade Price right now. Sure. But they’re not going to trade him in the middle of a playoff run in 2014, so it’s now or next offseason. And a lot of bad stuff can happen in between.
  • David O’Brien (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) says there still isn’t a great feel for what it would take to land Jeff Samardzija. That could be because the Cubs have gone into sell mode on him just yet, or it could be a Braves-specific thing, given that they seem to be new-ish entrants into the Samardzija market (O’Brien says the Braves “like him a lot”). Let me short-hand the price for you, David: a lot.
  • More from Rosenthal: he’s got the Twins as hot on the trail of Bronson Arroyo, which would give them three free agent starting pitchers in one offseason. It’s conceivable that grabbing Arroyo could make the rest of the market incrementally more interested in a Jeff Samardzija deal (or Edwin Jackson?), but the more immediate impact here is the Cubs’ theoretical pursuit of Korean righty Suk-Min Yoon, who remains an interesting back-end-swing-guy-depth-stash-bullpen-I-don’t-know type.
  • One more from Rosenthal – dude works – on Mark Trumbo, whom he says the Angels are more and more likely to trade. They seem to want young, controllable pitching for him. I don’t think the Cubs will be in on the low-OBP, high-power Trumbo, but a trade involving him could shake up the market a bit.
  • Jerry Crasnick hears that, despite earlier chatter, White Sox ace Chris Sale is not actually on the market. That’s obviously a good things from the Cubs’ perspective.
  • Also, bits on Masahiro Tanaka and the Cubs’ bullpen efforts (rumored discussions with Nationals), in case you’re just now tuning in and missed them earlier this afternoon.
  • CGruegs45

    Choo kidding me, Brett? Above average player that simply doesn’t fit the timeline- no thanks.

    • dAn

      An “average” player who was second in the NL in OBP and runs scored last year.

  • North Side Irish

    Now Rosenthal is reporting that Arizona is on Choo…

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 4m
    Source: #Dbacks on Choo. Active on multiple fronts. Could sign Choo and trade for pitcher, or trade for Trumbo and sign FA pitcher.

    • Cub Lifer

      Verducci is reporting Arizona, Detroit and Texas are Choo finalists. If Arizona loses out then they will be very aggressive on Mike Trumbo, dangling Tyler Skaggs as part of a multi player package.

      • commander bob

        We didn’t want Choo anyway.

        • cubmig

          You mean “You”..

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I’m relieved that we are not in on Choo. I love the guy as a player, but it never made sense to me. I thought it was pretty clear they weren’t into giving long term contracts to guys over 30. I was thinking about reports that still linger about a Castro trade. I was wondering if that happened (I doubt it), then would Barney possibly be moved to short until Baez was ready? I have to think that Theo is going to swing at least one deal this week. But there is always the possibility of the one that nobody saw coming.

  • shane

    Don’t sign Choo, he is 31. Lets just continue our path.

  • Die hard

    Breaking news? Shark for Kemp as centerpiece of 10 player deal mostly minor leaguers?

    • http://bleachernation.com woody


      • Good Captain

        I think you just replied to the source.

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          Didn’t think his name was Rosenthal LOL

    • praying the cubs get ready to win

      Return for Kemp would be determined by how much salary is paid by who for Kemp.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    I really like Rosenthal, he doesn’t BS. Just the facts sirs. I bet that is why he has so many sources.

  • Greg

    The most delicious ending to the Doug Fister trade saga would be the Tigers signing Nelson Cruz to a ridiculous deal

    • commander bob

      Why would that be delicious?

      • Spriggs

        I don’t know why but I’m hungry again

      • hansman

        He ate Fister with some fava beans

  • Durbin

    Yankees rumored to be looking for a number 3 or maybe number 4 starter for Gardner. If that is true trade them Jackson.

    • commander bob

      They are just going to sign Tanaka

    • TK

      Although it wouldn’t have much significant impact moving forward, that would be a great trade . . . Erase an obvious blunder of a deal, and be able to also be free of Gardner after just 1 yr.

  • BobbyK

    Trumbo would rake at Wrigley. Get that OBP up and he would be a flat out stud. Maybe having a secure position on the field and a change of scenery would help. He is consistently over looked and moved around in his current situation. I could see 40+ HR from him at Wrigley. If a trade for Trumbo happens combined with Choo signing the outfield suddenly looks legit.

    • TK

      I usually hate low OBP guys, but Rizzo seriously needs some help in the middle of the order, even more so now that Alf is gone. If they don’t find another bat, his numbers could approach Castroesque status in 2015. pitchers will have absolutely no reason to throw him anything even remotely close to hittable. And Trumbo is a guy who could be flipped whenever we saw fit. My issue is what would we have to give up to get him? Scary.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I think Rizzo would be helped more by getting some OBP guys to put in the lineup ahead of him rather than another high SLG bat to slot behind him.

        With runners on first the first baseman may have to stay closer to the bag opening some holes on the right side.

        • TK

          Agreed that that would help to a degree, but lets say the first 2guys have OBP between .360 and .370 (1 heck of a 1-2) . . . That still means a runner on base for Rizzo only 36% – 37% of his AB. Who’s cleanup? Nate??? Then who?

          If I’m the opponent, in the above scenario, I still NEVER give Rizzo anything to hit. Either he’s gonna swing at bad pitches, or I take my chances looking for a double play, even it means walking him with a guy already on base. I dont care, bc I know that if I don’t get the GDP, there’s still NOBODY on this team that reasonably carries the potential to hurt me after the top 3. If the Cubs dont get a R from the top 3, the odds are, they aint gonna.

          To make it worse, we all know Castro cant hit 4th or lower . . . and thats by his own admission. (I know it shouldnt matter so much, but it does to CASTRO). So Castro pretty much needs to leadoff (or be traded). That means our #2 better have a .400+ OBP. Yeah, Choo is good in that dept., but do we really believe he’ll be able to duplicate that on THIS team, in THIS ballpark? I don’t.

          We do need MUCH more OBP. But we already needed another bat in the middle before we traded Alf. Now, we really need 2. OBP alone will not do the trick, unless you have it throughout the entire lineup.

          • mjhurdle

            So if we have a better hitter behind Rizzo, then pitchers are going to start grooving 90 mph fastball in the center of the plate?

            I think it is probably more likely that the pitcher will attempt to get Rizzo out where the scouting report says he is weak, regardless of who is hitting behind him.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              And the numbers throughout baseball history back this up. There isn’t a lot of evidence for the protection theory.

              Also, if my quick calculations are right, a .370 and .360 in the first two slots should result in at least one runner on base about 59% of the time assuming an even distribution of success across all at bats.

              • TK

                Yeah, youre right . . . I blew that math. And Im in Calc II. Oops!

              • Jason P

                Except then you have to account for when Rizzo leads off or bats second in an inning, which is a significant portion of the time.

                • hansman

                  No, it was maybe 15 games last year, which would have been counteracted by those 5-ish games where the 1, 2 or 3 hitters reached base in the first inning and did not GIDP

                  Now, you have to account for the number of non-first inning PA

            • TK

              Yeah, because as you imply, pitchrs always hit the spot, exactly. Every pitch goes exactly where the scouting report tells them to throw it. and no in-game scenarios ever affect any pitch or AB. The ideal pitcher to get Rizzo out will always pitch every Rizzo AB. That pitcher will never miss. The up-n-in to a lefty never misses and ends up at uppr knee level, middle of the plate. Ever. Because of the scouting report. And Rizzo will never ever adjust to what pitchers try to do against him.

              Now if we can actually talk realistically, pitchers do miss when trying to throw strikes, or near strikes. The difference, since you seem to not grasp the concept, is when the batter on deck is an automatic out, the pitcher has no reason at all to throw anywhere near the strike zone. The guy AB can hit the ball out over the rooftops and the next batter cant hit it out of the IF. The current batter gets pitches no closer than 6 ” off the plate, regardless of is scouting report. I’m pretty sure you know this, are aware that it really does happen, and have seen it at least a few times. So why TROLL????

              • Pat

                Sure, a pitcher might miss his spot. But he is no more likely to miss or not based on the slugging percentage of the guy on deck. And if your concern is that Rizzo gets walked every time he comes up with men on base, well that’s about the best possible outcome you could hope for.

                • hansman

                  Unless you take it to the extreme and swap out 2003 Barry Bonds for any year Tony Campana (well, almost any year, he did hit a HR in 2011 (interesting factoid, Campana was, possibly, a full-time starting gig away from being our highest WAR player that year (in 155 PA he put up 1 WAR, which, over 650 PA, would have given him 4.2 WAR)))

                  • FarmerTanColin

                    That’s an interesting extrapulation. I’ve wondered what his value would be as a pinch runner/ defensive replacement for a full season. May get to see that with BHam next year. If you can pull 2+ War out of a 5th starter that would be great.

                    I guess Craig Gentry put up a 4 war season as a speedy defensive backup. Makes ya wonder about Szcur a little.

                    • hansman

                      It certainly would never be 4.2 WAR. His main value came in situations where he was on base, which he wouldn’t be on nearly as much as he was as a pinch runner.

                      My extrapolation is highly flawed just based on that.

                    • FarmerTanColin

                      Yeah I agree that it would def not hit 4.2 but best guess on where it would be? I mean say he gets to pinch run once a game..steals at least one base per game and plays plus defense for at least 3 innings a game.

                      Have him only in play to where he plays to his strengths…so no at bats(1 per game to be borderline realistic). Obviously impossible situation but it’s interesting. I’m also not a Campana fan but I think 2 war is a definite possibilty with this.

              • mjhurdle

                “I’m pretty sure you know this, are aware that it really does happen, and have seen it at least a few times. So why TROLL????”

                1) I wasn’t trolling, merely disagreeing with the mythical “lineup protection”.

                2) Lets operate under the crazy idea that i dont KNOW that somehow the slash line of the guy in the On-Deck circle causes the pitcher to throw everything 6 inches off the plate. Im not saying you are wrong, but could you please offer me some proof of this concept?

      • Rebuilding

        We are going to have a lot of power when Baez and Bryant arrive. But unless we get some guys who can get on base it’s going to be a lot of solo HRs

        • TK

          I agree with that but, my concern is more immediate. 2014. When Rizzo gets nothing to hit, what happens? Does he force it? Does he expand his zone and swing at bad pitches? Does he get lazy at the plate and develop problems with his form/swing? His swing, and ability to hit LHP, already took a step backwards in 2013. How is he gonna improve on that, and grow as a MLB hitter on THIS team. When he’s likely to see CHIT every AB? Its actually easier to hit when pitchers are actually trying to get you out, instead of just pitching around you, just trying to not let you hit.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            It’d be interesting to see just how many strikes Rizzo was thrown in 2013 after Soriano left. Texas Leaguers should have that data in their Pitch FX database.

            • hansman

              It’d be awesome if there was a place where you could go that had information like what pitches rizzo saw each game and if they were in the zone in one place that could be exported to excel for easy analysis in maybe 5 minutes.

            • TK

              That would be interesting. I’ve wondered how much his regression last year may have been due to pressing, possibly partially caused by the pitches he received. And its not necessarilly just strikes, but “hittable” strikes. Sounds like a project, though. NOT IT!!!

              • hansman

                So would these “hittable” strikes be pitches inside Rizzo’s red-zone? Non-hittable strikes being in his blue zones?

                He saw the same types of pitches as last year and the same number of pitches in the zone. Anthony Rizzo “struggled” last year because his power didn’t take the stride forward we expected AND he caused fewer batted balls to go for singles.

                Not because, for half the season he didn’t have Soriano behind him.

                • hansman

                  And, btw, it took me longer to type that up than it took me to look that up.

                • TK

                  Hittable was a poor choice of words. I meant not obvious “take” situations. Like a lot of first pitch strikes. Or other situations where he had a red light for whaever reason. Thats why I said it would be nice, and it would be a project. Im perfectly capable of reading a hitters basic pitch chart.

              • TK

                Its funny how many Cubs fans lack basic language skills like the ability to “reason” the meaning of a written passage through context and, oh, IDK . . . ?common sense? maybe.

      • TK

        I meant 2014 when talking about a potential decline in Rizzo’s #s — not 2015.

  • commander bob

    Put Willie Mays between those two and you really have something.

  • Brains

    brains would be happy with price!

  • http://bleachernation Ferris

    Yes we trade for price, then shark becomes more valuable….

  • Die hard

    Memo to Theo: call Tidrow as SF needs LF

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Dick Tidrow, FTW.

      • MichiganGoat

        His greatest addition to BN

        • hansman

          Well…greatest of one.

      • Die hard

        Sweeney for Hembree may work

    • hansman

      If only Tom would have hired ol’ Dicky-boy

  • Old School

    IMO trading for a quality stater can and has work out. The Garza deal is a classic example: give 5 prospects – get one & Garza. A couple years of production later trade for 4 prospects. I like the Rangers haul over Archer and others.

    • TK

      And what do you suppose Archer, alone, would bring Tampa in a trade right now? If he didnt get injured so badly, Lee would have considerably more trade value now, also. He’d probably be their starting 2B in 2014. I’ll never consider trading promising prospects for a couple years of a SP on a team with NO chance to compete a good move. And yes, it was obvious back then that the Cubs were heading the wrong direction standing-wise.

      • BWA

        Wow, so now we had no chance to compete in 2011? We still had a lot of talent on that team, it just didn’t work out.

        • Kyle

          That team could have easily been competitive if the pitching stayed healthy.

          People are starting to throw around the “no chance to compete” card way too often.

          • hansman

            And if the offense hadn’t shat the bed.

            The 2011 team was 10 WAR short on the offensive side of the bed (plus the 10-15 on the pitching side)

            The 2011 team was horrible.

            • Jason P

              Not only that, the healthy starting 5 wasn’t very good to begin. Dempster, Wells, and Zambano were all negative WAR/<1 WAR guys that year, and there's a fairly good chance Cashner would have been in that range as well had he stayed healthy.

              • hansman

                This. It was an aging team that had no superstars in the farm system (Brett Jackson was the closest and his ceiling was that of a guy who’d be a good starter and make a few All-Star games).

                The organization was a hot mess.

                • BWA

                  I’m not saying the organization was in good shape, but that was a year they could have been very competitive and it just didn’t work out. Zambrano was an all star and he tanked. Wells was serviceable prior to 2011 and he sucked. Byrd was worse than 2010. Dempster was much worse than usual with 4.6 ERA. Soto hit 228/310 after hitting 280/384 in 2010. About the only positives that year were Ramirez and Pena. Just saying we had guys with past talent, who all decided to suck that year. They probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs but they def had a shot preseason. Unlike this year, we were ready to compete.

                  • hansman

                    2011 was very similar to the last 2 years. They needed an insane number of things to go right and they didn’t.

                    Ramirez was hurt, Byrd was, probably, still impacted by the beanball to the face, Zambrano aged, Wells turned back into a pumpkin, the back end of the rotation sucked. Soriano was old, Fukudome was good, but below positional average.

                    • BWA

                      I agree, but I think a lot less needed to go right. At least the guys we’re naming from 2011 all had proven themselves in years prior. Last year we were betting on a lot more guys without proven track records and next year…

  • Rebuilding

    Another name to think about as a potential flip is Chad Gaudin. He was excellent as a starter last year, but people are talking about him going back to the pen. We might be a team that could promise him starts in the first half

    • YourResidentJag

      That’s what I’m thinking as well. Under the radar guy.

  • Dustin S

    Sounds like a lot of rumblings of other teams asking for Shark but offering Russell/Schierholtz level return. Trumbo for Samardzija+ also doesn’t excite me at all, but it is good to see the FO showing some interest in upgrading the offense and not just pitching.

  • Die hard

    Add Susac to deal too

  • North Side Irish

    Dylan Hernandez ‏@dylanohernandez 4m
    The owner of the Rakuten Eagles told @pgammo he doesn’t intend to post Masahiro Tanaka: http://bit.ly/1bybO2R

    Will speed things up with the SP market once a decision is made…

    • rockin’ dawg

      In my opinion, this is good news for the Cubs.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Good news for the Cubs because we had little chance of getting Tanaka and now the pricetag of Samardzija goes up. If true. Need source.

    • Rebuilding

      He keeps saying different things. We’ll see

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think folks are making too much of that Gammons/owner quote. According to Gammons, it was from last Wednesday – the owner has said noncommittal things since – and Gammons completely buried it in a puff piece about the Red Sox and the Eagles. If Gammons were reporting that the owner said he won’t post Tanaka, definitively, he wouldn’t bury it like that.

      • Die hard

        I read that to mean that owner was sweating while bluffing as he is desperate for cash and would take less too

        • cubfanincardinalland

          The guy has 3 billion dollars.

    • cubmig

      Yep…….first things first. Team first HAS to post Tanaka. When that happens, the talk worry, frustration, anger, laughter, or whatever can fill the comment spaces. Until then….the wait has everything in check.

  • Tim

    Assman, any info? Would love to hear any insider info. Really appreciate any news, thanks!

  • macpete22

    Add another starter to the trade market, Justin Masterson. That probably won’t help us

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Any indication what they are looking for in return?

      • North Side Irish

        More years of control…Masterson is a FA after this season.

    • YourResidentJag

      In addition, you have to wonder how much losing a 1st rounder plays in teams acquiring lesser guys than Shark like Santana or Jimenez.

  • Rebuilding

    Supposedly Nelson Cruz turned down 5/75 from the Mariners

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    If Choo does go elsewhere, I still think the Cubs will need to find some OBP someplace. Not sure where that would be short of a trade at this point.

    • Required

      We are waiting for our whole team to have. “Bounce back” years.

  • cubsklm

    If the Cubs don’t trade Schierholtz, the FO is nuts. He will be 30 yrs old and his value is as high as it will ever be. Sweeney is the left handed platoon in RF.

    If we’re going to lose 90 plus games in 2014, why keep Schierholtz? Talk about a flippable asset.

    • wilbur

      someone has to want him,

    • Jason P

      I get what you’re saying, but I just don’t think Schierholtz on his own would bring back much in return. Other teams also realize he is coming off a career year and unlikely to duplicate those stats again. He also can’t hit lefties, so that doesn’t help.

      Maybe if they packaged him and Russell or him and Shark it would be a different story. Remember, we’re a Schierholtz trade away from a Bogusevic/Sweeney/Lake outfield. Even for the Cubs, that might be a little too much.

      • FarmerTanColin

        I agree it wouldn’t net much prospect wise but it could net a decent bullpen arm or fringey starter As it sits I can’t see a trade because imo the Cubs bullpen > OF.
        Come mid season if he has similar splits to last season, he would look a lot better.

        Anyone else think Schierholtz is sort of Bizzaro world Matt Joyce? More SLG less OBP.

  • Ruh Roh

    Because it’s fun to guess.

    Choo to Texas for $135 million
    Price traded to the Dodgers
    Garza signs with Yankees
    Samardzija traded to the Yankees
    Tanaka signs with Mariners

    • Hawkeye

      I think your scenarios may be about right. I guess I’m in the minority but think the Choo signing made a ton of sense. Why would we as as Cubs fans be relieved to not sign a player of his caliber to a team with this payroll and need for for OBP.

      • cubmig

        You’re not alone. Until a signing is official, I still hope the Cubs are viable bidders for his services.

        • Cyranojoe

          Agreed. I like him. He fits the mold of player we want to encourage. Not a big masher for a corner, which is too bad for the 2014 team, but I think he’d be a great contributor/leader by example for those coming up.

      • rockin’ dawg

        1) Price tag likely too high
        2) We would lose our 2nd round draft pick (there will be alot of good young arms still available at the beginning of round 2)
        3) FO seems to be only targeting players under 30 years old

        • cubmig

          rockin’ dawg:

          To use an allegory as a response: Would you light a fire using a match or strike flint stones together in hopes something catches fire?

          Sometimes you gotta’ invest in ready made stuff to get a job moving in the direction you want. Hope that makes sense, as oblique as it is framed.

  • Michael

    Clayton Richard? anybody?

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Target Span at CF as a lead off man and Murphy from the Mets to bat second and play second. Two LH bats at top of order and decent OBP. If Mets need a SS offer Castro for Syndergaard, otherwise keep him and let him bat 6/7.

  • Jono

    Cubs win the world series!!

    (Try it. Type that out, it feels amaaaaazing)

  • Mike F

    Never changes, regimes change, people and times, but the winter meetings for a Cub fan are always the same. A rare interlude in any given year but always turn out to be all talk, no action.

    This one is very unique as we had the children of the plan dedicated drubbing of the hymn of the broke for which any off key voice must be quieted for a couple of weeks and suddenly for whatever reason even here, we return to insanity of the wolf bane to the children’s plan for austerity, only to realize all show and no go on Tanka and Choo. While some of the rumored deals on Price like the Dodgers don’t seem to good, increasingly it appears the children should be pleased as the plan reaffirmed and the return to austerity seems assured.

    Looks like for the 3rd year in row, we poor Cub’s will return pretty much empty handed and this time with no EJ and more likely are long desired piece of coal……..

  • Die hard

    Can Cutler pitch as his Bear days are numbered?

  • TK

    How bout can McNoun pitch?!?!?!? Dude can sling. Cutler would probably, out of old habit, always lob a melon to the on deck hitter.

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