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winter meetings 2013Folks have arrived in Orlando, and the rumor mill is churning …

  • Jon Morosi got everyone buzzing this morning with word that sources say the White Sox are opening to discussing trades for any of their three young, lefty starters – Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Hector Santiago. Everyone immediately blew up about Sale’s availability, given that he’s a legitimate ace under long-term control that every team in baseball (including the White Sox) should want. I don’t really see a trade happening there, and I really don’t see the Cubs getting involved. The more important point from this rumor is that the White Sox could soon alter the market for arms by making their guys available. If Sale were truly dangle, it’s a market-changer, with him – and his youth and his contract – easily being the most attractive available arm (much, much more than David Price). Even Quintana’s presence on the market (not so much Santiago) could impact the Cubs’ ability to effectively shop Jeff Samardzija. While Samardzija would seem to offer more upside, Quintana is under control for five more years and was legitimately very good last year. Heck, I think the Cubs should inquire on him.
  • (Jeff Passan adds to Morosi’s piece, saying that the White Sox do affirmatively want to move a starting pitcher. Ideally it would be John Danks and his contract, but that seems unlikely. So it’s pretty safe to say that Quintana is thoroughly on the market. Something to watch.)
  • Speaking of Samardzija, Joel Sherman – a New York guy, which allows me to note that the Yankees are now in on Samardzija – drops a tweet that pretty much sums up my position on Samardzija and the Cubs (forgive the 140-character-induced text-speak): “Cubs definitely talking Samardzija but price high and 1 interested exec said: ‘they will get it or just put him back on the market in July.'” Against the backdrop of two years of cheap control and a legitimate desire to get an extension done, the Cubs have no reason to feel pressured to deal Samardzija right now. That pressure eases even further when you consider that, unlike Matt Garza two years ago, Samardzija is not coming off of a world-dominating season. Instead, he’s coming off of a year with peripherals that suggest he’s as likely to break out in the first half next year as anything else. Obviously you factor in the risk of injury, but it’s conceivable that Samardzija could break out, and the Cubs could get more for him in July than they can get now. Step up your offers, other teams.
  • The Phillies are “actively shopping” outfielder Domonic Brown (per Jeff Passan), preferably for a pitcher (I’m sure they’d love to land Samardzija). Brown finally put it together in 2013, and he’s cost-controlled left-handed outfield power (Cubs could use all of that). But there are a ton of warning signs, including his inconsistency before the big 2013 season (and a FanGraphs study suggests you can’t just look at the big, most recent season when projecting future performance, even for a 25/26-year-old). And then there’s the 2013 season, itself, which featured an otherworldly May (12 homers, .688 slugging) … with no walks. His season was relatively meh outside of that May (but don’t get me wrong, all months count), and he walked just 7.2% of the time. Would you take him as your starting left fielder next year on the Cubs? Absolutely. Why not, given the time line of their young outfielders? Would you trade Jeff Samardzija to get him? No way. Not as the primary return piece.
  • The Dodgers are reportedly interested in David Price, which is no surprise for a variety of reasons. A lot of tangential impact here: would they also be interested in Samardzija? If they land Price, they’ll clearly be out of any Masahiro Tanaka bidding (right?). If they aren’t in on Samardzija, and take Price off of the market, that can only help the Samardzija market.
  • Speaking of Tanaka, we’re going to see a new deal announced this week between NPB and MLB on the posting system, and it’s going to have a cap of $20 million on bids. The lingering question: will Masahiro Tanaka’s team post him. Still nothing definitive there, but, in my mind, it would be an upset if they didn’t. And, if he is posted, an interesting new piece from Joel Sherman suggests the Yankees might have trouble landing him even if Alex Rodriguez is suspended for the entire season, thus erasing his $25 million salary from the books for luxury tax purposes. Sherman’s math has the Yankees at about $203 million for 2014 right now, with an internal mandate to get under $189 million. Even if ARod’s suspension is upheld, that takes things down to about $178 million. Tanaka is a lock to get more than $11 million on an AAV basis, so the Yanks would have to shed additional payroll (Brett Gardner is at about $4 million, so he’d be gone) AND not spend anything more. That’s a tough trick. (But it’s the Yankees, so I’m still hoping – for purposes of Tanaka – ARod’s suspension is reduced to something like 50 or 100 games.)
  • The Mariners are getting lots of calls on Dustin Ackley, per Jon Heyman. Ackley, 25, learned center field for the Mariners last year, though he’s a native second baseman. His performance has regressed as a big leaguer, but there’s still a lot to like in a buy-low opportunity. Not sure how realistic it is, but maybe the Mariners are simply ready to separate from the young man.
  • An intriguing DFA target to monitor: 24-year-old Australian righty Liam Hendriks was just DFA’d by the Twins, who might look to trade him before putting him on waivers. His minor league peripherals are as fantastic as his big league numbers are bad. Thing is, all the usual “bad luck” indicators are there in spades for Hendriks in the bigs: enormous home run rate (after never giving up homers in the minors), ridiculously low LOB%, and a BABIP about 20 points higher than you’d expect it to be. Although Hendriks would require a 40-man roster spot, he does come with an extra option year left, meaning a team like the Cubs could put him at AAA and let him continue to develop (with another Hendricks) until a spot opens up. I really like him as a possibility.
  • Jorbert Solmora

    Mark Derosa trying to talk up Samardzija a little bit on MLBN

  • Jono

    I feel comfortable holding onto samardzija into the season with the plan to trade him before the deadline. Thats not a bad choice if the FO isn’t excited about the return

    Price to the dodgers? Are you kidding me? That rotation would make for some fun times in LA

  • http://BN Sacko

    If we have better then .500 record 2014 I’ll do the lap dance.

  • North Side Irish

    Dylan Hernandez ‏@dylanohernandez 7m
    #Dodgers interest in Masahiro Tanaka appears to be lukewarm: http://lat.ms/IYK4tf

    But he could be the Mariners next target…

    • JB88

      Honestly, the Mariners always scared me as a bidder. Seattle was great to Ichiro and culturally offers a lot to someone of Japanese decent.

  • North Side Irish

    Gordon Wittenmyer ‏@GDubCub now
    Cubs looking at reliever trade market. Eyeing Nats’ Storen, Clippard among others.

    Not sure what it would cost to get either one…but I’d rather sign someone like Axford/Bailey/Chamberlin before giving up assets.

    • Voice of Reason

      Depends on what it cost us in terms of assets to get Storen, Clippard.

      Nats might want to move Storen for basically nothing to wipe it’s hands of him?

  • David

    I like that they’re trying to bolster the bullpen. This could be a real strength in 2014 if it all works out. Especially if Vizcaino is healthy. A strong bullpen is great for a young starting crew.

    • itzscott

      I recall last year many here were posting about the Cubs’ bullpen being a strength.

  • YourResidentJag

    Gordon Wittenmyer ‏@GDubCub 11m
    Marmol back in NL Central? Ex Cubs closer talking to Brewers (and Red Sox) among 3-4 interested teams.

    • Fishin Phil

      I would love to see Marmol with the Brewers!

    • Eric

      Marmol will sign with the Cardinals and save 60 games.

      • Fishin Phil

        That’s why I want him to go to the Brewers instead of the Cards. ;)

  • Rebuilding

    According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Rakuten Golden Eagles will post Masahiro Tanaka if he desires to make the move to Major League Baseball.

    • http://redfan13 Henry Szwedko

      What the frog are the red Sox doing.they have the dough time to spend it.trade for Kemp.or Mike trout.

  • Rebuilding

    Apparently Headley for Quintana turned down by the Sox

    • YourResidentJag

      Bad move.

      • FullCountTommy

        He’s gonna make north of 10 million this next year and is then a free agent, don’t really blame the Sox here

        • YourResidentJag

          They need offense badly. Quintana is due for regression.

          • FullCountTommy

            3.52 ERA vs. a 3.82 FIP…Not a whole lot of regression there, plus he’s controlled through 2018

            • YourResidentJag

              And Sale had one of highest WARs for SP the last two years and no playoff appearance to show for it.

              • FullCountTommy

                Which has what to do with Jose Quintana’s trade value?

                • YourResidentJag

                  They only surplus they have is SP that other teams really covet. They’re dealing with a win-now mentality. They’re not trading Sale, so to supplement that one of the other SP trade value indirectly effects Sale. Why? because they need to put up more offense around him as currently one of the cheapest and most effective TORs currently in the AL.

          • Norm

            Regress to what? The only fluky looking number is LOB%.

          • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

            Quintana actually had skill improvement last year in terms of his K and BB rates. HR/FB, BABIP, and LOB% were all within a reasonable realm. Nothing outlandish that would scream regression candidate.

            Headley is a guy to like but, it’s hard to know what he is. Not really young anymore and close to FA. Seems like the Sox are right not to trade him.

            Runs prevented = runs scored, more or less.

            • YourResidentJag

              Ok. I get the stats. Runs prevented isn’t going to help the Sox. They have essentially look-alikes of the same offensive players.

  • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

    Cubs can use the present value of money to obtain players by front loading contracts, employing this as part of a strategy to procure younger free agent impact MLB talent. The next few years the Cubs will not be competitive and will not have a 120 mill plus payroll. Why not for example pay out up to 60% out in the first two years of a 5 year contract? Lowers total dollars out and frees up money in the future when the Cubs become competitive and could use the extra payroll to fill gaps. Plus if the player really produces the Cubs are in a better position to extend the agreement if the players production declines the Cubs are in a better position to replace and/or get such player to except a productive role as a possible bench/bullpen piece.

    • Edwin

      You’d be sacrificing short term payroll flexability, and you’d be paying more (effectively) over the life of the contract. I’m not saying don’t do it, but there are tradeoffs to make when considering front-loading a contract.

      Plus, when it comes to trades, you might create some surplus value, but you could do the same thing just by being willing to eat more of the contract in the trade. I don’t have time to look at it more in depth right now, but I’m not sure so sure you come out ahead (at least in trades) by front loading compared to backloading.

      • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

        Edwin, my point is not front compared to back load, run the numbers either way and set the real monetary value. My point was to get max use out of season 2014-2015 and half 16 payroll by buying future services via the front load. Plus the use of such payroll for flipping for future talent as well.

  • Die hard

    Breaking news? Castro Soler and Jackson for Price and minor leaguer PTBNL

  • Mike

    This is the first time I’ve been on today so I might have missed someone talk about this already, but can you believe those comments that were made earlier about Walker having more value than an In-His-Prime David Price? Crazy

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  • Steele

    Cubs trade Schierholtz, Russell, and Barney to Nats for Clippard, Storen, and Espinoza. Would that be good for us or a wash? We need a stronger bullpen. Of course we’d need an outfield bat with some pop, such as Trumbo? Any takers?

    • Craig

      I like your trade but we add in Smardja and they add in Giotto and another prospect and make it a nine player trade

  • Steele

    Yeah and I would scratch that Trumbo trade…sign choo instead

  • CubsFaninMS

    As I’ve said previously, I believe there are multiple positives to holding onto Samardzija until the 2014 trade deadline if we cannot come to a long-term agreement with him. Gauging what we know about the front office and statements Samardzija has said to the press over the past 12 months, I detect a hint of disagreement in how to treat players. If I were to guess, Samardzija wants the no-trade clause whereas the front office is ademantly opposed. I can understand both perspectives but, as a fan, would prefer our front office to have some flexilibility to manage its assets effeciently. If this is the case, you can’t fault Samardzija for wanting to know where he and his family will be living for x many of years. Of course, then there’s always the “You’re making millions of dollars a year; suck it up until you retire.” If Sale and Price (a Sale-Price swap would be epic!) are available, this complicates the market for Samardzija and may make the conditions even more favorable for a mid-2014 trade of Samardzija. We may be Sale-ing him at a low Price this off-season. If the factors don’t play out, let Samardzija build his value at the first of 2014 and see where we are then. I’m confident we will be pleased with the return.

    • Brains

      all we have to do is give the guy fair market value. we haven’t done that yet, and we want to trade the entire team away for prospects for a projected 2018 team.

      • CubsFaninMS

        How much are you willing to pay for an Apple stock, Brains? Do you believe it is fair market value? What about a used 2009 Honda Civic? Assessing value and investing in it (in general) is always a difficult thing to do. When you mix in the human element (i.e. a player, i.e. Samardzija), you are stuck predicting.. or projecting value on some intangibles that are impossible to predict. I’m quite sure the front office is offering them a little below what they believe is fair value.. and will bargain up to the point where they believe he’s a reasonable investment. If he believes he’s worth more, they are at a disagreement and he needs to be traded. It’s not a perfect science, but it’s even far less perfect when uninformed individuals like you and I attempt to assess that value.

        • Brains

          i love how you just compared a hometown hero to a series of inanimate objects… ah the administrative logic of capitalism.

  • YourResidentJag

    Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS 30m
    dbacks & angels have potential match on trumbo. 12 teams in but AZ has pitching. wont deal corbin miley or bradley. skaggs?

  • http://Dogsrus Dick Gozinya

    Jimmy russel and shark for trumbo

  • http://Dogsrus Dick Gozinya

    This talk of Espinosa your high those 3 scrubs for shark alone is a rip off
    I like stores and clipboard but not for shark at all maybe James russel and Nate

  • http://Dogsrus Dick Gozinya

    D backs are slimers

  • http://Dogsrus Dick Gozinya

    So are the white sux trying to jam their little south side pee pees into the market when they have zero intent to ship sale

  • Brains

    kemp kemp kemp kemp kemp.

    and maybe price.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Might want to scale back the enthusiasm on Kemp until we know how the doctor reports look. If they aren’t good, the Cubs might be better off without him.

      • Brains

        oh i know we wont get him. we aren’t getting anybody. it’s going to be truly embarrassing for the cubs this week, again. but until it happens and we go through another nightmarish year of socially engineering failure, i’ll cross my fingers optimistically.

      • Die hard

        But but but isn’t that the FO MO?

        • Brains

          more like the FO BO

          • Abe Froman

            -1 / not this

            • Brains

              comeon, i just won the internet today with that one

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  • http://redfan13 Henry Szwedko

    Are the sox gonna go after tanaka or are they just trying to bring up price.they have enough starting pitching.they need a good outfielder with a solid bat.

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