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winter meetings 2013Catching up from the overnight build-up, and the early morning whispers …

  • Buster Olney reports that there are yet another two big arms on the market: Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. Is the market for Jeff Samardzija further disrupted? I’m not so sure it is, given that Hamels is 30 and under contract for another five years and $112.5 million, and Lee is 35 and under contract for two more seasons and $62.5 million (or three seasons and $77.5 million). Lee is in another financial stratosphere from Samardzija, and Hamels is a much longer-term commitment. In other words, it’s hard to see a team being in the position to choose, strictly, between acquiring one of Hamels or Lee, or acquiring Samardzija. As for the Cubs and Hamels/Lee, the latter is a non-starter, and Hamels might suddenly be a touch overpriced. The Phillies are clearly looking for some salary relief, but they’re not going to eat a huge chunk of Hamels’ contract to move him. There would be takers at full price, assuming the return was modest. But the Cubs won’t be that team.
  • Speaking of the Phillies and salary relief, Peter Gammons reports that the Phillies are willing to attach outfielder Domonic Brown to a Jonathan Papelbon deal if the other team takes on Papelbon’s salary (two years and $26 million, or three years and $39 million if he stays a reasonable effective closer and an option vests). So, what do you say, Cubs? Care to “buy” Brown for whatever the difference is between Papelbon’s contract and what he’s actually worth as a 33-year-old good-but-declining closer? Let’s say Papelbon’s option doesn’t vest, and he’s on a two-year deal. Seems like he’d be worth at least $10 to $12 million. Is Brown worth purchasing for $14 million? He isn’t even eligible for arbitration for another year, so the answer is an obvious yes, isn’t it? That tells me the Phillies will probably want actual value in a trade for those two. Still, kind of an interesting thing to think about, given the Cubs’ need to efficiently allocate resources. Kill two birds for a relatively low price.
  • The Tigers have reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with Rajai Davis in the $10 million range, which is a significant investment for a team that just had to dump Doug Fister to save a few million bucks for a subsequent move. Does that mean the Tigers are out on Shin-Soo Choo? Not necessarily. Davis is more of a fourth outfielder, even if he could platoon with Andy Dirks. Indeed, the Tigers could sign Choo, and then shop Austin Jackson, who has reportedly been on the block this offseason. It’s also possible, though, that the bidding on Choo in the last couple of days went out of the Tigers’ range, and they decided to move on to Davis.
  • Speaking of Choo, the non-Rangers mystery team in on him? It’s the Diamondbacks. Alternatively, the Diamondbacks are still pondering a deal for Mark Trumbo, and one version, according to Jon Heyman, has the Diamondbacks sending Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Cahill to Anaheim. At first blush, that seems like a no-brainer for the Angels, given Trumbo’s limited skill set. But Skaggs has fallen off over the last year in some folks’ eyes, and Cahill is going to cost about $20 million for the next two years. He was very down in 2013. This is not an unfair swap. The Diamondbacks will probably pull the trigger on a Trumbo trade if they can’t get Choo, which makes you wonder: if they part with some pitching to land Trumbo, will they be more or less inclined to want to trade for Samardzija (since he, too, would cost them some pitching)?
  • The Cubs are looking for relievers, says Ken Rosenthal, and that’s no surprise. But he says, contrary to the Storen/Clippard rumor last night, a free agent signing is more likely, and he suggests a one-year deal is where the Cubs might be thinking. That squares with Tim Dierkes’ report that the Cubs’ offer to Edward Mujica was of the one-year variety. Unless they get a longer-term piece like Storen, it sounds like the Cubs are hoping to pick up a one-year guy whom they can insert into the closer’s role, and then try to flip mid-season.
  • It seems that Carrie Muskat has also heard the Storen chatter, by the way. She reports that the Nats are looking for bench help, and “a young, versatile player,” which is oddly specific. Has a particular name come up, but it’s not solid enough to identify the player/prospect? The Cubs do have some young, versatile talent at or near the big league level, including guys like Arismendy Alcantara, Junior Lake, and Logan Watkins, but I’d only be speculating.
  • The Cubs could be considering reliever Josh Roenicke, 31, who was recently outrighted by the Twins. Presumably, he would be a minor league deal/non-roster invite situation.
  • Joel Sherman asked around, and it doesn’t sound like many in the industry think the Yankees can pull off a trade for Jeff Samardzija. Overstated? Well, one of Sherman’s sources, who expressed skepticism, was in the Cubs’ organization. So there you go.
  • The Indians are listening to offers on Justin Masterson, who’s got one year before free agency. I understand that the Indians would like to get a longer term asset, but they’re a competitive team right now, and they’ll get draft pick compensation next year if/when Masterson leaves in free agency. It’s hard to see them making a deal right now, but it might be what they have to do to keep staying afloat long-term. Having just lost Scott Kazmir and (probably) Ubaldo Jimenez, however, I’m going to bet that Masterson goes nowhere.
  • Sahadev Sharma’s piece on the Cubs possibly being willing to move a top prospect in a deal for a long-term player also discussed the kind of player that would make sense to acquire: and it’s Chris Sale.
  • YourResidentJag

    Roenicke would be a nice pickup.

  • macpete22

    I would definitely give up Watkins or Barney for Storen. Probably would be fine with the Cubs giving up Lake for him too. Not sure the Nationals need another OF though

    • Blackhawks1963

      Washington is in search of a left-handed reliever on an already stacked club. I would think Jeff Russell is the key piece in play by the Cubs. But Russell for Stoeren straight up doesn’t strike me as being enough. I can’t see where the Nats place much value on Barney as a utility infielder when they have frontline starters in Zimmerman, Desmond and Rendon at 3rd, SS, and 2nd respectively. You can pick up a Barney type on the waiver wire to be your utility guy.

  • North Side Irish

    BA ran their Rule 5 preview today and there are multiple Cubs on the list. Sounds like Marcus Hatley is likely to get taken by someone…

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/majors/rule-5-preview-cubs-marcus-hatley-yankees-danny-burawa-among-names-to-watch/

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Hatley and Loosen I suspect will both be taken and not returned, and I’m afraid we’ll lose Ha as well.

      • college_of_coaches

        FWIW I was thinking the same thing. But you know these prospects much better than I do, so I’ll ask regarding Loosen: Do you think he can stick on a MLB roster, or is he likely to be returned?

        • college_of_coaches

          Sorry, misread your comment (“…and not returned”). Still, he was so shaky at AA, I would think that Loosen is a longshot.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Loosen’s season numbers at AA are deceptive. He was much better in the second stint, particularly at the end of that stint. And then he went to AFL and pitched pretty well given how offense happy that league is, and did so in front of an army of scouts.

            As a starter he won’t stick in the majors, but any team taking him will stash him in the pen. I think he’d be OK as a long relief/garbage inning guy for a year.

            • college_of_coaches

              Sadly, your point is compelling.

    • mak

      I’m not real concerned about losing Hatley, who the Cubs have never given a shot to. Loosen is probably not going to figure into the future plans as well. But I would hate to lose Ha, who could be a solid 4th OF this year. And if a team takes a chance (and find a way to bury) Hernandez or Amaya, that would be tough. Both guys could be top 15 prospects in most organizations.

  • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

    I’m becoming more and more skeptical of the reports about polling a number of execs to come up with some consensus on wether something will happen. If I’m a FO type with a team, what incentive do I have to tell a reporter anything other than what rumor or consensus would best help my team’s position? Are GMs and FO execs so altruistic that they are willing to give an honest assessment for no particular reason?

    • DarthHater

      P.S. Santa Claus is not real. ;-)

      • hansman

        Haters gonna hate.

        • DarthHater

          Sith happens.

    • Jono

      that applies to all inside information. And yes, there’s good reason to be skeptical of any of it. We only know a small fraction of what goes on.

  • Funn Dave

    Every time I check BN I’m hoping someone’s gotten signed–by *any* team–just so we can stop hearing a rumor about him every five minutes.

  • Jono

    Would it have to be Baez for Sale? Or could it be Soler? Maybe Soler + a 10-15 type guy? I wouldn’t mind that. I would not want to trade Baez for Sale, though. Almora? Probably not, either

    • Jono

      maybe i’m underestimating the return Sale would demand

      • bbmoney

        I think so.

        • Jono

          I think you’re thinking is right about my thinking….

          • Jono

            *your*

            • bbmoney

              I think you had it the first time.

              • Jono

                I think your thinking is wrong this time about my thinking.

                • bbmoney

                  You sir are correct. Read that wrong.

          • bbmoney

            Which isn’t to say I think we should make that trade. I think it’d take two of the big 4 plus maybe 2 more top 15-20 org guys (probably some arms). Sale is an ace and has a great contract.

            But I’m terrified of his health. I’m probably just biased from concerns people had about his delivery and build before he made the show. He did have some fatigue/shoulder issues in 2012…but was healthy and obviously great in 2013.

            • Jono

              I agree 100%

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        For Sale? I’m guessing it would take two Top 100 types as well as two more Organization Top 20 types.

        So… Baez, Edwards, Vogelbach, Blackburn would be one example.

        And it might take more than that. I’d not be surprised if the Sox refused to consider any offer that did not contain two of the big four.

        • Jono

          yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking with my original comment. I was WAY off

          • X The Cubs Fan

            Soler, Alcantra, Vogelbach, Johnson and Hendricks for Sale?

            • Jono

              that’s more tempting. Not saying i’d do it, but the exclusion of Baez, Almora and Edwards is tempting

    • Norm

      Hard to understand what the Sox are doing if Sale is available. I’d assume they’d want big league ready talent. But prospects?
      Start with Baez AND Soler/Almora, then probably another Top 10 or two.

      • Jono

        that makes sense. I definitely would not make that trade, though. Given the chances of him getting injured, I wouldn’t want to think about the shit I’d get from my white sox friends about it. Then having to see those ex-cubs prospects succeed in the cross town games, no thanks.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    The Ruben Amaro mantra. “It seemed like a good idea at the time”.
    Bet he would let you trade for Howard too. Always hard to get people to clean up your mess.

  • Mick

    If the D-Backs sign Choo or trade for Trumbo, I don’t think it matters either way in a potential trade for Shark.

    Scenario 1: D-Backs sign Choo
    They’re still in need of a SP but have less financial flexibility to sign a FA leading them to the Cubs with all assets still intact to put together an attractive offer.

    Scenario 2: D-Backs trade for Cahill and Skaggs for Trumbo
    Now the D-Back are in need of 2 SP’s with limited attractive options via FA. This might drive them to seriously consider trading Bradley, who we all really want, in a deal for Shark. This could also backfire leading the D-Backs to the Rays for David Price.

    • Rebuilding

      I think scenario 1 is right on. As to scenario 2 – I think if they trade Skaggs it hurts because other than Bradley he is the only guy that is close to the profile it seems we want (TOR talent, close to MLB ready). At that point the deal would almost have to include Bradley somehow and I just don’t see how it happens

  • BD

    I think that the Phillies think they could unload Hamels and his contract for an actual return. Considering the contract situation, I would hope the Cubs would be interested for a reasonable return. If they moved some mid-lower type prospects, they’re basically buying Hamels’ contract. Is it a great contract? No. But considering the cost in prospects should be low, and the Cubs should have some room for that type of contract, I think it’d be a good move.

    Similar to how Matt Kemp could be a good move, depending on the balance between prospects and how much money the Dodgers eat.

  • Oswego Chris

    Brown is a very poor defensive outfielder, and does not hit lefties…I would take him in the lineup if it just cost us the money of Papelbon

  • CubFan Paul

    “But Skaggs has fallen off over the last year in some folks’ eyes”

    Can explain this some Brett? I only know of the lost velocity (if he ever had it to begin with) and that’s my reason for not wanting him (in a Shark package).

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s part of it, I’m sure – mostly it’s just that this was the first year that he didn’t wow at his new levels (AAA and a cup in the bigs). He was a top 20 guy, so it takes huge performance up the ladder to maintain that status.

  • Drew

    Just read on ESPN that the White Sox are not getting involved with the Angles/D-Backs in swamping players around. Eaton to White Sox for Santiago… Skaggs to Angels and Trumbo to D-Backs reported by Keith Law…. I would have to believe more would be involved to make this deal happen for Angels.

    • Drew

      White Soxe are now* (correction)

    • Rebuilding

      You mean Santiago and Skaggs to the Angels…Trumbo to the Dbacks…and Eaton to the White Sox? Sounds plausible. I think the Angels win that trade by a lot, the White Sox a little and the Dbacks lose

    • wilbur

      so hahn is going to operate like kenny w did, wait for other teams to begin to flesh out the parameters of a deal then try and push your self in the middle ot it. very limited way of doing things.

  • Gabe Athouse

    I too wouldn’t hate the Brown/Papelbon combo so long as it was mainly a money deal and didn’t cost us any prized prospects. I also think Hamel would be a good fit, but that is going to take some prospects.

  • http://mccarronlegal.com jmc

    Santa Claus is not real? Awww

    • wilbur

      my sources tell me he is real, im not hearing good things about the easter bunny though..

  • cub2014

    what would it take to get Brown & Papelbon?

    • bbmoney

      If the team acquiring them took on all of Papelbon’s contract? It probably shouldn’t take a ton. Maybe 1 guy from the back of the Cubs top 10? That’d be pushing it for what I’d want to give up for those guys and their contracts.

      But I bet the Phillies will want a lot more (and probably want MLB ready talent) and won’t end up finding any takers. I just feel like Amaro prices players way differently from most other teams and that’ll make it tough for them to matchup.

      • cub2014

        Brown’s contract will be team friendly and
        Papelbon would be a good flip candidate
        so his contract wouldnt cost long term $.
        That being said I was thinking a top 10
        plus a cheap reliever and an OF.

        If we could add Choo and Brown we would
        actually have a big league lineup.

        • bbmoney

          I don’t think Papelbon is a good flip candidate unless you plan on eating a big chunk of his contract. That deal he signed was crazy at the time. Now it just looks worse as he’s gotten worse and it’s likely his 3rd year vests barring an injury.

          Brown’s contract situation is great. But I’m not convinced he’s really that great. Good bat, but not projected as a very good OBP guy. Awful in the field (I know blublud don’t care about defense…but I do). Nice player, but he along with Papelbon’s big contract isn’t something I’d want to trade much for.

          • cub2014

            I thought it was 2 years 13mil per, so ya you
            would probably still owe half that contract
            in a flip. I think it would be worth it.

  • MightyBear

    I think the Hamels/Lee possible trades could effect the Shark being moved but only to large cash teams like the Yankees or Dodgers. It was reported that the Yankees might be in on the Shark but they didn’t have enough to get him. They could get Hamels or Lee for salary relief and some obligatory minor leaguers and pass on the Shark. However, it doesn’t look like the Yankees are a good fit for a Shark trade anyway so it may not have any effect at all.

  • Rebuilding

    Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that trade talks with the Cubs regarding Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard “never went anywhere.”

  • Rebuilding

    According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, the Rangers aren’t going to sign outfielder Shin-Soo Choo unless his price comes down considerably

    http://www.rotoworld.com

  • Dale Jr

    Has assman updated us with any info ?!?

  • Rebuilding

    According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, there’s increased speculation that Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda could be posted this offseason.

    Maeda, widely considered the second-best pitcher in Japan, told reporters this week that he wants to play in the United States and the thought is that the Hiroshima Carp could post him if he wants to go. Standing at six feet and 160 pounds, the 25-year-old doesn’t have the upside of Tanaka, as one international director sees him as a No. 4 starter at the major league level, but he would surely generate plenty of interest. Maeda posted a 2.10 ERA and 158/40 K/BB ratio over 175 2/3 innings this past season.

    http://www.rotoworld.com

  • On The Farm

    If Trumbo can fetch that much on the trade market this has to be a good sign right? I get he is a big power bat, but I really don’t see any other value he brings to the table. Just doesn’t make sense to me.

  • CubsFaninAZ

    Id hate to see the D-Backs pull the trigger on all their assets and the Cubs not involved. Dream scenario would be Shark for Bradley straight up. Now if only they could land some right handed power in the OF to put behind Rizzo, who knows maybe the Cubs are hoping Olt is that guy and Bryant is on his way soon to play LF. If this all works to plan a lineup with Alcantara, Castro,Baez, Rizzo,Olt, Bryant could be scary good. Still excited for that even if the Cubs dont do anything this Winter. BTW havent heard any updates but It’d be nice to see Justin Grimm, Kyle Hendriks, Arodys Viscaino, Rusin, and CJ Edwards/Pierce Johnson all come to Spring training throwing very well. Also dont remember the last time if ever the Cubs have had such a logjam of talent at the hot corner. Olt, Vitters, Bryant, Villenueva, Candelario. Its nice having those issues. PS I wonder if there is any thought to Vogelbach spending sometime in left, to help his promotion possibilities. I’d venture that way before I’d give up anything for Dominic Brown, cause either way you would have below average defender playing out there.

    • CubFan Paul

      “Dream scenario would be Shark for Bradley straight up”

      I don’t want to call this stupid but what’s wrong with a package (like most major deals involving prospects, veterans, and service time).

  • CubsFaninAZ

    Bradleys ready for the MLB and has a higher ceiling than Shark. Only makes sense for the Dbacks because they’re looking to win now with all their position players. If anything id throw in more, to ship along with Shark. I know everyone is expecting to get a grip load back. But we need an ace whos timeline matches the same as Baez, Soler, Bryant, Almora, Alcantara, Crowd. Bradley Edwards Wood front end rotation in 2 years sounds better than Shark, edwards , wood.. An ace who will be 23 in 2 years and controllable is better than 32 and jetting off for a big payday.

  • Aaron

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and trade some of prospects or at least a few younger players like Junior Lake for Brown and Papelbon. I don’t mind taking on these salaries but not also give us some of our better younger players in return.

  • Funn Dave

    I kinda like that second opportunity with the Phillies. And like Brett said, we could get two birds stoned at once.

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