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winter meetings 2013Tomorrow is getaway day at the Winter Meetings, which means the clock is ticking on getting moves done by the totally artificial deadline …

  • The Cubs are among the teams interested in reliever Mitchell Boggs, according to Jayson Stark. This didn’t get its own post because Boggs had an exceptionally awful season last year after an exceptional season in 2012 after a bunch of meh the years before. In other words, I don’t know whether this is a legit bullpen piece, or a guy you grab on a minor league deal. Losing a mile and a half to two miles off of your formerly mid-90s fastball could bring you down, as it did for Boggs, who turns 30 in February. Guaranteeing Boggs money seems like a risk not worth taking. A minor league deal with a nice split contract, if he wants it? Sure.
  • No real surprise, but Ken Rosenthal confirms that the Blue Jays have checked in on Jeff Samardzija, but found the asking price to be too high. Apparently they don’t like it when names like “Sanchez” and “Stroman” come up.
  • The Mariners are probably out on Shin-Soo Choo after picking up both Corey Hart and Logan Morrison today. That could leave them plenty of money to go after someone like Masahiro Tanaka, though.
  • Speaking of Choo, Jeff Passan hears that he’s already got at least one seven year offer, and Jeff Wilson hears he’s asking for $22 million per year. That’s essentially Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract, if you pair those two things up, which is nuts. I could justify a seven year, $105 million ($15 million AAV) deal for Choo if he’s dead set on seven years, but it’s a mistake beyond that. (UPDATING as I type, the Rangers reportedly have a seven year offer out to Choo, but for less than the $153 million that Ellsbury got. If it’s nine figures, you should take it, Shin-Soo.)
  • Will the Cubs make that mistake? Jed Hoyer wouldn’t say yes or no when asked by Jim Bowden whether the Cubs are in on Choo. As I surmised today based on Scott Boras’s comments, I think the Cubs probably are in on Choo … but at a much lower price point than he wants/other teams are offering. If Choo really does have a seven year offer on the table, I can’t fathom it’s from the Cubs – nor could I fathom everyone saying the things they said today if the Cubs were putting themselves out there like that.
  • Hooray: the Diamondbacks’ number one target is Masahiro Tanaka. Wasn’t it Matt Garza just this morning? Pretty much every big pitcher out there not named Jeff Samardzija. I’m sure there’s no public negotiating going on here. None at all. “Dear Cubs, if you do not trade us Jeff Samardzija at a reasonable price, we will not only not pay you a premium for Samardzija, we’ll also take Tanaka from you or anyone else. Sincerely, Bluffer McBluffington III.” To be sure, I don’t think everything the Diamondbacks do is geared toward trying to get Samardzija from the Cubs. Hell, I think it’s possible that that ship has already sailed. But I think it’s odd than an organization that just last week was very publicly indicating that it had just enough money to add one inexpensive player or two has suddenly found the resources to add Mark Trumbo and be in on the biggest names on the market. Or maybe it’s just the rumor I saw that had the Diamondbacks totally feigning their interest in Shin-Soo Choo in order to get the Angels to pull the trigger on that Trumbo deal.
  • Speaking of Tanaka, Bruce Levine once again says, for realsies, the Cubs will be in on him. I like Tanaka very much for the Cubs’ position and rebuild, but it’s unfortunate that the narrative on the offseason has gotten to the point where a Tanaka signing would almost feel like a placatory kind of thing, rather than a good move for the long-term. It would clearly be the latter, but it would also be nice to shut some people up (and maybe sell a ticket or two).
  • Justin Masterson was briefly on the market, but, thankfully, the solid righty has been told he won’t be traded.
  • The Dodgers have apparently told Matt Kemp’s agent, definitively, that they will not be trading him. If true, the Dodgers will probably continue working to move either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford. If they ate enough salary, I still think either could be interesting for the Cubs, but that’s a long-shot, to say the least. More likely, the impact here is the rest of the outfield market, such as it exists.
  • The Orioles are in discussions with John Axford, in whom the Cubs are also believed to have interest. The Cubs’ primary negotiating advantage with a guy like Axford is the ability to offer him the opportunity to close. The Orioles can offer that as well.
  • The Mets signed Bartolo Colon to a two-year, $20 million deal. That’s a couple years on a rebuilding club for a 40-year-old. Maybe they’ll try to flip him, or maybe they’re going to try and win as many games as possible over the next two years. They have already added Curtis Granderson, and their performance will be an interesting test case for the Cubs, given the similarities in their situations. The nice aside about Colon to the Mets is that it didn’t knock a team out of the running for Jeff Samardzija since the Mets were not likely involved in any Samardzija talks.
  • Don’t worry about Edinson Volquez becoming a flip candidate for the Cubs – the Pirates have agreed to sign him for $5 million for 2014.
  • The Nationals got their lefty reliever from the A’s in the form of Jerry Blevins (a Cubs farm-hand from many moons ago), so those already-dead talks with the Cubs about James Russell are now doubly-dead. Like a decapitated zombie.
  • jsorensen

    Wouldn’t Seattle be a pretty good trading partner for the Cubs & Shark? The Cubs have to be interested in some of those young pitchers and that catcher Zunino or however his name is spelled. Has there been any mention of Seattle liking Shark? Maybe as a fallback if Price goes elsewhere or doesn’t go anywhere at all?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Speculation as a fallback for Price, but not much beyond that.

      I doubt Seattle gets serious about trading until Tanaka is resolved.

      • Jono

        I wouldn’t think they need Tanaka (autocorrect changed “Tanaka” into “hansman”!!) with felix and iwakuma. That’s already one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball (tigers, phillies, dodgers…). Samardzija should be plenty for their #3 if they prefer a trade than paying the money. After Cano, maybe a trade is preferable

        • hansman

          Geez…hiw much do you talk about me.

          Not sure if I should be flattered or disturbed

          • Jono

            i think I’ve mentioned a couple times when the topic was food, just some friendly joking around. You never responded, so I assume you didn’t see them

            Oh, recently there was an article that brett mentioned a character from Willy winks and chocolate factory. I tried matching a couple frequent commentors with characters from that movie. Don’t worry, I called myself an oompa loomoa. Just some friendly.joking.

  • Theo/Jed’s Embarrassing Offseason of nothing

    Kevin Youkilis rebound candidate? low cost platoon with Valbuena at 3rd? 1yr deal, low $ and sell high at the trade deadline

    • Phil Oddo

      I think we should sign Axford and Carmona and then trade for Dominic Brown but I don’t know for who. I personally don’t think we will sign Tanaka and I am expecting a signing (not tommy hottovy) tomorrow. Hopefully hahahaha!

  • Die hard

    Sweeney and Barney for Brown and Mayberry?

  • Phil Oddo

    BTW i am new to this website and i never comment but i just have to say i go on this website 24/7 thanks Brett for the articles!

  • http://bleachernation Ferris

    Stilson,osuna,drabeck,rasmus…..for barney an shark…..then sign garza 4-58m w option yrs..

  • Moe C

    The Cubs wont get Choo I def think he will go somewhere in which he can win right away or at least in the next two years. Tanaka is the prime target but i see other teams overpaying for hin which he is worth and i see the cubs making an offer that isnt as good as the dodgers or Diamondbacks. So what does all this mean, It means what people have already have said in many reports cubs will wait til smoke clears and will bring back Baker, Maholm or a low budget pitcher for a year. And It might work at the beginning or for a bit then they will try to flip them for a low double A pick or so. The Cubs sat on their hands for far too long and have been super cheap on players. Right now i would love to see them trade for Kemp and Phillips. Maybe send a lower tier prospect and money to dodgers or reds. But if they dont sign Tanaka this offseason will be a total loss as it already seems to be

  • gridge

    I forsee the cubs getting Choo. Boras stated earlier that he has received offers from teams rebuilding as well as others who arn’t. I think we are the only rebuilding team that would send him an offer, and it will end up being the best. Most of Choos suitors have already filled there OF needs, except for texas, but they have said they arn’t optimistic in getting him. In the end he will sign for the best deal he is given, and it will be the Chicago Cubs, who are still seeking there “big splash” signing.

    • dAn

      Houston is rumored to be the only team to have offered Choo more than 5 years.

  • FarmerTanColin

    I hope Choo keeps waiting…and waiting…and waiting. While in the meantime teams continue to fill their holes and realize they really don’t need a 20mil/season outfielder.

    Then boom he Bourn/Swishers it and the Cubs capatilize on a reasonable long term contract.

    • http://bleachernation Ferris

      Id like him @ 5-85,w two yr option…but that 20m or more is too high.

      • FarmerTanColin

        Think the Cubs would take 5/85 immediately. Considering Swisher last year was had for 5-56. I think Choo is better but not thaaaat much better.

  • North Side Irish

    Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan 7m
    Sources: Teams believe reliever Joaquin Benoit’s likeliest destinations are Cleveland, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago Cubs or New York Yankees.

    Another back of the bullpen option…still quite a few available…

    • Tony S.

      WHO GIVES A $#*+!?!?!??

    • Tony S.

      And I really mean thanks for sharing, I’m just confused and frustrated by the apparent NEED to add back of bullpen pieces to this team. It’s like putting an elevator in an outhouse, it just don’t belong.

      • dAn

        It’s because Cubs last year had an even run differential at end of June/early July, but were still 10+ games below .500. That was due to having a bullpen full of choke artists and hitters choking w/RISP. The RISP thing doesn’t typically carry over from year to year. Getting rid of Marmol and Camp gives the Cubs the opportunity to find a couple of solid arms and have a pen that’s at least competitive. That alone could allow the Cubs to flirt with the .500 mark next season. They don’t need a fancy closer, just a few solid bullpen arms–guys who won’t choke every time the game is on the line.

  • http://bleachernation Ferris

    Plus id rather sign garza….

    • Jeff

      Bueller…… Bueller…… Bueller……

  • cubmig

    By attrition, it seems the Cubs are becoming the beneficiaries of the on-goings in the Choo state of affairs. Choo has offer(s) he’s pondering over (hopefully more than the Rangers 7 yr offer —Source: Jeff Wilson on Twitter). It could now be down to simply Choo making his decision on which deal has the most future return for him and his family…..

  • Tony S.

    Man, damn. I’ve been as big a proponent of The Plan ™ as anyone, but this winter meeting has indeed felt like a letdown. LoMo is the main name that comes to mind, but I know there have been one or two more names that have potentially made sense, that the Cubs have been connected to, that haven’t come, along with one or two more that I thought could be ‘maybes’ that didn’t happen.

    Okay, LoMo doesn’t live up to the hype, maybe, but he’s also just 26. I feel like if they can’t/won’t swing a deal like that for a relatively cheap corner OF, there’s no way in hell they shoot the moon on Tanaka, which ultimately means they’ve done somewhere between jack and shit this offseason.

    And while I’m ranting, why in three blue hells are they SO focused on ‘experienced’ bullpen help? The pen is the last, and I mean LAST piece to finish when you’re building a team. Strop, Russell, fill-in-failed-starter-here can (by and large) handle the ninth or any other inning after the starter has been pulled. So who gives a shit if we sign Axford, Mujica or whoever else if we never get to the ninth with a lead? Even if they’re thinking flip ability, which I could almost see, the save opps won’t be there.

    I hope we’re all enamored with Rizzo and Castro, because that, maybe Shark, and TWood’s regression to mean is about all we’ve got to look forward to this year.

    Ugh.

    • Jason P

      I actually like the bullpen. I think it might be the one bright spot on next year’s team.

      That said, the fact that they seem so focused on finding bullpen help isn’t the reason they aren’t focusing on other areas. I don’t know that reason. But the Cubs have a big front office. I’m sure if they really wanted to, they focus on both simultaneously.

  • Jason P

    Does anyone else think we should have made more of a push for Corey Hart? When healthy, the guy’s a legitimate middle of the order bat, capable of 25+ home runs and an .800 OPS annually. The Cubs could use that kind of production.

    Yes, he’s a liability defensively, but not so much so that he completely undoes the value he provides offensively. He’s still a 2-3 win player.

    The contract he signed was for just one year and $6 million guaranteed (up to $13 million with incentives), which essentially mitigates the health risk. If worst comes to worst, and he can’t stay healthy, a major market team like the Cubs should *easily* be able to stomach the $6 million hit. That’s practically the price of a good 4th outfielder nowadays and only a million more than we paid last year for a guy in Scott Baker who was recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

    When the Cubs FO talked about parallel tracks in their opening press conference, these are the kinds of moves I expected. Heck, it’s the kind of moves they actually made last offseason. Why all of a sudden does it feel like we’re tanking for draft position? There’s really no other way you could explain going into a season with Sweeney, Lake, and Schierholtz as your starting outfield.

    This offseason is rapidly turning into Tanaka or bust, which is just a terrible position to be in. And personally, just based on the general tone Theo and Jed (Theo especially) have used when discussing Tanaka, I’m not so sure there even going to go as hard after him as everyone around here hopes they will.

    If Shark is traded and no impact free agents are signed, I’d feel confident saying the 2014 Cubs are, on paper, discernibly worse than the 2012 Cubs.

    • dAn

      Hart is not a long term piece, and he’s also not what the Cubs offense needs right now–it needs OBP. He’s a good player, but not a good fit for the Cubs.

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Choo is a Stat’s guys dream. Perfect fit for Theo. Tanaka 20 mil for a #1 doable even for Cubs. Shark is win win so if he goes or stays Cubs win.

  • cubmig

    The Winter Meetings have lived up to all the “nada” we have a hard time accepting. True they are not the end-all and final word on the off-season, but they sure as shit have been deflating. Yeah…..that’s all we Cubs fans looking for a glimpse of promising moves needed….more “nada”. Shit.

    Where do we go from here?—–other than fill ourselves with more “wait”. This is a very tough time…… I can’t put my finger on any intelligent rationalization for why, or even what the FO is talking about when it comes to building a contending team. They say they are “in” on a number of targeted (significant) players…..but….their moves thus far have been peripheral. Minor fills have been the spoon feeding we’ve been fed. I’m dumbed-out. I have absolutely no idea what this FO is about. The writings on the threads here about what’s going on are informative but still speculative in nature with no hard truths substantiating reality. I want to remain hopeful, but the FO actions (imo) don’t match their theology—-and, as evidenced by all the views posted– they, at the very least, leave one confused.

    just my 2¢

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Who did we really miss out on? Cano? Ellsbury? Peralta??? Plenty of opportunity exists. As for Trumbo and Hart Pass! Eaton was only miss

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Plenty of Bullpen arms available Choo would be nice, Tanaka in play, Philips as a player but cancer in the club house still a great fit.

  • Nathan

    Signing Choo, Tanaka, and extending Shark would make the current team 10x more competitve. Especially, considering some low cost moves the Cubs may make.

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Logan and Morales same mold as Trumbo, Dunn, Uggla etc… Hart on last legs and Granderson is a more seasoned Soler/Almora/OF Prospect

    • DocPeter Wimsey

      Trumbo, Dunn and Uggla do NOT fit the same mold by any stretch!

      • Fishin Phil

        As a matter of fact, I believe you may be able to squeeze 2 Ugglas inside the Dunn mold.

  • TOOT

    Off the subject. MLB considering only sliding into catchers. WOW. I thought this was a joke, but it’s serious.

  • Die hard

    Cubs need to add one net run a game either thru hitting or pitching or both— there are some hitters available which should be pathway to this goal

  • Die hard

    Opening Day top 6 scores 6 a game — Castro Valbuena Rizzo Cruz Brown Sweeney

  • Rizzo1684

    I am a big fan of Choo and I love the breakdown of value Brett put on the site but I view him a lot higher than a lot of ppl do on this site. I would be very happy if the Cubs got Choo for 6\120. I know it seems high and your paying more then he is worth but consider the following: he has to play a year on This god awful team while they rebuild, the price of players will raise with inflation/tv money, and we would be paying him to keep the deal at instead of 7 or 8 years. I would dance in the street and buy 10 home game tickets ( I live 5 hrs away) if they landed Choo and Tanaka. They could trade Shark and this team would be a lot of fun to watch the next 6 years.

  • AaronS

    Who becomes expendable if we sign Choo? Does that give you the option to look at adding Soler or Lake to any potential trade of Shark?

    • C. Steadman

      im guessing if we sign Choo, then we see Nate gone and Choo put back in his original position in RF

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