Wednesday Morning Winter Meetings Update: Maeda, Yoon, Kemp, Choo

winter meetings 2013We’ve already heard about Jeff Samardzija meeting this morning, the (non) latest on Masahiro Tanaka, and a rumor on Logan Morrison. That’s a lot of rumors for one morning, but there’s still plenty more …

  • Jayson Stark reports that Matt Garza could sign in the next 24 to 48 hours (which would be a surprise, given the protracted Tanaka situation), and there’s a lot of “buzz” about the Diamondbacks. Is that legit, or is that designed to pressure the Cubs into a Samardzija deal? Either way, Garza to the Diamondbacks would be bad for the Cubs – not only would it take them out on Samardzija, but it would also take Garza to a team that wasn’t a primary Tanaka suitor. If Garza instead went to the Mariners, or something, they could take a Tanaka suitor off the market.
  • Patrick Mooney hears that the Cubs are interested in Kenta Maeda if he’s posted this offseason, as well as Korean righty Suk-Min Yoon. The latter is a free agent, and we’ve discussed him quite a bit this offseason (though Mooney confirmation is never a bad thing). We discussed Maeda a bit yesterday. Mooney also confirms the Cubs’ interest in Jason Hammel, discussed last night.
  • The Angels’ maneuvering has put them far enough under the luxury tax cap that they’ve got room to add someone like Matt Garza … or Masahiro Tanaka, according to Jim Bowden.
  • Bob Nightengale reports that, although the Dodgers are getting a lot of interest on Matt Kemp, a trade is not expected before the Winter Meetings end. I wonder what the relationship is between Kemp trade talks and Shin-Soo Choo’s free agency. They’re different players, obviously, but they’re outfielders who will command a huge chunk of money. Could be some overlap there, and one might be holding up the other.
  • Speaking of Choo, the Tigers may or may not be out, but the Diamondbacks are very probably out. The Reds are still involved, per Jon Heyman. Unless they can move Brandon Phillips and his salary, though, there might not be much room for optimism. Ken Rosenthal says a Phillips deal remains possible, which gives us a window on how easily things can build up in the offseason. Maybe the Reds are waiting on Choo until they move Phillips. And Choo is waiting on the Reds before deciding on another offer. And maybe the Mariners are waiting on a Kemp deal until they know if they can get Choo. And maybe the Dodgers are waiting on a Kemp deal before going after David Price. And maybe other teams looking for pitching are waiting to make their best offers on Jeff Samardzija until they know what happens with Price.
  • Joel Sherman hears that the “lead dogs” on Choo are the Mariners and Rangers. No real surprise there. Bob Nightengale was told the price tag was going to be seven years and $140 million. Unless the price of a win has increased dramatically from where it was in November, that’s a contract that just doesn’t make sense, and is very unlikely to provide any value.
  • A very interesting wrinkle in any David Price-Mariners trade talks: Ken Rosenthal spoke with Price’s agent, who flat-out-said that Price would not consider an extension with the Mariners if traded there. The agent said Price would consider an extension with other unspecified teams. Clearly, Price does not want to end up in Seattle, and it would be harder for the Mariners to pay top dollar in trade for a guy they know they can’t extend beyond the two years they’re getting.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

104 responses to “Wednesday Morning Winter Meetings Update: Maeda, Yoon, Kemp, Choo”

  1. Eric

    A thought creeped into my head a few minutes ago so I must ask. What aren’t we interested in signing Garza?

    1. Kyle

      Expensive
      Injury prone
      Compensation-tied

      1. Edwin

        I thought because he was traded he isn’t comp tied?

        1. Kyle

          Derp. I am the dumbs.

          1. hansman

            Step 1: Admission

            1. Jackson

              Step 2: ???
              Step 3: Profit

      2. North Side Irish

        First two yes. No compensation since he was traded mid-season.

      3. Noah_I

        While I agree at least on the expensive front for performance (he wants an Anibal Sanchez contract and is not Anibal Sanchez), I think injury prone might be a bit unfair. He had one major injury and a setback at the back end of rehab, but has largely been healthy aside from that.

        However, Garza is not tied to compensation.

        I agree the Cubs shouldn’t be in on Garza, though, unless he was willing to take a contract close to Edwin Jackson’s. All indications show that Garza is not willing to do that.

    2. willis

      Two reasons-mainly money. They aren’t spending shit this offseason, let alone someone that will command $15ish million a year.

      The other is I believe (and this is just opinion, blast away) that something about Garza rubbed the FO the wrong way and he was just an arm they wanted gone. They were so hell bent on trading him, and at his age/talent/cost, I couldn’t understand why. In the end they got a good package, but it just seemed he wasn’t “their guy”.

      Either way, no way in hell the cubs get in on him.

      1. Spoda17

        I think I remember the same thing Willis. Garza wasn’t as good of a clubhouse guy as it may have seemed. And the FO wasn’t real keen on his prolonged injury issue…

    3. CubFan Paul

      What? Sign in-prime free agents when they’re available so that we can be ready to compete in 2015?

      Nah, we don’t do that anymore. They moved the goalposts (2016).

      1. Bwa

        Unless they go nuts next offseason

      2. C. Steadman

        no matter how far back they move the goalposts, Matt Prater will make it…sign him

        1. cub1

          nice

    4. Jay

      I’ve wondered the same thing recently. You could trade Smardj, get a great haul, then replace him with a comparable pitcher in Garza with no draft comp required.

    5. Hookers or Cake

      Dude! I think we should sign him and trade him to the Rangers again.

  2. hansman

    “Unless the price of a win has increased dramatically from where it was in November,”

    Baseball inflation. By April, a marginal win is going to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100M.

    1. X The Cubs Fan

      You forget you have a Boras client?

  3. Patrick G

    This is not a rumor, but wouldn’t Texas be a possible suitor for shark? They’ve been somewhat connected to Price and have the pieces, although not many good pitching prospects. Maybe a 3 team trade but would think they could be a sleeper in this process.

    1. On The Farm

      I could see it. After the Soto, Dempster, and Garza trade I would imagine the Cubs scouts know the Texas system just as well as they know their own system.

    2. C. Steadman

      for Shark we need a TOR arm in return, unless a 3rd team gets involved to provide that, the Rangers just dont have what we want/need…Alfaro and Odor are two names i like in the Rangers farm though, kinda wish we got one in the garza trade, but we had already fleeced them enough for 3-month of Garza

      1. X The Cubs Fan

        Need a top pitching prospect too but Alfaro, Luke Jackson and Wilmer Font are interesting.

        1. C. Steadman

          yeah im a huge fan of Alfaro, only knock is he K’s a ton, but other than that he’s got everything going for him

  4. Norm

    I’m not sure how to figure it out, but 7 – $140M
    If we start at 4.5 and lose a 1/2 WAR per year, that should give Choo 21 WAR over those 7 years.
    If it’s $6M/win today + inflation, that comes out to just about $140M, no?
    Not a value, but makes sense, unless I’m doing it wrong.

    I’d be in on 6-$120M

    1. CubFan Paul

      Take out those ridiculous Giants’ contracts and its normal ($5M/win)

  5. toby taylr

    exactly eric—sign Garza 4/65 and ship schmardzy to whoever wants to cough up the best deal before leaving florida

    1. gocatsgo2003

      … and then sacrifice a second-round pick, which seems pretty sacred to this front office.

      1. gocatsgo2003

        or I’m wrong and there’s no compensation… never can keep those rules straight.

        1. roz

          No compensation because he was traded.

  6. waffle

    Whom would you rather sign

    Choo or Tanaka?

    For me it would be Tanaka, easy

    I like Choo but that’s alot of cabbage for an OBP, and little else, guy.

    1. Blublud

      “I like Choo but thats a lot of cabbage for an OBP, and little else, guy” The guy will give you 20 HR, 20 SB, a decent BA and a good slg % percentage every year. His career .854 OPS would make him a very good player at any position he plays, even 1st base.

      1. Jay

        Useless against lefties though. I don’t see anybody paying Choo what his agents seem to think he’s worth, especially as a corner OF. As a CF, if he could actually play it adequately (which he can’t) then his value would go up.

      2. cubmig

        Plus butts in the stand seats…….

  7. Jon

    When Garza was here, I heard alot of rumors that Garza had an “abrasive” personality at times and the FO couldn’t wait to move on from him.

    1. mjhurdle

      I heard those rumors too, but mostly after Garza was gone. Seemed more ‘spurned lover’ rumors than anything else, at least to me.

      1. Jon

        It wasn’t so much that Garza was a bad guy or bad teammate, more of a “overbearing” personality, is probably a more appropriate phrase.

    2. JB88

      Seems consistent with what Boers and Bernstein reported last year.

  8. Jono

    Price saying that he wouldn’t sign an extension with the Mariners should show people that it’s not so easy for teams just to go out get players that fans like.

  9. Blublud

    I woud take Choo for 7yrs/140. The market has obviously ballooned, and if the market set a value for Ellsbury at 153, and Cano at 240, the Choo is easily worth 140. He is considerably better with the bat then Ellsbury, and not to far off the pace from Cano. I know his defense is lacking behind there, but where does the appropriate value sit. I don’t think dWAR gives us that appropriate value.

    1. JB88

      Choo at 7 years and $140 M sounds like a horrific deal. Even if Choo were the final piece to the Cubs puzzle.

      1. Blublud

        You can’t base contracts off of stupid WAR calculations. In fact, it’s the opposite. WAR calculations are set by the Market. I’m not saying I would have thrown out 140 million at Choo, but based off where the market appears to be heading, Choo is easily worth 140 million.

        1. Drew7

          What?

          1. Blublud

            in other words, I guarantee no GM in baseball is sitting in a room counting WAR and basing his offer to a free agent based off his WAR. That shit fans do on a blog site. The Market sets the contract. If you look at the contracts of Fielder, Pujols, Ellsbury, Crawford, Cano, werth and I’m sure I’m missing a few, then Choo is worth every bit of 7 years, 140. Add in the fact that his skillset is more likely to sustain over the life of his deal then any of the other names I mentioned, he is more of a safe bet to sign. I don’t think Choo is a -1.9 WAR defender no more than I think Trout is a -8 WAR defender. I don’t think he’s great either, but if you base this contrac t off WAR at the 6 million it is today, this is still a good deal.

            1. Kyle

              I guarantee you that the majority of teams do a similar, but much more sophisticated, calculation.

              1. Blublud

                I’m sure every GM has their way of determining value, and I bet it slightly different in every FO. I don’t think these guys use WAR like you think. If they did, then why wasn’t someone willing to pay Cano the 30 million that everyone knew he wasn’t going to get. According to his WAR totals, he is easily worth it and then some.

                1. Norm

                  WAR projections have Cano at about $250M.

                  http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/mariners-break-the-bank-hope-robinson-cano-defies-odds/

                  “Because he’s projecting very little decline over the next three seasons, the total forecast from ZIPS is +35 WAR over those 10 years. At +32 WAR, we’d be looking at $7.5 million per win; at +35 WAR, we’re looking at $6.9 million per win. That’s actually a little less than what the Yankees paid for Jacoby Ellsbury, and pretty much in line with the average price of a win in the market this winter. From that perspective, this isn’t actually a huge overpay, relative to what other free agents are expected to produce and what they have been signing for this winter.”

            2. hansman

              “I guarantee no GM in baseball is sitting in a room counting WAR”

              They have WAR counting machines for that.

            3. JB88

              The only contract amongst that group that I’d probably have bitten on was Fielder’s. Every other single one was a terrible contract then and would be absolutely the wrong move for this team right now.

              And the difference between all of those guys is that they either play premium positions (Ellsbury) or are power hitters. Choo neither plays a premium position (he’s a LF and nothing more) nor is he a power hitter. Any team foolish enough to pay him 7 years and $140M deserves whatever they receive.

              1. Blublud

                I agree, it may not be a good deal, right now, for the Cubs. When I said I would take him for that price, I was speaking more as GM in general, not the Cubs GM. Someone will get Choo at that price, and they will be very happy about. I think his decline is much less likely than any of the other guys. Ellsbury contract is the one I see ending brutal.c

                1. JB88

                  I guess I just don’t see how a non-power hitting LF, getting $20 M per season for 7 seasons could ever end positively for a team. Assuming we are using WAR dollars for a second, that would mean that he would need to 23+ WAR over the life of the contract to make that a good deal.

                  He was at 5.2 WAR last year, but 2.4 WAR the year before that and 1.3 the year before that. Assuming the regression models are accurate for Choo and he starts losing .5 WAR per year, he won’t hit 23 WAR over the life of the contract.

                  1. Norm

                    He’ll hit 21. And when you factor in inflation, 7-$140 comes out to just about right amount.

                    1. Jay

                      Once again, the problem is his age. You’ll be paying for his decline phase after the first few years of that 7 year deal. Time and again Theo’s said no way are they going to do that, unless that was the one player they needed to seriously put them over the top.

        2. C. Steadman

          you do know a WAR calculation could justify the contract you mentioned? i wouldnt go 7 years but 6 @ 120 would be fine by me

          1. Blublud

            I mentioned that in my last comment above. GM’s dont use WAR to determine there offers though. We, the fans, and statheads, look back at performace after a deal is signed and determine if a player earned their contract based off some number that a WIN is worth. I’m sure GM will try to use it to reduce contracts, just like I’m sure agents will try to use it to increase value, but i doubt it really does much for either side. But ultimately, a players value is set by what 2 teams are willing to pay him, and how far one of those teams is willing to go to beat the other. Prior contracts, along with inflation, will usually set the market, and Choos market is being set mostly by Ellsbury and Crawford and Werth. If you go by their contracts, Choo is worth 7 yrs/140 million.

            1. Edwin

              How do the GM’s decide how much to pay a player though? Surely they don’t just decide they want a player and start bidding whatever it takes to get that player without considering how good the player will be over the contract?

              1. Blublud

                There are way to determine value without WAR. If we were count war + inflation, and the fact that Choo’s skillset is the least likely to fall ooff, then the guy might be worth more than 20 mil per year. He not getting more than 20 mil, so WAR is not determining his contract value.

                1. Norm

                  You can call it whatever you want, but everyone, even you, do something similar to WAR.
                  You take their offensive contributions, their defensive contributions, their baserunning….maybe even their grittiness and leadership contributions, how hot their wives are….whatever it is you value. You take those numbers, combine them all together and come up with what you think his worth is.

                2. Edwin

                  At some base level, you’re still looking at what Choo has done, what he projects to do, and basing a contract offer/value based on what similarly valued players have done/signed for. Using WAR is just one way to do this. And it’s been fairly close, as an estimate, in predicting contracts over the years.

        3. JB88

          WAR or no WAR, that would be a horrible deal. Choo doesn’t even have the skill set of a guy like Soriano and the Cubs still had to eat a ton to basically land a bullpen arm.

          1. Blublud

            The Cubs didn’t have to. Soriano proved to be worth his contract last year. That’s based off the old WAR total. If you use the new WAR total, then he outperformed his contract last year.

            1. JB88

              Right, that’s the point I’m making. Soriano had a skill set that Choo just doesn’t: The ability to hit a lot of balls out of the ballpark. And as it has been reported constantly this offseason, the number of players capable of doing that is shrinking, not expanding, meaning Soriano possesses a skill for which teams should (and will) be overpaying.

              Now, mind you, Choo gets on base a good amount, but not in a way that justifies a $20MM per year average and not in a way that he is going to have this level of value going forward.

  10. oswego chris

    This is shaping up to be about the 36th or 37th winter meetings that I have gotten excited about and then nothing happens…yet, I will get suckered in again next year…

    1. MightyBear

      Somebody for the Tribune did an interesting article on the winter meetings stating that in this day and age of communication, the winter meetings are more for show than for actually conducting baseball business. In the old days, everyone got together because hammering out deals over the phone was too risky. People could back out of what was said. So they had the meetings where deals and contract terms were agreed to and signed on the spot. Nowadays, that can all be done with e-mails and pdfs and online, etc.

  11. cubs907

    garza is probably wanting a ntc as well

  12. mdavis

    with price not willing to sign an extension with seattle, maybe they dive into the shark hunt. obviously we wont be getting walker, but maybe they could put together a package around Hultzen (i know hes hurt), Paxton, +?

    1. CubFan Paul

      “obviously we wont be getting walker”

      Then no deal with them.

      1. X The Cubs Fan

        The only a trade works without Walker, is some package of Zunio, Hultzen, Paxton, Guerrero and Gohara.

        1. mdavis

          i personally still think pittsburgh and baltimore are the best fits in terms of trades, but havent heard too much out of them recently.

        2. CubFan Paul

          Whatever package for Shark, from Seattle has to include Walker or no dice.

          I don’t see Theo&Co blinking first

          1. Norm

            So you’re pretty much set on keeping Shark and not signing him to an extension, right?

            1. CubFan Paul

              No, he’ll be traded for a top arm, not broken down pieces, rushed prospects, and minors depth.

              1. ari gold

                Then he’s not getting traded. Why give up a near major league ready arm for 2 years of Shark? If we get a potential TOR arm, it will most certainly be an A-ball pitcher.

                1. CubFan Paul

                  “Why give up a near major league ready arm for 2 years of Shark?”

                  Contenders/Competitive teams do this ALL the time.

                  1. Derrick

                    Walker might be just as good as Shark this season this doesn’t really help Sea.

                    1. CubFan Paul

                      “might be”

                      Yeah, might be.

                      It wouldn’t be a 1 for 1 trade, so with other pieces on both sides the trade could help the ‘wanna be contender’ Seattle more than a rookie pitcher.

                    2. Jay

                      Absolutely no reason not to hang onto Shark until July if we don’t see a deal we love now. Teams will be even more willing to pony up for him if they’re in the hunt and he’s pitching well.

  13. Senor Cub

    Not sure why the FO would not want Garza back, is their skin so thin that they would sacrifice their personal feelings over what’s best for the Cubs? I would hope not.

    Shark, Garza, Tanaka, Wood, Jackson…all of a sudden this line-up looks pretty good to me. Garza is not damaged goods, he’s a darn good pitcher in my eyes.

    1. willis

      I agree, he’s a very good pitcher. But you take the FO’s ego along with the “plan” and no money to spend…no chance on Garza. Never was once they traded him.

      1. LWeb23

        “FO’s ego to go along with the plan…”

        I suggest you take a few minutes and read the article from late last week on the Mariner’s situation…

    2. Edwin

      There are actual baseball reasons for not wanting him back. His injury history, the fact that he’s basically been a league average pitcher the past couple seasons.

    3. Pat

      Did he still have the yips with Texas, or does he seem to be over that?

  14. Sacko

    Shark won’t be traded this week.

  15. J.L.

    “And maybe the Mariners are waiting on a Kemp deal until they know if they can Choo.”

    I doubt the Mariners can Choo. :)

  16. KidCubbie

    Any chance the Cubs do a deal for Shark with Baltimore involving Bundy? I know he’s hurt but could still be a TOR guy.

    1. X The Cubs Fan

      I love the idea of Bundy, but too much risk maybe if they through in Eduardo Rodriguez, as well it’d be an awesome trade.

      1. mdavis

        i think at this point id prefer a gausman, with rodriguez or wright, and then a couple 10-20 guys. bundy is small, and already coming off tjs

        1. cubbiehawkeye

          ^This

    2. Derrick

      No chance they give up Bundy even after Tj surgery.

  17. Derrick

    I’m starting to feel as if is isn’t so much who are the Cubs going to sign, money and when but more so do players really wanna sign and play for the Cubs. This isn’t the most ideal situation and destination if you are a free agent and really care about winning. Sign here and you know the next two seasons you are playing for a bad team. IDK I wouldn’t be lined up for that.

    Unless you just want a payday

  18. Stevie B

    I do Samardjiza for Bundy straight up. All day, every day.

    That’s my last time saying that…sorry to be so repetitive.

  19. LARRY

    I figure trading Shark now vs. July doesn’t matter in terms of the Cubs’ return. Yes, the acquiring team will lose half a season of starts, but someone desperate to bolster for the post-season run will still pay handsomely in the frenzy of a looming pennant race (a la the Rangers last year) — especially with another year of control included in the deal. In fact, the better deal might even come in July should there be some surprise contenders who need a little push over the top. Anyone disagree?

    1. Edwin

      I do. panicked overpays are rare, regardless of the time of year. There is no garuantee that a team will drastically overpay for Shark at the deadline, or that the “overpay” will be more than what the Cubs could get for him now. I think there is just as good a chance that a team overpays now for shark than at the deadline. To up his trade value, I think Shark would need to have a real strong first half, so that a team thinks they are trading for a better pitcher than Shark projects to be right now.

  20. cubsin

    I’d much prefer to wait until the trading deadline to move Shark. That gives the Cubs an outside chance of being around .500 when the reinforcements (Baez, Bryant, Vizcaino, Fujikawa, Hendricks) begin to arrive. That would improve ticket sales, TV ratings and radio ratings and thus revenue. Trading him for prospects now sends the message to fans and players alike that 2014 will be yet another season of chasing a high draft slot and trading the present for the future,

  21. CubFan Paul

    “2014 will be yet another season of chasing a high draft slot and trading the present for the future”

    The Plan.

  22. bobk

    Agreed on Garza. I don’t understand why he is not at least a consideration. The dude liked it here could prob get a slight discount. With a better bullpen; Garza Shark Wood Jackson looks pretty competitive. Add Tanaka and thats elite with future flipable potential once CJ Edwards and other top prospects are ready.

  23. chad

    I know the cubs are in a rebuilding don’t spend anything mode, but man these meetings are boring as hell.

    1. Kyle

      Not that the Cubs’ passivity don’t suck, but the winter meetings are usually boring. People get overhyped about the idea then very little happens.

  24. North Side Irish

    Jayson Stark ‏@jaysonst 1m
    Mitchell Boggs attracting interest from #Phillies, #Indians, #Mariners, #Cubs & #Mets. Had a 2.28 ERA & 6.9 H/9 IP in 2012. Intriguing guy

    So rare to find a guy who pitched worse after leaving St. Louis…

  25. Steve

    I saw Mitchell Boggs pitch in the minor leagues and he’d fit nicely into the Cubs rotation for 2014. Any team that signs Choo for 7-years at $20,000,000 per yr. is taking a huge risk and I doubt if our FO would decide to get involved in that kind of a long-term contract after final giving Soriano to NY.

  26. Die hard

    With renovations and Jumbotron et al why aren’t free agents banging down door to come to Cubs?

    1. Eric

      How do you know they aren’t?

  27. YourResidentJag

    MLB Network PR ‏@MLBNetworkPR 16m
    Hoyer on Jeff Samardzija: “There are economic realities to the game. That’s what we’re trying to work through.” #MLBTonight #Cubs

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