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lukewarm stoveThe song of the offseason for impatient Cubs fans (who like pop music): “Do something, I’m giving up on you.”

  • At FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan writes about the Jeff Samardzija trade rumors, and about the risk associated with holding onto him until midseason, versus trading him for whatever you can get right now. It’s something we’ve talked about before, but I always like seeing these things from a dispassionate, third party smart dude. The risk of injury or ineffectiveness, in Samardzija’s case, is partly offset by the possibility that his performance in the first half of 2014 finally matches the peripherals and the scouting. Further, by June, we’ll have a better idea which teams are actually in the race, and, for those teams, the value of marginal wins will have increased (potentially dramatically). Sullivan also points out that, once the season starts, the Burnett/Jimenez/Santana group will have signed, and David Price will be off the market (at least temporarily) by virtue of the Rays being a playoff contender. In that scenario, Samardzija becomes something of a rarer commodity, and teams might pay accordingly. So, you balance the risk of injury, ineffectiveness, and a surprisingly crowded market midseason (if unexpected teams stink and sell off, for example) against the upside of having the prime pitcher on the market (and the tiny chance that the Cubs are good and need Samardzija, or that they’re able to extend him). Add it up, and you can see pretty clearly why the Cubs are willing to stick to their stratospheric asking price on Samardzija for now.
  • Samardzija isn’t the only starting pitcher about whom teams have inquired, by the way. According to Mark Gonzales, the Blue Jays and Rangers asked the Cubs about Carlos Villanueva over the course of the Winter. The Cubs asked Villanueva to come to camp ready to start, and, before the Jason Hammel signing, it looked like Villanueva very well could end up in the rotation. If there’s an injury (or a Samardzija trade), of course, that could still happen, but right now Villanueva projects back into a swing role with the Cubs. He’s under contract for 2014, only, at a very reasonable $5 million. Depending on what happens with other teams in Spring Training, Villanueva could become an attractive back-of-the-rotation trade target.
  • We’re still waiting on the resolution of the Emilio Bonifacio release waiver designation, but, according to multiple sources, it sounds like teams aren’t anxious to claim him for his $3.5 million salary. As I said, I’m not sure I see it as all that unreasonable, but if teams think they can soon get him for less, they may be willing to take a chance on him clearing waivers and reaching free agency.
  • Cuban free agents Aledmys Diaz (shortstop) and Odrisamer Despaigne (righty pitcher) will be showcasing tomorrow for interested teams. The Cubs have been connected to each player at various points in the past, so we’ll see if Cubs reps are in attendance. Diaz and Despaigne are just two of a handful of Cuban defectors currently available to be signed. We’ll keep an eye on their situations, as the Cubs could be involved in one or more.
  • The one Cuban free agent reportedly nearing a deal? It’s with the Dodgers, obviously. The Cubs haven’t been connected to 23-year-old shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena anyway, so there isn’t any kind of aw-hamburgers on this one. Frankly, my fingers are pretty happy about it.
  • Edwin

    It’s like geez, save some r’s for the rest of us.

    • JacqueJones

      You gotta get over your parents not naming you Edrin

    • DarthHater

      Special Harry Caray Memorial Diction Award to anyone who can say “Erisbel Arruebarruena” backwards.

      • Edwin

        I did it. Please send cash. Thanks.

  • YourResidentJag

    By waiting, the Cubs could very likely miss out on some of the best packages available to them. We’ll just have to see where Jimenez and Santana sign.

    • Baseball_Writes

      I don’t see it. If they had been offered a package that outweighed the potential value Samardzija brings, I think they would have accepted it, already.

      • Jason P

        And if they had been offered anything close, we’d have heard more of the “trade talks reaching serious stage with Team X” rumors.

        • YourResidentJag

          How do you know that trade talks are ongoing? They’re always ongoing, Jason.

          • Jason P

            What’s your point?

            • YourResidentJag

              What’s your point? Your stating through mere conjecture that the Cubs got such underwhelming offers when you don’t even know who was offer even through rumors, other than maybe Stroman. Hell, you don’t even whether or not the Jays actually made a formal offer, deciding instead to get back to the Cubs once it’s been determined where all the current FA SPs have signed. So, whose are the exact players in your
              “underwhelming” offers?

              Trade talks don’t stop at some point just because you as a fan and observer think they do.

              • YourResidentJag

                *You’re

              • DarthHater

                I’m shocked, SHOCKED, to find groundless conjecture on this anonymous chat board!

                • YourResidentJag

                  Me too….especially when people believe they have all the insider information. :)

              • http://bleachernation.com woody

                I find it interesting that Toronto has asked about Villanueva. And that he was told to come to camp ready to start. Remember that back during the winter meetings there was a lot of hype about Toronto putting a package together for Shark. There was a rumor on Bleacher Report that Toronto was going to end up with Santana because their 9th and 11th pick in the first round are protected. I have to believe that Santana and Jimenez sign some place soon. I just have the feeling that if anything gets done before the season starts it will be the Blue Jays considering their past interest and the fact that they still have another move to make. If Toronto does indeed sign Sanatana then I don’t know who would really be in play except maybe the Mariners.

      • YourResidentJag

        Because teams with trade value aren’t weighing out other options? You realize Yoon, Santana, and Jimenez have yet to sign, right?

  • blublud

    If the Cubs are going to trade Shark, they should do it now. I hope he is either gone or extended by opening day.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    The flip side to waiting is that other teams may be sellers midpoint like we will be. So as the argument goes that the Rays are contending and Santana and Jimenez are to be signed etc. the only problem I see with that is that we don’t know what other teams will be buying into that stategy after a poor start. I find it ironic thaat the FO values Samardzija so highly when it comes to a return for his services, yet seem unwilling to compensate him accordingly for an extention. Theo to other teams: ” Jeff has an incredible upside and is future TOR type guy”. Theo to Jeff:” We really love you man, but your numbers show that you are a number three at best”. With our luck we trade him and he wins the Cy Young this year.

    • Jon

      With the extra wildcard in each league, I’m not to concerned about the market being flooded with sellers.

      Baltimore looks like an attractive trade partner to me, especially if Bundy’s rehab is going well.

      • YourResidentJag

        I am.

      • When The Musics Over

        Does it make sense for the Orioles to give up a looking healthy Bundy for 1.5 years of Shark? I wouldn’t do that if I’m Baltimore.

    • frank

      The back-and-forth about his value is probably typical from a negotiation point of view. But that would be our luck . . .

  • Isaac

    My wife hasn’t stopping singing that for two months.

  • BD

    Maybe I just missed it at some point this winter. But when is it OK to start adding any of our prospects to trade offers? i.e. Samardzija + Villanueva/Vogelbach/anybody not in top 5.

    It seems like that would be a way to convert some fielding surplus into more arms.

  • Rudy N

    Bruce Miles ‏@BruceMiles2112 56s
    #Cubs report Reds have claimed RHP Brett Marshall off waivers. That opens spot for Hammel on 40-man roster

    • tobias

      On MLBTR, it says that the Rangers claimed LHP Brooks Raley also.

      • tobias

        Sorry, I meant Twins.

  • ChiMike702

    MLBTR says Bonifacio has cleared waivers and is now a free agent.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    Wow, Jeter is retiring after this year. Well, he was a smarmy jerk in a lot of ways. However, he was an excellent hitter for many, many years, and a great example of the basic Moneyball concept of maximizing OPS from guys who can play (no matter how poorly) skill positions.

    Still, one of my favorite Cubs memories will always be Mark Prior striking Jeter out (I think) 4 times on a Sunday night ESPN game of the week in 2003.

    • college_of_coaches
    • TWC

      Wasn’t that the game where Ol’ Sweaty Joe Borowski loaded the bases before picking someone off 1st to end the 9th?

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Awesome Onion summary (as always). And, yeah, I’m pretty sure that there was a wild ending to the Prior-Yanks game. The ’03 Yanks had a pretty awesome lineup, and they had a habit of chewing up and spitting out opposing relievers.

        • Kyle

          You can find that entire game on Youtube.

    • jrayn

      That was my first Cubs game. It was amazing. Soriano looked like lightning in that game. Prior struck out 10. Sosa had his 2,000th hit. The day before Clemens went for his 300th win. It was electric in Wrigleyville and I moved there three years later. God I miss the Cubs being good.

  • TSB

    I’m surprised that there isn’t a special report here about the announced retirement of Derek Jeter. If you listen to some of the national media, he is one of the greatest players ever(!), and all news of the other 29 teams must be ignored for a national day of celebration of the living god Jeter!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I think that many Yankee fans would be offended that you call Jeter a mere god. Do not the gods themselves speak of apojeteriosis ???

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