Winter Meetings: An Evening Prelude (AKA, a Lukewarm Stove)

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Winter Meetings: An Evening Prelude (AKA, a Lukewarm Stove)

Chicago Cubs

By now, I reckon most executives, agents, and members of the media have arrived in Dallas for this week’s Winter Meetings, which promise to be as exciting as any in recent years, both for baseball, generally, and for the Chicago Cubs. Moves may happen – will Matt Garza be traded? with the Cubs pick up a third baseman in trade? a first baseman in free agency? – or we may just have to settle for a whole lot of “buzz.” For now, the buzz is all we got…

  • The Cubs may be interested in Hiroki Kuroda, who is coming off his best season with the Dodgers at age 36 (3.07 ERA and 1.213 WHIP in 202 innings, with a 121 ERA+). Phil Rogers says the Cubs tried to land him back in 2007, and, now that he’s available again – even with a new man in charge – they might make a run. Most assumed Kuroda would remain with the Dodgers, so he hasn’t been discussed too much. But, after the Dodgers inked Chris Capuano to a surprisingly large two-year, $10 million deal, Kuroda is suddenly very available. It’s not hard to see Kuroda getting a three-year, $30 million deal on this market (though he’d reportedly prefer a short, one or two year deal at $12 to $13 million per year). Seems a bit steep unless the Cubs are going on a free agent binge.
  • Rogers lists a couple other players in whom the Cubs might have interest – in addition to the already-known Chase Headley and already-whispered Daniel Murphy – including Indians third baseman Jack Hannahan and Orioles infielder Robert Andino. The former is an unproductive, decent defensive third baseman who doesn’t make much money but isn’t very attractive (and will be 32 next year), and the latter is unproductive, 27-year-old utility player. Pass, on both accounts.
  • Bruce Levine mentions Aaron Harang as a possible target for the Cubs, the first time his name has come up in more than a passing list. Harang, who turns 34 early next year, had what appeared to be a resurgent year last year – 3.64 ERA, 1.365 WHIP in 170.2 innings – but then you account for the place he pitched half his games (pitcher-friendly PetCo), and suddenly you’re looking at an old dude with a 98 ERA+, who hasn’t had an above average year since the B.D.B era (before Dusty Baker) back in 2007 with the Reds. Pass.
  • As I noted earlier today on Facebook and Twitter, a source tells me that, while the Cubs are open to moving Matt Garza, they won’t trade him for “anything less than a Greinke-type deal the Royals got last year.” Frankly, given the players’ respective success in their pre-trade year (Greinke had none, Garza had it in spades) and contract situations at the time (both had/have two years left on their deals, but Garza will be far cheaper), I’d think the Cubs should be able to do better. The Brewers got a decent young shortstop, a decent outfield prospect, and two decent pitching prospects, but it was far from a “whoa, that’s a ton” kind of deal. Speaking of Facebook and Twitter, you’ll find that, particularly in weeks like this one, where things are moving at light speed, I sometimes report things on Facebook and Twitter first, before doing a full write-up here. The reason should be obvious – speed. So, I know I say it a lot, but it’s for your own benefit: “like” BN on Facebook, and follow it on Twitter.
  • Ken Rosenthal briefly reported that Yu Darvish was going to be posted (i.e., made available for bidding) after the Winter Meetings, before modifying the report to say something closer to what we already believed – namely, that Darvish is “likely” to be posted after the Meetings, but no one knows quite when. Rosenthal says Darvish’s divorce, however, is not the holdup, and suggests it could instead be a dispute between Darvish and his team about how high the posting bid must be for his team to accept (note that Darvish doesn’t get any of that money, but Rosenthal says it’s a matter of pride for Darvish that his posting fee exceed that of prior Japanese import, Daisuke Matsuzaka ($51 million)). The Cubs are listed as a possible Darvish suitor.
  • The Marlins have reportedly offered Jose Reyes six years and $111 million. There is a 0.01% chance he does not accept it. Coincidently, that’s the same percentage chance the Marlins don’t come to regret the contract, or dump it on another team after a year or two, once they’ve pulled off this charade.
  • The Blue Jays seem to be happy to let the world know that they have a surplus of excellent prospects they can deal for an arm. The Cubs have a couple valuable arms they could move – Garza, and Carlos Marmol – and, what do you know, they wouldn’t mind adding some prospects. Have your people call my people.
  • With Heath Bell off to Miami, the Padres are in the market for a closer, considering, among others, Andrew Bailey from the A’s. Do I really have to say it? The Cubs have a movable piece in Carlos Marmol, the Padres have a third baseman the Cubs covet … toss in some cash and a prospect, together with Marmol, and I think the Padres might make that swap.
  • A Cleveland radio station says Prince Fielder has narrowed the teams to which he’d be willing to go to the Blue Jays, Rangers, and Brewers. The Cleveland radio station cites “reports” as having said that. I’ve seen no such reports, and, in case I haven’t emphasized it enough: this comes from a Cleveland radio station. Why they’d have the scoop, I couldn’t tell you. For that reason, I say: bogus. This will happen frequently this time of year.
  • Jerry Crasnick has a long writeup on Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes, who should achieve free agent status any day now. The Cubs, among many, many teams, are interested in the 26-year-old outfielder, and have scouted him in the Dominican Republic.
  • Mark Buehrle has at least three three-year offers, two from NL teams, but he’s holding out for a no-trade clause, which has yet to be offered.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.