Lukewarm Stove: Bauer, Youkilis, Guthrie, Jurrjens

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Lukewarm Stove: Bauer, Youkilis, Guthrie, Jurrjens

Chicago Cubs

An early morning Lukewarm Stove? That’s what happens during the GM Meetings. And there’s still a ton of other rumor/transaction bits to get to later today (including, yes, Justin Upton’s availability – everyone loves talking abou Justin Upton (just try to hold out for another couple hours)), so stay tuned.

  • Jerry Crasnick says the Diamondbacks are listening to offers for pitching prospect Trevor Bauer, who has fallen out of favor with some in the organization. Bauer, 21, rocketed through the Diamondbacks system after being drafted third overall in the stacked 2011 Draft, and made his big league debut this season. He struggled badly with control, and had to keep working on it at AAA (where he was much better). There is downside risk here – why else would the Diamondbacks shop him? – but there can be no doubt that Bauer remains one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. The Cubs, I’m sure, would love to have him. But I can’t see the D-backs dealing him for anything short of, for example, Javier Baez plus more. That’s a deal worth considering, but I suspect the D-Backs would prefer to find a shortstop a little closer to big league ready. And Starlin Castro isn’t being dealt, unless it’s for Bauer and about three of his buddies in the D-Backs’ top 10. With virtually every other team in baseball interested, it’s hard to see the Cubs’ mix of prospects/big leaguers finding the perfect fit for the D-Backs.
  • From Patrick Mooney, on Kevin Youkilis: “The Cubs are interested in Kevin Youkilis, but expect him to go beyond their price range and ultimately sign with a team much closer to contention, according to a source familiar with the organization’s thinking.” That’s what I’ve been saying on Youk since the White Sox declined his option: the Cubs would gladly take him, but not at the money/length he’s going to get from a team closer to contention.
  • I’ve been saying for some time that the combination of the new CBA and the increasing TV dollars would yield some crazy contracts this Winter, but, so far, the various reported demands and projections have fallen far short of “crazy.” Until Jeremy Guthrie floated his demands: three years and $34 million. If you can stifle your laughter long enough to check his numbers, you’d see that Guthrie – who was in a crap-for-crap swap with Jonathan Sanchez back in July – will be 34 to start next year, has had an ERA+ better than 100 just once in the last four years, has a WHIP that hovers around 1.35, a K/BB around 2, and a WAR of around 2. I guess he can make an argument for $10 million per year, but there’s just no way he’s going to get it, particularly over three years, and particular at his age. He’d been mentioned as a possible buy-low candidate for the Cubs, but obviously he doesn’t see himself that way. Moving on.
  • The Braves are getting some trade interest in Jair Jurrjens, who is due a raise in arbitration on his $5.5 million 2012 salary. Since the Braves can just non-tender him, it’s not like they’re going to throw cash into a deal, so what you’re really looking at is whether a team is willing to give up a nothing prospect for the right to pay Jurrjens more than $6 million in 2013. Jurrjens’ great 2011 season seems not only like a distant memory, but a smoke-and-mirror-filled-one, as his peripheral numbers never really supported his 2.96 ERA. And, obviously, he fell right off the rails in 2012, with his strikeouts plummeting, walks rising, and teams teeing off on him. Is he an interesting reclamation project? Absolutely. He’s still not even 27 yet. But is he worth $6 million plus a prospect (even a crummy fringe one)? I’m not so sure about that. I’d probably wait it out, and see if he’s non-tendered.

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.