Lukewarm Stove: Sanchez, Villanueva, Niese, Youkilis, Hamilton, Upton, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Sanchez, Villanueva, Niese, Youkilis, Hamilton, Upton, More

Chicago Cubs

As the offseason picks up steam, you can expect to see a few more posts like this on the weekend (usually I like to stick to a Bullets post on each of Saturday and Sunday, and then breaking news/rumors only – I gotta have a little time for me). This one is mostly a vestige of yesterday’s site problems, so don’t get too used to it just yet. It’s a long one for you …

  • Anibal Sanchez is spreading the word that he’d like to get a deal around six years and $90 million or seven years and $100 million. I don’t expect the Cubs to be involved at those levels … but I really think they should be. Unlike many of the other pitchers the Cubs are considering this offseason, Sanchez does not have to be viewed as a flippable asset. Instead, he could be viewed as a stable part of the rotation through 2016, when the Cubs will have hopefully long entered their competitive window. Sanchez has been remarkably consistent in his career, is still improving his performance (and his velocity was actually increasing in the second half last year), and is 28. This has always been true, but it’s getting more and more true: you gotta sign these guys when they are available. The Cubs should really be giving this some thought, regardless of how competitive they expect to be in 2013. The rub, of course, is whether Sanchez would even want to sign with the Cubs at this point in their building process.
  • Ken Rosenthal left the GM Meetings with the impression the the Cubs will be going after David DeJesus/Paul Maholm-type targets this offseason, which is obviously expected. He says the Cubs might try to look at some of the bigger named free agents next offseason, but those players may not want to come to a team that isn’t competitive.
  • One of the reasons that Carlos Villanueva, a middle tier free agent starting pitcher target for the Cubs, was thought to be a good match with the Cubs is because he wasn’t expected to be able to get starts with the Blue Jays, his team in 2012. The Cubs have nothing to lose by letting him have a full and fair shot as a starter. But now Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is apparently saying they are willing to guarantee him a starting spot. So we’ll see what happens there.
  • Jed Hoyer says he expects to continue to be in contact with Ryan Dempster for a bit, as the two sides see if there might be a fit for a contract. It seems extremely unlikely, given a number of factors, but Bruce Levine isn’t willing to call it impossible.
  • The Mets are willing to listen to offers on pitchers Dillon Gee and Jonathon Niese. Each pitcher is pre-arbitration and just 26-years-old, so there’s going to be interest. Niese had an excellent – perhaps even “breakout” – year in 2012, and Gee had great peripherals in a half season of starting with the big club. In short, these are some attractive pitchers. The Mets are in a strange, transitional, kind-of-rebuild mode, so it’s hard to say what they’d be hoping to accomplish by dealing young, cost-controlled starters. Prospects? A young positional talent? I really don’t know. But these pitchers would be right in the Cubs’ wheelhouse of interest.
  • The Twins appear to be looking for the same kind of pitcher as the Cubs this offseason (and previously said they were looking for three starters), so there may be some heavy “hey, you can get lots of starts here!” competition. The Twins have already reached out to Brandon McCarthy, Joe Blanton, Ryan Dempster, Brett Myers (as a starter), and Anibal Sanchez (gotta try, right?). They’ve also been working hard to re-sign Scott Baker.
  • Bruce Levine thinks Kevin Youkilis is going to get a deal in the two to three year range at $8 to $10 million per year. That amount might be enough to scare the Cubs off from considering him, given the need and the connection to the front office, but the Cubs’ expected lack of competitiveness in 2013 might scare Youkilis off. He’s gonna be 34, and will want to land on a winner.
  • The Rangers plan to limit their offer to Josh Hamilton to just three years … which is to say, the Rangers will not be re-signing Josh Hamilton. You can’t really blame them, though, given the unique situation of (and concerns about) Hamilton. Even on a three-year deal, Hamilton ends it as a 35-year-old. It’d be exciting and flashy to land Hamilton, but in the universe of conversations about how much big-money, long-term deals can hurt in the later years, his conversation may become the prime example.
  • Dan Haren disputes reports that health concerns scuttled his trade to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol, which marks the first time in history a free agent pitcher has said he is healthy. Some team will roll the dice on Haren, but it probably isn’t going to be the Cubs.
  • Phil Rogers went to great lengths to connect the Cubs to Justin Upton, by way of a Starlin Castro trade (because Javier Baez is awesome and could fill in at short by 2014). It really isn’t an insane connection, but I just don’t like the swap. Castro is three years younger, plays a far more premium position, and is signed to a much more favorable deal (which has him under control for longer). Upton’s bat is better now, and probably has the more upside, but overall value when considering position and contract? I think Castro’s got it. If the Diamondbacks really wanted to talk about Upton plus, say, Trevor Bauer for Castro? Well, sure, you’d have that discussion. But I don’t see any reason why the D-backs would do that.


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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.