Lukewarm Stove: A Prelude to the Winter Meetings

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Lukewarm Stove: A Prelude to the Winter Meetings

Chicago Cubs

Folks have rolled into Nashville, and the rumors are going to start flying. For the Cubs, chatter has already picked up over the weekend…

  • Dave Kaplan reported yesterday that the Cubs aren’t yet done adding starting pitchers, which is something we’ve suspected. Whether the Cubs add mere depth types – non-tendered options, minor league flyers, etc. – or if they take a run at a legit additional starter (guys like Anibal Sanchez, Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum, for example) is the real question for the week.
  • Kap added that the Cubs are also looking for an outfielder – he specified right field, which is possible, if David DeJesus slides into center field – and a third baseman, though the latter is going to be tough to fill externally because everyone is looking, and there are so few options. In the outfield, you’ve got to figure that the Cubs will consider center fielders and right fielders, rather than limiting themselves to the latter, given how deep the free agent market is in center field. If the Cubs are going to aggressively shop Alfonso Soriano, that only adds to their need in the outfield.
  • Speaking of which, Kaplan says the Cubs aren’t going to be unloading Soriano just to unload him. Specifically, Kap says the Cubs are “skeptical” that they can actually find a deal that makes sense, given that they won’t be eating a ton of salary unless they’re getting a nice return.
  • The Cubs still haven’t confirmed the Kyuji Fujikawa signing (oh no, blame the Twitters!), but Patrick Mooney has a source who says that’s only because the Cubs haven’t yet had a chance to do a physical. I reckon they’ll be taking care of that soon, and, despite the Dan Haren medical situation, physicals rarely derail signings.
  • Speaking of Fujikawa, Jim Bowden speculates – as many of us would – that the Cubs beating out the Angels for the Japanese reliever could bring the Angels back to the table with respect to Carlos Marmol.
  • Carrie Muskat has hinted a few times that the Cubs might be hoping to get Ian Stewart back on a minor league deal. Given that they non-tendered him with just $2.5 million at risk (and didn’t re-sign him before that deadline for less), I’d agree that they would seem to be hoping for a minor league deal. The third base market is a war zone, so I still feel like there’s going to be a team willing to guarantee him $1 million or so assuming he can demonstrate he’s healthy in the next couple months. Otherwise, he’ll have to settle for a minor league deal with a team that he perceives to have the biggest opening at third base. And, heck, that certainly might be the Cubs.
  • If the Rangers land a big-time free agent starting pitcher like Zack Greinke, they could look to trade Derek Holland says Ken Rosenthal. The 26-year-old lefty was great in 2011 before signing a healthy five-year, $28.5 million extension, includes club options for 2017 and 2018 at $11 and $11.5 million, respectively. He fell off a bit in 2012, though, with a 4.67 ERA (97 ERA+) over 175.1 innings (he did have a nice 1.221 WHIP and career-best 2.79 K/BB ratio, though – in fact, his “down” year looks to be mostly the product of an aberrant  high HR rate). All in all, he’d be an extremely attractive target for the Cubs if he becomes available (so say a number of teams). You gotta figure, though, that the Rangers would be looking for a significant major league piece if they were going to shop Holland. I’m not sure the Cubs would be a great fit, if he comes on the market this month.
  • Phil Rogers wonders whether the Yankees would have interest in Alfonso Soriano if they fail to retain Nick Swisher. It’s possible, right?
  • The Mets and R.A. Dickey are not close on a contract extension says Buster Olney. If they can’t get a deal done, you have to figure the Mets are going to shop Dickey aggressively – he’s 38, coming off a Cy Young season, and will make just $5 million in 2013, the final year of his deal. He could bring back a haul, but, more importantly for the Cubs’ purposes, he would be another top arm on the market – thus slightly depressing the prices of/destinations for other starters whom the Cubs might want to target. You’re tentatively hoping the Mets deal Dickey.

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.