Lukewarm Stove: A Lot of Soriano, A Little Porcello, and a Bit More

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Lukewarm Stove: A Lot of Soriano, A Little Porcello, and a Bit More

Chicago Cubs

With that Indians/Diamondbacks/Reds deal going down last night on the heels of the Rays/Royals deal, I’d think we would see a fair bit of additional movement this week. After Zack Greinke signed this weekend, I said that the logjam might finally break, and it looks like it’s doing just that.

  • Last night, we also learned that the Cubs and Phillies had discussed a very specific formulation of an Alfonso Soriano trade, which would have netted the Cubs former top prospect Domonic Brown, who is currently slated to play left field for the Phillies in 2013. Those talks didn’t produce a deal, but it didn’t sound like, according to the Jon Heyman source report, that the conversations were dead – the Phillies were instead waiting out the free agent market. Well, Bruce Levine reports that he, too, hears the Cubs and Phillies talked about a Soriano deal, but those talks are currently cold. Further, Bruce says the deal his sources say the Cubs were discussing would have netted them pitching, and Vance Worley and Trevor May – later traded to the Twins for Ben Revere – were among the names discussed.
  • Putting those pieces together to form a cohesive narrative: it sounds like the Cubs and Phillies have been having very general conversations about Soriano for some time now, but the Phillies preferred to use their pitching trade chips to pick up Revere. From there, the sides may have briefly talked about a Brown/Soriano swap, but those discussions did not produce a trade, and are on hold, pending the Phillies attempts to pick up an outfielder in free agency. At this point, no one believes a deal is likely, but the Cubs are obviously having these conversations about Soriano with the intention of finding a new home for the outfielder.
  • Danny Knobler adds that the Cubs tried to shop Soriano to the Astros as a DH, which is odd for a couple reasons – it would take Soriano further west, something he doesn’t want; and it would make him a regular DH, something else he doesn’t want (plus there’s the whole “contender” thing – remember, he has full no-trade rights). Why would the Cubs shop him to a team that, on paper, seems like it would be an obvious “no” for him? Is Soriano more flexible than we think? Is Knobler just off, and this was one of those really thin, internal conversations that everyone knew wouldn’t go anywhere? In any even, Knobler says the talks didn’t go anywhere because the Astros decided they couldn’t afford Soriano, even if the Cubs ate a substantial portion of the $36 million he’s owed over the next two years. (Heyman yesterday reported that the Cubs are willing to eat enough of the deal to make Soriano a mere $5 million player for those two seasons.)
  • You’ve heard by now, but Kevin Youkilis is reportedly signing on with the Yankees for one year and $12 million. No real impact to the Cubs here, but it’ll be a story you’ll hear waaaaay too much about on ESPN this season.
  • We’ve heard a lot about Rick Porcello around here this offseason, and the Tigers are hearing a lot about him, too, says Danny Knobler. Detroit has fielded a lot of interest in the 23-year-old starter (who hasn’t yet tapped his potential, and is about to get relatively expensive in arbitration), particularly from NL clubs (yes, you can assume that includes the Cubs). Knobler says the Tigers aren’t going to move Porcello until and unless they land another starter, though, so it makes you wonder – are the Cubs sitting tight on the rest of the free agent starter market because they’d like to see if they could get Porcello? How long can they wait? How long can the Tigers wait to pull the trigger on a Porcello deal – to whichever team – if their trade partner gets antsy? This, again, underscores how difficult making moves in the offseason is: Move A depends on Team B depends on Move C depends on Free Agent D, who is taking his sweet time to decide.
  • To that end, the Tigers tried to land James Shields before the Royals finalized the deal.
  • It’s very likely that everything ends up fine, but there is some nervousness in Boston that Mike Napoli has an issue with his physical. In short, the two sides agreed to a deal last week, and he was supposed to take his physical later last week. That didn’t happen. Then he started his physical on Monday, with an expectation that his deal would be officially announced yesterday. That didn’t happen. Is there a concern? Are the two sides trying to renegotiate a deal in light of whatever hang-up is lurking? Again, I doubt anything crazy happens here, but this deal falling through would have a profound impact on the market. Not only does Napoli – possible tainted by injury concerns – re-enter the market, but the Red Sox start looking for a right-handed power bat all over again.
  • As expected, the Dodgers are entertaining the idea of locking down Clayton Kershaw, a free agent after 2014, to a long-term deal. The number being throw around? $30 million per year. Hooray, Dodgers!
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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.