Lukewarm Stove: Berkman, Olt, Upton, Phillies Outfield, Diamondbacks Desires, Garza, More

stoveTwo Lukewarm Stoves in one weekend? Insanity!

  • Yesterday, the Rangers took out the big guns to sign the Big Puma (or Fat Elvis, if you prefer … which I do), Lance Berkman, to a one-year, $10 million contract. The deal comes with the possibility of an option worth probably another $10 million, which vests if he reaches 550 plate appearances in 2013 (with a $1 million buyout, so it’s almost like a $1 million incentive). If it seems like a lot of money for a soon-to-be-37-year-old who missed most of 2012 with serious injuries … it is. It has the faint smell of desperation, which I hate to ascribe to an organization as well run as the Rangers, but after they repeatedly missed out on targets this offseason, and were set to enter 2013 considerably worse on paper than in 2012, maybe they felt like they absolutely had to land a bat. Berkman was set to retire, so maybe he would have continued to play only for a healthy payday. In any event, the signing has a number of possible implications: (1) it leaves even fewer at bats for third base prospect Mike Olt, who was already going to have a hard time finding regular playing time (unless they trade Mitch Moreland, which I suppose is possible); (2) hard to see the Rangers having any interest in Alfonso Soriano anymore, if they ever did; and (3) maybe they look to really solidify the team for 2013 now, and become more interested in adding a pitcher like Matt Garza.
  • Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Rangers are still trying to pick up Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks, and are pushing that Olt be one of the primary pieces in the deal. If Rangers want to build Upton package around Olt, it means they’re looking to move Olt, but it also means they probably won’t move him until they know Upton can’t be had for a package featuring Olt. In other words, if the Rangers don’t land Upton in a deal involving Olt, a Spring Training trade involving Garza and Olt becomes slightly more possible.
  • The Orioles and Diamondbacks have discussed a Jason Kubel swap, but the Diamondbacks are looking for young pitching, which the Orioles don’t want to give up. If the Diamondbacks are looking to pick up young pitching in a deal for Jason Kubel or, presumably, Justin Upton, the Cubs probably aren’t going to be a good fit. They do have some nice pitching prospects, but most are quite young, and fraught with risk.
  • If the Orioles are looking at Kubel, though, it could be a sign that they’d consider Alfonso Soriano, who could offer similar production and better defense at a lesser price (depending on how much of the $36 million left on his deal that the Cubs eat). The Orioles have long seemed a plausible trade partner in a Soriano deal, but we don’t know whether Soriano would consider waiving his no-trade rights to accept a deal to Baltimore. In general, they fit his stated requirements – East Coast team, competitive in the near term, would probably let him play some outfield.
  • Speaking of Soriano, the Phillies are getting pretty open in their desire to pick up a corner outfielder. From GM Ruben Amaro: “We’ve had several talks with free agents, although they’re limited now. We’ve also talked about some possible trades. We’re staying active as far as that is concerned. We’re still trying to improve, depth-wise, in our outfield, if we can. We don’t have proven everyday Major League players on our corners right now. If we can create some depth there, if we can create some competition, I would like to do that.” That’s about as plain as you’ll ever hear a GM make things. He may as well have just said, “Dear MLB, we want a starting corner outfielder badly. Kthxbye.” The Phillies must be strongly interested in both Kubel and Soriano at this point.
  • Theo Epstein spoke to Nick Cafardo, and identified Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija, and Darwin Barney as part of the team’s current “core.” Cafardo also speculated that the Cubs are willing to move Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano, the former if he shows he’s healthy in Spring Training, and the latter if the Cubs can get a “quality” return.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren says the team has not ruled out the possibility of re-signing Michael Bourn. Although re-signing him wouldn’t cause them to give up a draft pick, they would then not receive the compensatory pick they would have received if he’d signed elsewhere. In other words: re-signing Bourn essentially costs the Braves a pick.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

    more cubs news

    MLBits: MLB Investigating David Fletcher, Giants Lose Jung-Hoo Lee for the Season, More

    MLB Notes — Major League Baseball is reportedly investigating former Angels infielder—and current Braves' minor league player—David Fletcher regarding allegations that he placed illegal sports bets with the same bookie that former teammate Shohei Ohtani's interpreter Ippei Mizuhara placed bets...

    The Cubs Have Signed YET ANOTHER Minor League Arm

    Once again, because the Cubs have signed so many in-season pitcher deals, I have to start with the same intro: The Chicago Cubs are seriously going off on the minor league pitching signings here after the start of the season....

    Cubs Farm Report | May 20, 2024: Tough Day for the Cubs Affiliates

    Cubs Farm Report — It was a rough afternoon for the Cubs affiliates, who were swept in four games and scored a combined 10 runs. However, Ethan Roberts made his first appearance with Iowa since 2022 and tossed a scoreless...

    Ever See a “2 RBI Walk” …?

    I've seen versions of this play first hand ... back in my little league days. But even then, it was saved for our fastest player, and it usually involved him immediately stealing second base after a walk, when everyone's guard...

    Cubs Set a Target Date for Dansby Swanson’s Return, Daniel Palencia Also On His Way

    First, a quick update I kept out of the headline: Nico Hoerner is not in the Cubs lineup today, as he continues to deal with left hamstring tightness. The Cubs have now blown past the maximum IL backdate optimization, which...

    Drew Smyly Reportedly Set for a Rehab Outing at South Bend

    [ankin_law] Chicago Cubs lefty Drew Smyly has been out on the Injured List with a right hip impingement since April 23, but he's getting much closer to finally returning. After throwing multiple bullpens and facing live hitters, it looks like...

    Site News! Welcome to Our New Official Legal Sponsor, Ankin Law!

    My friends. It’s time for a big announcement. Something very important to us here at Bleacher Nation, and something we’ve never really been able to do before. We have had a lot of great partners over the years, but we’ve...

    18 Years Ago Today, Michael Barrett Kindly Disagreed with A.J. Pierzynski

    With the Cubs having lost three of four against the Pirates this weekend, and with the offense listing along and injuries continuing to mount, I would understand if you're not in the mood for "hey, today's an anniversary"-type post. BUT!...

    Tough Stretch for the Offense, Down Series, Brown’s Role, Trade Target, and Other Cubs Bullets

    Without a game today, I wonder if we'll find out exactly what's going on with the reported Luis Vazquez call-up, or if we're going to have to wait until tomorrow. I can talk myself into explanations that don't involve a...

    REPORT: Cubs to Call Up Infield Prospect Luis Vazquez

    A surprising report tonight ahead of tomorrow's off-day for the Chicago Cubs. Another infielder is coming up, and he'd be making his big league debut in the process. It's defensive stud Luis Vazquez, a guy whom many had been calling...

    Latest News

    Justin Jefferson Didn’t Show Up to Vikings OTAs Today

    Death. Taxes. And an NFL star with contract uncertainty not showing up for OTAs. Those are life's three guarantees. Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson did not show up for the start of organized team activities, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter....

    Ever See a “2 RBI Walk” …?

    I've seen versions of this play first hand ... back in my little league days. But even then, it was saved for our fastest player, and it usually involved him immediately stealing second base after a walk, when everyone's guard...

    NFL Rookie QB Futures: Passing Yards Leaders, OROY Odds for Williams, Daniels, Maye, McCarthy, More

    While we're in football's offseason, there are still plenty of fun future betting options out there! With such a large contingent of first-round quarterbacks taken in this year's NFL draft, there are several NFL Rookie QB Futures out there to...

    MLB Hit and HR Props: Best Bets for Yankees, Dodgers, and More Tonight

    As the MLB season heats up, tonight's games offer a plethora of betting opportunities for baseball enthusiasts. From HR props to hits props, the matchups featuring teams like the Yankees and Dodgers are particularly enticing. In this article, we'll dive...

    MLBits: MLB Investigating David Fletcher, Giants Lose Jung-Hoo Lee for the Season, More

    MLB Notes — Major League Baseball is reportedly investigating former Angels infielder—and current Braves' minor league player—David Fletcher regarding allegations that he placed illegal sports bets with the same bookie that former teammate Shohei Ohtani's interpreter Ippei Mizuhara placed bets...

    How to Watch Nationals Games: Full 2024 Schedule, Live Stream and More

    If you’re a Washington Nationals fan and looking to watch their games on TV, most of them can be found on MASN but there are many other options as well. Let’s break down the cable and streaming options for watching...

    DraftKings $1500 Promo Code, Canucks-Oilers Odds, and More for Tonight

    It's an exciting night in sports as we have a game 7 between the Oilers and Canucks, MLB action, and more sports for bettors to get in on the action. You can score a DraftKings promo code as a new...

    Cubs Farm Report | May 20, 2024: Tough Day for the Cubs Affiliates

    Cubs Farm Report — It was a rough afternoon for the Cubs affiliates, who were swept in four games and scored a combined 10 runs. However, Ethan Roberts made his first appearance with Iowa since 2022 and tossed a scoreless...

    How to Watch Pirates Games: Full 2024 Schedule, Live Stream and More

    If you’re a Pittsburgh Pirates fan and looking to catch their games on TV, you can catch most of them on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh. Let’s break down the cable and streaming options for watching your Pirates, and check out the...

    Drew Smyly Reportedly Set for a Rehab Outing at South Bend

    [ankin_law] Chicago Cubs lefty Drew Smyly has been out on the Injured List with a right hip impingement since April 23, but he's getting much closer to finally returning. After throwing multiple bullpens and facing live hitters, it looks like...

    more cubs news