Lukewarm Stove: Suddenly the Phillies Don't Want an Outfielder, LaRoche Returns, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Suddenly the Phillies Don’t Want an Outfielder, LaRoche Returns, More

Chicago Cubs

stoveIt’s been a relatively quiet first week of January. Contrast that to last year, when the Cubs traded Carlos Zambrano for Chris Volstad and traded Andrew Cashner (plus) for Anthony Rizzo (plus) in this first week of January. Maybe that means moves are nearing …

  • Just a couple days ago, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said this: “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.” Perhaps recognizing the lack of wisdom in so publicly showing his hand, Amaro now says this, per Matt Gelb: “We’re likely going with what we’ve got [in the outfield] …. There’s some risk in going with a possible double platoon or letting the guys we have battle it out for playing time. There are some advantages to that, as well. The best-man-wins type of scenario can be created and likely will be created in spring training. At the same time, a lot of these guys are not proven everyday major-league players. But that doesn’t mean they cannot become them.” While he wouldn’t rule out adding an outfielder, the way he characterized that pursuit would seem to rule out any notable players: “looking around for some low-risk, high-reward type of players.” Eh hem. In my most Chad Ochocinco-y voice: “Chiiiild, please.” The Phillies are *clearly* not comfortable breaking camp with unproven outfielders at both corner positions (and without a big right-handed bat in the middle of the lineup – no, Michael Young doesn’t count), and I see no reason to count them “out” on an Alfonso Soriano trade unless the two sides simply can’t come to an agreement on value. (Or if Soriano decides he won’t go to Philly.)
  • To the point: this morning, Ken Rosenthal reported, in a piece about a variety of teams’ remaining needs, that the Phillies are still trying to find a right-handed hitting outfielder.
  • Scott Hairston made some sense for the Cubs for a variety of reasons. He can play all over the outfield, crushes lefty pitching, and is likely to come on a short-term deal. But, if the Cubs were ever in on him, they aren’t anymore. Hairston’s agent says the free agent is down to the Mets and the Yankees. It must be a New York thing. While neither seems like a perfect fit, it’s fair to wonder whether the loser would have any interest in Soriano.
  • The Red Sox remain “hopeful” that they can work out a deal with Mike Napoli, says Peter Abraham. I explained yesterday why the Napoli/Sox deal probably matters to many, many other teams in baseball, and it just got placed into even greater focus now that …
  • The Nationals are set to re-sign Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal for about $24 million (plus an option), according to various reports. LaRoche had been holding out for a three-year deal, and reportedly had been talking to the Red Sox while the Napoli situation played out. Does his re-signing mean the Napoli deal will get done? Does his re-signing mean Michael Morse is now squarely on the trade block? I don’t know about the first, but I’d say the answer to the second is a very clear yes.
  • Morse being on the trade market probably hurts the market for Soriano slightly, but I think teams were probably always anticipating that Morse was going to become available – at least once it became clear that LaRoche wasn’t going to the Rangers, and probably wasn’t going to the Red Sox. Further, Soriano is a much better defender in left, and that’s saying something. If the Phillies, for example, think they can hide him in left with Ben Revere in center, though, this could get interesting. Morse is under control for 2013 at $6.75 million, and is a free agent after the season.

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.