Wednesday Evening Winter Meetings Update: Samardzija, Choo, Boggs, Tanaka, Kemp, Nationals, Axford

Social Navigation

Wednesday Evening Winter Meetings Update: Samardzija, Choo, Boggs, Tanaka, Kemp, Nationals, Axford

Chicago Cubs

winter meetings 2013Tomorrow is getaway day at the Winter Meetings, which means the clock is ticking on getting moves done by the totally artificial deadline …

  • The Cubs are among the teams interested in reliever Mitchell Boggs, according to Jayson Stark. This didn’t get its own post because Boggs had an exceptionally awful season last year after an exceptional season in 2012 after a bunch of meh the years before. In other words, I don’t know whether this is a legit bullpen piece, or a guy you grab on a minor league deal. Losing a mile and a half to two miles off of your formerly mid-90s fastball could bring you down, as it did for Boggs, who turns 30 in February. Guaranteeing Boggs money seems like a risk not worth taking. A minor league deal with a nice split contract, if he wants it? Sure.
  • No real surprise, but Ken Rosenthal confirms that the Blue Jays have checked in on Jeff Samardzija, but found the asking price to be too high. Apparently they don’t like it when names like “Sanchez” and “Stroman” come up.
  • The Mariners are probably out on Shin-Soo Choo after picking up both Corey Hart and Logan Morrison today. That could leave them plenty of money to go after someone like Masahiro Tanaka, though.
  • Speaking of Choo, Jeff Passan hears that he’s already got at least one seven year offer, and Jeff Wilson hears he’s asking for $22 million per year. That’s essentially Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract, if you pair those two things up, which is nuts. I could justify a seven year, $105 million ($15 million AAV) deal for Choo if he’s dead set on seven years, but it’s a mistake beyond that. (UPDATING as I type, the Rangers reportedly have a seven year offer out to Choo, but for less than the $153 million that Ellsbury got. If it’s nine figures, you should take it, Shin-Soo.)
  • Will the Cubs make that mistake? Jed Hoyer wouldn’t say yes or no when asked by Jim Bowden whether the Cubs are in on Choo. As I surmised today based on Scott Boras’s comments, I think the Cubs probably are in on Choo … but at a much lower price point than he wants/other teams are offering. If Choo really does have a seven year offer on the table, I can’t fathom it’s from the Cubs – nor could I fathom everyone saying the things they said today if the Cubs were putting themselves out there like that.
  • Hooray: the Diamondbacks’ number one target is Masahiro Tanaka. Wasn’t it Matt Garza just this morning? Pretty much every big pitcher out there not named Jeff Samardzija. I’m sure there’s no public negotiating going on here. None at all. “Dear Cubs, if you do not trade us Jeff Samardzija at a reasonable price, we will not only not pay you a premium for Samardzija, we’ll also take Tanaka from you or anyone else. Sincerely, Bluffer McBluffington III.” To be sure, I don’t think everything the Diamondbacks do is geared toward trying to get Samardzija from the Cubs. Hell, I think it’s possible that that ship has already sailed. But I think it’s odd than an organization that just last week was very publicly indicating that it had just enough money to add one inexpensive player or two has suddenly found the resources to add Mark Trumbo and be in on the biggest names on the market. Or maybe it’s just the rumor I saw that had the Diamondbacks totally feigning their interest in Shin-Soo Choo in order to get the Angels to pull the trigger on that Trumbo deal.
  • Speaking of Tanaka, Bruce Levine once again says, for realsies, the Cubs will be in on him. I like Tanaka very much for the Cubs’ position and rebuild, but it’s unfortunate that the narrative on the offseason has gotten to the point where a Tanaka signing would almost feel like a placatory kind of thing, rather than a good move for the long-term. It would clearly be the latter, but it would also be nice to shut some people up (and maybe sell a ticket or two).
  • Justin Masterson was briefly on the market, but, thankfully, the solid righty has been told he won’t be traded.
  • The Dodgers have apparently told Matt Kemp’s agent, definitively, that they will not be trading him. If true, the Dodgers will probably continue working to move either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford. If they ate enough salary, I still think either could be interesting for the Cubs, but that’s a long-shot, to say the least. More likely, the impact here is the rest of the outfield market, such as it exists.
  • The Orioles are in discussions with John Axford, in whom the Cubs are also believed to have interest. The Cubs’ primary negotiating advantage with a guy like Axford is the ability to offer him the opportunity to close. The Orioles can offer that as well.
  • The Mets signed Bartolo Colon to a two-year, $20 million deal. That’s a couple years on a rebuilding club for a 40-year-old. Maybe they’ll try to flip him, or maybe they’re going to try and win as many games as possible over the next two years. They have already added Curtis Granderson, and their performance will be an interesting test case for the Cubs, given the similarities in their situations. The nice aside about Colon to the Mets is that it didn’t knock a team out of the running for Jeff Samardzija since the Mets were not likely involved in any Samardzija talks.
  • Don’t worry about Edinson Volquez becoming a flip candidate for the Cubs – the Pirates have agreed to sign him for $5 million for 2014.
  • The Nationals got their lefty reliever from the A’s in the form of Jerry Blevins (a Cubs farm-hand from many moons ago), so those already-dead talks with the Cubs about James Russell are now doubly-dead. Like a decapitated zombie.

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.