Lukewarm Stove: Pitching Possibilities, Yoon, Hammel, Jimenez, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Pitching Possibilities, Yoon, Hammel, Jimenez, More

Chicago Cubs

lukewarm stoveThe rest of the Cubs’ offseason is likely to be very pitching-focused …

  • We haven’t heard much about Korean righty Suk-Min Yoon since he headed back to Korea without a deal in December. The Cubs were at one time heavily connected to the 27-year-old, but there haven’t been any new Cubs-Yoon connections in a couple months. Well, something might be happening, as a Korean report indicates Yoon is involved in talks with four teams who’ve offered him a deal, and he could sign soon (h/t MLBTR). Whether the Cubs are one of those four teams, we don’t know, and how teams are viewing Yoon’s ability, we also don’t know. Prior to 2013, Yoon was considered a top arm in Korea’s highest professional league, but a notch below Hyun-Jin Ryu, who came to MLB last year and pitched exceptionally well. That said, Yoon had some shoulder troubles in 2013, and was temporarily moved to the bullpen. His velocity reportedly isn’t where it was in his mid-20s, and he may no longer have big league rotation-caliber stuff. Tough to peg a price on a guy like that.
  • According to Darren Wolfson, by the way, the Twins – one of the most prominently mentioned teams when it comes to Yoon – are not inclined to meet Scott Boras’s asking price for Yoon just yet. I suppose that suggests Yoon’s agent isn’t asking for a song.
  • Chris Cotillo reports that there are five teams in on Jason Hammel – to whom the Cubs have been connected frequently this offseason – and a decision could come as soon as this week. Of the lower-tier options available to the Cubs, I tend to like Hammel (as a Chris Bosio magic, positive regression, possible flip type guy) and Yoon (if he can be had on a low-risk deal) the best. Hopefully the Cubs are also in on some of the currently-available Cuban arms, too.
  • Jon Heyman was on MLBN earlier this week, as noted by MLBTR, and suggested that Ubaldo Jimenez’s price tag may have to come down to the three-year, $39 million range. If so, I mean, I know I keep banging this drum, but … the Cubs have to be involved. Yes, I prefer many of the arms that project to be on the market in 2015, and yes, I think the first of those three Jimenez years would be effectively wasted on a non-competitive Cubs team in 2014. But, as we’ve said before, you have to sign guys when they’re available, and, more importantly in this instance, you take any chance you can get at surplus value. The Cubs won’t have a protected first round pick forever (God forbid), and, having one now means they have a “price” advantage over many of the other bidders for Jimenez (i.e., he costs the Cubs a second rounder, while he costs many other teams a first rounder). If the Cubs believe 2013 Jimenez (with his reformulated pitch mix) is the real deal, I can see a great deal of value in a three-year, $39 million contract for Jimenez. And if he proves in 2014 that he is that guy, then the Cubs will have plenty of options going forward. Maybe he helps solidify the rotation in 2015 (maybe after Jeff Samardzija is traded?). Maybe he is, himself, traded. The point is: you capture surplus value, in whatever form, when you have the opportunity.
  • That said, at 3/$39 million, I’ve gotta believe Jimenez would have a ton of suitors, many of them likely looking more attractive than the Cubs.
  • The Mariners may make another big move yet, says Heyman, which has always made sense (aside from the rumblings of being out of cash), given the splurge on Robinson Cano. Maybe they end up taking a run at Jimenez (or Ervin Santana). Ken Rosenthal says that a trade for Jeff Samardzija or David Price is possible, but unlikely.
  • Matt Guerrier had a nice little run with the Cubs last year before he had a problem with his flexor mass (or he had a flexor mass – are you supposed to have a flexor mass?), but he’s on his way to Minnesota on a minor league deal.

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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.