Friday, December 04, 2009

Some Small Notes...

- Bruce Levine says the Cubs will in fact deal Bradley soon and the likely scenario will be a three or four team deal involving the Rays, Mets, Cubs, and another team. Players involved would be Pat Burrell, Milton Bradley, Luis Castillo, and maybe another player.

- The Cubs need some veteran help in the pen and rotation according to Levine. He names J.J. Putz and Ben Sheets as targets.

- The Cubs want to add a CF and a person to platoon with Fukudome in RF or the newly required guy for CF. They are looking at Mike Cameron, Rick Ankiel, Coco Crisp, and Marlon Byrd according to Levine for the CF vacancy. I like the Mike Cameron/Rick Ankiel angle. If the Cubs are looking for a right handed platoon player for RF they should target inexpensive players such as Rocco Baldelli, Gary Sheffield, Xavier Nady, or the more expensive Vladimir Guerrero. All have smashed lefties over their career but only Nady and Baldelli give them more options to play all around the outfield. I would love to land Granderson or sign Ankiel then sign Sheffield, Baldelli, or Guerrero. Nice lineup with those guys in there.

More to Come....

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Fox and Miles Gone..More Moves Coming????

- Aaron Miles and Jake Fox were traded today to Oakland for minor leaguers. The Cubs also sent a million bucks to the A's. The Cubs got pitcher Jeff Gray, infielder Matt Spencer, and pitcher Ronny Morla. Gray went 0-1 in 24 games last season with a 3.76 ERA. He also struck out 14 and only walked 4 in 26 innings. Morla pitched in low A-ball and was 1-7 with a 4.86 ERA. Matt Spencer is an outfielder and a first baseman and batted .294 with 26 doubles, 3 triples, and 9 homers in 2009 in Double A.

Looks like a good deal for the Cubs. They were able to stock their system with some young talent while removing 1.7 million bucks by trading Miles away and getting value for Jake Fox who really does not fit in the NL. Looks like a good trade on both fronts. I wish they would have traded for Rajai Davis though.

- According to Diamond Notes the Cubs and Cards are in the lead to sign free agent Vicente Padilla. This is unusual to me because why would the Cubs throw millions at a pitcher when they have so many other holes to fill. I am somewhat for signing him but nothing over a couple million a year. It should be noted that it said formal negotiations will not begin until after the winter meetings. Very interesting and hard to believe.

- The Cubs are still very interested in Curtis Granderson but would prefer to move Milton Bradley first. The Cubs also will not give up Carlos Marmol, Starlin Castro, or Andrew Cashner to get Granderson. Some of the prospects traded to the Cubs today could be used in a deal for Granderson or another outfielder according to sources close to the Cubs.

- The Bradley for Burrell talks are still going on and Tampa seem like the likely fit for Bradley.

- Jim Hendry feels trades will be the focus of the Winter Meeting next week. I can still see the Cubs trading for an outfielder or 2nd baseman and also the Cubs trading away players like Mike Fontenot, Sean Marshall, and some other prospects to get a player like Granderson. The Cubs will of course have to trade Bradley.

- Saito and Polanco are off the Cubs list. Saito signed with the Braves and Polanco will play third for the Phillies. On a side note, it amazes me that the Phillies signed Polanco to a 3 year 18 million dollar deal to play third base. Too much money for a non-third baseman. Makes no sense.

- With Felipe Lopez and Orlando Hudson not being offered arbitration the Cubs have a lot of interest in both players but will see what happens with Bradley because they could acquire Luis Castillo in a possible three way deal with Tampa Bay. Otherwise Hudson and Lopez remain high on the Cubs list.

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Cubs Hot Stove Talk....

Bruce Levine's Latest-

- Jim Hendry is trying hard to deal Bradley to the Mets or Rays or a combination of the 3. We have already heard a swap that included Luis Castillo, Burrell, and Bradley. Lets hope that actually happens.

- There is ZERO chance Bradley is a Cub next season according to Levine. I totally agree with him.

- Chone Figgins is too expensive money wise and Granderson will cost two really good young players so neither one is likely to be on the Cubs next season.

- Andrew Cashner is expected to be in the Cubs' plans sometime in 2010 while James Russell figures to be int he plans after the 2010 season.

- Levine says the Cubs need to address their bench next season. I think they should just add two outfields to replace Reed Johnson and Milton Bradley and a starting 2nd baseman. That would leave Jeff Baker, Andres Blanco, Koyie Hill, Jake Fox, among others that would provide a strong bench for the Cubs.

- Ricketts likes Derrek Lee a lot and will likely sign a one-year extension during the Spring with some sort of an option. I would not mind seeing 3 more years of Lee.

- Levine looks at Rick Ankiel as a "nice platoon player" for the Cubs. He says no one knows if Ankiel can a be production everyday player. How about signing Rick Ankiel and Mike Cameron or Rick Ankiel and Rocco Baldelli. Either one of those I would be thrilled with for next season.

- The Cubs could have interest in Ben Sheets due to his price and the Cubs payroll issues. One problem is his health problems

- Ricketts will not spend anymore money at least until Bradley is traded.

Other Talk.......

- Some media members think not offer arbitration to Harden was the right thing considering he would have to turn down 10 million for next season which he is not expected to get on the open market.

- Bradley is expected to be traded at the winter meeting next week. No shocker there.

- The Daily Herald stats there is some optimism that a deal could get done at the meetings next week with Texas or Tampa for Bradley. They then say the Cubs could move onto Marlon Byrd or Mike Cameron. Byrd has already been deemed to expensive for the Cubs, especially now because he got offered arbitration.

- ESPN says the Cubs may look to Vicente Padilla or Jarrod Washburn as a replacement for Harden. WOW! I doubt the Cubs have enough cash to sign one of those pitchers. If they are looking at that price tag why not sign Doug Davis? He is a much better option.

- The Cubs had interest in Rafael Betancourt until he was offered arbitration by the Rockies.

More as the Hot Stove heats up.........

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Cubs Poised To Sign Ankiel?

- According to sources, the Cubs are poised to sign Rick Ankiel as soon as Milton Bradley is traded. The Cubs have been linked to Ankiel recently along with Crisp, Cameron, Byrd, among others. This of course means the idea of the Cubs getting Granderson has diminished and the Cubs acquiring a CF via trade like Rowand, Davis, McLouth, etc has gone out the window. It is also rumored the Cubs will in fact offer Ankiel a multi-year deal so they can can make the money disperse more over years rather than him signing a one year deal worth a higher figure. I am in favor of this deal because I think Rudy Jarmillo can turn this guy around to a middle of the lineup threat.

- David Kaplan said the Cubs have in fact notified Harden, Johnson, and Gregg they will not be offered arbitration. Harden should be the only one offered but Hendry will make another big mistake.

- The Cubs will target some high risk, high reward pitchers this offseason with Noah Lowry heading the list followed by Mark Mulder, Brett Myers, and Eric Milton. I wonder if they would take a stab at former Cubs Mark Prior or Rich Hill?

- Danny Rodriguez is expected to sign with the Cubs. He has posted a 3-0 start with a 1.25 ERA in 6 starts this winter. Would likely be a minor league deal.

- Bruce Miles think the Cubs will tender contracts to all 9 arbitration eligible players. I disagree I think the Cubs tender contracts to everyone except Neal Cotts and Mike Fontenot.

- The Cubs efforts to trade Bradley have slowed and looking to deal him before the winter meetings is now unlikely. Why won't he just go away!

More Later.....

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rangers Inquire on Fontenot and Baker

- The Rangers earlier today confirmed their interest in acquiring a young cheap utility infielder via trade or free agency. Almost a day later we are hearing that the Rangers have called the Cubs about Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker. Mike Fontenot is considered a non-tender canaidate so the Cubs could be very eager to trade him, especially since he reached super two status. Fontenot really appeals to the Rangers because he will cost less than utility guys such as Mark DeRosa, Jerry Hairston, Adam Everett, or even Craig Counsell. Jeff Baker would be ideal as well but as of right now he is the starting 2nd baseman for the Cubs and is not likely to be trade bait.

- The Cubs are not going to sign Marlon Byrd according to sources. He is too expensive for the Cubs which is why Rick Ankiel appeals to them so much.

- The Cubs will not offer any free agents arbitration.

Until Next Time....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Some Cubs Talk......

- According to the Tribune the Cubs have interest in Takashi Saito. Saito is drawing interest from a lot of clubs and the Cubs should be interested but not for the price he will likely get. I think the Cubs need more bang in the lineup rather than pitching.

- The Cubs like Rick Ankiel and CoCo Crisp for CF next season. Ankiel would provide the Cubs the middle of the lineup type hitter and could come at a cheap price because of his bad numbers last season. He could bounce back by working with Rudy Jaramillo in Chicago. Crisp is another option but with his numbers decreasing since 2004 the Cubs may not want to take a gamble on him.

- The Cubs still are trying to convince the Mets to give them Luis Castillo for Milton Bradley but the Mets want to get another team involved.

- The Cubs have told Ryan Theriot to work at 2nd base just in case Starlin Castro makes the big leagues out of Spring or they make a move for a cheap veteran shortstop. Sources say Orlando Cabrera could be an option and may come with a price tag of one year 2 million. Another option is Miguel Tejada even though he is likely to seek a multi-year deal.

- My proposed trade for the week-
Cubs get Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, and Oliver Perez
Mets get Carlos Zambrano, Milton Bradley, Sean Marshall, and Jeff Stevens

The money is almost even with Mets taking on 76 million and the Cubs taking on 74 million which is only a 2 million dollar difference. Beltran and Zambrano do have no trade clauses but I know for a fact that Z would waive it to go to the Mets. He said a couple times NY is one of the places he would consider pitching if he was not in a Cubs uniform. Beltran is unknown but I could see him wanting to get out of the bright lights of New York.

The Cubs would have Beltran, Castillo, and Perez for two years which is better than having all that money tied up in Zambrano for the next possible 4 and Bradley for the next two. The Cubs would get their middle of the lineup type hitter that plays really good defense and has a plus arm in Beltran. Castillo would provide them with good defense and a top of the lineup guy with decent speed. Perez could be used in the rotation and hope his arm gets better, but he is mainly a contract dump.

The Mets would get another ace to add to John Maine and Johan Santana. They would get a guy with attitude issues but could benefit from a change of scenery and could provide them with numbers he put up in Texas. The Mets also get some pen or rotation help in Marshall and Stevens. Affordable young pitchers are always a plus in the big apple.

I think this a good trade for both teams involved. What do you think? Discuss....

Til Next Time.....