Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Minor Signings, Moves Impacting Moves, Levine Notes, and Much More...

- The Cubs have signed Andy Sonnastine and Manny Corpas to minor league split deals. Both are decent signings and a low risk/high reward move for the Cubs.
- The Cubs signed Jason Jaramillo to a minor league contract. He will likely battle the two young guns for Soto's backup. This could be a sign the Cubs are no longer interested in signing Jason Varitek. Or they could deal Soto and still sign Varitek because I doubt Jason takes a minor league deal.
- To confirm the thought on BleacherNation the Cubs are in advanced talks with many teams about Garza. I am hearing the Red Sox and Jays are two of them.
- I put a Garza trade before Opening Day at 60% because of how the talks have increased.
- In that same post at BleacherNation Brett has a juicy tidbit about Ryan Dempster saying if the Cubs truly wanted to move him and it was a good trade then he would consider waving his NTC.
- I can see the Cubs having interest in Kyle Drabek of the Jays if Gaza is moved but he will not be the centerpiece of the deal.
- Four prospects the Cubs would have some interest in if Garza is traded to the Jays are Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino , Travis d’Arnaud , and/or Noah Syndergaard.
- JimBowdenESPNxm on Twitter says the Cubs along with the Rays, Indians, and Cubs are looking at trading for Mark Trumbo or Anthony Rizzo.
Here is the latest from Bruce Levine
- His response to why Byrd is still in Chicago telling. He says because the Cubs have not signed CoCo Crisp yet or traded for a young CF from the Jays. Then adds in Byrd will be gone. I get three things from this 1) He knows something 2) He is reading the signs 3) He is trying to sell his site and chat more. I think it is a combination of all three.
- Levine states he is one of the few that think the Cubs have a shot at Fielder. He goes on by saying the Cubs have had continuous "intense" talks with Scott Boras.
- Levine stats the obvious that the Cubs are entertaining trading Garza to add younger pitching to the minor or major league level. He also name drops Kyle Drabek and Deck McGuire.
- Levine names CF prospects Anthony Gose and Jake Marisnick as two guys that the Cubs could obtain for Garza from the Jays.
- He thinks that Soto will be the catcher next season but not the future catcher; making Geo trade bait.
- Bruce thinks the Cubs will make a run at Rizzo but is not sure if the Padres and Cubs match up well trade wise. The Padres are looking for young cheap pitching.
- Levine thinks the Cubs need to sign Castro to an extension. I totally agree and I would go 6+ years.
- Levine says there is zero chance the Jays would give up Lawrie and I agree.
- Bryan LaHair maybe a stop gap for the Cubs next season according to Bruce.
- BleacherNation once again has a great write up on the Cuban outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler. Because of the thought that Soler could sign in the summer and Cespedes will sign this month I would not count out the Cubs signing both this season. Both fit the direction the Cubs are heading.

Until Next Time…

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas To All!

I want to take this time to thank all of you that visit and contribute to my blog on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. This is the time of year where we smile a little easier, be a little nicer, hug a little longer, and yes let the cheesiness come out in all of us. This is of course no exception!

I want to say thank you to everyone from Hot Stove Cubbies. Once again it is you; my devoted readers and followers (on twitter) that have made this site become better and better. You guys have pushed me to make this site one of the top Cubs rumor blogs on the Internet (just ask my visit counter, it broke!) and I really appreciate it. In the coming year we are once again going to move forward to make this site even better. There are new and exciting avenues I am exploring right now to take the blog to limitless expectations. So I suggest you all stay tuned for updates on that.

Make sure everyone follows me on Twitter @HotStoveCubbies and check the blog for in depth right ups and other features.

Once again thanks to all for contributing to the success of Hot Stove Cubbies. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Report! Cubs Trade Marshall to the Reds

The Chicago Cubs have agreed to a deal that was rumored last night starting with Ken Rosenthal. The Chicago Cubs have traded Sean Marshall to the Reds for Travis Wood and 2 minor leaguers. We talked about the rumor deal in today's post which you can find here. No report on the minor leaguers involved but here is to hoping Neftali Soto, Ronald Torreyes, Henry Rodriguez, and/or Tony Cingrani are in the deal!

The deal will be completed and announced once each player passes a physical. Look for updates here and on Twitter from Hot Stove Cubbies.

Cubs News and Notes: Marshall, Soriano, Re-build, Lefty Pitchers, and Much More..

- The Chicago Cubs have agreed to terms with Reed Johnson on a one-year deal. Johnson will likely be the 4th outfielder and fits the mold of the recent signings; good defense, runs bases well, takes walks, and plays multiple positions on the field well.
- Adding Johnson does not mean Soriano or Byrd will be dealt but it does not hurt the chances either.
- The Cubs have been discussing a deal with Reds that would send Sean Marshall to Cincy for Travis Wood according to a report late Tuesday night from Ken Rosenthal, This move would be a classic move for the future the Cubs brass and fans have been waiting for. Marshall is owed $3.1M in 2012 and is a free agent in 2013 (he will be due a hefty raise). Wood is only 24 years old, a lefty starter, and pre-arbitration eligible. Looks good to me!
- Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago is reporting a deal is close while @eyeonbaseball on twitter is saying a deal is not.
- The Cubs have been in contact with both Paul Maholm and Jeff Francis according to MLBTR.com but they both could be collateral damage if the Cubs acquire Travis Wood.
- The Cubs could be acquiring to minor leaguers in the deal as well. Although I am told they are not top prospects but quality players in the minors.
- Players I would love to have that are not top 10 prospects on the Reds are 1st baseman Neftali Perez, infielder Ronald Torreyes, infielder Henry Rodriquez, and/or Tony Cingrani.
- There were rumors that the Cubs could then flip Wood for a position player like Rizzo but that has been debunked by CubbiesCrib.
- The Chicago Cubs are going to completely rebuild according to David Kaplan. You can see the story here. Although I see his thought process the troubling thing is none of this information is coming from a Cubs source at least that is what I am reading. I also question the signings of DeJesus and Johnson along with the trade of Stewart if they were completely going young and rebuilding.
- @thekapman on Twitter is David Kaplan and he has some more information regarding his story above. Here is what he is saying-
************* He says his MLB sources have been talking with the Cubs and Theo and Co. is committed to a full scale rebuild.
************* He says the Cubs will listen on everyone except Castro.
************* They are not in on Fielder.
************* He says these are not external sources.
- I honestly hope Kaplan is right because that means Soriano, Z, Marmol, Wells, Soto, Byrd, Dempster, etc should not be here on opening day because a full scale re-build is essentially a fire sale. I can understand re-signing Wood and keeping Dempster though because they are Cubs ambassadors.
- Theo Epstein made two more hires for the front office personnel with hiring Matt Dorey as national cross-checker of amateur talent and Kyle Evans he is a former pro scout for the Red Sox.
- The Chicago Cubs announced their minor league managers and staff here.
- The Cubs are still on Fielder but others are making offers according to sources. The thought is the Cubs are still interested but only on a 6 year or less deal. No way they do 7+ years.
- The Rangers are still eyeing Andrew Bailey according to Ken Rosenthal so my question is; are they still interested in Carlos Marmol? The Rangers had rumored interest earlier this offseason.
- The same goes for the Red Sox who say to have interest in Bailey as well. Could they still be in talks with the Cubs about Marmol?

Until Next Time…

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How the Red/Padres Trade Affects the Cubs

The Reds sent an overwhelming package of prospects to the Padres for Mat Latos. That package of players included Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger. Now this affects the Cubs in many ways so lets get down to it-

- The Cubs and Rays are among the most serious teams interested in Anthony Rizzo you can find his outstanding minor league number here. He is only 22 years old and has some limited ML experience after doing so well in the minors. He is now view as expendable from other teams and the Padres because of the acquisition of Alonso.

- The price of Matt Garza just went through the roof because of what the Padres got of Latos. Although do not get too excited because Latos is only 24, not arbitration eligible until 2013, and does not hit the open market until 2016. While Garza is 28, is due for a high arbitration raise, and is a free agent in 2014. Both have comparable numbers but Garza has more experience.

- I am surprised at the reports that the Padres are interested in Garza because he will likely be owed 8+ million next season and is a free agent in 2014. I guess I don't understand the swap of Latos and Garza because of cost issues with the Padres. Unless the Padres are serious about winning in the next two years which could be possible.

- I am hearing from my sources that the Cubs like major league ready players like Chase Headley and Kyle Blanks as well as prospects Grandal (who they recently required from the Reds), obviously Anthony Rizzo, 3rd base prospect Jed Gyorko, lefty Robert Erlin, and former Red Sox prospect Casey Kelly.

- I don't think it would be out of the question for the Cubs to obtain Anthony Rizzo, Chase Headley, Kyle Blanks, Robert Erlin, and Casey Kelly for Matt Garza, Ian Stewart, and Josh Vitters. That is really comparable to what the Cubs gave up for Garza.

- I am hearing the Padres have very little interest in Geovany Soto or Carlos Marmol now.

- If the Cubs did get Grandal or Gyorko or multiple pitchers they could deal Soto, Vitters, or Marmol to add even more depth to their minor leagues.

- On Twitter @CubsDen has a similar thought that a 3rd team would have to get involved to get a deal done. He suggests (I agree with) that Garza would go to 3rd team, San Diego gets prospects, Cubs get Rizzo, pitching prospect, and 3rd player. I would think the Cubs would get more than just 3 players for Garza. Getting Texas involved would be ideal and getting Anthoney Rizzo, Martin Perez, Chase Headley, and Robert Erlin would be amazing but I might be dreaming a bit.


- Cubbies Crib on twitter teased us on a possible Zambrano for Volstad so check there site here for updates.

- Another one of Hot Stove Cubbies friends will have a ton of information today I am sure and that is Bleacher Nation which you will find here.

- The Cubs are interested in signing Paul Maholm to a contract. He would a great pick up especially if the Cubs deal Zambrano and acquire a pitcher or two for Garza.

- The Cubs remain interested in Prince Fielder but many think that is either not true or a smoke screen. Your guess is as good as mine on Fielder, it is a headache trying to follow it.

I think you will be seeing my Twitter blowing up today with re-tweets, suggestions, rumors, and news regarding Rizzo and others. Please stay tuned to @HotStoveCubbies and here for the latest Cubs talk!

Until Next Time...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cubs Stove Talk Update...

UPDATE 11:00 PM- The Cubs are currently negotiating with Paul Maholm. No word yet if talks have progressed but he would be nice depth in the rotation and likely would end the Cubs pursuit of Joe Saunders if Paul is signed.

- Several sources (most notably the New York Post) are reporting that the Jays are believed to have won the bid on Darvish with a bid larger than $40M. There will not be an announcement until Tuesday or Wednesday
- I have not heard anything on how much the Cubs have bid but one source says it is large but not expected to win.
- Bleacher Nation has some great spin on the Jays winning the Darvish post. He says it probably takes them out of the Fielder race, it leaves the Rangers in the market for Matt Garza, and it may spur the Yankees on to wanting to acquire someone like Garza even more.
- The Chicago Cubs finally have their coaching staff together by finally naming Dave McKay as their 1st base coach. McKay is known for great outfield work with players and great base running knowledge. He will be a great asset to the team. McKay joins, Dave Sveum (manager), Judy Jaramillo (hitting coach), Chris Bosio (pitching coach), Jamie Quirk (bench coach), Les Strode (bullpen coach), and third base coach Pat Listach.
- Yoenis Cespedes has not taken up residency yet so he is not a free agent but that should change soon.
- The Cubs are still very much in on Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler as well.
- Believe it or not Chase Headley (my favorite target this offseason) is still on the Cubs radar. He is the most coveted and likely to be dealt by the Padres.
- The Red Sox, Rangers, Angels, and Royals all have interest in Carlos Marmol.
- It is hard to determine what is true or false with the conflicting reports out there so I will defer you to a site that has more patience that I do on the Fielder front. Bleacher Nation has an “Obsessive Prince Fielder Watch” found here.
- The Cubs maybe waiting on Darvish before actually engaging in on talks with pitchers like Rich Hill, Joe Saunders, and Tim Wakefield.
- The Cubs maybe also be waiting on Darvish to make moves in general with all the smoke and no fire the past week.
- Want two other names the Cubs are interested in? Omar Vizquel and Wilson Betemit. The Cubs view both these players in the utility role because they are good defensively; can play multiple positions well, and in the case of a great clubhouse guy and mentor Vizquel provides those intangibles.

Until Next Time..

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rumors Going UP and DOWN...

Rumors have slowed down for the Cubs but there are some still out there so let’s take a look-
- Multiple reports are saying the Cubs are interested in CoCo Crisp. If that deal is made my source says look for Byrd or Soriano to be heading out the door.
- The Cubs are one of 10 teams interested in Luke Scott. The Cubs view him as a bench player and nothing more.
- The Cubs did in fact bid on Yu Darvish and depending on what you websites you visit depends on who they thing won the bid. I have seen the M’s, Blue Jays, and Cubs all as rumored to win the bid. One source says the Darvish high bid was REALLY high so we will have to see.
- The Cubs remain interested in lefty Joe Saunders and have talks with his representatives. A two year deal worth around $14M-$17M sounds about right.
- The Cubs do have some interested in a reunion with Rich Hill.
- If you have not heard the Aramis Ramirez Era with the Cubs have officially ended with him signing with the Brewers. Aram was one of my favorite players on the Cubs until last season when I realized how selfish of a player he is. I am thankful for his years as a Chicago Cub but I am glad the Cubs are moving in a new direction.
- Matt Garza is now rumored to be in line for a possible extension according to reports. So it sounds like he will either get an extension or be traded.
- The Cubs have offered contracts to all their arbitration eligible except Koyie Hill who is now a free agent. Thank goodness.
- More talk about Jason Varitek has come up in respect to the Cubs backup catcher position. At Hot Stove Cubbies we mentioned this 3 weeks ago.
- The talk with the Cubs and Prince Fielder is increasing of late. It is hard to judge is there is movement on that front but a late report last night suggested Boras is seeking a 10 year deal for Fielder. I am betting the Cubs don’t go beyond 6 for him.
- The Cubs are still very much interested in Kendry Morales who was tendered a contract. But his asking price is way too high for a guy that has not played baseball in 2 years.
- The Cubs are also very much interested in Ike Davis but his asking price is “unreasonable” according to a source close to the Cubs. It sounds like the Mets would rather hold onto Davis.
- The Cubs took a nice step forward in improving Wrigley and the area around it by purchasing the land across from the field occupied by McDonalds. They will keep the McDonalds in that location but will use the rest as an entertainment project.
- David Kaplan feels a 5 year deal worth $25M a year and a 6th option year would be enough to get Prince on the north side. I think that is what the Cubs are offering but I am not sure Prince would jump at that especially if an American League team is offering 7 to 8 years.
- Peter Gammons comes out swinging by saying the Cubs are willing to pay 15 million of the 18 million a year left on Soriano contract to get him traded. I honestly say I can see that getting an American League team interested.
- Gammons also says a Zambrano trade might happen in the next couple of weeks and speculates that the Marlins is the likely landing spot.
- Of course there is a conflicting report with Gammons that says Z might be more likely to stay with the Cubs than go.
- The Cubs have some interest in veteran knuckle-baller Tim Wakefield. I like that idea!
- The Cubs are still very much in on several International free agents like Cespedes, Chen, and Soler.
-The Cubs are interested in a sign and trade with the Yankees for SS Hiroyuki Nakajima. He is a 29 year old right-handed hitter with great number in Japan. He has never hit below .300, his lowest OBP is .361, averages about 16 SB a year, and has hit over 20 homeruns the past 3 years. Definitely a guy I could see the Cubs interested in.. Whether it is a nice bench player or even starter at 2nd if he can produce similar numbers to what he did in Japan.
Until Next Time..

Saturday, December 10, 2011

3 Way the Cubs Way!

With the numerous trade and free agency rumors surrounding the Cubs I am going to try to link some together that not only maximizes value for all teams involved but also fulfills the direction Theo and Co. are going. I will use the information obtained by rumors sites, radio, and of course my sources. This trade scenario is not a rumor by any means, I am just trying to link several rumors together in the form of one trade so here we go!

First off the rumors and news-

Cubs: They need an upgrade at 1st base but according to Theo it cannot jeopardize what they are doing for the future. The Cubs have been linked to just about everyone but Ike Davis, Kendry Morales, Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland, among others have been talked about a lot. Now the Cubs could give up youth to get some of these players or they could dangle several of their valuable pieces like Carlos Marmol, Carlos Zambrano, Geovany Soto, or even Matt Garza to obtain a first baseman. The Cubs are also looking to get younger in the rotation as well which is why it is important to get pitching in a potential deal.

Rangers: The Rangers may have just saw their division hopes fade with the Angels signing Pujols and their former ace C.J. Wilson. Now it is rumored that the Rangers are wanting to make a splash of their own. The Rangers have been linked to Matt Garza since last season when they tried to acquire him before the Cubs did. The Cubs and Rangers have talked about a Garza trade but they said the price is too steep. The price may have been too steep before the Angels signed both Wilson and Pujols but now they are in a different position which could really favor the team dealing with them. The Rangers are reportedly going to be big players on Fielder as well in fact most think Prince likely destination is Texas. Now for the Rangers to land Prince they could shed salary but they may not be necessary according to sources close to Nolan Ryan. One thing to note is the Rangers farm system is good and they have great depth in several areas including middle infield and pitching so dealing young players in that area of the field is easier than lets say catcher.

Mets: The Mets feel they will not be relevant for at least another 2 years according to some sources. Many media outlets are reporting the Mets are putting all their players on the market with exception to David Wright. One player that could fetch several young prospects is Ike Davis which is why the Cubs and Mets have talked about him. Now the price of Ike Davis is about as steep as Garza so the Cubs would need to acquire some peices through another trade to get Ike. The Mets are looking for infield help and pitching so that is likely what they would ask for in return for Davis.

The deal-

Cubs get: Ike Davis, Alex Ogando, and Martin Perez
Rangers get: Matt Garza, Carlos Marmol, and Jonathan Niese
Mets get: Jurickson Profar, Mitch Moreland, Josh Vitters, and Trey McNutt

What it takes-

Cubs: The Cubs have to get rid of some of their excess in the farm to get some top prospects in return to help them in the very near future. Giving up ML ready pitchers Garza and Marmol do clear up about $15M this season and at least $10M next season by dealing both pitchers. The Cubs are looking ahead and both Marmol and Garza are likely to be gone in 2 years when they elect free agency. The Cubs also are giving up two young prospects in the deal with Josh Vitters and Trey McNutt. Vitters really does not fit the philosphy of the new Theo era with good defense. McNutt is a player you have to give up to get the quaility you are getting in return. Josh Vitters was rated the #70 best prospect in baseball in 2010 but has sense dropped out of that discussion. Trey McNutt is ranked the 48th best prospect in baseball in 2011.

Rangers: Like I said in the opening now that the Angels have put pressure on the Rangers look for them to overpay some for the players they want. The Rangers give up two good pieces from their ML roster in Mitch Moreland and Alexi Ogando. Both are valuable pieces to the team but in the big picture they are expendable because of what they get in return. The Rangers also give up their future all-star SS Jurickson Profar who ranks in the top 10 prospects of 2012. Martin Perez is also dealt and is in the top 25 best prospects of 2012. The Rangers give up a lot but it is on par with what the Cubs had to give up to get Garza.

Mets: The Mets give up only two players but they could hold more value than some of the players that the Cubs and Rangers give up because Niese is not arbitration eligible until next season and won't be a free agent until 2016 and is only 25. Ike Davis is also not eligible for arbitration until next season and won't be a free agent until 2017. Ike is only 24 years old. Those are two very valuable pieces and worth what they received when you break it down.

Now what they receive-

Cubs: The Cubs get their first baseman of the future that is only 24 years old and Major League tested and ready. There is only a once in a great while opportunity you get a player that is under 25, has had success, and is not even arbitration eligible yet.

The Cubs also get a guy who is a young 28 years old (just over a season in the ML) and won't be arbitration eligible until 2014 and won't be ready to leave for FA until 2017. Ogando has electric stuff and is smart beyond his years.

The last guy the Cubs get for their package of players is Martin Perez. This guy has been compared to Johan Santana and rightfully so. He is only 20 years old and pitching for Texas' AAA affiliate. Projected as a number 1 or 2 starter in the Bigs he has great movement and command on his pitches. This player could start in Chicago next season if this trade were to happen.

Rangers: The Rangers just put themselves back in the drivers seat by adding Matt Garza to their rotation and Carlos Marmol to their already deep bullpen. Marmol provides insurance for Joe Nathan and would a nice 1/2 punch. The Rangers rotation is already good but got even better by adding a 25 year old lefty in Niese. When you have Garza and Niese back to back it is hard not to be worried if you are an AL west team.

Another thing that should be noted about the Rangers is I am assuming they will land Fielder to replace Moreland at 1st which makes this trade look even better for the Rangers.

Mets: After seeing Jose Reyes leave; the Mets will stop licking their wounds and start making their team look a lot better for the future. The Mets gave up two very talented players but would likely not get the talent they did trading them in separate deals. The Mets get their next Jose Reyes (Profar maybe better) in Jurickson Profar. A 18 year old that is in the top 10 best prospects in baseball on every list published.

Since the Mets have no immediate replacement for Ike Davis at first they get a more experienced older lefty bat in Mitch Moreland. He is only 26 years old and not arbitration eligible until 2014.

The two players they receive from the Cubs is Trey McNutt who is their top prospect pitcher and their top 3rd base prospect Josh Vitters who will likely replace David Wright when his contract expires.


Each team gives up quality talent but in the end all the players each team trades and receives achieves their ultimate goal and philosophy.

So did I hit the mark or miss it completely? Who is getting the better deal? Or is it fair? Feel free to comment or tweet me @HotStoveCubbies.

Until Next Time...

Friday, December 09, 2011

Stewart, Non-Tender, Darvish, and more...

- The Cubs traded D.J. LeMahieu and Tyler Colvin to the Rockies for Casey Weathers and Ian Stewart. Stewart is arbitration eligible so the Rockies are likely to save $2.6M in the deal. The Cubs get there much needed third baseman. I am not as mad as yesterday about the deal but I just don't understand giving up LeMahieu and losing Ryan Flaherty to the Rule 5 draft.

- Stewart is labeled as the starting 3rd baseman right now according to Jed Hoyer. He says they did not give up what they did to have him as a atilt player.

- The Cubs are likely waiting for the Non-Tender deadline to pass before making anymore deals. Rumor has it that Kendry Morales maybe non-tendered in which case the Cubs will sign him.

- The only possible position players I see the Cubs looking at is James Loney and Kendry Morales. Pitching wise there are several players they should look at to add depth like Andrew Miller, Mike Pelfrey, Chris Volstad, Joe Saunders, Andy Sonnanstine, Taylor Buckholtz, and Rich Hill.

- Cubs not too serious about Kuroda.

- The Cubs do have interest in Mark Trumbo but he may not be available.

- We heard earlier today that there have been several talks about the Mets young lefty 1st baseman Ike Davis. A deal could be done fast but both the Mets and Cubs will wait until the Non-tender deadline on Monday before discussing more. You can find the stats for Ike Davis here.

- Cubs have two big sticking points with Prince Fielder. Him wanting at least 7 years and a no-trade clause.

- The Cubs have claimed Jeff Bianchi off of waivers from the Royals. Find more on him here. Looks like he is a valuable replacement for LeMahieu although no real ML experience.

Until Next Time..

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Last Day of Winter Meeting Rumors, News, and Notes...

- I first want to say goodbye to Cub killer Albert Pujols as he packs his bags and heads to the West Coast after signing a 10 year $254M deal with the Angels. There is nothing I like more than the cries of angry redbirds about how things are not fair. My answer to you is you guys is your management should have signed him to an extension years ago and never signed Matt Holliday to that horrible 7 year $120M deal. You bid against yourself when you got Holliday and that cost you Pujols.
- The Cubs have taken Ricky Alvarez Ricky Alvarez and Lendry Castillo Lendry Castillo
- The Rangers and Angels are very interested in Matt Garza. The Angels are also interested in Carlos Marmol.
- Yu Darvish was posted today and will go through the 4 day bidding process. The Cubs are expected to be big time bidders on Darvish. We should know by Tuesday who won the bid.
- The Cubs are still in on Ian Stewart but also still like Chase Headley. We will likely hear more of these two in the up and coming weeks.
- The Marlins remain interested in Carlos Zambrano. I am hearing the Cubs will probably pick up a pitcher before trading their depth away unless they get a pitcher in return for their pitcher. I hope that makes sense.
- The Cubs are expected to go hard after 28 year old oft-injured, switch-hitting 1st baseman Kendry Morales and/or 25 year old Mark Trumbo. It should be noted that Trumbo could be a candidate for 3rd base because the Angel scouts are sure he would do well at 3rd and could be the starting 3rd baseman next season for the Halos if not dealt.
- The Cubs are still in on Prince Fielder regardless of what Peter Gammons says. Gammons said the Cubs do not have money to spend on Fielder which makes no sense because they plan on bidding on Darvish ($40+M), submitted an offer to Pujols (more $ than Fielder is asking for), and are in on Cespedes (looking for a 5 year deal $60M). Gammons needs to check his sources. One thing that the Cubs are up against in Fielder is the other AL west teams. The Mariners are increasing their deal to Fielder to 7 years $160M according to two different sources of mine. Another source says he expects the Cubs up their pursuit and try to sign him quickly. The Rangers are also actively in on Fielder.
- The Cards are not in on Fielder but will instead upgrade SS and outfield. They are targeting Rollins (I see him signing with Philly) and Beltran. They plan on using Berkman at 1st. Pujols really made the Cards a weaker team.
- The Cubs were one of the four finalists for Pujols according to sources.
- If you don’t follow me on Twitter you should because I tweeted this hours ago: This is my trade idea- Garza, Marmol, Vitters, and McNutt to the Angels for Morales, Trumbo, Trout, and 2 top pitching prospects. I may be dreaming but there is tremendous value for both teams going both ways. The Cubs could use Morales at 1st, Trumbo at 3rd, and Trout in RF.
- Levine says the Cubs are involved in the International market as well stating they have great interest in Yoenis Cespedes, Jorge Soler, and Geraldo Concepcion. We have heard about the first two but not a lot on Concepcion which I have a hard time finding anything on him.

Until Next Time..

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

WInter Meetings Day 3- Cubs Talk Up but Moves Are Not

- Depending on what reports you read the Cubs are in on Prince Fielder. The latest suggest Fielder is looking for a Ryan Howard type deal 5/$125M which I think is reasonable and the Cubs need to offer soon.

- Seattle and the Marlins are not in on Fielder.

- The fish have pulled their offer from Pujols but he still has two 10/$200M+ deal out there but the Cubs are not one of those teams.

- Theo says the Cubs are looking toward building the future and is concentrating on smaller moves.

- The Cubs still like Stewart from the Rockies but the Rox are asking for LeMahieu which the Cubs rightfully turned down.

- The Marmol for Headley rumors are buried because the Padres acquired Street from the Rockies.

- The Pirates have joined the Stewart derby.

- The Cubs are still very much interested in a number of players including Chase Headley but are awaiting the Pujols decision.

- The Mets are shopping just about everyone but officially they are shopping Jonathon Niese and Ike Davis. Niese name has not came up on the radar for the Cubs yet but they should be interested in the lefty. One name that the Cubs are considering and in talks with the Mets on is Ike Davis. Davis is 24 years old, solid defensively at 1st base, a lefty bat, and is not even arbitration eligible yet. The Mets are looking to get a number of young players for Davis and the Cubs could offer Vitters, Trey McNutt, Chris Carpenter, Andrew Cashner, or even Matt Szczur.

- The Cubs are interested in Pujols but on a 5 year deal. The Cubs are not the mystery team offering 10 years.

- Pena and Ramirez will not accept arbitration.

- The Braves have called the Cubs on Darwin Barney according to a source.

- Still reports out there that the Cubs are interested in Kuroda because he is seeking a short-term high annual salary deal.

- All signs point to Wood signing a deal with the Cubs. Likely to be more than last year's super discount.

- Jed Hoyer says Fielder reports are "overblown." I did not expect him to say anything more than that.

- Zambrano is still in play for Marlins but many expect Z to start the season with the Cubs.

- Ken Davidoff says a friend of Prince Fielders says the Cubs really interest him. I am sure he can put up big numbers hitting in Wrigley for half a season.

That is it for today hopefully things start heating up more move wise!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Winter Meetings Day 2: Late Afternoon Update

Here is a late afternoon update to summarize what happened late last night until now. Here we go-

- The Cubs are currently shopping Soriano to the O’s as only a salary dump. The Cubs are expected to eat 75% or more of this contract to get a deal done. The Cubs would likely just receive a PTBNL.
- Numerous reports suggested the Cubs made an offer to Pujols with just one (Carrie Muskat) denying those reports. I then heard two of my sources say an offer was made just disagreeing on the amount. One source said the Cubs offered 5 years with an option for 6 at $165M over the life of the contract while the other stats an offer of 5 years $145M has been offered. That same source also stated he expects the Marlins to go as high as 10 years $260M with a NTC for Pujols. That is not to far off from reports of 10 years $220M with a NTC.
- The Angels and Cubs are the most active on Ian Stewart according to Jon Morosi.
- The Chicago Cubs plan on making an offer to Prince Fielder in today’s meeting. According to this source the Cubs could go as high as 6 years with a 7th option year. While other reports suggest the Cubs prefer Fielder over Pujols and would like to sign Fielder at less years but higher annual salary. One report says 5 years $160M could be an offer the Cubs would submit to Boras.
- Paul Sullivan says if Pujols lands in Miami that will cause the Fish to deal Gaby Sanchez in which the Cubs would have great interest in because he fits in their long-term plans. I see Gaby more as a guy that fits now with a low salary and has 3 arbitration years left which could take us up to the Vogelbach era.
- There are rumors of a possible opt out clause in play for Fielder and Pujols which would give the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and Cubs a chance to land them in 2-4 years.
- Phil Rogers is saying the Pujols situation IS GOING TO BE DECIDED in the next 36 hours. I would have to agree especially with reports that the Marlins have offered 10 years and the Cardinals will have a chance to submit their bid before a decision is made; it is a make or break for both teams.
- Bleacher Nation is saying one of his sources has been swayed from Garza “probably not” going to be traded to “probably.” Peter Gammons even thinks he will be eventually traded.
- Bruce Levine names James Russell as a possible target for the Padres for Headley. Sounds good to me.
- The Cubs are getting several calls on two players recently; Darwin Barney and Randy Wells.
- Epstein says he is interested in bringing back Rodrigo Lopez but maybe he is just kidding because I just don’t see why with all the other pitchers on the market.
- Carlos Pena will not accept arbitration according to numerous sources.
- The Marlins are really concentration on Pujols but that did not stop them by meeting with the Cubs about Carlos Zambrano. The Marlins wanted to know the asking price on Z. I would take Christian Yelich! Actually I would trade him just for salary relief at this time.
- The Cubs are cooling on Stewart and the Rockies asking price.
- The suitors for Fielder are dwindling. The known are the Cubs, Mariners, Blue Jays, and Brewers.
- The Cubs are reluctant to give Fielder 7 years like he is seeking. Mariners may go 7 to get him which makes sense since he could DH later in deal.
- Sveum said they have not talked to Prince which is likely true because all talks have been with Boras.

Until Next Time..

Until Next Time...

Monday, December 05, 2011

Day 1: Winter Meetings Rumor Roundup

Lets take a look at the rumors swirling around Cubland in the first day and a half of the Winter Meetings-

- Congrats to Ron Santo for taking his rightful place in the Hall of Fame. It is a shame that it happened after his passing but I am sure he is clicking his heels in the ballpark in the sky.

- The Chicago Cubs will not trade Garza for anything less than what the Brewers gave up for Grienke. That is a good package and the Cubs should not settle for anything less.

- The rumors around the Cubs interest in Kuroda are legit until you heard the asking price of 2 years 30 million. Like they say on SportsCenter "Com' on Man!"

- The Cubs are still interested in Stewart but look at him as a back-up plan to Headley.

- The Rockies like Colvin for Stewart which is understandable but remember Stewart is a non-tender candidate.

- The Cubs called the Marlins on Hanley Ramirez but his asking price was way too high. If the Cubs acquired Ramirez they would have played him at 2nd.

- BleacherNation stated on Twitter (@BleacherNation) that the Cubs are trying to get Headley and Kyle Blanks in the same deal. If Theo and Co. can pull that off then they are even more smarter than I think.

- MLBTR says the Cubs are looking at Pujols but want to offer him higher annual salary with less years. Like maybe 5 years $150M?

- The Cubs have called the Mets on Wright but his asking price was "offensive" according to a Cubs source.

- The Padres are very interested in moving Headley, Hudson, and/or Bartlett. There is a rumor out there the Padres want to attach Hudson with Headley in a move to the Cubs. If that happens the Cubs may only have to give up Marmol and a minor leaguer. Which would be huge. I would give up Carlos Marmol, Josh Vitters, and Tyler Colvin for Orlando Hudson, Kyle Blanks, and Chase Headley.

- The Chicago Cubs are getting teams calling them on Soriano, mostly AL squads. They would like the Cubs to pick up the bulk of the money owed ($54M). I would pay 40+ to get a deal done if I was Jed and Theo.

- There is some Placido Polanco talk because the Phillies are interested in signing Aramis Ramirez so naturally Polanco has been linked to the Cubs. I do not see a fit with so many other 3rd baseman on the market via trade.

- The Cubs have met with Dan Lozano today. He is Albert Pujols agent and it just so happens he represents Rodrigo Lopez. Muskat says the Cubs are interested in bringing back Lopez and I ask WHY!?!?!

- Craig Counsell is waiting to see if he gets any offers before retiring. The Cubs would like him to be a coach.

- The Cubs really like Fielder but will not go over 6 guaranteed years for him.

- The Cubs have expressed interest in Marlins 22 year old 3rd base prospect Matt Dominguez. He is a great defender but has not done well in the minors. He is a career .255 hitter with .325 OBP in the minors but he is playing above his age. He moved from High A to AAA last year at the age of 21.

- Rosenthal and Morosi say the Cubs are in on C.J. Wilson. With the Nationals offering a 6th year I do not see the Cubs as a fit.

- I just got an interesting name in the email I received from a source of mine. This source says the Cubs have contacted the Orioles about 3rd base prospect Josh Bell. He did have a cup of coffee in the majors so it is hard to judge him there so here is his minor league stats. I put him in the same category as Matt Dominguez.

I am sure there will be more rumors come out as the night goes on. So check me out on Twitter @HotStoveCubbies for the latest rumors and news.

Until Next Time...

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Lets Get Ready To Rumble, Winter Meetings Style!

The Winter Meetings have not even started yet but the rumors are flying around. Lets get caught up over a busy weekend.

- It was first reported that the Rockies wanted DeWitt for Stewart. Of course that would have been a really good trade for the Cubs which is why the Rockies asked for Colvin and a prospect instead. I say not thanks!

- Speaking of third baseman. I have been hearing from numerous sites and my sources that Chase Headley is a top target for the Cubs during the Winter Meeting. One source says he would be shocked not to see Headley make his way to the Cubs by next week.

- A player the Padres want in return for Headley, Carlos Marmol.

- The Padres and Red Sox are the most active in pursing Carlos Marmol.

- The Cubs like Mark Burhle but not his asking price of 4 years $50M.

- Cubs did lose out on Capuano to the Dodgers but 2 years $10M is over paying for a guy like Capuano.

- Congrats to Chris Bosio to landing the Chicago Cubs pitching coach position.

- OK, so the Brewers offered Prince 6/120! The Cubs should automatically offer 5 years with a 6th option year for $160M.

- If the Cubs were to trade for Justin Upton then they would have to send Carlos Marmol, one of Matt Szczur and Trey McNutt, and an top 10 Cubs prospect.

- The Cubs are active talks with lefties Wei-Yan Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada. Both became unrestricted FA on Thursday. It is reported that the Cubs like Chen better than Wada because of his age (26 years old) and price (4 years $20M).

- Yu Darvish is expected to be posted during or shortly after the meetings. The Cubs are expected to bid on the young righty.

- If the Cubs want to deal Soriano for another bad contract, as I reported on twitter some guys he could be dealt for like Chone Figgins, Barry Zito, Adam Dunn, Jason Bay, Carl Crawford, Dice K, Vernon Wells. Here are some other possibilities Ted Lilly, Travis Hafner, Hanley Ramirez (especially if the fish land Jose Reyes), Nick Markakis, Mark Reynolds, Brian Roberts, Justin Morneau, Jake Peavy, and A.J. Burnett. Now some of these players are making less than Soriano and some are making more so money will likely be exchanging hands as well. Not to mention some of these players would require more than just Soriano to land in the case of Nick Markakis, Travis Hafner, Hanley Ramirez, and others. I just wanted to give everyone an idea of players and teams the Cubs could match up well with in a bad contract trade including Soriano.

- Monday morning could have great significance for the Chicago Cubs, the fans, and the Santo family. That is likely when they will learn whether Ron Santo will be inducted into his rightful place in the Hall of Fame. Santo needs 12 of 16 votes to be inducted by the Golden Era Committee which meets every three years and usually votes on managers, umpires, executives, and players who had a career impact on the game from 1942 to 1972. Bruce Levine reported yesterday that he talked to a industry source that says Santo's chances of being inducted are "excellent." I do want to note than this if the first year Santo has been on the Golden Era Committee ballot. He was passed over in past years by the stingy Veteran Committee lead by anti-Cub and anti-Santo leader Joe Morgan. If you can't tell I have no respect for Joe Morgan.

- Garza rumors are swirling but the is not letting it bother him. He did say he would like to sign an extenstion with the Cubs though.

- The Theo Epstein compensation maybe settled during the Rule 5 draft according to sources.

Keep in touch with the latest breaking news and rumors by following me on twitter @HotStoveCubbies and of course look at more in depth coverage of the Cubs news and rumor wise here on Hot Stove Cubbies.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Lot of Cubs Talk....

- Sources out of St. Louis said the Cubs have serious interest in Albert Pujols. Now I am still on the fence about Pujols unless he lands with the Cubs with a 5 year deal. This could be used to up the price on Pujols and hurt rival teams.

- Soriano is likely to be traded at the Winter Meetings according to a source of mine. He says that numerous lower tier AL teams are in on Soriano and the Cubs are "now" more willing to kick in cash than last year.

- The Cubs are looking to possibly add Chris Capuano for depth to the rotation. It is unlikely he would give a spot by signing a contract. He is a mid risk/mid reward pitcher and they type of guy you value as depth on your team.

- Theo Epstein says he has the best left-handed reliever in baseball and he will not move him in the rotation or much less to another team.

- Theo views are Garza are mixed because he says Garza is the type of guy he would like to build around but in return he could get a lot to build for the future.

- I will be the first to report this I am sure. The Mets have called the Cubs about Geovany Soto and the Mets may have moved on from Josh Thole or want a platoon with him according a source.

- Theo said he would like to add a power left-handed bat but is not going to force anything.

- The signing of DeJesus does not really affect Jackson according to Epstein. That is very telling.

- Opposing GMs think the Cubs trading Garza makes sense according to Jon Heyman of SI.

- Theo says starting pitching is the Cubs #1 priority at the Winter Meetings which starts Monday.

- Theo wants to build with a young core according to many media outlets. That is why Cespedes, Justin Upton, and Chase Headley are all running hot on the rumor mill. Headley is the oldest at 27.

- Building a young core and for the future could be a precursor to many things like getting rid of Byrd, Soriano, Zambrano, and others. It also could signal an interest in Fielder. Signing him to a long-term deal would build toward the future and enable a young foundation because he is only 27 years old.

- The Cubs have talked to the agents of Pujols and Fielder but many of my sources stat the interest in Pujols is to raise up the price and Fielder's interest is legitimate.

- Theo Epstein makes it sound like Brett Jackson will get some more time in AAA but a lot can change. He also says you will not see him too much in the Winter Meetings lobby next week.

- I think if the Cubs were to build for the future ideally it would signing Prince Fielder and Yoenis Cespedes; trading Soriano, Byrd, Wells, Soto, and Zambrano; trade for Chase Headley and Orlando Hudson; and acquiring a young package of players for Matt Garza and Carlos Marmol to build up the farm system. That would be my ideal moves towards the future of course with some filler moves in there as well by adding to the bench and the most important thing; getting pitching. Check out this nice lineup-

1. Brett Jackson CF
2. Orlando Hudson 2b
3. Yoenis Cespedes LF
4. Prince Fielder 1st
5. Starlin Castro SS
6. Chase Headley 3rd
7. Welington Castillo or Steve Clevenger C (or a catcher through trade)
8. David DeJesus RF
9. Pitcher

I got to say I really like it a really balanced as well!

Until Next Time…

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DeJesus Signs, Ricketts Talks, and Other Juicy Tidbits

- The Cubs have signed David DeJesus to a 2 year deal with an option for 2014. David will make $4.25M in 2012 and 2013 while having an option of $6.5M for 2014 with a $1.5M buyout.
- Jed Hoyer says DeJesus will likely be the starting RF for the Cubs next season. He also stats DeJesus is an asset to the team direction of getting better defensively, taking more pitches, and running the bases better.
- Like I tweeted before @HotStoveCubbies DeJesus is a cheaper and younger Fukudome. Although he will not strike out as much as Fukudome did. The most he has ever struck out was in 2009 when he got punch out 87 times in 627 PA.
- Hoyer says they have not given up on Tyler Colvin but he has to earn his spot on the team.
- I am hearing Tyler Colvin maybe the compensation for Boston for the Cubs getting Epstein.
- One source tells me this move was made because the Cubs want finalize a deal to send Soriano to an AL team during the winter meetings. Theo and Co. wanted to be sure to sign DeJesus before making that trade.
- The Pirates are very interested in Geovany Soto. The Angels were until the made a deal for Chris Iannetta. The Angels sent Chatwood to the Rockies for Iannetta and boy would I have liked Chatwood in a Cubs uniform.
- Jason Varitek and Kerry Wood signing with the Cubs could happen very soon.
- Hoyer has been in talks with Erik Bedard's agent but then again he has been in talks with a lot of agents.
- Bruce Levine says a good piece to pick up for Garza through Texas would be Alex Ogando. I would agree with that!
- Chase Headley is the Cubs top choice for taking over 3rd next year. The Padres still like the idea of Marmol as compensation.
- The Cubs may look to Justin Upton if they cannot land Cespedes. The Dbacks could ask for Garza and/or Marmol for Upton but Upton alone is not enough for Garza. Marmol is another story. Upton is only 24 years old, a great defender, and he hit .289 with 31 homers, 88 RBI, and 21 SB last season. He makes $6.75M in 2012, $9.75M in 2013, $14.25M in 2014, and $14.5M so he is affordable for the production.
- BleacherNation has a great write up interview with MLBTR.com’s Tim Dierkes.
- ESPNCHicago has Tom Ricketts speaking on free agency and much more. A must read!

Until Next Time..

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Quick Cubs News Update!

- Greg Maddux will not be rejoining the Cubs. He is likely to help out with his brother in Texas.
- The Cubs have named Jamie Quirk as bench coach.
- Cubs resign Crane Kenney on the baseball buisness side of things.
- Like promised BleacherNation has the case against Prince Fielder.

Until Next Time...

The Rumors are Heating Up!

Jim Bowden says the Cubs have been very aggressive with a wide range of free agents and trade talks.
- The Cubs will be listening on everyone according to numerous sources but most notably Matt Garza, Carlos Marmol, Geovany Soto, and Randy Wells.
- David Kaplan says the Cubs are “kicking the tires” on free agent outfielder David DeJesus. I just don’t see the need unless numerous moves are made in the outfield.
- The Cubs are interested in Ian Stewart and Chase Headley for their 3rd base vacancy. Both would be trade options although Ian Stewart would probably cost a mid-level prospect while the Padres could ask for Marmol for Headley.
- Matt Garza is gaining trade momentum for a number of teams but most notably is the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, and even the Indians.
- I am hearing the Indians want both Marmol and Garza. And they could be dangling Michael Brantley, Justin Masterson, and/or Carlos Santana. Getting Santana and Masterson would be ideal and a must for both Marmol and Garza.
- Pena and Ramirez are expected to decline arbitration.
- The Cubs are very much in on Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols according to many media outlets. The new CBA is effecting how the Cubs approach the off-season and could force the Cubs to spend an extra 20 million on payroll for next year. Thus it could force their hand in getting a big money, big bat 1st baseman for many years. From one source I am hearing the Cubs could be posturing some to drive up the price of their rivals. From another I am hearing the Cubs will not go beyond 6 guaranteed years for both and would likely increase yearly salary in exchange for less years. He even went as far as saying signing Pujols to a 4 year 160 million dollar contract with an option is not out of the realm of possibility. I see it as unlikely to pay someone near 40 million a season but I do trust in Theo’s judgment.
- A couple of pieces Theo and Co. really like and probably won’t deal are Sean Marshall, Starlin Castro, and Andrew Cashner.
- The Cubs will still be players on Yu Darvish if he is posted.
- Yoenis Cespedes is still a big target for the Cubs as well. The Cubs brass really like what they saw in the Dom. Rep.
- Ken Rosenthal has an update in regards to Pujols and Fielder saying the Cubs are more willing to go long term with a contract with Pujols than Fielder because Pujols is a better defender. He also says Fielder’s body is a concern which is why the Cubs would rather go short-term high dollar with him rather than Pujols. Now this contradicts what I am hearing and posted earlier in the post. I find it interesting they are willing to go longer for a guy who is 31 instead of a guy who is 27.
- Rosenthal has been all over today saying that several teams are “kicking the tires” on Alfonso Soriano but the teams expect the Cubs to pay a large portion of his contract. I am hearing 80% will have to be paid for the Cubs trade talks to start moving further along.
- BleacherNation has the case for signing Prince Fielder and it is a great read. They will have the case for not signing him later which I will post as well.
- Theo and Co. have been really quiet but leaks still happen maybe even on purpose. I am still amazed at the difference in the approach of the old regime and the new. Seems like my sources have been more active and right this off-season than most.
- Ron Santo will be up for the Hall of Fame once again but this time by the special ballot. We all will be pulling for Santo to be finally inducted.
- Muskat chimes in and says we will hear more about the coaching staff this week.
- Three newer names that are starting to buzz around trade talk in respect to the Cubs are Kendry Morales, Alex Gordon, and Mitch Moreland.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving Rumor Stuffed Turkey

- The Angels have interest in both Carlos Marmol and Geovany Soto according to BleacherNation.com. BleachNation's source says the Cubs have an interest in Hank Conger but that would not be the centerpiece of a possible package.
- In addition to that rumor I am hearing the Angels are one of many teams that have interest in Matt Garza.
- This is not a rumor but a thought I have. If the Angels do have legit interest in Marmol, Soto, and Garza I say send them all three and we will take a package of Kendry Morales, Mike Trout, Hank Conger, and two of Trevor Reckling, Garrett Richards, Fabio Martinez, and/or Daniel Tillman
- If the Cubs got that package then they should just release Soriano and sign Cespedes. An outfield of Trout, Jackson, and Cespedes would be amazing.
- HotStoveCubbies has also learned that the Royals have had multiple conversations about Matt Garza and Alex Gordon. Of course the Cubs would need more than just Alex Gordon but he would likely highlight the package.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pitching Coach, Garza, Cespedes, Fielder, and more

- Do you want to know more on the new CBA agreement? Check out BleacherNation .
- There is a rumor out there that indicates the Red Sox would like Tyler Colvin as compensation. I think that is more reasonable but I do not see that happening.
- Rudy Jaramillo will be back as the hitting coach under Dale Sveum next season. Sveum is also rumored to be bringing back friend Pat Listach and bullpen coach Lester Strode.
- Bobby Dernier and Ivan DeJesus will not be back and Mark Riggins is in question.
- I am still hearing Jim Hickey of the Tampa Bay Rays and Rick Kranitz Rick Kranitz of the Brewers are the favorites to land the pitching coach position on the Cubs.
- Lots of talk around Matt Garza including that the Rangers, Red Sox, and Yankees have all contacted the Cubs about him. New developments in the story suggest they may move him to not only build for the future but to get rid of the past. A rival exec told me that Theo and Co. are trying to include Carlos Zambrano and/or Soriano in a deal with Garza. The Cubs want to get prospects and get rid of one or both of Z and Soriano.
- It is unknown whether the Yu Darvish will be posted this year but the Cubs are expected to be players if he does.
- Hey folks, Yoenis Cespedes is a real target for Theo and Co. This all started with Jason McLeod going down to work out Cespedes and now Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein are in the Dominican meeting with him and one of his advisors. HotStoveCubbies has learned that Theo and Jed may have made or will make an offer to Cespedes before leaving the Dom. Rep.
- It looks like Sizemore will likely sign with the Indians and Mark Buehrle chances of coming to the Cubs are dwindling because of his asking price.

Here is the latest from Levine’s chat today-

- He expects the Cubs to be players for Cespedes and Darvish but says taxes may be a factor on international free agents.
- He expects the Cubs to be major players for Prince Fielder. If the Cubs could land Fielder, Cespedes, and Darvish they will compete next season for sure.
- Levine confirms Garza is on the trading block and says Texas has a nice system and could fetch the Cubs some top talent. I am hearing Mitch Moreland could be a possible piece.
- He sees the Cubs checking on C.J. Wilson and Mark Buerhle. I think they both will price themselves out of the Cubs range.
- Levine says Chris Boscio and Ed Seadar are possibilities as a pitching coach and bench coach respectively.
- He says Marmol has great value but most MLB execs look at him as overused.
- LeMahieu could be an option for 3rd next season.
- He does not see Vitters as an option for 3rd next season because of his lack of defense.
- He does not see the Cubs going after Jose Reyes.

Until Next Time…

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sveum New Skipper, Coaching, and Player Notes..

- Congrats to Dale Sveum to becoming the Chicago Cubs new skipper. Here is some quotes and notes from Jed, Theo, and Dale from the press conference and side meeting with the media-
· Theo says Dale knows the game inside and out and is a great combination of intelligence and instinct which is tough to pull off.
· Theo said he is sincere, direct, comfortable, strong, and respects the game. Dale expects these same qualities from his players.
· Dale says you need to play the game the same everyday, like it is the 7th game of the WS.
· The Cubs need to address bad defense and lack of power but learning to play the right way is most important.
· In regards to the coaching staff it will be a long process but will start today. He also has a list of guys he likes and wants to meet with existing coaches.
· Got the nickname of “Nuts” from his past but it has nothing to do with his lower half and has something to do with something stupid he did.
· In regards to the Cubs the past is the past and you have to try to establish a new winning tradition.
· Statistics are apart of the game now but you cannot totally rely on them.
· My opinion: Dale seems like a very smart, knowledgeable, and cool manager. I expect him to be much stricter on all players’ not just rookies which is different from the previous managers of the Cubs. He is going to bring a different look (just like Theo) to Cubs baseball and it will be a nice and much needed change.
- Early reports were Robin Yount would be a coach on his team but since then Sveum has squashed those reports by saying he won’t.
- I expect Pat Listach and Rudy Jaramillo to stay on staff.
- Mike Maddux pulled out of the manager derby because of family concerns and other issues. Maddux calls Sveum “one of the best baseball people I know.”
- A source told me that Jim Hickey and Rick Kranitz are on the short list of pitching coaches Sveum and Theo & Co. are considering.
- SS Junior Lake will be added to the 40-man roster. Another step in him making the Big League club out of ST.
- The Yankees among other teams have called the Cubs about Matt Garza. One team official says it sounds like it will take a lot of move Garza so a trade is unlikely. While another says if the Yankees include a couple of their top prospects like Montero, Romine, Banuelos, and/or Betances.
- Jason McLeod was in the Dominican Republic this week to see Cuban Star Yoenis Cespedes and things already look good because Theo Epstein along with Jed Hoyer are going to the Dominican to check things out as well. His value is going up because it is now being reported that he may seek 8 years 60 million which is not that bad considering the years you would get him.
- The word now the Cubs brass is using is “revamp the roster” not “rebuild” which could mean some activity is expected.

Until Next Time…

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

You Want Rumors! You Can't Handle the Rumors!

- Scott Boras confirms what I said on Saturday via twitter that he is expected to meet with Theo and Co. about Prince Fielder and Carlos Pena this week.
- The Cubs and Red Sox are trying to hammer out a comp. deal and Boston GM Ben Cherington said a trade between the clubs could fill the obligation for both teams.
- Carlos Marmol is being shopped around because of his price and the closer market. The Cubs could get 2 top prospects and a mid-level. The Giants, Dbacks, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Nationals, and Yankees are just a few teams that have interest in Marmol.
- Jed Hoyer said the Cubs are open for business and said they will listen on every player in the organization. Don't get worried; guys like Brett Jackson and Castro will be staying put.
- 4 trade names I am hearing a lot linked to the Cubs are David Wright, Chase Headley, Jon Danks, and Brett Anderson.
- Terry Francona is no longer a candidate for the Cubs position. He says he will not manage in 2012.
- Dale Sveum is the favorite for the Boston Red Sox managerial position and could be named this week.
- Pete Mackanin is no longer a candidate for the Red Sox position and is also unlikely for the Cubs according to one source.
- The two favorites for the Cubs job that I am hearing are Sandy Alomar Jr. and Mike Maddux. Mike Maddux is still addressing family matters otherwise I think he would have been named by now.
- Sandberg unlikely to land a coaching position in the majors according to sources but I think that could change once the Cubs name their manager.
- A source of mine says the Cubs will make an offer to Fielder but it will not be beyond 4-5 years. Fielder and Boras are looking for an 8 year deal worth 200+ million.
- The Cubs added Shiraz Rehman as Assistant GM. You can find out more about him here

- Carlos Zambrano is expected to get a chance to EARN his way back on the team according to Theo Epstein. No word on what he has to do to EARN it.
- I am hearing interest between the Cubs and Sizemore is mutual and the Cubs view him as a possible fit for RF.
- The Cubs are interested in Chone Figgins but only if the M’s take Zambrano and Soriano in a deal. The Cubs would be willing to pay all of Figgins contract and half of Soriano’s to get the deal done according to sources.
- The Cubs so far balk at C.J. Wilson’s asking price of 6 years $100M.
- There will be no formal 2nd interviews by the Cubs just phone calls and possibly one meeting with Tom Ricketts. If you are meeting Tom Ricketts chances are you go the job.
- The Cubs did do a phone interview with DeMarlo Hale and feel he is in the same position as Francona was that they did not need to put him through the ringer like the other candidates.
- A decision on the manager could be announce this weekend at the earliest and I am guessing we will be hearing a press conference announcing the next manager Tuesday.
- The Cubs are considering placing a bid on Yu Darvish. Some say the posting fee could be between $20M and $50M and I can see the Cubs bidding between 20-30 million for him.
- The Cubs and Padres have talked about Headley and Vitters could be apart of the deal but nothing is close according to my source.
- The same source said the Padres have called on Carlos Marmol, Tyler Colvin, and Josh Vitters among others. Obviously taking the Cubs up on the “listening on everyone” report we heard today.
- Jed Hoyer says he would like to move in on the decision making phase this week on a new manager.
- Bruce Chen has a possible offer from the Cubs according to MLBTR

- The Cubs have great interest in Justin Upton and could offer up Marmol in a deal.
- Bruce Levine says the Cubs adding Jason Veritek is not if but when. He also speculates that when he is added Soto will likely be dealt and the Cubs will bring up one of their young catchers to replace Soto and learn under Jason. I like the idea!
- The Cubs have been in constant contact with Mark Buehrle and he could fit in nicely behind Garza in the rotation. He has strong interest from the Yankees, Cards, and Marlins and is commanding a 4 year deal so that could be a sticking point. Not to mention him pitching on the wrong side of town for many years and he is a die hard Cardinal fan.
- Jason McLeod was sent to the Dominican Republic to watch a private workout of Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes. He could command 6 years 30+ million dollars.
- Kerry Wood is likely to come back to Chicago and could sign very soon.
- Levine said he saw Francona as the favorite to land the Cubs job… OUCH! I have noticed that the Chicago Media has been really lacking of late in the rumor department and outside sources like Cubbies Crib, Chicago Cubs Online, Bleacher Nation, my site (Hot Stove Cubbies), and others have been leading with breaking news and rumors. Which could be attributed to a lot of things but most notably their source is no longer on the baseball side. Yes, I mean Crane Kenney.
- Bryan LaHair is still considering playing in Japan.
- If Marmol is traded Shark or Cashner could be the closer according to Levine. I also would not count out Marshall or Wood for the position.
- Jason McLeod is scouting 19 years old OF Jorge Soler in the Dominican Republic while he is down there looking at Cespedes.
- The Cubs could be looking at Aaron Harang, Livan Hernandez, and Chris Capuano according to the Sun-Times. I can see Capuano because he is left-handed but the other two do not make sense to me.
- If the Cubs deal Sean Marshall and/or Matt Garza this year it is because they got a “can’t be beat package of prospects.” One rumor stats now a Garza deal would fetch more than what the Cubs gave up getting him. Marshall could fetch one top prospect and one mid-level. For example if the Yankees called on the Cubs about Matt Garza the deal would have to include two of Gary Sanchez, Manny Banuelos, and Jesus Montero plus two mid-level prospects, and a minor leaguer.

Until Next Time…

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Quick Hits...

- The Cubs look set at the current managerial field. They have interviewed Pete Mackanin, Dale Sveum, Mike Maddux, and Sandy Alomar Jr. Alomar is considered a dark horse while Maddux looks like the front runner.

- Maddux and Alomar definitely did the best in their interviews in my opinion.

- There is an outside chance more guys could be interviewed but it is unlikely. The two Boston candidates have likely been removed because of an agreement not to raid their staff.

- Epstein said the Cubs are likely to be very active in the free agent market but that does not mean a ton of moves. He says by the end of it they are likely to sign a free agent or two.

- Theo and Co. are saying the Cubs are a long way from where they want them to be but that does not mean they cannot contend next season.

- Ricketts and Team Theo have the same vision with playing youth and developing the farm system. This could cause a player like Carlos Zambrano to be traded and Soriano to be released.

- The front office brass really likes Trey McNutt, Brett Jackson, and Junior Lake. Lake may even get a shot to win a spot out of Spring Training.

- There are reports that Terry Francona "deep down" wants to be the Cubs skipper. I seriously doubt that but even so I like Alomar Jr. and Maddux more than him.

- Greg and Mike Maddux have discussed being apart of the coaching staff if Mike gets the job but that is as far as Mike went on his comment.

- Yoennis Cespedes is for real and will likely get a deal that exceeds the 6 year 30 million dollar deal Chapman got from the Reds. The Cubs are extremely interested and could sign him to that deal. The guy looks like a cross of a younger Sammy Sosa (hitting) and Andre Dawson (defense) but with the speed of Carlos Beltran when he was with the Royals. He looks for real and I have not seen a guy with these tools at his "age." See it for yourself here.

- Of course there is talk out there about Aramis Ramirez coming back because interest is low and also rumblings the Cubs may make a play for David Wright but here are some other 3rd baseman on the trade wire the Cubs are linked to according to my source. Ryan Roberts of the Arizona Dbacks, Jack Hannahan of the Cleveland Indians, Chase Headly of the Padres, and yes even talk about Hanley Ramirez of the Flordia Marlins. Side note on HanRam, he may be the odd man out in Florida because of clubhouse issues and the pursuit of Jose Reyes. Trading Hanley and the bulk of this 3 years 46 million could allow the Marlins sign a guy like Reyes and Pujols or Fielder or Cespedes along with Madson. It should be noted Theo has high regards for Hanley. I could see a Zambrano and a couple of prospects for Hanley. I would love to get Hanley Ramirez and Gaby Sanchez in a deal together but that maybe asking too much!

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Cubs Rumors: Sizemore, Wright, Maddux, Sveum, Pitching, Big Z, Trade Partners, and Much More...

- Ken Rosenthal thinks Grady Sizemore can get a one year deal worth a base of $9 million. If that is the case you can but an X through the Cubs as a landing spot for him. I cannot see a team guarantee Sizemore that base salary. Now, I would give him a $5M base with incentives to reach 9 million.
- I am saying right now the Cubs will be players for David Wright. I am seeing too much smoke for there not to be a fire. There are talks internally about a trade and restructuring his contract and making it into a multi-year deal if they trade for him so they don’t have to pay him $15M next season and only have him for one year.
- The Cubs have been in trade talks with numerous teams according to sources and have talked to the A’s about Brett Anderson but not Gio Gonzales. The same source nothing is close on the trade front but it that could change quickly with a phone call.
- The Cubs viewed Jonathan Sanchez as a high risk/high reward player but did not want to pay the Giants asking price.
- Mike Maddux has removed his name from the Red Sox managerial interview process because of family issues. Maddux said Boston is just too far from Texas where his family is. He is still slated for the interview process with the Cubs on Weds.
- Maddux is now viewed as the front runner for the Cubs managerial position.
- Sandy Alomar Jr. is being considered internally as a possible candidate but they have not reached out to him yet.
- Mike Quade could make his way into the Phillies organization according to Ken Rosenthal.
- Catcher Steve Clevenger and Jeff Beliveau are being considered as compensation for Theo Epstein. A far cry from asking for Garza.
- The Cubs have named Joe Bohringer as the Director of Professional Scouting and will work under Jed Hoyer. Tim Wilken will work under Jason McLeod.
- Dale Sveum had his interview yesterday and here are some highlights-
***Prince Fielder is one of the best guys he has ever coached and has a strong relationship with him.
***Sveum and Mike Maddux are good friends and he thinks he will be a good manager someday.
***He really prepares for games by video work, stat analysis, among other things. Rumors say Sveum does more work into preparation than most do.
***Dale tries to keep his cool but he is an emotional guy. His nickname is “Nuts”
***When you are a big market team you are not thinking rebuild; you are thinking about a World Series, said Sveum.
- The Cubs could do addition by subtraction this winter. Theo and Co are reportedly looking to revamp the outfield to make it more athletic and better defensively. Rumors out there suggest Theo and Co. could trade away Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano, bring up Brett Jackson and add two guys through free agency or trades. This rumor stats Theo is looking to get younger in the outfield as well which is why the names Grady Sizemore (29 years old) and Yoenis Cespedes (26 years old) have been linked to the Cubs. I expect Sizemore to get a one year deal worth around $5M as the base salary with incentives. Cespedes is expected to get 5-6 years 30-45 million over those years. In the case of Cespedes he would be a nice building block for the Cubs outfield while Sizemore could be apart of the outfield for years to come if he bounces back from two injury filled low production years in Cleveland otherwise he could be a stop gap for Matt Szczur. Brett Jackson is expected to be apart of the outfield for 2012 as well. So with Cespedes, Sizemore, and Jackson in the outfield you have all guys with good speed, great gloves, good arms, and can definitely handle the bat. To me the move would make the Cubs be the most athletic outfield in the majors and would also fit the mold for building for the future yet contending now. This rumor actually makes a ton of sense.
- Want more information on Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes? Go check MLBTR.COM- The Cubs also have great interest in Chunichi southpaw Wei-Yin Chen and lefty Tsuyoshi Wada. Both are going to come very cheap on the free agent market and both have great upside. Check both here and here
- The Blue Jays have called the Cubs about Carlos Marmol and could offer up some young top pitching prospects for Marmol.
- The Royals have interest in Carlos Zambrano which is not news to HotStoveCubbies because I told you the interest was there back on Oct. 31st. You can find it here
- This will probably be a first on this site as well; Zambrano is drawing interest from other teams (and no not just the Marlins and Royals) like the Giants, Diamondbacks, and Mets (Mets would require paying 90% of his contract or taking on another bad contract i.e. Jason Bay)
- Kevin Slowey maybe a cheap option for the rotation if non-tendered said a source. He had a bad year and could come at a minor league deal.

Until Next Time…

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Latest on the Rumor Train!!!

The rumor train is at full speed as well as some detail on the manager search so here is the latest-

- Terry Francona is a fit for the Cubs if he and Theo determine it is a fit. Does that make sense?
- The Cubs interviewed Pete Mackanin (the Phillies bench coach) today for their manager job.
- The interview process is really a window into how Theo Epstein looks into things. The interview starts with a conventional sit-down meeting, after that a long process where a candidate gets a simulated game situation with rosters, statistics, player usage, and other factors used in an actual game situation to come up with their response. Theo and Jed will vary on how they want an answer as in they may want it immediately or want a thoughtful analysis or even create a somewhat hostile environment for the person interviewing. The next step in the process is they get to sit down with the media and let them ask questions. This is a dramatically better process Theo is bringing to the Chicago Cubs. Just one of the many reasons why Ricketts had a high regard for him.
- The final step in the interview process is Theo and Jed coming up with one candidate then presenting it to Rickets and his Board of Directors for final approval.
- Mike Maddux will interview next week for the Cubs managerial job because he is battling laryngitis.
- Brewers’ hitting coach Dale Sveum will interview next week as well but according Tom Haudricourt the Cubs has not asked permission.
- The Cubs are also linked to Indians’ bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Red Sox bench Coach DeMarlo Hale, and Rays’ bench Coach Dave Martinez.
- The Cubs have a very similar list to the Red Sox because Theo and Ben have a similar interviewing process and criteria.
- Rumors are circling that if Terry Francona is named manager then Ryne Sandberg will be named his bench coach. Why is this significant? Because Terry would likely just be managing for the next 3 years or less (which he has said before) and having Sandberg as a bench coach learning the “Theo Way” from Mr. Boston himself Terry Francona is the best way to learn on the job to be Francona’s successor.
- Greg Maddux maybe reconsidering taking a full-time job in the ML again. There is talk out there that Greg would consider becoming a coach for Mike Maddux if he is named the Chicago Cubs manager. Someone close to the Maddux brothers said it has been Greg’s dream to be on a coaching staff with his brother. What better place than the Chicago Cubs?
- MLBTR states Joel Pinero and David DeJesus as fits for the Cubs. I just don’t see it when you can get Grady Sizemore and Erik Bedard for a similar price.
- A tidbit in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel list the Cubs along with the Rangers and Angels as players for Prince Fielder. Fielder is reportedly looking for 8 years at 20 million a year. The Cubs would refuse to pay that price tag and will not get in a bidding war. I think the Cubs could pull what the Phillies did with Halladay and Lee, offer less years and more money a year. 125 million over 5 years sounds good to me.
- Wood is going to sit down with Epstein and Company very soon to discuss his future. He is expected to be with the team in one capacity or another.
- There is a rumor out there that the Blue Jays have check on Matt Garza’s availability.
- Levine adds to the rumor mill stating CJ Wilson and Roy Oswalt are not options for the Cubs and Nick Markakis is an interesting trade target. I agree with his assessment.
- The Cubs could have interest in Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens but he does not fit the mold of a Saber guy Epstein will look for.
- The A’s will listen to offers on any of their players. I think the Cubs would be foolish not to look at Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, or Gio Gonzales especially.
- The Cubs have been scouting Yu Darvish for the past year and have also been scouting lefty Tsuyoshi Wada as a left handed starter.
- A great story for Cubs’ fans that needs a good ending in December. Ron Santo is 1 of 10 “Golden Era” candidates for the induction to the Hall of Fame. The committee consists of 16 members and 12 of those members need to cast a yes for Santo to be inducted. The vote will take place on December 5th and we will be hoping and praying Santo will be finally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Talks have been slow on the compensation front for Theo Epstein.

Until Next Time…

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Cubs Manager Search Starts...

With Mike Quade down and out lets look at the newest rumors involving the Cubs managerial search.

- Here is what Theo Epstein and company are looking for according to the press release-
We are looking for someone with whom and around whom we can build a foundation for sustained success. The next manager must have leadership and communication skills; he must place an emphasis on preparation and accountability; he must establish high standards and a winning culture; he must have integrity and an open mind; and he must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level.
- Terry Francona will not be a candidate for the Cubs job according to Ken Rosenthal.
- Unfortunately Ryne Sandberg will not be the manager next season for the Chicago Cubs. Theo did a really classy thing by calling up Sandberg to tell him he is not in the running for the job. Sandberg in turn responded by saying very kind things about the Cubs and the direction Theo is taking them. You can read his comments in the Daily Herald here.
- If Ryne Sandberg does not get a managers job in the majors he could wind up with the Cubs as a bench or base coach.
- Yes the Cards have asked permission to interview Sandberg and it has been granted. I have also heard whispers he will interview with Boston as well. Media outlets from both Boston and St. Louis say Ryne is a long shot because of the other established candidates.
- The Cubs will likely pass on current managers in MLB. That means no Joe Maddon, Bud Black, or Joe Girardi.
- Here are some names out there right now: Bob Brenly, Bobby Valentine, Mike Maddux, Dale Sveum, Dave Martinez, Tim Bogar, DeMarlo Hale, Sandy Alomar Jr., Pete Mackanin, and Don Wakamatsu.
- There has been talk that the Cubs are not allowed to raid the Padres and Red Sox anymore so you could see Tim Bogar and DeMarlo Hale taken off that list unless the Red Sox conclude their managerial search before the Cubs or allow the Cubs to interview them.
- Out of the list above I like Mike Maddux, Dale Sveum, Bob Brenly, Pete Mackanin, and Dave Martinez the best but would be OK with all of them except Bobby Valentine and Don Wakamatsu.
- If Dave Martinez is named the manager don't expect him to name Ryno as a coach. The two have a not so good past as players on the Cubs.

Until Nex Time

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

My 2012 Top 50 Free Agent Predictions

I am going to do something more mainstream today by listing the top 50 free agents (according to MLBTR.com) and predicting their landing spot. This by no means is what I want to happen it is my predictions based on information, rumors, and needs by all 30 Major League teams. So here we go!

Albert Pujols – Cards
Prince Fielder – Blue Jays
Jose Reyes – Nationals
C.J. Wilson – Rangers
Yu Darvish – Blue Jays
Edwin Jackson – Royals
Jimmy Rollins – Phillies
Aramis Ramirez – Angels
Carlos Beltran – Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon – Red Sox
Michael Cuddyer – Cubs
Mark Buehrle – Cards
David Ortiz – Mariners
Ryan Madson – Reds
Hiroki Kuroda – Dodgers
Carlos Pena - Pirates
Francisco Rodriguez – Marlins
Roy Oswalt – Rangers
Javier Vazquez – Retirement
Heath Bell- Padres
Coco Crisp – Brewers
Hisashi Iwakuma – Twins
Kelly Johnson – Dodgers
Josh Willingham – Reds
Paul Maholm – Royals
Grady Sizemore – Cubs
Bartolo Colon – Blue Jays
Erik Bedard- Cubs
David DeJesus – Braves
Jason Kubel – Marlins
Ramon Hernandez – Pirates
Jeff Francis – Orioles
Chris Capuano- Mets
Tsuyoshi Wada – Cubs
Clint Barmes – Tigers
Casey Kotchman – Rays
Freddy Garcia – Yankees
Aaron Hill – Diamondbacks
Johnny Damon – Indians
Aaron Harang – Padres
Jamey Carroll – Twins
Rafael Furcal – Cards
Juan Pierre – Astros
Frank Francisco – White Sox
Jason Marquis – Mets
Joel Pineiro – Pirates
Jonathan Broxton – Giants
Joe Nathan – Twins
Kerry Wood – Cubs
Bruce Chen - Padres

So the in my top 50 the Cubs will be receiving Kerry Wood, Tsuyoshi Wada, Erik Bedard, and Michael Cuddyer. After hearing Theo's press conference I am 75% certain that big names Pujols and Fielder will not be on the north-side. I think Theo will build a nice young team and add big named free agents once he evaluates the team. I do not think he will make moves to jeopardize the Cubs financially to win next season and hurt them down the road.

Which is why they add a guy like Erik Bedard and Grady Sizemore to a one or two year deal. Both are high risk/high reward players and fall under Theo ball. Bedard brings balance to the starting rotation and Sizemore adds veteran depth to the outfield and could start in RF for the Cubs. Bringing Kerry Wood back on a one-year deal at a discount is a no-brainer. The two multi-year deals I see Theo handing out is Tsuyoshi Wada and Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer could seek a three year deal worth around 30 million and play at least 5 of the 9 positions on the diamond although he could be the starting 3rd baseman or 1st baseman for the Cubs; tremendous value there. Wada's value is reportedly around a 2 year deal worth 8 to 10 million which is a really good value for a left-handed starter with his funky delivery and a 1.80 ERA last season.

The rest of the holes on the Cubs roster will be filled by players not on the top 50 list, trades, and the minor leagues. Expect to see a lot of movement by Team Theo this winter to bring in his guys.

What does your top 50 predictions look like? Any predictions you think I am right on or far off? On this list who do you think the Cubs will add? Feel free to comment.

Until Next Time...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Quick Hits- Manager, Coaching, Free Agency, and Trades

- With Tony LaRussa retiring; there has been several lists that include potential candidates to replace Tony put out there by the media and all of them include Ryne Sandberg. Talked to one of my sources that says he “will definitely get an interview from the Cardinals” if he does not find a manager job before them.

- Dave Duncan may or may not retire. I am wishing upon a star but please come to the Cubs Dave!

- Another guy the new manager (if there is one) should bring in from the Cardinals coaching staff is Jose Oquendo as a base coach. He is high regarded in the baseball community as a good baseball mind and a great base coach. He would be a great addition to the staff.

- The Cubs exercised Aramis Ramirez 2012 $16M option but then he declined the option saving the Cubs the $2M dollar buyout. Aramis is looking for a 3-4 year deal worth 15 million a year. The Angels are likely to pay up big for Ramirez.

- The Cubs also declined Jeff Samardzija’s $3M option for 2012 but he is still under team control so they will bring him back for a lower rate.

- Josh Vitters is going to play 3rd base in the minor’s full time next year. Some think he may make the jump to AAA next season.

- Carlos Pena, Kerry Wood, Reed Johnson, John Grabow, Rodrigo Lopez, and Ramon Ortiz all filed for free agency yesterday. Wood stated he will only come back next season is if it is with the Cubs. If he does not get a contract with him he will retire. Carlos Pena is looking for a multi-year deal which could be a hang up for the Cubs.

- Carlos Zambrano to Kansas City??? There is interest from KC but only if the Cubs pay the majority of his contract. Anything can happen because the Braves just sent 38 year old Derek Lowe to the Indians for a low A minor leaguer. The Braves are paying 10 of the 15 million left on Lowe’s contract. The Cubs could do something very similar with the Royals or any other team for that matter.

- We could find out Quade’s fate as early as tomorrow and no later than Friday according to my sources.

- Bud Selig will likely decide compensation for Epstein which will favor the Cubs.

Until Next Time…

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Theo Epstein Era Has Started!

The press conference quick hits and other notes-

- That was Theo Epstein at Starbucks a couple weeks ago.

- I liked the Theo Epstein “Office Space” comment in referring to himself as Milton they guy that came to work but did not actually have a job.

- Theo is looking to build the team from the ground up.

- He is looking for the same unity and coaching from the Winter League to AA ball to MLB to the Front Office.

- I best describe Theo’s vision as family oriented where you start from a foundational ground and build from within and expand from there.

- Theo says he will have plenty of resources to be successful but expressed that means toward the draft and other avenues.

- He says this change is not an immediate but that does not mean a one year turn around is not possible.

- He values both traditional scouting and new age, describes using both in one scope to clearly and completely evaluate a player.

- He says the Cubs and Red Sox have a good relationship and will continue to work towards a compensation agreement.

- Hoyer and McLeod will likely be announced the day after the WS concludes.

- Quade and Epstein will have a sit down conversation about their visions and what happened last year. If you listen to the press conference it sounds like he is saying positive things about Quade right before he cans him.

- It is possible Hoyer could let Quade go even though it will likely be the President of Baseball Operations decision.

- John Ferrell will not be the Cubs new manager if Quade is let go because the Blue Jays will not allow him to make a lateral move.

- One source told me it is likely that Ryne Sandberg will be with the Chicago Cubs ML in some capacity in 2012.

- Another source close to Ricketts said the Cubs will have a ceiling of $160M for the Baseball Operations side of things.

- Theo left the door open on high profiled free agents such as Pujols and Fielder by saying if the “market allows them to be players”

- Theo Epstein was the Cubs pie in the sky guy. It was hard to imagine landing him.

- A strong draft class really helped Theo in making a decision on the job,

- At no time did Theo ask for more money or an extension from the Red Sox.

- Epstein’s good trait is he is really competitive.

- Main focus is player development and scouting.

- Best tradition is winning according to Theo.

- Theo plans on bring in the best and baseball and leaving those instrumental to the Cubs in place.

This should be a great and busy offseason for the Chicago Cubs as they usher in a new era. As always tune into Hot Stove Cubbies for your Cubs rumors and news. Don’t forget to follow me on twitter for up to the minute news and rumors as it breaks.

Until Next Time…

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cubs Get Their Man and Quick Hits...

- The Cubs finally got their man and it took Selig stepping in.
- Players involved will be settled at a later date.
- Theo Epstein actually resigned from his position with the Red Sox to take the GM job with the Cubs.
- Theo will negotiate compensation with the Red Sox.
- The next two moves is hiring Jed Hoyer as GM and his Assistant Jason McLeod from the Padres.
- The Cubs have received permission to "interview" both Hoyer and McLeod. Both are expected to join the Cubs soon.
- There will be a press conference Tuesday at Wrigley announcing Theo Epstein as the Cubs new President of Baseball Operations. It is also rumored they will announce the hiring of Hoyer and McLeod.
- One rival GM said the Cubs have the "brightest minds in baseball in their front office and if they cannot win with them then they should mail it in."
- There is a rumor out there that Ricketts will raise payroll to around 150-160 million next season which includes players salary and player development.
- After this front office is assembled the next moves for the "baseball minds" is to determine "who will stay and who will go on the current staff" and speaking to players about options and extensions.
- Many feel the front office team will let several coaches and staff go from all levels in the organization including coaches like Mike Quade, Mark Riggins, and several coaches in the minors.
- Theo and his team would like to put their stamp on Chicago Cubs baseball and create a new mentality so a large change over is needed.
- Like most of you I have heard the Ryne Sandberg rumors and I believe there is some truth to them. Sandberg is essentially being passed over again in the Phillies system when a report came out stating that the coaching staff will remain in place unless a coach leave for another position. The Phillies believe Sandberg will find a manager or coaching position somewhere in MLB.
- One source I have talked to said that Ricketts and Epstein have both wanted to put a family atmosphere in the Cubs organization by bring back some individuals that have impacted the Cubs in the past. This source said he would not be surprised to see the front office hire Ryne Sandberg as manager and then he in turn name Larry Bowa as his bench coach and possibly add Mark Grace somewhere on the staff. What a buzz that would create.
- There is a very slim chance that Greg Maddux will be with the Cubs in a professional capacity next season but anything is possible. If I were Theo I would beg and plead and give him a blank check to become my next pitching coach.
- Does anyone think the Cubs can get Dave Duncan from the Cards? I don't but man I would try! That guy is a genius when it comes to pitchers.
- Jason McLeod is pretty good at what he does! He is responsible for adding Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard, and Justin Masterson just to name a few.

Until Next Time..