Winter Meetings ‘06: Day Two Rumor Roundup

I was going to start this yesterday but the servers decided to spontaneously combust. I figure besides the July tradeline, the Winter Meetings are the best time for unfounded rumor mongering and I'm more than happy to help. So I've got ESPN News on, about 25 tabs open in my browser, the Score streaming and an IV drip of coffee. I'll see if I can keep it up. I'm going to try and keep it mostly Cub related, even if it's players that have been connected with the Cubs talking to another team. New posts will go above the old posts. 5:25 PM - Bruce Miles gives us a quick update and has a Cubs source saying that Jacque Jones did not "formally" ask for a trade. Also some whispers of a Kevn Mench for Jon Lieber swap. 4:28 PM - Steve Phillips wasted ten minutes of my time just now on ESPN News. - Lilly's agent Larry O'Brien says the Blue Jays will need to get creative to land Lilly and that the Cubs have stepped up their offer on Lilly and are willing to pay him what he wants. Piniella called Lilly to entice him to the Northside as well. - Maddux deal seems to be done. 4:15 PM Probably the last update for a bit, but Rosenthal puts the Mariners in the Zito sweepstakes, and gives the Dodgers the lead for Schmidt citing his ties to Colletti and trainer Stan Conte (recently hired by the Dodgers). 3:39 PM - Ryan Church is on the block and the Cubs may be interested. Nats are probably looking for young pitching and Church isn't going to get a blue-chipper in return. I say cough up Carlos Marmol or someone similar and see if they bite. At worst, Church is a good 4th OF with good plate discpline and decent power from the left side. 2:56 PM - Rosenthal is back on the Maddux to Padres rumors stating that they're at the "dotting-the-i's-and-crossing-the-t's stage" on a one year deal with a 2nd year option. 2:44 PM - Jacque Jones just did an interview on ESPN News and did a fantastic job of dodging questions. Asked directly if he asked for a trade, he said "I don't know about that, you know what I mean?" accompanied with a sly smile that indicated he didn't want to dig too deep a hole. He did say he had a rough go in Chicago last year with the fans, that some folks even got a hold of his phone number, received some hate mail, etc. As far as he's concerned he signed for three years as a Cub, but you got a sense he'd be thrilled to get out of here. He also said he hasn't spoken to Lou yet this offseason. 2:27 PM - The Mariners met with Lilly's agent on Tuesday, no word on an offer but Lilly does have motivation to go to the West Coast as I believe his wife is going to veterinarian school in California. 2:18 PM Julio Lugo's people and Boston have a meeting this afternoon, the Mets seem to be the only other suitor at this point. The Boston Globe writer says that there are "strong indications" that the Cubs are out of the running. 2:09 PM - Yawn, I'm losing faith in baseball GM's to pull off any noteworthy trades anymore. ESPN News had a report that the Pirates are making a push for Trot Nixon. I know, stop the presses. Speaking of ESPN, my DirecTV says a special edition of "Baseball Tonight" is supposed to be on, instead Skip Bayless is attempting to explain something regarding college football, although I'm fairly certain he didn't even know Lousville had a football team until a producer whispered it into his ear. 1:49 PM - The rumor mill seems to have dried up for a bit, but a Canadian paper indicates that Gil Meche's camp is intent on getting a deal done by the end of the meetings, while Lilly's people may wait until Zito signs in hopes that teams that missed out on Zito join the bidding. 12:37 PM - Rosenthal mentions the Cubs and Blue Jays as lead suitors for Gil Meche and that the Royals have offered Batista three years for $24 million. The previous ESPN link also says the Mets aren't interested in anyone but Zito at this moment although they don't seem willing to go beyond four to five years on a deal. 12:13 PM - Jayson Stark completely debunks the 3-way deal with the Rockies. 11:39 AM - Miguel Batista is drawing strong interest from the Royals, Mets and Braves. The article also gives the Cubs the upper hand on signing Gil Meche due to the Piniella connection. 11:32 AM - Bruce Miles rumor roundup gives us Noah Lowry possibly being on the block as well as Tim Hudson. 11:14 AM - Greg Maddux to the Padres is gaining steam once again. Looks like a one year deal with a second year option although with Scott Boras as his agent, expect this one to drag out for awhile. 11:04 AM - Kenny Lofton is drawing interest from the Rangers. - Mark Loretta has a 2 year offer from the Reds for $6 million total. Tuesday Morning Round-up - By now you've heard about the Jacque Jones rumors, the latest being a 3-team swap of Brad Hawpe to the Pirates for Paul Maholm and Jones and Marmol to the Rockies for sinker-baller Jason Jennings. In my book, that's not a 3-way deal, just two separate deals, but you can't expect Steve Phillips to think these things through. While it seemed odd the Cubs were searching for a left-handed bat, while simultaneously shopping one, word is now that Jones asked for a deal, the Sun-Times citing the departure of Dusty Baker as the reason, although racist bleacher fans I'm sure weighed into it as well. Jones apparently has a partial no-trade clause although the Rockies aren't on that list. - Speaking of Jennings, Twins and Astros are interested as well. - The same articles says the Royals are going to make a push for Gil Meche and Rockies are looking at Kenny Lofton. - Ted Lilly apparently has offers from the Cubs and Blue Jays at the moment and his agent is meeting with other teams today. - Same article has Hendry stating that Julio Lugo is "leaning" towards signing with a team that will let him play shortstop, likely the Red Sox. - Ryne Sandberg will be managing the Peoria affiliate next year. Oh, and I hate to be a hard-ass about this, but if you can't be bothered to read the comments then do not post in the comments. Far too many double posts of the same rumor and links are going on so please check before you post. And with this group, chances are if it's anything older than 10 minutes, you're probably late to the party.
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Comments

"(esp. 08/09)."

09/10, i mean.

From Rogers, regarding the worst rumors at the meetings:

"A possible three-team deal that would send Jason Jennings from Colorado to the Cubs, with Jacque Jones, right-hander Carlos Marmol and left-hander Paul Maholm going to the Rockies and outfielder Brad Hawpe from Colorado to Pittsburgh. For one thing, it was never proposed. For another, the Cubs value Marmol almost as much as Rich Hill, making him essentially untouchable."

I had no idea Marmol was regarded as "essentially untouchable." This article wasn't filed until almost 11 P.M. Eastern Time.... maybe he wrote it after a long happy hour?

the solution 2 all cubs problems right here.BRING STEVE BARTMAN IN 2 PLAY CENTER FIELD WE ALL KNOW WHAT HE CAN DO WITH HIS HANDS HES HEADS UP 2.also sign zito or schmidt get lilly bring in floyd trade jj get jennings or lopez 4 him.bring in church and maybe another solid bench guy.maybe give up a prospect and novoa 4 sum1 like a craig monroe how u like that

you forgot adam dunn...and poland.

CRUNCH: You consistently, no matter what the deal is, talk about the money. And complain.

Again, you were complaining last year when JJones got a 3-YEAR deal - and the money!

Well in this market (and you know Encarnacion got the same deal and performed worse), HE IS A STEAL now.

I WANT them to spend the MONEY with GREAT personnel decisions.

SPEND. SPEND. SPEND. SPEND. LET's BUY A FUCKING PENNANT! I could care less.

this again? is this troll bait or something?

I don't see how Marmol is untouchable, either, unless they plan on sending him to Triple-A to refine his mechanics and if the plan on him being a future closer/set-up man. He's NOT a starter, and hopefully they realized that last season. His stuff is filthy when he's only going to pitch 1-2 innings, but he just plain sucks as a starter.

I wouldn't be opposed to keeping him, so long as he's given more time in the minors to be seasoned as a reliever. Guzman, Mateo, and Ryu, on the other hand, have trade bait written all over them...

ok so i agree on that who cares i mean its only money and its not our money what ever it takes just win 4 once

Sorry. You are right - not troll bait. My apologies if it seemed like it.

If you would go through your posts though, I recall that you are very - lets say consistent with your opinions on "your" contracts with too many years, etc.

I especially remember this type of position with the signing of JJones. You wanted "2 years". Am I right?

And ARam, Soriano, DLee...? Too many years as well?

Its just the state of things in the big markets.

I don't know. Marmol was pretty good for a while. When he didn't walk 6 or 7 guys a game, he did fine. Didn't Z or Rothschild or Dusty or someone say he reminded them of a young Zambrano?

Still, I'd probably rather keep Guzman and Marshall around more. I could care less about Ryu.

Yea Andrew.... seeing some long-term upside in Marmol doesn't surprise me in the least.

Labeling him "essentially untouchable" on the other hand seems to be valuing him a bit high, at least from what I saw last season.

Again its Rogers.... take it for what it's worth I guess.

http://tinyurl.com/u97xa

Paul Sullivan/Trib writing more on JJones hoping to get out of town with the leadin: "Exit, stage right"

also updates on Piniella talking with Meche and Lilly and the Cubs leading on Lilly talks and still in on Schmidt/Meche races

talks with Floyd's agent heating up and he expects the Cubs to sign Cliff Floyd to "an incentive laden deal" by the end of December

e-man...i disproved your "i bitched about jones" thing last week.

nor do i have a history of bitching about money.

and yeah, i think having 60-70+ million tied up in 4-5 guys, which could very well be the case in 09/10, is at least worth mentioning considering there's #3 type pitchers getting 8-10m and that's in the 07 preseason. they gotta put 25 guys out there.

yeah, i think that's relevant at a time when money is being thrown around considering that though the team is spending like the yanks, the cubs havent shown they are the yanks, and the money so far on contracts has been frontloaded on aram and soriano...dlee's getting paid flat 13...

Lilly AND Meche?

Must be an extra $40million sitting around here somewhere....

http://tinyurl.com/yxgao5

Tim Brown of Yahoo sports saying that Meche has narrowed his choices to Toronto, Cubs and Royals and a decision is expected by Wednesday at the latest

and he adds:

The Blue Jays and Cubs also went into the night bidding on left-hander Ted Lilly, and it's not impossible both end up in the same city with similar four-year, $40-million contracts.

it's not impossible? silly rabbit, tricks are for kids.

CRUNCH: 09/10, is at least worth mentioning considering there's #3 type pitchers getting 8-10m and that's in the 07 preseason. they gotta put 25 guys out there.

I see your point, here. Unfortunately, Hendry's perceived (at the time) lack of overpaying for Furcal last year, caused him to lose three pitchers on a rental player.

There were a couple of chips there that would be SO valuable this year. In fact, Ricky Nolasco might look decent as a #3 starter now.

Although, it has been argued here that Nolasco would not have done as well last season here as he did in Miami...

>>>>Although, it has been argued here that Nolasco would not have done as well last season here as he did in Miami...

uh, ya think? s

"I am concerned though that half our offensive lineup at this point will be Murton, Izturis, DeRosa, and TBD outfielder. Plus Henry Blanco at catcher every 5th game. There's a lot of outs and not much thump in that group. We need more bats, plain and simple"
--

Would you like to shit on Murton's face? Why do you lump him in with that group? It seems you like to rag on him. He had the best OBP on the team last year.

paul sulivan has an article up on the trib website basically priming cubs fans to get ready for jones to leave.

nothing much new or shocking, just connecting a few dots and a few hendry quotes that are pretty hands-off in the new info department.

I read somewhere else that Hendry told Kaplan on WGN radio the same thing about Marmol that he would have to be overwhelemed to trade him. Maybe it's a ploy by Hendry. Last year he said something similar about Hill who looks to have turned golden and now he's using that to drive Marmol's value up.

Marmol does have good stuff, but he's just so damn raw.

The new Trib article on Jones wanting out pretty much sealed his faith. When the Trib bad mouths you, you know you're gone.

Shame we'll have to settle for Rodrigo Lopez or some equal parts crap in all likelihood now that it's once again become known that we just want to get rid of a guy.

all via rotoworld

Burgos to Mets/ Bannister to Royals

Another Ryan Church mention to the Cubs along with Phils and Royals.

Lofton got a deal far above what the Rockies expected, possibly Cubs or Rangers.

3-way deal rumored between Mariners, Giants and Braves involving Laroche, Sexson, Hudson, Benitez and Rafael Soriano. There has to be someone missing in there for the Braves.

Hendry made a good point in a Cubs.com article. To the effect of:

The bad thing about a year like '06 is that it forced us to bring to the majors a lot of our highly touted pitching prospects perhaps earlier than preferred, and once they struggled, everyone says "Oh, the Cubs overvalued them." He says that other teams know how good of prospects these guys are.

I saw Hendry being interviewed tonight on Comcast Sports.

He stated that he felt bad for Jacque in his transition (treatment form the fans/struggles) and wasn't aware of any recent unhappieness or that he didn't want to be on the team.

I do not recall him mentioning that he's exploring any trades with him.

Stay tuned...

Yeah when the Tribune puts an article up titled..."Jacque: Exit, stage right" you can take it to the bank that he will be traded this off-season.

I agree that the Cubs need more bats. This team was horrible offensively last year, and with Jones likely on his way out, the production from RF will almost certainly drop. Even with a healthy D-Lee and now Soriano, the loss of Jones isn't going to make this team much better than average offensively.

seeing as jones isnt being a huge baby about it...yet...its not like the cubs are in a forced position to move him.

be interesting to see what he's worth and if it brings a new CF or some SP help if anyone even offers anything worth taking.

it could come down to hendry/crew going to jones trying to talk him into stressing out less about playing there in 07.

should also be interesting to see the results of the "you want jones gone or what?" webpoll that's probally inevitable.

No way Andrew, our farm system sucks and we overvalue our pitchers, haven't you gotten the memo? Every pitcher that comes up needs to go 20-0 with a 2.00 ERA otherwise they're labeled as failures along with our entire system. Hendry's just spinning his wheels cause he knows they're all crap.

:)

sorry crunch, I usually don't play the conspiracy card, but Hendry's going to have to take the best deal out there for Jones, he's not coming back. Hopefully a team is desperate enough for a bat that we get something decent this time around, but chances are it will be for 50 cents on the dollar.

Sportsline has some good rumors...

Mariners, Rangers & Mets seem to be the Zito suitors

Cards & Dodgers seem big on Schmidt.

Angelos nixed a Giles/Laroche for Roberts/Penn deal.

A's and Piazza close...

http://preview.tinyurl.com/yeybbz

Cubs may sign Hidalgo to a minor league deal. Amazing.

Cubs outbid Angels by $21 million for Soriano.

No talks between Cubs and WSox about a starting pitcher. (sigh)

Laroche for Mike Gonzalez deal rumored...

you could just tell by the tone of the article that he's not welcome. Sullivan did nothing to even remotely defend him.

i just think jones 3-position (even if RF is just a backup/emergency spot) skills with his low price tag for 2 years is a good enough selling point in this market to outweigh the leverage of knowing he wants to leave.

its early enough with enough power hitters shedding out of the FA pool that it might actually matter, too.

hell, im hoping they cant find a good suitor and he agrees to not be so freaked out and play CF for the cubs next year.

I prefer he stays too, but I don't see anyway that he will. Kind of a shame, cause Lofton/Floyd is a downgrade imo. Jones has a partial no-trade clause as well. (Does Hendry just hand these out like breath mints?)

If Jones must go, do you think Coco Crisp would be available? For what?

I know the rumors will be plentiful but I really don't think the RSox want to move Crisp, I mean they gave up arguably one of the top prospects in baseball for him and considered him Damon's replacement and then signed him to a 3 yr extension.

Drew to me was always a replacement for Nixon, the whole Manny thing was just posturing.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/ybcblw

says Cards offered 3 yrs for Schmidt and may go higher..

http://preview.tinyurl.com/ymt5zd

From Jayson Stark...

- Lilly would actually like to play for the Yanks and they may be accomodating

- Cubs want Meche AND Lilly as they think trade prices are too high right now.

Meche AND Lilly? That's a lot of money for a permenant case of the Mondays.

Maybe Jacque would be happier in CF at Wrigley......Less fans. Unless he can hear the drunk, rich assholes in that new suite thingy in CF. If we dump Jones, I say bite the bullet and throw Pie out there(batting 7th). It saves $5 million to throw at a SP.

Jacque in '07

DON'T BENCH GROSSMAN!

Yeah, Marmol was a very good prospect and has a live fastball and filthy curve...but only when he's relieving. Before he was called up, Oneri said that he loses command and a few miles off his fastball when he starts. To me, Marmol has a ton of potential, but as a set-up man or closer (if he refines his control). If the Cubs plan on using him in that type of role, by all means, consider him a "gem" of the system...but if they have plans on making him a starter, trade him now before his value gets even lower by posting crappy numbers/peripherals in the minors.

Lilly and Meche? That would only work if we are guaranteed that Prior and Miller are going to be in pre-'04 form. And if Meche learns how to stop walking people...and if Lilly learns that, too. I feel sorry for bitching about Jennings as our #2, now. I'd prefer him and Lilly to Lilly and Meche. Hopefully Toronto or the Yanks dramatically blow one of them away, before we're forced to sign both and endure another year of a mediocre staff.

If Jones has asked for a trade, maybe that'll force Hendry to trade for a SP better than Meche. Is it just me, or would Jones for Garcia make way too much sense to happen?

It's just you. I think Garcia would fetch more than Jones. Jones cannot even get Jennings. Jennings still stinks by the way.

The market is what it is. One thing is for sure we are the MOST aggressive team in the off-season thus far. Everyone looking for arms are talking to both of these guys and we might come away with both. It's all about depth as the Sox have proven. I'm not sure after Garcia's velocity drop he'll continue to be better than Meche. I think Lilly as as good as a lefty we could get. The trade market is even worse than FA, everyone wants to rape someone. We can still trade Jones for something else if we sign both.

Jayson Stark on ESPN radio interview said that Jason Schmidt talks will take more time as his agent is waiting for Daisuke Matsuzaka situation to clear/help zero in on the price range for his client. Boston has until 12-15 on that front...so 9 more days. Haven't heard much on what is going on with Matsuzaka lately.

XM Radio is calling the Cards the "frontrunner" for Schmidt.

Damn.

Pony up Jimbo.... gotta block the Cards.

I'd rather have a Schmidt/Marshall combo over Lilly/Meche anyway.

XM Radio is calling the Cards the "frontrunner" for Schmidt.

I find that heard to believe. They may be the "frontrunners" in terms of being the only team to thus far offer a contract, but no other teams have really gotten involved too much yet. Whoever loses out on Lilly/Meche and especially Zito will get very interested in Schmidt and the Hendricks brothers know that. I don't think anything's going to happen with Schmidt for a little while yet.

I agree though, we can't let the Cards get him.

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