Cubs Rumor Mill: Iwamura, Bradley & Grabow

I'm not sure I'll get an offseason potential target up tomorrow, but with the World Series almost wrapping up and the Cubs organizational meetings next week, the rumor mill is beginning to warm up for the offseason. Let's blast through these real quick.

- Bruce Levine reported that the Cubs and John Grabow are discussing a two year extension and the Trib concurs that it appears likely he'll be back with the Cubs next year.

The two sides are talking about a two-year deal for anywhere between a total of $6.5 million and $7.5 million. Grabow's people would like a vesting option for a third year added to the contract.

There would also be incentives in the deal for games finished. Relievers and $3-$4M a year don't really mix in my opinion, but this sure isn't the first time Hendry's thrown money at the bullpen, or the second, or third or fourth or...well you get the point. 

- The same Trib article says that the Cubs have some interest in Akinori Iwamura - seems like some friendly blogger recently brought that up - and then the Trib suggests an Iwamura/Pat Burrell for Milton Bradley swap with the Cubs throwing $3-$4M into the pot. I guarantee it's not the Cubs holding up that deal if it ever gets on the table. If a deal with Iwamura somehow materializes, it could happen quickly as the Rays have one day after the World Series to decide about his option.

- As for the Bradley market, the Trib brings sobering news that attendance was down for 22 of the clubs in the league and expect most of them to be looking to dump salary making Hendry's job to unload Bradley without paying for it all the more difficult. The Rangers seem to have left the door slightly ajar for a Bradley return if they can get the Cubs to pay the freight.   

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If we're going try to pull of a deal with the Rays we should shoot for Upton or Crawford. I do not want Burrell under any circumstance (unless he's part of a three-way deal to another club). I'd rather keep Bradley. As for Iwamura, he's a nice little player but we already have more second basemen than Pfizer has pills. The Cubs need to get younger, faster and more athletic.

When with Lou wanting to get more left handed, the Grabow move seems to be just what Lou wanted. Oh wait. That was last year and in the lineup. Nevermind.

The only way we bring over Burrell is if we plan on flipping him to another team.....we have a Burrell - his name is Jake Fox and he gets paid $400k/year. Burrell can only play LF and we already have a LF who can't be moved to another spot. Good times.

Hope for the Yankees to lose, because I'm sure they will have no problem bringing in Bradley. Their outfield sucks.

No problem at all, and he'd flourish there without all the media scrutiny...

I was thinking with Arod, Jeter, Texiara, CC being there he would not have as much pressure.

I believe that the organizational meetings run from today through Friday.

Sullivan's article in the Trib (interview with Hendry) also reiterates that the Cubs are in the market for a "leadoff hitter with speed and a corner outfielder with power."

The OF reference is interesting, as it implies that Fukodome will stay in CF and the new OF will play RF. The leadoff hitter, barring other moves, would have to play 2B. Iwamura doesn't seem to fit that bill, with a career high of 12 SB's.

Perhaps the "corner outfielder with power" reference is simply a set up for the Burrell acquisition. An OF of Soriano, Fukodome and Burrell would make a lot of beer league softball teams look good.

uh-oh, Muskat and Sullivan with contradictory reports...they should settle it with a HR hitting contest...

Fwiw, Iwamura batted leadoff for the Rays for most of his tenure there, good patience and took a lot of pitches, the steals don't matter to me much.

Rob:

For what it's worth, Iwamura batted leadoff less than 10% of the time last year for the Rays, spending most of his time at #7, #8 or #9.

I too had always thought of him as the patient, high OBP leadoff guy you had described, and they may have batted him down in the lineup last year due to his injuries.

And while the steals may naot matter much to us, I do think that the Cubs, and especially Lou, equate speed with steals.

Pitching for the AFL Phoenix Desert Dogs yesterday at Surprise, Nationals' #1 draft pick (and 2009 overall #1 pick) RHP Stephen Strasburg (San Diego State) was consistently clocked at 98 MPH+ and hit 100 MPH several times. (He threw 68 pitches, about 85% fastballs).

Did you watch? If so was his stuff otherwordly or just what you'd expect from a top pitching prospect?

Mark Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the Rays "are on the verge of completing a trade" of Akinori Iwamura. There was speculation earlier this week that the Dodgers and Cubs were interested in Iwamura, but Topkin writes that neither of those teams would be the destination. Tampa Bay holds a $4.85 million option or $550,000 buyout on Iwamura for 2010.

Why on earth are the Cubs talking about 2-3 year contracts with John Grabow?

He is the epitome of the guy you offer arbitration and go year to year with. Hasn't Jim Hendry learned how fickle relief pitching and Lou is?

Didn't we just pay Philly to take Stevie Ire just last year?

I think that the Cubs see Grabow as someone who can fill mutliple roles in the pen and as a cheap insurance policy who can occasionally close out games when Marmol goes through one of his control lapses.

My problem isn't resigning Grabow. It's the idea that he will get multiple years and above market rates.

Jim Hendry doesn't ever seem to learn.

Which begs the question, what is "market rate" for a reliever who fills this role?

Dotel got 2/$11 million and Linebrink 4/$19 million, which interestingly provides some examples of market rate and also proves your point about throwing money at middle relievers. Bad idea.

In arbitration he would get the going rate of similar loogy(s). Beimel and Ohman signed 1 year deals for between 2 and 2.5 million last offseason. I'd imagine that Grawbow shouldn't get more than 1/2.5 based on that. Anything over that is bidding against yourself. Especially with the arbitration hammer esentially taking away his Free agent options.

Grabow has proven that he's not a just a LOOGY. A quick way to tell if a guy is a LOOGY or not is by looking at his games compared to innings pitched.

Grabow is a guy you mix and match with a righty setup man, based on the makeup of the batters in the 7th or 8th.

his changeup says he's not a loogy more than his numbers, imo. deadly.

guy has 2 "plus" pitches along with a slider and is a bit of an ironman with his health.

So what is he worth? 1/3 1/4 ?

I don't really see a reason to offer him anything more than arbitration which is yeah, probably somewhere between $3.5 and $4.5 if you're unlucky.

Rob and others like to bash on the Hendry's signing of relievers, but he didn't do one last year and our bullpen was really awful, plus Howry, Eyre, Hawkins and ... Remlinger? didn't actually do that badly. The idea that you can just bring up arms from the minors that are going to get the job done in the 6th through 8th inning, one I used to subscribe to, just hasn't panned out for the Cubs.

Offer him arbitration, let him shop around a bit, and if someone offers him three years and $12 million, wish him luck. If you can get him back for $2 million less than that, then consider offering him more than arbitration.

Rob and others like to bash on the Hendry's signing of relievers, but
he didn't do one last year and our bullpen was really awful, plus
Howry, Eyre, Hawkins and ... Remlinger? didn't actually do that badly.
The idea that you can just bring up arms from the minors that are going
to get the job done in the 6th through 8th inning, one I used to
subscribe to, just hasn't panned out for the Cubs.

well I like to bash because he gives out multi-year deals to these guys and the last year seems to never work out....think he'd be better served just waiting to March and signing some 1-yr deals and guys getting kicked off rosters and stop filling roster spots with guaranteed deals so some of the youngsters who don't win a rotation spot can work out of the bullpen. 

As for not signing anyone last year, he already had Marmol in the set-up role and went the trade route with Heilman and Gregg instead. Previous years it seemed he already had his closer and decided to fill the gaps in the set-up role.

exactly,

Not to mention that he is bidding against himself with Grabow.

What is the harm in going year to year with a reliever and making them earn their next contract?

Actually Rob I was most interested in your comment, "seems like some friendly blogger recently brought that up"

I don't read that blog but I assume this implies an interesting strategy on the part of mainstream media. Build alliances with certain blogs that don't tend to slam the inept reporting so often found in, say, the Tribune, and the blog grows and gets "respect" from advertisers.

It's actually rather brilliant.

The Bears reporting, I've noticed, is much better than the Cubs. Maybe because a deep football knowledge is required. Haugh is an excellent analytical reporter IMHO. I can't even think of anyone on that level on the Cubs beat, except for that guy from the Daily Herald maybe. Can't remember his name as I write this and I'm sure as shit not gonna look it up in the middle of an 80 hour work week.

well I'm confused...

"Friendly blogger" was me and the Iwamura post I put up last week, never talked to Sullivan in my life...

what am I missing?

well I'm confused...

Apparently you're not the only one.

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