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Technically it's a new year I guess, but Angelo's firing culminated in the failure of 2011. A lot of you already mentioned the Bears hiring Bill Polian whom I believe Lovie Smith is familiar with.

As for the Cubs, all quiet on the western front. Garza rumors swirl, but my guess is Theo is running into the same issues that Kenny Williams ran into trying to move John Danks. The return in prospects isn't going to be as bountiful with only a year or two left of club control and the player already earning high end arbitration dollars. Garza does have one more year before being free agent eligible though and in the end, it just takes one sucker. Allegedly the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers and Marlins are the most interested. I also read some rumor about Marlon Byrd possibly being the compensation to the Red Sox. I can't even recall where I heard that, so don't put much stock into it.

I can't find the original "reports" this tweet is referencing, but some trade talks involving Matt Garza and Marlon Byrd with Jacoby Ellsbury coming over to the Cubs (and I presume other pieces would be involved). The other teams mentioned involved with Garza include the Blue Jays with names like Deck McGuire, Kyle Drabek, Anthony Gose and Jake Marisnick being thrown out there and the Tigers with names like Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver mentioned. The Yankees as well, although no names have been mentioned although you'd presume Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances would be at the forefront of those discussions.

In his chat the other day, Bruce Levine seemed to indicate Marlon Byrd is as good as gone suggesting it's just a matter of time before the Cubs sign Coco Crisp or trade for a center fielder from the Blue Jays. The Nationals presumambly have some interest. I'd say upgrading from Byrd to Crisp would be a goofball move, but let's see if it actually happens.

The Cubs end up getting OF Dave Sappelt and INF Ronald Torreyes along with LHP Travis Wood for LHP Sean Marshall. Torreyes sounds like the most intriguing prospect of the group, but not a bad haul for a reliever in my opinion. Follow the comments starting from here for some great quotes that Cubster found on the new guys.

UPDATE: Deal is done according to a Bruce Levine tweet, don't know the name of the minor leaguers yet and the players must pass physicals.


ESPN Chicago and Fox Sports both reported last night that the Cubs were close on a deal to send the "best left-handed reliever in baseball" to the Cincinnati Reds, possibly for left-handed starter Travis Wood and 2 more minor leaguers. It seems the "2 more" will be the key to deal. And of course, nothing is official yet with plenty of water already thrown on this rumor fire. But it may happen, and if so, let's see why it might make some sense.

Under the new CBA, relievers will almost certainly not being getting their old club free agent compensation and Marshall was set to be one after 2012. Better to get something now than nothing later with 2012 looking like a non-competitive season for the Cubs. Also, it's generally a good idea to trade a reliever for a starter, at least a starter that won't be a free agent until after 2016 and you probably expect to be average or slightly better. Wood will be just 25 next season after all. And as mentioned, there seems to be talk of at least 2 other Reds coming over and we'll have to see who those are.

The Rangers make their splash of the offseason by putting up a $51.7M posting fee just for the right to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. They now have 30 days to work out a contract. What this means for the Cubs is that I doubt the Rangers are giving up any good prospects to land Matt Garza. It may also mean the Toronto Blue Jays find themselves with a little extra money to throw at Prince Fielder or make a bid themselves for Garza.

In the meantime, the Cubs hired area scout Matt Dorey away from the Red Sox and promoted him to cross checker as well as making some agreement that the Cubs will not hire anymore Red Sox personel for another 3 years.

As for actual players that may do something on the field in 2012, there was talk about signing Paul Maholm. I have to say his numbers aren't particularly appealing, only 2 of his full 6 seasons have produced ERA+'s over 100 and innings have been going in a downward trend over the last 3 seasons. He seems just as likely to put up a 5.00 ERA as one under 4.00. As a 5th starter and at the right price ($5-6M a year), I suppose it wouldn't be the worst thing to happen.

There was some talk about the Cubs being interested in Coco Crisp. But that makes little sense unless Byrd or Soriano are being traded, unless he's being pursued for a bench job. The Cardinals though are presumably considering him for their starting center field spot and as a leadoff man and the Dodgers are also apparently in the hunt.

According to Rosenthal, Sean Marshall is garnering heavy trade interest, not sure if the Cubs are willing to listen now.

Anthony Rizzo would seem to be a natural fit for the Cubs to go after with his previous connections to Jedstein. He of course is now the man without a job in San Diego after they acquired Yonder Alonso from the Reds. But Rizzo also has some option years left, so the Padres are going to be in no rush to move him unless they get what they want. There were some silly rumors about a Matt Garza trade involving Rizzo, but unless a third team was involved, I don't see how it makes sense to trade Mat Latos and his 4 years of club control for Garza and his 2 far more expensive years of club control.

Rumor is that Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes will be granted residency this is week in the Domincan Republic and then teams will be able to start negotiating a contract for him.

The flow of rumors is down to a drip as we near the Christmas break. Yet the Cubs are without a first basemen or much of a starting staff and still employ Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. There is still work to be done JedStein.

- Early in the day yesterday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that "there were signs today (I can't say precisely what) to indicate the Cubs are stepping up their pursuit of Prince Fielder." Four hours later Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, claimed the "Cubs are not major players for Prince Fielder. Not ready to spend big." I hate when my baseless rumors contradict. WHO AM I TO BELIEVE?!?!?!?!

I'd like to move on from the unfortunate business in the last thread of comments. So have it...

The only news I can find is Rafael Furcal headed back to the Cardinals on a 2-year deal, around $14M. The Brewers found their SS in Alex Gonzalez on a 1-year deal with a vesting option for 2013.

Bruce Levine and Wittenmyer both had articles on the Cubs new third basemen.

I liked Baseball America's take on the trade. Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus share their thoughts as well.

Ho Ho Ho!

The long rumored deal to nab Ian Stewart from the Rockies went down last night, and the Cubs also received pitcher Casey Weathers in the deal. The cost? Tyler Colvin and D.J. LeMahieu.

To the analysis...

The same deal as yesterday, keep the rumors flowing and check the twitter box on the right.

The news from the Cubs is that Carlos Pena has declined arbitration, although Levine indicates he may return on a free agent deal. If he signs elsewhere, the Cubs will get a compensation pick between the first and second rounds of the draft. Aramis hasn't formally declined, but obviously very unlikely he would accept since he declined the Cubs $16M option already, unless he misread the market and a multi-year deal isn't really out there, but that seems unlikely. My guess is he goes to the Brewers.

- Talks continue on Ian Stewart with names like Blake DeWitt, Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu being mentioned.

- Albert Pujols had 10-year offers from the Marlins and Cardinals and it appears he's headed back to the Cardinals. The Cubs were in the mix somehow, but don't appear to be a real threat to land him. Marlins may move on to Fielder or focus their dollars on pitching.

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